Welcome to the studies section, this is a study of the Tabernacle.

This website is part of Watton on the web please take your time and look at the rest of the content we have available.


In Exodus 26:1 it tells us the tabernacle shall be with ten curtains of fine woven linen. Therefore it was the curtains that made the tabernacle (Mishkan). The Mishkan was a wooden frame-work with the linen material spread over it to form a tent or booth. While Exodus chapter 40, from the KJV, talks of the tabernacle being erected and in verse 18/19 "So Moses raised up the tabernacle, fastened its sockets, set up its boards, put in its bars, and raised up its pillars. And he spread out the tent over the tabernacle and put the covering of the tent on top of it as the Lord had commanded Moses."

Here the curtain and the first covering are together called the tent. This tent was spread over the erected boards (tabernacle), now if the boards/panels were solid it would mean the embroidery on the curtain would not be seen giving added argument to the idea of a framework of wood with the embroidered cherubim visible in each opening in the frame.

There were four coverings, 2 curtains and 2 further coverings :-

THE INNER COVERINGS OR CURTAINS :- Which formed the "MISHKAN" the tabernacle proper


There were ten curtains made of fine-woven white linen, with blue, purple and scarlet threads running through it. All embroidered with the figures of cherubim (Ex. 26:1-6). Each curtain was 28 cubits x 4 cubits making a total of 28 cubits across and 40 cubits from front to back. The ten curtains were sewn into two sets 28 x 20 and these two sets were coupled together with 50 blue loops on each joined by 50 gold clasps. This joint would have been sited above the altar of incense or the pillars of the veil.

While the dwelling was 30 x 10 meaning the curtain covered the roof and the two sides, plus the back. Along the sides it hung down 9 cubits till it met we may assume the silver bases of the frame work which made up the remaining cubit. This would also mean that the curtain was not dragged . We can now start to imagine the inward beauty of the dwelling, the finely embroidered cherubim framed by the gold plated acacia wood uprights standing in their solid silver sockets.

Thoughts for simple sermons :-

1 ) the inward beauty would have been overwhelming with the detail being so cleverly worked out, with the cherubim being between the gold frame work, sparkling in the light of the lamps. God is interested that as a dwelling place of the Holy Spirit that the inward detail of our lives is beautiful.

2 ) The cherubim facing in from all sides gives the idea of heaven with the heavenly host watching God's grace worked out towards mankind.


Over the linen curtain was spread in like manner the goats hair covering making up the tent referred to in Exodus 40:19. It consisted of eleven curtains 30 cubits x 4 cubits. Ten of the curtains making 30 cubits across and 40 cubits from front to back. Again the curtain was sewn into two sets but this time the two sets of 50 loops were joined by 50 bronze clasps. With the eleventh curtain doubled over at the front giving a total length of 42 cubits front to back. At the side and the back the goats hair covering extended loosely to the ground, where it was fixed by bronze pegs (Ex. 27:19). At the front the goats hair covering that was doubled extended 2 cubits from each side and the top concealing 4 of the pillars and the edges and top of the door of the holy place.

Thoughts for simple sermons :-

1 ) The outward plainness of the outer covering of the Mishkan (tent), which was the ordinary material from which tents were made, likewise Christ was truly man but as this tent was different from other tents, so Christ was no ordinary man. Colossians 1:19 says "For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him"

2 ) The goats hair cover was pegged to the ground outside with bronze pegs, bronze represents the judgement of sin. We are reminded of the bronze snake in the wilderness lifted up for sin as a type of Christ. There was no bronze inside the tabernacle showing that in Christ there is no fear of judgement because his perfect love drives out fear, therefore there is no condemnation in Christ Jesus.

THE OUTER COVERINGS :- Which formed the "OHEL" the large tent that spread over it thus protecting it from the sun and rain.

The covering mentioned in Exodus 40:19 was put over the top of the tent (the curtains or tabernacle proper.). These coverings were a weather proof protection to the tabernacle and were held in place by bronze pins or possibly cords and pins fixing them to the ground. Shick's model has this covering as an apex/ridge type tent, held by wooden extensions forming the apex. While Schouten sees these coverings laid flat over the structure fixed with cords and pegs. There are no dimensions for the coverings to aid us in identifying the correct outward view. However the Shick version seems the more likely of the two, as it appears to completely cover the tabernacle with the second layer above the tabernacle with a gap between known as the veranda or porch, this is inferred in Exodus 40:19 (KJV " above upon it" ). The thought of a tent with separate poles in the Hebrew style seems very attractive, giving the idea of a tent (the tabernacle proper) within a tent (the outer coverings). The argument against this is that these extra poles are not mentioned in scripture, however think if someone loans you a tent when you come to erect it do you expect the poles to be there. The answer is obviously yes, you talk of a tent and include the poles in that description. This view meets all the criteria that is needed for the porch, plus would enable ventilation for the smoke from the lamps and the incense to leave the tabernacle proper through the gap in the inner coverings or curtains caused by the ring-joint. The outward view could therefore have been that of a simple Bedouin tent.


This was the inner of the two coverings, dyed red not by expensive Phoenician scarlet but probably a more common vegetable dye. This coloured side would have been facing inward.

Thoughts for simple sermons :-

1 ) The red dyed covering was on the inside of the outer tent, the Ram is referred to as the 'Ram of consecration' in Exodus 29:31 and Leviticus 8:22. As the priests entered they would have caught a glimpse of the consecrating efficacy of the blood.

2 ) If we see the tabernacle as a type of the church, we see here the consecrating covering of the blood of Christ, a people set apart for God by the blood shed on the cross. Hebrews 13:12 says "And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood."


