The Principal Workmen

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"And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, See, I have called by name Bezaleel, the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee: The tabernacle of the congregation, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the tabernacle, And the table and his furniture, and the pure candle- stick with all his furniture, and the altar of incense, And the altar of burnt offering with all his furniture, and the laver and his foot, And the cloths of service, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office, And the anointing oil, and sweet incense for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do.”—Ex. 31:1-111And the Lord spake unto Moses, saying, 2See, I have called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah: 3And I have filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship, 4To devise cunning works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 5And in cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of timber, to work in all manner of workmanship. 6And I, behold, I have given with him Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan: and in the hearts of all that are wise hearted I have put wisdom, that they may make all that I have commanded thee; 7The tabernacle of the congregation, and the ark of the testimony, and the mercy seat that is thereupon, and all the furniture of the tabernacle, 8And the table and his furniture, and the pure candlestick with all his furniture, and the altar of incense, 9And the altar of burnt offering with all his furniture, and the laver and his foot, 10And the cloths of service, and the holy garments for Aaron the priest, and the garments of his sons, to minister in the priest's office, 11And the anointing oil, and sweet incense for the holy place: according to all that I have commanded thee shall they do. (Exodus 31:1‑11)
"And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the LORD hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work. And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work.” -Ex. 35:30-3530And Moses said unto the children of Israel, See, the Lord hath called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah; 31And he hath filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship; 32And to devise curious works, to work in gold, and in silver, and in brass, 33And in the cutting of stones, to set them, and in carving of wood, to make any manner of cunning work. 34And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. 35Them hath he filled with wisdom of heart, to work all manner of work, of the engraver, and of the cunning workman, and of the embroiderer, in blue, and in purple, in scarlet, and in fine linen, and of the weaver, even of them that do any work, and of those that devise cunning work. (Exodus 35:30‑35)
THE names of these two Israelites selected by God for the principal work of the tabernacle are very significant. Bezaleel-means " in the shadow of God."Uri-light of (the Lord.)Hur-white, or splendid." A shadow," is used in scripture as a figure in various ways.
First, the rapidity with which the shadow passes away and leaves no trace behind, is very aptly chosen to represent the rapid decline of life. Job 8:99(For we are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow:) (Job 8:9). " We are but of yesterday, and know nothing, because our days upon earth are a shadow." Psa. 144:44Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away. (Psalm 144:4). " Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away." Eccl. 6:1212For who knoweth what is good for man in this life, all the days of his vain life which he spendeth as a shadow? for who can tell a man what shall be after him under the sun? (Ecclesiastes 6:12). " All the days of his (man's) vain life, which he spendeth as a shadow". Eccl. 8:1313But it shall not be well with the wicked, neither shall he prolong his days, which are as a shadow; because he feareth not before God. (Ecclesiastes 8:13), " his days which are as a shadow." And the Lord of life and glory in His deep expression of weakness on the cross; cut off in the midst of His days; exclaims, " My days are like a shadow that declineth." Psa. 102:1111My days are like a shadow that declineth; and I am withered like grass. (Psalm 102:11).I am gone like the shadow when it declineth." Psa. 109:2323I am gone like the shadow when it declineth: I am tossed up and down as the locust. (Psalm 109:23).
