THE OLD TESTAMENT HOUSE OF THE LORD: EIGHT
THE OLD TESTAMENT HOUSE OF THE LORD: EIGHTCopyright Š 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
("The Old Testament House of the Lord: Eight" is taken from The Tabernacle of the Congregation, copyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)
Table of Showbread.
Altar of Incense.
Ark of the Covenant.
The interpretation of the seven furnishings, in terms of the redemption of the believer, is as follows:
The Altar of Burnt Offering. The crucifixion of our Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary, brought to our minds continually in the sacrament of Communion; the atonement that Christ has made for our sins; our Passover Lamb.
Laver. Separation from sin and the world by our crucifixion with Christ, established by water baptism; purification from the filth of the world as we keep ourselves holy by confession, repentance, resistance to sin, obedience to God's will, the blood of Christ, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the Word of God; the washing from our sins that comes about by receiving and obeying the Word of God.
Table of Showbread. The continual presentation of the living Word of God, Christ, the eating of whom builds up Christ within the believer; the receiving of the body and blood of the Lord in the Communion service; Christ, the Bread from Heaven; the born-again experience.
Lampstand. The baptism with the Holy Spirit into the Body of Christ; the Divine testimony; the various ministries and gifts of the Holy Spirit; anointing for Christian ministry and service; the law of the Spirit of life; Pentecost; the Head and Body of Christ, who is the Anointed Deliverer, the Servant of the Lord.
Altar of Incense. The life and Person of the Lord Jesus worked into the life and person of the believer by the Holy Spirit so the believer's prayers and worship bring the fragrance of His beloved Son before the face of the Father in Heaven; death to self-love and self-will.
Ark of the Covenant. The saint of God who is overcoming sin in his daily walk and who is learning perfect obedience to the Father. In his heart are the following three graces: (1) the Ten Commandmentsthe Law of God wrought in his character; (2) the memorial jar of mannadaily strength from Christ; the body and blood of Christ, our daily Bread from Heaven; the trait of depending continually on Christ each moment of the day for all matters great and small; and (3) Aaron's rod that buddedthe power of eternal resurrection life that operates in the priesthood God has chosen.
The moral law, the Ten Commandments, is created in the saint's personality by the working of the Lampstand. The memorial jar of manna is wrought in the saint by the working of the Table of Showbread. Aaron's rod that budded, life from death, is fashioned in the disciple by the working of the Altar of Incense.
Mercy Seat. The fullness of the Glory of God in Christ through the Holy Spirit; the image of Christ created in spirit, soul and body; authority and power through Christ over all things; the abiding of the Persons of the Godhead in the Christian in total, untroubled union.
These are the seven holy furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
The Altar of Burnt Offering brings to our mind the Lord Jesus who was slain for us. Redemption always works through the blood of Christ. Christ is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. God meets man only at the cross.
The Laver speaks of the washing away of the uncleanness of the spirit of the age in which we live. The concept and practice of departing from the filthiness of the world, of our flesh, and of our spirit is commenced in the act of water baptism and is carried on each day as we wash our robes and make them white in the blood of Christ by continual confession, repentance, and resistance to sin.
The Table of Showbread brings to us the body and blood of the Lord Jesus, which is the only eternal life available to mankind. All persons are spiritually dead until Jesus comes. If any person will receive Him and eat His flesh and drink His blood he will live forever. But apart from Christ there is only death. He is the tree of life. When we eat His flesh and drink His blood we are born again and live spiritually.
We are born of the water when we are born of a woman, born physically. We are born of the Spirit when the Holy Spirit of God receives and renews our spirit, thereby making us alive and lifting up our spirit to abide in Christ in heavenly places. We are born of the Word of God when we eat the flesh of Christ and drink His blood so He Himself begins to be formed in us.
The Christian is to be a branch of the Lampstand, a member of Christ who is the Light of the world. The Holy Spirit is the oil that burns giving light. We are the wick, so to speak. The Holy Spirit has distributed ministries and gifts throughout the Body of Christ so each member has a contribution to make to the Body. The six branches of the Lampstand were lighted when the Holy Spirit fell on the first Christian Pentecost (Acts 2:3).
The Altar of Incense symbolizes the next step after Pentecost. It represents Holy Spirit-empowered prayerprayer that carries with it the fragrance of Christ. It is at the Altar of Incense that we bow in death to self-love, giving ourselves in total obedience to the Father. As our soul experiences the crucifixion of death to self, the fragrance of Christ arises before the Father. Only as we bow in the death of perfect obedience can we pass through the Veil into the fullness of the Glory of God.
