The Door of the Tabernacle

 •  10 min. read  •  grade level: 7
"And thou shalt make an hang- ing for the door of the tent, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework. "And thou shalt make for the hanging five pillars of shittim wood, and overlay them with geld, and their hooks shall be of gold: and thou shalt cast five sockets of brass for them."-{vi 2272-2273}Ex. 26:36,37
"And he made an hanging for the tabernacle door of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, of needle- work. "And the five pillars of it with their hooks: and he overlaid their chapiters and their fillets with gold; but their five sockets were of brass."-{vi 2604-2605}Ex. 36:37,38
THE hanging, which formed the door of the tabernacle, was made of the same materials as the vail, arranged in the same order, "blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen." The only difference between the two was, that the latter was of cunning work, Cherubim: the former of needlework, without Cherubim.
The word, here translated needlework, is in some places rendered " work of the embroiderer." Ex. 35:35;38. 23. Also "divers colors." (1 Chron. 29:2; Ezek. 17:3,) and once, "curiously wrought." Psa. 139:15. This word on the whole seems to mean, minutely variegated.
And probably the difference between this work and cunning work may be, that in the " door curtain," "gate of the court," and the under girdle of the high priest, where the word needlework occurs, the colors were skilfully Intermixed: but in the vail and curtains, a pattern of Cherubim was cunningly or ingeniously embroidered.
The priests, who entered within the door of the tabernacle, alone beheld the cherubim of glory worked into the vail and roof of the tabernacle; whilst the worshipper in the court saw the same colors intermingled in the door-curtain. May not this be intended to teach us, that every worshipper of God recognizes the beauty and perfection of Christ, as God manifest in the flesh, his eye rests upon the door-curtain. But the nearer we approach to God as His priests, the more intimate our fellowship with Him in heavenly places; the more shall we discern the glories of Jesus, and realize His power, majesty, and strength. He will be the one object that fills our soul, and under the shadow of His wings shall we abide. We behold the same beauteous colors, but the glory of the Cherubim also is displayed. Many a believer does not, as he should, realize his priestly standing before God. Hence worship, prayer, and praise, are often delegated to certain consecrated men, who by common consent, even of many of the Lord's people, are supposed to have a nearer access to God, and a power to handle holy things, which others in God's church do not possess. But the rending of the vail abolished the standing of an earthly tabernacle; destroyed all distinctions in the flesh; opened heaven itself as the only holy place; and directly Christ entered there in resurrection, "the High Priest of good things to come," the eternal redemption, which He had obtained, brought every believer equally nigh to God; so that now all are holy brethren, partakers alike of the same heavenly calling as their great High Priest. Christ is the door of Salvation. "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved." The door; not into an earthly sheepfold, nor into a nominal church, but the door to God; the door into light, truth, life, and holiness.
With regard to the colors, of which the door-curtain was made, they were the same as those which composed the vail and the curtains. The reader is referred to what has already been written on this subject, under the head of the Vail.
The following are the only places where this hanging is called the door of the tabernacle.
Ex. 35-Where Moses enumerates the things which are to be made, he specifies, (v. 15,) the hanging for the door at the entering-in of the tabernacle, or, as it might be translated, the door-hanging, for the door of the tabernacle.
Ex.40:5 The hanging, the door of the tabernacle.
Ex.40:6 And thou shalt set the altar of burnt
offering before the door of the tabernacle, the tent of the congregation.
Ex.40:28 And he set up the hanging, the door for the tabernacle.
In all other cases, where this hanging is mentioned, it is called either the door of the tent (Ex. 26:36; and 26. 37,) or the door of the tent of the congregation. The reason of this may be, that this door afforded an entrance for the congregation, by means of their priests, towards God who dwelt within the tabernacle; rather than a way of exit for God out of the tabernacle. His place of abode was within that holy building; His glory was displayed there; and His blessed purpose was, to remain uninterruptedly dwelling in the midst of the people.
The door of the tabernacle was, to the ordinary Israelite, what the holy places were within to the priests:-the place where God's presence was realized. The altar of burnt offering was set at or before the door of the congregation-tent. Ex. 29:42, and xl. 6. God was to be approached only through sacrifice. The door of entrance into His presence was closely connected with the altar, upon which victims were constantly burning; upon which blood was sprinkled, and at the bottom of which blood was poured. In fact we may say an Israelite had no dealings with God, according to the prescribed ritual, except about sacrifice or through sacrifice. If he came into God's presence, it was to bring either a burnt-offering, a meat-offering, a peace-offering, or a sin-offering.
