The Tabernacle, The Curtains Of The Tabernacle, Exodus 26:1-6, Part 1 - Lesson 37
In previous lessons we have erected the walls of the tabernacle structure which consisted of 48 tall and upright shittim wood boards and 4 columns supported by 100 silver sockets.
The sockets were made from the 603,550 half shekels of silver collected from each male Israelite 20 years old and above.
Today we will begin a series where we will look at the roof of this board structure.
God did not intend for his tabernacle to be open to the sky but he intended it to have coverings, coverings which of course are carefully defined so as to continue His redemption story that He clearly presents in the Tabernacle and its furnishing.
As an engineer I was at times involved in the design of roofs for government buildings.
The roof is one of the most important parts of any structure.
I think youíll agree that if your roof at home leaks anywhere at any time you are absolutely motivated to make every effort to repair or replace that roof.
And you are motivated in spite of the statistics that say it does not leak most of the time, for most of the time it isnít raining.
Now try using that excuse on your wife.
Now most of the old roofs on flat roofed buildings were of a four ply construction.
Tar paper of various weights glued down with tar using 4 layers of tar paper.
Our roof above this auditorium is but one ply for it is made of a much more durable material, namely rolled PVC sheets glued to panels of foam insulation that are secured to the sub-roof.
Our God choose to do the roof of the tabernacle in a 4 ply fashion but His choice of materials was a unique choice not made totally for water proofing but made to teach spiritual truths.
Now most times the roof curtains and coverings are pictured as being draped over the board structure but there are some who believe the inward linen curtain was so hung as to not only be a ceiling but also to hang inside the holy places as wall coverings.
We do not know this for sure but the linen curtains were made so as to include cherubimís of cunning work within the linen.
Cunning work is craftsmen and craftswomen work, which is becoming a rare thing to see in this technological age.
But God desired cunning work.
The details for the Curtains and Coverings for the Tabernacle were laid out in the following order:
The first layer from the inside of the tabernacle were curtains of fine twined linen and are described in Exodus 26:1-6 with additional information in Exodus 36:8-9.
This is the layer that you would see on the ceiling and perhaps on the walls if you stood in one of the Holy Places.
The second layer consisted of curtains of goats' hair and is defined by God to Moses in Exodus 26:7-13 with additional information in Exodus 36:14-18.
This curtain which was referred to as the "tent" was placed over the curtains of fine linen
The third layer consisted of what was called a covering of ramís skins dyed red and is defined by God to Moses in Exodus 26:14 and Exodus 36:19
And the fourth layer or fourth ply was a covering of Badgerís skins defined by God to Moses in the same verses as the ramís skin dyed red.
This was the final covering and was that which was seen to all who were outside the Tabernacle.
You will note from the scriptures that the first two layers, the fine twined linen and the goatís hair were called curtains but the ramís skins and the badgers skins were called coverings.
Perhaps this is similar to how we see the difference between drapes and curtains, drapes usually being the heavier weight material and curtains consisting of lighter weight materials.
Now as to the first layer Moses was told to make ten linen curtains.
We read of this in Exodus 26:1-6, Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning work shalt thou make them. The length of one curtain shall be eight and twenty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and every one of the curtains shall have one measure. The five curtains shall be coupled together one to another; and other five curtains shall be coupled one to another. And thou shalt make loops of blue upon the edge of the one curtain from the selvedge in the coupling; and likewise shalt thou make in the uttermost edge of another curtain, in the coupling of the second. Fifty loops shalt thou make in the one curtain, and fifty loops shalt thou make in the edge of the curtain that is in the coupling of the second; that the loops may take hold one of another. And thou shalt make fifty taches (a knob or belaying pin, like a button) of gold, and couple the curtains together with the taches: and it shall be one tabernacle.
Again the number ten is prominent.
Ten, the number of the Ten Commandments, represents the Covenant of the Law.
These curtains then speak to us of our Lord Jesus as the fulfillment of the law for He is our covering.
He is the only Man who ever kept the Law and the Commandments of God entirely.
The entire Law, the Moral, the Civil and the Ceremonial Law were fulfilled in Him and Him alone.
He is the only one who can say:
Psalm 40:7-8, Then said I, Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart.
And as sons of God in Jesus name, we too will be conformed to Christ in this way for the law will indeed be written upon the tables of our heart.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah! and Hallelujah again!
Now the ten curtains were to be made of fine twined linen.
It speaks first of the righteousness of Christ as the Son by whom all other sons are to be conformed, and second, it points to the righteousness of the saints, called saints not by declaration of the church for they are only composed of those who are IN CHRIST.
The saints are only righteous by being in One who is righteous, the Man Christ Jesus.
This is not self-righteousness for we are told in Isaiah that all self righteousness is as filthy rags.
Isaiah 64:6, But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our
righteousness is as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our
iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
That is the contrast, any righteousness we claim, to God is as filthy rages but Christís righteousness is as clean, white, fine linen and therefore we can only have righteousness by faith in one who is righteous.
Fine linen is the clothing and garment of the PRIESTS.
