Brethren Archive
Exodus 26:4

"Loops of Blue"

by C.H. Mackintosh

In contemplating the structure of the tabernacle in the wilderness, we may observe what an important place was assigned to the “loops of blue.” By means of them and the “taches of gold,” the curtains were joined together and the manifested unity of the whole structure preserved. These loops and taches might seem to be very insignificant and unimportant, but without them, there could have been no unity. The curtains, however beautiful in themselves, would have hung apart from each other, and thus one grand feature of the manifestation would have been lost.

Looking at the tabernacle as a figure of Christ, as surely we may, we can easily trace the beauty and significance of those “loops of blue and taches of gold.” They typified that perfect unity and consistency in the character and ways of “the Man Christ Jesus” which were the result of His heavenly grace and divine energy. In the life of the blessed Lord Jesus, and in all the scenes and circumstances of that life, we not only see each distinct phase and feature perfect in itself, but also a perfect combination of all those phases and features by the power of that which was heavenly and divine in Him. The curtains of the true Tabernacle were not only beautiful in themselves, but they were beautifully combined — exquisitely linked together by means of those “loops of blue and taches of gold” which can only be discerned and appreciated by those who are in some measure instructed in the holy mysteries of the sanctuary.

And let me add that what is true of the divine Living Word is equally true of the divine written Word. The spiritual student of Holy Scripture will readily discern the “loops of blue and taches of gold.” This is only what we might expect. The Living Word is the divine embodiment of the written Word, and the written Word is the divine transcript of the Living Word. Hence, we may look for the same heavenly unity, the same divine consistency, the same rare and exquisite combination in both the one and the other. It would be pleasant and profitable to trace the various illustrations of the loops and taches through the Word of God, but I have merely time and space for a brief fragment. I will give an example or two from the written Word which may lead my reader to study the subject for himself.

In 1 Corinthians 16 we have a lovely and practical illustration of our subject. Verse 13 says, “Quit you like men, be strong.” Here we have one fine feature of the Christian character — that manly strength which is so desirable. But this, if taken by itself, might easily degenerate into a rough, rude, high-handed way of dealing with others, the very opposite of what we find in our divine Exemplar. Hence the Spirit in the apostle forms a loop of blue, and by means of a golden tach links on to this manly strength another feature which is so needful — love. “Let all your things be done with love.” Most precious combination! Strength and love. Love and strength. If you untie this heavenly loop you will either have a high, haughty, inconsiderate style, or a soft, pliable, enfeebled mode of acting which will sacrifice everything for peace and quietness.

Again, look at that noble definition of pure religion given at the close of James 2. There the apostle uses the loop and tach to connect together the two phases of divine religion. “To visit the fatherless and the widow in their affliction” is looped with unspotted separation from the world. In other words, active benevolence and personal holiness are inseparably linked together. Untie the loop and what have you got? Either a sort of benevolence which can go handin-hand with the most intense spirit of worldliness, or a rigid pharisaic separation without a single generous emotion. It is only the presence of that which is heavenly and divine that can secure true unity and consistency of character. Let it never be forgotten that true Christianity is simply Christ reproduced by the Holy Spirit in the life of the Christian. Dry rules will never do. It must be Christ in all.

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