Exodus 26:1-14 (The Tabernacle and the Tent)

Exodus 26:1-14
The Tabernacle and the Tent

The details for the creation of all things took a tad bit more than a single chapter of the book of Genesis. The instructions for the tabernacle and its associated rites take six chapters, most of which are longer than that first chapter of Genesis.

Because of this, it is apparently something which is most important to the Lord. As we have seen from Chapter 25, every detail thus far has pointed to Christ and His work. Today’s 14 verses will be no different. And unfortunately, there are a thousand different directions I could have gone with these details.

There is so much information stored up in what we are being told that we could literally spend weeks trying to figure it all out and to sort it all out. This is especially so because there are so many varied opinions and commentaries on what each item symbolizes. Some are wonderful in their insight; some of them stretch meanings far beyond what can be considered believable.

In the end, if we just keep thinking of Jesus and how the details point to Him, we will be on safe grounds. When we stand before Him, all the mysteries that we miss will be revealed to us. For now, we have enough to fill up our morning with absolute delight.

Text Verse: “For in the time of trouble
He shall hide me in His pavilion;
In the secret place of His tabernacle
He shall hide me;
He shall set me high upon a rock.” Psalm 27:5

The design of the tabernacle and the tent are to be viewed from two perspectives, just as any dwelling is. There is that which is inside, and there is that which is outside. Those on the inside receive the benefits of being on the inside, those outside are excluded from them.

The gates around a house keep miscreants out and at the same time they keep those inside safe. David understood this and he said that he would be kept safe in the secret place of His tabernacle. Believe it or not, that is where you are right now, if you belong to Christ. And if you don’t then you are far from safe.

This is a truth which is to be realized in today’s verses. Yes, it’s all to be found in His superior word. And so let’s turn to that precious word once again and… May God speak to us through His word today and may His glorious name ever be praised.

I. Details for the Tabernacle (verses 1-6)

Today we will begin to look at the construction of what is known as the tabernacle. This edifice is actually comprised of three main parts. The first is the tabernacle itself, the dwelling place of the Lord. This is found in Exodus 26:1-6. After that is what is more appropriately called “the tent.” It is detailed in verses 7-13, and its covering is then detailed in verse 14.

In the Hebrew, the parts are more readily distinguished than in most English translations.

“Moreover you shall make the tabernacle

The mishkan or “tabernacle” was introduced into the Bible in Exodus 25:9. After that, some of the furniture was described in detail. We now return to the mishkan itself and the details of its construction. Mishkan comes from the verb shakan which means “to dwell.” That word was used in Exodus 25:8 –

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

Therefore, ha’mishkan is “the dwelling place” of the Lord; His tabernacle. Although this is a bit out of order, it is important to understand that the tabernacle first pictures Christ in His Person. This is seen in Hebrews 8 –

“Now this is the main point of the things we are saying: We have such a High Priest, who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens, a Minister of the sanctuary and of the true tabernacle which the Lord erected, and not man.” Hebrews 8:1, 2

But, it also details more. It pictures the church, the place where the Spirit of God dwells in man. This is seen in Ephesians 2 –

“Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, 20 having been built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone, 21 in whom the whole building, being fitted together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord, 22 in whom you also are being built together for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.” Ephesians 2:19-22

It is also seen in 2 Corinthians 6 –

“As God has said:
‘I will dwell in them
And walk among them.
I will be their God,
And they shall be My people.'” 2 Corinthians 6:16

But even more generally, it is also a picture inclusive of each individual Christian –

“Do you not know that you are the temple of God and that the Spirit of God dwells in you? 17 If anyone defiles the temple of God, God will destroy him. For the temple of God is holy, which temple you are.” 1 Corinthians 3:16, 17

This is seen in other passages of the New Testament as well. The tabernacle is also a representation of the dispensation of grace and of the millennium as will be seen, in detail, when we get to the pertinent verses which reflect this. It is also reflective of the plan of salvation itself. This is seen in Hebrews 9 –

“But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation. 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.” Hebrews 9:11, 12

Hebrews 9 continues to explain this aspect of Jesus’ work in relation to this ancient picture given in the construction of the tabernacle.

