The Metals of the Sanctuary and their Symbolism

Holy-Most Holy place — animation

Gold —Jesus Character

Jesus our Shepherd

Gold:- This most precious metal was the most used metal in the construction of the sanctuary. The walls (Exodus 26:29), the Mercy Seat and the angels (Exodus 25:17-18), the Ark of the Covenant (Exodus 25:10-11), the Altar of incense (Exodus 30:1-3), the Table of Shewbread (Exodus 25:23-24) and the Candlestick (Exodus 25:31), the spoons, tongs, snuffdishes etc...(Exodus 25:29), for embroidery work (for the gold on the high priests ephod see Exodus 39:2-3). The furniture was either made of shittim wood plated with pure gold, or were of beaten pure gold or solid pure gold.

Pure Gold symbolizes heavenly riches, faith and love the precious, beautiful attributes of our Redeemer. (see Revelation 3:17-18) the heavenly riches being the opposite of earthly riches these riches do not consist of having much of this worlds goods. Also see the story of the rich young ruler who was admonished by Jesus to sell all that he had and give to the poor, then he would have treasure in heaven. (Luke 18:22) 

Silver — Jesus our Ransom

Jesus on the cross — our Ransom

Silver:- This precious metal was used for the sockets under the boards (Exodus 26:21), the sockets for the pillars for the curtain between the Holy and the Most Holy places (Exodus 26:32), for the hooks and the fillets in the pillars of the court (Exodus 27:17).

The symbolism of silver: it was used as tribute or ransom money (Exodus 30:12-13; 1 Kings 20:39, Leviticus 27:3-6 [Jesus paid the ransom price for us when He took our sins upon Himself Matthew 20:28; Mark 10:45; 1 Timothy 2:6]), in Proverbs 10:20 it states "The tongue of the just is as choice silver", and also 30 pieces of silver was the price paid to Judas for identifying Jesus to the Jews (Matthew 26:15).

Brass — Jesus Nature

Jesus knocking at the door

Brass (*Bronze):- this was a combination of two metals, copper and tin. It was used in the construction of the Altar of Burnt Offering (or Sacrifice) (Exodus 30:39), the laver (Exodus 30:18) and the pillars, pins and the sockets of the court (Exodus 20:10), also the sockets for the pillars of the curtain at the entrance to the tabernacle itself (Exodus 38:18-19) . All the the instruments for the Altar of Sacrifice were also made of brass (Exodus 20:18-19).

The symbolism of brass (*Bronze):- As this was a melding together of two metals (copper and tin) we need to look at both of these for the symbolic meaning. Fine copper was classed as being as precious as gold (Ezra 8:27), therefore its symbolic meaning is the same as gold, which is faith and love, heavenly riches. In Isaiah 1:24-25 the Lord says that He will "take away all thy tin" and as he will be taking away our sin this gives the symbolism of tin as sin. When Jesus came to this world He combined His divine nature with our human nature so that they could not be separated ( as the two metals in brass can not be separated). He was fully divine and fully human (copper=divine nature; tin=human nature).

* The word translated brass in the KJV (nekh-o’-sheth) should have been translated "bronze" as brass is made from copper and zinc while bronze is made from copper and tin. This makes a difference, since brass was often difficult to obtain, as well as skilled persons in its use in that particular era.