Overview of Tabernacle Gate of the Court

Tabernacle Gate of the Court
Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images

The gate of the court was the entrance to the tabernacle in the wilderness, a holy place God established so he could dwell among his chosen people.

On Mount Sinai, God gave Moses these instructions for making this gate:

"For the entrance to the courtyard, provide a curtain twenty cubits long, of blue, purple and scarlet yarn and finely twisted linen—the work of an embroiderer—with four posts and four bases." ( Exodus 27:16, NIV)

This brightly colored, 30-foot long curtain stood out from the plain white linen curtains on all the other sides of the courtyard fence. Everyone from the high priest to the common worshiper entered and left through this single opening.

Like the other elements of the tabernacle, this east gate of the court was rich with meaning. God ordered that when the tabernacle was set up, the gate was always to be on the east end, opening to the west.

Going west symbolizes moving toward God. Going east symbolizes going away from God. The gate on the Garden of Eden was on the east side (Genesis 3:24). Cain went away from God to the land of Nod, east of Eden (Genesis 4:16). Lot split from Abraham went east and landed in the evil cities of Sodom and Gomorrah (Genesis 13:11). In contrast, the holy of holies, the dwelling place of God in the tabernacle, was on the west end of the courtyard.

The colors of the threads in the gate were also symbolic. Blue stood for the deity, meaning the court was a place of God. Purple, a difficult and expensive dye to produce, was a symbol of royalty. Red symbolized blood, the color of sacrifice. White meant holiness. The courtyard fence, made of white linen, enclosed holy ground, and the priests wore white linen garments.

The Tabernacle Gate Pointed to the Future Savior

Every element of the tabernacle pointed to the future Savior, Jesus Christ. The gate of the court was the only way in, just as Christ is the only way into heaven (John 14:6). Jesus said of himself: "I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved." (John 10:9, NIV)

The tabernacle gate faced east toward the sunrise, the coming of the light. Jesus described himself: "I am the light of the world." (John 8:12, NIV)

All the colors of the tabernacle gate foreshadowed Christ as well: blue, as the Son of God; white as holy and spotless; purple, as King of Kings; and red, as the blood sacrifice for the sins of the world.

Before Jesus' crucifixion, Roman soldiers mocked him by draping a purple robe over him, not knowing he truly was the King of the Jews. He became the white, unblemished Lamb of God, the only sacrifice worthy to atone for sin. Jesus' blood flowed at his scourging and when a soldier pierced his side with a spear. After Christ was dead, Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus wrapped his body in a white linen shroud.

The tabernacle gate of the court was easy to find and open to any repentant Israelite who wanted to enter and seek forgiveness for sin. Today, Christ is the gate to eternal life, welcoming all who seek heaven through him.

Bible References

Exodus 27:16, Numbers 3:26.

Also Known As

East Gate, tabernacle gate, the gate of the tabernacle.


“Biblebasics.co.uk.” Biblebasics.co.uk.

Blank, Wayne. “Today's Bible Study.” Daily Bible Study - How Big Was Noah's Ark?

Nave's Topical Bible, Orville J. Nave

Northern New England District Assemblies of God

“The Entrance Gate to the Outer Court of the Tabernacle of Moses (Bible History Online).” Bible History Online.

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Zavada, Jack. "Overview of Tabernacle Gate of the Court." Learn Religions, Dec. 6, 2021, learnreligions.com/tabernacle-gate-of-the-court-700103. Zavada, Jack. (2021, December 6). Overview of Tabernacle Gate of the Court. Retrieved from https://www.learnreligions.com/tabernacle-gate-of-the-court-700103 Zavada, Jack. "Overview of Tabernacle Gate of the Court." Learn Religions. https://www.learnreligions.com/tabernacle-gate-of-the-court-700103 (accessed March 21, 2023).