The Tabernacle its construction and furnishings”, Part 27
In our previous two posts we have been discussing the coverings of the Tabernacle, the first of which
was the Linen Curtain with its elaborate embroidering, similar to that of the two Vails and the entrance
curtain to the courtyard, this curtain a combination of two sets of five curtains joined together was
actually a part of what is designated as THE Tabernacle (Exod 26:1). As a “tent over the tabernacle”
a second set of curtains was constructed, this was designated as the Goats’ Skin Curtain (Exod 26:7);
this curtain likewise consisted of two adjoining sections, one comprising five curtains and the other of
six, the sixed being doubled over at the front entrance to the tabernacle proper.
We would now here like to take a look at the final two curtains placed over the tabernacle, the “Rams
Skin Curtain” and the “Seals Skin Curtain” (Exod 26:14)
It should be closely noted that the statement is that these two curtains were designated as “coverings”
for THE Tent, i.e. the Goats’ Skin Curtain, NOT specifically as coverings for the Tabernacle itself,
although it is true that they did serve in this capacity likewise.
As you recall in our last presentation we had determined both the practical purpose and the symbolic
or typical purpose of the Goat’ Skin Curtain, i.e. why it was placed over the Linen Curtain, so now we
ask the same question what might be the practical and symbolical purposes of these coverings
being placed over the Goat’ Skin Curtain?
It might prove helpful here if first we examine these two coverings to determine just what specifically
they represented, what they typified.
The first covering placed over the Goat’ Skin Curtain was the “Rams Skin Curtain”, “And thou shall
make a covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red.” (Exod 26:14)
“A ram is a male sheep; it of course could be a lamb! When Abraham was about to offer Isaac, his son,
upon the altar of sacrifice unto Jehovah, an angel stayed his hand and directed his attention to the ram
caught in the nearby thicket which ram was then offered “in the stead of his son.” (Gen 22:2–13) Just
so, Jesus was given by God as the ram (lamb of God) to take our place in death.” (“Notes on the
Tabernacle”, Page 72)
“Behold the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” (John 1:29)
“This particular covering required the shedding of the animals’ blood, thus representing the Ransom and
the Lord’s blood that was shed”, “Without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.”
“Regarding the rams’ skin curtains symbolizing the ransom sacrifice; it is interesting to note that the
male sheep (ram) was never used for a sin-offering as if to say, the place of the male sheep (ram) was
reserved for use in the PASSOVER ritual. The fact that a goat might be used in this (Exod 12:3,
margin) is not relevant here since it was merely an allowable substitute where the lamb could not be
supplied. It is true, a ram was used for the trespass offering (Lev 6:6); yet here too the ram
represented the ransom sacrifice of Jesus; for, as Brother Russell says, “the trespasser’s recognition
of his own imperfections” is involved and, the value of the ransom be shown by the ram presented.”
(“Notes on the Tabernacle”, Page 73; T99)
“You shall also make a covering of Seal’ Skins (misinterpreted “badger skins”) above that (i.e.
above the Goats’ Skin Curtain).” Exod 26:14
Practically all translators have had difficulty with the Hebrew term tachash, which in the KJV is rendered
badgers’ skins at Exod 25:5; 26:14; 35:7,23; 36:19; 39:34; Num 4:6,8,10–12,14,25; and Ezek
16:10. Not even Strong and Young in their concordances to the Bible were able to agree on an
The Septuagint, the Latin Vulgate, and the Douay versions have rendered it as though it had reference
to a color. Moffatt and the Jerusalem Bible have rendered it “leather.” Leeser, Darby, Rotherham, like the
KJV, have rendered it “badgers’ skins”; the Confraternity “thalas skins”; the Revised Standard
“goatskins.” The RSV, the Jewish Publication Society, An American Translation, and the New World
Translation have all rendered it “seals’ skins.”(“Notes on the Tabernacle”, Page 70)
“Badger (Hebrew: tachash; Meles taxus)—The badger is found in Palestine, but the skins used as
coverings for the Tabernacle were probably the skins of the sea-cow or dugong, common in the Red
Sea. The Hebrew word may be a general term for all such like marine animals as the dugong, seals, or
porpoises. The Revised version in Exod 25:5 and Ezek 16:10 translated the word by `seal skins,’ or
in the margin, `porpoise skins.’ ” (Clow, Bible Reader’s Encyclopedia)
“Hebrew tachash: occurs both as substance used for covering of the Tabernacle and (in Ezek 16:10) as
a material for women’s shoes. Our translators seem to have been misled by the similarity in the sound of
the Hebrew tachashand, the Latin taxus, `a badger.’ The revisers have correctly substituted `seal
skins.’ The Arabs of Sinai apply the name tucash to the seals and dugongs which are common in
Palestine, and might occur in the Red Sea, and the skins of which are largely used as leather, and for
sandals. Though the badger is common in Palestine, and might occur in the wilderness, its small
hide would have been useless as a tent covering. The dugong, very plentiful in the shallow
waters on the shores of the Red Sea, is a marine animal from 12 to 30 feet long, something
between a whale and a seal, never leaving the water, but very easily caught. It grazes on seaweed, and is
known by naturalists as Halicore tabernaculi.” (The Illustrated Bible Treasury, W. Wright Ed.)
