Archive for August 3, 2017

Dying to Flesh: Lesson from the Gate of the Tabernacle 

Exodus 27:9-19

The courtyard of the Tabernacle had rectangular shape with 100 cubits length (north and south sides) and 50 cubits width (east and west sides).
The perimeter of the courtyard was fenced with white linen.
Meanwhile, the gate of 20 cubits long was located on the east side of the Tabernacle and was made from the combination of white linen, blue, scarlet and purple cloth.

In the Bible, each of the color carries spiritual meaninng.
The white linen represents the righteousness of the saints (Rev 19:8) which is none other than the righteousness of Christ Himself.
Blue is the color of the sky, representing Lord Jesus as the Son of God.
Purple is the color of royalty, representing Him as the King
Scarlet (red) is the color of blood, representing His nature as fully man of flesh and blood and His sacrifice as the Lamb of God

Let’s look at the gate of the Tabernacle from another point of view.
How did they get the purple, blue and scarlet dye for the cloth?
To begin with, since there was no synthetic dye in the ancient world, all the dyes must be derived naturally.
Hence, these dyes were expensive materials.
Very likely, the Israelites obtained blue, purple and scarlet fabric along with gold and silver when they had plundered the Egyptians (Exodus 12:35-36).

In the ancient world, blue dye was obtained from certain sea snails/shellfish.
In order to extract the dye, the snails were crushed and the resulting fluid was further processed to yield the dye.
Meanwhile, scarlet dye was obtained from certain insects.
In the extraction process, the insects were immersed in hot water bath, sometimes boiling water, with added chemicals.
On the other hand, purple dye was obtained either from another type of snails or simply by mixing red and blue dyes.

Notice that in both situations, snails and insects had to die to yield the dye which was used as part of the gate of the Tabernacle.
What lesson can we draw here?

Similar to insects or snails, we may consider ourselves to be weak, sluggish, untalented or insignificant.
In short, we may dislike ourselves.
Nevertheless, just like they died to yield the dye, even when we are weak, we can surrender our lives to God.
As we learn to obey Him and die to our flesh (i.e. sinful nature in us), He will use us for His glory.

Unless the snails and insects yielded to the process of crushing or heating, they would never realize their potential in the building of the gate of the Tabernacle.
Unless we are willing to die to our sinful nature (i.e. crucifying the flesh), we will never realize our potential in the kingdom of God. 

A related verse to the principle here:

In a great house there are not only vessels of gold and silver but also of wood and earthenware, and some for noble use, some for ignoble.  
If any one purifies himself from what is ignoble, then he will be a vessel for noble use, consecrated and useful to the master of the house, ready for any good work.  
2 Timothy 2:20-21 RSV 

Let us examine ourselves.
How is our journey of consecration thus far?