Sermon #94 Exodus Series
Title: The Tabernacle Fence
Christ our Mediator
Text: Exodus 27:9-21
Subject: The Meaning of the Fence
Date: Tuesday Evening — March 24, 2008
Tape : Exodus #94
Readings: David Burge and Larry Criss
Here’s the title of my message — The Tabernacle Fence — Christ our Mediator. My text is Exodus 27:9-21, where the Lord God gave Moses his instructions about the making of the tabernacle fence. Let’s read the Lord’s instructions to Moses. Then I will, if God the Holy Spirit will enable me, give you the meaning of the fence. In the first part of this chapter we see Christ our Altar portrayed in the brazen altar. Here we see Christ our Mediator portrayed in the linen fence surrounding the tabernacle.
(Exodus 27:9) “And thou shalt make the court of the tabernacle: for the south side southward there shall be hangings for the court of fine twined linen of an hundred cubits long for one side”
The Tabernacle court was about 175-180 feet long and 75-80 feet wide. What a small enclosure for those who were worshippers of the one and only true and living God! It seems to have been, even in its size, a declaration that God’s people in this world are few among many, “a remnant according to the election of grace!” Yet, few as they are, even now, in this gospel age the measure of the true Tabernacle, the Church of God is beyond the calculation of man (Malachi 1:11; Matthew 18:20).
(Malachi 1:11) “For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the LORD of hosts.”
(Matthew 18:20) “For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
The “hangings for the court of fine twined linen” formed the fence around the tabernacle. Read on.
(Exodus 27:10-21) “And the twenty pillars thereof and their twenty sockets shall be of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets shall be of silver. (11) And likewise for the north side in length there shall be hangings of an hundred cubits long, and his twenty pillars and their twenty sockets of brass; the hooks of the pillars and their fillets of silver. (12) And for the breadth of the court on the west side shall be hangings of fifty cubits: their pillars ten, and their sockets ten. (13) And the breadth of the court on the east side eastward shall be fifty cubits. (14) The hangings of one side of the gate shall be fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their sockets three. (15) And on the other side shall be hangings fifteen cubits: their pillars three, and their sockets three. (16) And for the gate of the court shall be an hanging of twenty cubits, of blue, and purple, and scarlet, and fine twined linen, wrought with needlework: and their pillars shall be four, and their sockets four. (17) All the pillars round about the court shall be filleted with silver; their hooks shall be of silver, and their sockets of brass. (18) The length of the court shall be an hundred cubits, and the breadth fifty every where, and the height five cubits of fine twined linen, and their sockets of brass. (19) All the vessels of the tabernacle in all the service thereof, and all the pins thereof, and all the pins of the court, shall be of brass. (20) And thou shalt command the children of Israel, that they bring thee pure oil olive beaten for the light, to cause the lamp to burn always. (21) In the tabernacle of the congregation without the veil, which is before the testimony, Aaron and his sons shall order it from evening to morning before the LORD: it shall be a statute for ever unto their generations on the behalf of the children of Israel.”
Oil and Priests
The “pure oil olive beaten for the light” is typical of God the Holy Spirit in all his gifts, graces and operations bestowed upon the church. None but he can enlighten the darkened minds of poor, lost and ruined sinners. He alone gives us the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (Zechariah 4:11-12).
(Zechariah 4:11-12) “Then answered I, and said unto him, What are these two olive trees upon the right side of the candlestick and upon the left side thereof? (12) And I answered again, and said unto him, What be these two olive branches which through the two golden pipes empty the golden oil out of themselves?”
Š It is by God the Holy Spirit that God’s servants are called and gifted for their work. By this “pure oil olive” their lips, as golden pipes pouring out the oil, preserve the knowledge and worship of God from one generation to another.
Š The “oil olive beaten” signifies the labor of God’s servants in the Word, as they prepare their messages and their hearts to shine forth the light of the gospel.
The work of God’s priests, as declared in verse 21, shows us the work of God’s servants in his house. The pastor, the gospel preacher is to rule the house of God as a husband is to rule his house (1 Timothy 3:5), ordering the worship of God by the revealed will of God given in Holy Scripture. If we would worship God, we must worship him “in spirit and in truth” (Philippians 3:3) “after the due order” (1 Chronicles 15:13).
