A SYMBOL OF REDEMPTION
An excerpt from What I Have Learned From the Lord.
Copyright © 2012, by Robert B. Thompson. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the HOLY BIBLE, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.
The Tabernacle of the Congregation, sometimes referred to as The Tent of Meeting, is described in Chapter Twenty-five of the Book of Exodus through to the end of the book.
The Tabernacle consisted of a tent in a courtyard surrounded by a linen fence. In the courtyard was placed the great Altar of Burnt Offering where the animal sacrifices were made. The tent was divided into the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place. Also in the courtyard was the bronze Laver.
Within the Holy Place were located the Table of Showbread; the golden Lampstand; and the Altar of Incense.
Within the Most Holy Place was placed the Ark of the Covenant. Serving as a lid on the Ark of the Covenant was the Mercy Seat, sometimes called the Lid of Propitiation.
If we look at the Tabernacle complex as being symbolic we might consider the white linen fence as marking the boundary of righteousness. All that was within the fenced area, the Courtyard, was acceptable to God. The Tent would represent the Church, the new Jerusalem.
The Altar of Burnt Offering in the Courtyard represents Calvary. Anyone who wished to be considered righteous must come to the blood of the cross for forgiveness. There were four horns on the Altar of Burnt Offering, pointing to the four corners of the earth, indicating that all who wish to do so may come to God for forgiveness through the blood of the cross.
The bronze laver, also in the Courtyard, speaks of water baptism. It was made from the polished bronze looking glasses of the women of Israel. It portrays the Scriptures. As we meditate in the Scriptures we see where we are dirty. Then we wash ourselves by repenting, looking to the blood of the Altar of Burnt offering for cleansing.
The bronze Laver tells us of water baptism. We repent of our sins, and they are forgiven because of the blood of the burnt offering.
It may be noted that the Tent itself and the six furnishings within were so holy that even the Levites were not permitted to look inside. This tells us that the Church is not of the world and should not attempt to obtain the help of the world. The churches are the prophets of God in the world, as symbolized by the seven golden lampstands–the Lampstands speaking of the anointing of the Spirit of God.
Then we go through the Door of the Tent. Now we are in the realm of the Church. On our right is the Table of Showbread, representing the body and blood of Christ. Each morning and evening a lamb was offered outside the Tent. When it was offered, the priest inside the Holy Place poured out wine next to the Table of Showbread. Thus twice each day the body and blood of God’s Lamb were celebrated.
If we would study the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John I think we would be surprised how important the body and blood of Christ are. I believe they are the hidden manna, mentioned in the second chapter of the Book of Revelation. They are hidden because they are available only to those who are choosing to confess and turn away from their sins.
By eating the body and drinking the blood of the Lamb we are married to the Lamb.
Also, the body and blood of the Lamb are our resurrection Life. When the Lord Jesus appears, those who live by the Life of the Lamb will be caught up to meet Him. Each time we overcome sin we are fed in the spirit world with the body and blood of the Lamb. There is no more important lesson for the Christian to learn than that of living by the Life of the Lamb.
On the left, as we enter the Tent, is the Lampstand. It was beaten into shape from a talent of pure gold. There are seven lamps that burn olive oil.
The Lampstand represents the anointing that abides on Christ—Head and Body. Only the Christian activity that is anointed with the Spirit is of eternal significance in the Kingdom of God. There have been huge amounts of religious activity throughout the Church Era, as is true today. However, only that which anointed by the Spirit of God has lasting results.
The term “Christ” means the “Anointed One.” When we are baptized with the Spirit of God we are baptized into the Body of the Anointed One. This is the royal priesthood, the new Jerusalem, that will govern the new world of righteousness.
Everything that is performed in the Kingdom of God must be done by the Spirit of God. So much of religion is carried on by ambitious flesh! It is worthless. More than that, religion often attacks that which is being wrought by the Spirit, just as the priests and scribes of Israel attacked their Messiah when He appeared.
God says, “Not by might nor by power but by My Spirit.” All else is chaff and will be burned up by the fires of Divine judgment.
As one passes between the Table of Showbread and the Lampstand, directly ahead, but still this side of the Veil that separates the Most Holy Place from the Holy Place, is the Altar of Incense.
No atoning blood was offered on the Altar of Incense. Rather the holy incense was poured on the burning coals so that the aroma filled the Holy Place.
The Lampstand portrays the believers who have experienced Pentecost. If they would move forward to the Fullness of God, that which is behind the ornate Veil, they must go past the Altar of Incense.