The Holy Spirit comes down on the Church of Christ until the Church begins to communicate with God at the level of authority and power required to move the hand of God against His enemiesthe destroyers of the creation. Included in the communication is supplication, travail of spirit, intercession, battle against evil forces, petition, praise, adoration, giving of thanks, love, faith, and hope.
The power of the Holy Spirit will increase in our lives until our whole personality, spirit, soul and body, is crying out to God night and day. When we give ourselves to God without reservation we shall be heard!
The Ark of the Covenant typifies our Lord Jesus Christ. It reveals also the character of the overcoming saint. The Ark was wood (humanity) covered with gold (Divinity). It is the will of Christ that we press forward in Him until we become so much a part of Him we reflect the attributes and workings of the Ark of the Covenant.
The victorious saints, according to Revelation, Chapters Two and Three are those persons in the churches who will give themselves over wholly to serving the Lord Jesus. If anyone will do that his reward in Christ will be great and he will rule with Christ over the nations of the earth.
The Mercy Seat (Atonement Cover) is the Glory of God. If we will allow Christ to work fully in our lives, the fullness of the Glory of God will come to us and we will find our rest in the rest of God. The glory that God gave to Christ is to be given to us that we may be one in the Father and in the Son, according to the seventeenth chapter of the Gospel of John. God loves each of His elect with a very great love.
The seven furnishings of the Tabernacle of the Congregation show redemption to be a progressive work that commences at a definite pointthe crucifixion of Christ and our acceptance of that atonement; and is brought to fullness at a definite pointour being received completely into the Life of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
The redemption of the believer commences when he or she is in total chaos of spirit, soul and body, without Christ, without hope, in the bondage of sin and death, and under the authority and power of Satan.
The story of creation in the first chapter of Genesis is one of the major types of the Scripture. It reveals that we start out as individuals "without form and void." We are out of harmony with God, with other people, and with ourselves. Sin has brought us personal confusion, friction, frustration, and griefanguish of body and mind.
But Christ has made an atonement for us. The atonement takes us from our personal chaos of spirit, soul and body, completely destroyed by sin; and by the grace of God in Christ brings us all the way to the express image of Christ in spirit, soul and body, to our being made the Temple of God, and to authority and power through Christ over all things.
The entire process, from beginning to end, is the plan of salvation, or atonement, or reconciliation, or redemptionhowever you wish to refer to it. It all takes place in and by the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Author and the Finisher of our faith.
The Altar of Burnt Offering was placed in front of the door of the Tabernacle. As soon as an Israelite came through the colorful gate of the Court he was faced with the bronze Altar. God always meets people at the cross, at the place of the shedding of blood. The first step in the redemption of the believer is coming to Christ on the cross. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission (forgiveness) of sin. One cannot come to God any other way. This is the alpha of salvation.
Since this altar stood at the door of the Tabernacle, the Hebrew worshiper was reminded continually that God must be approached through a blood sacrifice. The believer cannot come to God in his own righteousness. The scales of Divine equity must be balanced. There must be the offering of a substituted life or else God will not accept the person of the worshiper.
The sinfulness of the worshiper is underscored by the need for the death of the animal. The significance of Jesus' death on the cross was demonstrated under the old covenant by the constant shedding of blood at the Altar of Burnt Offering.
All the needs of the redeemed are illustrated by the various types of sacrifices. Not only was there the sin offering, which we need in order to approach God; but there also were the offerings of consecration, of fellowship, of peace, of thanksgiving, for minor trespasses, for every need of the believer.
We are to come to God constantly through the blood of the Lord Jesus. We overcome the world, the accuser, and our own fleshly nature every moment of every day by the blood of the cross. If we say we have no sin we deceive ourselves. If we are walking in the light of God's perfect will, the blood of Christ is cleansing us from all sin. We need the redeeming authority and power of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ at every moment!
By the time of the Temple of Solomon, thousands of gallons of blood were pouring annually from the sacrificial animals. But the offering of Christ on the cross is the one blood sacrifice that eternally redeems all mankind.
And he is the propitiation [appeasement; atoning sacrifice] for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. (I John 2:2).
Not that all men will be saved, unfortunately. Some will not accept the redemption offered freely by Christ. Those who believe Jesus was a righteous teacher who offered his life rather than sacrifice his principles, or who offered his life to emphasize his sincerity and prove his love, are making a dreadful mistake. Christ was a sacrificial blood offering to God the Father!
