THE OLD TESTAMENT HOUSE OF THE LORD: TWENTY-TWO
THE OLD TESTAMENT HOUSE OF THE LORD: TWENTY-TWOCopyright Š 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
("The Old Testament House of the Lord: Twenty-Two" is taken from The Tabernacle of the Congregation, copyright Š 2011 Trumpet Ministries, found in the Kindle Library)
Know ye not that we will judge angels? . . . (I Corinthians 6:3)
The coming of our Lord Jesus to the earth is described in the Book of Revelation. The saints will be with him during the judgment on the earth. The saints will be involved in the administration of the judgment of God (Psalms 149). This is the manifestation of the sons of God; Joel's "army"; Habakkuk's "troops"; Jude's "ten thousands of his saints"; Daniel's "time that the saints possessed the kingdom"; Paul's "resurrection of the dead" (Philippians 3:11).
Let us be glad and rejoice, and give honour to him: for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready. And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteous deeds] of saints. (Revelation 19:7,8)
And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. (I John 3:3)
The above (Revelation 19:7,8) describes the point at which the physical body is clothed with the body from Heaven. A covering of righteousness will be granted to the saints at this time.
Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (I Peter 1:5)
In one sense we are saved now. In another true, scriptural sense a major part of our salvation is ahead of us.
Paul is referring to the future salvation when he teaches:
And not only they [the material creation], but ourselves also, which have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, to wit, the redemption of our body. (Romans 8:23)
The redeeming (buying back; ransoming) of the physical body is an important part of the Christian salvation. Christian grace includes the redemption of the physical body from the power and penalty of sin.
Keeping the redemption of the physical body in mind we suspect that Revelation 19:8 refers to the putting on of increased eternal life by the saints, and that the putting on of righteousness is Peter's "salvation ready to be revealed in the last time" and Paul's "prize of the high calling of God in Christ."
And to her was granted that she should be arrayed in fine linen, clean and white: for the fine linen is the righteousness [righteous deeds] of saints. (Revelation 19:8)
In fact, the saints will be clothed with their own godly response to their afflictions (II Corinthians 4:17;5:4) If they have sown to eternal life they will put on increased incorruptible life at that time. This is the "crown of life."
And I saw heaven opened, and behold a white horse; and he that sat upon him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness he doth judge and make war. (Revelation 19:11)
"Judge and make war"! This is the true nature of God's actions through the warrior Son. How could it be otherwise when the presence and work of unclean spirits abound in the earth?
Here is the return of God's King, Christ, and the time when Jesus takes to Himself the rulership of the earth. Here is the Lord Jesus receiving the reward of His tremendous patiencethe nations for His inheritance and the farthest reaches of the earth for His possession.
But He must establish His ownership by judgment and war against evil spirits, just as we must establish our inheritance by judgment and war against evil spirits.
And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. (Revelation 19:14)
We believe these armies are the believers who attain to the first resurrection. They are "caught up" to be ever "with the Lord" (I Thessalonians 4:14-17) so they may fight by His side as He drives all wickedness from the earth.
There is an emphasis on the fine linen (righteous behavior). There will be no liars in that army, no lustful, no boasters, no ambitious, no haters, no gossipers, no fearful, no murderers. The word righteousness in Revelation 19:8 is more accurately translated "righteousnesses" or "righteous deeds."
The saints will have been made holy by the by the power of the grace of Godholy in thought, word, deed, and motivation. They are holy warriors. Because they themselves have been judged and made righteous by repeated fiery trials, testings, temptations, and have overcome them all through Christ, they now are able to work with the Lord in judging and making war on the unholy spirits in the earth.
Judging, warring against, and destroying evil in the earth will bring about the righteous period we refer to as the Kingdom Age (Millennium).
And out of his mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations: and he shall rule them with a rod of iron: and he treadeth the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. (Revelation 19:15)
Christ is the Word of God made flesh. We are the flesh being made the Word. We are being made the Word of God by the transforming work of the Holy Spirit in us. Day by day the Word of God tests us, purging away little by little the fleshly nature and replacing it with the Divine Nature. The sharp sword proceeding from the mouth of Jesus is the Word of God in judgment.
