TYPES OF CHRIST IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Bible Study - Commentary by Jim Melough
2000 James Melough
RAM AND BADGER SKINS
“And thou shalt make a
covering for the tent of rams’ skins dyed red, and a covering above of badgers’
skins,” Ex 26:14. These two coverings
constituted the third and fourth layers of the tabernacle ceiling; and as we have
seen the first two to be symbols of Christ, so do we see that these next two also
first at the rams’ skins dyed red, we note that the ram was the sacrificial animal
offered at the consecration of the priests, Ex 29:15-26. It represents Christ
therefore as the great High Priest so completely dedicated to doing the Father’s
will that His obedience went beyond the living of a perfect life: it was an obedience
that extended all the way to death, “Christ ... through the eternal Spirit offered
Himself without spot to God,” Heb 9:14. The
sacrifice of Christ went above and beyond the redemption of men: it was first for the
glory of the Father, for it is by man’s obedience that God is glorified.
In its being a male we see
the demonstration of the fact that all the energy of His will was devoted to the
accomplishment of the Father’s will, for as we have noted in other studies, the
male represents activity of the will, in contrast with the passivity which is
represented by the female.
Not only do we see
Christ’s death implied in the removal of the skin from the ram, we see also the
symbolic announcement of the fact that His righteousness was no mere outward thing. Removal of the skin exposed the inward parts, reminding us that
the outward perfection seen by the eye of man was exactly the same perfection as met
the eye of God when He surveyed “the thoughts and intents of the heart,” the
The color scarcely needs
comment. Red is the color of blood,
without the shedding of which there can be no remission of the penalty of sin.
As the priests, the sons of Aaron, ministering in the tabernacle, were
sheltered under the canopy of the rams’ skins dyed red, so do believers, the
spiritual priests and sons of Christ, serve and worship under the shelter of His
Coming now to the outer
covering of badgers’ skins, we find another symbolic picture of Christ.
While there is uncertainty as to whether these were the skins of badgers or
seals, there seems to be agreement among scholars that the color itself was drab and
unattractive, reminding us that He Who is portrayed in this covering is the One
described by the prophet as having, “no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see
Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.
He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with
grief: and we hid as it were our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him
not,” Isa 53:2-3. This drab covering
represents Christ as seen by unbelieving men: they find nothing attractive in Him.
Faith, however, sees Him in a vastly different light, for the Christ presented
to the view of faith is pictured in the gloriously embroidered tapestry of blue,
purple, scarlet and white that constituted the innermost ceiling of the tabernacle.
Somber though its color may
have been, that badgerskin covering, impervious to all weather, was nevertheless that
which protected the whole tabernacle and its costly furnishings from the elements.
Apart from the Lord’s assumption of humanity, His willingness to veil His
glory in order that He might become man’s Substitute, there could be no redemption
of men’s souls, no shelter for sinners from the wrath of a holy God.
Another reference to
badgers’ skins is found in Ez 16:10 which describes God’s care for His people,
“I ... shod thee with badgers’ skins....”
Since the foot is the scriptural symbol of the walk or manner of life, and
since the shoe is that which separates the foot from the ground, it represents
God’s provision of
badger-skin shoes for His redeemed people therefore declares symbolically that it is
Christ (the One represented by the badgers’ skins) Who separates them from a
condemned world. The need for that
separation will be the more apparent when we remember that when Adam sinned, the
curse that should have fallen upon him was transferred to the ground,“Cursed is the
ground for thy sake,” Ge 3:17. The
shoes furnished by God for His redeemed people Israel during their years in the
wilderness, are therefore the symbolic assurance that the blood of Christ separates
them from the curse, i.e., from all condemnation.
Since, however, the removal of the skin from the animal implies its death, we
are reminded that that deliverance has been
made possible only through Christ’s death.
instructive reference to these shoes provided by God for His redeemed people is found
in Dt 29:5, “And I have led you forty years in the wilderness: your clothes are not
waxen old upon you, and thy shoe is not waxen old upon thy foot.”
Since the clothing of the redeemed represents the righteousness of Christ that
covers the believer; and since, as we have noted, the shoe represents separation from
defilement and therefore from judgment or condemnation), the lifelong duration of
both assures the believer that his separation from condemnation, like his
righteousness received as God’s priceless gift, will endure eternally.
And finally, in the absence
of any dimensions for either of these two outer coverings of the tabernacle, we see
declared the immeasurable extent and eternal duration of the blessings secured for
the redeemed by the death of Christ.