“ Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubim of cunning work shall you make them.
“ The length of one curtain shall be twenty eight, and the width of one curtain four cubits: and every one of the curtains shall have one measure.
“ The five curtains shall be coupled together one to another; and the other five curtains shall be coupled one to another.
And you shall make loops of blue upon the edge of the one curtain from the selvedge in the coupling; and likewise shall you make in the uttermost edge of another curtain, in the coupling of the second.
“Fifty loops shall you make in the one curtain, and fifty loops shall you make in the edge of the curtain that is in the coupling of the second; that the loops may take hold of one another.
“ And you shall make fifty taches of gold, and couple the curtains together with the taches: and it shall be one tabernacle.”
While the scripture is not perfectly clear on the subject, it seems that these “ ten curtains” had to do with the inner covering of the tabernacle. They were elaborately embroidered, and joined together.
It is noteworthy that the curtained ceiling, which we are now to contemplate, is described before the boards, which formed the framework or sides of the holy structure. Man would naturally have begun with a description of the framework, then the roof, and then the furniture placed with in the finished building. But here, as elsewhere, God’s thoughts and ways are the opposite of ours.
Each of these curtains was 28 cubits (42 ft.) long, and 6 cubits (9 ft.) wide. They were coupled together in fives, thus giving a total length of length of 30 cubits, and width of 40 cubits, which would not only reach across the tabernacle, which they were intended to do. The two sets of five white curtains were linked together by fifty loops of blue in each, which were fastened with fifty taches or clasps of gold, thus firmly uniting the whole together in one solid peace.
This covering was fine-twined, Egypt linen with cherubim woven in the material. It did not touch the ground, and its beauty could only be seen on the inside of the tabernacle. This covering could not be seen from the outside at all.
Only the priest, those who worshiped and served in the tabernacle, saw this covering.
Fine-twined linen (v.1) is always a symbol of righteousness. It speaks of Christ and His righteousness. The fine linen served as the background for the colors; and how could Christ be all that He was, and accomplish all that He did, unless He was holy, perfect, pure, spotless, fault less. Here, then, we see Christ as the sinless One.
Blue is the color of heaven. It speaks to us as Christ, the Lord from heaven (1 Corinthians 15:47, John 1:1-3, 14-18). It is interesting that the children of Israel were to have a ribbon of blue upon the border of their garment as a constant reminder of the Heavenly Commandments and the fact that their citizenship was not an earthy one (Numbers 15:32-41).
Purple is the color of royalty and kingship. Jesus Christ is the Royal Man who is our King of kings and Lord of lords. Purple is produced by mixing of blue and scarlet. In Christ there is a blending of the Human and Divine natures in One person. He is both Son of God and Son of Man (Luke 1:30-33, Revelation 19). This qualifies Him to be the only Mediator between God and man, because being God (blue), He partook of flesh (scarlet).
Scarlet, if we were in Israel we would appreciate the significance of this color more because, in many places, it is the color of the earth in that region. So, turning from blue (heaven) and purple (royalty) we drop our eyes to earth. “Adam”, the name given to man in Genesis, comes from the root word meaning “red earth.” Adam, the first man, was of the earth, made from dust of the ground. Jesus was the second Man, the Lord from heaven.
Another beautiful illustration of this truth is to be found in Genesis 25:25
“And the first [twin] came out red. He was like a hairy garment all over; so they called his name Esau.”
Esau, then was red-haired; he also was an earthly man in his desires, and to satisfy an earthly gratification he sold his birthright—a spiritual heritage went for a meal of red stew. To summarize: red or scarlet typifies the fact that Jesus was human and that He was the Son of Man.
These four colors that we see prescribed for the ten curtains are no accidental choice. In fact the very order of these colors is not arbitrary. This same order for these same colors is repeated twenty-four times in the book of Exodus. These four colors are typical of the four gospels which present Jesus Christ as the True Tabernacle (John 1:14).
When the priests went into the holy place, they would be aware that angels were in their midst. In the ten inner curtains they become part of the ornamentation of the ceiling of the tabernacle. The priest, looking up, would be reminded that’s God’s protecting forces were looking down. Cherubim speak to us of protection. We see them at the garden of Eden, guarding the way to the Tree of Life; and above the mercy-seat, guarding, the sprinkled blood.
Paul tells us that angels are in our company, learning about God’s grace and mercy by observing how good He is to you and me (1 Corinthians 11:10) The tabernacle being a picture of Jesus, it is no wonder that angels were present at Jesus’ birth (Luke 2), present during His life (Matthew 4), and present at the end of His life (Luke 22:43).