The Tabernacle


Significance Of The Metals - Part 1

Let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them . . . Exodus 25:8



It is a very holy privilege to seek to follow the example of our Lord and open (Lk. 24:32) to the saints the scriptures of truth.  Among the many Old Testament foreshadowings of our Lord are the deep truths found in the Tabernacle of our Lord and His work.  It was God’s dwelling place and what pompousness it displays of man when he determines the significance of any material or metal?  The scriptures must be used as the “Divine Dictionary” by which the Holy Spirit explains by usage and positioning of the items, His intended significance. 

While an individual is redeemed, there is still the fallen nature within that can distort divine truth.  Our Lord was, in His teaching, a spokesman against the distortion of divine truth.  Therefore, we must cut a straight line when teaching the truth of God and the first matter is that of observing certain dangers.  The Holy Spirit calls it “rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15).

 The Dangers

There is an error which argues that there is no such a thing as types, and that the offerings and Tabernacle were nothing more than an end in themselves.  One of the Greek words translated type, pattern, and example, is “tupos”.  This word is used in the following illustrations:


Adam is spoken of as a figure (tupos).  (Rom. 5:14)


The Tabernacle was an example, a pattern, a type “tupos”.  (Heb. 8:5)


Israel was an example (tupos) for us not to follow.  (1 Cor. 10:6)


The saints at Thessaloniki were patterns, examples, “tupos” to other believers.  (1 Thess. 1:7)

 The Scriptures Do Teach Types

There is the danger of an uncontrolled imagination which wanders into bypaths which are void of any Biblical foundation.  For instance, there are 24 elders (Rev. 4:10).  There can be no doubt that God has a reason for there being twenty-four and not thirty or sixteen, but we do not know that reason.  We are told Baasha reigned for 24 years (1 Kgs. 15:33); there was a man of Gath who had a total of 24 toes and fingers (2 Sam. 21:20); the length of the curtains were 28 cubits (Ex. 36:9)  but why God determined 28 we are not told.  Sadly, some have tried to find a significance in it and have taken its factors to fulfill that end, but it fails utterly.  How do you divide the number “24”?  It can only be divided by: 2 times 12, or 3 times 8, or 4 times 6; taking each number it it’s own significance.  The result is that we can get so caught up in endless speculation that the truth is missed, and then tragically the types come into dreadful disrepute.

Another danger is holding an interpretation which, sounding beautiful, nevertheless cannot be supported by scripture and “gold” is such a case.  It is often taught gold was a type, a symbol of deity, and pure gold was essential deity.  Yet, there is not a single reference to gold equating with God, the true Deity.  The only deities it is connected with is pagan gods (Deut. 29:17; Psa. 115:4).  References such as Matt. 2:11 is futile for the passage is not dealing with types.

Adding to this, poor exegesis is the teaching that gold represents deity, and pure gold is essential deity.  What verging on blasphemous teaching flows from this theology?  Consider, since the boards represent the church and individual believers, does this mean that we are deity, for they are covered with gold?  We are partakers of the divine nature (2 Pet. 1:4), but that is vastly different.  Again, the branches of the candlestick, which represent us, were of pure gold (Ex. 25:31).  Does that mean that we are essential deity?  Such an interpretation is blasphemous.

In these notes every material of the Tabernacle will be considered.  Our approach is to seek to set forth the biblical, that is, God’s Commentary on the items, and having compared spiritual things with spiritual, seek to learn the interpretation of these wonderful materials.  These notes are not exhaustive but to be used as springboards for further study and expansion of appreciation of the Tabernacle.

Badger Skins

Of all the aspects and types of the Tabernacle the “badger skin” is the one about which there is great speculation.  This was a creature which we are told nothing about and a number of animals have been suggested, but all without foundation.  We are also told it was a covering that was drab to look at, nothing beautiful, and in that way pictures our Lord as “Having no beauty that we should desire Him” (Isa. 53:2).  At this point we need to stop and consider the following scenario.  Going down the street I ask Mr. So in So, a lovely Christian gentleman, some questions:


“Can you describe the “Komodor” or “Aye-aye” to me?”


“Can you tell me the sort of skin/coat it has?”


“Can you give me a verse from the Bible to show how the animal prefigures the Lord?”

He would look at me as if I had lost my mind for he would tell me such a thing is impossible if one does not know the animal.  How could he tell what the skin was like or how it prefigures the Lord?  Yet, this is exactly what is done with the badger skin.

The first thing the Holy Spirit will do is to cause us to observe that badger skins are mentioned fourteen times, and in ten of those times a single word is connected to them.  It is the word “covering”.  “And thou shalt make a covering for the tent of rams' skins dyed red, and a covering above of badgers' skins” (Ex. 26:14; Ex 36:19; Ex 39:34; Num. 4:6, 8, 10, 11, 12, 14, 25).  This is vital because the focus of God is that they were a covering. 

The idea of “covering” is used in four ways:


To be covered and concealed.


Job 15:27; 22:14; 26:6; 31:33


Thank God that our sins are not just covered but removed.


To be covered for protection.


Psa. 61:4; 91:4


We have been clothed in the garments of His salvation (Isa. 61:10) and exhorted to put on His armour (Eph. 6:11).


To be covered and so overwhelmed.


