Enns (The Evolution of Adam) speaks for a number of scholars in thinking that the instructions for the tabernacle in Ex 25-31 reflect the creation account of Gen 1: ‘Both tabernacle and cosmos come to exist through a sixfold creative act culminating in a seventh act of rest. Six times we read, “The LORD said to Moses” (25:1; 30:11, 17, 22, 34; 31:1), which parallels the six creative words of Genesis 1: “And God said …” (vv. 3, 6, 9, 14, 20, 22). These six creative acts are followed by the seventh “The LORD said to Moses” in Exod. 31:12, which introduces the Sabbath command. This suggests to many readers, past and present, that building the tabernacle is a microcosm, the re-creation of the cosmos on a smaller scale.’
According to Enns, this view is confirmed by various other details in Exodus:
‘After the tabernacle is constructed, we read in 39:32 that the work was completed, using the same Hebrew verb (kalah) with which Genesis 2:2 refers to the completion of God’s creative work.
The chief craftsman of the tabernacle is Bezalel, who is filled with the Spirit of God (31:3) to do his creative work. In Genesis 1:2 we see the Spirit of God hovering (or sweeping) over the water just before God begins his creative work.
In 39:43 we read that Moses “inspected the work and saw” (NIV) that they had completed the work according to plan. Likewise in Genesis 1 God inspects his creative work and sees that it is good.
Moses blesses the people after completing the work (39:43) as God blesses his creation in Genesis 1:22, 28; 2:3.
In 40:33 we read that Moses “finished the work,” which echoes how God finished his work on the seventh day (Gen. 2:2).’
Ex 25:1 The LORD said to Moses,
Ex 25:2 “Tell the Israelites to bring me an offering. You are to receive the offering for me from each man whose heart prompts him to give.
Ex 25:3 These are the offerings you are to receive from them: gold, silver and bronze;
Ex 25:4 blue, purple and scarlet yarn and fine linen; goat hair;
Ex 25:5 ram skins dyed red and hides of sea cows; acacia wood;
Ex 25:6 olive oil for the light; spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense;
Ex 25:7 and onyx stones and other gems to be mounted on the ephod and breastpiece.
Ex 25:8 “Then have them make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.
Ex 25:9 Make this tabernacle and all its furnishings exactly like the pattern I will show you.
Ex 25:10 “Have them make a chest of acacia wood—two and a half cubits long, a cubit and a half wide, and a cubit and a half high.
Ex 25:11 Overlay it with pure gold, both inside and out, and make a gold moulding around it.
Ex 25:12 Cast four gold rings for it and fasten them to its four feet, with two rings on one side and two rings on the other.
Ex 25:13 Then make poles of acacia wood and overlay them with gold.
Ex 25:14 Insert the poles into the rings on the sides of the chest to carry it.
Ex 25:15 The poles are to remain in the rings of this ark; they are not to be removed.
Ex 25:16 Then put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you.
Ex 25:17 “Make an atonement cover of pure gold—two and a half cubits long and a cubit and a half wide.
Ex 25:18 And make two cherubim out of hammered gold at the ends of the cover.
Ex 25:19 Make one cherub on one end and the second cherub on the other; make the cherubim of one piece with the cover, at the two ends.
Ex 25:20 The cherubim are to have their wings spread upwards, overshadowing the cover with them. The cherubim are to face each other, looking towards the cover.
Ex 25:21 Place the cover on top of the ark and put in the ark the Testimony, which I will give you.
Ex 25:22 There, above the cover between the two cherubim that are over the ark of the Testimony, I will meet with you and give you all my commands for the Israelites.
Richard Rohr develops an impressive mythology based on this teaching.