Life must go for life in order to balance the scales of Divine justice. The blood of Jesus was His life and it was offered to God in place of our life. The soul who sins must die, and each of us has committed many sins during his or her lifetime. Christ died for our sins; therefore, the scales are balanced and our iniquity can be forgiven.
Whether our iniquity is minor or horrible by human standards is not the issue. The only considerations are what God's law states and the adequacy of the sacrifice on Calvary. Since the offering consists of the life's blood of God's Son, the sacrifice is perfect and absolutely adequate for every person.
All persons have sinned and all must come to God through the blood of the righteous Jesus. Any person who attempts to come to God in his or her own righteousness is doomed already.
The bronze Laver signifies the cleansing of the believer from the filth of the world, just as the blood of the bronze Altar of Burnt Offering signifies the canceling of the guilt of sin.
The Laver shows that the Christian must remain pure while he walks through this sinful world (John 17:15). In fact, all the elements and rituals of the Tabernacle of the Congregation emphasize to us that God expects us, while we are in the world, to live a life of holiness and dedication to Himself (John 17:15). The Kingdom of God is a holy kingdom. Holiness is one of several principal messages that the Tabernacle has for us.
The heart of the Christian, though he may occupy a place of significance and service in his local community, though he may be working busily in the mainstream of civic life, must remain as holy as separated to God as was the Tabernacle.
It is possible to be a dedicated Christian and at the same time to be a person of competence in secular affairs. Many Christians of deep personal consecration have demonstrated that a victorious Christian can do a superior job in the world's business, having the commendation of Christians and non-Christians alike. Joseph and Daniel are scriptural examples of devoutness toward God coupled with secular competence.
It is possible that the reader will take the preceding words and use them as an excuse to become heavily involved in the world. We must keep in mind that not many mighty, not many noble, are "called." Joseph and Daniel were exceptions to the rule. In the majority of cases, the Gospel is to the poor. It is the poor, rich in faith, who finally will inherit the Kingdom of God.
No man can serve God and money. He will love the one and hate the other. One of the quickest routes to spiritual death is to possess more material goods than actually are required in one's life.
The convert must renounce completely in his heart the world, giving up all for Christ, being ready and willing to die physically for the faith if necessary. Such renunciation of the demands of the world was true of the adoption of the Christian faith by the person of the first century and it remains true for the twentieth century. Christ and His Gospel never change.
Water baptism means this: the believer does now, without reservation, finally and totally forsake and renounce the world that he may cleave to Christ with his whole heart.
There are few things as final as death, and water baptism means death to our first personality.
Therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death: that like as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4).
And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord. (Acts 22:16).
Having therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God. (II Corinthians 7:1).
Then will I sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be clean: from all your filthiness, and from all your idols, will I cleanse you. (Ezekiel 36:25).
For Aaron and his sons shall wash their hands and their feet thereat: When they go into the tabernacle of the congregation, they shall wash with water, that they die not; or when they come near to the altar to minister, to burn offering made by fire unto the Lord: (Exodus 30:19,20).
Perhaps washing is an appropriate concept for us Christians to consider today. The priests had to wash their hands (symbolizing deeds) and their feet (symbolizing the path of life) whenever they went into the Holy Place to minister to the Lord. Since each of us Christians is to be a minister to the Lord we need to keep in mind that our thoughts, words, and actions must be holy at all times.
Such holiness requires constant prayer, constant vigilance and continuing sensitivity to the rebukes and encouragements of the Holy Spirit. Every time the Holy Spirit reproves us of a sinful thought, word or action we must be quick to confess our sin (I John 1:9).
The Laver, then, portrays the cleansing of the Christian in preparation for priestly service. The believer first is cleansed in water baptism. Our original personality by faith is assigned to the cross with Christ so the Holy Spirit may render powerless our sinful nature. We then by faith rise with Christ so we may walk in a new life of righteous conduct.
For the first time we have the power to choose to be a servant of righteousness. Prior to our baptism in water we were under the authority of darkness and had to serve sin whether we wanted to or not. But now that our old life has been assigned to the cross with Christ we are free to choose to serve God.
We must keep ourselves clean each day. The reading of the Scriptures will help greatly ("Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee."Psalms 119:11). When the New Testament tells us to put off adultery, fornication, filthy speech, lying, hatred, bitterness, unforgiveness, then we must cease doing these things.
Time must be spent in prayer each day, and in addition there must be a continuing attitude of prayer on our part. We need help from the prayers, counsel and ministry of other Christians. We are to put aside as unclean the fleshly lusts that war against our soul. We must confess our sins to God as the Holy Spirit points them out to us. Sometimes we have to ask forgiveness of other people, or make restitution if we have harmed someone.
