Curtains.I. THAT THE GLORY OF GOD IS HIDDEN TO ALL WHO STAND OUTSIDE JESUS CHRIST. Man cannot surprise God and penetrate His secrets.
II. THAT IN CHRIST THE GLORY OF GOD IS MOST BRIGHTLY REVEALED.
1. There is such a thing as regarding Christ from the outside; and then, as the Jews, we see no beauty in Him.
2. There is such a thing as knowing Christ as a great Teacher, a great Example; "the goats' hair curtains hooked with brass."
3. But it is only when we believe in Christ as the Son of God, and rest in Him as such, that we behold the fulness of His glory. The colours are the symbols of the different names of God; blue signifies the special revelation of God, being the colour of heaven and ether; red denotes the highest dignity, majesty, and royal power; crimson is that which fire and blood have in common, and symbolizes, therefore, life in its full extent. In Christ, the love, the life, the beauty, the majesty of God are most brightly expressed.
III. THAT IN CHRIST IS EVERLASTING SECURITY AND BLESSEDNESS.
(W. L. Watkinson.)
I. LET US LOOK AT THE BEAUTIFUL CURTAINS THAT FORMED THE TABERNACLE.
1. If we view the Tabernacle as an emblem of Christ in His incarnation, the beautiful curtains of cunning work were emblematical of the attributes and perfections of Jehovah, "In Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." Here every perfection meets and shines.
2. These beautifully-wrought curtains were emblems of the perfect graces which adorned the human nature of Jesus.
3. May we not see in this beautiful piece of tapestry the various characters of Christ? Here by faith we behold the Priest and His sacrifice, the King and His golden crown, the Prophet and His teaching, the Mediator and His fulness. Here by faith we behold the Shepherd and His watchful care, the Husband and His everlasting love, the Friend and His faithful counsel. Here in a mystery of grace we may discover the Root and the tree, the Vine and the branches, the Head and the members.
4. The curtains were the same in the holiest as in the holy place. The Church triumphant and the Church militant have the same Christ.
5. These curtains were fastened together by blue loops and taches of gold so as to form one Tabernacle. The loops and taches were exactly over the vail (ver. 33). This may teach us the connection between Christ's work in heaven and His work on earth.
6. These curtains were full of cherubim. May not these cherubim be emblems of believers who are Christ's mystical body? Christ and His members are one.
7. These curtains are emblems of the Churches of Christ adorned with the graces of the Holy Spirit.
8. The loops and golden clasps which united the curtains together show us the place for little deeds of kindness and little deeds of love. Kind words fitly spoken are golden clasps. There is far more power in kind words than some people think. Kind words are very uniting.
9. The Tabernacle was divided into two parts, but it was only one Tabernacle. The saints in heaven and the saints on earth make but one Church.
II. WE MAY NOW LOOK AT THE TENT OF GOATS' HAIR, WHICH FORMED A COVERING FOR THE TABERNACLE. The curtains of goats' hair were emblematical of the righteousness of Christ, which is the justification of the Church. These curtains were joined together by clasps of brass. "And he made fifty taches of brass to couple the tent together, that it might be one." Brass is an emblem of strength. "In the Lord shall one say, have I righteousness and strength." "In the Lord Jehovah " — Jehovah Tsidkenu — "is everlasting strength." May we not have an emblem in these two large goats' hair curtains, of righteousness in its twofold aspect? Christ's righteousness imputed is our justification. Christ's righteousness imparted is our sanctification. We cannot have one without the other; they must be in our experience "coupled together." Jesus Christ is our Righteousness and our Sanctification (1 Corinthians 1:30). Christ for us is our perfect righteousness. Christ in us is our perfect sanctification.
III. OVER THE TENT WAS A COVERING OF RAMS' SKINS DYED RED. Beautiful emblem of the protecting blood of Christ.
IV. ABOVE THE COVERING OF RAMS' SKINS DYED RED WAS A COVERING OF BADGERS' SKINS. These skins were probably dyed blue. Perhaps a part were dyed purple. If so there would be seen on the outside, as well as the inside, "the blue, purple, and scarlet." This outside covering teaches us that the Church is under the protection of heaven. The blue skins were over the red skins. Heaven only protects the blood marked. "Kept by the power of God."
(R. E. Sears.)
1. As the outside of the Tabernacle was coarse and rough, the beauty all lying within, so those in whom God dwells must labour to be better than they seem to be. Hypocrites put the best side outward, like whited sepulchres, but "the king's daughter is all glorious within" (Psalm 45:13); in the eye of the world black as the tents of Kedar, but in the eye of God comely as the curtains of Solomon (Song of Solomon 1:5). Let our adorning be that of the hidden man of the heart which God values (1 Peter 3:4).
