8And let them make me a sanctuary.By first setting before them an inestimable recompense, God stirs up the people to give largely; for, although liberality is praised by all as a most excellent virtue, yet no one willingly deprives himself of his own to bestow it upon others, since all think that it is so much lost to themselves, unless they have some compensation in view. Wherefore, that they may expend cheerfully, God promises that He will dwell among them, than which nothing is more desirable. But we must beware of imagining anything inconsistent with the nature of God, for He who sits above the heavens, and whose footstool is the earth, could not be enclosed in the tabernacle; but, because in His indulgence for the infirmities of an ignorant people, He desired to testify the presence of His grace and help by a visible symbol, the earthly sanctuary is called His dwelling amongst men, inasmuch as there He was not worshipped in vain. And we must bear in memory what we have lately seen, that it was not the infinite essence of God, but His name, or the record of His name, that dwelt there. This was the object of the expressions; that the Israelites ought not to be slow or lazy in setting up the tabernacle, because by these means they would obtain for themselves an inestimable advantage. Another clause follows, that the artificers should copy the pattern shewn to Moses, and not dare to invent anything, since it would be a profanation to mix up anything human with the commands of God; on which matter we shall treat more diffusely when we speak generally of the types. Now is described the form of the Ark and its covering: for the composition of the tabernacle, and its various parts, which Moses now only slightly adverts to, will be presently repeated at greater length in chapter 32. But, although the tabernacle was called God’s house, yet there was a more express image of His glory in the Ark of the Covenant; because the Law, whereby God bound the people to Himself, was there deposited. The material was shittim-wood, covered or overlaid with plates of gold. As to the species of the tree, not even the Hebrews are agreed among themselves, although we may conjecture that it was beautiful and costly; yet God would have gold over its whole surface, and even shining on its staves, that the dignity of the Law might be enhanced But here a question may arise, which introduces many others with it, how the sumptuous splendor both of the Ark, as well as the tabernacle and all its utensils, contributed to the worship of God? for it is certain that God would never be worshipped except agreeably to His nature; whence it follows, that His true worship was always spiritual, and therefore by no means comprised in external pomp.
But the great number and intricacy of the ceremonies were so far from awakening piety, that they were even the occasion of superstition, or era foolish and perverse confidence. Again, so many and such various rites seem to have had no other tendency than to feed curiosity. It will be therefore worth while briefly to premise something respecting this point. They are, in my judgment, at fault, who think that the eyes of the people were captivated by these magnificent sights, lest their religion, being stripped of all ornament, should become dishonored, when amongst the Gentiles their false worship was splendid even to a miracle; and thus a depraved rivalry might affect their minds, if the beauty of the tabernacle did not at least equal the pomp of others, as though the God they worshipped were inferior to idols. On the same grounds they imagine that the Jews were burdened with many observances; lest,if God had only sparingly and slightly exercised them, they would in their natural curiosity, have sought in all directions after profane trifles. They tell part of the truth, but not the whole; for I admit that this was given to the ancient people, in order that, when they saw the tabernacle so brilliantly ornamented, they might be inspired with greater reverence. I also admit that, by God’s command, they were engrossed with many ceremonies, that they might not seek after strange ones; but if this had been the only object proposed in them, the whole legal service would have only availed for ostentation in its shadows and histrionic pomps. But it is most absurd to think that God so trifled with His people. We see, too, how honorably David and the Prophets speak of these exercises. It is, therefore, impiety to suppose that the legal rites were like farces composed in imitation of the Gentiles. In order, then, to preserve their honor and dignity, we must remember the principle to which we have lately alluded, viz., that all of them were arranged according to the spiritual pattern which had been shewn to Moses in the mount. (Exo_25:40.) And this both Stephen, and the Apostle in the Epistle to the Hebrews, wisely observed, when they would reprove the gross follies of the people who continued to be wrapped up in the external ceremonies, as if religion were comprised in them. (Act_7:44; Heb_8:5.) Stephen and the Apostle, therefore, are our best expositors, that the tabernacle, the altar, the table, the Ark of the Covenant, were of no importance