But in this message, I want to focus your attention on the tabernacle fence. The whole structure was enclosed by a fence made of white linen which hung from sixty pillars, twenty on each side and ten on each end. If you turn to Revelation 3:12, you will see that these pillars represented the church of God’s elect, “the Israel of God,” “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Timothy 3:15). Remember, the number twelve and multiples of twelve (sixty is a multiple of twelve) are used throughout Scripture to represent God’s Israel.
(Revelation 3:12) “Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God, and he shall go no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name of the city of my God, which is new Jerusalem, which cometh down out of heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name.”
The four pillars of the eastern end, facing the rising sun, formed the gate of entrance into the tabernacle.
Š The tabernacle was God’s designated dwelling place.
Š The camp was the dwelling place of the people.
Š This linen fence stood between God and man.
I remind you — The tabernacle in all its parts and in all its furnishings, in all its sacrifices and ceremonies, set forth our Lord Jesus Christ in his personal being, work and glory as our God and Savior.
Linen, being made from the fibers of the flax plant, is an earthly thing. It is used in the Scriptures to represent the righteousness of God’s saints (Revelation 19:8). That righteousness is our Lord Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 1:30). This linen fence, standing between God and man, speaks of our Savior’s perfect humanity, symbolizing Christ our Mediator, specifically his accomplishments as our Mediator.
A mediator is one who takes an official, legal and accepted position between two parties that are at odds. . He is a Daysman, a go-between who offers something that will satisfy both parties. By this satisfaction to each he is able to reconcile them and make them friends. That is what the Lord Jesus Christ is to us — Our perfect, God-man Mediator (1 Timothy 2:5; Hebrews 8:6, 12:24).
(1 Timothy 2:5) “For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.”
(Hebrews 8:6) “But now hath he obtained a more excellent ministry, by how much also he is the mediator of a better covenant, which was established upon better promises.”
(Hebrews 12:24) “And to Jesus the mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel.”
The tops of the pillars was silver. The bottoms or bases were brass (Exodus 27:10). The brass, from which the bottoms of these pillars was formed represents the righteousness of Christ our Mediator.
Brass is a composition that will stand the test of fire; and fire is set forth in Scripture as a symbol of the judgement of God (Isaiah 29:6, 30:30, 66:15;).
(Isaiah 29:6) “Thou shalt be visited of the LORD of hosts with thunder, and with earthquake, and great noise, with storm and tempest, and the flame of devouring fire.”
(Isaiah 30:30) “And the LORD shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall show the lighting down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.”
(Isaiah 66:15) “For, behold, the LORD will come with fire, and with his chariots like a whirlwind, to render his anger with fury, and his rebuke with flames of fire.”
What can stand the test of the fire of Divine judgement — Righteousness — Perfect Righteousness!
(Nahum 1:5-6) “The mountains quake at him, and the hills melt, and the earth is burned at his presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein. (6) Who can stand before his indignation? and who can abide in the fierceness of his anger? his fury is poured out like fire, and the rocks are thrown down by him.”
(Isaiah 63:1-5) “Who is this that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this that is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I that speak in righteousness, mighty to save. (2) Wherefore art thou red in thine apparel, and thy garments like him that treadeth in the winefat? (3) I have trodden the winepress alone; and of the people there was none with me: for I will tread them in mine anger, and trample them in my fury; and their blood shall be sprinkled upon my garments, and I will stain all my raiment. (4) For the day of vengeance is in mine heart, and the year of my redeemed is come. (5) And I looked, and there was none to help; and I wondered that there was none to uphold: therefore mine own arm brought salvation unto me; and my fury, it upheld me.”
(Isaiah 59:16) “And he saw that there was no man, and wondered that there was no intercessor: therefore his arm brought salvation unto him; and his righteousness, it sustained him.”
Man’s righteousness is obnoxious to God. It is an offence. Our imaginary, pretended righteousness is the most foul, filthy, obnoxious thing in the universe to the Holy Lord God. Our righteousnesses are filthy rags before him (Isaiah 64:6). Offer the holy God your righteousness, and you will be eternally ruined, consumed by his fury, utterly destroyed in his wrath, and damned forever in hell!
How, then, can a I be saved? I must have righteousness, perfect righteousness, a righteousness worthy of, accepted and well-pleasing to the holy Lord God, a righteousness that has endured the fire!. You and I can never stand in God’s presence with anything short of perfect righteousness. It must be a righteousness of infinite merit; but it must be the righteousness of a man. That is what the linen fence represents — Righteousness accomplished and brought in by the doing and dying of the Son of God, our God-man Mediator!