And in its final sense, it is a representation of the heavenly state. As it pictures Christ Jesus, and as He will dwell among His redeemed for all eternity, then in the details of the tabernacle and its furniture are the details of the One we will dwell with for all time. We see shadows of this in the Old Testament, such as in Isaiah, but we see it fully realized in the book of Revelation –

“And I heard a loud voice from heaven saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God.” Revelation 21:3

1 (con’t) with ten curtains of fine woven linen

The first part to be described is “ten curtains.” The number ten is explained by Bullinger as signifying the perfection of Divine order.  As he says, “Completeness of order, marking the entire round of anything, is, therefore, the ever-present signification of the number ten. It implies that nothing is wanting; that the number and order are perfect; that the whole cycle is complete.

Therefore, there is completeness to these individual curtains which, when combined together, will form a whole. Concerning these “curtains,” it brings in a new word to the Bible. The yeriah, or curtains, comes from the word yara which means to quiver or tremble. As curtains hang and blow in the wind, they give the impression of trembling.

These ten curtains are to be specifically made with “fine woven linen.” This is another new word which will only be found in the book of Exodus, shazar. It comes from a root meaning “to twist” as in the twisting of straw to make a cord. This fine linen has its own signification in Scripture and is explicitly explained in the book of Revelation verse 19:8 –

“And it was given to her that she should be clothed in fine linen, bright [and] pure; for the fine linen is the righteousnesses of the saints.” (Darby)

Most versions say something like the “righteous acts of the saints.” However, this is incorrect. This is not speaking about what we do, but about what Christ has done. He is the righteousness of the saints, and we are given a picture of it here in the Old Testament. His righteousness is what the tabernacle is based on.

It is intricately intertwined into the very fabric of His being, thus the use of this word shazar. The righteous act of a saint which is credited as worthy of note is that of calling on Christ and being imputed His righteousness. This is seen in the fine linen of the tabernacle.

1 (con’t) and blue, purple, and scarlet thread;

Likewise, the colors are specific as well – blue, purple, and scarlet. These were all specified in Exodus 25:4 and are renamed here. Without giving all the detail from that verse, I’ll remind you of the symbolism of the colors.

Blue is associated with the law, especially the keeping of the law.

Purple or blue/red is one of royalty or that which pertains to or belongs to a king. As it is a mixture of blue and red, in meaning it thus is a combination of what those two colors mean – the law for blue; and war, blood, and/or judgment for red.

Lastly, two words are used to describe the scarlet – towlaat shani. Taken together, they are translated as “scarlet,” but implying the scarlet which comes from the towla or grub worm. Scarlet, or red, in the Bible pictures and symbolizes war, blood, and/or judgment.

These were all to be used for weaving directly into the fine woven linen, and all of the colors beautifully picture the future work of Christ. He is the embodiment of the law, indicated by the blue. He is the royal King who dispenses judgment in regard to His law, indicated by the purple.

And His shed blood is the judgment on sin, or that which testifies against the sin of the unregenerate, indicated by the scarlet. All of this is woven into the pure white linen, indicating His perfect righteousness.

1 (con’t) with artistic designs of cherubim you shall weave them.

These curtains, like some other portions of the tabernacle and its furnishings, are to be designed with cherubim woven into them. Cherubim are a select class of angels which, among other things, are near to God, they have great power, and they act as guards. As they are guards of the tree of life, they are the ones who can point man to the way of accessing the right to that tree.

This is an immediate hint that what is being constructed is a place which is symbolically guarded for a specific purpose. In Genesis 3, after the fall of man and their exile from Eden, cherubim were placed strategically and with purpose –

“So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.” Genesis 3:24

The tabernacle’s symbolic guarding by these cherubim is intended to show us several things. First, that what is inside is guarded and access is therefore restricted. What is implied, but unstated, is that it is that which will provide access back to the Garden of Eden, the Tree of Life, and direct fellowship with God.

Each of these was lost at the fall of man, and all are guarded and unattainable because of these powerful cherubim whose job it is to keep access limited. This is implied because the purpose of the account in Genesis was to show us what was lost. From there, we are learning how it will be reclaimed.

Everything thus far in Genesis and Exodus is progressively revealing God’s plan of redemption and man’s return to intimate fellowship with Him. Secondly, if something is guarded, it means that access is possible. If there is a lock on a safe, it is meant to guard access to the safe, but the safe can be opened and access can be obtained with the right key or combination.