In that day no one will stand who cannot bear up under the judging force of the Word of God. It is Christ and His army who execute the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God. We see, then, that grace must result in a transformed moral nature.
A legal state of forgiveness, while it is the all-important first step in the program of redemption in Christ, is not sufficient to enable the Christian to live, fight, and work with boldness alongside of Christ during the Day of the Lord.
And I saw the beast, and the kings of the earth, and their armies, gathered together to make war against him that sat on the horse, and against his army. (Revelation 19:19)
The earth belongs to ChristHead and Body. But the earth cannot be taken without a fight. The battle is kingdom against kingdomthe Kingdom of God against the nations of the earth.
When the Lord Jesus appears with His army, the nations of the earthunbelievable as it may appear to us nowactually will attempt to resist with force His coming (see Revelation 19:19 above). The heads of state will unite in the struggle to prevent the Lord Jesus from ruling over His earth. They shall be totally destroyed. The outcome of the war is described in the last verses of the Revelation, Chapter 19.
It appears that the above is the resurrection about which Paul was so concerned (Philippians 3:8-14), a resurrection that is not to be taken for granted on the basis of assent to Christian doctrine.
The first resurrection is for the blessed and holy priesthood. It is the resurrection to the fullness of eternal life, to ruling with the Lord over the saved nations during the thousand-year Kingdom Age. The second resurrection, that which will take place at the end of the thousand years, will include all persons born on the earth, with the exception of the blessed and holy priesthood.
It is generally understood that only the wicked will be raised at the second resurrection. This is not true. The wording of the Scripture indicates that the majority of those raised in the second resurrection will be brought into eternal life in the new world of righteousness (Revelation 20:12-15).
The first resurrection is for the Lord's victorious saints. The second resurrection is for everyone else.
Forgiveness of sins comes only by faith in the blood atonement made by Christ. Holiness is a pattern of attitude and behavior in the individual Christian. Holiness is perfected in the follower of Jesus as he goes through the school of the Holy Spirit.
Those who would arrive at the first resurrection and rule with Christ must be purified in imagination, motive, word, and deed.
When we die and go to Heaven? Why? Sin originated in Heaven with the rebellion of the angels against God Almighty. Why should our dying and going to Heaven change us from indifferent "believers" into lovers of the Lord Jesus and His ways? If we follow Jesus from far off here we will follow Him from far off there.
When, where, and how would the moral transformation of the Christians take place? In Heaven? At the coming of Christ?
Our places will have been assigned already when we finish our life here on earth. The earth is God's proving ground, His school for victorious saints. Christ Himself learned obedience on the earth and we learn obedience on the earth. Christ Himself had to overcome while on the earth and we have to overcome while we are yet on the earth. It is on earth that the Christian is shaped and tempered for his role and place of responsibility in God's Kingdom.
If we desire to know the place of a person in God's Kingdom to come, all we need to do is to observe him on the earth. If he is responding to the molding and tempering work of the Holy Spirit it is apparent here on earth.
You can see the transformation with your eyes and weigh it objectively. There will be no sudden transformations of character at the coming of the Lord. The change at the coming of the Lord will be primarily in the body. The saints are the saints whether they are here on the earth or at home with the Lord in Heaven.
If we desire to leave all and follow Jesus now we will have a desire to leave all and follow Jesus in Heaven and in the ages to come. If we can be easily led astray here it is possible that we could be easily led astray in the spirit realm and in the ages to come. However, sin shall not be permitted in the Kingdom of God. God in the present hour is perfecting in the hearts of the saints an eternal defense against future sin and rebellion.
Our character as a person will not be changed by our death or by the Lord's appearing. It is true, however, that it will be much easier to live righteously and obediently when the Lord returns to set up His Kingdom. His Spirit will be poured out on the earth, and the sons of God will be administering justice to the nations.
If we reign diligently, faithfully, and prayerfully over the small "kingdom" that God has given us in this world we will reign diligently, faithfully, and prayerfully over the great kingdom available to us during the Kingdom Age. Now is the time. Now is the day of salvation. Now is the hour to demonstrate how faithful we shall be to Jesus.
