The Perimeter Fence
The perimeter fence of the tabernacle enclosed a space that was 150 ft. by 75. It consisted of linen curtains suspended from posts which were 7 ½ ft. high and set 7 ½ ft. apart. The posts were placed in bronze bases, and the curtains were attached with silver hooks and rings. The enclosure had one entrance 30 ft. long which was designated by more decorative linen curtains. No doubt there were also cords stabilizing the posts: we learn that the pegs were made of bronze.
Bronze was the level that touched the ground. The Tabernacle was where God came to live with his people. They pitched their tents and lived their lives on the dusty floor of the wilderness. God joined them, and the place where his habitation met the camp was at the base of this perimeter tent: the bronze level.
The bronze altar was where what they brought was consecrated to God’s purposes, and the threshold of the sanctuary also was made of bronze. The threshold of the inner sanctuary, the space crossing between the holy and the holy of holies, was of silver, just as the higher fixtures of the post were. And the whole pictured an ascent, in three stages, to the place where God rested between the Cherubim.
The perimeter fence traced the outer boundary between that which was common and daily, between where God’s people lived and that which was consecrated, the space where sacrifices were made, cleansing was obtained, and God’s holy presence sanctified the lives of his people. It was a porous membrane, we could say, that allowed the people to approach God and obtain pardon and cleansing in his holy presence.
It reminded them that they must approach God on his terms, and “the majesty of holy things was shewn them in this type, in order that they might reverently approach the worship of God; and they were reminded of their own unworthiness, that they might humble themselves the more before God, and that fear might beget penitence.” - John Calvin
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