A link between law and grace.The declaration of the Decalogue( laws and commandments) and of the various civil and cultic laws (Ex. 21 to 23) is followed in Exodus by the revelation of the blueprint for the construction of the Tabernacle (Ex.
25 to 31). The latter is viewed as the symbol of TMH’s dwelling among the people (Ex. 25 :8; 29 :45) and of His provision for the forgiveness of their sins.
(Ex. 29:36, 38; 30:10).
How is the Sabbath related to these two, that is, to law and grace? In the narrative the seventh day functions as the link between the
two, since it is on this day that Moses “entered into the cloud” (Ex. 24 :18) of TMH’s glorious presence to receive both “the tables of stone, with the law and the commandments” (Ex. 24 :12) and “the pattern of the tabernacle”(Ex.25 :9).
In this context the Sabbath functions as the day when The Creator's care is manifested through His revelation of principles, of conduct on the one hand and provisions for atonement and worship on the other hand. A vital principle is implied here: The Sabbath is the day when TMH both communicates a knowledge of His will and grants His grace to implement it. The latter is suggested also by the fact that the revelation of the tabernacle closes with the reiteration of the Sabbath as the sign that “I, the Lord, sanctify you”(Ex. 31:13).
In Exodus the Sabbath is linked also to the Tabernacle by means of the theme of TMH’s glory. The divine glory manifested at first on Mount Sinai in the form of a cloud (Ex. 24:15-16) is later transferred to the Tabernacle. When“Moses finished the work” (Ex. 40 :33) of constructing the Tabernacle, “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 abode upon it, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle”(Ex. 40:34-35).
The manifestation of God’s glory in the form of a cloud, first experienced by Moses “on the seventh day” on Mount Sinai (Ex. 24:16) and later transferred upon the Tabernacle, provides a link between the sanctification of the Sabbath at creation and of the Tabernacle in the wilderness.
It suggests that as the cosmic creation was concluded with its sanctification on the seventh day by The Creator’s personal presence, so the creation of a place of worship is completed and inaugurated by the divine presence resting upon it (Ex. 40 :34-35).