Now is the time to learn the lessons of the Holy Spirit. Now is the time to enter rulership with Christ. The emphasis of today is on His will working in us and revealed to us and through us by the Holy Spirit as we present our body a living sacrifice. We do our part and He does His part. He who overcomes in this struggle will inherit the Kingdom of God.
We must keep in mind always that we have been called to be a kingdom of priests, a people belonging especially to God and set aside to represent Him and to fulfill all His will. We are a called-out group, separate from the nations of the earth. Called-out group is the meaning of the term "church."
We must make certain that we do not lose our crown but rather that we join the company of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises of Godthe promises applied to us because we are part of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Of one fact we can be certain: the Christian Church, the spiritual fulfillment of the Tabernacle of the Congregation is always "holiness unto the Lord." Every person and thing associated with the Tabernacle or with its spiritual fulfillment in Christ must be holy in every aspect.
The holiness that is required consists not only of a righteousness that is imputed (ascribed) by means of the blood of atonement of the Lord Jesus but also of a purity of personality and behavior that is demonstrated in the spiritual and physical realms. There can be no uncleanness in the Body of Christ, for it is the eternal Tabernacle of the Lord God of Heaven.
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we will be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we will be like him; for we will see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure. Whoever committeth sin transgresseth also the law: for sin is the transgression of the law. And ye know that he was manifested to take away our sins; and in him is no sin. Whoever abideth in him sinneth not: whoever sinneth hath not seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you: he that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. (I John 3:2-7)
We scarcely can imagine God describing loops of material and feet and inches of boards. Yet, many such detailed directions were given in the plan of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The religionists of our day who talk about God as some kind of vague moral force in the universe do not understand the clear-cut personality of the Lord Jesus Christ.
God gave Israel no room for creative self-expression when building His Tabernaclethe three-dimensional portrayal of His Kingdom. In addition to giving specific directions, the following fiat was announced repeatedly:
According to all that I shew thee, after the pattern of the tabernacle, and the pattern of all the instruments thereof, even so shall ye make it. (Exodus 25:9)
And look that thou make them after their pattern, which was shewed thee in the mount. (Exodus 25:40)
And thou shalt rear up the tabernacle according to the fashion thereof which was shewed thee in the mount. (Exodus 26:30)
Again, we find the directions for Solomon's Temple, the sequel to the Tabernacle, were given to David by the Spirit of God:
And the pattern of all that he had by the spirit, of the courts of the house of the Lord, and of all the chambers round about, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries of the dedicated things: (I Chronicles 28:12)
All this, said David, the Lord made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern. (I Chronicles 28:19)
The many direct commands to follow God's pattern, plus the issuing of numerous detailed instructions, proclaim one fact: God does not want humans to change the design of His dwelling place in the earth. Yet, it appears from church history and from our own attitude today that we do not pay close enough attention to the directions of God concerning the Body of Christ.
Perhaps in our minds we make excuses for not having the manifestation of the Spirit according to I Corinthians, Chapter 12 or for not pressing forward to the fullness of Christ. Sometimes we feel that such things are not "practical." But this is the same as saying God is not practical. One fact is absolutely certain: there is no one more practical than God!
God never has and never will give impractical directions to any person. God cannot be impractical because He has the power to do anything He desires. We confuse compromise, fear, and unbelief with wisdom and practicality. Thus we become impractical and the churches become powerless and void of the awe of God.
God's directions for both the Tabernacle of the Congregation and the Christian churches were and are specific and leave no room for a fleshly approach. However, key parts of the directions have been omitted from the written plans. It is impossible to take what is written and without any current revelation proceed to build the Tabernacle or the Body of Christ.
In the case of the Tabernacle of the Congregation there are unclear areas of the design, such as the description of the western side of the building, and also the placement of the five bars that run along the sides of the Tabernacle. The position of the grate on the Altar of Burnt Offering and the appearance of the Laver are uncertain, as well as how the Laver was carried on the march. As a result of the incompleteness of specifications, devout Bible scholars have come to different conclusions concerning the building and the furnishings.
