Thank you for joining this ongoing chronological bible study where we are trying to approach the scriptures with the heart of a child. Today we will discuss how God, the Master Weaver, has woven stories into the layers of goat’s hair within the construction of the wilderness tabernacle.
A MODERN DAY WEAVER COMES FOR A VISIT
I just spent eleven days listening to a professional weaver speak about her skills. She has quite an amazing process involving whole rooms full of looms that do very technical and complex things.
She has written books about her skills; and she has invented very beautiful and amazing patterns with all of her different types of yarn.
There are very intricate ways that she uses to wind all the treads together into a perfect design. In order to do this well; one must understand how to create patterns. A weaver must know about the different types of yarn and how each one can be used to do different types of things. She must know what works most effectively in every given situation.
Such is the way that our Heavenly Father operates. He is The Master Weaver; and His designs are full of His amazing story.
THE SKILLED WEAVERS OF ANCIENT TIMES
Long ago, during the ancient times of the construction of the wilderness tabernacle, some other women had this same amazing skill. Weaving was a highly sought after trade in those days, and it became a craft of great value.
Not many people had the patience, wisdom or intellect to learn the complicated technique of skillful weaving.
Only the best would do for God’s tabernacle; and God pointed out the best craftsmen to Moses.
There were women living among the Israelites that God chose especially for this special task.
Perhaps they had served with all of the master weavers back in Egypt where they had developed their skills directly from the forced time of slavery they had endured.
Now God would use the broken things in their lives and turn them into a new way to display His glory.
Can you imagine being one of them?
Do you think their hearts overflowed with joy when they saw that they could be useful to the God they loved by doing the things they were skilled to do well with passion?
A CRAFT THAT SHELTERED THE DWELLING PLACE OF GOD
I wish I had brought this conversation up with my visitor while she was explaining the ins-and-outs of her profession to me.
I had to wonder if possibly she too had been influenced by some of the same things that had led these ancient women to develop their skills into a craft God considered worthy of sheltering His dwelling place among men.
It is amazing when you think about the possibilities.
A LAYER OF FINE LINEN SHELTERED THE HEART OF GOD
You could say that the white linen part of the tabernacle ( woven by these skilled craftsmen) was the actual heart of the tabernacle.
It was the most important part of the whole building.
The other coverings were like a tent for the tent, or a covering for the most important part.
GOAT’S HAIR COVERINGS
The outside layers were simply accessories to cover the deep inside portions of the tabernacle.
Still; these outer coverings had their place and they were also important.
God told Moses to use two sections of curtains made of goat’s hair for the next coverings of the tabernacle. There were eleven goat’s hair curtains in all; which would be 30 cubits long and four cubits wide.
The goat’s hair sections were to be fastened together as a unit with bronze clasps.
One set of curtains contained five sections joined together, and one set of curtains contained six sections joined together.
We must point out and distinguish that God said goat “hair” not goat “skin.” The goat hair was woven together most likely by the women who felt called to offer their expertise and weaving skills to the building of the tabernacle.
CHOSE THOSE WHO HAVE A HEART FOR THEIR WORK
God told Moses to only choose those who had a heart for their work.
Again, I thought of my friend and how weaving had been her life-long passion. I thought of the eleven woven curtains, and remembered how God had blessed us with her visit for eleven days. I pondered this and supposed that fact could not have been coincidence!
Be careful of the moments in which you live; God is always teaching, even when we are not paying attention. When we forget to be aware of this; we lose a lot of extra blessings in our days. I should have been alert to this and asked more questions of my guest.
The friends visiting actually happened during a very rushed up time for me. I was working long hours and tending to a hard work schedule while they (the weaver and her daughter sometimes joined by one of their dear friends) stayed under my roof. My husband was keeping a pretty rough schedule at work too.
They came on their schedule, not mine and all I could do to accommodate that time frame was offer them room and board while I went on about my very busy work activities. I hardly had a second to spare; so I did not have enough time set aside for long talks and visiting.
I would have loved to have had the time to take the conversations around the weaving to another level.
Of course, being very human, I wasn’t thinking of the fact that absolutely nothing in this life really happens by chance; everything is a pattern that God has woven just for you. If you don’t follow His schedule; you are going to have a blank space in a few sections of your pattern.
That is just how weaving goes! It was a lesson for me to remember to listen up and pay more attention to God’s schedule and less attention to my own busy life.
THE ANCIENT WEAVERS HAD PASSION AS WELL AS SKILL
I suppose there are other modern-day weavers and craftsmen out there; maybe they are even reading this article. At least I’m sure there are many other skilled craftsmen. So I will ask the question: Do you have a heart for using your skills to the glory of God?
Do you share this passion of these ancient weavers?
I really doubt any of those ancient craftsmen totally understood the importance of their task at the time. They simply loved God and loved using their skills for His glory.
Many things are really the same today as in the days of Moses. God only wants His workers to have a heart and passion for their work. In God’s economy, if you are coming to your labor with a grudge; you need not come at all. God loves a cheerful giver. God gives us six days to complete our labor; and He expects us to use that time wisely.
WEAVING THE BLACK GOAT’S HAIR COVERINGS
The weaving the ancient weavers did formed a black cloth that was something similar to our modern-day cashmere. Black was the color of most of the goats of the wilderness during this time period of the life of Moses.
This black cloth which was used in the covering of the second layer of the tabernacle tents was very common, and this color and material of the tabernacle tents was even mentioned in the words of the Bride as she spoke in The Song of Solomon.
The Bride says “I am black, but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, as the tents of Kedar, as the curtains of Solomon.” These tents crafted in the wilderness inspired many poets to write descriptive verses of great poetic value.
It is amazing how a skilled craftsman can turn something as ordinary as black goat’s hair into something very useful. The black goat’s hair was considered to be practical and ordinary; not like the poems written about them many years later; which makes them appear to be extraordinary.
ONCE AGAIN WE SEE CHRIST IN THE WILDERNESS TABERNACLE
There is also a passage in the Song of Solomon that says; “Thy hair is as a flock of goats.” It leads one to believe that the Bride here is speaking to her lover who has black hair.
The wording used is a description of the same color found in the tabernacle of God that came out of the wilderness journey of The People of God; it could be describing the tabernacle tents, or better interpreted; perhaps the Bride is speaking of the portrait of Christ we can see in the wilderness tabernacle.
Isn’t that what we have seen every time we looked into the matter?
On the other hand; many think the black goat’s hair of the tabernacle symbolically represents our own human flesh, in that it is useful and practical and has a certain unique and unusual beauty of its own; but this goat’s hair layer/covering is certainly not the most important feature of the tabernacle. It is very ordinary. Remember how the physical description of Christ’s appearance was called “ordinary”?
We can look at these tents and catch a glimpse of Christ’s humanity.
God looks right through our flesh to see into our hearts.
He sees further beyond our skin into what really matters the most.
God, from a heavenly point of view, could look right through this outer layer of the tabernacle tents and see what was going on in the very heart of the tabernacle.
He could see right into the Holy of Holies.
He knew what worship was taking place. If He was pleased; He would join mankind and dwell there among them for a temporary time.
SACKCLOTH WAS MADE OF BLACK GOAT’S HAIR
It has also been noted by many that the “sackcloth” used in ancient mourning rituals and during times of repentance was made of black goat’s hair.
Many prophets of Jerusalem were said to have sat in sackcloth and ashes in order to admonish the people to repent from their sins.
WHITE LINEN REPRESENTED CHRIST AS THE HIGH PRIEST
We saw earlier, in the white linen; the representation of the linen garments of a priest; and now we can see how that white linen of a high priest (also used as his grave cloth and laid aside when He arose) belonged to Christ. This aspect of the burial and the resurrection was representative of his priesthood; just as the black goat’s hair covering is also representative of His office as a prophet.
BLACK GOAT’S HAIR REPRESENTED CHRIST IN HIS OFFICE AS PROPHET
We should note that God asked Moses to make two such goat’s hair coverings.
One set of sections was larger than the other.
Here we can’t help but recall that every year on The Day of Atonement two goats were brought to the high priest for a sin offering.
One goat was used as an offering and one goat was used as the “scapegoat.” Lots were cast. The lot that fell on one goat meant it was chosen as the sacrifice.
The high priest who offered the sacrificial goat to God would cut it and drain the blood into a basin. He would take the blood in the basin and sprinkle it on and near the Mercy Seat.
What was left of the sacrificial goat’s body was taken out by the same high priest and burned outside the camp.
The sacrificial goat was a substitute for the sins of the people.
GOAT’S HAIR REPRESENTED N THE STORY OF JACOB
We can see this same symbolism in the story of Jacob and Esau. Jacob sought to defraud Esau so that he could receive the blessing. He used a goat and took its hair to cover his arms so that Israel would bless him instead of Esau. The goat’s hair brought him atonement; just as the sacrifices did for the people of Israel.
GOAT’S HAIR REPRESENTED IN THE STORY OF JOSEPH
We see this same theory in action when Jacob’s youngest son Joseph is sold into slavery.
They took his coat of many colors and slay a young goat and dipped the garment into the blood to show to their father who thought his beloved son had been slain.
The blood on the garment (probably woven from dyed goat’s hair) allowed Joseph to live, even though he was sold into slavery. He narrowly escaped death because of the coat that had covered him; a gift from his beloved father.
THE PARABLE OF THE GOATS AND THE SHEEP
Later we hear of Jesus telling a parable about judgment for the nations of the earth at the end of time. Those who have been enemies of God are referred to as “the goats” and those who have stayed true to God are referred to as “the sheep.”
Always, in each of these stories we see that the dark color of the goat’s hair refers to the sins of mankind.
BLACK GOAT’S REPRESENTING THE GARMENT OF A PROPHET
The goat’s hair in the passages about The Day of Atonement in the scriptures suggests sin; but it also suggests the remedy to sin. Goat’s hair was also known for being the garment of the prophet. Many prophets in those days wore goat’s-hair garments.
It was the sacrificial offering of the goat that redeemed the people’s sins over and over each year as the high priest went in to the Holy of Holies and sprinkled the blood before the Mercy Seat.