except in so far as they referred to the heavenly pattern, of which they were the shadows and images. Thence their entire utility, and even their legitimate use, depended on the truth, (which they represented.) For the slaughter of an ox profits nothing in itself, nay, it is but an unimportant thing; and so all the sacrifices, except that they were types, would have been thought nothing of. Whence we gather that there is the greatest difference between the ceremonies of the Law and the profane rites of the Gentiles, for they differ from each other not only inasmuch as God is the author of the one, and that the temerity of men has foolishly invented the other, but because among the Gentiles their religion was entirely comprised in these bare and empty pomps; whilst God, by these rudiments, which He gave to His people, elevated pious minds, as it were by steps, to higher things. Thus the Gentiles seemed to themselves duly to propitiate (their gods) when they offered victims; whilst the sacrifices of the Jews were acceptable to God, because they were exercises of repentance and faith. So the Law instructed the Jews in the spiritual worship of God, and in nothing else, though it were clothed in ceremonies agreeably to the requirements of the age. For, before the truth was fully made known, the childhood of the Church was to be directed by earthly elements, and thus, though there was great affinity and likeness between the Jews and Gentiles as regarded the external form of their religious service, yet its end was widely different. Moreover, when we would seek the body or substance of the ancient shadows, and the truth of the figures, we may learn them, not only from the Apostles, but also from the Prophets, who everywhere draw the attention of believers to the kingdom of Christ; yet their clearer explanation must be sought in the Gospel, where Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, shining forth, shews that their fulfillment exists in Himself alone. But, although by His coming He abolished these typical ceremonies as regards their use, yet at the same time He established the reverence justly due to them; since they have no claim to be held in esteem on any other grounds, except that their completion is found in Him; for, if they are separated from Him, it is plain that they are mere farces, since neither the blood of animals, nor the sweetness of fat, nor aromatic odors, nor candles, nor anything of that sort, have any power to propitiate God. This indeed must be remembered, that the Jews did not pay attention to the legal sacrifices in vain, since the promises were annexed to them; as often, therefore, as these sentences occur, “your iniquity shall be blotted out,” — “ye shall appear before my face,” — “I will hear you from the sanctuary,” we are reminded that all the ancient figures were sure testimonies of God’s grace and of eternal salvation; and thus Christ was represented in them, since all the promises are in Him, yea, and amen. (2Co_1:20.) Yet it by no means follows from hence that there were mysteries hidden in all their details, since some, with mistaken acuteness, pass over no point, however trifling, without an allegorical exposition; as, in this passage, for instance, the dimensions of the ark afford them matter of speculation. But it will be enough for the sound and sober-minded to know that God would have His Law deposited in a handsome vessel, in order that its majesty should be recognized. He commanded that the ark itself should be carried with staves, that the hands of the Levites might not touch it, and thus that its sanctity might be the greater
Let them make me a sanctuary – מקדש mikdash, a holy place, such as God might dwell in; this was that part of the tabernacle that was called the most holy place, into which the high priest entered only once a year, on the great day of atonement.
That I may dwell among them – “This,” says Mr. Ainsworth, “was the main end of all; and to this all the particulars are to be referred, and by this they are to be opened. For this sanctuary, as Solomon’s temple afterwards, was the place of prayer, and of the public service of God, Lev_17:4-6; Mat_21:13; and it signified the Church which is the habitation of God through the Spirit, 2Co_6:16; Eph_2:19-22; Rev_21:2, Rev_21:3; and was a visible sign of God’s presence and protection, Lev_26:11, Lev_26:12; Eze_37:27, Eze_37:28; 1Ki_6:12, 1Ki_6:13; and of his leading them to his heavenly glory. For as the high priest entered into the tabernacle, and through the veil into the most holy place where God dwelt; so Christ entered into the holy of holies, and we also enter through the veil, that is to say his flesh. See the use made of this by the apostle, Hebrews 9 and 10. Thus the sanctuary is to be applied as a type,
1. To Christ’s person, Heb_8:2; Heb_9:11, Heb_9:12; Joh_2:19-21.
2. To every Christian, 1Co_6:19.
3. To the Church; both particular, Heb_3:6; 1Ti_3:15; and universal, Heb_10:21 : and it was because of the very extensive signification of this building, that the different things concerning this sanctuary are particularly set down by Moses, and so variously applied by the prophets and by the apostles.” – See Ainsworth.
