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When, on that memorable Day of Atonement, God indicated His forgiveness to Israel with the words, "I have forgiven them according as I have spoken," Moses said: "I now feel convinced that Thou hast forgiven Israel, but I wish Thou wouldst show the nations also that Thou are reconciled with Israel." For these were saying: "How can a nation that heard God's word on Sinai, 'Thou shalt have no other gods before Me,' and that forty days later called out to the Calf, 'This is thy god, O Israel,' expect that God would ever be reconciled to them?" God therefore said to Moses: "As truly as thou livest, I will let My Shekinah dwell among them, so that all my know that I have forgiven Israel. My sanctuary in their midst will be a testimony of My forgiveness of their sins, and hence it may well be called a 'Tabernacle of Testimony.'" [316]

The erection of a sanctuary among Israel was begun in answer to a direct appeal from the people, who said to God: "O Lord of the world! The kings of the nations have palaces in which are set a table, candlesticks, and other royal insignia, that their king may be recognized as such. Shalt not Thou, too, our King, Redeemer, and Helper, employ royal insignia, that all the dwellers of the earth may recognize that Thou are their King?" God replied: "My children, the kings of the flesh and blood need all these things, but I do not, for I need neither food nor drink; nor is light necessary to Me, as can well be seen by this, that My servants, the sun and the moon, illuminate all the world with the light they receive from Me; hence ye need do none of these things for Me, for without these signs of honor will I let all good things fall to your lot in recognition of the merits of your fathers." But Israel answered: "O Lord of the world! We do not want to depend on our fathers. 'Doubtless Thou are our Father, though Abraham be ignorant of us, and Israel acknowledge us not." God hereupon said: "If you now insist upon carrying out your wish, do so, but do it in the way I command you. It is customary in the world that whosoever had a little son, cares for him, anoints him, washes him, feeds him, and carries him, but as soon as the son is come of age, he provides for his father a beautiful dwelling, a table, and a candlestick. So long as you were young, did I provide for you, washed you, fed you with bread and meat, gave you water to drink, and bore you on eagles' wings; but now that you are come of age, I wish you to build a house for Me, set therein a table and a candlestick, and make an altar of incense within it." [317] God then gave them detailed instruction for furnishing the Tabernacle, saying to Moses; "Tell Israel that I order them to build Me a tabernacle not because I lack a dwelling, for, even before the world had been created, I had erected My temple in the heavens; but only as a token of My affection for you will I leave My heavenly temple and dwell among you, 'they shall make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them.'"

At these last words Moses seized by a great fear, such as had taken possession of him only on two other occasions. Once, when God said to him, "Let each give a ransom for his soul," when, much alarmed, he said: "If a man were to give all that he hath for his soul, it would not suffice." God quieted him with the words, "I do not ask what is due Me, but only what they can fulfil, half a shekel will suffice." Then again, fear stirred Moses when God said to him: "Speak to Israel concerning My offering, and My bread for My sacrifices made by fire," and he said trembling, "Who can bring sufficient offerings to Thee? 'Lebanon is not sufficient to burn, nor the beast thereof sufficient for a burnt offering.'" Then again God quieted him with the words, "I demand not according to what is due Me, but only that which they can fulfil, one sheep as a morning sacrifice, and one sheep as an evening sacrifice." The third time, God was in the midst of giving Moses instructions concerning the building of the sanctuary, when Moses exclaimed in fear: "Behold, the heaven and heaven of heavens cannot contain Thee, how much less this sanctuary that we are to build Thee?" And this time also God quieted him with the words, "I do not ask what is due Me, but only that which they can fulfil; twenty boards to the north, as many to the south, eight in the west, and I shall then so draw My Shekinah together that it may find room under them." [318] God was indeed anxious to have a sanctuary erected to Him, it was the condition on which He led them out of Egypt, [319] yea, in a certain sense the existence of all the world depended on the construction of the sanctuary, for when the sanctuary had been erected, the world stood firmly founded, whereas until then it had always been swaying hither and thither. [320] Hence the Tabernacle in its separate parts also corresponded to the heaven and the earth, that had been created on the first day. As the firmament had been created on the second day to divide the waters which were under the firmament from the waters which were above, so there was a curtain in the Tabernacle to divide between the holy and the most holy. As God created the great sea on the third say, so did He appoint the laver in the sanctuary to symbolize it, and as He had on that day destined the plant kingdom as nourishment for man, so did He now require a table with bread in the Tabernacle. The candlestick in the Tabernacle corresponded to the two luminous bodies, the sun and the moon, created on the fourth day; and the seven branches of the candlestick corresponded to the seven planets, the Sun, Venus, Mercury, the Moon, Saturn, Jupiter, and Mars. Corresponding to the birds created on the fifth day, the Tabernacle contained the Cherubim, that had wings like birds. On the sixth, the last day of creation, man had been created in the image of God to glorify his Creator, and likewise was the high priest anointed to minister in the Tabernacle before the Lord and Creator. [321]

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