The Tabernacle (Hebrew: מִשְׁכַּן, mishkan, “residence” or “dwelling place” or tent or sanctuary. Built of gold, silver, brass, furs, jewels, and other valuable materials taken out of Egypt, and built at God’s specific orders according to specifications revealed by God (Yahweh) to Moses at Mount Sinai. It was a sacred place where God chose to meet His people the Israelites during the exodus from Egypt and transported on their journey through the wilderness and their conquest of the Promised Land. The First permanent Temple in Jerusalem superseded it as the dwelling-place of God some three hundred years later.
The tabernacle was first erected in the wilderness exactly one year after the Passover when the Israelites were freed from their Egyptian slavery (1450 B.C.). It was a mobile tent with portable furniture that the people traveled with and set up wherever they pitched camp. The tabernacle would be in the center of the camp, and the 12 tribes of Israel would set up their tents around it according to their tribe. The instruction and specifications on how to build the tabernacle was first given to Moses in the wilderness three months after they left the Land of Egypt, who then gave the orders to the Israelite. and it took NINE MONTHS for them to build and complete the Tabernacle.
“…make a sanctuary for me, and I will dwell among them.” (Exodus 25:8)
“Then I will dwell among the Israelites and be their God. They will know that I am the Lord their God, who brought them out of Egypt so that I might dwell among them.” (Exodus 29:45-46)
And so God dwelled among His people in the tabernacle in the wilderness. He appeared as a pillar of cloud over the tabernacle by day and a pillar of fire by night in the sight of all Israel. The people would not set out on their journey unless the cloud lifted. It was an unmistakably powerful visual statement indicating God’s presence among them.
The Tabernacle is the picture of Jesus and His Church
The standing boards of the tabernacle are made from acacia wood.
God has transformed us (His Church) from acacia trees into standing boards fixed in silver sockets. In the Bible, “silver” represents redemption. Silver speaks of the blood of Jesus redeeming us from sins and curses. We were bought by the blood of Christ! Our feet no longer touch this cursed earth – we are fixed upon a solid silver foundation (represents the blood of Jesus Christ that redeemed us). Also, it means our resources come from heaven, not from this cursed earth.
The wooden boards are overlaid with Gold. This means When God looks at us, He doesn’t see the wood, He sees the Gold! As pure and shining as Gold. God sees us as the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus. The more of God’s glory you have inside you, the more radiant you will look on the outside.
The Color and Coverings and Curtains of Tabernacle speaks and depicts of Jesus Christ, as we shall reveal in this article.
The place of protection is inside the tabernacle.
When you pray don’t pray with loud voice as if God is so far away in heaven. A whisper is sufficiently a powerful way to pray and is more in line with New Covenant truths. Because as believers, we are always in the Holy of Holies, inside the Tabernacle, we are IN CHRIST. And, God has made for us a new and living way! The more we come to God, the better and healthier we will become. We are already complete in Christ. We are seated in heaven at the right hand of Jesus the moment we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior. We begin our journey as believers already complete in Christ, and not walking towards completeness as many Christians would believe.
Exodus 26:1-2 – The curtains of the tabernacle is colored blue, purple, scarlet, and white (fine linen).
These colors represent the four gospels: (Blue, Purple, Scarlet, White)
Blue – Sky (representing heaven and divinity) – the Gospel of John.
Purple (a result of blue and scarlet mixing) – God and man mixed – Royalty / King – the Gospel of Matthew.
Scarlet – blood (Adam means “Red man” – because of the blood inside him) – Man – the Gospel of Luke.
White – in Him is no sin, He knew no sin and He did no sin, yet He was made sins for us – Servant serving – the Gospel of Mark.
“Moreover you shall make the tabernacle 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, and the width of each curtain four cubits. And every one of the curtains shall have the same measurements.” (Exodus 26:1-2 NKJV)
Psalm 91:4 He shall cover you with His feathers, And under His wings you shall take refuge; His truth shall be your shield and buckler.
Psalms 91 was written after the tabernacle was inaugurated.
As believers, we are always inside the tabernacle, covered by God. There are four coverings that cover the tabernacle: Badger skin, ram skins, goat’s hair, fine linen. We are covered! We are four times covered!
When the world sees us, they can only see the badger skin. When the world looks at Jesus, they only see the badger skin – they don’t know what to make out of Him. (Matthew 16:13-17 NKJV)
Mat 16:13 When Jesus came into the region of Caesarea Philippi, He asked His disciples, saying, “Who do men say that I, the Son of Man, am?”
Mat 16:14 So they said, “Some say John the Baptist (Ram Skin), some Elijah (Goat’s hair), and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets. (Fine linen)”
Mat 16:15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?”
Mat 16:16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.”
Mat 16:17 Jesus answered and said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah, for flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.
When we as believers look at Jesus, we see all the layers – blue, purple, scarlet, white, etc – we see the Perfect Man & God in one, we see the Christ, the Son of the living God. Because it is God in Heaven who has revealed this to us, about His Son’s beauty!
The Badger’s Skin
When the children of Israel were spending the forty years in wandering the wilderness, their clothes did not wear out, neither did their feet swell. This is God’s divine protection. The children of Israel wore sandals made of badger skin. Like the tough badger skin on the tabernacle, God has given us a tough exterior – strong, healthy bodies!