The safe hasn’t been welded shut permanently. Instead, it merely requires the proper validation for access. And so thirdly, the guarding of the cherubim implies that what is inside being guarded is that proper validation, if you will. It is what provides access.

As we saw in chapter 25 in the details of the mercy seat, the Lord said that He would meet there, above the mercy seat between the cherubim with Moses. It is the spot where access is restored. This is why the details for the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat were given first. As they picture Christ – His life, work, and death, then we can see that He is that marvelous access point back to restored fellowship with God.

The details of that furniture were an anticipatory look into a picture of that which will now be concealed from the sight of man for approximately 1500 years. Only the high priest, and only once a year, was allowed to view these marvelous objects which prefigure the Person and work of Jesus Christ.

However, there is more to consider concerning these cherubim. As the tabernacle pictures not only Christ and His work, but His church and also His individual people, then these cherubim symbolize the angels who protect His people. This is seen for example in Psalm 34 –

“The angel of the Lord encamps all around those who fear Him,
And delivers them.” Psalm 34:7

They also symbolize the heavenly beings that minister to the Lord on behalf of His people. This is seen in the 103rd Psalm –

“Bless the Lord, you His angels,
Who excel in strength, who do His word,
Heeding the voice of His word.
21 Bless the Lord, all you His hosts,
You ministers of His, who do His pleasure.” Psalm 103:20, 21

And finally, they picture those angels who minister for those who will inherit salvation –

“Are they not all ministering spirits sent forth to minister for those who will inherit salvation?” Hebrews 1:14

As the tabernacle is the place where God meets with man, picturing Christ, then each of these other meanings is tied up in that main picture. Christ is the Subject of the tabernacle. The redemption of man is the object which is anticipated.

And thus, when we are in Christ, we become united to the Subject. It is a marvelous thing to consider as we look at the individual pieces being drawn together into a united whole.

The length of each curtain shall be twenty-eight cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits.

In the dimensions given, when the curtains are united together, it will cover the entire frame of the tabernacle with there being one cubit short of the ground on either side. The height will be ten cubits and the width ten cubits. Therefore, the height on each side combined with the width across the top is a total of thirty cubits.

As these curtains will go across the width of the tabernacle, and as they are twenty-eight cubits long, then they will leave one cubit from the ground on each side. In total, each curtain is 28×4 cubits or 112 square cubits. This number is a multiple of 7 – 7×16 =112.

The number four is the predominate number in this though. The length, 28, is a multiple of 4×7 and the width is 4. Bullinger notes that “four denotes and marks that which follows the revelation of God in the Trinity, namely, His creative works. He is known by the things that are seen. Hence the written revelation commences with the words, ‘In-the-beginning God CREATED.’ Creation is therefore the next thing—the fourth thing, and the number four always has reference to all that is created. It is emphatically the number of Creation; of man in his relation to the world as created.”

There is exacting purpose in the dimensions of this edifice.

2 (con’t) And every one of the curtains shall have the same measurements.

Ten curtains are to be made just the same as the first. Therefore, there will be 1120 square cubits of curtains. This is a multiple of both seven (7×160) and four (4×280). In this there is then FOUR – creation; SEVEN – spiritual perfection; and TEN – perfection of divine order.

Five curtains shall be coupled to one another, and the other five curtains shall be coupled to one another.

Two sets of five curtains each were to be sewn together along the long side. Therefore, each main section was to have five panels each which were 28 cubits by 4 cubits. When they were sewn together, they were each to be 28×20 cubits or 560 square cubits.

And you shall make loops of blue yarn on the edge of the curtain on the selvedge of one set, and likewise you shall do on the outer edge of the other curtain of the second set.

In this verse, the word lulaah, or loops, is introduced into the Bible. It will be seen 13 times and only in Exodus concerning the construction of the tabernacle. Another new word is khoberet, or “set.” It is seen only four times, only in Exodus, and only in regards to the curtain sets which form the tabernacle and tent.

And finally, the word qitson, or “outer” is introduced. This will be used four times, only in Exodus, and only regarding these coverings. The reason for using these words is to ensure specificity in construction. There are two identical curtains of size and design. They are to be joined together.