Psa. 61:4; 91:4


As of our Lord in Psa. 69:2, I sink in the deep mire and the floods overflow me.


To be covered to be clothed.


Job 24:7; 31:19; Psa. 104:2


Clothed in garments of salvation (Isa. 61:10)

Another question is: “Do the scriptures give any indication to the appearance of the covering?”  God Himself gives the answer saying: “I clothed thee also with broidered work, and shod thee with badgers' skin, and I girded thee about with fine linen, and I covered thee with silk . . . . and thou wast exceeding beautiful” (Ezek. 16:10, 13).  Those of us who have daughters know that as the day of the wedding approaches great care is taken in deciding the shoes she wears.  Has there ever been a young lady, all beautiful in a richly embroidered gown, etc., and wearing gum boots?

Herein we begin to understand that the covering we have is beautiful to God.  For the first and only time in earth’s history God saw a man who exuded the beauty of holiness.  Since this skin was used for shoes, it is a reflection on the walk of Christ on this earth.  Despite the corruption all around, He walked this sphere for thirty-three years totally imperviousness to sin.

This was a beautiful covering, but there is more added to it.  The very fact the animal is kept in obscurity with now only God knowing what sort it was, indicates to us the “unknowable Christ”.  John wrote: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written. Amen” (Jn. 21:25).  Add to this that even if we know every act the Lord did and word He said, He would still be unknowable, for there are depths in Him that only the Father can appreciate.  That which we have is what is presented in the meal offering as “wafers”, thin    slices of His life, personality, and Deity.

This was a covering which conveyed the holy truths God alone saw and fully appreciated in Christ:


The suitability and His eminent qualification for His official glory


The depth of His moral glory


The incomprehensibleness of the glory of His:


Condescending grace


Sinless, The richness of His personal glory and holy life


Deep fellowship with God


Great is the privilege to consider the wonders and excellencies God saw in Christ:


The Richness of His personal glory in the past: “The glory which I had with thee before the world was”.  (Jn. 17:5)


The richness of His personal glory at this present time: “Thou art a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec”.  (Heb. 7:21)


The richness of His personal glory in the future: “When He bringeth in the first begotten into the world, He saith, and let all the angels of God worship Him” (Heb. 1:6)

This was the unknown Christ.  Natural man could see none of these glories, but God could, and He loved them.  What volumes could be said about the suitability and his eminent qualifications for His official glory as manifested when He was tempted (Matt. 4:1-10) and His many experiences of life when He was learning obedience. ( Heb:5:8)

When we speak of the wonder of the unknowable Christ, that which is meant is the truths , etc., which only the heart and mind of God can   appreciate in fullness (Lk. 10:22).  Being the outward covering, it indicates how the natural man saw Christ, but they could not see who He really was.

On the other side, the badger skin indicates how the natural man saw Christ.  They could not see who He really was.




They only saw Christ as:

A man

Matt. 11:19

A Jew

Jn. 4:9

A Samaritan

Jn. 8:48

The carpenter’s son

Matt. 13:55

The carpenter

Mk. 6:3

The son of Mary

Mk. 6:3

Jesus of Nazareth

Jn. 19:19

As one untaught

Matt. 13:54

They spoke of him despairingly as:

A deceiver

Matt. 27:63

A man beside himself

Mk. 3:21

This fellow

Matt. 26:61

This man

Lk. 15:2

Not realizing how privileged they were, they listened to His words but failed to hear and enter into the solemnity of them: “This day is this scripture fulfilled” (Lk. 4:21).

As man watched the Lord he simply saw Him going from one place to another.  They failed to see He was manifesting His moral perfections, perfections which were seen when:    


To invite himself in and when he waited to be asked  (Lk. 19:5; 24:29)


His non judging the affairs of the home, but correcting (Lk. 10:38-42)


His rebuking of the disciples and encouragement of the woman regarding littleness of faith (Mk. 4:38-41; Matt. 9:22)


Man in the flesh never saw who He really was because:


They had in their minds their idea of what Messiah would be like, and Christ did not fit that image.


Even though that idea was wrong and distorted, they could not see beyond it and see the Lord as the fulfiller of the Old Testament prophecies.


They could not see that the Man of Nazareth was:




The Desire of all nations.  (Hag. 2:7)




Their promised Messiah.  (Dan. 9:25)




Emmanuel.  (Matt. 1:23)




The Governor among nations.  (Psa. 22:28)
They never saw deeper, within the Badger skins, Christ as the:


Perpetual final eternal sacrifice, as shown by the ram skins dyed red.


Personal accountability for the death of Christ, as shown by the Goat’s hair curtain.


Purposes God had for the glorification of Christ, as shown by the linen curtains.

Because the people of our Lord's sojourn did not see beyond the truth of the badger skins, they rejected Him. Startling are the words: “He came unto His own and His own received Him not” (Jn. 1:11).  Even though He said: “Search the scriptures . . . they are they which testify of me” (Jn. 5:39), they did not know, nor recognize who He was, nor that which he had done.  Even when He was glorified and the Holy Spirit descended proving His exaltation, even then they still rejected Him.

How much we miss, even we today, because we have failed to see the truths of the badger skins.


May God grant us good understanding as He, by His Holy Spirit, deigns to guide us into all truth.
John 16:13

Copyright © 2012 by Rowan Jennings, Abbotsford, British Columbia