Boards and Veil - RR171AY93

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Contents

Lesson

Professor: Rushdoony, Dr. R. J.
Title: Boards and Vail
Course: Course - Exodus; Unity of Law and Grace
Subject: Subject:Pentateuch
Lesson#: 93
Length: 0:38:18
TapeCode: RR171AY93
Audio: Chalcedon Archive
Transcript: .docx Format
Exodus Unity of Law and Grace.jpg

This transcript is unedited. It was:
Archived by the Mt. Olive Tape Library
Digitized, transcribed, and published by Christ Rules
Posted by with permission


Let us worship God. Grace by unto you and peace from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Draw nigh to God and He will draw nigh to you. Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise. Let us pray.

Almighty God, our heavenly Father, who in thy grace and mercy has chosen to dwell in the hearts of those that long for thy presence, we come into thy presence, joyfully, mindful of thy mercies, thine unfailing grace unto us. We thank thee, our Father, that thou art ever generous to us, who are so often so ungenerous one to another and to ourselves. We thank thee that thou art ever merciful unto us, when we find mercy at times difficult to others. How great thou art, O Lord, and how marvelous thy grace, and we praise thee. In Christ’s name. Amen.

Our scripture is from Exodus 26:15-37. Our subject: Boards and veil. Exodus 26:15-37. “And thou shalt make boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood standing up. Ten cubits shall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half shall be the breadth of one board. Two tenons shall there be in one board, set in order one against another: thus shalt thou make for all the boards of the tabernacle. And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards on the south side southward. And thou shalt make forty sockets of silver under the twenty boards; two sockets under one board for his two tenons, and two sockets under another board for his two tenons. And for the second side of the tabernacle on the north side there shall be twenty boards: And their forty sockets of silver; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board. And for the sides of the tabernacle westward thou shalt make six boards. And two boards shalt thou make for the corners of the tabernacle in the two sides. And they shall be coupled together beneath, and they shall be coupled together above the head of it unto one ring: thus shall it be for them both; they shall be for the two corners. And they shall be eight boards, and their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another board. And thou shalt make bars of shittim wood; five for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the side of the tabernacle, for the two sides westward. And the middle bar in the midst of the boards shall reach from end to end. And thou shalt overlay the boards with gold, and make their rings of gold for places for the bars: and thou shalt overlay the bars with gold. And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was shewed thee in the mount. And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made: And thou shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver. And thou shalt hang up the vail under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most holy. And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in the most holy place. And thou shalt set the table without the vail, and the candlestick over against the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side. And thou shalt make an hanging for the door of the tent, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework. And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold, and their hooks shall be of gold: and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them. [05:39:06]

Now these verses are less understandable to us because

Now these verses are less understandable to us because what they are, are directions for construction. They are like a blueprint, but with words, and for us, since we are not used to a blueprint spelled out word for word, it is somewhat difficult to follow. Now, this raises a very important question. God wanted things to be built in a particular way and He could have simply given directions apart from the Bible. He did show Moses the pattern no the mount, so very clearly Moses had seen something of what the construction was to be. But here it is, spelled out, to be recorded for permanent use by all believers to the end of time. What is it telling us? Well, very obviously that we are to disregard or despise the material side of life. That’s been the great temptation of people over the centuries. They spiritualize everything. They want to see things of the spirit as on a higher plane, forgetting that God made things material and things spiritual, and pronounced them both very good, that in the new creation, both are going to exist so we cannot differentiate.

It’s particularly ironic in our day, in that we have a great deal of this spiritualism on a humanistic level. People who despise things material, who reside at irony-towered universities with good salaries. They can be above material concerns because they have no problems with them and they don’t think we’re entitled to the same munificent kind of living that they enjoy. [

But God stressed the material side of life throughout the law and in the directions for construction. It is strange how people have chosen to disregard that. How, for example, some of the church fathers, especially those who were Greek, tended to reduce the entire of the books of Moses, things like this, to hidden spiritual meanings and parables, and would say, “They cannot mean what they seem to mean, there is a hidden meaning in it.” So, they produced a kind of esoteric meaning. Well, that’s not the point of the law, or of this chapter.

In this chapter we are told that the royal tent is to be supported by an extensive wooden framework which is overlaid with gold. We are not told what the thickness of the boards was, although some have surmised that they were a cubic thick and therefore, true pillars. It has also been assumed that each pillar may have been made of several boards put together to make a solid pillar. [00:09:34]

The word for veil in the Hebrew means ...

