Exodus 40:35
And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud stayed thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
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(35) Moses was not able to enter into the tent.—Apparently, Moses, seeing the cloud descend, as it had been wont to do upon the temporary “tent of meeting” (Exodus 33:9), endeavoured to re-enter the Tabernacle which he had quitted, but was unable; the “glory” forbade approach. (Comp. the effect of the “glory” when it descended on Solomon’s Temple, 1Kings 8:11; 2Chronicles 5:14; 2Chronicles 7:2.)

40:34-38 The cloud covered the tabernacle even in the clearest day; it was not a cloud which the sun scatters. This cloud was a token of God's presence to be seen day and night, by all Israel, that they might never again question, Is the Lord among us, or is he not? It guided the camp of Israel through the wilderness. While the cloud rested on the tabernacle, they rested; when it removed, they followed it. The glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. In light and fire the Shechinah made itself visible: God is Light; our God is a consuming Fire. Yet so dazzling was the light, and so dreadful the fire, that Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, till the splendour was abated. But what Moses could not do, our Lord Jesus has done, whom God caused to draw near; and who has invited us to come boldly, even to the mercy-seat. Being taught by the Holy Spirit to follow the example of Christ, as well as to depend upon him, to attend his ordinances, and obey his precepts, we shall be kept from losing our way, and be led in the midst of the paths of judgment, till we come to heaven, the habitation of his holiness. BLESSED BE GOD FOR JESUS CHRIST!Compare the entrance of the high priest into the holy of holies on the day of atonement, Leviticus 16:2, Leviticus 16:13. For special appearances of this glory in the tabernacle, see Numbers 14:10; Numbers 16:19, Numbers 16:42.

The tabernacle, after it had accompanied the Israelites in their wanderings in the wilderness, was most probably first set up in the holy land at Gilgal Joshua 4:19; Joshua 5:10; Joshua 9:6; Joshua 10:6, Joshua 10:43. But before the death of Joshua, it was erected at Shiloh Joshua 18:1; Joshua 19:51. Here it remained as the national sanctuary throughout the time of the Judges Jos 18:8; Joshua 21:2; Joshua 22:19; Judges 18:31; Judges 21:19; 1 Samuel 1:3; 1 Samuel 4:3. But its external construction was at this time somewhat changed, and doors, strictly so called, had taken the place of the entrance curtain 1 Samuel 3:15 : hence, it seems to have been sometimes called the temple 1 Samuel 1:9; 1 Samuel 3:3, the name by which the structure of Solomon was afterward commonly known. After the time of Eli it was removed to Nob in the canton of Benjamin, not far from Jerusalem 1 Samuel 21:1-9. From thence, in the time of David, it was removed to Gibeon 1 Chronicles 16:39; 1 Chronicles 21:29; 2 Chronicles 1:3; 1 Kings 3:4; 1 Kings 9:2. It was brought from Gibeon to Jerusalem by Solomon 1 Kings 8:4. After this, it disappears from the narrative of Scripture. When the temple of Solomon was built, "the tabernacle of the tent" had entirely performed its work; it had protected the ark of the covenant during the migrations of the people until they were settled in the land, and the promise was fulfilled, that the Lord would choose out a place for Himself in which His name should be preserved and His service should be maintained Deuteronomy 12:14, Deuteronomy 12:21; Deuteronomy 14:24.

In accordance with its dignity as the most sacred object in the sanctuary, the original ark of the covenant constructed by Moses was preserved and transferred from the tabernacle to the temple. The golden altar, the candlestick and the showbread table were renewed by Solomon. They were subsequently renewed by Zerubbabel, and lastly by the Maccabees (see Exodus 25:23.) But the ark was preserved in the temple until Jerusalem was taken by the forces of Nebuchadnezzar 2 Chronicles 35:3; Jeremiah 3:16. It was never replaced in the second temple. According to a rabbinical tradition, its site was marked by a block of stone.

35. Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation—How does this circumstance show the incapacity of man, in his present state, to look upon the unveiled perfections of the Godhead! Moses could not endure the unclouded effulgence, nor the sublimest of the prophets (Isa 6:5). But what neither Moses nor the most eminent of God's messengers to the ancient church through the weakness of nature could endure, we can all now do by an exercise of faith; looking unto Jesus, who reflected with chastened radiance the brightness of the Father's glory; and who, having as the Forerunner for us, entered within the veil, has invited us to come boldly to the mercy seat. While Moses was compelled, through the influence of overwhelming awe, to stand aloof and could not enter the tabernacle, Christ entered into the holy place not made with hands; nay, He is Himself the true tabernacle, filled with the glory of God, ever with the grace and truth which the Shekinah typified. What great reason we have to thank God for Jesus Christ, who, while He Himself was the brightness of the Father's glory, yet exhibited that glory in so mild and attractive a manner, as to allure us to draw near with confidence and love into the Divine Presence! Moses was not able to enter in, partly because of the extraordinary thickness and brightness of the cloud, which both dazzled his eyes and struck him with horror, as 1 Kings 8:11; and partly, because of his great reverence and dread of that eminent and glorious appearance of God; and partly, because he was not called to it, as he was not able to go up into the mount till he was called, Exodus 24:16. And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation,.... He had been there before, both in the holy, and in the most holy place, to see that the furniture of each were put as the Lord directed, which being done he came out again; and now a cloud being on the outside of it, and the glory of the Lord within, he was so struck with an awe and reverence of the divine Being, of whose presence these were a symbol, that he could not engage his heart, or had not boldness to go into the tabernacle until he was called, Leviticus 1:1 for so it follows:

because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle; there was something, no doubt, very venerable in the spreading cloud, as well as very striking in the refulgent glory, which commanded distance, even to a person that had been used to converse with God; Moses, that went into the midst of the cloud where the Lord was, now could not or durst not go into the tabernacle it covered; and he who then was not deterred by the sight of the glory of God, which was like devouring fire, Exodus 24:16 now could not, or at least thought it not proper and advisable to enter into the holy place erected for the service and worship of God; the chief reason of which may be, because, as yet, he had not a call to enter, as he then had, and as we find was afterwards given him, Leviticus 1:1 and perhaps another reason may be, because he was now no longer a priest; Aaron and his sons being invested with the priestly office, whose business it was to draw nigh to God; and indeed the call he afterwards had was not to come into the tabernacle, but was a call unto him out of it.

And Moses was not able to enter into the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
35. was not able, &c.] cf. 1 Kings 8:10 f. (at the dedication of Solomon’s Temple), Ezekiel 43:4 f.Verse 35. - Moses was not able to enter. It is implied that he wished - nay, tried - to enter - but the "glory" prevented him. (Compare 1 Kings 8:11; 2 Chronicles 5:14; 2 Chronicles 7:2.) Because the cloud abode thereon. It was not the external "cloud" which prevented Moses from entering, but the internal "glory." But the two are regarded as inseparable. The altar of burnt-offering was then placed "before the door of the dwelling of the tabernacle," and the laver "between the tabernacle and the altar," from which it is evident that the altar was not placed close to the entrance to the dwelling, but at some distance off, though in a straight line with the door. The laver, which stood between the altar and the entrance to the dwelling, was probably placed more to the side; so that when the priests washed their hands and feet, before entering the dwelling or approaching the altar, there was no necessity for them to go round the altar, or to pass close by it, in order to get to the laver. Last of all the court was erected round about the dwelling and the altar, by the setting up of the pillars, which enclosed the space round the dwelling and the altar with their drapery, and the hanging up of the curtain at the entrance to the court. There is no allusion to the anointing of these holy places and things, as commanded in Exodus 40:9-11, in the account of their erection; for this did not take place till afterwards, viz., at the consecration of Aaron and his sons as priests (Leviticus 8:10-11). It is stated, however, on the other hand, that as the vessels were arranged, Moses laid out the shew-bread upon the table (Exodus 40:23), burned sweet incense upon the golden altar (Exodus 40:27), and offered "the burnt-offering and meat-offering," i.e., the daily morning and evening sacrifice, upon the altar of burnt-offering (Exodus 29:38-42). Consequently the sacrificial service was performed upon them before they had been anointed. Although this may appear surprising, there is no ground for rejecting a conclusion, which follows so naturally from the words of the text. The tabernacle and its furniture were not made holy things for the first time by the anointing; this simply sanctified them for the use of the nation, i.e., for the service which the priests were to perform in connection with them on behalf of the congregation (see at Leviticus 8:10-11). They were made holy things and holy vessels by the fact that they were built, prepared, and set up, according to the instructions given by Jehovah; and still more by the fact, that after the tabernacle had been erected as a dwelling, the "glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle" (Exodus 40:34). But the glory of the Lord entered the dwelling before the consecration of the priests, and the accompanying anointing of the tabernacle and its vessels; for, according to Leviticus 1:1., it was from the tabernacle that Jehovah spake to Moses, when He gave him the laws of sacrifice, which were promulgated before the consecration of the priests, and were carried out in connection with it. But when the glory of the Lord had found a dwelling-place in the tabernacle, Moses was not required to offer continually the sacrifice prescribed for every morning and evening, and by means of this sacrifice to place the congregation in spiritual fellowship with its God, until Aaron and his sons had been consecrated for this service.
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