The Ram’s Skin
Exodus 26:14 – A ram represents determination, devotion, and strength.
The ram skins represent Jesus’ devotion, and the red dye represents Jesus’ blood that was shed for us.
The badger skin is what man sees. The ram skins dyed red is what the eye of God sees – In the Tabernacle the ram skin was hidden in between the coverings, thus man cannot see this, not even the priests can see. Our Heavenly Father sees His Son’s devotion and determination.
“You shall also make a covering of ram skins dyed red for the tent, and a covering of badger skins above that.” (Exodus 26:14 NKJV)
No one can depict our Lord Jesus in a painting. Our Lord is greater than whatever they try to depict. Jesus is a man’s Man – He could speak two words “Follow Me” and the uneducated, rough fishermen left everything and followed Him! Faith pierces through the badger skin and allows us to see Jesus as God.
The strength of a ram lies in its horns:
“Then Abraham lifted his eyes and looked, and there behind him was a ram caught in a thicket by its horns. So Abraham went and took the ram, and offered it up for a burnt offering instead of his son.” (Genesis 22:13 NKJV)
It is highly uncommon that a ram would get caught in a thicket by its horns – a ram would likely get caught by its fleece.
The ram represents Jesus – He goes into the thicket (represents our curses) headfirst, with His strength when He went to die on the cross for us. The thicket also represents the crown of thorns upon Jesus’ head.
Any lamb that is offered as a sin offering must be without blemish, therefore the ram (male lamb) could not be caught by its fleece, otherwise it would be lacerated and bleeding while it struggled to get free. Jesus is our perfect blemish-free, spot-free, once-and-for-all sin offering!
“Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!”” (John 19:5 NKJV)
Jesus came out by Himself – He was not dragged out or escorted out. He was determined to go to the cross. Why did Pontius Pilate say “Behold the Man!” – Because Jesus came out with his body bleeding and lacerated and without proper clothes on, and yet He still looked majestic, still regal, being the Perfect Man that He is.
Everything about the tabernacle speaks of the beauty and glory of Jesus:
“The voice of the LORD makes the deer give birth, And strips the forests bare; And in His temple everyone says, “Glory!”” (Psalms 29:9 NKJV)
Every single item and furniture in the Temple reflect His Glory.
The measurement in the Tabernacle mostly in the multiple of Five. Eg. There are five pillars of the entrance of the tabernacle – Five in the bible represents God’s Grace. Five is the number of Grace. Grace is the beautiful person of Jesus.
The Goat’s hair
There is something special in the natural Goat’s hair quality. The Bedouin tribe (an Arab seminomadic group) made their tents from the Goat’s hair, and they claimed the good quality of the tent when raining the hair would be woven together, tightened up in such a way that the rain water would not go in. During night time, the hair would prevent the night coldness too. And, during the day hot sunshine, the hair would loosened up causing breeze of wind to come in and alleviate the day heat.
The 30 cubits length of the curtain made of Goat’s hair, hidden under the badger skin and ram’s skins represents Jesus’ first 30 years of life that is covered, hidden and unknown to us. God prepared Him to be the perfect lamb of sacrifice.
The extra length of the sixth curtain that hung over the back of the tabernacle represents Jesus’ 3 and a half years of ministry on earth that we can see in the four Gospels.
“You shall also make curtains of goats’ hair, to be a tent over the tabernacle. You shall make eleven curtains. 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. And you shall couple five curtains by themselves and six curtains by themselves, and you shall double over the sixth curtain at the forefront of the tent.” (Exodus 26:7-9 NKJV)
Half of the sixth curtain made of goat’s skin hangs over the back of the tabernacle.
God sent His Son Jesus. Jesus’ death wasn’t forced on Him. He laid it down of His own accord. Jesus was the only Baby that was born to die.
“The remnant that remains of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remains, shall hang over the back of the tabernacle.” (Exodus 26:12 NKJV)
It took nine months to build the tabernacle. It reminds us of pregnancy. Why was it the women who spun the yarn of Goat’s hair : Jesus was growing in a Woman’s womb (Mary) for NINE months. The limitless God of heaven confined Himself into a limited body of a Baby, allowing Himself to be fully dependent upon Mary for care.
“All the women who were gifted artisans spun yarn with their hands, and brought what they had spun, of blue, purple, and scarlet, and fine linen. And all the women whose hearts stirred with wisdom spun yarn of goats’ hair.” (Exodus 35:25-26 NKJV)
The Fine Linen
The Bible calls Jesus “Jesus” in the earlier four gospels, and then “Jesus Christ” while He was ministering on earth. After He was risen and taken into heaven (after the four gospels), the Bible epistles calls Him “Christ Jesus” because He is now Christ seated in heaven in glory!
Jesus is the fine linen – He knew no sin, He did no sin and in Him there is no sin! Yes He is God and Yes He is also fully Man. There is now a Man in heaven representing us and still serving us. Whatever is true of Christ Jesus now is also true of us who are believers. Just as Jesus is forever righteous before our Heavenly Father, so are we.
In Summary, the Tabernacle coverings and curtains speak of:
Badger’s skin : What the eyes of man saw.
Ram’s skin dyed in Red : What the eyes of God saw, no man can see, nor even the priest can see.
Curtain made of Goat’s hair : What God made His Son to be on earth.
Fine linen on the ceiling of Holy of Holies : What God made His Son in Heaven.