A dirty Christian will be taken and washed by the Lord if he will not wash himself! (I Corinthians 11:31,32; I John 3;3).
Every Christian is called to be a priest of the Lord. We are the "royal priesthood." The Holy Spirit will lead us in a ministry of the Spirit's own choice. There is no Christian who does not have a place of ministry, be it great or small in the eyes of people. The Holy Spirit expects faithful service in the assigned responsibilities. In order for the Christian to be effective in his ministry he must keep himself absolutely clean, just as was true of an Old Testament priest.
It is our Christian duty to keep ourselves pure, always remaining in an attitude of prayer so our service to God will be acceptable.
God requires of His priests that they be holy in deed, word and thought and that their heart and mind be stayed on Him at all times, day and night. The success of our own ministry will depend to a great extent on our willingness to keep ourselves set apart (sanctified) to the Lord so our priestly intercession and ministry is always acceptable to Him.
And thou shalt set upon the table shewbread before me alway. (Exodus 25:30).
Every sabbath he shall set it in order before the Lord continually, being taken from the children of Israel by an everlasting covenant. (Leviticus 24:8).
But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. (Matthew 4:4).
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. (John 6:51).
What does Jesus mean by the sayings recorded in John, Chapter Six? How do we eat Christ? First of all, we must realize Christ is alive todayright now. He is the Divine Nature, the Substance of the Godhead.
Eating Christ means eating the living, Divine Nature. Eating Christ means eating Christ. To eat Christ is to partake spiritually of the living Word of God. It is a spiritual process and is quite different from the mental process of gaining knowledge from the reading of the words of a book.
When we make an effort to contact Him, and keep ourselves in a spiritual condition in which He can communicate with us, He does come to us. He, Christ, the living Word, comes to us through the Holy Spirit. He feeds us with His body and gives us to drink of His blood.
Christ takes of Himself and feeds the Life of Christ that is being formed in us. The new man of our heart takes of the Substance of Christ as a plant takes sunshine, water and minerals. The Life of Christ that is being formed in us must have continual contact with Christ who is at the right hand of God in Heaven.
We Christians must use our will and judgment to insure that we keep ourselves in the place where our Beloved can come to us and feed us with the Living Bread from Heaven. This is the meaning of the showbread in the Holy Place. It typifies the flesh of Christ that He gives for the life of the world.
The Apostles felt the need to give themselves to "prayer, and to the ministry of the word" (Acts 6:4).
The Word feeds the inner man of the Christian.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. (John 1:1,2).
The enormous creative energies of the Word are described in the next verse of John:
All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:3).
There is no life apart from the Word. Mankind is dependent absolutely on the Word, Christ.
In him was life; and the life was the light of men. (John 1:4).
The Word of God became the flesh of the Body of Christ.
And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (John 1:14).
If we would live we must eat the Wordeat the flesh of Jesus and drink His blood.
Then Jesus said to them, Verily, verily, I say to you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. (John 6:53,54).
Christ is alive today. When we prepare our heart to receive Him, whether in the Communion service, or in prayer, or when meditating in the written Word, or while being exposed to the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in another Christian or in ourselves, Christ comes to us and feeds us with Himself. He takes of His own body and blood, blesses it, and nourishes the incorruptible Seed that is in us.
How can He keep feeding the multitudes of Christians with the one body and blood? He does it in the same manner in which he fed the multitude of followers with the loaves and fish.
Every man, woman, boy, and girl who walks this planet will eat the body and drink the blood of Christ or he or she will dwell in darkness and death. There is no other "bread" that a person can eat and thereby receive eternal life and light. Everything else is an imitation.
We always must keep in mind that Christ is Divine, that He is the Son of God. We are like Him in many ways and are coheirs with Him, being formed during our discipleship in the image of God.
But Christ remains unique, whether in Heaven or on the earth. He moves on the earth and in Heaven at the same time. He is Jacob's ladder that bridges Heaven and earth. The holy angels of God ascend and descend on Him and on no other.
His fleshly body and blood were the Word of God in human form. Even though we may not understand all the details, the sixth chapter of John states we are to eat the flesh and drink the blood of Christ.
We are "born again" by receiving into ourselves the Word of God.
Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever. (I Peter 1:23).
We grow by drinking the Word:
As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: (I Peter 2:2).
We grow by eating the Word:
But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil. (Hebrews 5:14).
