As God brings you into the holy place, you must become aware of the tabernacle furniture and how each element relates to you in prayer. This will be the next part of your learning process, but there is a very important thing you must understand – God will never call you to intercede on behalf of the saints and into battle against the hands of the enemy without protecting and covering you.
The outer court is open to the winds, storms, and other weather conditions that may blow your way as you learn to submit your life to God. However, once you walk into the holy place, you are covered. As we study about each covering, you will see a definite connection to the priestly garments. God makes a strong point about the garments and the coverings.
Let’s start by looking more closely at the tabernacle. It has two sections, the holy place and the most holy place. God originally established the tabernacle through Moses so there would be a place for His presence to rest among His people (Exodus 25:8). Do you think the enemy could remain anywhere that God has chosen to rest? Absolutely not! The presence of God will cover you as you make intercession – as long as you remain properly clothed, so don’t fall back into the outer court living!
If you were to stand back just before entering into the holy place, and then look up and around, you would see that the holy place and the most holy place were parts of the tabernacle structure that required covering. Exodus 26:1-14 lists the four layered tabernacle coverings.
The first tabernacle curtain was woven of white “fine twined linen” and three different colors of wool: turquoise, purple and scarlet. This layer of covering was classified as “the tabernacle” and was made from the same basic material that was used to weave the priestly ephod in Exodus 28:6. The difference between the two can be seen in the fact that the ephod had a gold strand of thread woven in with each of the other four threads, and the tabernacle curtains did not. The curtains had four, not five, threads that were woven together into an ornate pattern of cherubim, as well as figures of the lion, eagle, and ox, which could be seen on either side of the fabric.
Here in the design of the curtains we once again see the colors of the finished work of Christ, which laid the foundation for the tabernacle coverings. The first fabric mentioned is the white linen which speaks of the garments of righteousness and salvation that have been given to the saints (Isaiah 61:1-3, 10).
The first covering of the tabernacle in Exodus 26:1 displays not only the four workings of Christ through its colors, but also the images of the cherubim, the lion, the eagle and the ox (Ezekial 1:4-10, Revelation 4:7). The images of the lion, eagle, and bull correspond to one of the colors in the workings of Christ, and e4ach of these images has significance in prayer. The is why they were intricately woven into the design of this first (foundational) covering.
Cherubim are very different from angels. God commanded that cherubim be woven into the fabric because they are a manifestation of everything He is. Angels work on behalf of God in the service of humanity. Cherubim live around the throne of God, exalting Him continually and reflecting His glory. The cherubim embroidered on the tabernacle curtains represent the inwrought work of cherubim who cover you in intercessory prayer and manifest the intricate workings and operation of the Holy Spirit on behalf of the Father and the Son. As you pray, the cherubim remind you of the life, ministry, death, burial and resurrection of Christ.
The image of the lion corresponds to purple in the workings of Christ. It speaks of the righteousness that has been imputed to you as part of the royal priesthood. The lion reminds you of your royal lineage and lets you know that you are now operating in authority that transformed you in the outer court. Because of this you can come boldly to the throne of grace.
The eagle corresponds with blue. It reminds you that God enables your spirit to touch Him in the heavenly realm. Blue speaks of operating in the supernatural. When you see the eagle, you are assured that God will mount you up on His wings and show you the mysteries of heaven so that you can bring His kingdom to the earthly realm.
The image of the ox (bull) corresponds to red. Bullocks were sacrificed for the sins of the high priest or the nation. This image represents that you are to remain broken before the Lord so that you can receive and carry His intercessory burdens for the church. A bull charges toward death, so as the Holy Spirit leads you to your final position in prayer at the threshing floor, your spirit will charge toward God knowing that no flesh can see His face and live.
When you walk into the holy place clothed in your priestly garments, a powerful divine match takes place in the heavenlies. Identifying with the colors and images in the first tabernacle covering identifies you with all the workings of Jesus Christ.
The second layer of covering over the tabernacle was made from black goat’s hair (Exodus 26:7). This layer of the curtains, classified as the “tent” was placed on top of the first covering. Goats were used to atone for the sins of individuals, from rulers to common people. This means as a intercessor, you will receive the grace to carry the burden of the Lord for anyone, anywhere, at any time – without becoming offended or affected by the person’s sin. Since the black goat’s hair was laid directly on top of the first tabernacle curtain, it assures you that your sins have been covered; for this reason you should not allow the enemy to remind you constantly of what you used to be.
The third tabernacle covering (Exodus 26:14) is made from ram’s skin dyed red and it was one of the final two layers, which were referred to as “covers”. The ram was used in guilt offerings. In addition, two rams were part of the sacrifices presented to Aaron and his sons when they were inaugurated (Exodus 29:15-28). After sacrificing the first ram as an elevation offering to God, the second sacrificial ram was called “the ram of perfection”. Every aspect of the ram is powerful. The ram is a sacrifice, a substitute, provision for our table, and a symbol of consecration for divine service. It confirms and completes the divine pattern. This represents that you can have perfect victory in prayer as you depend upon the Lord and upon those things that He already established in heaven and in the earth. Finally through this ram skin covering, God speaks to you from Isaiah 1:18. Remember this when you are entering into intercession.
The fourth and final tabernacle covering was made of badger’s skin (dolphin or porpoise in the Amplified – Exodus 26:14). This layer was the final cover that provided overall protection for each of the other layers. The badger skins were considered strong enough to protect every other layer of the tabernacle against heat, storms and dirt. Nothing could penetrate that skin. When the badger skin was laid over the tabernacle, it didn’t matter what the weather was like outside – the glory still remained on the inside. This is a final confirmation that as you guard your garments and make intercession, you will be protected from any outside onslaught of the devil. The badger’s skin was actually a transitional covering, used not only when the tabernacle was resting in one place, but also while it was being move to a new location. While you are learning how to move in the things of God and discovering the realm of the supernatural, you must trust that the badger’s skin is there to protect you against the wiles of the enemy – because supernatural experiences can be difficult to comprehend.
There is one final aspect about the tabernacle coverings that really minister to me. Specific measurements are given for the first two coverings, the linen embroidered curtain and the black goat’s skin. However, when we read about the skins of the ram and the badger, there are no measurements. There are no measurements because Christ’s sacrifice cannot be measured. His divine substitution on your behalf cannot be measured. His ability to consecrate you in His presence can not be measure. And finally, His divine protection against the wiles of the enemy cannot be measured.
The price has already been paid for you. The work has already been done. You have come through the gate, which made the way for you in the outer court. You are fully clothed. Now that you have walked through the door of the tabernacle, which is the truth – you are fully covered to become an effectual intercessor.
Now it is time to go deeper into the tabernacle. It’s time to go one step closer to your final position in prayer on the threshing floor. So stay tune for Part 11 – The Holy Place.
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