Exodus 26



                                    THE TABERNACLE – (vs. 1-37)


The sacred furniture which the tabernacle was to contain having been described, with

the exception of the “altar of incense” the description of which is reserved for

ch.30:1-10 -  directions were next given for the sacred structure itself. This was to

consist of three main things:


  • A quadrangular enclosure thirty cubits long by ten broad, open at one

            end, and on the other three sides enclosed by boards of acacia-wood

            overlaid with gold — called the mishkan, or “the dwelling-place,” in our

            version usually translated “tabernacle.”


  • A tent of goat’s hair, supported upon poles, and stretched by means of

            ropes and tent-pegs in the ordinary manner over the mishkan. This is called

            the ohel — which is the usual word for a “tent” in Hebrew, and is so

            translated generally (Genesis 4:20; 9:21; 13:12; 18:1), though in this chapter,    

            unfortunately, “covering” (v. 7); and


  • A “covering”mikseh, to be placed over the ohel, composed of rams’

            skins dyed red, and seals’ skins (v.14). Subordinate parts of the structure



ü      The sockets, or bases, which were to receive and support the

      upright boards (vs. 19-25);


ü      The bars which were to hold the boards together (vs. 26-29);


ü      The veil, stretched on pillars, which was to be hung across the

                        “dwelling-house,” and to separate it into two parts, the “holy place”

                        and the “holy of holies” (vs. 31-33); and


ü      The curtain or “hanging” at the open end of the “dwelling-place,”

                        where there were no boards, which was intended to close that side

                        of the structure when necessary (vs. 36-37).



                                    THE FINE LINEN COVERING


vs. 1-6 – “Moreover thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine

twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubims of cunning

work shalt thou make them.  The length of one curtain shall be eight and

twenty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and every one of the

curtains shall have one measure.  The five curtains shall be coupled together

one to another; and other five curtains shall be coupled one to another.

And thou shalt make loops of blue upon the edge of the one curtain from the

selvedge (I  have never noticed this – I had a friend and fellow teacher by the

name of Roger Selvedge who passed away a few years ago.  I guess somewhere

down the line there was a Biblical influence – CY – 2010)in the coupling; and

likewise shalt thou make in the uttermost edge of another curtain, in the

coupling of the second.  Fifty loops shalt thou make in the one curtain, and

fifty loops shalt thou make in the edge of the curtain that is in the coupling of the

second; that the loops may take hold one of another.  And thou shalt make fifty

taches of gold, and couple the curtains together with the taches: and it shall be

one tabernacle.”


                                    THE GOAT’S SKIN TENT-CLOTH


vs. 7-13 – “And thou shalt make curtains of goats’ hair to be a covering upon

the tabernacle: eleven curtains shalt thou make.  The length of one curtain shall

be thirty cubits, and the breadth of one curtain four cubits: and the eleven

curtains shall be all of one measure.  And thou shalt couple five curtains by

themselves, and six curtains by themselves, and shalt double the sixth curtain

in the forefront of the tabernacle.  And thou shalt make fifty loops on the edge

of the one curtain that is outmost in the coupling, and fifty loops in the edge of

the curtain which coupleth the second.  And thou shalt make fifty taches of

brass, and put the taches into the loops, and couple the tent together, that it may

be one.  And the remnant that remaineth of the curtains of the tent, the half

curtain that remaineth, shall hang over the backside of the tabernacle.  And a

cubit on the one side, and a cubit on the other side of that which remaineth in

the length of the curtains of the tent, it shall hang over the sides of the tabernacle

on this side and on that side, to cover it.”


                                    THE OUTER PROTECTION


v. 14 – “And thou shalt make a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed

red, and a covering above of badgers’ skins.”



                        THE BOARDING OF THE TABERNACLE


vs. 15-30 – “And thou shalt make boards for the tabernacle of shittim wood

standing up.  Ten cubits shall be the length of a board, and a cubit and a half

shall be the breadth of one board.  Two tenons shall there be in one board, set

in order one against another: thus shalt thou make for all the boards of the

tabernacle.  And thou shalt make the boards for the tabernacle, twenty boards

on the south side southward.  And thou shalt make forty sockets of silver under

the twenty boards; two sockets under one board for his two tenons, and two

sockets under another board for his two tenons.   And for the second side of the

tabernacle on the north side there shall be twenty boards:  And their forty

sockets of silver; two sockets under one board, and two sockets under another

board.  And for the sides of the tabernacle westward thou shalt make six

boards.  And two boards shalt thou make for the corners of the tabernacle in

the two sides.  And they shall be coupled together beneath, and they shall be

coupled together above the head of it unto one ring: thus shall it be for them

both; they shall be for the two corners.  And they shall be eight boards, and

their sockets of silver, sixteen sockets; two sockets under one board, and two

sockets under another board.  And thou shalt make bars of shittim wood; five

for the boards of the one side of the tabernacle,  And five bars for the boards

of the other side of the tabernacle, and five bars for the boards of the side of

the tabernacle, for the two sides westward.  And the middle bar in the midst of

the boards shall reach from end to end.  And thou shalt overlay the boards

with gold, and make their rings of gold for places for the bars: and thou shalt

overlay the bars with gold.  And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according

to the fashion thereof which was shewed thee in the mount.”