As we come in faith to the Lord we are ordained to be KINGS AND PRIESTS before God and will wear the same garments.
This is not something we put on, on the basis of our own merit!
Revelation 19:7-8, Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honor to
him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and
white: for the fine linen is the righteousness of saints.
On the earth brides take great pride in choosing the wedding dress but when the marriage of the Lamb is come the Lamb chooses the garment for the bride and it can only be fine linen, clean and white.
Exodus 26:1-6, Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten
curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet:
As we have said in previous lessons, BLUE is the color of HEAVEN.
It speaks to us of the Lord Jesus Christ as the SECOND ADAM, the LORD FROM HEAVEN:
1 Corinthians 15:47, The first man is of the earth, earthy: the
second man is the Lord from heaven.
PURPLE is the color of royalty and kingship.
Jesus Christ is not only the Second Adam; He is the KING of KINGS and Lord of LORDS.
Blending blue and scarlet produce purple.
In Christ there is a blending of the Human and Divine natures in ONE PERSON.
He is both the Son of God and the Son of Man (Luke 1:30-33 and Revelation 19:1-6).
This qualifies Him to be our MEDIATOR before God for none other is qualified to do that!
SCARLET is the color of Blood and speaks to us of sacrifice and humanity.
All through the Old Testament the Israelites were reminded of atonement on the basis of the shedding of blood.
But the shedding of animal blood only pointed to the blood of Christ.
All of their thousands and thousands of offerings pointed to the coming of the LAMB OF GOD for this is the one and only sacrifice for sin.
For the Father has ordained that only His blood has the power of ATONEMENT!
Now the four colors that we see prescribed for the ten curtains are no accidental choice.
In fact the very order of these colors is not even arbitrary.
This same order for these same colors is repeated about 24 times in the book of Exodus.
These four colors are typical of the four Gospels that present Jesus Christ as the TRUE TABERNACLE.
In relation to the gospels we see:
WHITE portrayed in the Gospel of Luke where Jesus is the The Sinless Man, in contrast to he first Adam.
BLUE portrayed in the Gospel of John where Jesus is the Son of God, The Heavenly Man.
PURPLE portrayed in the Gospel of Matthew where Jesus is Son of David, The Royal Man, the KING.
SCARLET portrayed in the Gospel of Mark where Jesus is Son of Man, the Servant Man.
Now the fine twined linen was to be adorned with cunning work.
Exodus 26:1-6, Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning work shalt thou make them.
This word cunning means to plait or interpenetrate which means to weave or contrive into the linen, forms of cherubims.
This linen with the inwrought Cherubim would then comprise the ceiling for the Sanctuary and perhaps the walls.
From the description of the Mercy Seat, these Cherubim had wings.
They would stretch forth their wings above the Sanctuary under which the Priest ministered.
The Priest would in effect be walking, ministering, and enjoying fellowship under the shadow of the wings of the Cherubim.
It was a beautiful type and picture of us as New Covenant believer priests ministering "under the shadow of the Almighty."
Psalm 91:1-4, He that dwells in the secret place of the most High
shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the
Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress: my God; in him will I trust. Surely
he shall deliver thee from the snare of the fowler, and from the noisome
pestilence. He shall cover thee with his feathers, and under his wings
shalt thou trust: his truth shall be thy shield and buckler.
Now as to the details of the linen curtains God is careful to command in an
There were TEN CURTAINS, which were arranged in two groups of FIVE.
These two sets of FIVE CURTAINS were joined together by 50 clasps (taches) of gold and 50 loops of BLUE.
When all was joined together it formed and covered ONE TABERNACLE.
Each of these 10 curtains was 28 cubits in length and 4 cubits in breadth.
When these were all joined together as we have just described, they formed a COVERING of 28 cubits wide and 40 (4 x 10) cubits long.
This was placed over the framework of boards.
The Board Structure was 10 x 10 x 30 (LxWxH).
When the Curtains were placed over the framework with the gold taches directly over the veil, the curtains would cover the entire framework.
Since the North side (10 cubits) and South side (10 cubits) and the ceiling (10 cubits across) totaled 30 cubits, we see that the Curtains were suspended one cubit above the ground on either side of the Framework.
With the curtains so arranged, they would cover the full length of the Framework with an overhang on the West end of 10 cubits.
The full length of the joined Curtains was 40 cubits while the length of the Tabernacle was 30 cubits.
Since there was a door for the EAST end of the Tabernacle, the curtains covered the 10 cubits of the west wall as well.
In the very couplings used in these ten curtains there are three important symbols:
The loops were to be of BLUE. Blue speaks of the Lord Jesus FROM HEAVEN. It always attests to Deity.
The taches were made of GOLD. Gold is typical of the DIVINE NATURE or Jesus as the DIVINE MAN.
There were to be 50 loops and 50 taches. This spoke in type of the 50th Year or Jubilee Year of Israel and the Feast of Pentecost, which was celebrated FIFTY days after Calvary/Passover. The number 50 is therefore significant of FREEDOM, LIBERTY, PENTECOST and JUBILEE. There are FIFTY names and titles (taches) of JESUS CHRIST in scripture.