The Significance of the Colors in the Tabernacle
Three main colors were used in the fabric of the tabernacle. The first color, blue, is mentioned thirty-four times in Exodus and represents the color of heaven. It alludes to how the Son of God would descend from heaven and dwell (tabernacle) among men (see John 1:14).
The second color is purple. The dye for this color is believed to have come from a small snail (the Murex). This color is mentioned twenty-six times in Exodus and is a color alluding to royalty. It speaks of the fact that Christ has come, not only in the flesh to dwell among men, but that He is also the future King of kings, or a combination of a priest and king after the order of Melchizedek (see Rev. 19:16; Heb. 7:17).
The third color is scarlet, also known as crimson. Crimson comes from the Persian word kermes, meaning “worm.” The scarlet dye is believed to have come from a worm that affixes itself to certain plants. These worms would have been collected, dried, and crushed into a powder that produced the colored dye needed for the scarlet curtains. This color speaks of Christ’s sufferings. During Christ’s trial, a scarlet robe was placed over His shoulders in a mocking gesture (see Matt. 27:28). Scarlet-colored strips of wool were also used to mark the two goats on the Day of Atonement, and a scarlet thread was placed in the window of Rahab’s house at Jericho as a token (sign) of divine protection for her household (see Josh. 2:18). Isaiah wrote, “Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool” (Isa. 1:18).
If the dye for the scarlet color came from a worm, and scarlet represents Christ’s suffering, how interesting that in Psalm 22, which predicts several events that occurred at the crucifixion of Christ, we read, “But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and despised of the people” (Ps. 22:6).
Gold, Silver, and Brass
The gold, silver, and jewels used in the tabernacle came from the precious metals and jewelry the Israelites seized from the Egyptians prior to their departure from Egypt (see Exod. 12:35-36). Gold was used to cover the Ark, the golden altar, and the table of showbread. Gold was also used to construct the candlestick (the menorah) and to make certain shovels and smaller vessels. The silver came from silver half-shekels collected from the Hebrews and was used to form the sockets for the tabernacle planks (see Exod. 38:26). An annual half-shekel of silver was collected to fund the purchase of communal offerings for the tabernacle, and optional gifts of silver were used to make silver vessels.