 vs. 31-35 – “And thou shalt make a vail of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and

fine twined linen of cunning work: with cherubims shall it be made:  And thou

shalt hang it upon four pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold: their hooks

shall be of gold, upon the four sockets of silver.  And thou shalt hang up the vail

under the taches, that thou mayest bring in thither within the vail the ark of the

testimony: and the vail shall divide unto you between the holy place and the most

holy.  Literally, “the holy of holies” — the inner chamber, that within the veil, which

constituted the adytum, or innermost recess of the tabernacle. The ark and the

mercy-seat were the special furniture of this inner sanctuary. To these is added later

(ch. 30:1-10) the altar of incense.  (It was this veil that was rent when Jesus died

for the sins of mankind – Matthew 27:51-53 says “And, behold, the veil of the

temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom; and the earth did

quake, and the rocks rent; And the graves were opened; and many bodies

of the saints which slept arose, and came out of the graves after His

resurrection-Matthew thus introduces his account of the portents which attended

the death of the Son of God. The rending of the veil is mentioned by the synoptists

as consequent on, and occurring simultaneously with, the completion of the ineffable

sacrifice of Jesus Christ -  The veil of the temple” (tou~ naou~). There were two

principal veils in the present temple — one between the vestibule and the holy place,

and one other which is that here referred to, a constituent part of the edifce. This was

the veil between the holy place and the holy of holies, which was moved aside

only once a year to admit the high priest to the shrine on the great Day of

Atonement (Exodus 26:33). It was large and costly, some sixty feet high, and made

of rich materials. Josephus (‘Bell. Jud.,’ 5:5. 4) tells us of one of the veils in the

temple, that it was a Babylonian curtain, embroidered with linen in various colors,

woven together with wonderful art, such as the eye loved to rest upon. “Was rent

in twain from the top to the botto -  An apocryphal Gospel (‘The Gospel of the

Hebrews’), quoted by St. Jerome, in loc., asserts that the exquisitely carved lintel to

which the veil was fastened was at this moment shattered to pieces, and in its fall

tore the curtain asunder. The direction of the rent would show that no human

hands had torn it apart, and the rending seems to have preceded the earthquake.

The violent act was supernatural, and of a typical nature, as we are taught by

Hebrews 9:6-12. The sanctuary enshrined the presence of God, from which the

veil excluded every one but the high priest on one special occasion, thus denoting

the imperfect reconciliation between God and His people, and that the way to the

holiest was not yet made manifest.  The rending of this veil betokened the opening

of the access to heaven through the wounded body of Christ: as we read in

Hebrews 10:19-22,  Having boldness to enter into the holiest by the blood of

Jesus, by a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the

veil, that is to say, His flesh.  And having an high priest over the house of

God; Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having

our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with

pure water”. “When thou hadst overcome the sharpness of death, thou

didst open the kingdom of heaven to all believers.” The distinction between

Jew and Gentile was abolished, the mysteries of the old Law were opened

and manifested, all rites and ceremonies were made of sacramental efficacy,

and ministered grace. How soon this ominous occurrence was discovered,

we know not. The priest who offered incense at the evening sacrifice about

this same hour must have seen it, and spread abroad among his comrades

the news, to which many would attach a meaning fatal to the security of

their religion. But this was comparatively a private sign; the next one was

of a more comprehensive and public character. “The earth did quake, and

the rocks rent.” The last verb is the same as was used just before in the

case of the veil. There was a local earthquake at this awful moment, as if

the very land shuddered at the terrible crime that had been committed.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may

obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” Hebrews 4:16)

And thou shalt put the mercy seat upon the ark of the testimony in

the most holy place.  And thou shalt set the table without the vail, and the

candlestick over against the table on the side of the tabernacle toward the

south: and thou shalt put the table on the north side.”



                                    THE ENTRANCE OF THE TENT


vs. 36-37 – “And thou shalt make an hanging for the door of the tent” –

A curtain which could draw up and. down, seems to be intended. When let down,

it probably covered the entire eastern side, or front of the tabernacle. When raised,

it allowed the eye to penetrate into the holy place – “of blue, and purple, and

scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework.  And thou shalt  make

for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood, and overlay them with gold,  and

their hooks shall be of gold: and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them.”





  • That the HOLY OF HOLIES typified heaven itself is declared in the

            Epistle to the Hebrews (Hebrews 9:7-12). In it were the forms of

            cherubim, representing the angelic choir, and between them was the

            manifestation of the presence of God himself. It was cut off from the rest

            of the sanctuary by the veil, which none was to lift save the High Priest

            once a year: “the Holy Ghost thus signifying, that the way into the

            holiest of all” i.e., into heaven — “was not made manifest, while as

            the first tabernacle was yet standing” (ib, v. 8).