Secondly, it is used in the sense of defense or protection. Num. 14:99Only rebel not ye against the Lord, neither fear ye the people of the land; for they are bread for us: their defence is departed from them, and the Lord is with us: fear them not. (Numbers 14:9), and Eccl. 7:1212For wisdom is a defence, and money is a defence: but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom giveth life to them that have it. (Ecclesiastes 7:12), it is translated defense. In this sense we find a beautiful allusion to the shadow of the wings of Jehovah. Psa. 17:88Keep me as the apple of the eye, hide me under the shadow of thy wings, (Psalm 17:8). " Hide me under the shadow of thy wings." Psa. 36:77How excellent is thy lovingkindness, O God! therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings. (Psalm 36:7). They " put their trust under the shadow of thy wings." Psa. 57:11<<To the chief Musician, Al-taschith, Michtam of David, when he fled from Saul in the cave.>> Be merciful unto me, O God, be merciful unto me: for my soul trusteth in thee: yea, in the shadow of thy wings will I make my refuge, until these calamities be overpast. (Psalm 57:1). " Yea in the shadow of thy wings will I made my refuge." Psa. 63:77Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. (Psalm 63:7). " Therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice." The shadow of the Almighty was the safe dwelling-place of Christ. Psa. 91 I. Jehovah upon His right hand was His shadow of defense. Psa. 121:55The Lord is thy keeper: the Lord is thy shade upon thy right hand. (Psalm 121:5).
Thirdly, it is used as a shelter from heat, and a place of refuge and refreshment. Sol. 2:33As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste. (Song of Solomon 2:3). " I sat down under his shadow with great delight." Isa. 4:66And there shall be a tabernacle for a shadow in the daytime from the heat, and for a place of refuge, and for a covert from storm and from rain. (Isaiah 4:6), " for a shadow in the day time from the heat." xxv. 4, and xxxii. 2, " as the shadow of a great rock in a weary land."
The name of Bezaleel-in the shadow of God. seems peculiarly to point onwards to the Lord Jesus. He came forth from the Father, and abode in the bosom of God, " the only begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father." Jehovah was His dwelling-place when on earth; and even on the cross, when He was as it were laying the foundations in death for the temple of God; still He trusted in the Lord, and He knew that He should not be confounded.
The son of Uri.-Light of the Lord. God is Light. His blessed Son is the brightness of His glory, and the express image of His Person-and He is the life, and especially manifested as such, in giving light unto men.
The son of Hur.-white, or splendid. Jesus is the spotless one whose white and glistening garments on the holy mount, were emblems of His own white and dazzling purity. Such was the Lord Jesus when here below; the workman selected by God to fashion a dwelling-place for Him, and to make a kingdom of priests unto God and His Father.
Bezaleel was called by name
Filled with the spirit of God
In wisdom
In understanding
In knowledge
In all manner of workmanship
And to devise curious work
The blessed Lord says of Himself, " Jehovah hath called me from the womb; from the bowels of my mother hath He made mention of my name. In the shadow of His hand hath He hid me." Isa. 49 I, 2
The spirit of Jehovah rested upon him
The spirit of wisdom
And understanding
The spirit of counsel
And might.
The spirit of knowledge,
And of the fear of the Lord.
Filled with the spirit of God, the Lord Jesus displayed in His life and ways deep and wondrous bleedings of grace and truth; and having learned obedience by the things which He suffered, He has marvelous skill in dealing with the poor and needy: in seeking and finding the lost: in sympathizing with the afflicted and sorrowful, and in succoring the tried and tempted. " With righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth."He shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. A bruised reed shall He not break, and the smoking flax shall He not quench, He shall bring forth judgment unto truth."
" Thus saith the Lord, in an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages. That thou mayest say to the prisoners, go forth; to them that are in darkness, show yourselves." " The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary." " The spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek: he hath sent me to bind up the broken hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn. Isa. 11:44But with righteousness shall he judge the poor, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth: and he shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked. (Isaiah 11:4); Isa. 42:1, 31Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles. (Isaiah 42:1)
3A bruised reed shall he not break, and the smoking flax shall he not quench: he shall bring forth judgment unto truth. (Isaiah 42:3)
; Isa. 49:8, 98Thus saith the Lord, In an acceptable time have I heard thee, and in a day of salvation have I helped thee: and I will preserve thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, to establish the earth, to cause to inherit the desolate heritages; 9That thou mayest say to the prisoners, Go forth; to them that are in darkness, Show yourselves. They shall feed in the ways, and their pastures shall be in all high places. (Isaiah 49:8‑9); Isa. 50:44The Lord God hath given me the tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him that is weary: he wakeneth morning by morning, he wakeneth mine ear to hear as the learned. (Isaiah 50:4); Isa. 61:1, 21The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; 2To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all that mourn; (Isaiah 61:1‑2). Such are some of the "curious works" wrought by this servant of the Lord. Himself being the chief object of our worship, wonder and adoration, displaying the glory as of the only begotten of the Father.
The other principal workman engaged in the construction of the Tabernacle was " Aholiab the son of Ahisamach of the tribe of Dan."
Aholiab means, tent of my Father. Again a significant name embracing also the truth, of God revealed as a Father through His blessed Son, in whom dwelt the fullness of the Godhead bodily. It was peculiarly the delight and constant purpose of the Son to manifest the Father. No one else could reveal that name. Philip, though ignorantly, yet rightly expressed a blessed truth when he said " Lord show us the Father and it sufficeth us." John 14:88Philip saith unto him, Lord, show us the Father, and it sufficeth us. (John 14:8). He felt that the knowledge of God as the Father was sufficient for everything-rest, peace, quietness, assurance must be the result. Are we able to say it sufficeth us?-do we find such comfort and confidence through being able to say by the Holy Ghost, " Abba Father," that we lack nothing? Are our murmuring spirits quieted by this blessed knowledge? Is restlessness, is discontent at an end?
What higher word can we utter respecting ourselves than to call God, Father? What greater love can we taste from God than to know Him as having begotten us to be His children? " Behold what manner of love the Father bath bestowed on us, that we should be called the Sons of God."
God commends His love towards us in telling us that even whilst we were yet sinners Christ died for us-Thus proving to us that His love proceeded from Himself-from His own heart; and is not any result of attractiveness or obedience in us.
The wondrous manner of the love bestowed on us, its vastness is evidenced by the Father calling us His Sons. The—measure of the love is known only as we estimate the Father's love for His own Son, " thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me." John 17:2323I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me. (John 17:23). The Lord answered Philip, by the words, " have I been so long time with you, and yet hast thou not known ME Philip?
Thus the Lord Jesus was not only God manifest in the flesh; but He was the full declaration and manifestation of the Father.
Ahisamach means, brother of support.
Probably this name primarily refers to the fact that Aholiab was a fellow helper to Bezaleel in the work of the Tabernacle. But is it not worthy of remark that while we have in Aholiab the name, Father; we have in the name Ahisamach, the word brother; and may there not be in this a little prophetic hint of that truth contained in Heb. 2:99But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. (Hebrews 2:9)-I I, in which we find the Lord Jesus raised from the suffering of death to a place of exaltation, where everything is put under His feet, and in which also it is declared that " He (the Lord Jesus) who sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified are all of one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren." He is the dwelling place of God, and He is the brother of support to His brethren.
These two leading artificers were respectively of the tribes of Judah and Dan. Judah being the leading camp, and Dan the last camp of Israel. Probably they were selected from these two tribes, in order that all Israel might stand representatively included in these men of the first and last camps.
May there not be also a significance in the names of the two tribes here selected. Judah, praise-Dan, judgment. The Tabernacle of God is a place for worship and praise, because therein is revealed God's great act of judgment upon sin in the sacrifice of the Lamb of God.
Bezaleel is moreover a type of the Lord Jesus in his having been instructed by God to teach others. (Ex. 35:3434And he hath put in his heart that he may teach, both he, and Aholiab, the son of Ahisamach, of the tribe of Dan. (Exodus 35:34).) " The Lord 'lath put in his heart that he may teach." Throughout this beautiful description of those who wrought in the work of the Tabernacle; the heart is especially spoken of. " Wise hearted." Ex. 28:3;31. 6; 35. 10, 25; 36. 1, 2, 8. " Stirred up in heart." 35. 21, 26. "Willing hearted." 35. 22, 29.
