“Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen and blue and purple and scarlet material; you shall make them with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman.” (Exodus 26:1)
In the last three posts, we explored the symbolism behind the articles of furniture within the Tabernacle (click here for part 1 of that series). In Exodus 26, we move beyond the furniture and begin to see the blueprint for the structural materials of the Tabernacle itself.
Curtains Of Linen And Goat’s Hair
In verse 1, we again see the three colors intertwined within the fine linen curtains. Blue, representing Christ’s heavenly origin; purple, representing His royalty; and scarlet, speaking of His blood shed in sacrifice. The fine linen curtains are a type of Christ in these three aspects. It is worth noting that the fine linen curtains were beautiful to behold but could only be seen from within the Tabernacle. One had to be in the Tabernacle to appreciate the beauty of these curtains.
As the curtains typify Jesus Christ, we see the parallel between those curtains and the believer’s own view of his Lord. We see Christ differently than those who are “outside” of Him, just as the priests within the Tabernacle saw the beauty of the fine linen curtains which were invisible to those who were without. You must be in Christ to truly see how beautiful He is and to appreciate that beauty.
“Then you shall make curtains of goats’ hair for a tent over the tabernacle; you shall make eleven curtains in all. (Exodus 26:7)
What was visible from the outside of the Tabernacle? A tent made with the hair of goats and covered with red-dyed ram’s skins and porpoise hides (v. 14). What the world sees of Christ is His sacrifice, but not the purpose behind it. They see Him in His humanity, but they fail to behold His beauty and majesty. They see nothing in Him beautiful or to be desired (cf. Isa. 53:2), no, for the preaching of the Gospel is foolishness to the lost and His very name an offense to those who perish (1 Cor. 1:23, 1 Pet. 2:7-8).
Those apart from Christ may look upon Him and see the hair of goats and the scarlet-dyed skins of rams which speak of His atonement for the sins of man, but until one enters into Him, until one steps within the Tabernacle which is Christ, they will never see His beauty.
Boards And Sockets
“Then you shall make the boards for the tabernacle of acacia wood, standing upright.” (Exodus 26:15)
Just as the materials comprising the Ark of the Covenant, acacia wood overlaid with gold, spoke of Jesus Christ in His humanity and Deity, so do the boards of the Tabernacle which are constructed from the same elements. In the individual boards we see the individual believers which make up the Church or the Body of Christ. For we see many separate boards all functioning together for one purpose. Holding together the boards is the great Middle Bar which reaches from end to end (v. 28), and this is a picture of the Holy Spirit Who holds the Church together.
The boards are held up by sockets of silver, the redemption which Jesus Christ has purchased by His own blood and it is upon the silver sockets of redemption which the entire Tabernacle rests. The foundation of the Christian’s life is his redemption in Christ Jesus, regardless of how far along he is in his journey with God. The hangings of the Gate are the only portion of the Tabernacle which do not rest upon the sockets of silver and that Gate speaks of Christ as the sinner’s sole access to receiving that redemption.
The Inner Veil
“You shall make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen; it shall be made with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman. You shall hang it on four pillars of acacia overlaid with gold, their hooks also being of gold, on four sockets of silver.” (Exodus 26:31-32)
Moving out from the Holy of Holies, we come to a Veil which separated even the priests from the Innermost part of the Tabernacle. This Veil speaks of Christ’s body and was the Veil which was torn in two by the unseen hand of God at the moment of the Lord Jesus’ death on the Cross (Matt. 27:51). The Veil, so long as it stood in the Tabernacle and later in the Temple, separated man from God. But now the Way of access has been opened and man may come to God through Jesus Christ. The Veil barring man from God has been replaced by a Door, a Gate through which man may draw to the Father. Yet this is the only Way through which we may come to God; Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life (John 14:6).
The Inner Veil was hung upon four pillars and these pillars speak of the four evangelists (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) who proclaimed the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The Outer Veil
“You shall make a screen for the doorway of the tent of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen, the work of a weaver. You shall make five pillars of acacia for the screen and overlay them with gold, their hooks also being of gold; and you shall cast five sockets of bronze for them.” (Exodus 26:36-37)
The Outer Veil served as a screen separating the Holy Place from the Inner Courtyard of the Tabernacle. Notice in this Veil we do not have the sockets of silver, but sockets of bronze or brass. Silver speaks of redemption while bronze speaks of judgment, particularly the Cross of Jesus Christ. The gold of Deity is still present, so we see that this Veil symbolizes Christ as the Doorway between God and man. In the two Veils we see Christ as both Savior and Judge. Before we can avail ourselves of Christ as our access to God by redemption (the Inner Veil), we must accept the judgment of our sins in His atonement for us (the Outer Veil). The Way that leads to God is the Cross of Jesus Christ and before we can come to the Throne of the Father, our sin must be dealt with and our transgressions forgiven. There was no way to bypass the Outer Veil and go straight through the Inner and neither can we bypass the Cross and come straight to Jesus as our Access to the Father. Until our sin is washed away by His blood, we have no access to God.
To God goes all glory. In service to Him,
**Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) © The Lockman Foundation and are used by permission.