Understanding The Bible
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W. W. Rugh,
Bible Institute of Philadelphia
40 Page Printed Devotional Guide
1st Edition 1912
The Hangings of the Court.
The Court, or open space about the Tabernacle, was enclosed by hangings of fine twined linen supported by pillars of brass, which rested upon sockets of brass. These pillars were ornamented on top with chapiters of silver, under which were the hooks and fillets of silver which held up the hangings of linen. Ex. 38:17. These hangings of linen, five cubits, or about eight feet high, (the "cubit," the measure of the forearm, was 20 or more inches long) completely surrounded the Court, except for the hanging called the Gate to the east end or front of the Court.
These hangings of fine twined, or closely woven linen, shut out from the presence of the Lord every Israelite, great and small, rich and poor, learned and unlearned.
It was the desire and purpose of the Lord to bring His people Israel, whom He loved, into His presence, there to have fellowship with Himself. Why shut them out? Why not open up the Court all about His dwelling place, that all might come into His presence in their own way?
Ah, that is just why Jehovah shut Israel out from His Tent, that they might not come into His presence in any way but His way, a way that would make them acceptable to Him. He shut them out because He is a holy God, and they were a sinful people. Some in the camp of Israel may have esteemed themselves to be quite wise and good, and much better than their neighbors. But in God's sight, morally, there was no difference. He loved the weakest child as much as the mightiest warrior, and as a God of truth and justice He must deal the same with each of them, for all had sinned. Whatever may have been the standing of the people with reference to one another, before Jehovah they all had the same standing, they were all shut out by the hangings of fine twined linen, and could only come into His presence in His way, the way whereby all their sins and uncleanness might be judged and put away.
The fine twined linen to us is typical of the righteousness of God. In Revelation 19:8 we are told that "the fine linen is the righteousness of the saints." This is true when the saints have the linen on, but the linen about God's dwelling place is typical of God's righteousness.
The Holy Spirit in telling us of God's ways with every man according to the Gospel, declares that the Gospel is the power of God unto salvation, "for (or because) therein is revealed the righteousness of God." Romans 1:16, 17.
For God to reveal His righteousness, means for Him, as a holy God, to deal with every man according to His holy law. This He must do, for righteousness and justice are the foundation of His throne. Psalms 89:14; 97:2 R. V.
Now for the God of absolute truth and holiness to deal with sinful man according to His holy law, apart from Christ, would be to exclude every man forever from His holy presence. This is just what the Spirit reveals to us in Romans 1:18 to 3:18. Just the moment God speaks of revealing His righteousness, instantly all the unrighteousness of man is revealed, for what can a sinner do to satisfy the claims of a holy God?
Here the Spirit reveals how the heathen, the wicked Idolaters are without excuse before a holy God, because they have a knowledge of His eternal power and Godhead through His work of creation, and refusing this knowledge are given up of God to do everything that is vile and evil.
These verses declare that the learned Gentiles, the civilized people, are also without excuse before God, because they have an enlightened conscience, as well as a knowledge of God through His work of creation. "To him therefore that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin." James 4:17.
Romans 2:17 to 3:9.
The religious Jews, or religious Gentiles, who know about God through His word, but who obey not the Gospel, are without excuse before God. The more light or knowledge about God which men have, the greater will be their condemnation, if that knowledge is not received by faith. Matthew 11:20-24; 2 Thessalonians 1:8, 9.
Romans 3:10-20 is God's verdict concerning every one who has not come to Him through faith in the person and work of Jesus Christ. "All under sin," "none righteous, no, not one," and according to His holy law "all the world" is guilty before a holy God, and therefore all excluded from His presence, where is fullness of joy. Psalms 16:11.
Just as the fine twined linen about the Tabernacle shut the people of Israel out from the blessed presence of the Lord, so the revelation of God's righteousness excludes from His presence forever every one who does not come to Him through Jesus Christ.
The brass pillars and brass sockets which held up the hangings of linen speak to us typically of judgment. We shall see later how the Lord judged all the sins of all the people at the brazen altar, and judged the uncleanness of the priests at the brazen laver. These things alone would suggest the significance of the brass, but the Holy Spirit has given us a key verse in Revelation 1:15, where we are told that the feet of Christ, as the Judge, are "like unto burnished brass, as if it had been refined in a furnace." R. V.
Under His feet, burnished like brass as He suffered as our Substitute, must be put everything in the universe which is not in harmony with the mind and will of God. 1 Corinthians 15:25-28; 1 Peter 2:21-24.
The silver chapiters, hooks and fillets, which helped to hold up the linen hangings, were made of the silver atonement money obtained from the men of war in Israel, who were numbered at Mount Sinai before the Tabernacle was built. Ex. 30-11-16; 38:9-31; Num. 1, 2.
This silver of the Tabernacle is typical of the precious blood of Christ, by which we have been redeemed. I Peter 1:18, 19.
For us, the meaning of the linen hangings of the Court, supported by the brass and silver is this, that God's righteousness was fully revealed on Calvary, when God judged the sins of all the world through the atoning work of Jesus Christ. Romans 3:21, 22; Hebrews 9:26.
The law and the prophets witnessed to the righteousness of God, but His righteousness could only be fully revealed through faith of Jesus Christ, when He by faith laid down His life for us, receiving in Himself the stroke of God's wrath due us as rebels against God. Romans 3:21, 22; Hebrews 12:2; Romans 5:8-10; Isaiah 53:5.
The wrath of God, the expression of His holiness with reference to sin, was fully revealed when He turned His face away from His own dear Son, as He hung upon the cross in our place, and for God's wrath to abide upon a sinner who will not believe in Jesus Christ, means for that one to be eternally separated from Him who is love. John 3:36.
The ornaments of silver, the chapiters which adorned the brass posts, tell us of the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, who, though He was rich, for our sakes became poor, that we through His poverty might become rich. 2 Corinthians 8:9. R. V.
What an ornament grace is and how it adorns all His ways with and for us. May His love for others so fill the hearts of all His own, that like the silver chapiters, it may be seen above all else in our lives.
By W. W. RUGH, Associate
Dean, Bible Institute of Pennsylvania
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