In Exodus 40, we read that Moses finished the work (v.33). We have reached the end - hurray!
But if we stand back and survey God's great salvation story, we see that Exodus 40 is only the end in a very provisional sense. A more significant ending would take place centuries later at Easter, when, knowing that everything had now been finished ... Jesus said 'It is finished' (John 19:28,30). The problem of sin, recognised in the construction of the Tabernacle, is now finally dealt with.
And the ending of Exodus also points forward beyond the cross. The final verses of the book tell of something extraordinary:
The glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle. The cloud of the LORD was over the tabernacle by day, and fire was in the cloud by night, in the sight of all the Israelites during all their travels. (vv.34,38)
God is here - among his people! They cannot see his glory directly - it is hidden by a cloud, but God is present. And one day we will enjoy his presence even more directly and intimately:
Look! God’s dwelling-place is now among the people, and he will dwell with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away. (Revelation 21:3-4)
How do we know this to be true? On Easter Sunday, Jesus rose from the dead. Hallelujah!
We finish this blog series with an adaptation of the ending of CS Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia:
The things that began to happen after that were so great and beautiful that I cannot write them. For us this is the end of our Exodus story. But, for the people of God, this is only the beginning of the real story. All our life in this world and all our ancestors' adventures of faith have only been the cover and the title page: now we look forward to beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.
Questions to ponder: How will you live out your part in God's great story? What is the main thing you have learned this Easter which will help you on your continuing journey of faith?