  • THE VEIL thus typified and represented the separation between man

            and God — the awful barrier which shuts out from the Divine presence all,

            even the holiest, unless they have with them the blood of expiation, “that

            speaketh better things than that of Abel.”  (Hebrews 12:24) -The veil

            was covered with cherubic forms, reminding men of those watchers at the

            gate of Eden, who with “a flaming sword that turned every way, kept

            the way of the tree of life” (Genesis 3:24). Men saw in the thick curtain that

            hid the holiest from view, that heaven was shut to them, unless a “new and

            living way” – (Hebrews 10:20) - could be found, whereby they might enter.

            They had impressed upon them the awful holiness and inaccessibility of the        

            Supreme Being, and their own unworthiness to approach Him. They learnt

            that God had hidden Himself from them, until some “better time,” When the

            veil would be rent, and in and through their true High Priest, and through faith

            in His blood, they might “have boldness to enter into the holiest by the

            blood of Jesus.”


  • The tabernacle outside the veil — THE HOLY PLACE, as it was

            called — represented the church militant. Here was perpetual worship

            offered to the God behind the veil. Hither were all who had received the

            holy anointing, and so been made “priests to God” (Revelation 1:6)

            privileged to enter. Here was a perpetual thank-offering presented to God

            in the shew-bread that lay always upon the table. Here was illumination

            from the sevenfold lamp which typified the Holy Spirit (see above on “the

            symbolism of the candlestick “). The place was “all glorious within”

            (Psalm 45:13) — on the wails “clothing of wrought gold,” — above, a

            canopy of fine twined linen, and blue and purple and scarlet, with

            cherubim of cunning work” interwoven into it — at either end a curtain

            of nearly similar materials. Those who looked on the tabernacle from

            without saw the goats’ hair, and the rams’ skins, and seals’ skins, and

            perceived in it no beauty that they should desire it. The beauty was

            revealed to those only who were within. So now, the Church is despised

            and vilified by those without, valued as it deserves only by those who

            dwell in it. Again, the structure seems weak, as does the structure of the

            Church to worldlings. A few boards, an awning, a curtain or two — what

            more frail and perishable!  But, when all is “fitly joined together, and

            compacted by that which every joint supplieth(Ephesians 4:16), when

            by a machinery of rings and bars, and tenons and solid sockets, and pillars

            and hooks, the whole is welded into one, under Divine direction and

            contrivance, the fragility disappears. “God’s strength is made perfect in       

            weakness.” (II Corinthians 12:9)  A structure is produced which continues,

            which withstands decay, which defies assaults from without, which outlasts

            others seemingly far stronger, and bids fair to remain when all else is

            shattered and destroyed. “Behold! I am with you alway, even unto the

            end of the world.” (Matthew 28:20) - The tabernacle, frail as it was,

            lasted from the exodus until the time when Solomon expanded it into the

            temple. Our tabernacle, the Church, will endure until it shall please God to

            merge it in a new and wonderful creation “the new Jerusalem”

            (Revelation 21:2, 10-27; 22:1-5).


  • THE CURTAIN AT THE ENTRANCE symbolizes the fact, that there

            is a division between the Church and the world. The curtain may be lifted

            at times; but the world has only glimpses of the real inner life of the

            Church, does not fully see it, does not comprehend it. The life consists in

            worship — in contemplation, prayer, and praise. The world “cares for none

            of these things.” It may glance curiously at the external fabric, and scoff a

            little at the contrast between the homely goats’ hair that shows itself in one

            part, and the “blue and purple and scarlet, and fine twined linen wrought

            with needlework” that is seen in another; it may be angered at the sight of

            pillars overlaid with gold,” and ask scornfully, “Wherefore this waste?”

            But it does not care to consider seriously the fitness of these things, or to

            weigh the reasons for them. The only interest which it feels is one arising

            from cupidity: the Church, it thinks, would be worth plundering; and it

            looks forward hopefully to the time when it will “divide the spoil.”


  • The support of the entire fabric upon TENONS and SOCKETS

            indicates that the Church is detached from earth, has here no resting-place,

            no continuing abode, awaits removal to heaven. What is of the earth, is

            earthy. If the Church were of the earth, if it were a human institution, if it

            rested on human wisdom, or power, or affection, it would be swayed by

            human emotions; it would seek those things which are the main objects of

            human desire; it would cease to witness for God; it would be powerless to

            raise man above himself and fit him for the life which is to come. But the

            Church is not of man’s building. Christ built it. It is His. He is its “chief

            corner-stone;” and therefore, “while it touches earth, it belongs

            altogether to heaven.”


"Excerpted text Copyright AGES Library, LLC. All rights reserved.

Materials are reproduced by permission."


This material can be found at: