Bible Commentary: Exodus 40

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Exodus 40

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The Finished Tabernacle Filled With God's Glory

God gave Moses explicit instruction regarding every detail of the building of the tabernacle. And the Bible makes two interesting statements regarding the care with which Moses followed these instructions. Verse 16 says, "Moses did according to all that the Lord had commanded him," while verse 33 simply says, "So Moses finished the work." Moses was a faithful man of God. He strove for excellence in everything God gave him to do. The book of Hebrews comments on his faithfulness, "Moses indeed was faithful in all His house as a servant" (Hebrews 3:5 Hebrews 3:5And Moses truly was faithful in all his house, as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken after;
American King James Version×

The tabernacle was finally set up and its furnishings arranged on the first day of the first month, Abib or Nisan on the Hebrew Calendar, of the second year of Israel's journey out of Egypt (verses 2, 17). This was around 10 months after the people had arrived at Sinai and nearly two weeks before their second keeping of the Passover. When everything God had commanded had been completed, He came near in a dramatic descent that manifested His glory among the Israelites, filling the tabernacle with His glory so that even Moses could not enter. The appearance of God's glory is sometimes called the Shekinah or the Shekinah glory, coming from the Hebrew for "to dwell." The Nelson Study Bible states: "The glory of the Lord filling the tabernacle demonstrated His Presence with the Israelites, His significance to them, and His awe-inspiring wonder. The words of John 1:1-18 John 1:1-18 [1] In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. [2] The same was in the beginning with God. [3] All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. [4] In him was life; and the life was the light of men. [5] And the light shines in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not. [6] There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. [7] The same came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all men through him might believe. [8] He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. [9] That was the true Light, which lights every man that comes into the world. [10] He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. [11] He came to his own, and his own received him not. [12] But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: [13] Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. [14] And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. [15] John bore witness of him, and cried, saying, This was he of whom I spoke, He that comes after me is preferred before me: for he was before me. [16] And of his fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. [17] For the law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ. [18] No man has seen God at any time, the only begotten Son, which is in the bosom of the Father, he has declared him.
American King James Version×
are appropriate to recall here. In the Incarnation, the glory of God was manifest not in a tent, but in His Son.... How wonderful that the Book of Exodus concludes with this image of the gracious God, hovering protectively over His people.... A faithful Israelite follower of God could see the tabernacle and realize that God was there in His splendor and power. And with Him the people advanced to Canaan, the land He had promised to them."