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30. Additional Tabernacle Furnishings

And thou shalt make an altar to burn incense upon: of shittim wood shalt thou make it. 2A cubit shall be the length thereof, and a cubit the breadth thereof; foursquare shall it be: and two cubits shall be the height thereof: the horns thereof shall be of the same. 3And thou shalt overlay it with pure gold, the top thereof, and the sides thereof round about, and the horns thereof; and thou shalt make unto it a crown of gold round about. 4And two golden rings shalt thou make to it under the crown of it, by the two corners thereof, upon the two sides of it shalt thou make it; and they shall be for places for the staves to bear it withal. 5And thou shalt make the staves of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold. 6And thou shalt put it before the vail that is by the ark of the testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the testimony, where I will meet with thee. 7And Aaron shall burn thereon sweet incense every morning: when he dresseth the lamps, he shall burn incense upon it. 8And when Aaron lighteth the lamps at even, he shall burn incense upon it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations. 9Ye shall offer no strange incense thereon, nor burnt sacrifice, nor meat offering; neither shall ye pour drink offering thereon. 10And Aaron shall make an atonement upon the horns of it once in a year with the blood of the sin offering of atonements: once in the year shall he make atonement upon it throughout your generations: it is most holy unto the Lord.

11And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 12When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the Lord, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. 13This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the Lord. 14Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the Lord. 15The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls. 16And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the Lord, to make an atonement for your souls.

17And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 18Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein. 19For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: 20When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord: 21So they shall wash their hands and their feet, that they die not: and it shall be a statute for ever to them, even to him and to his seed throughout their generations.

22Moreover the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 23Take thou also unto thee principal spices, of pure myrrh five hundred shekels, and of sweet cinnamon half so much, even two hundred and fifty shekels, and of sweet calamus two hundred and fifty shekels, 24And of cassia five hundred shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary, and of oil olive an hin: 25And thou shalt make it an oil of holy ointment, an ointment compound after the art of the apothecary: it shall be an holy anointing oil. 26And thou shalt anoint the tabernacle of the congregation therewith, and the ark of the testimony, 27And the table and all his vessels, and the candlestick and his vessels, and the altar of incense, 28And the altar of burnt offering with all his vessels, and the laver and his foot. 29And thou shalt sanctify them, that they may be most holy: whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy. 30And thou shalt anoint Aaron and his sons, and consecrate them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office. 31And thou shalt speak unto the children of Israel, saying, This shall be an holy anointing oil unto me throughout your generations. 32Upon man’s flesh shall it not be poured, neither shall ye make any other like it, after the composition of it: it is holy, and it shall be holy unto you. 33Whosoever compoundeth any like it, or whosoever putteth any of it upon a stranger, shall even be cut off from his people.

34And the Lord said unto Moses, Take unto thee sweet spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum; these sweet spices with pure frankincense: of each shall there be a like weight: 35And thou shalt make it a perfume, a confection after the art of the apothecary, tempered together, pure and holy: 36And thou shalt beat some of it very small, and put of it before the testimony in the tabernacle of the congregation, where I will meet with thee: it shall be unto you most holy. 37And as for the perfume which thou shalt make, ye shall not make to yourselves according to the composition thereof: it shall be unto thee holy for the Lord. 38Whosoever shall make like unto that, to smell thereto, shall even be cut off from his people.

23. Take thou also unto thee principal spices. Although the oil here treated of was not only destined for the anointing of the priests, but also of the tabernacle, the ark of the covenant, the altars, and all the vessels, yet no fitter place occurs for discussing the sacred unction, than by connecting it with the priesthood, on which it depends. First of all its composition is described, exquisite both in expensiveness and odor; that by its very excellence and costliness the Israelites may learn that no ordinary thing is represented by it; for we have already often seen that there had been set before this rude people a splendor in sacred symbols, which might affect their external senses, so as to uplift them as it were by steps to the knowledge of spiritual things. We must now see why the priest as well as all the vessels and the other parts of the tabernacle had need of anointing. I conclude that without controversy this oil mixed with precious perfumes was a type of the Holy Spirit; for the metaphor of anointing is everywhere met with, when the prophets would commend the power, the effects, and the gifts of the Spirit. Nor is there any doubt but that God, by anointing kings, testified that He would endow them with the spirit of prudence, fortitude, clemency, and justice. Hence it is easily gathered that the tabernacle was sprinkled with oil, that the Israelites might learn that all the exercises of piety profited nothing without the secret operation of the Spirit. Nay, something more was shewn forth, viz., that the efficacy and grace of the Spirit existed and reigned in the truth of the shadows itself; and that whatever good was derived from them was applied by the gift of the same Spirit for the use of believers. In the altar, reconciliation was to be sought, that God might be propitious to them; but, as the Apostle testifies, the sacrifice of Christ’s death would not otherwise have been efficacious to appease God, if He had not suffered by the Spirit, (Hebrews 9:14;) and how does its fruit now reach us, except because the same Spirit washes our souls with the blood, which once was shed, as Peter teaches us? (1 Peter 1:2.) Who now consecrates our prayers but the Spirit, who dictates the groans which cannot be uttered; and by whom we cry, Abba, Father? (Romans 8:15, 26.) Nay, whence comes the faith which admits us to a participation in the benefits of Christ, but from the same Spirit?

But we were especially to consider the anointing of the priest, who was sanctified by the Spirit of God for the performance of his office; thus, as Isaiah, in the person of Jesus Christ, declares that he was anointed with the spirit of prophecy, (Isaiah 61:1;) and David affirms the same of the royal spirit, (Psalm 45:7;) so Daniel is our best interpreter and witness how the sacerdotal unction was at length manifested (in Him 181181     Added from Fr. ), for when he says that the time, when by the death of Christ the prophecy shall be sealed up, was determined upon “to anoint the holy of holies,” he plainly reminds us that the spiritual pattern, which answers to the visible sanctuary, is in Christ; so that believers may really feel that these shadows were not mere empty things. (Daniel 9:24.) We now perceive why Aaron was anointed, viz., because Christ was consecrated by the Holy Spirit to be the Mediator between God and man; and why the tabernacle and its vessels were sprinkled with the same oil, viz., because we are only made partakers of the holiness of Christ by the gift and operation of the Spirit. 182182     “Ou il est dit, Que tout ce que, etc., aucuns mettent legendre masculin, Celuy qui les sanctifiera;” where it is said, “Whatsoever,” etc., some put the masculine gender, “He who shall sanctify them.” This is the translation of LXX. and V. Some translate it in the masculine gender, where of the vessels it is said, “whatsoever toucheth them shall be holy;” ver. 29: as if they were not to be touched by any but the priests; but it appears to me to be rather spoken for another reason, viz., that they may embue the oblations with their own sanctity.


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