The Israelites did not have design problems because Moses had seen the Tabernacle, or a model of the Tabernacle, during a season of direct revelation. Moses could fill in the incomplete areas of the design.
The same incompleteness is true of the Lord's work today. Many devout and competent men have determined to go forth and "build for God." They set out with good will and the best of intentions to create the Kingdom of God, to solve the problem of the practice of abortion, or to join together all of the Lord's people. But the result is sectarian construction and activity.
It is impossible to use the New Testament writings alone and from these do the work of the Lord. They are incomplete in terms of what we are to do day by day. If a man takes the attitude that he can construct from the Scriptures alone he may assume a rigid attitude. The result will be another split in the Body of Christ. "No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation" (II Peter 1:20).
Sometimes Bible scholars deal with the Scriptures as medical students might examine a corpse. They seek to understand every bone, every organ, every nerve pattern. But the corpse does not come to life!
It is impossible to perfect or unify the Body of Christ apart from revelatory ministry such as that of the apostle and prophet. The Holy Spirit of God through the revelatory ministries correctly applies what is written in the Epistles, for what is written came by revelation. The result is harmony, maturity, and unity. The revelatory ministries must "see" the Church just as Moses saw the representation of the Tabernacle.
Some of the Christian churches are becoming aware of the need for the revelatory ministries and for the remainder of the ministries and gifts of the Spirit. As a result, teams of apostles and prophets are going out to "set the churches in order." We think extreme caution needs to be exercised in this endeavor. The probability is that the outcome merely will be another denominationa governmental structure in which men look to other men for guidance instead of to the Lord.
The teams of apostles and prophets seek to organize the ministries and gifts in the local assembly. The Scriptures do not teach, as far as we know, that the Holy Spirit gives ministries and gifts to the local assembly. The ministries and gifts are given to the Body of Christ. Too much emphasis on the local assembly creates a little kingdom separate from the Body.
It has pleased God that the Church should be perfected and unified by the many varying manifestations of the Holy Spirit through the total company of Christian believers. Only in this manner can the Kingdom of God be fashioned correctly. We must build according to what we "see in the mountain of God."
We are not implying that we should seek revelation outside of the Scriptures. Rather we are stating that the Scriptures must be applied by the Spirit of God instead of by fleshly reasoning. The sons of God are led by the Spirit, not by the Scriptures.
"And let them make me a sanctuary; that I may dwell among them."
We are so man-centered that it may be impossible for us to grasp the God-centeredness of the plan of salvation. We turn the Gospel around so the emphasis is on what man is going to do, how man will benefit.
Some have said the Protestant Reformation was, at least in part, a product of the humanistic thinking of that period of history. It appears that this may have been the case, for the emphasis today is not on how God is to be pleased but how man is to be profited.
Paul stated that in the last days men would be lovers of their own selves. The emphasis of the Scriptures is on Godwhat God is going to do; what God has done; how God will benefit.
Unless a person maintains this emphasis it is difficult for him to grasp the meaning of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The Tabernacle exists for God's use. The Christian Church exists for God's use. We may or may not receive or enjoy the program. The principal concern is the pleasing of the Lord God. He is the Landlord and the Tenant.
And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee. (Numbers 10:35)
It may be difficult for us to realize the God of the universe actually lived in the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The almighty God Himself dwelled between the cherubim, just as a little over a thousand years later He sat on the throne of Jesus' heart. The Hebrews standing in the door of their tents could see the Presence of God settling on the Tabernacle.
Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And Moses was not able to enter the tent of the congregation, because the cloud abode thereon, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle. And when the cloud was taken up from over the tabernacle, the children of Israel went onward in all their journeys: But if the cloud were not taken up, then they journeyed not till the day that it was taken up. For the cloud of the Lord was upon the tabernacle by day, and fire was on it by night, in the sight of all the house of Israel, throughout all their journeys. (Exodus 40:34-38)
Perhaps those to whom the subject has been new may wish to reread the book at an early opportunity, meditating on the Scripture references and asking the Holy Spirit to bring to mind the ideas of immediate importance.
