The Linen Curtains of the Sanctuary:

Christ, Our Righteousness

26:1-6 and 36:8-13

    DIG: What was on the inside of the Sanctuary that couldn’t be seen from the outside? Why did God design it that way? How does this picture Christ, or the Messiah? Why was it important that the white linen of the Sanctuary did not touch the ground?

  REFLECT: Do you see yourself dressed in fine linen, white and clean, which is the righteousness of the LORD (Revelation 19:14)? Why or why not? If you could stand in the Holy Place looking up at the cherubim, what would you say to God?

    Earlier we observed that the curtains of the courtyard, the gate, the inner veil and the outer veil were all made of the same finely twisted white linen, as was the Sanctuary. Every thread consisted of four strands, one of linen and three of wool. We will learn that the ephod of the high priest was made out of this same material.558 Over the top and back of the Sanctuary were placed ten curtains that served as a large tent. They were made of finely twisted white linen, which spoke of God’s righteousness and His sinlessness. All of the curtains speak to us of Jesus Christ.

    All the curtains were the same size – twenty-eight cubits, or forty-two feet wide and four cubits, or six feet long. Five of the curtains were sewn together to form two sets of five curtains each. Each set was thirty feet long by forty-two feet wide. When the two sets were joined together, they were sixty feet long and forty-two feet wide. Loops of blue material were sewn along the edge of the end curtain in both sets. The LORD told Moses to have the Israelites make fifty loops on one curtain and fifty loops on the end curtain of the other set, with the loops opposite each other. Fifty gold clasps, pointing to God’s divine glory, were fastened into fifty loops in the curtains to bind them as one unit (26:2-6, 36:9-13). The Hebrew words for loops and clasps are used exclusively in the Bible for these items in the Sanctuary. The sixty-foot length enabled the curtains to cover the top and back of the Sanctuary, leaving the outer veil to cover the entrance. The forty-two foot width extended over the top and down each side to within eighteen inches of the ground.559

    Throughout the TaNaKh, the curtains covering the ark of the Covenant symbolize and characterize the temporary nature of the Tabernacle as a whole. When David had been made king over Israel, and he had consolidated his power and defeated his enemies, he said to Nathan the prophet: Here I am, living in a palace of cedar, while the ark of the covenant of ADONAI is under curtains (First Chronicles 17:1). The coverings were made so that they could be taken down and put up quickly, because Israel was constantly on the move. It points to the fact that Israel was in need of a permanent place of residence – a place where the ark of God could rest permanently.560

    Cherubim were to be stitched in the white linen curtains with blue, purple and scarlet yarn, by a skilled craftsman (26:1, 36:8). The beauty of these linen curtains would only be seen from inside. The cherubim symbolized the very presence of ADONAI, because they were His most immediate attendants (Genesis 3:24; Exodus 25:18-22; Ezekiel 10:1-20). As the priest approached the Sanctuary, he could not see the glory inside. It had no beauty or majesty to attract him to it, nothing in its appearance that he should desire it, just like Christ (Isaiah 53:2).

    The cherubim were symbols of our God’s majesty and power. They execute His holy will, both in mercy and judgment. As the priests within the Sanctuary saw the beautiful cherubim of blue, purple and scarlet above and on the inner veil, they must have worshiped like the Psalmist: Have mercy on me, O God . . . for in You my soul takes refuge; I will take refuge in the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 57:1). I long to dwell in your tent forever and take refuge in the shelter of Your wings (Psalm 61:4). Because You are my help, I sing in the shadow of Your wings (Psalm 63:7). He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge (Psalm 91:4).561


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