God deals especially with the heart and conscience; and truth is of little avail, unless it acts not on the head only, but on the heart's affections. Knowledge puffs up; whereas love builds up. The two prayers of the apostle, Eph. 1 and iii. chaps., remarkably deal with the affections of the children of God. In chap. i. 17, he prays that " the God of our Lord Jesus Christ the Father of Glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; the eyes of your heart being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe." We have in our version, " the eyes of your understanding' being enlightened," but the best authorities substitute "heart" for understanding, and this is in accordance with the whole tenor of Scripture. The affections have to be lighted up by the spirit of wisdom and revelation. We must be " filled with wisdom of heart," in order to know the three wonderful things presented to us in this 1 chap. of Eph.
1. What is the hope of his calling?
2. What is the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints?
3. What is the exceeding greatness of his power to usward who believe?
" The hope of his calling" embraces the hope of Christ's coming; of resurrection; of seeing Him as He is; of seeing face to face; of knowing as we are known; of being like Him; of being forever with Him; of that fullness of joy which is at God's right hand; and of those pleasures which are for evermore.
"The riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints" directs our thoughts to the glorious riches which God has, may we not say, heaped up to Himself in the saints as His own inheritance. In the Old Testament we read that Israel was especially the Lord's inheritance. "Thy people thine inheritance." Deut. 9:26,2926I prayed therefore unto the Lord, and said, O Lord God, destroy not thy people and thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed through thy greatness, which thou hast brought forth out of Egypt with a mighty hand. (Deuteronomy 9:26)
29Yet they are thy people and thine inheritance, which thou broughtest out by thy mighty power and by thy stretched out arm. (Deuteronomy 9:29)
. "The Lord's portion is his people: Jacob is the lot of his inheritance." 32. 9. Solomon also in his dedication prayer claims for the people that they are the Lord's people, and His inheritance; separated from all the people of the earth to that end. 1 Kings, 8. 51, 53. See also Psa. 28:9;33. 12; 74. 2; 78. 7; 106. 5. In many other passages also of the prophets, the same truth is enunciated. Here in Eph., we have the saints as God's glorious inheritance above, of which perhaps Israel was a faint type below. And surely the eyes of our hearts need to be enlightened in order that we may have some deeper knowledge of the delight which God has and will have in us, as part of His own skilful workmanship, new created in Christ Jesus. And the riches of the glory which He will possess when the Church, the fullness of Him that filleth all in all, shall be raised in union with its blessed Head.
" The exceeding greatness of his' power to usward who believe." The Father of Glory has already wrought this mighty power in Christ, raising Him from the dead, from the very lowest depths of humiliation, and setting Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. This is a proof and exhibition of the exceeding greatness of His power to usward who believe. And this power already worketh in us, whereby He is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think. And by this mighty power He will raise us up eventually into the same glory as the risen Lord, to those same super-heavenly places into which He hath gone, and to be one in manifested union with Him forever.
The second prayer in this glorious Epistle, is to be "strengthened with might by his spirit in the inner man, in order that Christ may dwell in our hearts by faith.
That we, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth and height, and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge.
That we might be filled with all the fullness of God."
Surely these deep and high and blessed prayers savor of heart work. And the blessings which they promise will flow only through the heart's affections and earnest desires stirred up by the Holy Spirit, towards the Father and the Son.
Dimly the Tabernacle with its glorious hangings, its golden vessels: its deeply sunk silver sockets: its lofty capitals: its curiously wrought cherubim of glory upon the mercy-seat: its candlestick of elaborate skilful workmanship: its incense of sweet spices: its fragrant anointing oil: its lamb of sacrifice, all ascending as a sweet savor: its courts: its camp of well arranged hosts numbered in God's book: its cloud of glory, and its pillar of light-dimly indeed, and yet perhaps in measure, this varied assemblage of types may have foreshadowed the objects for which these prayers in the Epistle were offered. Certainly He that filleth all in all, Christ, who is the first and the last, who is all, and in all, is the great subject of the whole type.