The directions for the Tabernacle are not complete in the Scriptures. So it is today. We must have current communication with the Holy Spirit of God. There is a need for apostles and prophets, as well as for other revelatory ministries, in order to bring the Christian Church to maturity and unity.
The following text is a brief review of the main concepts that have been discussed. Perhaps the review will help the reader remember the several areas of study associated with the Tabernacle of the Congregation.
Be sure you have New Testament support for any interpretation you hold.
Tabernacle of the Congregation.
The Lord Jesus Christ.
The new Jerusalem.
The Person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The history of the Christian Church.
The redemption of the believer.
The perfecting of the Body of Christ.
The setting up of the Kingdom of God on the earth.
The journey of Israel from Egypt to Canaan.
The Tabernacle of the Congregation.
The Levitical convocations (feasts of the Lord).
The point at which Bezaleel and Aholiab are introduced speaks of the time when we stop talking and begin working. With this concept in mind we seem to see the day in which we are living as being the beginning stage of building the Body of Christ and the entire Kingdom of God.
There will be a tremendous revival of the preaching of the Kingdom of God just before the return of Christ. The Word of power shall go to the ends of the earth. At the coming of the Lord, the constructing of the dwelling place of God in the earth will be given great impetus. All the words of Christ, as recorded in the four Gospel accounts, will be brought into flesh and blood reality in the earth.
One thing is certain. Before the Lord God is finished, His Glory shall cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. "By Myself have I sworn!" proclaims the Lord.
1. The Altar of Burnt Offering represents the blood of the cross of Christ, called to remembrance in the sacrament of Communion. It speaks to us also of our own consecration to the Lord Jesus.
2. The Laver points out the need for separation from the filth of the world on the part of those who would be priests of God. Our water baptism represents this aspect of the plan of redemption.
3. The Table of Showbread is the continual presentation of the living Word of God, the body and blood of Christ, the eating of which builds Christ in the believer.
4. The Lampstand is the wisdom and power of the Holy Spirit who creates the testimony of Christ given through the Church. The Spirit assigns and empowers the gifts of I Corinthians, Chapter 12 and brings forth the moral fruit described in Galatians, Chapter Five. The Spirit enables the Christian to overcome the lusts of the fleshly nature.
5. The Altar of Incense is the next step after the baptism with the Holy Spirit. This furnishing represents the prayers and worship of the saintsin particular their bowing down in death to self-will and self-seeking. It is the beginning of the assault by the Church on the kingdom of darkness.
6. The Ark of the Covenant is the coming of the Lord Jesus with thousands of His saints. It speaks to us of the time when we are in the image of Christ, possessing in ourselves the discipline of the Spirit (Aaron's rod); The body and blood of Christ (jar of manna); and a pure moral character (the Ten Commandments). The Ark of the Covenant is David's TabernacleZion, of the Book of Psalms.
7. The Mercy Seat and He who dwells between the Cherubim of Glory represents the rest of God. Our experience of redemption is climaxed by the coming of the Persons of the Godhead to abide in us forever. We are being brought toward perfect oneness, perfect reconciliation, with the Lord God.
The light of the Courtyard was the sun, signifying that the accepting of the slain Lamb of God and participation in water baptism are available to the world.
The light of the Holy Place was the Lampstand, indicating that the partaking of the body and blood of Christ, the holy ministries, gifts, and fruit of the Spirit, and Spirit-empowered prayer and worship, are for the Body of Christ. The world cannot participate in these.
The light of the Most Holy Place was the Glory of God, showing us that when we arrive at maturity we shall know God and no longer shall have to depend on ministries and gifts. We shall not see through a glass darkly but shall behold the Face of the Almighty God.
When will that which is perfect come to us? That which is perfect is the fullness of the Father and the fullness of the Son through the fullness of the Spirit settling down to rest in the heart of the believer who keeps the Word of Christ. Such will serve God in the holy city, the new Jerusalem. They will see God as no one else ever has, with the exception of the Lord Jesus Christ Himself. They are God's sons!
The believer dwelling in the Courtyard will be preserved in the Day of Wrath.
