Today we begin Exodus Chapter 40.
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For the King James version, click here.
“Adonai said to Moshe, “On the first day of the first month, you are to set up the tabernacle, the tent of meeting.”-Exodus 40:1-2
It has been approximately one full year since Israel left Egypt.
The whole Sanctuary complex with all its furnishings and required priestly garments was completed in about 5-6 months!
How do I know this?
…the time it took Israel to reach Mount Sinai after leaving Egypt: About 2 months
..the 1st time Moses went up to Sinai BEFORE the Golden Calf rebellion: 40 days
…the 2nd time Moses went up to Sinai AFTER the Golden Calf rebellion: 40 days
…the time it took Israel to get settled in after moving from one place to another: A couple of days here and there
So this would bring us to a total of about 5 or 6 months that passed before they began work on the construction of the Tabernacle.
We’re told the Lord commanded Moses to begin to erect the Tabernacle on the 1st day of the 1st month.
This day would be a couple of weeks shy of the first Passover which as we know commemorates the day the Israelites left Egypt.
The Hebrews went by a lunar calendar and it was the New Moon that was used to mark the first day of each new month.
This New Moon that was just right around the corner was not just going to be the 1st day of the new month, it was going to be the start of the first month of a whole brand new year.
According to our modern calendar, this would be around March or April.
Now one thing that’s really important to understand is that we’re talking about the Hebrew religious calendar year here.
However, there were other calendars that co-existed together with the religious calendar and it’s the mixing up of these calendars with the religious calendar that leads to idiot scholars claiming the Bible is full of all kinds of contradictions.
In the Bible, all of the following calendars are used simultaneously:
-The Hebrew Agricultural calendar
-The Hebrew Civil Calendar
-The Hebrew Regnal Year
A regnal year refers to the length of time a king held office.
All of these calendars existed SIMULTANEOUSLY and each one of these calendars began at different times.
In one part of Scripture, a certain event will be referred to using one calendar and then later on the SAME EVENT will be referred to using a different calendar.
Therefore, when discussing calendars and Biblical events, it can turn into quite a complex ordeal that has to be dealt with in a pretty extensive manner.
However, one thing you shouldn’t do is just jump to the conclusion that there is a contradiction and as a result write off the Bible as the Word of God.
That’s just intellectual laziness.
If you think about it, we also use several different calendars.
We have our standard solar calendar that starts on January 1st.
We also have a Fiscal Year calendar that corporations use to calculate a 12-month cycle of income and expenses for their tax filings.
And we also have school year calendars that very from state to state and are NOT connected to the solar or fiscal year calendars.
So understand that this 1st day of the 1st month is NOT New Year’s Day or ROSH HASHANNA.
That would be the 1st day of the Hebrew Civil Calendar.
The Jewish New Year actually occurs on the 1st day of the 7th month (around our September) of the Hebrew religious calendar.
So it was during the spring when the Tabernacle was finally set up.
The timing was just perfect to use it for Passover and afterwards the Festival of Matza which started on the 14th of AVIV.
Finally, notice verse 17 says that the Tabernacle was set up on the 1st day of the 2nd year.
This is NOT a contradiction of what was told us earlier.
This 2nd year is referring to the amount of time that had passed since the Israelites left Egypt.
We’re talking about a one year anniversary here commemorating their release from Pharaoh’s grip.
In other words, the day Israel left Egypt was on the 1st day of the 1st year of the religious calendar.
So one year later is being spoken of as the 1st day of the 2nd year.
And boy what a roller coaster of a year it was!!!