Read Exodus Chapter 26. After you have read the chapter, read the passages below to help you dive deeper into the Chapter. Conclude in Prayer
“The Book of Exodus tells us that God showed Moses a pattern of the tabernacle, to build one accordingly (Ex. 25: 9). He showed him the actual one, in order to make a symbol of its model. The Book of Acts (7: 44), and the Epistle to the Hebrews (8: 5; 9: 23) confirm that Moses saw an actual model, which indicates that God wanted the tabernacle with all its details and specifications to serve, not for the sake of adornment, but as a symbol proclaiming an actual fact, and a reference that prophesies a future spiritual one.” - Fr. Tadros Y. Malaty
“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.”
SCARLET SIGNIFIES LOVE. Surely no access to the heavenly city is given us if we do not keep the love of God and neighbor in this church, which because it is outside is called a porch. This is why it was ordered that the curtains of the tabernacle be woven from scarlet cloth twice dyed. You, my friends, you are the curtains of the tabernacle, since by your faith you veil the heavenly secrets in your hearts. Scarlet twice dyed must be used for the curtains of the tabernacle. Scarlet has the look of fire, and what is love but fire? This love must be twice dyed, dyed by love of God and dyed by love of our neighbor.”
Names of the Tabernacle:
a- The Sanctuary: As God commanded Moses to set it, “that He may dwell among them” (Ex. 25: 8, 9).
b- The tabernacle of the testimony: (Ex. 38: 21); or the tabernacle of witness (Acts 7: 44); as in it, the Ark of Covenant that contains the two tablets is kept, as if, in its essence, the tabernacle became a practical testimony to the covenant that God made with His people, (which He wrote with His finger on the two tablets).
c- The tabernacle of meeting: It was so called, not because the people used to meet together, there, but because God Himself used to meet with His people in it (Ex. 33: 7), to confirm His care for them, and His keeping of His covenant with them. d- The house of the Lord: It was not just a place of meeting, but a place offered by the people to God, to be accepted by Him who fills the heaven and earth, owning it as His private dwelling, even though He does not dwell in a house. It is to let His men and children enter into it, as though entering into heaven, the dwelling place of God.
Dimensions of the tabernacle:
The tabernacle took the shape of a rectangle; 30 cubits long, 10 cubits wide, and 10 cubits high, with an entrance to the east. The two sides and the rear end are made of 48 boards: 20 boards on each side, and 8 boards for the rear end. Each board is 10 cubits long, and one and a half cubit wide, overlaid with gold. Each board has two silver tenons that fit into two silver sockets. The boards are connected with bars of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, and coupled together by golden rings (Ex. 26: 15 - 30).
The entrance to the east was open, but covered by a veil; woven of blue, purple, and scarlet yarns, and fine linen threads, and was hung upon 4 pillars of acacia wood, overlaid with gold, set on bases of brass.
Sections of the tabernacle:
The tabernacle is divided into two sections, by means of 4 identical pillars, set upon silver bases, with a veil hung upon them by golden hooks (Ex. 26: 31, 33, 37). It was woven of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and fine linen thread, with the design of cherubim made on them by a clever weaver. The veil divides between an eastern section, the holy place, and a western section, the Most Holy. The Most Holy place, on the western side, is like a cubicle, each side 10 cubits in length; and houses inside it the Ark of the Testimony. The holy place, on the eastern side, is 20 cubits long, 10 cubits wide, and 10 cubits high (Ex. 26: 16, 18, 22 - 24). It houses the table of Showbread on the right side, facing the golden lampstand on the left, and between the two is the golden altar of incense, opposite to the Ark of the Testimony (in the Most Holy place).”
The material and covers of the tabernacle:
1- In the tabernacle, the huge curtain that covers the roof, the two sides, and the rear end, does not reach down to the ground, but hangs over it by one cubit on each side. This curtain is formed of 10 pieces woven of fine linen thread, and of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, with artistic designs of cherubim woven on them. Each piece is 28 cubits long, and 4 cubits wide. Every 5 curtains are coupled to one another; one to represent the roof and three sides of the Most Holy Place, while the other to represent the roof and sides of the holy place. The two sections are bound together by means of fifty loops of blue yarn on the edge of the curtain, connected to one another by clasps of gold, so that the whole tabernacle appear as one piece.
2- The main covering of the tabernacle is made of goats’ hair, to be like a tent over the tabernacle. Its formed of 11 curtains, each 30 cubits long, and 4 cubits wide. By this, the length of the cover is 2 cubits longer than the inner curtain, one cubit on each side to cover the tabernacle down to the ground. Five curtains are gathered alone, to cover the roof and the sides of the Most Holy place, and six curtains are coupled by themselves, to cover the roof and the sides of the holy place, together with a portion of the entrance.
3- Two other coverings of rams’ skin were dyed red to protect the tabernacle against the sun and rain.