The believer in the Holy Place is a member of the Body of Christ. He is being built up in Christ and Christ in him. He is ministering his gifts to others and they to him. He is giving holy supplication and adoration to the God of Heaven. He is a priest of the Lord. He is gaining victory over Satan, the world, and his own lusts and self-will.
The believer in the Most Holy Place is a conqueror. He is the recipient of all the fullness of God and is a pillar in the Temple of God. He has the name of God forever engraved on his person. He is sharing with Christ dominion over the creation of God.
Looking at the three areas of the Tabernacle in reverse order we can notice the following three events in setting up the Kingdom of God on the earth:
The coming of the King, the Lord Jesus Christ.
The perfecting of the Body of Christ, of the Servant of the Lord, of the One who will bring justice and truth to the nations of the earth.
The bringing of every person on the earth under obedience to God in Christ. Those who resist Christ will be cast into the Lake of Fire.
Our purpose in stressing in our book the role of the victorious saints, the Lord's conquerors, is to encourage every Christian person to press forward to the fullness of God. Being a servant of the Lord is available to every man, woman, boy, and girl on the earth. It is not God who prevents us from attaining the throne of Glory. It is we ourselves who limit God through our unbelief and disobedience, and who resist when the Holy Spirit leads us into circumstances that are painful to our self-life.
It is our sincere hope that every reader of these words will be seized with the desire to seek Christa desire so strong, so fervent, that the remainder of the reader's life will be given to the Lord Jesus to do with as He will.
None of us has the wisdom or power to accomplish anything at all in the Kingdom of God. It is only as we give ourselves to the Holy Spirit that we make progress in the life of victory.
1. The Altar of Burnt Offering shows us that every person who would be saved must meet the Lord God at the cross. Without the shedding of blood there is no remission (forgiveness) of sin. Christ on the cross is the only way into the ranks of the redeemed.
2. The bronze Laver reminds us that the members of the Church are priests of the Lord. It is required of a priest that he be righteous and holy in person and behavior. The Church of Christ has escaped from the authority of the unclean "pharaoh" of the present age by means of the waters of baptism. The members of the Church have been washed clean by the blood and by the teachings of the Word of God.
3. The Table of Showbread portrays the Communion table where the saints show the Lord's death until He comes. His broken body and shed blood are given to each member of the Body of Christ, revealing that Christ can be made whole again only when His Body, the Church, becomes one in Him. The Church becomes the "Wife of the Lamb" by eating the flesh of the Lamb and drinking His blood.
4. The Lampstand is ChristHead and Body. The task of Christ is to go to the ends of the earth, judging sin and bringing liberation to every person. The Church is the "light of the world."
5. The Altar of Incense is the voice of Christ crying night and day to the Father. Out from the heart of Christ comes prayer, intercession, thanksgiving, worship, travail, adoration. The prayers and worship of the Church of Christ are the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. They are the authority and power to bind or loose; to retain or remit; to hold or release into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
It is at the Altar of Incense that the disciple bows in death to self-will and self-seeking. It is here that we say (sometimes in great anguish), "Not my will but thine be done."
6. The Ark of the Covenant speaks to us of the coming of Christ with thousands of His saints to judge and make war. The Ark goes before the army of the Lord. The Ark was the glory of David's Tabernacle and will be revealed when our heavenly King David ascends to His rightful throne (Revelation 11:19).
7. The Mercy Seat portrays the Glory of God in the Church, the Wife of the Lamb. She will be filled with the fullness of the Godhead. She will be perfect in every part. She will be the Throne of God and of the Lamb to the ages of ages.
The Christian Church is not perfect as yet. We find the Lord Jesus instructed the Apostle John to write to the angels of the seven churches of Asia. It may be true that the seven messages apply to all of the churches of Christ through the centuries. The Christian churches are not perfect!
What does the Lord Jesus advise? He suggests that individuals in the churches seek to live in victory. The admonition to overcome is always addressed to the individual, never to the church as a whole.
The reason the invitation is addressed to one person at a time is that the Lord Jesus will give authority and power to each believer in the churches who hears His voices and who will do His will with a perfect heart. Each disciple must decide for himself the extent to which he wishes to lay hold on the glory to which Christ has called him.
