The Path to the Throne of God

 

10. THE COURT AND ITS WALL


The Two Squares of the Court. The court was an unroofed enclosure one hundred cubits long and fifty cubits wide, or at least seventy-five by one hundred fifty feet, as large as two ordinary city lots. Ex. 27:11-13.

Hastings' Bible Dictionary divides this space into two squares, each fifty by fifty cubits, with the entrance, of course, at the east end. In the eastern square was the brazen altar and the laver, the altar doubtless being located in its center. In the other square was the sanctuary proper, including the holy place and the most holy place. At the center of this square was the ark in the most holy place. The first of these two squares illustrated the work of Christ on earth for our salvation; the second

symbolized His work in heaven.


The Two Centers. These two centers, where were located the altar and the ark, are most significant. The cross of Christ is typified in the altar on which the sacrifices were offered; His throne is typified in the ark. The cross of Christ, represented in the altar, is the center of Christ's life and of the Christian's life on earth; the throne, represented in the ark, is the center of His life in heaven and of the Christian's future life in heaven. Everything on earth centers in, or rotates around, the cross of Christ. Everything in heaven centers in, or rotates around, the throne of Christ.

The sacrifice of the "Lamb of God" at the altar is the only possible atonement (at-one-ment) for sin, which is the transgression of God's law located in the ark. 1 John 3:4; Rom. 4:15. It is the only possible way to heaven, where it will be the delight of all to obey God's law because it has been engraved with the Spirit of God in the fleshy tables of their hearts. II Cor. 3:3.


The Court Hangings. The court was enclosed with hangings of fine-twined linen. Ex. 38:16; 27:18. "Fine linen, clean and white" represents "the righteousness of saints." Rev. 19:8. But the righteousness of saints is the robe of Christ's righteousness, purchased for us at infinite cost, and given to us “without money” and “without price” - because it is priceless. Isa. 55:1; 52:3. We are made "white" in the blood of Christ. Rev. 7:14. As the blood of transfusion helps the body to throw off disease, so the blood of Christ cleanses the soul from the leprosy of sin.


The Court Pillars. The linen wall, which was five cubits high, was held up by brass pillars of the same height and five cubits apart. Each pillar was set in a socket of brass. At its top was a 'chapiter" or capital, overlaid with silver. Just below the chapiter was a "fillet", or connecting band, on which was a “hook,” both of which were also of silver. From these hooks the linen wall was suspended. There were twenty pillars on the north side of the court, twenty on the south side, and ten on each end - sixty in all. Ex. 27:9-10; 38:17,20. From the top of each pillar a "cord" reached to

the ground, where, like a tent rope, it was fastened with "pins," or stakes, also of brass. Ex. 35:18; 27:19.

The size of these pillars, except their height, is not given, but in Solomon's temple "the height of one pillar was eighteen cubits; and a fillet of twelve cubits did compass it; and the thickness thereof was four fingers; it was hollow." Jer. 52:21. These pillars were therefore about twenty-seven feet in height, eighteen feet in circumference, or six feet in diameter, and the brass about three inches thick. The pillars for the sanctuary court of the wilderness were much smaller, their height being less than one-third of those in the temple of Solomon. Probably they also were hollow.


Pillars as A Symbol. Exodus 24:3-8 gives us a key to the significance of pillars. After Israel had unanimously covenanted to obey all the words of the Lord that Moses read to them from the book where they were written, he took with him a few representative people and solemnly ratified the agreement by building an altar and twelve pillars, "according to the twelve tribes of Israel." Ex. 24:1,4. This shows that pillars sometimes represent God's obedient children. In Revelation 3:10 we read 'Him that overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God." Here pillars represent the redeemed.

Both these texts are general, representing all the tribes and all who are finally overcomers. But the sixty pillars of the court wall being definitely numbered, could hardly represent sixty individual overcomers. Moreover, these sixty pillars supporting the court wall formed a protection about the sanctuary. Solomon calls them "threescore men about it, of the valiant of Israel. They all hold swords (the sword of the Spirit, which is the Word of God), being expert in war (expert in fighting the battles of the Lord with the Word.) Song 3:7, 8. From this, would it not seem that these sixty pillars represent some specially numbered group chosen from the twelve tribes for a special work? The Bible mentions only one such group - the 144,000, which number is a multiple of 60. Rev. 7:4.