The outer court of the tabernacle:
Surrounding the tabernacle is a rectangular court; 100 cubits long, and 50 cubits wide.
The court is bound by 20 pillars on each side, and 10 pillars between, its height is 5 cubits, namely half that of the tabernacle. On the pillars there are hangings, woven of fine linen thread, and the twenty pillars have their sockets made of bronze, their hooks and bands of silver. For the gate of the court to the east, which is 20 cubits wide, there is a screen 20 cubits long, woven of blue, purple, and scarlet yarn, and fine linen thread, hung on 4 pillars (Ex. 27: 9 - 18). In the court, outside the tabernacle, there is the laver, and the altar of the burnt offering.
The tabernacle as a symbol of the Lord Christ:
(1) The materials of which the curtains are made, are the same as those of the veil which divides the holy place from the Most Holy, the curtain on the gate of the tabernacle, and as those from which the garments of Aaron, the High Priest, are made. They represent the Person of the Lord Christ from four aspects; as though the Lord Christ is the ultimate subject of all these symbols:
a- The fine threads of linen, refer to complete purity.
b- The blue, refers to the fact that He is of heaven (John 3: 13).
c- The purple, is the royal color, a sign of His Kingdom (Psalm 2). d- The scarlet, is a reference to His redeeming work; through shedding of His blood for our salvation.
This is the foundation on which the tabernacle is set. It is the Lord Christ Himself, in Whom the Father encounters humanity, and through Him, our reconciliation with the Father is achieved. (2) Those marvelous and beautiful curtains were covered by three coverings:
a- The first covering is made of goats’ hair (Ex. 26: 7), of no beauty. For, despite the divine beauty that the Lord Christ carried within Him, His outer appearance carried affliction and passion. The prophet Isaiah saw Him with no beauty; He appeared to him as though He was despised and rejected by God and men (Isaiah 53). Yet He is the Lamb of God, on Whom the burdens of our sins and iniquities are given.
What we say of the Person of the Lord Christ, we also say of His commandment and preaching; His commandment is difficult, its way is rough and its door is narrow. Yet, whoever meditates and practices the commandment, will find in it the Lord Christ, Who grants exaltation and exuberance to the soul.
And what we say of the Lord and His commandment, would also apply to His followers. Whoever walks with Christ, would not carry outer beauty, as “The royal daughter is all glorious within...” (Psalm 45: 13). On his outside, the Christian looks as though he carries affliction and passion, while inside he carries glory and joy.
b - Rams’ skin dyed red (Ex. 26: 14), as a symbol of the obedience of the Lord Christ to the Father, even to death.
c- Badger skin (Ex. 26: 14), to cover all the coverings, symbolizing the predominant trait of the Lord Christ: His steadfastness in the testimony to the Truth even to death.
The pillars and boards:
What are the pillars that carry the pieces of curtains, and what are the boards that bind the pillars together? The bases of the pillars are made of silver; two for each pillar. The silver refers to the word of God and gaining the gift of the Holy Spirit; as the words of God are as pure as silver in a crucible.The foundation of the preaching of the apostles is the prophets; as “the Church is built on the foundation of apostles and prophets” (Ephesians 2: 20), and through their testimony, faith would be strengthened in Christ, the crown of the pillars, as expressed by the apostle Paul, “The head of every man is Christ” (1 Corinthians 11: 3). The boards that bind the pillars together, as we stated, are the hands bound together through the apostolic fellowship.
Therefore, the tabernacle is a symbol of the Lord Christ, and the Church as His body, set upon the apostles (the pillars), bounded and united by the Spirit of love and fellowship (the boards), who preach what has been prophesied by the prophets (the silver bases). It is an apostolic Church that walks by apostolic thought, yet does not ignore the Law and the prophets, but depends on them with a biblical spirit.”
"The tabernacle has to have pillars, namely, the teachers, who are its ambassadors, of whom the apostle says: “... James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, ... gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship” (Galatians 2: 9). In the tabernacle, the pillars are bound together by the boards (Ex. 26: 19); the same way the teachers in the Church are united" - ORIGEN
APOSTLES AND PROPHETS -"What can the silver bases of the frames signify, except the order of prophets? They were the first to speak openly of the Lord‘s incarnation. They were like bases, and we see them rising from the foundations and sustaining the weight of the structure built on them. So when the Lord bade Moses build the frames of the tabernacle, Moses had the builders set them on their silver bases. What do the frames mean, except the apostles, who were spread out into the world by their preaching? What do the silver bases mean, except the prophets? They are firm, cast metal, and sustain the frames placed on them. The apostles‘ lives are guided by their proclamation and strengthened by their authority. So two bases are joined and placed under each frame.1 For when the holy prophets agree in what they say about the incarnation of the Mediator, they undoubtedly build up the preachers in the church who follow them. They do not disagree among themselves, and they make the preachers stronger. God rightly commands that the bases, which signify the prophets, should be cast in silver. The gleam of silver is maintained by use; when it is not used, it turns black. The prophets spoke before the Mediator came. Since their words were not joined into one spiritual understanding and could not be seen clearly because of the darkness, they remained, as it were, black. But afterwards, the Mediator came and cleansed our eyes with the hand of his incarnation. Whatever light was concealed in our eyes he made clear. He made the intentions of the ancient fathers useful, because he confirmed their words with his deeds.” - PATERIUS
The pillars of the veil, and those of the gate:
The veil that separates the holy place from the Most Holy is set upon four pillars. If that veil represents the isolation of man, and his deprivation from enjoying and entering into God’s presence, it actually refers to our love of the world, namely to the lusts of the body, that was taken from dust (the world). Thus the four pillars here, refer to the world (the four corners of the universe), namely the carnal lusts, things that collapsed through the lifting up of the Lord Christ on the cross, when the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom (Matt 27: 51).