In order to ensure that the right edge of the curtains is used in the joining process, one side is chosen from the first and then the opposite edge of the other curtain will be chosen. That way, when they are coupled together, they will continue in the same direction.

In other words, all ten panels will flow in the same way instead of five running in one direction and then the other five being turned around and running in the opposite direction. The loops were to be blue in color. Blue, as I said earlier, is given in association with the law; specifically in the keeping of it.

Fifty loops you shall make in the one curtain, and fifty loops you shall make on the edge of the curtain that is on the end of the second set, that the loops may be clasped to one another.

The loops that are being sewn on one panel should exactly meet up with the loops on the other panel. The word “clasped” is what tells us this. It is the word qabal, which is introduced here. It means “to take” or “to accept.” Each of the fifty loops was to meet up with each of the other fifty, accepting one another in a union where they would be clasped together.

The KJV gives a very poor rendering of this by saying, “that the loops may take hold one of another.” It is not the loops which will take hold of one another. It is that the loops will allow one another to be united by the use of golden clasps. Specificity is important here and their translation is lacking in this case.

And you shall make fifty clasps of gold, and couple the curtains together with the clasps, so that it may be one tabernacle.

The clasp is now introduced into the Bible. It is the word qeres and it will be used just 10 times, all in Exodus, and all in the construction of tabernacle and tent. It comes from the word qaras which means to stoop over. And so you get the idea of a clasp which is bent like a stooped-over person.

Fifty of these were to be made to unite the 100 loops into a single unit which would cover the entire tabernacle. Together, they would be 40 cubits long, 28 cubits wide, and a total of 1120 square cubits. As the tabernacle is only 30 cubits long, then there will be 10 extra cubits which will go over the back of the tabernacle, behind the Most Holy Place.

We know this because in verse 36 it will note that there is a screen door which will cover the front of the tabernacle at the entrance to the Holy Place. Therefore, and this is not without importance, the gold clasps will be right along the place where the veil hangs between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.

However, because of the gold loops, it says here that “it may be one tabernacle.” It is getting ahead of ourselves, but before going on, the symbolism of what is going on here must be explained. The Holy Place is 10x10x20 cubits, or 2000 square cubits. The Most Holy place is 10x10x10 cubits, or 1000 square cubits.

This then points to the work of Christ. The 2000 cubits symbolize the 2000 years of the church age. The 1000 cubits are symbolic of the millennium. The entire tabernacle then is a picture of the time of God dwelling with man because of the work of Christ.

Those in the church form the church which is the body of Christ. Though the two dispensations are distinct, they are united as one by the fifty gold clasps. The gold points to the divine nature of Christ who joins the dispensations together.

Bullinger defines the number fifty as “the number of jubilee or deliverance. It is the issue of 7 x 7 (72), and points to deliverance and rest following on as the result of the perfect consummation of time.”

The two dispensations after Christ’s work are united by these fifty clasps which signify the deliverance and rest of those who have come to Christ in either dispensation after the completion of His work. This unity of the body, symbolized by the unity of the two parts of the tabernacle, is exactly what Christ prayed for –

“I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word; 21 that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one: 23 I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.” John 17:20-23

It is as if His words come alive in the mind when reading the details for the construction of the tabernacle and what it ultimately signifies. The blue loops, which the clasps are united to, picture the law, fulfilled in Christ’s work. It is the point where all of the redeemed of both the Church Age and the Millennium are united.

A place for My people to dwell
A place for those who have come to Me
Pictures of it are seen in the tabernacle, O so well
Pictures hidden in plain sight for any to come and see

A plan for the redeemed of the Lord
Is seen in each and every detail
And they are recorded carefully in My word
For those who will take a walk on the inquisitive trail

There they will find Me in the Holy of Holies
All is accomplished for those who find their way in
I will show them wonderful, eternal glories
If through My blood the victory they do win

II. Details for the Tent (verses 7-14)

“You shall also make curtains of goats’ hair, to be a tent over the tabernacle.

This verse begins the instructions for the ohel or tent which will cover the tabernacle. Some versions say “a covering” over the tabernacle, but this is more than a covering, it is an entire tent. The word ohel is much better rendered as “a tent.”

The tent was to be made out of goat’s hair. There is importance in this for several reasons. First, it would be an actual protection for the tabernacle itself. The sun would bleach out the linen. The rain would destroy it and cause its colors to run, and the other elements in general would cause it to degrade.