As the dwelling in this tabernacle was the highest proof of God’s grace and mercy towards the Israelites, so it typified Christ’s dwelling by faith in the hearts of believers, and thus giving them the highest and surest proof of their reconciliation to God, and of his love and favor to them; see Eph_1:22; Eph_3:17.
sanctuary – i. e. a hallowed place. This is the most comprehensive of the words that relate to the place dedicated to Yahweh. It included the tabernacle with its furniture, its tent, and its court.
That I may dwell among them – The purpose of the sanctuary is here definitely declared by the Lord Himself. It was to be the constant witness of His presence among His people. Compare the marginal references.
According to all that I shew thee – The tabernacle and all that pertained to it were to be in strict accordance with the ideas revealed by the Lord to Moses (compare Exo_25:40; Exo_26:30; Act_7:44; Heb_8:5). The word here translated “pattern” is also used to denote the plans for the temple which were given by David to Solomon 1Ch_28:11-12, 1Ch_28:19; it is elsewhere rendered “form, likeness, similitude,” Deu_4:16-17; Eze_8:3, Eze_8:10.
The tabernacle – The Hebrew word signifies the “dwelling-place.” It here denotes the wooden structure, containing the holy place and the most holy place, with the tent which sheltered it. See Exo_26:1 note.
17And thou shalt make a mercy-seat.The primary root of the verb כפר, caphar, from whence this noun is derived, is used for “to smear with pitch,” but in the Hiphil conjugation, it signifies either to expiate, or to purge, or to receive into favor; whence כפר, copher, is expiation, as we have seen elsewhere; and כפרת, caphoreth, a covering or lid. Yet I doubt not but that Moses alludes in this word to a metaphorical meaning, for the law requires a covering to conceal our transgressions. And it is probable that, when Paul calls Christ ἱλαστήριον, (Rom_3:25,) and John ἱλασμὸν, (1Jo_2:2,) they both refer to this figure, because God was propitiated towards believers by the covering of the Law, so as to shew Himself favorable to them by hearing their vows and prayers. For as long as the law stands forth before God’s face it subjects us to His wrath and curse; and hence it is necessary that the blotting out of our guilt should be interposed, so that God may be reconciled with us. Nor is it without reason that David exclaims, after he has proclaimed the righteousness of the law, “Who can understand his errors?” (Psa_19:12.) Whence we gather that, without a propitiation, the law does not bring us near to God, but accuses us before Him. And assuredly, when I consider all things, it seems to me a tame explanation, that Moses spoke literally of the cover, when he would have the Cherubim turn their faces toward it, and God promises that He will give His answers from it. By these honorable distinctions it is exalted above the Ark.
A mercy-seat – כפרת capporeth, from כפר caphar, to cover or overspread; because by an act of pardon sins are represented as being covered, so that they no longer appear in the eye of Divine justice to displease, irritate, and call for punishment; and the person of the offender is covered or protected from the stroke of the broken law. In the Greek version of the Septuagint the word ιλαστηριον, hilasterion, is used, which signifies a propitiatory, and is the name used by the apostle, Heb_9:5. This mercy-seat or propitiatory was made of pure gold; it was properly the lid or covering of that vessel so well known by the name of the ark and ark of the covenant. On and before this, the high priest was to sprinkle the blood of the expiatory sacrifices on the great day of atonement: and it was in this place that God promised to meet the people, (see Exo_25:22); for there he dwelt, and there was the symbol of the Divine presence. At each end of this propitiatory was a cherub, between whom this glory was manifested; hence in Scripture it is so often said that he dwelleth between the cherubim. As the word ιλαστηριον, propitiatory or mercy-seat, is applied to Christ, Rom_3:25, whom God hath set forth to be a Propitiation (ιλαστηριον) through faith in his blood – for the remission of sins that are past; hence we learn that Christ was the true mercy-seat, the thing signified by the capporeth, to the ancient believers. And we learn farther that it was by his blood that an atonement was to be made for the sins of the world. And as God showed himself between the cherubim over this propitiatory or mercy-seat, so it is said, God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself; 2Co_5:19, etc. See on Leviticus 7 (note).
