Lesson 08 - The Tent Coverings

Greetings, friend!  We previously studied the courtyard of the sanctuary and learned the importance of holiness and purity.  We are now ready to continue our imaginary journey and follow the priest through the veil into the sanctuary.  Before we do that, let us briefly consider the tent that covered the sanctuary.

Let's turn to Exodus 26:1, 7, 14

- According to these verses, how many layers covered the sanctuary? 

  • Answer (highlight to read): There were four layers covering the sanctuary.  These layers listed in order from inside and outside were:
  1. Fine woven linen
  2. Goat's hair covering
  3. Ram skins covering dyed red
  4. Badger skins covering

Badger skins (or sea cow skins in some translations) comprised the outermost tent covering.  While the exact identity of the animal is not known, it is agreed upon by most scholars that it was some sort of aquatic mammal.  This layer was waterproof.  The color of the skins was likely gray or black in color.  This cover, while very functional, likely would not be something that would attract your attention.  How did this covering point to Jesus?

Let's turn to Isaiah 53:2.

- According to this verse, what outward form would the Messiah have?

  • Answer: The Messiah would have no outward beauty that would attract our attention.

Let's turn to 1 Timothy 3:16.

- According to these verses, what is the mystery of godliness?

  • Answer: The mystery of godliness is God manifested in the flesh.

Let's turn to Philippians 2:7-8 and Romans 8:3.

- According to these verses, when Jesus became a man, how did he appear to people?

  • Answer: Jesus took the form of a regular man of no reputation.

The badger skin layer speaks to Jesus Christ's humanity and humility.  To the world at large, Jesus did not seem to be anybody special.  However, His external appearance is nothing compared to the His inner beauty on the inside.  You cannot know the beauty and glory of Jesus until you enter the sanctuary in faith!

The next layer immediately beneath the badger skin layer was a layer of ram skins dyed red.  What did this layer symbolize? 

Let's turn to Genesis 22:1-14.

- According to these verses, what was substituted for Isaac as the burnt offering sacrifice.

  • Answer: A ram

Let's turn to Genesis 29:5-16. 
- According to these verses, why was a ram killed?

  • Answer: It was killed for the consecration of the priests.

Let's turn to Hebrews 12:2 and John 19:23-24.

- According to these verses, what did Jesus endure for us?

  • Answer: He endured the shame of being crucified on the cross.

The red color the the rams layer clearly speaks to us of the fact that Jesus suffered and shed His own blood for us.  Jesus' blood also consecrates us to be able to enter into God's service.  The rams skin layer also reminds us that Jesus was stripped of His heavenly glory when He became a man.

The next layer immediately beneath the rams skin layer was a layer made of goats' hair.

Let's turn to Leviticus 16:20-22.

- According to these Bible verses, what animal was used to bear the sins of all the people?

  • Answer: A goat

Let's turn to 2 Corinthians 5:21 and Hebrews 13:12.

- According to these verses, who bore all our sins for us?

  • Answer: Jesus

The goats' hair layer reminds us of sin and that Jesus was our scapegoat who bore all our sins and took them away from us.

The final layer was a layer of fine linen, which would be of a white color. 

Let's turn to Exodus 26:1 and Exodus 35:35.

- According to these verses, what colored threads were woven into the fine linen?

  • Answer: Blue, purple, and scarlet threads
The white color of the fine linen layer speaks to us of Jesus' flawless purity and glory.  Note that white is the essence of light.  The disciples Peter, John, and James saw a glimpse of this in Matthew 17:2.  The blue thread alludes to God's Law (Exodus 24:10; Ezekiel 1:26; Numbers 15:37-41), which represents His character.  The scarlet thread alludes to Jesus' sacrifice for us, as we have noted earlier.  The purple thread alludes to royalty (John 19:2; John 18:37).  It is interesting to note that purple results as a combination of the colors blue and red (scarlet).  Jesus has both a divine and a human nature (1 Timothy 3:16).  Jesus lived a life as a man with a sinful nature like ours, yet He was able to live that life in perfect obedience to God.  He spilled His own precious blood on our behalf and earned the right to become the High Priest to God to to make reconciliation for our sins (Hebrews 2:14-18).

Friend, do you see the Gospel message in these four tent layers?  While we live out in the world, we may not think much of Jesus at first.  His message may not hold any attraction to us initially as we are preoccupied with other things in life. 

However, if we take the time to approach Him and peel back that first layer, we will see that we are actually sinners with blood-stained hands.  Yes, not matter how righteous we may think we are, deep down we will find the truth that we are unrighteous sinners deserving of death (Isaiah 64:6). 

All is not lost for us as we learn that Jesus paid the ultimate price and died for us.  Yes, friend, He died for all of us!  No matter how wretched or wicked you are, Jesus died for you.  He took all the sins of the world upon Himself 2000 years ago, crucified on a cross at Calvary.  He spilled His own blood and died, so that we could have could live (John 3:16). 

Jesus was resurrected gloriously and we can share in that glory with Him and have life eternal, if we only believe in Him as our Lord and Savior.

As we peel the next layer and put our trust in Jesus completely, He takes our sins and burdens away from us.  We see sin in all its ugliness for what it truly is and we turn away from it.

When we get to the final layer, we realize that Jesus gives us His righteousness (1 Peter 2:5; Revelation 19:7-8) and we can be with Him forever in heaven!

Friend, will you come to the sanctuary that is Jesus and seek what is inside?







Happy Sabbath!

A Short Prayer