Originally, the Levites who camped close about the sanctuary, were divinely appointed to have charge of the tabernacle, 1 Chron. 23:24,32, serving in courses "day and night." After redemption, this tribe is numbered among the twelve, Rev. 7:7, and the 144,000 as their successors, serve in the temple "day and night." Rev. 7:15. Just as the sacred enclosure within the sanctuary wall was holy ground within which no one ever entered except the priests, their assistants the Levites, and the sinner who came to offer sacrifice for his sin, so after redemption, in the temple just outside the City, only the 144,000 enter. EW 19. Let us keep this in mind for in our further study it will come up again.


Significance of Brass. The brass of the offering (for the sanctuary) was seventy talents, and two thousand and four hundred shekels," which approximately is 9000 pounds. Ex 38:29-31, margin. This was used for the 60 brass pillars, the 65 brass sockets, (including five for the sanctuary door), the brazen altar and its vessels, the laver, and other parts that were made of brass. If we allow 6,000 pounds for the 60 pillars, each pillar would weigh 100 pounds. While this is only an estimate, it is near enough for us to visualize something of the reality.

Brass signifies strength, stability, endurance, and victory through suffering. Of Asher Moses said, "Thy shoes shall be iron and brass; and as thy days, so shall thy strength be." Dent. 33:25; Micah 4:13. In Zechariah 6:1,12, Christ, the Branch, is represented by four chariots coming out from between two “mountains of brass” - a fitting symbol of Christ's strength, stability, endurance and victory. These mountains of brass, according to Cruden's Concordance, article Brass, are "the immovable decrees of God; the steady execution of His counsels; the inseparable restraints on all empires which God keeps within the barriers of such impregnable mountains that not one can start till He opens the way."


Significance of Silver. In the sanctuary, silver represents redemption through Christ. Every man, from twenty years old and upward, when numbered among the tribes, was required to give a

half shekel of silver as "a ransom for his soul," Ex. 30:11-16, the men representing the women and the children in the family. Not that redemption is worth only half a shekel given from time to time, or that it can be purchased with any amount of money; redemption is a free gift of the Redeemer, given "without money and without price" for it is priceless. Isa. 55:1. A half shekel was valued at 32 cents or about two days' wages. This money was from the spoils of Egypt, and the amount was within the reach of all. It was called the atonement or redemption money, and as the cost of redeeming rich and poor is the same - the blood of Christ - The rich shall not give more, and the poor shall not give less than half a shekel." Ex. 30:15. Not only are we God's children because we are redeemed, but we are redeemed because we are His children.


The Redemption Money. The redemption money, the half shekel, was used “for the service of the tabernacle” and for the Levites, the ministers of the sanctuary. Ex. 30:16; Num. 7:5. Like the tithe, its payment was not an expression of liberality, but a test of obedience and honesty. Nor was it a voluntary contribution as were other offerings; it was required by the express command of God, and there was no substitute for it. A refusal to pay the atonement half-shekel implied a wilful exclusion from the privileges of the sanctuary, as well as exposure to divine judgment. Even Christ Himself paid the "tribute money, (the temple tax, Moffatt) - the "piece of money," a shekel, that Peter at His command took from the fish's mouth. This shekel was the atonement money, sufficient for two - "for Me and thee." Matt. 17:24-27. Not that Christ needed atonement any more than He needed baptism, but He was obedient "for," said He, "thus it becometh us to fulfill all righteousness." Matt. 3:15.

Each man was required to present the atonement money personally whenever the people of Israel were numbered before the Lord for service, God thus writing up His people as they pass before, and as they are seen in Christ. There was no enlistment in the service of God but on this ground.' It was required "that there be no plague among them." It was "a memorial unto the children of Israel before the Lord," a reminder that the ransom of the soul is the gift of Jehovah - He gave His Son that we might have eternal life. It was also to "remind the Eternal," Moffatt, of His pledge to ransom every obedient soul. Ex. 30:11-16.


Value of the Silver in the Pillars. At Sinai there were 603,550 men numbered, Num. 1:46, and of the atonement money gathered, 1,775 silver shekels made the chapiters, fi Hets, and hooks for the sixty pillars. Ex. 38:26,28. Each pillar was therefore crowned with about twenty-nine and one-half shekels of silver, the value of which at sixty-four cents a shekel would be nearly $19.00. In United States money, the value of the silver in the sixty pillars would thus be well over

$1,000.00. And yet our Redeemer, who died to make atonement possible, was sold for thirty pieces, or shekels, of silver, less than twenty dollars, which was "a goodly price," Zech. 11:13, the price of a slave that had been accidentally killed, or killed by a beast. How little, how very little, did Judas value the cost of his redemption! Understanding the meaning of the brass and the silver in the pillars, with what humility and gratitude would the true believer look from the brass sockets and pillars upward to his redemption as memorialized in the silver chapiters, fillets, and hooks.