Exodus 25:1 – 27:19; Haftarah: I Kings 5:26 – 6:13
With this week’s portion, with enter into a new phase of Scripture where – apart from a small number of exceptions, we shall deal with the building of the Tabernacle, Holiness and Eternity. This week we focus our study exclusively on chapter 25 of Exodus and especially on the Holy of Holies and the Ark of the Covenant. We see how the early church saw the Ark as Christ and His Mother and we learn how and why the Tabernacle, the Ark and the Holy of Holies are fundamentally feminine – a temple by which God dwells in our midst.
Scripture references from the episode
Re 11:19–12:2 19
Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. The Woman and the Dragon And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. 2 She was pregnant and was crying out in birth pains and the agony of giving birth.
Then I saw ya new heaven and a new earth, for zthe first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw athe holy city, bnew Jerusalem, ccoming down out of heaven from God, dprepared eas a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, fthe dwelling place1 of God is with man. He will gdwell with them, and they will be his people,2 and God himself will be with them as their God.3 4 hHe will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and ideath shall be no more, jneither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
He drove out the man, and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim and a flaming sword that turned every way to guard the way to the tree of life.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet.
But I am da worm and not a man,
scorned by mankind and despised by the people.
(Ex 25:9) Re 21:1–4
21 Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. 2 And I saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. 3 And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. 4 He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
(Ex 25:10) Psalm 132:8 / Rev 11:19-20:1
Then God’s temple in heaven was opened, and the ark of his covenant was seen within his temple. There were flashes of lightning, rumblings, peals of thunder, an earthquake, and heavy hail. And a great sign appeared in heaven: a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars.
St. Gregory Thaumaturgus – Blessed Virgin, p. 89
“The ark is verily the holy Virgin, gilded within and without, who received the treasure of universal sanctification. Arise, O Lord, from the Father’s bosom, to raise up again the ruined race of our first parent”
St. Dionysius – Respons. ad Quoest. v. Pauli Samos
“As Christ our priest was not chosen by hand of man, so neither was His tabernacle framed by men, but was established by the Holy Ghost; and by the power of God is that tabernacle protected, to be had in everlasting remembrance, Mary, God’s Virgin Mother”.
(Ex 25:18) Gregory the Great – Homily 25
The two cherubim which covered the mercy seat beheld one another with their countenances turned toward it. The word cherubim means “fullness of knowledge.” What do the two cherubim signify but the two Testaments? And what does the mercy seat prefigure but the Lord become a man? John says of him, “For he is the expiation” for our sins.
John of Damascus – On Divine Images 14
Behold, the glorification of matter, which you despise! What is more insignificant than colored goatskins? Are not blue and purple and scarlet merely colors? Behold the handiwork of men becoming the likeness of the cherubim! Was not the meeting tent an image in every way? “And see that you make them after the pattern for them, which is being shown you on the mountain.” Yet all the people stood around it and worshiped! Were not the cherubim kept where all the people could see them? Did not the people gaze upon the ark, and the lampstand, and the table, the golden urn and Aaron’s rod, and fall down in worship? I do not worship matter. I worship the Creator of matter, who became matter for me, taking up his abode in matter and accomplishing my salvation through matter.
2 Baruch 4.5
Dost thou think that this is that city (Jerusalem) of which I said: “On the palms of My hands have I graven thee” (Isaiah 49:16)? 3 This building now built in your midst is not that which is revealed with Me, that which was prepared beforehand here from the time when I took counsel to make Paradise, and showed it to Adam before he sinned, but when he transgressed the commandment it was removed from him, as also Paradise. 4 And after these things I showed it to My servant Abraham by night among the portions of the victims. 5 And again also I showed it to Moses on Mount Sinai when I showed to him the likeness of the tabernacle and all its vessels. 6 And now, behold, it is preserved with Me, as also Paradise. 7 Go, therefore, and do as I command thee.’