John Calvin Exo 25:18
18 And thou shalt make two cherubims. I have stated in my commentary on Genesis and elsewhere, that there are various opinions respecting the word cherub; but that those approach most nearly to the truth who make the כ, caph, not a servile, but a radical letter, and take it generally for any image; for those who suppose the כto be a note of similitude, render it “like a boy;” which in itself is forced, and besides it is refuted by the words of Ezekiel, (Eze_1:10, and Eze_10:1,) who calls the forms of a calf, a lion, and an eagle by this name, as well as the human form. It is enough for me that the images were winged, which represented angels. Therefore, when Moses speaks of the angels, who were placed as guards to keep man away from approaching paradise, he calls them cherubim; not so much in reference to that time, as to keep the people in the doctrine of the Law But God appointed angels, by whom He exercises His dominion, and who are the ministers of His blessings, to be a symbol of His presence; for as often as He manifested Himself to believers by angels, He in a manner extended His hand to them. On this ground, David, and other Prophets, in order to encourage themselves to confidence in prayer, often speak of God as “dwelling between the cherubims,” (Psa_80:1; Isa_37:16;) as much as to say, that He conversed familiarly with His people, since His virtue exercises itself by His angels. That they covered the lid of the ark with their extended wings, I do not imagine to have been done to hide it, but to mark the readiness of their obedience, for the extension of their wings is equivalent to their being prepared for the performance of whatever God might command. Thus they are said to turn their faces towards the mercy-seat, because they are attentive to the will of God. Moreover, because the fullness of the Godhead resides in Christ, He justly declares that, in His descent upon earth, the heavens were opened that the angels might ascend and descend. Their looking towards each other indicates that harmony in which the angels are united for performing the commands of God. It is indeed a plausible conceit, that the two cherubim were the Old and New Testaments, which look from one to the other, and surround the mercy-seat, inasmuch as Christ is their common object; but this notion vanishes before the contradiction of many passages of Scripture.
Thou shalt make two cherubims – What these were we cannot distinctly say. It is generally supposed that a cherub was a creature with four heads and one body: and the animals, of which these emblematical forms consisted, were the noblest of their kinds; the lion among the wild beasts, the bull among the tame ones, the eagle among the birds, and man at the head of all; so that they might be, says Dr. Priestley, the representatives of all nature. Concerning their forms and design there is much difference of opinion among divines. It is probable that the term often means a figure of any kind, such as was ordinarily sculptured on stone, engraved on metal, carved on wood, or embroidered on cloth. See on Exo_35:8 (note). It may be only necessary to add, that cherub is the singular number; cherubim, not cherubims, the plural. See what has been said on this subject in the note on Gen_3:24 (note).
A mercy seat of pure gold – (Compare Exo_37:6-9.) In external form, the mercy-seat was a plate of gold with the cherubim standing on it, the whole beaten out of one solid piece of metal Exo_37:7; it was placed upon the ark and so took the place of a cover. “mercy” seat expresses well the distinct significance and recognized designation of the Hebrew name.
