Thursday, March 3, 2011

Exodus 26 - A Tabernacle Suburban

LINK: Exodus 26


The outer part of the tabernacle protected the three pieces of furniture that you read about yesterday and the altar of incense. The tabernacle (we are not talking about the outer court yet) was 15' by 45' with wooden framework on the sides, top, and back.


Ten Curtains were to be placed over the top and back. These were an inner lining of fine embroidered linen. This was embroidered with cherubim.

The word for fine linen translates ses, from an Egyptian word. Egypt was known for their production of excellent linens. Some linens could not be distinguished from silk without a magnifying glass. It is speculated that the Hebrews learned this craft when they were slaves in Egypt.

The curtains were the royal colors of blue, purple, and scarlet. Blue and purple were derived from shellfish in the Mediterranean. The dyeing industry was very important in the Promised Land. In fact, Canaan means "land of purple." The colors must have been beautiful.

The second layer of eleven curtains were of goat hair. This was a black weather-resistant material that Bedouins still use today. It is like today's morocco leather.

Two additional coverings of curtains were rams skins dyed red and hides of porpoises which was a herbivorous mammal native to the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aqaba. Bedouins still make sandals from its skin today.

The Frame

The walls of the tabernacle were wooden upright frames that the curtains were draped over. Acacia wood was common in the Sinai Peninsula and avoided by wood-eating insects. These had two "hands" or tenons at the bottom that were inserted in two bases.

There were 100 silver sockets (NIV says "bases") in which the two tenons (NIV says "projections") fit into. The frames then had crossbars of acacia wood overlaid with gold.

The Veil (Curtain) and Screen (Curtain)

The veil or inner curtain and screen or outer curtain were like the inner curtain of the tabernacle.

The veil separated the holy place from the holy of holies (NASB). Here are the contents of each place:

Holy Place: table, lampstand, and altar of incense (described in Exodus 30) 
Holy of Holies or Most Holy Place: mercy seat (NASB) or atonement cover (NIV) on the ark of the testimony 
The screen was at the entrance to the tabernacle.


Call me crazy, but George and I just went out and measured our Suburban. It is about fifteen feet from the back to the middle of the hood. So, the dimensions of the entire tabernacle were about:

1 Suburban wide by 3 Suburbans long by 1 Suburban high

The Holy of Holies was 1 Suburban length square

The Holy Place was 2 Suburbans long by 1 Suburban wide

(I like to compare things in the Bible to real life things. I know I am nuts, but I bet you will probably remember the size of the tabernacle for the rest of your life!)

I want to tie all of this together in the next entry.


Close your eyes and try to visualize the tabernacle. Try to think about its dimensions (remember Suburbans).

What were the three pieces of furniture in the holy place?

What is in the most holy place?

Meditate on each piece's significance in light of the scarlet thread. For tomorrow, you might want to meditate on Hebrews 7:22-8:5 before you go to bed tonight. Sweet dreams!

Also, next time you see a Suburban on the road let it remind you to enter into the Most Holy Place with God through prayer and worship right in the middle of your busy day!!!!!

Here are also some pictures to help you visualize more of the tabernacle:


Thank You that we can enter into the Most Holy Place through the blood of Jesus Christ anytime, anywhere with confidence. We pray this in Jesus' name. Amen.
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