Tabernacle in the Wilderness 2

The Tabernacle in the Wilderness.     Part two

“And let them make Me a sanctuary, that I may dwell among them. Exodus 25:8.”

“The longest, most blessed, but least read and understood sections of Exodus.” Exodus 25-28 God spends two chapters on creation and twelve chapters on the Tabernacle in the wilderness. Why? Because though the story of creation is important, it pales in comparison to the story of redemption, and in the construction and use of the Tabernacle we have a very beautiful type or picture of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

No other building or structure ever built upon this earth ever held the interest of God as this one did. None other ever had the spiritual preparation attending it as this one. The reason of this is, the tabernacle in the wilderness and it’s order was to be a schoolmaster to you and me.

Not just to educate us according to the natural man, but to bring us to Christ (Gal.3:22-24). The  law directed us to Christ. It restricted us a jailer (Vs.22) and as a disciplinarian (Vs.23, 24) until faith in Christ brought us into the freedom of full-grown sons who have received their rightful heritage.

Here we find in the Word of God a way that has been prepared by the Lord even before His coming, in which he said to the Pharisee’s, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” (John 5:39).

The Foundation. Ex.26:15-30. The Tabernacle in the wilderness rested upon a foundation of one hundred silver sockets (redemption) weighing one hundred pounds each. Upon this foundation stood forty-eight upright boards made of acacia wood and covered with pure gold. Each board was fifteen feet long, and over two feet wide. These boards had two projections on the lower end , these projections fit into the silver foundations sockets. The upright boards were then held by five horizontal bars of gold-covered wood.

Curtains/Four layers   Ex. 26:1-14. The roof of the tabernacle consisted of four layers of material. The first covering placed over the tabernacle, and therefore, the only one which would be visible from the inside, was a curtain of fine twine linen, embroidered with blue and purple and scarlet color.

It covered the entire top of the tabernacle and hung over the sides, almost to the ground. Beautifully embroidered in the pattern of this linen sheet were figures of cherubim overshadowing both the holy place and the holy of holies. This main curtain consisted of ten separate curtains coupled together to make one great covering for the interior of the tabernacle.

This beautiful curtain formed the ceiling of the tabernacle proper, visible only and exclusively from the inside, visible only to the worshiper who had by way of the alter and laver been admitted into sanctuary itself. The outsider, on the outside of the tabernacle, saw nothing of its exquisite beauty. All he was able to see was the drab leather covering.

Materials as representations of Christ.

  1. The linen curtain which formed the ceiling represents Christ in all the glory of His perfect righteousness and redemptive work.
  2. The outside badger skins were Christ in His humiliation, in His humanity, and in His suffering upon the Cross of Calvary.
  3. Now the curtain which formed the ceiling was in four colors, blue, scarlet, purple, and white.
  4. Blue stands for Christs heavenly origin.
  5. Scarlet for His sacrificial death.
  6. Purple for His royal character and His regal nature.
  7. White His sinless righteousness and perfection.

In addition, there were cherubim with outstretched wings hovering as it were over the priest in the sanctuary. Cherubim in the Bible are guardians of the holiness of God. They are the holy ones who are the attendants of the throne of God, and their song is given to us as Holy, holy, holy, Lord God almighty.

For us to see Christ as the Son of God, the glorious Redeemer, we must see Him from within. We must be in Christ (entire first chapter of Ephesians highlight word IN)  to know the beauty of Christ and the only way, of course, to be in Christ is to come through the door, by way of the blood.

Goats’ Hair Curtains. The second layer of the roof of the tabernacle was made of goats’ hair. Ex.26:7.These goats’ hair curtains were placed over the linen curtains and extended down the sides and back of the tabernacle entirely to the ground.

A goat in the Bible is a picture Christ as our sin-bearer. The goat was a clean animal, fit for sacrifice upon the alter of burnt offering. Read about this in Leviticus 16:19-22. Our sins were laid upon the Lord Jesus Christ. There was a transference of our guilt to Him, He paid the price of death by shedding His blood. He took our sins, in order that we might become the recipients of His righteousness.

The live goat after having the sins of the people transferred by confession and the laying on of hands of the priest is sent into a desert land, never, never to return. Our sins are removed as far as east is from west.

