Exodus 26 (NRSV)
In this chapter, God reveals the pattern for the tabernacle proper. The tabernacle, God’s holy dwelling in the midst of His sinful people, served a double function. On the one hand, it protected the people from the dangers of unauthorized intrusion—the curtains of the Most Holy Place, of the Holy Place, and even of the courtyard stood between the people and the threat of God’s consuming holy presence. On the other hand, the tabernacle provided a way of approach to the Lord. Worshipers entered the outer court to pray and offer sacrifices; the priests carried the people’s petitions into the holy place; and once a year on the Day of Atonement the high priest entered the Most Holy Place, the very throne-room of the Almighty, with a blood atonement to meet the Lord at the mercy seat.
Nevertheless, the tabernacle was a provisional symbol, rather than the full reality, of God’s dwelling with man. It symbolized the heavenly temple of God (Hebrews 8:1-6; 9:1-15) and pointed forward to the dwelling of God with man in Jesus Christ, God incarnate in human flesh (John 1:14). As the author of Hebrews makes clear, the tabernacle and its ministry were insufficient in themselves (Hebrews 10:1-4). Rather, they foreshadowed the final and completely sufficient priestly work of Christ (Hebrews 10;11-18). (The Reformation Bible)
HERE is “Lord, prepare me — to be a sanctuary — pure and holy — tried and true — with thanksgiving — I’ll be a living — sanctuary — for you.” Written by John W. Thompson and Randy Scruggs, 1982. This is a prayer I often sing as I go about the business of my days.
Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen, and blue, purple, and crimson yarns; you shall make them with cherubim skillfully worked into them. 2The length of each curtain shall be twenty-eight cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits; all the curtains shall be of the same size.
So, about 42 feet long and 6 feet wide.
3Five curtains shall be joined to one another; and the other five curtains shall be joined to one another. 4You shall make loops of blue on the edge of the outermost curtain in the first set; and likewise you shall make loops on the edge of the outermost curtain in the second set. 5You shall make fifty loops on the one curtain, and you shall make fifty loops on the edge of the curtain that is in the second set; the loops shall be opposite one another. 6You shall make fifty clasps of gold, and join the curtains to one another with the clasps, so that the tabernacle may be one whole.
7You shall also make curtains of goats’ hair for a tent over the tabernacle; you shall make eleven curtains. 8The length of each curtain shall be thirty cubits, and the width of each curtain four cubits; the eleven curtains shall be of the same size. 9You shall join five curtains by themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and the sixth curtain you shall double over at the front of the tent. 10You 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 that is outermost in the second set. 11You shall make fifty clasps of bronze, and put the clasps into the loops, and join the tent together, so that it may be one whole. 12The part that remains of the curtains of the tent, the half curtain that remains, shall hang over the back of the tabernacle. 13The cubit on the one side, and the cubit on the other side, of what remains in the length of the curtains of the tent, shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle, on this side and that side, to cover it.
14You shall make for the tent a covering of tanned rams’ skins and an outer covering of fine leather.
When these four layers of curtains were laid on one another, the result was a very dry and very dark tent. The only light came from the lampstand described in the previous chapter.
Click HERE to see the four layers of the exterior of the tabernacle.
15You shall make upright frames of acacia wood for the tabernacle. 16Ten cubits shall be the length of a frame, and a cubit and a half the width of each frame.
Each board was made of acacia wood and overlaid with gold. Each board was about 15 feet high and 2 feet wide.
17There shall be two pegs in each frame to fit the frames together; you shall make these for all the frames of the tabernacle. 18You shall make the frames for the tabernacle: twenty frames for the south side; 19and you shall make forty bases of silver under the twenty frames, two bases under the first frame for its two pegs, and two bases under the next frame for its two pegs; 20and for the second side of the tabernacle, on the north side twenty frames, 21and their forty bases of silver, two bases under the first frame, and two bases under the next frame; 22and for the rear of the tabernacle westward you shall make six frames. 23You shall make two frames for corners of the tabernacle in the rear; 24they shall be separate beneath, but joined at the top, at the first ring; it shall be the same with both of them; they shall form the two corners. 25And so there shall be eight frames, with their bases of silver, sixteen bases; two bases under the first frame, and two bases under the next frame.
26You shall make bars of acacia wood, five for the frames of the one side of the tabernacle, 27and five bars for the frames of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the frames of the side of the tabernacle at the rear westward. 28The middle bar, halfway up the frames, shall pass through from end to end. 29You shall overlay the frames with gold, and shall make their rings of gold to hold the bars; and you shall overlay the bars with gold.
So what we have is essentially a framework of posts and crossbars upon which the curtains were hung. The entire structure could be dismantled or assembled in a minimum of time. (The Reformation Bible)
30Then you shall erect the tabernacle according to the plan for it that you were shown on the mountain.
Acts 7:44 (New Living Translation)
“Our ancestors carried the Tabernacle with them through the wilderness. It was constructed according to the plan God had shown to Moses.”
31You shall make a curtain of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and of fine twisted linen; it shall be made with cherubim skillfully worked into it.
The ancient Jews said the later veil of the temple was as wide as four fingers, so that no one could possibly see into the Most Holy place.
32You shall hang it on four pillars of acacia overlaid with gold, which have hooks of gold and rest on four bases of silver. 33You shall hang the curtain under the clasps, and bring the ark of the covenant in there, within the curtain; and the curtain shall separate for you the holy place from the most holy.
About: the Curtain
- divided the two sacred rooms of the tabernacle–the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place
- symbolized how the people were separated from God because of sin
( from Life Application Bible, Tyndale and Zondervan, 1991)
Mark 15:37-38 (New International Version)
With a loud cry, Jesus breathed his last.
The curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom.
In 63 b.c., the ancient Roman general Pompey pushed aside the priests and walked right into the Most Holy place of the temple — and was astonished to see there was no idol or statue (Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews, book 14, chapter 4).
34You shall put the mercy seat on the ark of the covenant in the most holy place. 35You shall set the table outside the curtain, and the lampstand on the south side of the tabernacle opposite the table; and you shall put the table on the north side.
36You shall make a screen for the entrance of the tent, of blue, purple, and crimson yarns, and of fine twisted linen, embroidered with needlework. 37You shall make for the screen five pillars of acacia, and overlay them with gold; their hooks shall be of gold, and you shall cast five bases of bronze for them.
The New Revised Standard Version, copyright 1989 by the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.