Friday, November 13, 2020

Tabernacle Christians 2: Outer Court Christians





Tabernacle Christians 2: Outer Court Christians

Text: Ex 25:1-9, 27:1-18, 30:17-21

If someone told you that there was a tent inside which you could see the future, you would probably think of a gypsy and a crystal ball at the state fair.  If you were an Israelite on your way to the promised land that tent would be the tabernacle and it not only was the assurance of your future, it also would point thousands of years into the future toward the Messiah which would redeem mankind.

Today we want to look at that same tabernacle and see our future with the Messiah we now know was Jesus.  We will look at the sections or rooms of the tabernacle and apply these to our relationship with Jesus Christ.   

The Outer Court

Separation: The Physical Wall

Read Exodus 27:9-18

A cubit is roughly 18 inches or 1 1/2 feet in length.  Keeping this in mind how big was the tabernacle court yard?

100 x 50 cubits or 150 x 75 ft.

There were 60 posts total, 20 posts on the N & S, 10 on the E & W. 5 cubits. They were set 5 cubits (7.5 ft.) apart


Each post was made out of acacia wood on the bottom was a bronze socket, a silver capital on top and silver hooks just under the capital.  Cords would be tied to these hooks and the post held in place by stakes on the inside and the outside of the wall.  Along the tops of each post was a connecting rod made of silver which spaced the pillars and upon which the fabric that made up the wall rested.  There were 40 curtains that made up the wall.  These were made out of finely woven white linen, 5 cubits by 5 cubits.

On the east side of the tabernacle was the gate, 20 cubits wide.  All of it's posts were made out of bronze.  The fabric of the gate was different than that of the wall.  It was actually four different colored threads embroidered together to make one cloth.  The colors of the gate were blue, purple, scarlet and bright white.  The gate was the only entrance into the courtyard and it always faced East, the direction of the rising sun. 


The Spiritual Wall

The wall of the tabernacle showed separation between God and the people.  There was no free access to the tabernacle proper.  Once the wall was in place there was no way under, over or around, those who wanted to come near to God had to go through the gate.

The physical wall was a type for the the separation of man from God, not physically but spiritually.  We cannot draw near to God because of this separation.  Why are we apart from God?  Read the following passages.

Romans 3:23  For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

Romans 5:12  Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned:


Isaiah 59:1-12 Behold, the LORD’S hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:  But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.  For your hands are defiled with blood, and your fingers with iniquity; your lips have spoken lies, your tongue hath muttered perverseness.

Sin separates from God because He is Holy and righteous.  Sin cannot be in the presence of God. Sin entered in to the world with the sin of Adam in the Garden.  See Gen 3:1-6 for more information.


The Gate

As the gate of the tabernacle provided the only way into the tabernacle, so there is only one way into a relationship with God.  The spiritual gate is Jesus, the Son of God.  In John 14:6 Jesus himself tells us this.  Recall what he said.

Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.

The outer court gate, the curtain to the holy place and the veil of the most holy place were all made of the same materials.  Let's look more closely at these four fabrics.

The fabrics came in four colors blue, purple, scarlet and white.  Each of these used so often and in such places of prominence are an outstanding type or symbol of Jesus Christ.

Blue was the color of the sky, the color of heaven.  It points to Jesus, God the Son coming from heaven down to earth to become man.

Purple was the color reserved for royalty.  It was very scarce and hard to obtain.  Jesus is the king of glory, the king of creation.  In mockery the Roman soldier put a crown of thorns and a purple robe on him and called him, "King of the Jews."

Scarlet is the color of blood.  It point to Jesus who poured out his life's blood on the cross as our substitute.  Giving himself in obedience to the Father and in love for us.

White is the color of purity and righteousness.  Only a pure, sinless offering could be the substitute for the sin of the world.  Jesus live his life as a perfect, sinless man that He would show Himself worthy as our redeemer.

These same portrayals of Jesus in the colors of the tabernacle gate and veil are also seen in other "types" throughout scripture.  In many places Jesus is seen in these for portraits of King, God, Man, and Servant.

The largest portraits of Christ are of course found in the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.  Four accounts of the same story, yet each with a distinctive view of Jesus.

In Matthew 1:1  Jesus is seen as King.

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.

In Mark 10:45  Jesus is seen as the servant who came to give his life.

For even the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.

In Luke 19:10  Jesus is man, perfect and without sin but a man

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

In John 1:1  Jesus is God

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

The Throne Room of God

Also notice the cherubim and seraphim around the throne in Ezekiel and John's visions.   


Ezekiel 5:10  As for the likeness of their faces, they four had the face of a man, and the face of a lion, on the right side: and they four had the face of an ox on the left side; they four also had the face of an eagle. 