2. Where God places His glory, He will create a defence; even on the habitations of the righteous there shall be a covert (Isaiah 6:5, 6). The protection of Providence shall always be upon the beauty of holiness (Psalm 27:5).
(A. Nevin, D. D.)
Hebrews 10:20, was a type of the Lord Jesus in the days of His flesh, and was rent when He yielded up the ghost. The curtains, fastened together by golden taches, seem to foreshadow Christ in resurrection. The same glorious display of God and man, wondrously united, meets the eye of faith, whether the blessed Lord be contemplated when sojourning on this earth or raised to the right hand of the Majesty on high. Resurrection added to Him no new perfections; for He was, while on earth, the Resurrection and the Life. He was ever perfect.
(H. W. Soltau.)
I. TO THE BELIEVER. God, who dwelt within these curtains, condescends to dwell graciously in the heart of every true Israelite — "saints are an habitation of God through the Spirit." As the Tabernacle was more beautiful within than without, so are God's children. They are clothed with the spotless robe of Emmanuel's righteousness, and adorned with humility, love, holiness, and heavenly-mindedness.
II. TO THE CHURCH. Believers, of whom the Church is composed, although scattered among many sects of professing Christians, are yet all one in Christ Jesus. As the curtains though woven separately were afterwards sewed together and formed two great curtains, which, when hung, were united into one by means of loops of blue and clasps of gold, so God's children are knit together by the silver ties of affection and bound together by the golden clasps of love.
III. TO CHRIST. He was the true Tabernacle, which "the Lord pitched and not man."
IV. TO HEAVEN. There angels and saints behold God-shining, not by a mere as symbol He did within the cherub-curtains, but in the "face of Jesus Christ!" There are those glorious beings who are mighty in strength (and whose perfections probably were shadowed forth in the cherubs that stood upon the mercy-seat and adorned roof and walls), even thousands and tens of thousands of holy angels, guardians of the saints while on earth, and their companions and fellow-worshippers for ever in the heavenly temple.
(H. W. Soltau.)
Ezekiel 16:10). In this covering there was nothing beautiful or attractive. I can suppose a man to have stood at the top of some high hill, and to have looked down on the long, dark, coffin-like structure, and to have said, "Well, I have heard much about the Tabernacle as being a very costly building, but I see no beauty at all in this long, dark tent"; but the priests who had been within could tell of gold, and silver, and the richest embroidery to be seen there. It was all glorious within, but rough and unsightly without. This badger skin covering sets forth the humility of Christ when on earth among men, who, judging of Him according to the outward appearance, said, "He hath no form nor comeliness; there is no beauty in Him that we should desire Him"; so they despised and rejected Him (Isaiah 53:2, 3). But we know there was much in Christ which did not meet the eye of men generally; and those who, taught of the Father, knew Him as the Christ the Son of the living God (Matthew 16:16, 17) were attracted to Him, for He was to them the "chiefest among ten thousand and altogether lovely" (Song of Solomon 5:10, 16). The rough badger skin outside was as needful as was the beautiful covering underneath; and the humility of Christ was as needful for us, and for the glory of God, as was His exaltation. This covering of badgers' skins was thick enough and hard enough to be an effectual protection from the rain, dew, and fine sand of the desert, and nothing could get through it to stain the fine linen or to dim the gold within. This shadows forth to us the holy determination of Christ to stand as a faithful and true witness for God on earth: the truth was in Him, and He kept it to the end.
Leviticus 4:11, 12), but the skin of the burnt-offering belonged to the priest who offered it to God (Leviticus 7:8). If the badger-skin covering sets forth the humility of Christ, this covering dyed red sets forth the depth of His humility. This blood-red skin reminds me of Him who when pressed, crushed, and distressed in the garden of Gethsemane, did "sweat as it were great drops of blood."
Leviticus 16:15, 16). This was "the blood of sprinkling," of which we read so much in the Bible. With this blood in his hand, the high priest entered once a year, and stood in the presence of God. This was the blood which he offered for the errors of the people, and which made atonement for them. This was the blood at which God looked, and with which He was satisfied; it had a voice, and spoke better things than the blood of Abel. When it was sprinkled on the mercy-seat, which covered up the tables of the law, it seemed to speak to God of punishment which had been borne and of a life which had been given up. Observe again, the animal that bore away the sins of the people into the wilderness, where they were found no more, was a goat. I refer to the scapegoat, of which we read in Leviticus 16. This goat going away with the people's sins would show those outside of the Tabernacle what the blood of the slain goat had done within the vail, viz., that it had put away sin and had set them free; and as they gazed on the folded part of goats'-hair cloth, as it hung over the east end of the Tabernacle, it would seem to preach the gospel to them by reminding them how their sin was put away on the tenth day of the seventh month. It would speak of abounding grace, telling them that they had received double for all their sins. The first covering told us of the humility of Christ; the next told us of the depth of His humility; this tells us of the blessed results of His suffering and death, viz., that the sins of the Lord's people are put away, for ever put away.
