This post is another in the “Tabernacle” series. Select “Tabernacle” under Categories to view the other posts in this series.
THE OUTER COURT OF THE TABERNACLE
In Exodus, chapters 25-28, we find recorded a marvelous revelation of GOD’s plan of salvation, made possible through JESUS CHRIST, our Saviour and Lord; as typified and symbolized in the Tabernacle, which occupied a central place, in the midst of every encampment of Israel.
In Exodus 27:9-15, we are told that the Tabernacle proper was to be surrounded by an open-air court. This was to have a ground-measurement of 50 by 100 cubits. A Hebrew cubit is commonly supposed to have been based upon the average length of the forearm, from the point of the elbow to the end of the middle finger, or 18 inches. Thus the length of the court, laid out from the West to the East, in our measurements, was approximately 150 feet, and from North to South, approximately 75 feet. Thus the open court was composed of two squares, 75 feet wide, forming this oblong court. The diagonals of these squares exactly determined the location of the Tabernacle proper, and also that of the altar of sacrifice. We should notice the mathematical and geometrical precision with which every detail was indicated and meticulously followed in everything pertaining to the Tabernacle: “And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them. According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it” (Exodus 25:8, 9).
GOD’S HOLINESS A BARRIER
This court was surrounded by a fence, made in one unbroken place, except for the opening for the gate, placed in the center of the East side of the enclosure. This fence was woven of pure, white, fine linen, at least 7 1/2 feet high, and held upright by posts of acacia wood. The lower end of each of these posts was fitted into a socket, sunk into an oblong block of brass, weighing sixty pounds. Some have contended that these posts were covered with brass, but this is not certain.
Brass always symbolizes “judgment” wherever it appears in the Word of GOD. Wherever a specific symbol is used, it holds that meaning, throughout the Divine revelation. For instance, leaven symbolizes evil. Where used symbolically, it can represent only evil, wherever the word is found.
Acacia wood abounded in the region through which Israel journeyed. It was very hard in texture and was practically indestructible. It formed the basis of everything connected with the Tabernacle and its furniture. It stands for the indestructible, unchanging Word of GOD. The fine, white linen symbolizes the righteousness and holiness of GOD. Hence, the fence, upheld by posts of acacia-wood, speak of GOD’s holiness, as revealed and unvaryingly upheld in both the Old and New Testament Scriptures.
BRASS STANDS FOR JUDGMENT
Not only were the posts of acacia-wood help upright by the heavy blocks of brass; but cords were attached to rings, one on the inside, and one on the outside of each post. These cords were fastened to brass pins, driven into the ground, in each case, in a line, an equal distance from all the posts, inside and outside the fence, completely around the court of the Tabernacle. All of the posts, holding up the pure, white, linen fence, were placed inside the enclosure, and could not be seen by anyone outside. So that anyone, outside the court, saw only the unbroken pure, white barrier. It was too high to be climbed over, too low to be crawled under, and of such texture as completely to baffle any attempt to pass into the court, except by the gate, as GOD ordained. The everywhere-present brass was a constant reminder that any presumptuous approach to, or attempt to pass through or over this seemingly slight barrier would be met with instant judgment.
Remembering that most types and symbols, with which we are dealing, have their fulfillment in JESUS CHRIST, as presented to us in the New Testament, please turn to John 14:6: “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me” and then to John 10:1-7: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that entereth not by the door into the sheepfold, but climbeth up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber. But he that entereth in by the door is the shepherd of the sheep. To him the porter openeth; and the sheep hear his voice: and he calleth his own sheep by name, and leadeth them out. And when he putteth forth his own sheep, he goeth before them, and the sheep follow him: for they know his voice. And a stranger will they not follow, but will flee from him: for they know not the voice of strangers. This parable spake Jesus unto them: but they understood not what things they were which he spake unto them. Then said Jesus unto them again, Verily, verily, I say unto you, I am the door of the sheep” and hear JESUS as He says: “I AM THE WAY!” And how clearly we see that he that tries to climb up over the top is a thief and a robber.
THE SILVER CHAPITERS
Thus, we have come to an understanding of the meaning of the barrier surrounding the court of the Tabernacle. That meaning is startlingly stated by Divine Inspiration, by the Apostle Paul, “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord!” (Hebrews 12:14). So far, in the symbolization of the way to GOD, unholy and sin-laden seekers of the way to redemption and salvation are stopped, warned of judgment for their sins and humanly speaking, are lost and without hope.
SILVER STANDS FOR REDEMPTION
There were 60 posts, or pillars, supporting the Divinely appointed barrier, around the court of the Tabernacle. Each of these posts was crowned with a shining head of silver. Silver always symbolizes redemption, and the price paid for our redemption. Every Israelite 20 years old or over, must give to the Lord, as ransom-money, a silver half-shekel. None was exempted. All had sinned and come short of the glory of GOD. So also, like sheep, have WE all gone astray; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us ALL. In this connection, read Isaiah 53, over and over again.
Attached to the silver capitals, or head-pieces, in line with the top of the linen barrier, were silver rings, and attached to each ring was a silver band, or chain, whose outer end was attached to the selvage of the curtain, some distance from the pillar, to support the curtain and hold it in place.
THE GATE OF THE COURT
This gate was located midway of the side-walls, on the East side of the court. It consisted of a separate curtain of white, fine-twined linen, embroidered with fine needle work, in four separate colors, blue, purple, and scarlet, against the background of pure, white linen. This curtain was 20 cubits long, of the same height as the barrier, and supported by four pillars, set in sockets of brass, and with silver capitals and fillets of silver, like those of the rest of the outside fence of the court.
This gate of the court, with its four pillars and four colors, wonderfully symbolizes CHRIST, as revealed and presented to us, at the door into the New Testament in the four Gospels. We mention these colors in the order in which they symbolize the four characters of JESUS CHRIST, as revealed in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. There are four Gospels in the New Testament, because the Old Testament Scriptures unfold and foreshadow Israel’s coming MESSIAH and KING in harmony with the four distinct characters which are manifested in Prophecy and Promise and as fulfilled in His life and ministry as recorded in the New Testament.
Matthew, symbolized by the purple in the curtain of the gate, speaks of the KING and His Kingdom, Mark presents Him as the suffering Saviour, obedient unto death, represented by scarlet in the curtain, the color of the blood of the innumerable sacrifices, offered at the altar, and once for all, on the Cross. The Gospel of Luke presents the lamb, spotless and without blemish, the perfect MAN, CHRIST JESUS; righteous and holy, represented by the pure, white linen. While the Gospel of John presents Him as the eternal Word of GOD, who was with GOD and who was GOD. “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. No man hath seen God, at any time: the only begotten Son, who was in the bosom of the Father, HE hath declared (or revealed) “HIM” (John 1:1, 14, 18).
Now we have discovered how wonderfully, way back there, the truth was revealed to the Children of Israel by the gate of the outer court of the Tabernacle, which, to us, was plainly declared by our Lord, “I AM THE DOOR; by me if any man enter in, HE SHALL BE SAVED” (John 10:9).
Worthy is the Lamb! Blessings!