Friday, July 27, 2007

Exodus; Tabernacle & Creation

Peter Enns, in his helpful commentary on Exodus points out that the tabernacle is paralleled with creation.

1. There are seven 'The LORD said to Moses' instructions re. the building of the tabernacle and accompaniments (25:1; 30:11, 17, 22, 34; 31:1; 31:12).

2. The seventh (31:12) is an instruction not so much about the tabernacle (on the face of it) but rather about the sabbath. The instruction here highlights the link to creation clearly (31:17).

3. Enns is unsure about the order of the other six and is reluctant to see them tied too directly to the days of creation, stating that the overall point is made clear simply by the structure of seven climaxing in sabbath rest. I haven't thought a lot further, but it is interesting that the sixth 'The LORD said' instruction is regarding Oholiab and Bezalel, two men filled with God's breath/Spirit/spirit and commissioned to build the tabernacle (cf. Genesis 1:26-30 = Day 6 and creation of humanity, commissioned to have dominion. cf. Genesis 2:7, 15 = Man created and filled with God's breath, commissioned to tend God's garden-sanctuary).

4. Following the Golden Calf incident and following (32-34), there is yet again mention of the sabbath (35:1-3) and then a narrative of the actual building of the temple, under Moses instructions, through the obedience of the Israelites, all according to the heavenly pattern.

5. When all the building is done we are told that 'Moses finished the work' (40:33) in a (surely) deliberate echo of Genesis 2:2.

So, the tabernacle was a model restoration of creation order, a microcosm (Enn's word) of creation, showing how things could and should be with Yahweh as King. How exciting that, by extension/fulfilment/typology/union with Christ, the Church is the tabernacle/temple.


ros said...

I'm doing a course on Exodus with Pete Enns later this year. V. much looking forward to it.

Tabernacle/temple as creation (and vice versa) is crucial in understanding the Song of Songs too...

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