‘There are many ways to describe [the] underlying reality of awareness, letting go, and how to enter the flow. There are so many good teachers emerging today who use different vocabulary, but who each are teaching us how to rest in this quiet holding place that watches the mental commentary rush by and also lets go of it. Picture this position as the “mercy seat” situated above the ark of the covenant, the portable presence that traveled around with God’s people, an open-ended horizon that had to be guarded and protected by two golden cherubim. Such guarding of presence is exactly the way that one becomes aware that the force field even exists. You must guard and protect your inner space. This is precisely where YHWH says to Israel, “I shall come to meet you.” But most have not been taught the practice or the patience to stand guard over this seemingly empty space where your Inner Witnessing Presence, your quiet Inner Knower, dwells. You must learn to trust this Knower. The Spirit is doing the knowing and loving in you, with you, and for you. This is at the heart of a contemplative and truly Christian epistemology. Yet so few know about this already-given gift, even few in formal ministry, it often seems. Most Christians have not been taught contemplation. Contemplation is learning how to abide in and with the Witnessing Presence planted within you, which of course is the Holy Spirit, almost perfectly symbolized by the ark of the covenant. If you keep “guard,” like two cherubim, over the dangerous, open-ended space of your transient feelings and thoughts, you will indeed be seated on the mercy seat, where God dwells in the Spirit. The passing flotsam and jetsam on your stream of consciousness will then have little power to trap or imprison you. The only difference between people that matters is the difference between those who allow this space to fill with flow— and those who don’t, or won’t, allow it. Like Mary, the model for contemplatives, “it is done unto you,” and you can only allow. Always. Just guard the landing field of your own consciousness with your own two golden cherubim, which will often be the two sides of almost any argument. Instead of choosing sides, protect the open space between them, and the Presence will always show itself. These will indeed be “the better angels of your nature” that Abraham Lincoln invoked during the American Civil War. They will allow the emergence of what some call “third force” responses, larger and deeper than the ordinary two sides of most arguments. Whether as dove, fire, water, or blowing wind, the Third Force of the Holy Spirit will show itself. You yourself are a traveling ark of the covenant; you hold and guard the space where the Presence shows itself. But the Presence, the Force Field, is already held within you. It only needs allowing and appreciating.
Rohr, Richard. The Divine Dance: The Trinity and your transformation (Kindle Locations 1920-1948). SPCK.
Ex 25:23 “Make a table of acacia wood—two cubits long, a cubit wide and a cubit and a half high.
Ex 25:24 Overlay it with pure gold and make a gold moulding around it.
Ex 25:25 Also make around it a rim a handbreadth wide and put a gold moulding on the rim.
Ex 25:26 Make four gold rings for the table and fasten them to the four corners, where the four legs are.
Ex 25:27 The rings are to be close to the rim to hold the poles used in carrying the table.
Ex 25:28 Make the poles of acacia wood, overlay them with gold and carry the table with them.
Ex 25:29 And make its plates and dishes of pure gold, as well as its pitchers and bowls for the pouring out of offerings.
Ex 25:30 Put the bread of the Presence on this table to be before me at all times.
Ex 25:31 “Make a lampstand of pure gold and hammer it out, base and shaft; its flowerlike cups, buds and blossoms shall be of one piece with it.
Ex 25:32 Six branches are to extend from the sides of the lampstand— three on one side and three on the other.
Ex 25:33 Three cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms are to be on one branch, three on the next branch, and the same for all six branches extending from the lampstand.
Ex 25:34 And on the lampstand there are to be four cups shaped like almond flowers with buds and blossoms.
Ex 25:35 One bud shall be under the first pair of branches extending from the lampstand, a second bud under the second pair, and a third bud under the third pair—six branches in all.
Ex 25:36 The buds and branches shall all be of one piece with the lampstand, hammered out of pure gold.
Ex 25:37 “Then make its seven lamps and set them up on it so that they light the space in front of it.
Ex 25:38 Its wick trimmers and trays are to be of pure gold.
Ex 25:39 A talent of pure gold is to be used for the lampstand and all these accessories.
Ex 25:40 See that you make them according to the pattern shown you on the mountain.
‘If God was so exact and curious about the place of worship, how exact will he be about the matter of his worship! Surely here everything must be according to the pattern prescribed in his word.’ (Thomas Watson)