Revelation 4:6-7 And before the throne there was a sea of glass like unto crystal: and in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast was like a flying eagle.


The eagle represents deity;  the ox/calf, service;  the man; man and the lion, royalty.

Only Jesus Christ was and is all of these thing seen in the portraits.  Only He is the God-man.  Only He is the ruling-servant.  Only He could be the gate for us to enter into a relationship with His Father.

Sacrifice: The Altar

Read Exodus 27:1-7

Standing at the entrance of the gate, imposing itself in the courtyard would be the Brazen Altar.  The altar measured 5 x 5 x 3 cubits (7.5 ft. around by 4.5 ft high.)  It was constructed out of acacia wood overlaid with bronze.  It was a hollow box, with a  solid bronze grate halfway up on the inside.  There were rings attached to the side through which poles could be attached for carrying when they marched.  On each of the four corners of the altar were horns also made out of bronze.

 Upon this altar the sacrifices of the people were offered to God.  Only a person with a sacrifice could enter into the tabernacle courtyard.  This sacrifice must be without spot or blemish, a lamb, ox, or turtledove to be offered to God as an acknowledgment of sin or thanksgiving.

The offerer would bring his offering through the gate and then in the presence of the priest would lay his hands upon the animals head, signifying it as his offering for sin.  Then with the animal still alive, the throat would be slit and the blood collect to be put upon the horns of the altar.  The animal then would be cut into pieces and arranged  upon the altar to be burnt.

When we come to our gate Jesus Christ, it must be also with the understanding of an unspotted sacrifice.  Salvation is accomplished by the sacrifice of "the lamb of God" Jesus.  It is applied to us when we realize that Jesus died for us.  When I accept the substitution of Jesus, His sacrificial death and shed blood save me.  I am redeemed, brought back to God by Him.

Read John 2:9; 2 Corinthians 5:17-21 and Isaiah 53:5-12   

Pilgrim's Progress

So I saw in my dream, that just as CHRISTIAN came up to the cross, his burden loosed from off his shoulders, and fell from off his back, and began to tumble; and so continued to do till it came to the mouth of the sepulchre, where it fell in, and I saw it no more. Then was CHRISTIAN glad and lightsome, and said, with a merry heart, “He hath given me rest by his sorrow, And life by his death."

Sanctification: The Laver

Exodus 30:17-18
17  And the LORD spake unto Moses, saying, 18  Thou shalt also make a laver of brass, and his foot also of brass, to wash withal: and thou shalt put it between the tabernacle of the congregation and the altar, and thou shalt put water therein.

Just behind the Brazen Altar stood the Laver.  A large basin filled with water.  There are no dimensions given for the laver, though it would be quite large and probably near a scale to the altar.  It also was made of bronze.    The laver was used by the priests who would wash themselves before they served God inside the tabernacle.  The would wash their hands and their feet in the basin. 

The laver was for physical cleansing, it points as a type to the spiritual cleansing from sin which is ours in Jesus' forgiveness.   As there were no dimension given for the laver we are reminded that there is no limit to the forgiveness we find in Jesus. 

Psalm 103:10-12
He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities. For as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.

The East and the West never meet.  Our sins are completely gone.

1 John 1:9 If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.  

No past sin, no length of time, no repeated iniquity can extinguish the power of forgiveness found in the shed blood of Jesus.

The laver reminds us that to be dwell with God we must be clean, that cleanliness comes only with confess and forgiveness.

Conclusion: Outer Court Christians

If I have entered into fellowship with God through the only gate, Jesus Christ.  If I have made Him my substitute for sin.  If I have been cleansed of my unrighteousness by His cleansing blood, I stand in the courtyard.  I am a child of God, I am saved, I am on my way to heaven.  I know the blessing of forgiveness.  So much is mine here.

Yet, I have only begun my journey with God.  The courtyard in Moses time was for those who were limited by rank or birth from becoming a priest.  Those who were priest could enter into the holy place.  In the New Testament, 1 Peter 2:9-10, the Bible says we are priests, we can enter into the presence of God ourselves.  Here is privilege, here is honor to approach even closer to the presence of God.  Though this privilege is ours most Christians remain in the courtyard.  Content with their level of intimacy with God to be only the barest basics of what God can and wants to be to us.  Having journeyed through the gate, they now sit stagnant as if there is no where else to go.  Salvation is the most important thing in the world until you are saved, then it becomes the least important thing.

Hebrews 6:1 say, “Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection.”

Look towards the tabernacle above it stands the glory of God, and within its walls there is a fuller, deeper relationship with God.  We are priests, let us boldly enter where God is!

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