The glory of God revealed


There are several features in this last paragraph of the book of Exodus that we should take as:

  1. The descent of God’s glory upon the tabernacle is the fulfillment of God’s previous promises to Israel and to Moses (Ex. 3:8, 3:12 & 33:7-11).
  2. The cloud was a visible manifestation of the glory of the Lord (13:21, 14:19, 16:7,10).
  3. The glory of God revealed in the tabernacle was greater than any glory previously revealed to Israel. The glory of God in the tabernacle was so awesome that even Moses could not enter the tabernacle. It should be remembered that apparently Moses had seen more of God’s glory than any man alive.
    1. He had seen the glory of God in the burning bush (Ex. 3).
    2. He had seen God’s glory in the plagues and the exodus of Israel.
    3. He alone had seen the glory of God from inside the cloud atop Mt. Sinai (  Ex.19,24).
    4. At his request he had seen even more of God’s glory when he was privileged to view the “backside of God.” (Ex. 33:17). But the glory of God in the tabernacle was greater than that which Moses could behold.
  4. The cloud had a very practical function - that of guiding the Israelites on their way to the promised land.
    1. A description of the presence of the cloud (vv. 34-35).
    2. A description of the function of the cloud (vv. 36-38). By this cloud God led the Israelites, informing them as to when they should make or break camp, as well as leading them in the proper route.


The Holy Spirit ministers to me today as the cloud once ministered to Israel. The Holy Spirit abides within me as the cloud used to abide within the tabernacle. The Holy Spirit also gives guidance to me as the cloud guided the Israelites.

Exodus 40:28-38 (English Standard Version)

He put in place the screen for the door of the tabernacle. And he set the altar of burnt offering at the entrance of the tabernacle of the tent of meeting, and offered on it the burnt offering and the grain offering, as the LORD had commanded Moses. He set the basin between the tent of meeting and the altar, and put water in it for washing, with which Moses and Aaron and his sons washed their hands and their feet. When they went into the tent of meeting, and when they approached the altar, they washed, as the LORD commanded Moses. And he erected the court around the tabernacle and the altar, and set up the screen of the gate of the court. So Moses finished the work. Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of meeting because the cloud settled on it, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. Throughout all their journeys, whenever the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the people of Israel would set out. But if the cloud was not taken up, then they did not set out till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the LORD was on the tabernacle by day, and fire was in it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel throughout all their journeys.

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