The word for veil in the Hebrew means “that which shuts off.” Now, the acacia, or shittim wood is a member of the mimosa family. We’re familiar, of course, hereabouts with both the mimosa and the acacia. It is a light and a hearty wood, and where plentiful and allowed to grow for generations, is very useful for building purposes. The boards were joined together by tenons set in silver sockets. The construction was such as to make the tabernacle easy to dismantle for moving while designed fro magnificence and glory. The frame construction, however, indicates that the tabernacle pointed ahead to a temple. It was built in a fashion which suggests a step towards a permanent building. The veil separated the Holy of Holies from the holy place, and the veil had embroidered upon it the depiction of the cherubim. The veil for the door was embroidered with needlework we are told, but the design is not here stated. There was a veil to the holy place and the Holy of Holies. [00:10:59]

We have a very important statement in verse ...

We have a very important statement in verse 30. God tells Moses that the tabernacle is to be erected according to a pattern given by Moses on Mount Sinai. Now this gives an added dimension to the tabernacle. According to Hebrews 9:1-12, the tabernacle is a type of heaven. The cherubim typified the heavenly choir which cry out, “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of Hosts. The whole earth is full of His glory.” The veil sets forth the separation between man and God. The Holy of Holies witnesses to the inaccessible nature of God in His being. The holy place where continual worship was offered to God represented the church militant. A power from the throne at work in the world. George Rollinson called attention to the significance of the tabernacle’s inner royal splendor and its plain exterior. He wrote, and I quote, “Those who looked on the tabernacle from without saw the goats’ hair, and the rams’ skin, and seals’ skin, and perceived in it no beauty that they should desire it. The beauty was revealed to those only who are within. So now the church is despised and vilified by those without, valued as it deserves only by those who dwell in it. Again, the structure seems weak as does the structure of the church to worldlings. A few boards and awning, a curtain or two, what more frail and perishable. But, when all it fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint suplad{?}, as Ephesians 4:16 says, when it by a machinery of rings and bars and tenons and solid sockets and pillars and hooks, the whole is wedded into one under divine direction and contrivance, the fragility disappears. God’s strength is made perfect in weakness. A structure is produced which continues which withstands decay and defies assault from without, which outlasts others seemingly far stronger and bids fair to remain when all else is shattered and destroyed. ‘Behold, I am with you even until the end of the world.’ The tabernacle, frail as it was, lasted from the exodus until the time when Solomon expanded it into the temple. Our tabernacle, the church, will endure until it shall please God to merge it into a new and wonderful creation in the new Jerusalem.”

The Bible does speak of the typical meaning of the tabernacle. Like so much else, it pointed beyond itself. At the same time, its local and particular meaning must not be forgotten. A.B. Davidson commented on that, the local and particular meaning, saying, “The tabernacle, before coming to anything deeper than mere elements and locality, was the center and seat of the Jewish theocracy. It was, of course, a thing just as real as the land of Canaan or the nation of Israel. The theocracy was a kingdom of which God was king, and the tabernacle was His palace or abode. The kingdom was visible, so was the palace, so was at least the presence of the king. There, the people had audience with the monarch. There, He issued commands in a way cognizable for the senses for their guidance. The tabernacle was thus a real thing of the same quality as the land of Canaan and the Israelitish nation.” [00:15:02]

The entrance to the tabernacle was on the east, and

The entrance to the tabernacle was on the east, and there, the five pillars overlaid with gold, were at the doorway. The sockets, or bases, at the bottom of each of the boards, were silver. They were used to plant the framework into the ground. Each socket, or base, weighed a talent, according to Exodus 38:28, which means about 94 pounds of silver. Not only Exodus, but Ezekiel, shows architecture is very important to God.

In the history of Christendom, we have seen a conflict between neo-Platonism and biblical faith. This battle has been waged on a number of fronts, and at the same time, their fusion wrongfully has also bee commonplace. Platonism and neo-Platonism divide reality into two ultimate substances; form or ideas, mind and spirit, and matter on the other. The two in this world are an unhappy fusion, and for the neo-Platonist, the spiritual man, or the true philosopher, separates himself from, and even despises matter in favor of spirit. For some Greco/Romans, this meant a low regard for the body, for family life, for buildings, for clothing, or anything else that stressed the material side of life. Some of them felt that conventions like clothing had to be abandoned. Asceticism had deeply neo-Platonic and Far Eastern philosophical roots. Within Christendom, this kind of thinking has led to ascetic flights from the world, a contempt of material practicality to various socialist movements and an anti-capitalist mentality. A concern for productivity and material advance is seen by such people as materialism and hence, bad.

