This is the second article of a new series (Living Tabernacles) where we study the Tabernacle in depth. It is exciting to see how each element symbolizes some characteristic of Yeshua. However, it is more challenging when we examine what each element means for us, for each of us is now a tabernacle of YHVH. There will be two posts each month for this series.
In the first article in this series, we studied the significance of the metals used in the Tabernacle: gold, silver and bronze. In this article we continue examining the list YHVH gave to Moshe itemizing the components He desired to build His Tabernacle. We will cover the items listed in verses 4 and 5 of Exodus 25: colored threads, fine linen, goat hair, ram skins, fine goatskin leather and acacia wood.
Thread is interwoven throughout the material just as the spiritual significance of these threads should be interwoven throughout our lives. The scarlet thread symbolizes cleansing, purification, sin, riches, a marker, and/or clothing of a valiant man. We know what “valiant Man” has died for our sins, cleansing and purifying us. He still wears those markers on His hands and feet. He has gained for us untold wealth. In Him, we must root out the sin that is interwoven in us, so that His cleansing and purifying may permeate every part of us. We are abundantly wealthy in Yeshua and we wear His mark on us (Rev. 7:2-3).
The blue thread symbolizes holy covering, heavenly, holy service, chastening and water (Spirit). We are no longer naked in our sin (Gen 2:25, Is 47:3), but are covered with Yeshua’s righteousness. Yeshua came down from Heaven for the express purpose of establishing (or perhaps re-establishing) YHVH’s kingdom on earth as it is in heaven. Yeshua baptizes us with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit fills us, chastening, strengthening and preparing us for holy service to YHVH.
The purple thread symbolizes royalty and riches. The Roman soldiers placed a purple robe on Yeshua during his trial in order to mock Him. Little did they realize that Yeshua, above any other human, is entitled to wear the color of royalty. Yeshua is our King and High Priest. We are a royal priesthood and adopted children of YHVH. Our wealth is in Messiah Yeshua, for without Him we have nothing and with Him we have an abundance of treasures.
The fine linen spoken of in Exodus 25 is the Hebrew word bad. The word is from a root which means “separation”. The Hebrew word for holy is kadosh which means to be set apart. The fine linen worn by priests indicated that they were set apart to YHVH. YHVH is set apart and we are called to separate ourselves from the world and be dedicated solely to YHVH. Our clothing must be the fine linen of Yeshua’s righteousness (Rev. 3:18), for without it we will not be welcome at the wedding of the Bridegroom (Matt 22:12).
Goat’s hair is used in Bedouin camps today for tents, tent ropes and rugs. Goats’ hair cloth is able to stand the hard usage of a frequently shifting encampment. We must be resilient enough to follow our Leader wherever He takes us. Goatskin leather was used as a covering for the Tabernacle. Yeshua is our spiritual covering. With Yeshua’s covering, we are able to withstand many trials and persecutions.
On Yom Kippur, two goats were selected and lots were cast for them. One goat would be sacrificed for the sins of the people and the second goat would bear the sins of the people and be sent out of the camp and into the wilderness, signifying how YHVH has removed our sins far from us (Lev 16). Yeshua is both the sacrifice that atones for our sin (Heb 9:26) and the One who carries our sins as far as the east is from the west (Ps 103:12).
Tanned lambskins were also used to cover the Tabernacle. Some versions translate this word as badger skins, but this is unlikely since badgers are considered to be unclean animals. The skins of lambs have significant spiritual relevancy since Yeshua is the “Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world” (John 1:29) and Yeshua is a covering for us. Some versions translate the tanned lambskins as lambskins died red. The blood of Yeshua, the Lamb of YHVH, covered His skin as He hung on the cross. His blood now covers us.
When Adam and Eve had sinned, they realized that they were naked. YHVH made the first animal sacrifice on their behalf and clothed them with the skins of the animals signifying a much greater and more effective covering to come (Gen 3:21).
The acacia tree mentioned is likely the gum-arabic tree. It is a gnarled and thorny tree. Acacia trees are plentiful in the wilderness where the Israelites traveled. Acacia wood is not desirable to insects and is virtually indestructible. Was the cross made from acacia wood? Possibly, but we have no proof of the type of wood used by the Romans in Jerusalem for crucifixion. We do know, however, that Yeshua, even though He died, is indestructible. Was the crown of thorns woven from acacia thorns? We do not know for sure. The tree is formed much like an umbrella, just as Yeshua’s sacrifice provides us protection from the sentence of eternal death.
What is the significance of all the wood being overlaid with gold? The acacia wood is gnarled and crooked signifying the twistedness of sin and evil. The long thorns are menacing. Yeshua willingly allowed Himself to be beaten beyond recognition. He wore a crown of thorns and was humiliated and despised. However, the reward He has reaped for Himself and for us is eternal glory and untold riches. What appeared to be a disgrace and defeat, has turned into triumph and victory beyond measure (Rom 6:4). Yeshua now wears a crown of unsurpassable glory. On our own we are defeated, but in Yeshua we are victorious!
As we reflect on these materials, let us, living temples of the Holy Spirit, be transformed into the image and likeness of YHVH, reflecting His glory.