Boards for the Tabernacle.I. THAT INVINCIBLE STRENGTH UNDERLIES THE APPARENT WEAKNESS OF THE GOSPEL.
II. THAT THE GOSPEL, DESPITE ALL ITS NATURAL AND HUMAN ASPECTS, HAS A DIVINE CHARACTER AND BASIS. Our faith rests in the power of God.
III. THAT OUT OF THE STRENGTH OF CHRIST SPRING THE HIGHEST GLORY AND JOY (ver. 29). Let the Church seek to realize its full privilege in Christ. In character, we are often satisfied with the bare boards of mere honesty and uprightness; in experience, we are content with the boards and bars, a mere sense of safety; in hope, we rest content with the bare expectation of pulling through in the judgment. The gilded boards of the Tabernacle are eloquent illustrations of the New Testament doctrine that in Christ we must rise to beauty, to brightness, to bliss.
IV. THAT CHRIST IS AN EVERLASTING DWELLING-PLACE TO HIS PEOPLE. Tabernacle built of boards of acacia, a wood so durable it does not rot even in water. The strength of Christ is everlasting.
(W. L. Watkinson.)
(H. W. Soltau.)
2 Peter 1:4); as they had been separated, cut off from the place in which nature had placed them, so the members of the true Church of Christ have been cut off from the place in which they stood by nature, which was one of guilt and condemnation, and they have been joined by living faith to the living Jesus. Nature provided no foundation on which to build the Tabernacle, and nature has provided no foundation on which the sinner can build his hope; but as God provided a foundation for the Tabernacle in the redemption-money of the people, so now He has provided a foundation for His people in the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. And as no board could be a part of the Tabernacle without being built upon the silver foundation, so no person can be any part of the true Church of God if he be not built by faith upon Christ.
2 Peter 1:4). They are born from above, and they are heavenly minded. Their affection is set on things above. God's people are a holy people. "The beauty of holiness" is the gold with which God will beautify and adorn His people. The knots and grains of the wood were all hidden from view beneath plates of pure gold. God hides all our imperfections from view beneath the gold of His perfect righteousness.
(R. E. Sears.)
Sockets of silverExodus 30:16; Exodus 38:27), but of some other material, God certainly would not have acknowledged the Tabernacle which rested on them as His palace-temple. He never would have enthroned Himself invisible symbol on the mercy-seat. In like manner, those who substitute their own good works, or anything else in the room of the Redeemer, on which to build their hope of salvation, are building on the sand, and cannot form a part of that building which is an "habitation of God through the Spirit," for "other foundation can no man lay than is laid, which is Christ Jesus."
Tenonson, but in their respective sockets, or they would not have been upheld. In like manner sinners, in order to be saved, must not only be on, but in the spiritual foundation. Unless they are by faith rooted in Christ Jesus, as the boards by their tenons were rooted in the ransom money, they cannot stand.
1. There was a sevenfold bond of union. The five bars, the silver sockets, and the corner boards. Paul gives us the gospel meaning of this in his Epistle to the Ephesians (Ephesians 4:4-6).
2. The centre bar which passed through the boards from one end to the other, was a lively type of the indwelling of the Godhead in all believers. All the Three Persons of the Trinity are spoken of as dwelling in the renewed heart. "Christ in you the hope of glory." "Jesus answered and said unto him, if a man love Me, he will keep My words; and My Father will love him, and We will come unto him, and make Our abode with him." "What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own." What a glorious bond of union is this! Christians of all denominations are one here; for without the love of the Father, the grace of the Son, and power of the Holy Ghost, no man can be a Christian.
3. These bars remind us of the encircling arms of love and mercy. "Underneath are the everlasting arms." "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people from henceforth even for ever." All Christians are one in the Divine protection. "All His saints are in thy hand."
4. All Christians are one in love to God.
5. Another bond of union is reverence for the Word of God. Christians may differ in their interpretations of the Word. All may not have the same measure of wisdom to understand its mysteries; but all Christians are one in their esteem and love for the grand old Book! Is it not the one revelation of the Divine will?