The screen for the door of the tabernacle are supported by five pillars; the figure five most probably refers to the five senses, as there would be no entering into the tabernacle without sanctifying them. That is why the Kingdom of heaven was likened to the five wise virgins, who had their illuminated lamps stocked with oil; they had the sanctified senses, illuminated by the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, the kingdom of the devil, at the same time, is like the five foolish virgins with their lamps going out; their darkened senses that made them unworthy of entering into the heavenly wedding (Matt 25).”
“The tabernacle, in its essence, is a huge curtain, formed of two connected pieces. Each is formed of five curtains: measured 28 cubits long, and four cubits wide, woven of fine linen thread, and blue, purple, and scarlet yarns.
The collective curtain, that represent the catholic or global Church, being the tabernacle and garment of Christ, is 28 cubits long and 40 cubits wide (10 curtains each 4 cubits wide).
These dimensions are not without meaning: as the figure 28 refers to the Church of the New Testament, where the figure 7 represents perfection, as we have seen before. So if the gospel is preached in the 4 corners of the universe, the Church of the New Testament would be symbolized by the figure 28. As to the figure 40, it refers to the era of the Law (The 10 commandments times 4 corners of the Universe). The Lord Christ, as well as the prophets Moses and Elijah, fasted 40 days; a sign of the necessity of worship all the days of our life. Therefore the curtain refers to the perfection of the Church, united through the two Testaments, the Old and the New.
Note that the collective curtain forming the tabernacle, is actually formed of two united pieces, each of five curtains, as though the tabernacle is actually the fruit of union of two peoples that sanctified their 5 senses, to resemble the 5 wise virgins: the Jewish people and the Gentile people. The two peoples both represent one tabernacle, which is the holy body of the Lord Christ.
The two curtains are united by 50 loops, on each side (Ex. 26: 4, 5), all clasped together by 50 golden clasps. Therefore the secret of the union between the two peoples is the figure 50; namely the coming down of the Holy Spirit on the day of the Pentecost, that united the Jewish people to the Gentiles, granting the disciples the gift of talking with the tongues of all the peoples at that time, having all of them gathered together with the tongue of union, love, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit. As to the clasps, being of gold, it is because the secret of the union, granted by the Holy Spirit, is achieved through our enjoyment of the heavenly thought. In heaven, there is no dissension, nor schism, but union and love. Being woven of fine threads of linen, of blue, purple, and scarlet yarns refers to the fact that the Church is compared to its Head, the Lord Christ, symbolized by the 4 materials. The golden loops that bind the curtains together, that attaches tightly to the pillars and boards, refer to the faith that supports the Church.”
THE FIRST SANCTUARY IS THE CHURCH - "If the ancient custom of sacrifices is clear to you, let us see what these things also contain according to the mystical understanding. You heard that there were two sanctuaries, one, as it were, visible and open to the priests; the other, as it were, invisible and inaccessible. With the exception of the high priest alone, the others were outside. I think this first sanctuary can be understood as this church in which we are now placed in the flesh, in which the priests minister at the altar of the whole burnt offerings, with that fire kindled about which Jesus said, I came to send fire unto the earth, and how I wish it to be ignited. And I do not want you to marvel that this sanctuary is open only to the priests. For all who have been anointed with the chrism of the sacred anointing have become priests, just as Peter also says to all the church, But you are an elect race, a royal priesthood, a holy people. Therefore you are a priestly race, and because of this you approach the sanctuary.” - ORIGEN
Heavenly Father, We Thank Your designing a place for us to meet you and to experience you intimately. We know dear God, that you were really not giving us a place, but rather a person; Your Son Jesus Christ. You O Lord taught us that a man leaves his father and mother and joins to his wife and the two become one flesh. So too dear God, Our Lord Jesus Christ, emptied himself, took the form of man, and became One body, with His Bride, the Church. Thus, Christ and His Bride are One. We Thank You that we become one with You, as You are One with Your Son and Your Holy Spirit. OH HOW AWESOME IS THE MYSTERY OF THE TABERNACLE! Amen.