Exodus 27:5


1. The situation of the altar.

(1) It faced the worshipper as he entered. The cross of Christ must be held up before men, if they are to be brought nigh to God.

(2) It stood before the holy place, and had to be passed by all who entered there. The realisation of Christ's atonement for sin is the only path to God's presence.

2. The altar, on which the sacrifice for sin is laid, is the place of power. The horns, the symbol of Divine power. The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation.

3. In Christ God gives us a place for accepted offerings. The altar was Israel's as well as God's: upon it were laid their offerings as well as those prescribed for the daily service and the great day of atonement. In Christ we are able to offer sacrifices that are well pleasing to God.


1. Its limits were appointed by God himself. The Church must be made no broader than his commandment makes it. In his own time he will make it conterminous with the world; but meanwhile we must obey his commandment and fulfil his purpose by making it conterminous with living faith.

2. It was for all Israel. Living faith in Christ should be a passport to all his churches.

3. How the court was formed -

(1) Its walls were made of fine linen. The distinction between the world and the Church is righteousness.

(2) The gate was formed of blue and purple and scarlet. Entrance is had not by man's righteousness, but by bowing beneath the manifested grace of God in Christ.


1. It was the free-will offering of the people. The light of the world springs from the consecration of believers.

2. It was to be pure. Believers must keep themselves unspotted from the world.

3. It was to be beaten, not pressed, and thus be the finest which the olive could yield. The highest outcome of humanity is the Christ-like life.

4. The lamps were to burn always. Our light, the flame of love, must burn constantly before God, and its radiance be shed always before men.

5. The lamps were to be tended by the ministers of God. The aim of those who labour in weird and doctrine should be the development of Christ-like life, love to God and man. - U.

Pure oil olive beaten for the light.


III. THE PERPETUITY OF THE LIGHT. Christ can never be superseded.

(J. S. Exell, M. A.)

1. The source whence the oil was obtained — the "olive." Thus is grace, free and full, obtained from Christ, the "Plant of renown."

2. The qualification it was to possess — it was to be "pure." All the grace which comes from Christ is pure and unalloyed.

3. The instruments of its dispensation — "the children of Israel." The children of God are now the recipients and dispensers of Christ's grace.

4. The uses to which it was put — it caused "the lamp to burn always." Grace causes the life of each Christian to shine with a brighter glow.

(S. Thomas.)

It is difficult to understand from the various passages bearing on the subject, whether the lamps burned both day and night, or only during the night — some passages apparently favouring the one view, and some the other; thus, "To cause the lamp to burn always" (ver. 20); and, "Command the children of Israel, that they bring unto thee pure olive oil, beaten for the light, to cause the lamps to burn continually" (Leviticus 24:2). These passages seem to teach that the lamps burned both day and night. If they do not teach that, the meaning must be that "continual" and "always " signify at regular intervals, as in the case of some ordinances and offerings which are called perpetual, though occurring only at intervals. The other view, that they burned only during the night, seems to be supported by, "Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning" (ver. 21); "And Aaron shall burn thereon (the golden altar) sweet incense every morning, when he dresseth the lamps" (Exodus 30:7, 8). From these texts it would appear that the lamps burned only during the night. If they were not intended to teach that, the meaning must be that the lamps were dressed in the morning, probably one after another, not necessitating more than one being extinguished at a time, and after being dressed and lighted, burned during the day, the lamps receiving such further attention in the evening as admitted of their burning till the morning. As there were no windows in the Tabernacle, and the priests had duties to perform during the day in the holy place, it is almost certain that the lamps burned always.

(W. Brown.)

As the first apartment in the Tabernacle was illuminated by the sevenfold light of the candlestick, and as the Church, composed of all genuine believers on earth in every age, is enlightened by the Holy Spirit, so will the Church triumphant in heaven, that great temple not made with hands, be a place of glorious light; and the light shall never go out, it will burn always; so that there shall be no night there, nor sun, nor moon, nor stars shall shine in that happy place, for the glory of God and the Lamb is the light thereof.

(W. Brown.)

It is related in the biography of one who lived to become a devoted Christian man, that while he was yet a little boy, the passage read from the Bible in the family on a certain occasion was ver. 20, describing the oil used in the vessels of the Tabernacle. The meaning and application of the verse was explained by other passages from the New Testament. This boy was then but five years old, and it was not supposed that he could understand or feel the slightest interest in a subject considered far beyond his age. The older children left the room after family worship, but the little boy was detained, as usual, to be taught some simple verses of the Bible by his mother, and to pray with her. He kneeled down at length to pray, and in the midst of his prayer he paused, and exclaimed, earnestly, "O my God, make me to burn this day with pure oil!" The morning lesson had not been lost upon him; he had understood its import. "Most evidently," says his biographer, "was this prayer heard and answered throughout the day of his life." How appropriate is this petition for the morning offering of every Christian, "Make me to burn this day with pure oil"! If He who hath all hearts in His keeping vouchsafe a gracious answer to that prayer, the example of the disciple must be one that will glorify the name of Jesus. Such a man will walk with God. No unhallowed fires will be lighted in his bosom. Neither revenge nor hate can burn there. The peace and joy of the believer will fill his soul..

Aaron, Israelites, Moses
Mount Sinai
Altar, Beneath, Compass, Extend, Halfway, Half-way, Hast, Ledge, Middle, Midst, Net, Network, Reach, Round, Shelf
1. The altar of burnt offering, with the vessels thereof
9. The court of the tabernacle enclosed with hangings and pillars
18. The measure of the court, and the furniture of brass
20. The oil for the lamp

Dictionary of Bible Themes
Exodus 27:1-6

     4312   bronze

Exodus 27:1-7

     4303   metals

Exodus 27:1-8

     7302   altar

Exodus 27:4-5

     5425   net

Exodus 27:4-7

     5176   ring

How a Private Man must Begin the Morning with Piety.
As soon as ever thou awakest in the morning, keep the door of thy heart fast shut, that no earthly thought may enter, before that God come in first; and let him, before all others, have the first place there. So all evil thoughts either will not dare to come in, or shall the easier be kept out; and the heart will more savour of piety and godliness all the day after; but if thy heart be not, at thy first waking, filled with some meditations of God and his word, and dressed, like the lamp in the tabernacle
Lewis Bayly—The Practice of Piety

The book of Exodus--so named in the Greek version from the march of Israel out of Egypt--opens upon a scene of oppression very different from the prosperity and triumph in which Genesis had closed. Israel is being cruelly crushed by the new dynasty which has arisen in Egypt (i.) and the story of the book is the story of her redemption. Ultimately it is Israel's God that is her redeemer, but He operates largely by human means; and the first step is the preparation of a deliverer, Moses, whose parentage,
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

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