(R. E. Sears.)
And thou shalt make a vail.I. THESE VAILS SIGNIFY THAT THE HIGHEST VISION AND FELLOWSHIP OF GOD ARE AS YET DENIED TO MAN. God's presence is fenced about from sinful man.
II. WHILST THESE VAILS REMOVE GOD FROM THE APPROACH OF MAN, THEY GIVE THE PROMISE OF A FULLER REVELATION. The God of mercy, and love, and life, shines through the obscuration.
III. THAT THESE VAILS ARE TAKEN AWAY IN CHRIST (Mark 15:38). In Christ we stand "within the vail." In Him we realize the presence and joy of God.
(W. L. Watkinson.)
1. It was glorious, of embroidered work: this faith guild signified the body of Christ, filled with the fulness of God, or beautified with all the most excellent graces of the Spirit.
2. It was replenished and wrought full of cherubim, noting thereby that serviceable and ready attendance of the angels on Christ's natural and mystical body.
3. It was borne up by costly pillars, to show that the humanity of Christ, especially in His sufferings, should be borne up by His Deity.
4. By the vail only, there was entry into the holiest place of all: so by the vail, i.e., the flesh of Christ, which was rent, as it were, upon the cross, a new and living way is made for us to the Father.
(H. Macmillan, D. D.)
Proverbs 30:30, 31; and is also described as going well, and being comely in going; and as strongest among beasts, turning not away from any. Majesty, strength, and courage are therefore here typified. The ox, in addition to its well-known character for patient enduring labour, is also recognized in Scripture as knowing its owner; herein it may prefigure the persevering resolution of Him who unflinchingly set His shoulder to the arduous work committed to Him by His Father, and who always recognized His Father's will, and delighted to do it. The way of an eagle in the air is alluded to in Proverbs 30:19, as too wonderful to be known: referring probably to the astonishing extent and accuracy of its vision as to things of earth, when poised aloft, and to its swiftness of flight when the object of its search is discovered. Fit emblem this of Him, whose eyes search the depths of the heart, and who is as rapid in discovering where the lawful prey is, as in delivering it from the power of the destroyer. These three faces, combined with the human face and form, completed the cherubim: for all this power, labour, activity, and quickness of perception, were put forth under the control and guidance of perfect wisdom and sympathy. Wings were also spread abroad over the surface of the vail, proceeding from the cherubim; denoting the heavenly origin and unearthly ways of the Son of Man, who was "from above," and who could say, even while here, "The Son of Man, who is in heaven."
(H. W. Soltau.)
cut off? (see Isaiah 53:8; Psalm 102:23, 24). And yet the very fact of this seemingly abrupt termination of the life of the Lord Jesus, in the days of His flesh, has made Him to be unto us "wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption"; a fourfold perfection, meeting our fourfold need; to which possibly the number of vail-pillars may allude.
(H. W. Soltau.)
The door of the tent1. This was the only door of the Tabernacle; it must therefore have been an emblem of Jesus Christ (John 10:9). There was only one entrance into the court, only one door into the holy place, and only one way into the holy of holies. Jesus is the Way, the Truth, and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father, but by Him. The curtain at the door of the Tabernacle was made of blue, and purple, and scarlet. Here we have an emblem of the Saviour's threefold Name. Lord — Jesus — Christ. He is Lord of all power, majesty, dominion, and glory. May not the "blue, and the purple, and the scarlet," be figurative of Jesus in His threefold office, as Priest, King, and Prophet? The scarlet shows His priestly sacrifice. The purple His kingly dignity. The blue His heavenly teaching as the prophet. It is only as we see Jesus in His threefold office, that He is the Door. As the Priest, He is the sacrificial Way. As the Prophet, He is the Truth. As the King, He reigns to give Life. As Jesus, He is our saving Priest; as Christ, He is our anointed, instructing Prophet; and as Lord, He is our ruling King. In Him these offices are united. We may distinguish between them, but we must not separate them.
2. May not the five pillars which held up the curtains at the Door, be emblems of gospel ministers, whose work it is to hold up Christ before the people?
3. These pillars had sockets of brass. Brass being in Scripture an emblem of strength, we may here see the servants of God strengthened for their work. May we not see Jesus Himself in the sockets of brass? "His feet are like fine brass." Jesus upholds His servants with His own strength. "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." He who holds the stars in His right hand, upholds His servants as pillars in the house of God. Were the pillars beautiful So are ministers abounding in their work (Isaiah 53:7).
(R. E. Sears.)
(H. W. Soltau.).