The garments of these ancient prophets proclaimed this miracle. Those garments were made of black goat’s hair.
On the Day of Atonement there were two goats; one for a sin offering, and one for a scapegoat. Both goats were symbolic of the mission of Christ.
The goat’s hair coverings of the wilderness tabernacle are symbolic of both of these goats. One goat was represented by the smaller goat’s hair coverings; and the other goat was represented by the larger sections of the goat’s hair coverings.
THE SMALLEST COVERING OF GOAT’S HAIR
The goat’s hair covering that represented the sacrificial goat from the Day of Atonement was the smallest covering used in the tabernacle. It was to be put over the tent of fine white linen. It represented the sins of mankind.
This layer of goat’s hair coverings is a perfect picture of our sins being placed upon Christ as He hung on a cross and bore them in our stead.
On the Day of Atonement there were two goats; the one for a sin offering mentioned above, and the one for a scapegoat. Both goats were symbolic of the mission of Christ.
THE SECOND GOAT AND THE LARGEST COVERING OF GOAT’S HAIR
Aaron would lay his hands on the head of the other goat confessing all the sins of the nation. He would symbolically place these sins upon the head of this goat who would bear them away to a land “not inhabited.”
This goat was symbolic of Christ as our sin-bearer who takes away the sin of the world.
The second covering of six sections of goat’s hair was to be put over the first covering of five sections of goat’s hair.
All of the goat’s hair coverings joined together were a complete picture that pointed to what was to come.
It was a picture of mankind (represented by the five curtains) joined to Christ (represented by the six sections of goat’s hair with One section added above the others to made six.) This was the protective covering of the most important part of the tabernacle.
It all painted a picture of Christ covering the sins of mankind. The goat’s hair coverings show how this miracle allowed us all to become One because of God dwelling inside us after the sacrifice of Christ and forming all of us all together as One.
I think of the words of Jesus found in John Chapter 14: 19-21: “In a little while, the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in My Father and you are in Me and I am in you. Whoever has My commandments and keeps them is one who loves Me. The one who loves me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and reveal Myself to him.”
These are prophetic words uttered by Jesus in His role as a prophet of God. It totally describes the role of the two sections of black goat’s hair and what they symbolize in the wilderness tabernacle.
JUST THE MASTER WEAVER TELLING HIS STORIES
These story-telling coverings were simply God, the Master Weaver, continuing to weave His stories into the walls of the wilderness tabernacle.
What did the people of that day understand?
Could they read the writing on the walls?
Sometimes for them as well as for us today; it was invisible, only symbolic and very hard to grasp or see.
Do we read the writing on the walls of our hearts within the tabernacles of our bodies today?
Are we reading the messages God still leaves within the walls of our own worship spaces?
Should we begin to fine-tune how we are crafting our own modern tents (our bodies) and design them more into what God has given instead of what man is saying?
ONE SET OF FIVE; ONE SET OF SIX; FORMING ELEVEN CURTAINS IN ALL
All of these goat’s-hair curtains together numbered eleven.
As we have already stated there was one set of five and one set of six.
The width of each curtain was four cubits. That was the same as the width of the white linen which they covered, but the length of the goat’s hair coverings were longer; being thirty cubits instead of twenty-eight.
They had 11 curtains separated into two sets of five and six, which are the factors of thirty.
THE FIVE SECTIONS
Five is the number that represents responsibility. The first set of five curtains represent the sins of humanity which Jesus took responsibility for in our stead.
THE SIX SECTIONS
The other set of six curtains of goat’s hair represent how Christ has prevailed over the sins of mankind and joined men and God together. These six curtains speak of the amazing victory of Christ that has allowed mankind to dwell with God.
The six sections also speak of times of labor. Christ chose to labor in His work of the cross. The days of the creation week showed the labor of God during those first six days. This also set the pattern for the days that God expected mankind should labor. “Six days shalt thy labor.”
When the labor of the five sections is done and the work of the cross is finished; we come to the six layers that represent how Christ brings mankind and God together.
This happens with salvation. It happens each Sabbath. It will happen in eternity.
The end of this time of the labor of mankind will bring a Sabbath, (the seventh day.) This time brings God and mankind together. The labor and work of Christ is to bring men into the glory of God. This is the results of the combination of the two sets of goat’s hair coverings. God will dwell among men and men shall behold The glory of God.
THE SYMBOLISM OF JUDGMENT
There were fifty taches of brass that fastened the two sets of goat’s hair curtains together.
The brass is symbolic of judgment.
This same brass metal covered the altar of the burnt offerings which spoke of atonement for sin by sacrifice.
Men judged of God for their sins must carry the mark of the atonement of Christ.
The body of Christ will come together perfectly with the covering of atonement. We will be fastened securely in the merciful judgment of God (with the fifty taches of brass.) God will see our sins no more; since the atoning blood of Christ has been applied.
God will only see the perfect story of how He can dwell and live forever with mankind because of the love of Jesus Christ.
Isn’t weaving wonderful?
Our God is the perfect weaver.
You will be blessed beyond measure when you decide to let Him weave your story.
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