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Exodus 29:38-46 meaning

The discussion now turns from the priests' ordination ceremony to the sacrifices that were to be performed daily. What was to be offered and when the offerings were to take place. The LORD stresses the importance of these daily burnt offerings and His response to them by dwelling amongst and fellowshipping with His people.

The instructions on how to ordain priests now finished, the LORD then commanded Moses about what you shall offer on the altar on a daily basis. The details of these offerings were:

Two one-year old lambs each day, continuously. These offerings were to be done in perpetuity. The schedule was that one lamb was offered in the morning, the beginning of the day, and the other lamb was offered at twilight, the end of the day.

Along with the lambs, there was to be one-tenth of an ephah of fine flour mixed with one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil. The words "of an ephah" are inferred by the translators, they are not actually in the Hebrew text. An ephah, a dry measurement, was a little over a bushel and weighed approximately 40 pounds. If so, one-tenth would have been roughly 4 pounds of flour. A hin was a liquid unit of measurement and its amount is uncertain, possibly around one gallon or 3.8 liters.

There needed to be one-fourth of a hin of beaten oil mixed with the flour. The word translated beaten can also be translated pure. In chapter 27, the people were commanded to "bring you clear oil of beaten olives for the light, to make a lamp burn continually" (Exodus 27:20). The phrase beaten likely refers to the crushing of olives as a part of pressing them to produce clear olive oil.

In addition to the oil, there needed to be one-fourth of a hin of wine for a drink offering with one lamb. Verse 41 states that the other lamb you shall offer at twilight. They were to offer with it the same grain offering and the same drink offering as in the morning.

The goal of these offerings was that they were to be for a soothing aroma, an offering by fire to the Lord. This meant that the LORD accepted and was pleased with the offerings, and fellowshipped with His people.

In the New Testament, Christ's sacrifice of Himself for the sins of the world was described as "an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma" (Ephesians 5:2). Jesus' sacrifice secures the free gift of eternal life to all who have enough faith to look upon Jesus's sacrifice on the cross, hoping for healing (John 3:14-16). This event for each believer is similar to God choosing Israel as His own people, even though they were not righteous (Deuteronomy 7:6-8). It is a once-for-all-time gift chosen by God (Romans 5:8).

New Testament believers are in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit, making each believer a living tabernacle/temple (1 Corinthians 6:19). Similar to the symbolism here, for New Testament believers to walk in fellowship with the Lord requires an ongoing walk in the Spirit, and a daily sacrifice of ourselves by renewing our minds and walking in obedience. Believers are to set aside the flesh daily, in the morning and in the twilight, and at all points in between, and walk in the Spirit (Romans 8:13, 12:1-2, Galatians 5:16-18). This is the way for New Testament believers to enjoy an ongoing fellowship with God. In each case, obedience to God's commands are the key. Jesus said, "If you love Me, you will keep My commandments" (John 14:15).

Verses 42 - 46 describe both the importance of the daily offerings and what the LORD promises to do as a result. The LORD repeated that these daily offerings were to be a continual burnt offering throughout your generations. The term generations refers to an age, and what age is intended is determined by the context. This daily ritual was to continue throughout your generations. The phrase throughout your generations is a translation of a single Hebrew word, and is rendered by the most literal translation "for your generations."

These sacrifices continued once the temple replaced the tabernacle, which was very similar in layout to the tabernacle. But the sacrifices have ceased since there is currently no temple and no altar. However, sacrifices will resume when the temple is reconstructed during the Messianic kingdom. In Ezekiel 10, God's glory departed from the Jerusalem temple as a prelude to the Babylonian destruction of the temple. In Ezekiel 40-43 there are detailed descriptions of a much larger and supernaturally endowed temple. The headwater for a river flowing to the (no-longer) Dead Sea will begin from the threshold of the new temple (Ezekiel 47:1). There will be a new altar that is consecrated for seven days, then sacrifices will resume (Ezekiel 43:25-27).

In that instance the sacrifices will be a reminder of what has occurred already rather than a foreshadowing of what will be. In the new earth, there will no longer be a temple building, for Jesus will dwell on the earth in His full glory, and He Himself will be the temple (Revelation 21:22).

The offerings were to be made at the doorway of the tent of meeting before the Lord. The location of the altar being at the doorway to the tabernacle meant that all of Israel could approach it, whereas inside the tent only the priests could enter.

The LORD said that He would do several things at the doorway of the tent of meeting before the Lord, where the altar was located. There are seven things that the LORD said He would do: First, the LORD declared that it was at the doorway of the tent of meeting where I will meet with you.

He then stated that He would speak to you there. There the Israelites would get direct, special revelation from the LORD. He next said that He would meet there with the sons of Israel. Outside the tent of meeting the LORD would meet with both priests and non-priests. Only priests were allowed inside the tent.

In light of the offerings, the vicinity shall be consecrated by My glory. His glorious presence before His people would be at the altar as well as the tent of meeting.

Because of the LORD's presence there, He will consecrate the tent of meeting and the altar. The altar was to be set aside for the special purpose of the LORD meeting with His people, and the tent of meeting, another name for the tabernacle, for all its purposes. Both would be consecrated by the Lord's presence.

The doorway was the place where the LORD will also consecrate Aaron and his sons to minister as priests to Me. Any doorway is a place of choice, where people choose to leave one environment for another. It was at this place of choice, where the altar was located, where God met the people. The altar was also a place of choice, where people came to sacrifice and ask forgiveness—or not. Jesus said He is the door where His sheep enter the sheepfold (John 10:7).

Finally, the tent of meeting (tabernacle) would be where the LORD was to dwell among the sons of Israel and will be their God.

As a result of the LORD dwelling in the tabernacle, the people would know that He is the Lord their God who brought them out of the land of Egypt. They were to never forget what the LORD did for them in delivering them from slavery in Egypt. Since He is the LORD their God, He will dwell among them.

Finally, the LORD declared I am the Lord their God. This statement has a double implication for Israel. It reminded the Israelites of God's fulfilled promises to deliver them from bondage to Pharaoh, and to redeem them with "an outstretched arm" (Exodus 3:13-15, Exodus 6:6-7). It also reminded the Israelites that the Suzerain LORD was their God, and that they were His vassals (subjects). They had agreed to enter into a covenant with God, and obey all His commands, with certain blessings for obedience, and certain adverse consequences for disobedience.

As such, the statement served as the basis upon which God expected the Israelites to accept His authority and to obey all His covenant stipulations. In other words, this declaration that I am the Lord their God was the basis of all that was required of the Israelites (as vassals) as they lived in this covenant relationship with Him. As God's own possession, the Israelites were to dedicate Aaron and his sons to exclusively minister in His service. They were to be the recognized intermediaries between the holy LORD and His people.

The design of the tabernacle presented in chapters 25-29 pointed to the fact that it was to be the place where the LORD would "tabernacle" (i.e. "dwell") among His people and that they would acknowledge that He was the Lord their God.


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