By Thomas Newberry
THE COURT OF THE TABERNACLE
Exodus 27. 9.
Verse 9. "And thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle."
WHATSOEVER things were written afore - the things which happened unto Israel, time, were written for our learning," and "happened unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon whom the ends of the world are come" (1 Cor. 10. 11). Thus the children of Israel, redeemed out of Egypt, are the types of the redeemed people of God. In the Scriptures we have Israel presented to us, in their history, and in the Divine arrangements respecting them, in various degrees of nearness to God.
First, we see them in Egypt, groaning under the bondage of Pharaoh. This is typical of the experience of the soul, under the first convictions of the Spirit, feeling the evil of sin, its bitter bondage, and heavy guilt, "labouring and heavy laden," from which deliverance is only obtained by taking shelter under the blood of the Lamb. "Christ our Passover sacrificed for us."
Secondly, we see them IN THE WILDERNESS, having crossed the Red Sea, wherein all the power of the oppressor has been overwhelmed. Typical of the soul realising the triumph of the Cross. Principalities and powers spoilt and made a show of; and death, and hell and the power of it, destroyed. And the believer, no longer at home in the world, but become a pilgrim a stranger here.
Thirdly, we see them IN THE CAMP, occupying there - in the various positions assigned them by God. Typical of believers in their different callings, ordinary occupations, and their social relationships. OUTSIDE the camp the sin-offering was consumed. OUTSIDE the camp the lepers and the defiled were obliged to remain.
WITHIN the camp the people of God were required to be a holy people to the Lord their God, who walked up and clown in their midst - to be holy in all manner of conversation, and in all the callings and relationships of life.
Fourthly, we see them assembled IN THE COURT OF THE TABERNACLE. Here the people of God are represented in their RELIGIOUS character. This is the especial subject of our present consideration.
Fifthly, the PRIESTS are seen entering daily through the door of the tent into the first tabernacle, or holy place, accomplishing the service of God. Typical of BELIEVERS in their PRIESTLY character and Church association, engaged in the worship and service of God.
Sixthly, the HIGH PRIEST is seen entering THROUGH THE VAIL into the Holy of Holies. Typical of JESUS, the HIGH PRIEST of our profession, entered for us into heaven itself; and of the BELIEVER in Him having boldness to enter through the rent vail into the holiest of all (Hebrews x. 19-22).
Seventhly, we see Israel IN THE LAND, having crossed the Jordan. Typical of believers as in spirit raised up together, and made to sit together in Christ Jesus in the heavenly places (Eph. 2. 6).
1, Egypt; 2, the wilderness; 3, the camp; 4, the court; 5, the holy place; 6, the most holy; 7, the land.
Divided by - 1, the blood of the Paschal Lamb; 2, the Red Sea; 3, the sin-offering; 4, the hanging of the court; 5, the door of the tent; 6, the vail; 7, the Jordan.
This is the Scriptural "Pilgrim's Progress," written "not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth."
But to return to the court of the tabernacle. The children of Israel seen in this court represent the people of God in their RELIGIOUS character. Not as associated in Church fellowship - this is typified by the boards of the tabernacle - but in their general religious aspect. Not only seeking to maintain and to exhibit holiness in the assemblies of God's saints, and in Church relationship, but also in the wider sphere of ordinary and everyday life.
These curtains of fine-twined linen formed a court around the tabernacle, and kept it separate. As the table of shewbread has a border, so the tabernacle of God has a court - a court with hangings of fine-twined linen all around, marking separation to God in righteousness and true holiness. Such is God's plan. As a TABLE without a BORDER is not according to God's pattern so a TABERNACLE without a COURT is contrary to God's order. There must be consistency without, as well as holiness and fellowship within; separation from the world in daily life, as well as in Church fellowship, and in the devotional exercises of the assembly. The COURT contained the ALTAR of burnt offering and the LAVER, and had the tabernacle, or dwelling-place of God in the midst. And the Israelites collected there, and in the open space before it, represents believers, realising atonement and acceptance through the sacrifice of Jesus, sanctification in Christ Jesus, by the Holy Ghost, and walking and acting in the presence of God.