Pentateuch: Exodus 25-31

A study on the book of Exodus

Learn how you can use the guide here.

Why did Jesus have to die on the cross? Why was it important for blood to be shed? Why is He referred to by John the Baptist as the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29, 36)? Whether or not we have given these questions much consideration, it is important to note that the death of Jesus on the cross was not just an event that ‘happened’ to take place during the age of the Roman empire, using Roman methods of execution.


As we go deeper into the book of Exodus and now get introduced into the priesthood and God’s holy dwelling in the wilderness, we will discover that these details are not meant to be overlooked as irrelevant to our faith today. Greater study into these details could in fact shift, or deepen our understanding of the work on the cross, as well as the New Covenant.

Chapters 25 to 31 describe the instructions for the construction of the tabernacle. All aspects of the dwelling and its furnishings were defined with specific detail regarding dimensions, shape, and colour.

Pre-Video Reading

Read Exodus 25-31.

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Supplementary Reading

3. The Tabernacle
Credit: Logos Bible Software

Application Questions

  1. God’s instruction for Moses to build the tabernacle begins in Exodus 25:1-9.

    a. The word ‘tabernacle’ (Hebrew:
    miskan מִשְׁכָּן) means, to ‘dwell’. What does this tell us about how God wants to relate to His people?

    b. In verse 9, God is showing Moses a ‘pattern’ of the tabernacle. What is this tabernacle’s pattern actually based on? Read Hebrews 8:5 and 9:11.

  2. Exodus 25:10-27:21 and 30:1-10 describe specific instructions for building the tabernacle.

    a. While reading, what do you think the following parts of the tabernacle represent? Use the respective supplementary scripture to help you with your inference.

    (i) The ark of the covenant (Exodus 25:10-16). See Exodus 25:22, Leviticus 16:1-2, Joshua 3:6, 6:7, 20, 1 Samuel 4.

    (ii) The mercy seat (Exodus 25:17-22) and cherubim. See Romans 3:25, Revelation 4:2-3, 6-8.

    (iii) The table (Exodus 25:23-30) for the bread of the Presence or showbread (Leviticus 24:5-9). See John 6:35, 47-51, 1 Corinthians 11:23-26.

    (iv) The golden lampstand (Exodus 25:31-40) and the pure olive oil supplied by priests (Exodus 27:20). See Isaiah 11:2, Revelation 1:4, 4:5, 5:6.

    (v) The altar of incense (Exodus 30:1-10). See Revelation 5:8.

    (vi) The brazen altar (Exodus 27:1-8). See Leviticus 4:7, 25Hebrews 13:10-13.

    b. Observe the quality of the materials used for the various sections of the tabernacle.

    (i) What sort of material is found within the Most Holy Place (where the ark is placed), the Holy Place (where the table of showbread, lampstand, and altar of incense are placed), and the Outer Court (where the brazen altar is located) respectively?

    (ii) What does this tell us about God, His holiness, and how we should regard His presence?

  3. Exodus 28 describes specific instructions for the priesthood’s garments.

    a. Were Aaron and his sons called into the priesthood by their merit?

    b. Why do you think God had placed so much focus on the garments of the priesthood? What do you think that means about how He sees His people?

    c. Hebrews 4:14 -5:10 tells us that an ultimate Great High Priest has come into the office. Who is this? Consider the contrast between this Great High Priest’s clothing during His time on earth and the ordained garments of the Great High Priest in Exodus 28.

  4. Exodus 29 describes how the priests prepared for their ministry.

    a. What does it mean to be consecrated for ministry?

    b. Verses 1-7 tell us the elements that are required in the process of consecration. What is the significance of the following?

    (i) The young bull and two rams without blemish (v1b)

    (ii) The unleavened bread and cakes (v2)

    (iii) The water (v4)

    (iv) The anointing oil (v7)

    c. Was a one-time consecration sufficient for the priesthood? Why, or why not?

    d. We are told that under the New Covenant, we have become the priesthood (1 Peter 2:5, 9, Revelation 1:5-6).

    (i) By what merit are we chosen for the priesthood?

    (ii) How have we been consecrated?

    (iii) How are we called to minister as priests today?

  5. Read Hebrews 8-9. How does your understanding of the Mosaic tabernacle and priesthood bring deeper meaning to what Jesus had done on the cross?

  6. Read 2 Samuel 7:5, Psalm 132:5, John 1:14, Acts 7:49, and 1 Corinthians 3:16. The concept of a “dwelling place” is found in the biblical past, present and future. Why is it important for us to recognise this? How does this frame our understanding of the reason for the Christian faith?

Closing Reflection

The instructions and requirements for the priesthood and tabernacle can be difficult to comprehend because we are so far removed from the ancient Israelite context. May you be challenged not to brush these away because the heart and desire of God remain the same. God’s storyline begins and ends with the same desire – to be with us, and to appoint us as priests who would minister to Him.

Regardless of your occupation or life stage, you have been saved into a royal priesthood. What would the roles of a priest look like today, and what would this calling look like in your daily context? Discuss this with your Lifegroup and consider some immediate actions you could apply for yourself.

Prayer: Connecting with God

The Lord’s Prayer says, “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” (Matthew 6:10). What do you have on your heart to see take place on earth, as it is in heaven? As a priest, come before the Lord in prayer and ask Him for His will to be done in this area.