Sanctuary Offering

Sanctuary Offering 25:1-10

(Exodus 25:1) Who is Speaking? God to Moses

Begins w/ a call for an offering: “…raise a contribution for Me from every man whose heart moves him.” (25:2).

(Exodus 25:2) Who is to contribute? The collections for tabernacle are FREE WILL offerings, only those who want to or choose to contribute, those whose hearts are moved. There is no obligation to contribute, or “suggested amount” to contribute. This differs from how David raised money for the temple hundreds of years later.

  • No specific amount is suggested for what they should give
  • Giving is on basis of Grace

What kinds of contributions are they to collect? (Exodus 25:4-7)

  • Gold, silver, and bronze – precious metals, gold being the most precious
  • blue, purple, and scarlet dyes – expensive dyes
  • Fine linen – an egyptian type of linen of the highest thread count
  • Goat hair, dyed rams skins, sea cow(?) skins – various types of animal skins
  • oil and spices – for lighting, annointing oil and incense
  • precious stones – for the ephod and breastplate (priestly garments)

Each of these will be discussed in more detail as we get further into the tabernacle instructions.

v. 3-7: “The materials themselves represent a catalog of opulance: the finest metals, the finest fabrics, the finest leathers, the finest wood, the finest oil and incense and semiprecious stones. The metals are obviously listed in a descending sequence of value, and Haran maintains the colored yarns were as well, with violet the most costly died material, purple a bit less so and scarlet less so still, though all dyed materials were prcious because of the expense of the dye” -John I. Durham (Word Biblical Commentary, Vol. 3, Exodus)

Some commentaries point out a symbolism that gold symbolizes deity and wood represting humanity…so we will see as we get further into this humanity wrapped in gold symbolically.

What is a “Sea Cow”? (Exodus 25:5)

Badger Skin? Porpoise Skin? Sea Cows? (Ex 25:5) The Hebrew word תּחשׁ (tachash) is a bit obscure. Scholars aren’t quite sure how to translate it, and it is heavily debated. From some popular translations: porpoise skin (NASB), badger skin (KJV, NKJV), seal skins (ASV), sea cows (NIV), antelope skin (Strongs) etc. In Ezekiel 16:10 this same material is used to describe a material used to make sandals, so it is quite likely a durable skin, whatever it is.

Eze 16:10 “I also clothed you with embroidered cloth and put sandals of porpoise skin on your feet; and I wrapped you with fine linen and covered you with silk.

Which of these animals live in the area where they were constructing the tabernacle? Christian Resource Centre (Bermuda) asserts that the wood and animal skins used for the construction, the bulkier items, were obtained in the vicinity of Sinai, that only the precious metals and linen came from Egypt. If this is true, this may give hints as to which of these types of skins is more likely.

What are the contributions for? (25:8) The money raised is designated for building a sanctuary for God to dwell among them (25:8).

“The idea was not that God exclusively lived in that place, but that it was the specific place where men would come and meet God.” (Guzik)

What is a sanctuary? (25:8)

Sanctuary (Ex. 25:8) – שָׁדְּקִמ miqdash #4720 : sacred place, sanctuary, holy place.
1) From שַׁדָק qadash #6942 : to consecrate, sanctify, be holy.
2) For the purpose of dwelling among Israel. ןַכָשׁ shakan #7931 : to dwell, reside.

How is the tabernacle to be constructed? (25:9) “according to all that I [God] am to show you”, so according to God’s plans.

What is a tabernacle? (25:9) “Tabernacle (v.9) . ןָכְּשִׁמ mishkan #4908 : tabernacle, dwelling place. Even as the Lord was pleased to tabernacle among Israel, the Lord Jesus Christ will also be pleased to tabernacle among Israel (Jn. 1:14) .” –Bolender

Symbolic Significance of the tabernacle? The tabernacle was symbolic of Christ’s first coming (as Jesus, a temporary less glorious looking version) as the temple is to his second coming (in a permanent way, in full glory) Also consider Rev 21:3 “And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them “

Usages throughout the NT of Tabernacle (skēnē G4633):

  • Act 15:16 After these things I will return, and I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, and I will rebuild its ruins, and I will restore it.
  • Heb 8:4-5 Now if He were on earth, He would not be a priest at all, since there are those who offer the gifts according to the Law; who serve a copy and shadow of the heavenly things, just as Moses was warned by God when he was about to erect the tabernacle; for, “see,” He says, “that you make all things according to the pattern which was shown to you on the mountain.”
  • Heb 9:11-12 But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things to come, He entered through the greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this creation; and not through the blood of goats and calves, but through His own blood, He entered the holy place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
  • Luk 16:9 “And I say to you, make friends for yourselves by means of the wealth of unrighteousness, so that when it fails, they will receive you into the eternal dwellings.
  • Heb 11:9 By faith he lived as an alien in the land of promise , as in a foreign land, dwelling in tents with Isaac and Jacob, fellow heirs of the same promise;

H5521 – סכּה – sûkkâh

  • used in Amos quoted in Acts as “tabernacle of David”.
  • Meaning a tent, pavilion, booth, cottage or other temporary dwelling place

Not the word used in exodus for tabernacle

H4908 משׁכּן mishkân – residentce, habitation, tabernacle, tent, the tabernacle. Used much more frequently than sukkah in OT.

How did people respond to this call for offerings? To answer this you have to jump ahead to Ex. 35:21-29. and 36:2-7. Every day people would bring freewill offerings (36:3), to the point where they had more than enough (36:5). So much so, in fact, that Moses had to make a proclamation to stop bringing contributions (36:6). The ultimate result of the free-will offering was “more than sufficient” amounts of materials.

Implications of This Response
If the Lord wants to get something done, he has no problem moving people’s hearts to cause them to contribute. They didn’t have to assess a tax or “suggested donation” or a thermometer graphic showing how great their need is. The Lord took care of it through the generosity of people whose hearts he moved.As a believer, God may move your heart to support his work, not as (and/or above and beyond) a tithe, but as a free-will offering.

Application: Are you a generous person, given to making free-will offerings unto the Lord for his purposes?

This reminds me a little of the Rock Church’s response to the fires in October (2007). “Come bring donations for the fire victims! … Oh wait, there’s been such an outpouring we’ve gotten more than we need, please stop bringing stuff for now…” Having an overabundance of generosity is the type of problem you should want in your congregation!