The cherubim of the mercy-seat were human figures, each having two wings. They must have been of small size, proportioned to the area of the mercy-seat. Comparing the different references to form in this place, in 2Sa_22:11 Psa_18:10, in Ezek. 1; 10 and in Rev_4:1-11, it would appear that the name “cherub” was applied to various combinations of animal forms. Among the Egyptians, the Assyrians and the Greeks, as well as the Hebrews, the creatures by far most frequently introduced into these composite figures, were man, the ox, the lion, and the eagle, as being types of the most important and familiarly known classes of living material beings. Hence, the cherubim, described by Ezekiel, have been regarded as representing the whole creation engaged in the worship and service of God (compare Rev_4:9-11; Rev_5:13); and it would be in harmony with this view to suppose that the more strictly human shape of the cherubim of the mercy seat represented the highest form of created intelligence engaged in the devout contemplation of the divine law of love and justice. (Compare 1Pe_1:12.) It is worthy of notice that the golden cherubim from between which Yahweh spoke Exo_25:22 to His people bore witness, by their place on the mercy-seat, to His redeeming mercy; while the cherubim that took their stand at the gate of Eden, Gen_3:24, to keep the way to the tree of life, witnessed to His condemnation of sin in man.
Of beaten work – i. e. elaborately worked with the hammer.
Even of the mercy seat – See the margin. The sense appears to be that the cherubim and the mercy-seat were to be worked out of one mass of gold. (Compare Exo_37:7.)
And there I will meet with thee – That is, over the mercy-seat, between the cherubim. In this place God chose to give the most especial manifestations of himself; here the Divine glory was to be seen; and here Moses was to come in order to consult Jehovah, relative to the management of the people.
Ainsworth has remarked that the rabbins say, “The heart of man may be likened to God’s sanctuary; for as, in the sanctuary, the shechinah or Divine glory dwelt, because there were the ark, the tables, and the cherubim; so, in the heart of man, it is meet that a place be made for the Divine Majesty to dwell in, and that it be the holy of holies.” This is a doctrine most implicitly taught by the apostles; and the absolute necessity of having the heart made a habitation of God through the Spirit, is strongly and frequently insisted on through the whole of the New Testament. See the note on Exo_25:23.
Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown
there I will meet with thee, and I will commune with thee from above the mercy seat — The Shekinah, or symbol of the Divine Presence, rested on the mercy seat, and was indicated by a cloud, from the midst of which responses were audibly given when God was consulted on behalf of His people. Hence God is described as “dwelling” or “sitting” between the cherubim.
38.Now this is that which thou shalt offer. I have thought it well to give the first place among the sacrifices to that daily one which is called the continual sacrifice; for God would have two lambs offered to Him every morning and evening, that the people might perpetually exercise themselves in the recollection of the future reconciliation. But, although the sacrifices were constantly repeated under the Law, inasmuch as their offering had no efficacy in expiating sin, yet it must be observed that, as the priest entered once every year into the holy of holies with blood, so it was profitable that another kind of victim should be daily set before the people’s eyes, in order that they might reflect that they had constant need of being reconciled to God. Propitiation was, therefore, daily made with two lambs, that the Israelites, being reminded of their guilt and condemnation, from the beginning to the end of the day, might learn to fly to God’s mercy. The lamb chosen for this sacrifice was spotless and entire, for the mention of its age (one year) implies its perfection or entireness. It was offered with a cake made with oil, and a libation of wine; and doubtless the ancients were reminded by these symbols that it is not lawful to offer anything tasteless to God. True that God was not gratified by their sweet savor, neither did He desire to accustom the priests to delicacies that they might be epicures under color of religion; for the scent of wine cannot in itself be pleasing to God; but the object of these seasonings was that the people should not rest in the bare and empty figures, but should acknowledge that something better and more excellent underlay them. The savor of the wine and oil, then, was nothing else than the spiritual truth; that the people, for their part., might bring to the sacrifices faith and repentance. And assuredly the external ceremony without the reality would have been mere folly. Even heathen nations partially imitated this rite; whence those words of Horace, — “And like a runaway from priests, cakes I refuse:” whereby he implies that cakes were universally offered to idols. But this was a mere blind mimicry, for they looked no higher, but thought that their gods took delight, like, human beings, in sweet and delicate foods; whilst, as I have above hinted, God’s intention was very different; for, by the, external savor, He desired to arouse His people, so that, being affected by a serious feeling of repentance, and by pure faith, they should seek for the remission of their sins, not in these lambs which they saw slain, but in the victim promised to them. They called it the “continual” sacrifice, because God commanded it to be offered continually through all generations; but it appears from Daniel that it was temporary, for it ceased at the coming of Christ; for so speaks the angel: Christ “shall confirm the covenant with many for one week: and in the midst of the week he shall cause the continual sacrifice, and the oblation (minha) to cease.” (Dan_9:27.)