Secondly, the goat is an animal used as an offering. In fact, the book of Leviticus begins with the burnt offering, of which the goat was acceptable. The sin offering of Leviticus 9, and the sin offering for the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16, are goat offerings. Thus, the covering signifies that of atonement. In other words, that which is inside is what is atoned for.

And as an interesting connection to this for the people outside looking at this tent, they would see it woven with goat’s hair. Hair in the Bible points to awareness and consciousness. This tent, when seen, was to be a reminder of the sinful state of man and that we are to have a conscience concerning it.

In the tent is a picture of Christ who appeared among us, but without sin. His earthly body was the means of our atonement and within Him is embodied everything we have seen thus far, the Ark, the Mercy Seat, the Table of Showbread, the Menorah, and the Tabernacle. The external we see in the goat tent is to direct us to the internal which is provided by His body and His atonement.

7 (con’t) You shall make eleven curtains.

The word ashte is introduced here. It means “the eleventh.” It comes from the word ashath which means “to think.” Thus, there is even in the number 11 the idea of conscience and awareness.  We are being asked to think when we look at this part of the tent.

Bullinger details the meaning of the number 11 – “…it is the number which marks, disorder, disorganization, imperfection, and disintegration.

As we move outward from the tabernacle, there is a disintegration of that which is perfect. In the need for atonement, there is the understanding that sin exists. The imperfection is not in God or in Christ, but in who they are dealing with.

This is why those inside the tabernacle are considered perfect. Not because of their own righteousness, but because of the One to whom they have moved to positionally. And so those outside are, by default, imperfect and in need of atonement.

The length of each curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits; and the eleven curtains shall all have the same measurements.

Unlike the curtains of the tabernacle, these cannot be evenly divided by seven. Thus again there is the hint of imperfection. They are 30×4, or 120 square cubits. Bullinger describes the number thirty. It “…denotes in a higher degree the perfection of Divine order, as marking the right moment.”

If four is that which is created, and 30 is the right moment, then this follows naturally with Paul’s statement in 2 Corinthians 6:2 –

“‘In an acceptable time I have heard you,
And in the day of salvation I have helped you.’

Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.”

Those outside are alive and in need of atonement. If they are in sight of the tent, then it is the right moment.

And you shall couple five curtains by themselves and six curtains by themselves,

In the case of these curtains, there is a lack of symmetry which existed in that of the tabernacle, eleven curtains instead of 10. For this reason, they are united into sections of five and six. The two sets would then equal 600 square cubits and 720 square cubits, or a total of 1320 square cubits.

In surface area, it would be 30 cubits wide, to cover the entire tabernacle down to the ground on each side, and 44 cubits long to cover to the ground on the back and seemingly hang over the front. Thus the tabernacle would be completely obscured from view. Man’s eyes would not see the place where the Lord dwelt without first receiving atonement. But there is more…

9 (con’t) and you shall double over the sixth curtain at the forefront of the tent.

The sixth curtain of the larger set was to be folded back on itself to presumably give it a finished look. However, this would then make a covering of 32×40 or 1260 square cubits in total. This number corresponds to an interval of judgment. A biblical year is 360 days. Three and one half years would be 1260 days.

This is the amount of time rain was withheld from the land during the time of Elijah (Luke 4:25). It also comprises the two divisions of the tribulation period in Revelation – 42 months and 1260 days. Again, the tent over the tabernacle speaks of judgment. Either sin will be atoned for, and one may move into the edifice, or sin will not be atoned for and judgment outside of it will be the result.

Again as is often the case, the KJV unfortunately translates the last word as “tabernacle” and not “tent.” The word is ohel and it is completely different than the mishkan, or tabernacle, which it covers.

10 You shall make fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that is outermost in one set, and fifty loops on the edge of the curtain of the second set.

The directions here correspond to those of verse 5 in how the pieces are to be laid out and then have their loops attached.

11 And you shall make fifty bronze clasps, put the clasps into the loops, and couple the tent together, that it may be one.

It is important to note at this point that the further one moves from the Holy of Holies, the materials used become less valuable. They also, as you have seen, carry different meaning. In the Holy of Holies there is perfection, holiness, purity, and fellowship with God. Each step away from there, one finds another aspect of being removed from that perfection.