It is interesting that Calvinism and Puritanism have been, according to some scholars, responsible for the rise of capitalism, and the issue has been debated back and forth, back and forth, but one thing is clear. That the reformed and puritan thinkers did not share the platonic view of the material world. Therefore, they were ready to see godliness in the practical sphere. So, books such as The Christian Merchant, or The Christian Ploughman and so on were routinely produced, because the material realm they said specifically was not to be despised. In fact, I recently read one about The Christian Merchant, which called for him to be thoroughly Christian in all his practices. A magnificent study, and among other things, warned him against thinking that he was only going to be spiritual and holy by spending endless time reading devotional works and on his knees, and hearing sermons. The emphasis in the book was throughout on faith and life. Faith and works, faith and practice. A very practice emphasis, and it is interesting to go back and see the kind of men that were produced by such a respect for both the material and the spiritual sides. [00:19:46]

A neo-Platonic perspective is anti-Christian

A neo-Platonic perspective is anti-Christian. After all, the Bible declares that God created all things very good, according to Genesis 1:31, so that things material and things spiritual are equally the good gifts of God. With the fall, both are fallen. However, God’s purpose in Christ is the total redemption of all things. The resurrection of the body forbids us to despise the material realm. God’s redemption of all things, every sphere of our lives, is ordained. Thus, architecture is very much a Christian concern. God Himself saw fit to give Moses a building plan and to spell it out in detail in His word. Buildings are tools for living, tools for working, worshipping, and rejoicing, and they are not to be despised.

In ages of vitality, Christians have made major contributions to architecture. Consider for example the Enlightenment versus the Puritan views of home construction. The Enlightenment led to palace building, as with Versailles, to furnishings and rooms designed for display and pride, not for comfort. Look at some of the Louis XIV chairs for dining rooms. No woman could move those chairs. That’s why men were given the duty of helping a woman with her chair when she sat at a table. The chairs were enough to give men hernias on some occasions.

The Puritans on the other hand, in New England, designed in time, houses meant for comfortable living. Eric Sloan has shown how detailed their knowledge of wood and of location, and air circulation and other things was. Christian architects are needed now to design houses for the various climates and for the maximum utility and living, and also to devise workplaces, churches and more.[00:22:30]

Not too long ago, someone most of you know, Clint Miller

Not too long ago, someone most of you know, Clint Miller, gave me a couple things to read and to have, about Quinlan Terry, a prominent English architect, born into an atheistic family but who has concluded from his studies at classical architecture represents a borrowing from the temple design from the Bible. Clive Aslet has written an analysis of Terry’s influence entitled “Quinlan Terry: The Revival of Architecture,” and Quinlan Terry in the Architectural Review of February 1983, has an article on the subject as well. Architecture is very important in the Bible, as are writing and singing for that matter. Very clearly, to underrate the importance of buildings in all areas of our lives has no warrant in the Bible. The God who provided Moses with building plans on Mount Sinai clearly requires us to take all aspects of construction and the arts seriously. Let us pray.

O Lord our God, recall us to thy word and its wholeness, its mandates for all of life, its requirements that we do honor to thy creation, material and spiritual. Make us, O Lord, strong in thy service, faithful in every sphere, bringing all areas of life and thought into captivity to Christ, our King. In His name we pray. Amen.

Are there any questions now about our lesson? Yes?

[Audience] The whole question of planning has been restricted from the individual and from principals, the golden rule in the architecture and so forth, into government. [00:25:31]

[Rushdoony] Yes

[Rushdoony] Yes. Now it is the state, not the church, that is the great patron of the arts and of architecture. I think it is of interest that, while I’ve seen a number of references to Quinlan Terry since I read the book a few years ago, in no instance is there an analysis or an attempt to regard what he says seriously. He is simply dismissed as a curiosity because he breaks so thoroughly with the total temper of our time.

[Audience] Well, Isaac Newton went down a similar path, trying to rediscover the architecture of the temple and so forth.

