The Covering of the Tabernacle

Exodus 36:1-13


There were four layers of material that covered the tabernacle. The two inner layers were called “curtains.” The two outer layers were called “coverings.” Our study of these coverings will show that they eloquently speak of the glorious person and the victorious work of the Lord Jesus. Like the four Gospels, each covering is complete in itself, but when considered together, they give a full-orbed picture of the Lord.


The Inner Curtain

Let us consider the inner curtain: This set of curtains actually comprised the roof of the tabernacle. Only the priests who ministered in the Holy Place and in the Holy of Holies saw this indescribably beautiful curtain. Being made of fine twined linen, it spoke of the purity of Christ, and also typified His inner glory (note Luke’s presentation of Christ).

In the days of His flesh, most of the people only saw the badger skin (see Isaiah 53). His disciples, on occasion, were able to pierce through the outer coverings and see His divine glory. John 1:14 says, “We beheld His glory.” When Peter wrote his first letter 30 years after the ascension, he vividly recalls his experience on the mount of Transfiguration. “Beloved, we too can see Him in His majestic fullness and unsurpassed glory if we take advantage of our priesthood.”


The Materials 

This curtain was made of fine twined linen. This speaks of the purity of Christ’s humanity (see Numbers 11:8). When compared to other men, He stands alone in solitary dignity. Speaking of His birth, the angel could say “that holy thing” (see Luke 1:35). Paul surveying His life wrote in Romans 1:3-4, “Jesus Christ – declared to be the Son of God with power according to the Spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead.” Demons declared, “We know Thee who Thou art, the Holy one of God” (see Mark 1:24). The centurion confessed, “Certainly this was a righteous man” (see Luke 23:47).


The Colors 

Into this curtain were woven the colors of blue, purple and scarlet: Blue is the heavenly color. It speaks to us of the heavenly origin of Christ and His deity. How this deity ever became embodied in flesh will always be a mystery. 1 Timothy 3:16 says, “Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest.” In John 6:33, Jesus spoke of Himself as the “living bread, which came down from heaven.” In Isaiah 9:6, the prophet had the same concept when he declared, “Unto you a Child is born, unto us a Son is given.” “I am…” This is the character John displays in His Gospel.

The second color is purple. This is the color of royalty, and speaks of the kingly character of the Lord Jesus Christ. Isaiah describes the King as the Wonderful-Counselor, the Mighty God, the everlasting Father, and the Prince of Peace. Gabriel said in Luke 1:32-33:

“He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest, and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His Father David. And He shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.”  

When our Lord comes the second time, it will be demonstrated universally that He is “the blessed and only Potentate, the King of Kings, and Lord of Lords” (see 1 Timothy 6:15). Matthew describes Him over and over again as “King of the Jews.” This is the intent of the kingly gospel. 

The third color is scarlet. Scarlet is the symbol of blood and points us to the death of the Lord. “He became obedient unto death, even the death of the Cross.” No one in time will ever be able to fathom the depth of His love or the extent of His death. “None of the ransomed ever knew […]” Mark’s gospel would present to us the shedding of the precious blood of the perfect Servant. 


The Cherubim 

Please note that cherubim were woven into this curtain. Why cherubim? Cherubim are God’s messengers. They, among other things, are guardians of God’s holiness. This is supported by the fact that cherubim were placed at the east entrance of the Garden of Eden to guard the tree of life, after Adam had sinned. The cherubim could also remind us of Christ as the guardian of God’s holiness. As the Judge of the world, He will do this. Acts 17:31 says, “God hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world.”

In this glorious inner curtain we have an incomparable picture of Christ in His humanity, His deity, His sovereignty, His humility, and as the Judge, His severity in Judgment. This is a picture of the incomparable, incomprehensible, unfathomable, and inscrutable Christ.