It is clear that he speaks of this kind of sacrifice. Hence we assuredly gather that by this sacrifice the minds of the people were directed to Christ. But if this was its use and object with the ancients, the profit of it now returns upon us, that we may know that whatever was then shewn under the figure was fulfilled in Christ. God promises that this sacrifice would be to Him “a savor of rest.” We may not, therefore, doubt but that He has been altogether propitiated to us by the sacrifices of His only-begotten Son, and has remitted our sins. But although Christ was once offered, that by that one offering He might consecrate us for ever to God, yet by this daily sacrifice under the Law, we learn that by the benefit of His death pardon is always ready for us, as Paul says that God continually reconciles Himself to the Church when He sets before it the sacrifice of Christ in the Gospel As to the word minha, although it is derived from, נחה nachah, which means to offer, still we must consider it to be peculiarly applied to this oblation, which was a kind of appendix to the daily sacrifice. There are some, too, who restrict it to the evening sacrifice alone, but, when it is used in connection with victims, it is also extended generally to other offerings.
Exo 29:38 This daily service, a lamb offered upon the altar every morning, and every evening, typified the continual intercession which Christ ever lives to make in the virtue of his satisfaction for the continual sanctification of his church: though he offered himself once for all, yet that one offering thus becomes a continual offering. And this teaches us to offer up to God the spiritual sacrifices of prayer and praise every day, morning and evening, in humble acknowledgment of our dependence upon him, and our obligations to him.
The continual burnt-offering – The primary purpose of the national altar is here set forth. The victim slain every morning and every evening was an acknowledgment that the life of the people belonged to Yahweh; the offering of meal was an acknowledgment that all their works rightly done were His due (see Lev. 2); while the incense symbolized their daily prayers.
One lamb thou shalt offer in the morning – These two lambs, one in the morning, and the other in the evening, were generally termed the morning and evening daily sacrifices, and were offered from the time of their settlement in the promised land to the destruction of Jerusalem by the Romans. The use of these sacrifices according to the Jews was this: “The morning sacrifice made atonement for the sins committed in the night, and the evening sacrifice expiated the sins committed during the day.”
42.At the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.This passage shews us in what sense the word מועד mogned, is used, when it is employed in connection with the tabernacle. Some translate it “testimony:” others, “church:” others, “assembly,” (conventum;) others, “appointment,” (constitutum;) but its etymology is sufficiently shewn in this passage; for, when Moses gives the reason of its appellation, he uses the word יגד yagnad, from whence it is derived. What, then, is the tabernacle of the convention? God Himself answers, that it is the place which He has chosen and appointed unto His people, that they may there mutually come to agreement with each other. Some conceive its root to be, עדה gnadah, which is to make protestation as by a solemn rite; but since this is opposed to grammar, I will take what is certain. The word יעד yagnad, in this construction, means to contract or agree with another, or at least to meet for the transaction of mutual business; no word, therefore, has appeared to me more nearly equivalent to it than convention; for the fact that God invited them to familiar colloquy, was of the greatest weight in preserving the modest reverence of the faithful towards the priests. In the next verse He repeats to them, addressing them in the third person, that whosoever shall desire to be reckoned among the Israelites, should not turn away or wander elsewhere; for a law is laid down for all the children of Israel, that they should seek God there. Another confirmation is subjoined, i.e., that this place ought to be sanctified, because God will there magnificently display His glory. In fine, from the whole passage, it appears that God’s design was to keep the people bound to Him by the tie of the Levitical priesthood; yet we must observe that it is God alone who sanctifies both the place and the offerings, as well as the men themselves. Wherefore frivolous is the boast of those who arrogate more than God has conferred upon them. If we believe the Pope, in him is the holiness of holiness; yet, since he does not produce God’s authority for this, but vaunts himself of titles invented without foundation, we may safely laugh at his stupid impudence. But from this and similar passages, our doctrine is taken that Christ ought not to be estimated humanly, but according to His heavenly and divine power. Hence, too, is refuted the boast of the Popish priests that they offer Christ; for we must always ask them, By what authority? since God claims for Himself alone this right of sanctifying those who exercise the lawful priesthood.