We come now to the third and fourth layers from the inside to the outside of the roof. Ex.26:14. The third layer forming the roof of the tabernacle was made of leather, rams’ skins tanned and dyed a deep crimson red color and coupled together to make one large covering which was placed over the lower two coverings of the linen and goats’ hair.

Ram as Substitute. The rams’ pointed to the Lord Jesus Christ in the Substitute for sinners. It speaks of the substitutionary atonement made by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ in our behalf. The skins of course, speak of the complete covering for the sinner who dwells underneath this canopy.

The first mention of skins is in Genesis 3:21. Adam had sinned and broken with his God by partaking of the forbidden fruit. He and Eve had entered into their autonomous nature and was therefore blind, sinful depraved and had tried to cover their sin with fig leaves to cover their nakedness. God rejected Adams attempt to cover his sin by his own hands. So, the Lord slew an animal (probably a ram) poured out its blood and from its skin made a coat for Adam and Eve.

This is the first recorded substitutionary sacrifice accepted by the Lord. As we all know Adam and Eve were under sentence of death (the wages of sin is death…Romans 6:23) unless a substitute could be found. The substitute must die, give its blood , before the sinner can be clothed by the covering of the skin of this substitute. This is the lesson of God’s plan of substitutionary atonement laid own at the very beginning of creation and there has never been any departure or deviation from this rule called “first mention.”

Cain tried to bring an offering and it failed. Abel brought a ram, a firstling of the flock. He killed it; he shed its blood; and God accepted it in the place of Abel and showed His acceptance by causing fire to fall from heaven and consume the sacrifice upon the alter. Two thousand years later it was still the same. The ram was still a type of our Substitute, the Lord Jesus Christ and when He came was the fulfillment, not only of the substitute which God provided for Adam and Eve, but also the one which Abel presented in faith before the Lord.

Badgers’ skins We come now finally, to the fourth and outer covering of the tabernacle. The record is very brief: Exodus 26:14. These badgers’ skins had no colorful beauty; they were drab, dull and bluish grey. The outer covering was exposed to the sun, rain and elements continually. To any passer by it had nothing appealing about it at all.

All of this is of course, is a perfect picture of the humanity of the Lord Jesus. This is all that the world unbeliever; the unregenerate man can possibly see of the Lord Jesus. There is no attractiveness about Him. Only the those who pass through the door and by the alter , and into the tabernacle itself can behold the breath-taking, exquisite indescribable beauty inside. He walked here upon the earth as the sin-bearer of men, His deity veiled by His humanity. Isaiah said of Jesus, as symbolized by the badgers’ skins: isa.53:2-3.

The badgers’ skins, then represent all that the world can see in the person of the Lord Jesus Christ, until they have been born-again.

They are still on the outside where the winds tear, the rain pelts, the sun bakes, and the frost bites. It is the exposed portion of the tabernacle which they are able to see, and that portion is a fit figure of our Lord’s human body, in which He bore our sins on the cross.

It was in this body that the storms of human hate placed a crown of thorns upon His head. It was this body upon which they spit, which they struck, and slapped and scourged.  He was exposed to all the deep personal humiliation and disgrace of the Cross and the storms of human hate; the nails pierced His hands and feet, and blood gushed forth. This is the meaning of the badgers’ skin.

The word “badger” in the original is “porpoise.” The skins were taken from porpoises—not badger as it is in our English translation. The porpoise was a marine animal, a sea animal which lived in abundantly in the Nile and Red Sea. It is related to the whale and dolphin. Its hide made excellent leather and was waterproof.

We read in Ezekiel 16:10: notice the words “I clothed thee with porpoise skins.” This leather was for shoe leather-literally. God now asked them for the shoe leather they brought from Egypt. God took care of their feet in Deut. 8:4; and Deut. 29:5.

Foundation and Walls. We begin in exodus 26:15-37. The tabernacle rested upon a foundation of one hundred silver sockets weighing one hundred pounds each. Upon this foundation stood forty-eight upright boards made of acacia wood and covered with pure gold.

Each board was fifteen feet long, and over two feet wide. Two projections were on the lower end of each board, and these projections fit into silver foundation sockets. The upright boards were then held together by five horizontal bars of gold-covered wood. As we can see the tent was very mobile and it took some husky Jewish men to take it down and put it up.

In closing I think it is fitting to close with the words of the Apostle Paul in Philippians: Be careful for nothing; but in everything by prayer and supplications with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God. And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Phil. 4:6-7.




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