[Rushdoony] Yes, that’s interesting. I had forgotten that. The last century did a great deal of work that was notable, partly because there was quite an architectural revival, the neo-Gothic, and then a revival of Tudor style, and so on, so a great many scholars showed interest in architecture and, as a result, some very superior minds worked with these passages in the Bible to reconstruct the plans, so that we have now a rather detailed knowledge of how it was done. It is interesting that different ages have different ways of devising plans which are unknown to others. We have some very early musical scores that we have not yet learned to decipher to know what kind of tunes were used for some of the early music of the church. In other instances, some remarkable work has been done in that sphere. We do know that the music of the tabernacle and temple was very extensively used in the early church. In fact, one scholar, a professor at Columbia has said that the church of Armenia not only borrowed the liturgy very extensively and closely, but even some of the language so the Hebrew words were taken over, and he finds that the liturgy, the ancient liturgy in all of Europe, the early catholic liturgy, had heavy overtones of the tabernacle and temple worship. We do know that some of the hymns that we still sing, including one of my favorites, “The God of Abraham Praise,” is a Christianized version of an ancient Hebrew melody. So a great deal has been brought down over the centuries very, very faithfully, and many people forget that according to at least one Jewish scholar, some of the Christian borrowings were perhaps more faithful to the Old Testament worship than some of the synagogue practices, because the synagogue practices were very sharply altered by the fall of Jerusalem, and for one thing, because of their grief, they banned musical instruments. In particular, the organ, which was an instrument used in Hebrew worship, and the church continued the use of the organ. Yes? [00:30:17]

[Audience] Well, there was a similar sentiment expressed

[Audience] Well, there was a similar sentiment expressed by Adorno after World War 2, who felt that poetry should be stopped because of the Holocaust.

[Rushdoony] That’s very sad, because I think the abandonment of the music of the tabernacle, temple, and synagogue did a great deal of harm to Judaism, and left only a backward look that hindered them dramatically. It took the Jewish modernists, reform and conservative, to break with that backward look and they have forced something of a forward look on orthodox Judaism. Yes?

[Audience] When does an interest in the material become the idolatrist religion of materialism?

[Rushdoony] What’s that?

[Audience] When does an interest in the material become the idolatrist religion of materialism?

[Rushdoony] Oh, very good question. Because Greek thought was dialectical, and dialectical thought holds two things that are contrary one to another in suspension. It usually breaks down into dualism, as in Manichaeism, and Zoroastrianism. Well, here were spirit and matter as two irreconcilable things held in tension. On the one hand, you had those who despised the material and fled from the world and became totally spiritual. The idea of hermits in the desert is a Greek and Roman practice in their revulsion against the material world. Then, Christians unfortunately adopted it. Others, however, rejected one part of the dialectic, spirit, and became materialists, and a number of thinkers fell into that aspect. Some of the Stoics, the Cynics, many of the followed of Lucretius and others. Well, that meant the only reality then was the material world, whereas for some of the others on the other end of the spectrum, the only reality was the spiritual world and the material became an illusion. We have a modern expression of that kind of thinking which has ancient Greco/Roman thinking in Mary Baker Eddy and Christian Science, all the material world is an illusion. So, the materialist and the spiritualist break the dialectic ultimately, and it falls apart, and they fall into one extreme or the other, and then it presents them with a problem. How to explain reality. The textbook I had in psychology at the University of California in the early 30’s was by Woodsworth, or Wordsworth, and it was totally materialistic. Its one reference to mind was to describe it as an epi-phenomenon, and to dismiss it as irrelevant to any discussion. So, both materialism and spiritualism lead to an inability to face reality, and to a distortion of the world. Yes? [00:34:40]

[Audience] Were the priests responsible for the actual

[Audience] Were the priests responsible for the actual construction of all the tabernacle and later temple artifacts and the building itself, or did they merely supervise it?

[Rushdoony] It was under the direction of Moses who ordered it, and then the priests and the people alike contributed. A good deal of the gold, for example, that the Egyptians gave them to get them out of the country, went into the construction of some aspects of the tabernacle.

[Audience] Well, I know the transporting and so forth was done by the priests.

[Rushdoony] Levites, yes.

[Audience] The Levites. What about the maintenance and really the restoration over a period of hundreds of years of these materials?

[Rushdoony] The Levites. The Levites had charge of that. Yes?

[Audience] I think it’s interesting that the negative consequences of our government becoming a patron of the arts, is that instead of getting a Michelangelo for our tax money, we’ve gotten a Robert Maple Thorpe.

[Rushdoony] Yes, very true. Well, the collapse now of state patronate and state work is, I think, accelerating. The headline in the paper today is that the state and federal government is finding itself to be the worst polluter. It’s finally admitting it. Its art is the worst kind of art, and so on, in every sphere things are going downhill dramatically as a result of federal patronage. Well, if there are no further questions or comments, let us conclude with prayer.

Our Father, we thank thee for the fullness of thy word. We thank thee that all things were made by thee for thy purpose, and thou hast summoned us to rejoice, to enjoy thy bounty and thy creation, and as we have freely received from thee, freely to give. Make us effectual in every area of our lives for thy namesake, and make us a blessing even as thou hast blessed us. And now go in peace. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost bless you and keep you, guide and protect you this day and always. Amen. [00:37:54]

End of tape.

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