When God the Holy Spirit comes to a sinner in the saving operations of his grace, giving the chosen, redeemed sinner faith in Christ, he convinces that sinner of righteousness. — He convinces the redeemed sinner that righteousness has been finished, accomplished and brought in by the obedience of Christ, righteousness with which God himself is well pleased.
But God requires more than righteousness. Sin must be punished. Justice must be satisfied. God demands atonement (satisfaction), the satisfaction of his holy justice. That is what is represented by the silver tops on those sixty pillars, set in sockets of brass in the linen fence encompassing the tabernacle.
As no man can bring in righteousness, so no mere man can satisfy the justice of God, even for himself, let alone another. But the Son of God who came to earth in a linen body, the God-man Mediator, Christ Jesus did! As the sockets of brass typified the righteousness of Christ that has stood the furious fire of God’s holy wrath and judgment for us, the tops of silver typified the silver of our Savior’s precious blood, his atonement, by which justice has been satisfied and sin has been put away. Silver was frequently used in the ceremonies of the law in connection with atonement (Exodus 30:12-16; Leviticus 5:15-16).
(Exodus 30:12-16) “When thou takest the sum of the children of Israel after their number, then shall they give every man a ransom for his soul unto the LORD, when thou numberest them; that there be no plague among them, when thou numberest them. (13) This they shall give, every one that passeth among them that are numbered, half a shekel after the shekel of the sanctuary: (a shekel is twenty gerahs:) an half shekel shall be the offering of the LORD. (14) Every one that passeth among them that are numbered, from twenty years old and above, shall give an offering unto the LORD. (15) The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel, when they give an offering unto the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls. (16) And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shalt appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation; that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the LORD, to make an atonement for your souls.”
(Leviticus 5:15-16) “If a soul commit a trespass, and sin through ignorance, in the holy things of the LORD; then he shall bring for his trespass unto the LORD a ram without blemish out of the flocks, with thy estimation by shekels of silver, after the shekel of the sanctuary, for a trespass offering: (16) And he shall make amends for the harm that he hath done in the holy thing, and shall add the fifth part thereto, and give it unto the priest: and the priest shall make an atonement for him with the ram of the trespass offering, and it shall be forgiven him.”
Christ’s obedience as our God-man Mediator is our righteousness before God, our only righteousness.
Š The righteousness Imputed to Us (Reckoned Ours) in Justification!
Š The Righteousness Imparted to Us (Formed in Us) in Sanctification!
Š The Righteousness in which We shall be Raised (Into which We shall be Transformed) in Glorification!
Š The Righteousness for which We shall be Rewarded in the Day of Judgment!
Christ’s precious blood, the atonement he obtained by his blood, the blood by which our sins were put away at Calvary is our only atonement for sin (2 Corinthians 5:17-21; Galatians 3:13-14).
(2 Corinthians 5:17-21) “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (18) And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation; (19) To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation. (20) Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God. (21) For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
(Galatians 3:13-14) “Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree: (14) That the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.”
Š The sixty pillars portray God’s elect, all saved sinners.
Š The sockets of brass pictured Christ our Righteousness.
Š The tops of silver typify Christ our Atonement, our Redemption.
Š In the linen fence was representative of the Man Christ Jesus, our Mediator, by whom, in whom, and with whom we have Righteousness and Atonement, by whom, in whom, and with whom we stand accepted before the Holy Lord God. — By the pure silver of his blood and the pure gold of his Deity, by the white linen of his perfect righteousness in our humanity he is our God-man Mediator and Savior!
The Son of God was obedient unto death for us. He met our sentence and expiated our guilt, when he was made sin for us. And, as he was made sin for us, that he might be damned in our stead, we are made the righteousness of God in him, that we might live in him!
Š The believer is joined to Christ as one spirit (1 Corinthians 6:17).
Š We are members of his body, bone of his bone and flesh of his flesh (Ephesians 5:30).
Š I can’t explain that, but I can believe it and rejoice in it — I am one with Christ and Christ is one with me!
That is the message of God the Holy Spirit in the tabernacle’s linen fence, with its pillars and their silver tops and brass sockets. Christ is our God-man Mediator, by whom God is reconciled to us and we are reconciled to God.
Listen to sermons at FreeGraceRadio.com