Saturday, April 6, 2013

Daily Old Testament and Early Christian Writings: Exodus 25 and The Didache 14-15

Exodus 25The next section deals with the construction of the “tabernacle” or “dwelling” [“ark of the covenant” and “holy shrine” are other translations used] in great detail.  This tabernacle or ark will be carried by the people as they go on their journey to the Promised Land; it prefigures the Temple that will come later and perhaps even the Real Presence we celebrate as Christians and the Inner Light that guides us in our lives.

“The Lord said to Moses, ‘Tell the people of Israel to bring me their sacred offerings. Accept the contributions from all whose hearts are moved to offer them” (25:1-2). The offerings they make are to be used to build “a holy sanctuary so I can live among them” (25:8).

The specifications for the tabernacle are very precise: the ark is to be of acacia wood 2.5 cubits long, 1.5 cubits wide and high. A cubit was the length of a man’s forearm. It should be plated inside and outside with gold with a molding of gold around the top; four gold rings on the support that poles can pass through to carry it. 

The “stone tablets” with God’s commandments on them are to be placed inside the ark.  An “atonement [or purgation] cover” (25:17) of the same size is to be made and two cherubim of beaten gold are to be placed on each end of the cover with their wings spread to cover it.  Their faces should be directed to the cover of the ark.  It is there that Moses will meet with the Lord, and the commands of Lord will come to Moses there “from above the atonement cover between the gold cherubim that hover over the Ark of the Covenant” (25:22).

A table of acacia wood (smaller than the ark) is to be plated with gold and surrounded with a frame a few inches high.  It too shall have rings and poles.  There shall be plates and bowls of gold, and on the table there shall “always” (“regularly” says Schocken) be “showbread” or “Bread of the Presence” (25:30).

A lamp-stand with three branches on either side, with cups shaped like almond blossoms. In front of the lamp-stand there are to be seven lamps to illuminate the space in front of the lamp-stand.

The Didache
Of Sunday Worship
14 – On the Lord’s Day, you are to assemble, break bread and offer the Eucharist after making confession of your faults. If there are conflicts among you, no one involved is the take part in the ritual until they are reconciled (197).

Of Local Officials
15 – “You must choose or yourselves bishops and deacons who are worthy of the Lord: men who are humble and not eager for money, but sincere and approved; for they are carrying out the ministry of the prophets and the teachers for you” (197).

“Reprove one another, but peaceably and not in hot blood, as you are told in the Gospel” (197). Have nothing to do with those who have done injury to their neighbor until they are reconciled. “In your prayers, your almsgiving, and everything you do, be guided by what you read in the Gospel of our Lord” (197).

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