Bronze, or nekhosheth, as a metal in the Bible signifies judgment. In the uniting together of these curtains, there is a sense of judgment. For those inside, their judgment is past. For those outside, their judgment lies ahead.

One is either in Christ and has been justified through His judgment on sin, or one is not in Christ and will be condemned by His judgment of sin. Every detail continuously points us to the work of Christ for, or against, humanity.

As a side note, older translations are incorrect in this verse. They say “brass” instead of “bronze.” It was either copper or bronze at this point in history. Brass was not yet used.

12 The remnant that remains of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remains, shall hang over the back of the tabernacle.

The word for “remnant,” serakh, is used only here in the Bible. It comes from the verb, sarakh, which means “excess.” The tabernacle was 40 cubits long. This covering is 44, but two are folded over at the front, and so there are still two cubits left over.

This was to hang all the way over the tabernacle and completely cover it, just as the extra cubit on each side was to do. Nothing of the tabernacle was to be seen.

13 And a cubit on one side and a cubit on the other side, of what remains of the length of the curtains of the tent, shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle, on this side and on that side, to cover it.

The translation is lacking. The Hebrew says, “And the cubit.” This is specifically speaking of the cubit of the goat’s hair covering, which was thirty cubits across. It was to exceed the linen covering of verse 2, which was twenty-eight cubits.

This extra cubit was to be on either side of the tabernacle, and it was to be allowed to hang down, like a valance, in order to completely hide the golden boards of the tabernacle. Thus, only a picture of awareness of sin and judgment was to be seen in this.

14 “You shall also make a covering of ram skins dyed red for the tent,

After the covering of goat’s hair, the entire structure was to next be covered with ram skins dyed red. The word “covering” is mikseh. It is used 14 times in the Bible and all but one are in regards to this tabernacle. The other time it was used was in Genesis 8:13 –

“And it came to pass in the six hundred and first year, in the first month, the first day of the month, that the waters were dried up from the earth; and Noah removed the covering of the ark and looked, and indeed the surface of the ground was dry.” Genesis 8:13

Thus this is a weather covering. These orot elim me’addamim, or “skin rams dyed red” form their own picture. The ram is the leader of the flock and its protector. The protection is seen in its power to butt with its horns which are a symbol of strength. The symbolism we are to see then is that of Christ, the Protector of His people.

The verb for “dyed red,” or adom, is found 10 times in the Bible. It comes from the idea of being made red, or to show blood in the face. The use of these ram skins dyed red will picture Christ’s covering of our sins. It is explained by the use of adom in Isaiah –

“‘Come now, and let us reason together,’
Says the Lord,
‘Though your sins are like scarlet,
They shall be as white as snow;
Though they are red like crimson,
They shall be as wool.'” Isaiah 1:18

After this, Paul shows how this points to Christ in 2 Corinthians –

“For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” 2 Corinthians 5:21

Thus, what we see pictured here is atonement for those inside, and a lack of atonement for those outside. With each covering there is a dualism to be seen. And it is seen just as well in the final covering…

*14 (fin) and a covering of badger skins above that.

u-mikseh orot tekhashim milmaelah – literally, “…and a covering skins of porpoise above.” To review from a couple sermons ago, the word is takhash, and it is always governed by the word oroth, or “skins.” Therefore it is the hide of an animal. The translation of the KJV and the NKJV of “badgers” is dubious at best.

The badger is rarely, if ever seen in Sinai and it lacks any cognate language support. Rather, this word is cognate to the Arabic word tukhas, or porpoise. Therefore, in modern translations it is normally called the porpoise, the dolphin, or the dugong, which is like a manatee. Thus it would be a light gray to sky-blue covering.

This word is always used in connection with the covering for the tabernacle, with but one exception in Ezekiel 16 where it is used to describe figurative sandals worn by Jerusalem. As Bedouins still use the dugong for such sandals even to modern times, such a sea animal is the most likely translation. As this skin will be used as the outermost covering of the tabernacle, “the skin of a marine animal like the dolphin would have been eminently suitable, both for its toughness and for its waterproofing properties” (HAW).