The Altar of Incense symbolizes death to our self-will. It is here we cry out, “Not my will but Yours be done.” We absolutely cannot enter past the Veil into the Most Holy Place until we set aside our own life that we may live by the Life of the Lord Jesus.
The Altar of Incense parallels in symbolism the River Jordan. Both tell us that to enter the inheritance we must die to self-will.
If we choose to count ourselves as dead with Christ on the cross, we can go past the heavy Veil. We are confronted now with the Ark of the Covenant, a chest made with acacia wood and covered without and within with pure gold.
The Ark represents our being conformed to the Character of the Lord Jesus. Within the Ark are the two tables of stone, the memorial jar of manna, and Aaron’s rod. Each of these three are vital to the life of victory in Christ.
The memorial jar of manna tells us we are to live each moment by the strength that God provides. Experienced Christians discover that there is only enough grace for the day. Yesterday’s grace soon becomes corrupt. We must keep pressing forward in Christ. We do not have grace for tomorrow as yet, so there is no need to worry about the future.
It is today that is the day of salvation. We only have grace for right now. That way we learn to trust in God. Those who hoard money do so in order that they may not have to trust God in the future. They are not as safe as the poor believer whose trust is in the Lord.
Aaron’s rod tells us two things. First of all that rank in the Kingdom of God does not proceed from the ambitions of men. God selects His own ministers, and personal ambition has no place here.
Second, that the Life of the Kingdom of God proceeds from our death. Aaron’s Rod was a dead stick, hardened in the fire. Yet overnight, buds, blossoms, and fruit appeared on it when it was laid up in the Most Holy Place. So it is that all lasting ministry comes from our death in Christ.
The Ark of the Covenant derived its name from the two tablets of stone on which were engraved the Ten Commandments. The Ten Commandments were God’s covenant with Israel. By these commandments God was saying that if you observe these relationships with God and man, then I will bless you and you will have a long, prosperous life.
But the Ark is not the end of our discipleship. The end is portrayed by the solid gold Mercy Seat, the lid on the Ark of the Covenant. Here is the place of complete reconciliation between God and the saint.
There is no wood here, only gold, representing Divinity. Paul prayed that we might be filled with the Fullness of God. Here, in the Lid of Propitiation, or Lid of Reconciliation, is the place in which God and man become One.
It is God’s will that we be conformed to the image of Christ, inwardly and outwardly.
It is God’s will that we be filled with all the Fullness of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
It is God’s will that God be in Christ be in us be in Christ be in God. It is the wheel in the middle of the wheel, as set forth in the Book of Ezekiel.
God will have nothing between us and Himself. God created us to this end.
God created man for a number of reasons. Chiefly for fellowship, and then to perform the roles and responsibilities I have mentioned in the previous essay.
One of the chief reasons for the creation of man is to prevent any future rebellion of the angels and other principalities in the heavens. Man is to serve as the judge of people and angels. Man is to reinstall Paradise on the earth, and then maintain it for eternity.
Never again will there be a Paradise that is not protected by the Lord’s judges and warrior angels.
One of the main purposes of the history of the earth is that God, in the midst of this insanity and corruption, might select and train His future rulers, judges, and priests—the Royal Priesthood.
Today we are at the beginning of the warfare between good and evil; between God and Satan; between Christ and Antichrist; between the Holy Spirit and the False Prophet.
Every time we as a Christian choose to obey Christ rather than the pleasures of disobedience to God, we are participating in this final battle. The war will not end until God has made an end of sin, confining all sin and sinners in the eternal prisons.
What a day we live in! As it is written, many who are last shall be first. We are the last in time, and have an opportunity to gain one of the thrones that yet is unoccupied.
While today is one of great opportunity, it also is one of great danger. Satan has had thousands of years of experience in deceiving the saints. He knows he soon is to be hurled into the Bottomless Pit, and then into the Lake of Fire. So he is doing all he can to persuade the saints to sin so he can rebuke God for God’s severity in assigning Satan and his angels to such a dreadful destiny.
So the conflict of the ages is here—right now. You and I have been chosen to serve Christ in the present hour. If we succeed with Christ’s assistance in living victoriously, overcoming sin and self-will, we shall share the Master’s joy.
But if we live the typical American half-hearted, lukewarm, casual church-going life, our loss will be far, far beyond my ability to describe.
Also, we are flirting with a destiny too horrible to contemplate—we will pass into the spirit world and be placed with people like ourselves.
(“A Symbol of Redemption”, 3296-1)