The Tabernacle was of course a actual structure built for an exact purpose and a specific people, but as we examine the construction piece by piece; thread by thread as it were, we see a depiction of Christ Jesus emerge. If there were but a few parallels, it might suggest mere happenstance, but the fact that the entire edifice and its furnishings speak practically and prophetically of Jesus is most assuredly a God-thing.
You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. John 5:39
Jesus the Tent
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14
In the Gospel of John we discover our first clue. Inspired by the Father he wrote that Jesus became flesh and dwelt with us. The word ‘dwelt’ is key to us because in the original Hebrew text that word is translated ‘to tabernacle’ or to ‘tent with’. Again, if this was the only allusion to the Tabernacle itself, we might say in unison, “Coincidence!” but this is merely the tip of the iceberg. Graciously, as we unravel the Tabernacle we discover that it not only points prophetically to Jesus Christ, but also to us–what is true for Jesus is true for those positioned in Him.
Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining. 1 John 2:8
Colors of Jesus
There were actually four layers of the Tabernacle’s outer wall, each layer having individual characteristics pointing to Jesus. We will focus on the innermost wall—the side that is seen by those who find themselves inside the Tabernacle. It consisted of four colors: white, blue, purple, and scarlet.
Throughout the Bible we stumble on attributes associated with those colors: white linen speaks to righteousness, blue to heaven, purple to royalty, and finally scarlet to sacrifice. The number four also speaks to the four Gospels of the Bible and they tackle those very qualities of Christ. Matthew speaks to Jesus the King (purple), Mark to His being the suffering servant (scarlet), Luke to His righteous humanity (white), and John to His deity of Heaven (blue).
Jesus the Worm
Jesus said that, not me.
But I am a worm, and no man; A reproach of men, and despised by the people. Isaiah 53:6
I only repeat it here because it is paramount to developing and explaining the typology. Going back to the old Hebrew language we learn that the word for worm is ‘tolaith’ and further research reveals that it has a dual meaning–it is also defined as scarlet. It is not difficult to figure out why– the tolaith worm was ground-up to produce the scarlet pigmentation, thus the reason for the twofold definition, but it is in understanding this worm’s way of life will can appreciate Christ’s use of this expression for Himself.
The worm when giving birth affixes itself to a tree and in the act it dies and the infant worms feed on the flesh. As you might imagine, a bloody red stain is left behind. But then an odd thing occurs—in three days that red spot has dried out, turns white, flakes off and flutters to the ground as snow. I cannot help but think that was the exact image Jesus had in mind when He chose to identify Himself with the tolaith.
“Come now, and let us reason together, ” Says the Lord, “Though your sins are like scarlet, They shall be as white as snow; Though they are red like crimson, They shall be as wool. Isaiah 1:18