The seal is an aquatic animal, its natural habitat being the water. Jesus, in his pre-human existence was
the Logos (the Word—John 1:1); his natural habitat being the spirit plane on which he was created.
(Rev 3:4) It was the outermost skin, rough and unsightly (T127), yet it served well to hide all that
was beneath it; the rams’ skins, dyed red; the goats’ hair curtain; the glorious curtain (i.e., the
Tabernacle proper—Exod 26:1) as the dwelling place of Jehovah God; and, of course, its glorious
mystery of atonement, thus the Plan of God is concealed from the world, our life hidden or concealed in
“For you are dead and your life (your new life, the new creature) is hid with Christ in God.”
Jesus’ flesh did not reveal him to be what he truly was—the Messiah for whom Israel had so long sought.
When he presented himself to them, “his own received him not” (John 1:11) for they be held in him
“no form nor comeliness . . . no beauty that they should desire him.” (Isa 53:1, 2) “Notes on
the Tabernacle”, Page 71
Its color was drab! He who left a heavenly glory to visit a sin-cursed earth had really left the realms of
Light for the shades of Night (drab).
No measurements were given for it, nor for the Rams’ Skin Curtain, thus the Love of God as set
forth in the sending of his only begotten Son into this world of sin and death (John 3:16) is beyond the
measure of mortal minds to grasp (to appreciate). There are just “no measurements.” Likewise neither
the Rams’ Skin Curtain nor the Seals’ Skin Curtain was divided, that is to say that there was no one
who shared with Jesus in this great step of condescension and humility. In this, he was alone!
No one but Jesus could give himself a ransom for the sins of the world; nor could anyone share with him
in this for none had the requisite righteousness to accomplish the atonement.
“We are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags.” (Isa 64:6)
“There is none righteous, no, not one.” (Rom 3:10)
“None . . . can by any means redeem his brother, nor give to God a ransom for him.” (Psa 49:7)
“I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me.” (Isa 63:3)
(“Notes on the Tabernacle”, Page 72, 73)
Having now established we hope the symbolic meaning of these two curtains, let us return to our
question, what might be the practical and or symbolical purposes of these coverings being
placed over the Goat’ Skin Curtain?
Let us address the practical purposes first as that should be quite easy enough to figure out. In
regards to both of these coverings they were both well suited as protection from the elements, as both
are proven to be quite water resistant. Goat skin water containers were and in some cases still are a
frequent method of transporting water in the region, on the other hand seals skins of course taken from
an aquatic animal speak for themselves. The fact is however that rain would not prove to be that much
of a hazard in this particular region as the average rainfall in the Wilderness of Zin in which the Israelites
spent the majority of their time (38 years out of their 40 years in exile, Num 20:1) is less than ten
inches per year, most of the water contained in this region coming from hidden wells and springs.
Likewise naturally it would prove necessary for the Seals’ Skin Curtain to be place “above that” of the
Rams’ Skin Curtain in order to protect its red dye from running.
So then what is the symbolic reason for these coverings to be placed over the tent?
Well as we had seen in our previous post the Goats’ Skin Curtain represented not only our Lord’s
actually human perfection, his actual righteousness which he offered as a sin-offering, but likewise in the
Goats’ Skin Curtains was pictured the justified human perfection of the Church which they had
received by means of the imputation of the merit of Christ, his righteousness being applied as a
robe to cover their deficiencies, making their sacrifice acceptable upon the Father’s altar,
allowing them to be joint participators in the sin-offering, however none of this could have taken
place unless first they had been “covered over” by the Rams’ Skin Curtain, typifying the “ransom”,
which in due time is to be made know (applicable) to all men (1 Tim 2:6) As for the Seal’s Skin Curtain
this represents the same thing as it did in regards to the Lord to all those joined to the body, made
participators in the one sacrifice, the one sin-offering, it pictures how the world views the true followers
of Christ, they see nothing in us that would draw their attention to us, that they should desire us, at
least at the time, knowingly.
Nevertheless, “the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons
of God” Why? Because the Father through Jesus Christ our Lord “has given us the ministry of
reconciliation (the at-one-ment)”, “because the creation itself also (in due time) will be delivered
from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.” (Rom 8:19, 21;
2 Cor 5:18)
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