I will sanctify – both Aaron and his sons – So we find the sanctification by Moses according to the Divine institution was only symbolical; and that Aaron and his sons must be sanctified, i.e., made holy, by God himself before they could officiate in holy things. From this, as well as from many other things mentioned in the sacred writings, we may safely infer that no designation by man only is sufficient to qualify any person to fill the office of a minister of the sanctuary. The approbation and consecration of man have both their propriety and use, but must never be made substitutes for the unction and inspiration of the Almighty. Let holy men ordain, but let God sanctify; then we may expect that his Church shall be built up on its most holy faith.
I will dwell among the children of Israel – This is the great charter of the people of God, both under the Old and New Testaments; see Exo_25:8; Lev_26:11, Lev_26:12; 2Co_6:16; Rev_21:3. God dwells Among them: he is ever to be found in his Church to enlighten, quicken, comfort, and support it; to dispense the light of life by the preaching of his word, and the influences of his Spirit for the conviction and conversion of sinners. And he dwells In those who believe; and this is the very tenor of the New Covenant which God promised to make with the house of Israel; see Jer_31:31-34; Eze_37:24-28; Heb_8:7-12; and 2Co_6:16. And because God had promised to dwell in all his genuine followers, hence the frequent reference to this covenant and its privileges in the New Testament. And hence it is so frequently and strongly asserted that every believer is a habitation of God through the Spirit, Eph_2:22. That the Spirit of God witnesses with their spirits that they are the children of God, Rom_8:16. That the Spirit of Christ in their hearts enables them to call God their Father, Gal_4:6. And that if any man have not this Spirit, he is none of his, Rom_8:9, etc. And hence St. Paul states this to be the sum and substance of apostolical preaching, and the riches of the glory of the mystery of the Gospel among the Gentiles, viz., Christ In you the hope of glory; whom, says he, we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect In Christ Jesus; Col_1:27, Col_1:28.
46.And they shall know that I am the Lord.In these words God signifies that He has not only been the deliverer of His people on one occasion, but with the object of presiding over their welfare, and of demonstrating practically that He dwells among them. He, moreover, appointed the sanctuary to be the symbol of His presence, and, as it were, its pledge; from whence He would have the rule of piety proceed, and be sought for by His worshippers.
And they shall know that I am the Lord their God – That is, They shall acknowledge God, and their infinite obligations to him. In a multitude of places in Scripture the word know should be thus understood.
That I may dwell among them – For without this acknowledgment and consequent dependence on and gratitude and obedience to God, they could not expect him to dwell among them.
By dwelling among the people God shows that he would be a continual resident in their houses and in their hearts; that he would be their God – the sole object of their religious worship, to whom they should turn and on whom they should trust in all difficulties and distresses; and that he would be to them all that the Creator could be to his creatures. That in consequence they should have a full conviction of his presence and blessing, and a consciousness that He was their God, and that they were his people. Thus then God dwells among men that they may know him; and they must know him that he may continue to dwell among them. He who does not experimentally know God, cannot have him as an indwelling Savior; and he who does not continue to know – to acknowledge, love, and obey him, cannot retain him as his Preserver and Sanctifier. From the beginning of the world, the salvation of the souls of men necessarily implied the indwelling influences of God. Reader, hast thou this salvation? This alone will support thee in all thy travels in this wilderness, comfort thee in death, and give thee boldness in the day of judgment. “He,” says an old writer, “who has pardon may look his judge in the face.”