The actual animal these skins come from is some what obscure and vary in different versions NKJV badger, NI sea cows, NASB porpoise, Amp.B goatskin, dolphin or porpoise. Whatever the animal this skin was both tough and durable Ezekiel 16:10 says the skins were used for footwear, and would have been an ideal protection against the desert storms.

Thoughts for simple sermons :-

1 ) Here again we see a plain almost unattractive outer covering chosen for its ability to achieve the task asked of it. Jesus was seen as just the carpenter's son but He fulfilled His father's will.

2 ) This drab outer covering hid from out side eyes the beauty hidden within, many people look at the church and see only the drabness and miss the inward dwelling of God. Jesus said "though seeing they do not see, though hearing, they do not hear or understand" (Matthew 13:13). They see only the outer yet blessed are those who use the eyes of faith and enter in.


There were three entrances they were :-

the gate to the outer court ( Ex. 27:16-19)

the door to the holy place ( Ex. 26:36/37 36:37/38 )

the veil to the holy of holies ( Ex. 26:31-33 )

Each of these were made of the same material a fine white woven linen with Blue, Purple and scarlet threads running through the material (Ex.38:18). They were also the same size 100 square cubits. The gate was 20 x 5 cubits, the door and the veil were 10 x 10 cubits.

The Thoughts for simple sermons :-

The curtains each speak of Christ and give many insights into his character and nature

1 ) The linen of his humanity, a man amongst men yet with a special task just as the entrances had a special task.

2 ) The colour white of his purity, He was the one without sin without stain or blemish (1 Peter 1:19).

3 ) The colour blue of his heavenly origin, He came from heaven although born of a woman. He came and being found in the appearance of a man humbled himself and obedient to death even death on a cross. ( Philippians 2: 5-9. 1 Peter 1:20)

4 ) The colour purple of his kingship, Jesus is king of a kingdom not of this world ( John 18 : 33-39). Because Jesus said that his kingdom was not of this world, he did not mean that his kingdom was not on earth. The kingdom is where ever the King is obeyed, wherever he sits on the throne of men's hearts.

5 ) The colour scarlet of his suffering and death, Peter captures the thought here in saying " it was not with .... silver and gold you were redeemed..... but with the precious blood of Christ" (1 Peter 1:17-23). The entrance to the court is called the Gate of the court it was the only way into the court and was also known to the Israelites as " WAY " (sermon by Ian Bond). It was wider than each of the other entrances and enabled all Israel to enter the court. Entrance to the court was made by lifting the bottom of the curtain.

Thoughts for simple sermons :-

1 ) There was only one access into the tabernacle and there is only one way into the presence of God and that is through Christ

2 ) This entrance the Gate was wider than any of the others. The width of the entrance shows that God makes grace available to all, to whosoever will enter in.

3 ) To enter one had to stoop to go under the curtain. This bowing to enter shows a right attitude of heart, for when we come to Christ we come humbly in need of a saviour. The man who will not bow his knee and his heart to Christ can not enter in.

The entrance to the tabernacle or the holy place is called the door of the tabernacle it was hung on 5 pillars made of acacia wood, that stood in bronze sockets, this shows that this entrance is part of the court. Yet the capitals of the pillars plated in gold, showing that the curtain was a part of the holy place. This was truly a cross over point and only priests were able to enter through the door into the tabernacle. The door separated the earthly from the heavenly. The wood becomes gold and the bronze became silver. The Israelites knew this door as " TRUTH" (sermon by Ian Bond).

The Thoughts for simple sermons :-

1 ) Christ made all sinners priests and gave access to the spiritual reality not experienced by the world yet they can only enter through him.

2 ) This is the place of revelation where the truth of God, the truth of the universe comes to man. Not based on Human understanding or the finite minds of us who were created but on the omniscience of God.

A priest ministers in the Holy Place

The priest ministers in the Holy Place

The entrance to the Holy of Holies is called the veil of the tabernacle.

It was made of the same materials as the other but was embroidered with cherubim as were the walls, as explained earlier, but it is popularly believed there were two cherubim with there wings touching. The veil was hung on four pillars of acacia wood that were gold plated and stood upright in silver sockets. The veil divided the tabernacle into two, the holy place at the front 20 x10 cubits and the holy of Holies that became a room 10 cubits long x 10 cubits wide x 10 cubits high. Only the high priest was able to go beyond the veil and then only once a year on the day of atonement. The veil which means "to hide or conceal" hid from view the Ark of the covenant and the mercy seat. It also acted as a barrier

a ) The veil was a barrier that shut man out from God's presence, it allowed no approach to God.

b ) The veil formed a barrier that barred mans approach to the mercy seat

c ) it concealed from man the glory of God

It therefore shut man out from the life of God and the reality of eternal life itself. Just as the cherubim guarded the way to the tree of life (Gen.3:24), so the cherubim guarded the way to the life of God. It is no surprise to learn that the Israelites knew the veil by the name " LIFE " (sermon by Ian Bond).

Thoughts for simple sermons :-

1 ) The cherubim of the veil protecting the means to life (Gen 3:24), all approach to God for only the righteous could enter.

2 ) The veil torn from top to bottom by the crucifixion (Matthew 27:51, Heb 10:19-20), It was torn from top to Bottom, from above to below showing that this opening of the way to God came from God.

3/ When Jesus was asked "how can we know the way " he answered "I am the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE. No one comes to the father except through me." ( John 14:5-6). Ian Bond says that Jesus was explaining that he was the three entrances into God's presence. That access to God the Father is found only in Christ Jesus the Son