The courtyard was a rectangle, 100 cubits (150ft.) long on its north and south side and 50 cubits (75ft.) wide on its east and west side.
This area was not very big considering that it was for a congregation of possibly three million people. Enclosing this space was a fence, with a framework consisting of sixty acacia wood pillars, 5 cubits (7 ½ ft.) high.
The pillars were either round or square, and about 5 inches in diameter, with twenty on each side and ten at each end. The base of each pillar stood in a bronze socket, and each pillar was held upright by cords (Exodus 35:18) driven into the ground, both inside and outside the court. Curtain rods (“bands”) rested on the hooks near the top of the pillars, serving as the top rail of the fence and keeping the pillars the right distance apart. These rods were made of acacia wood, covered with silver; the hooks and protecting caps on the pillars were also made of silver ( Exodus 38:17,18). There were also hooks at the bottom of the pillars, to which the bottom edge of the curtains was fastened.
Curtains of fine-twined linen and probably white or natural in color were sewn together end to end, to form a continuous screen all around the tabernacle area. The 5 cubit fence was high enough that no one could look over and see inside. To really know what was happening on the other side of that linen wall, a person would have to go through the one and only gate.
The fence had a fourfold reason:(1) to prevent unlawful approach; (2) to keep out all wild animals; (3) to be a positive line demarcation between the world and the holy presence of God; and (4) with its single gate, to be a way of approach to God.
Many times throughout the scriptures, the outer court is referred to, directly or indirectly. In the following scriptures from the Psalms, we find reference to the court of Moses’ tabernacle or the courts of the temple of Solomon:
“Blessed is the man whom You choose, and causes to approach unto thee, that he may dwell in your courts”(Psalm65:4).
“ Come into His courts” (Psalm96:8)
“ Those that be planted in the house of the Lord shall flourish in the courts of our God” (Psalm92:13)
“ My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord…For a day in your courts is better than a thousand” (Psalm84:2,10).
“Enter into His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise” (Psalm100:4).
It was a wonderful exhibition of righteousness. How the white linen of that court must have stood out in the thousands of black tents pitched on every side of it. It’s surely a picture of Christ’s right righteousness perverse and crooked generation.
The court is a wonderful picture of the Word of God, for the Word reveals how sin has been judged and put underfoot (bronze sockets). It holds up its head (silver capitals) the redemptive work of Christ and, at the same time, displays on every hand the righteousness of God.
The white linen is symbolic of that spotless purity of Christ. He is the only righteous man born of the entire human race, for He is “ The Lord our Righteousness.” When Christ stood before the Pharisees, the Sanhedrin, Pilate, and Herod, and when He hung before the centurion, they all had to declare that He was a righteous Man in whom no fault could be found.
The righteousness of Christ is to become the righteousness of the church. God is not interested in our own fleshly works of righteousness, for they are as “ filthy rags” in His sight (Isaiah 64:6). God is not interested in the legal righteousness of the Law, for that is self-righteousness (Romans 10:1-6 & Philippians 3:7-9). God is looking for a people who are standing by faith in the righteousness of Christ. It is the righteousness of Christ that God accepts, and as we put on Christ we become righteous ( 2 Corinthians 5:17-21, Romans 8:4, Revelation 3:4, Revelation 19:8).