As the sea is representative of the world of chaos and confusion and rebellion, this then makes a beautiful picture of Christ’s covering of us from that. This would fit well also with the one non-tabernacle use of this word in Ezekiel concerning the sandals made of this skin. Having such skin for shoes would then infer that the chaos of the sea was under-foot and subdued.

Each of the coverings over the furniture of the tabernacle has a dual purpose. The woven material with the cherubim signifies protection for those within by the angels, and yet guarding against intrusion for those outside.

The goat’s hair and bronze clasps signify atonement and accomplished judgment for sin on those inside, but pending judgment and no atonement for those outside. The ram skins signify both atonement and protection for those inside, and a lack of atonement and a warring against those outside.

And finally, the skin of sea animals signifies order, harmony, and peace with God for those inside, and chaos, confusion, and enmity for those outside. In the end, every single verse has brought us insights into the work of Christ, the nature of the church, and the status of the redeemed. It is a marvel and a wonder to see the beauty of what is represented in these 14 verses.

So now, it is time to ask yourself whether you are on the inside, or on the out? The things we have seen today show intelligence, even wisdom. They show purpose and intent. And they show us the truth that one is either in Christ and safe, or he is not in Christ and is heading to a bad eternity. If you have never taken stock of yourself and where you are going, today is the day to do it. Call on Christ and enter into His tabernacle. Let me tell you how to do it…

Closing Verse: “For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah” Psalm 61:3, 4

Next Week: Exodus 26:15-30 In Christ we have something we can claim… (A Sure Foundation and a Steady Frame) (72nd Exodus Sermon)

The Lord has you exactly where He wants you. He has a good plan and purpose for you. Even if a deep ocean lies ahead of You, He can part the waters and lead you through it on dry ground. So follow Him and trust Him and He will do marvelous things for you and through you.

The Tabernacle and the Tent

Moreover you shall make the tabernacle; yes, as I have said
With ten curtains of fine woven linen
And blue, purple, and scarlet thread
With artistic designs of cherubim you shall weave them

The length of each curtain
Shall be twenty-eight cubits, these its contents
And the width of each curtain four cubits for certain
And every one of the curtains shall have the same measurements

Five curtains shall be coupled to one another, you see
And the other five curtains to one another coupled shall be

And you shall make loops of blue yarn
On the edge of the curtain on the selvedge of one set
And likewise you shall do on the outer edge
Of the other curtain of the second set; do not forget

Fifty loops you shall make in the one curtain
And fifty loops you shall make on the edge too
Of the curtain that is on the end of the second set
That the loops may be clasped to one another, so shall you do

And you shall make fifty clasps of gold
And couple the curtains together with the clasps
So that it may be one tabernacle, just as you have been told

You shall also make curtains of goats’ hair
To be a tent over the tabernacle
You shall make eleven curtains for the tabernacle there

The length of each curtain
Shall be thirty cubits, these its contents
And the width of each curtain four cubits, for certain
And the eleven curtains shall all have the same measurements

And you shall couple five curtains by themselves
And six curtains by themselves too
And you shall double over the sixth curtain
At the forefront of the tent, so shall you do

You shall make fifty loops on the edge
Of the curtain that is outermost in one set
And fifty loops on the edge of the curtain
Of the second set; do not forget

And you shall make fifty bronze clasps
Put the clasps into the loops, so shall you do
And couple the tent together
That it may be one, just as I instruct you

The remnant that remains of the curtains
Of the tent, so I now instruct to you
The half curtain that remains
Shall hang over the back of the tabernacle, so shall you do

And a cubit on one side and a cubit on the other side
Of what remains of the length of the curtains of the tent
Shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle
On this side and on that side, to cover it; to that extent

You shall also make a covering
Of ram skins dyed red for the tent
And a covering of badger skins above that
No detail shall you circumvent

A tabernacle You have asked to be made
A place where You will dwell among us
You have selected how it is to be arrayed
To give us hints of the coming Messiah, Jesus

And how marvelous is it for us to see
The wonderful things You have in this tabernacle displayed
A place for You to dwell among us eternally
For in Christ Jesus, a body You have made

Thank You, O God for this wonderful redemption story
It is filled with marvelous details which show us of Your glory

And so to You we sing, and to You we give all of our praise
And it will continue on forever and ever
Yes, for eternal days

Hallelujah and Amen…

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