September 23, 2018

The Tabernacle Gate and the Messiah

Upon arriving at the Tabernacle, the first thing that an Israelite worshiper would notice is the white linen fence that blocked their view from seeing inside, and the beautiful colorful woven gate. The outer fence, made from white linen, like the clothing of the priests, represented purity and separation from the world. In ancient times the color white in fabric was very difficult to produce, having to go through a laborious process of bleaching or fulling. This meant that not only would it be uncommon to see white fabrics, but also that the white would stand in stark contrast to the thousands of black goat hair tents and dry desert sand. The white linen creates beautiful symbolism of a sacred space that is set apart from the contrasting surroundings.

The Tabernacle was entered from the east side by a gate made of blue, purple, and scarlet fabric woven into white linen. The colorful gate was surprisingly wide at about 35 feet, perhaps symbolically showing how despite the fact that there is only one way to enter God’s presence, it is wide and beautiful, allowing all who desire to enter. The Psalms gives a hint at perhaps the requirement for entering by saying: “Who shall ascend into the hill of the LORD? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands, and a pure heart” (Psalms 24:3-4).

Beautiful symbolism can be found in both the outer fence and gate of the Tabernacle that point us to the Lord Jesus Christ. As we draw closer to the Savior, one of the first things that often will catch our eye, is His purity and perfection (symbolized by the white linen fence). In many ways, we may want to turn away because of our own lack of cleanliness, but the Lord beckons us forward, showing us how we can become pure like He is pure. The colors of the outer gate can likewise symbolize the perfection and attributes of the Savior. The color blue in ancient times often symbolizing heaven, the color purple royalty, and the color red death, blood, mortality and sacrifice. These same colors will be replicated throughout the Tabernacle, in the beautiful garments of the High Priest (himself a type of Christ), and the veils of the Tabernacle.

While teaching in the Temple at Jerusalem, Jesus taught: “I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved” (John 14:6 NIV), teaching us that to return to God, the very first thing we must do is pass through the Savior. Through our faith in Christ, and because of the Lord’s purity, perfection, heavenliness, royalty and sacrifice (represented by the colors) we are allowed to begin our journey back to God. To return to His presence, we just need to approach with clean hands and a pure heart and enter through the Savior, the Great High Priest, who ever stands beckoning us to enter through Him, the gate, the way, the truth and the light (see John 14:6).