His three yearly seasons of drawing nigh to God were marked with numerous sacrifices. His basket of first-fruits could be accepted only through the altar. The sweet savor of a lamb slain, ascended morning by morning, to God for him from that altar at the door of the tabernacle. And in the evening, when his daily toil ceased, he lay down to rest under the shelter of the slain lamb, again presented to God for him in the same place. His sabbath was ushered in by additional sacrifices, offered to God: and each opening month commenced with fresh memorials of the great truth, that " without shedding of blood there is no remission;" and that there could be no acceptance of any man's person, save through the death of another. Thus the true Israelite would in spirit, spend his life at the tabernacle-door in the presence of God. So also the believer now, is to know nothing in this world, but Jesus Christ, and Him crucified; to hear, see, walk, live, in the remembrance of Jesus, and the preciousness of His blood; and thus to abide continually before God.
The command to Abram was, " I am the Almighty God: walk before me, and be thou perfect." Gen. 17 i. " Enoch walked with God." Gen. 5:24. And the precept to Israel was, " Ye shall walk after the Lord your God, and fear Him, and keep His commandments, and obey His voice, and ye shall serve Him, and cleave unto Him." Deut. 13:4. Could we but keep in mind this triple cord of responsibility and blessing; to live in the power and presence of Almighty God, so that we consciously pass our days in His sight. 1 Thess. 1:3. To walk also in fellowship with Him, that His counsels, His will, might be ours; that we might delight in pleasing Him, and dwelling in the light of His countenance; and lastly, to follow His guidance; to know the path He would have us to tread, so that it might be as the path of the just, shining more and more unto the perfect day. Could we thus realize by faith our high calling, we should taste somewhat of that fullness of joy which is in His presence; and dwell under the shadow of the Almighty, in security, happiness, and peace. As one of old sang, " I had rather be a door-keeper (margin; I would choose rather to sit at the threshold) in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness." Psa. 84:10.
This door-curtain was suspended by hooks of gold, from five pillars of shittim wood overlaid with gold, crowned with capitals or chapiters of gold. Thus the manifested beauty and glory of Jesus, as the door of salvation, the way to God, leads us to contemplate Himself, according to the five syllables of His name recorded in Isa. 9:6, " His name shall be called Wonderful; Counselor; the Mighty God; the Everlasting Father; the Prince of Peace."
We gaze upon His work on the cross; we hear His seven utterances from thence; and we turn to see from whence this great sight proceeds, and bow, and worship Him; the mystery-God manifest in the flesh; the Wisdom of God; the Mighty God; the spring and source of all things; the commencement of the everlasting ages; the Prince of Peace.
Each pillar, a type of Him, had its crowning chapiter. And the crowning glory of the Lord is, that He is Prince of Peace: the One by whom it is the purpose of God to reconcile all things to Himself: the One in whom He has even now reconciled us to Himself. We see Jesus, who was for a little while made lower than the angels, crowned with glory and honor.
Each of these door-pillars stood in a socket of brass. The vail pillars, and the boards of the tabernacle, stood in sockets of silver. The object of this difference may be to exhibit the truth, that Christ is the door by reason of His sufferings in death; brass being used for the altar, on which the sacrifices were consumed; and brass being the metal often used in Scripture, to denote power to endure or sustain the fire.
The following are the references in the Scriptures to the various sacrifices offered before the door, or before the tent of the congregation, before the Lord.
Burnt offering of the Herd.
Lev. 1:3
Peace offering of the Herd
Lev. 3:1
Peace-offering of a Lamb
Lev. 3:8
Sin-offering for the Priest
Lev 4:4
Sin-offering for the People
Lev 4:14
Offerings for purification after child-birth
Lev 12: 6
The Leper and his offerings.
{vi 3123;3135}Lev 14:11, 23
The man or woman having had an issue, with their offerings.
{vi 3183;3198}Lev 15:14, 29
The two goats on Day of Atonement
Lev 16:7
Law respecting the tent-door, with reference to all animals killed for food....
{vi 3238;3240;3244-3245}Lev 17:2, 4, 8, 9
Trespass-offering....
Lev 19: 21
The Nazarite with his sacrifices
Num. 6: 10, 13, 18
The congregation to be gathered there on the Consecration of the Priesthood
Lev. 8
Levites
Num. 8:9
Seventy Elders
Num 11: 16
The Priests to abide there all the days of their consecration.
Lev. 8 also 10:7
Offerings on the eighth day, brought before the tabernacle
Lev 11
Women assembled there..
Ex. 38:8
Assembly gathered at the door
Num. 10:3
God standing there
Num 12:5
The Glory of the Lord
Num 14:10
Korah, &c., standing in the door
Num 16: 18
Congregation gathered against Moses..
Num 16:19
Blood of Red Heifer sprinkled before the tabernacle
Num 19
Moses and Aaron came to the door
Num 20: 6
Daughters of Zelophehad..
Num 27: 2
Pillar of Cloud over the door.
Deut. 31:15
Lots cast before the Lord..
Josh. 19:51