If we would present the living Word we also must be in the place where we can flow with that same flowing of resurrection life. The entire activity is a dance in which Christ does the leading and we do the following. It is a graceful act of ministry, balanced, harmonious, bringing glory to God.
We, more than anyone else, realize it is God who is active in every detail of our ministry. We are a vessel for the moment. We are as an organ pipe that sounds appropriately as Jesus plays the music God has composed.
Christ communes with an individual and gives him the living bread to bring to a person or group of people. The living bread is the new covenant fulfillment of the showbread of the Holy Place. It must be fresh. It must be renewed frequently and regularly. It is the Bread of the Presence of the Lord.
The person doing the ministering must not feed the people moldy food he was given years ago. An older Christian can share with younger Christians his experiences and the lessons he has learned throughout his life in Christ. But in order to present the living bread, which is Christ, the ministering Christian must be in vital contact with the Lord.
The only time the bread of God is available to us is when the living Lord Jesus Christnot the record of history but He who is alive nowcomes in the Holy Spirit to meet some kind of need in mankind. The need may be milk for a young Christian or strong meat for a saint. It may be strength for someone in despair or wisdom for a perplexed soul.
When the prayer ascends to the Father He sends the Son in the power of the Holy Spirit. God opens His hand and satisfies the desire of every living thing (Psalms 145:16).
If Christ can find a suitable vessel He will give him of His own body and blood to meet the spiritual or physical need. His body and blood are eternal life (John 6:27-58 is clear on this point). In bringing the body and blood a member of the Body of Christ is holding forth the Bread of God for the life of the peoples of the earth. He is ministering the fruit and leaves of the tree of life that bring everlasting life and healing to mankind.
This is the showbread. There is no eternal life in the world apart from the body and blood of Christ.
Each member of the Body of Christ has something to give (I Corinthians 12:4-31). In fact, there are times when a Christian needs to remind the Lord in a most vigorous manner that he (the Christian) must receive from the Lord in order that he may have something to give to those in need (Luke 11:5-13; I Corinthians 12:31).
But we do not intend to bring a heavy feeling of duty on the believer. The things of the Spirit are joyous. There is the widest variety imaginable in the gifts and ministries of the Body of Christ, in their operations, in every aspect of their possession and presentation.
We present the showbread when we give the living Word of God. The living Word of God is the Divine Substance, not just the rote words from the Scriptures. The Scriptures are the Divinely-inspired record of the Word of God and are essential to our Christian life.
But the living Word of God is the Substance of Christ Himself brought to us in the power of the Holy Spirit.
Spiritually speaking, we must drink the blood of Christ as we eat His flesh. Jesus declared, "Except you eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, you have no life in you" (John 6:53). It was not long after this statement that "many of his disciples went back and walked no more with him."
As we read the seventeenth chapter of Leviticus we find the drinking of blood is sternly prohibited:
And whatsoever man there be of the house of Israel, or of the strangers that sojourn among you, that eateth any manner of blood; I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, and will cut him off from among his people. (Leviticus 17:10).
It is not surprising that some of Jesus' disciples left.
Leviticus teaches us that the life of the flesh is in the blood.
For it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof: therefore I said to the children of Israel, Ye shall eat the blood of no manner of flesh: for the life of all flesh is the blood thereof: whoever eateth it shall be cut off. (Leviticus 17:14).
Jesus speaks to us that we must eat His flesh and drink His blood or we have no life in us. His body and blood are eternal life in us. Whoever eats the flesh of Christ and drinks His blood dwells in Christ and lives by Christ, and Christ dwells in him. The life of the flesh of Christ is the blood of Christ. We must eat His flesh and drink His blood if we wish to share in His eternal life.
The Communion service represents and calls attention to the fact that the Christian believer must partake of the body and blood of Christ. By means of the sharing of the common body and blood the believers are made one through Him and in Him.
Christ is the great High Priest over the household of God. We of the Body of Christ also are priests. Only the priests were allowed into the Holy Place where the Table of Showbread was. We Christians are priests, the members of the Body of Christ, and bear witness of that Bread:
That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew to you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested to us;) (I John 1:1,2).
The quality of freshness of the showbread is not in the dimension of time. God moves in the past, present, and future. Time is not the consideration.
The quality of freshness has to with contact with Christ. It is the communication of resurrection life with which we are concerned. Eternal life either is present in our experience and testimony or it is not.
What matters is this: is resurrection life present at the point of immediate concern? The absence of resurrection life is an invitation for the forces of decay and death to move in. We must keep our experience fresh by maintaining contact with the Life of the Spirit of God. Contact is maintained by faith, obedience and prayer.