“For the gate of the court there shall be a screen twenty cubits long, woven of blue and purple and scarlet yarn, and fine linen thread, made by a weaver. It shall have four pillars and four sockets.”
If you were to walk around the outside of the tabernacle site, you would see only the exterior linen curtain that would bring you to the only gate, the only entrance, into the tabernacle. There was just one gate to the tabernacle. There was no other way to get into the structure other than through that one gate. This entrance was about 20 cubits (30 ft.) wide and 5 cubits (7 1/2ft.) high and was located in the eastern end of the tabernacle court.
The entrance was screened by an embroidered curtain woven from blue, purple, and scarlet material, and “finely twisted linen” (Exodus 38:18)—that is, the warp consisted of bleached linen threads and the woof of the strips of wool dyed alternately blue, purple, and scarlet.
The gate to the outer court is very similar to the gate which opened into the tabernacle, and the veil, which hid the Holy of Holies. Each one of them served as a door, hiding the interior from one approaching from the outside. All were made from the same materials, and the colors are mentioned in the same order. The total width of the enclosure on the east, as well as the west, was 50 cubits (75 ft.). So the gate in front took up nearly 40% of the space.
So the Israelite who came to the brazen altar with his offering must pass through this gate of the court; the priest who placed the incense on the golden altar must enter by the door of the tabernacle; the high priest who entered the Holy of Holies on the Day of Atonement must do so through the veil, thus realizing the thrice—repeated proof of the only way of access to God. The gate or door must be entered, before one can reap the benefits therein. The very specific demands that it be entered, or else it has no value.
There was only one entrance to the enclosure and therefore only one way to get to the altar of God. Jesus claimed to be the only door (John 10:9) and the only way to God (John 14:6), which explains why Peter said,
“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Act4:12).
The one gate, and screen in front of the gate, was held up by four pillars. How many gospels are there in the Bible? There are, of course four. The screen which was in front of the gate had four colors: blue, purple, scarlet, and white.
BLUE: Blue speaks of that which is heavenly. Jesus is the only man who came directly from heaven. In John, Jesus is Deity, god manifested in the flesh. He is the Son of living God.
PURPLE: Purple speaks of royalty. Descended from the line of David, Jesus is the nation of Israel’s promised messiah and King. So Matthew presents Jesus as the King of Israel. There are more cross-references to the Old Testament in Matthew than the other three gospels put together. At the beginning of the book, Matthew is meticulous in pointing out that Jesus descended from the line of David. He is the King.
SCARLET: The scarlet threads interwoven throughout the screen speak of the blood of Jesus who came to die and to shed His blood for our redemption. Mark, the shortest gospel, presents Jesus as the suffering servant, the one who laid down His life for us.
WHITE: The gate was also made of fine white linen. The white speaks of Christ as the perfect servant. In Luke, Jesus is presented as the perfect man.
Jesus came from heaven as God manifested in the flesh (blue). He came as King (purple). He was perfectly pure (white). His blood was shed for our redemption (scarlet).
So what we have in that screen is a beautiful picture of our Lord and Savior, of Jesus Christ.
With that in mind, look at the beginning of Revelation4 where John is translated into heaven. He sees the very throne room of God Himself:
“…and before the throne there was something like the sea of glass, like crystal; and in the center and around the throne, four living creatures full of eyes in front and behind. The first creature was a like a lion, and the second creature like a calf, and the third creature had a face like that of a man, and the fourth creature was like a flying eagle”.
Notice, the first creature was like a lion. Jesus is shown in the gospel of Matthew as the lion of the tribe of Judah, the King of Israel. The second creature was like a calf. A calf is an animal of servitude that was slain in the tabernacle for sins. Jesus is shown in Mark as a servant. The third creature had a face like a man. The fourth creature was the flying eagle, which is a picture of that which is heavenly, His Deity John depicts him as the Son of God. In what order are these creatures presented in Revelation? First Matthew, then Mark, Luke, John, in the same order as the gospels appear in our Bible.
So the colors illustrate the perspective of each gospel, as do the four living creatures. Four colors, four pillars, four gospels, four views of Jesus.
With that in mind there is another little interesting side note. We often tell people when they become new Christians to read the gospel of John first. Maybe there is something to that because the order of the colors in Exodus is first John (blue), then Matthew, mark, and Luke (purple, scarlet, and white).