Why be so concerned with the perfecting of each member of the Church? Why is so much attention given to minute details of holiness when multitudes of people are involved?
The answer is this: though the new Jerusalem were a million miles on a side (and it may be much larger than this); and though the city were made of perfect gems whose combined worth exceeded that of the minerals in the remainder of the universe; and though the beauty and color that radiate from the city filled the heavens and the earth with a rainbow of glory; though all of this were true, yet, if there were one backbiter, one gossiper, one hater, one thief, one liar, one adulterer in the entire city, the whole would be unacceptable to God and in no manner worthy of being the Wife of the Lamb.
The Body of Christ is only as holy as the least holy member. Remember the story of Achan!
1. The Kingdom of God, of Heaven, began with Christ. The Kingdom will be finished when God's kings and priests have been perfected and put into their positions of authority and service, and the last person on earth has come under the rule of the Lord Jesus. There is much work left to be done.
The Mercy Seat suggests to us the plan of God from the beginning. When trouble first started in Heaven there came into the mind of God a great plan. He perfected the plan in His own counsels, wrote down the name of the participants in His book, and worked out in detail the events of redemption, including the offering of Christ on the cross, and His resurrection.
After all of this had been completed in God's timeless vision, including every person, incident and thing described from Genesis, Chapter One to Revelation, Chapter 22, God brought into being the earth and its inhabitants.
2. The Ark of the Covenant typifies the King of the Kingdom coming to the earth. First, He had to come as the Lamb of God, the Redeemer. Next, He is coming at the head of His army. It was not possible that Christ could remain at His first coming because the Body of Christ had not been brought formed as yet. As soon as His army, His "mighty men," has been formed and made ready, the Lord Jesus Christ will come againthis time to remain and enforce His will on the earth.
The Scripture indicates that one of the major purposes of the age in which we are living is the building of David's Tabernacle. At the convention of the early apostles, James declared (no doubt by the Holy Spirit) that the Christian Church is the rebuilding of the Tabernacle of David.
After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up: (Acts 15:16)
David's Tabernacle consisted of a tent containing the Ark of the Covenant, a place of sacrifice, and Levites to "thank and praise the Lord God of Israel" (I Chronicles, Chapter 16). The remainder of the Tabernacle of the Congregation was left on the high place of Gibeon.
If, as James states, we are in the time of the rebuilding of the Tabernacle of David, then we understand that the Lord God will establish His Gloryas represented by the Ark of the Covenantin the Body of Christ. We interpret all of this to mean Christ is creating a firstfruits to Himself who will praise Him. When His firstfruits has been perfected He will return as the Ark of the Covenant with the firstfruits of the Church to govern the nations of the earth.
As we look about us, one fact seems to be apparent: the Church as a whole is not ready for Christ to return. There is sin and disobedience, sectarian loyalties and interests. Perhaps David's Tabernacle portrays the victorious saints in all churches who will serve Christ with a pure heart, being a firstfruits to God and the Lamb. The purified firstfruits, the warrior remnant, will pave the way for His return.
3. The Altar of Incense is the trumpet of the Lord, announcing that the kingdoms of this world have become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ. In the days to come, the Christian Church will be built to great strength in prayer and worship. Then the burning coals from the Altar of Incense in Heaven will be cast into the earth (Revelation 8:3-5). The work of judgment will be brought to the fullness of maturity in the earth and God will prepare the earth to be a fit place for His Spirit, His beloved Son, and His servants to live and work.
Going back for a moment to the sequence of events in the perfecting of the Church, the Church in its progress toward maturity has been at the Lampstand, at Pentecost, since the end of the last century. We are speaking of the sequence of events of the restoration that began with the Protestant Reformers.
The next position of the Church, in the program of restoration, will be at the Altar of Incensethe place of Holy Spirit-empowered prayer and worship. Here the disciples will bow in death to self-will and will turn to God in prayer and supplication.
As soon as the Altar of Incense has been attained in strength by a body of believers we can be sure that the return of Christ is close at hand. The coming Kingdom, as it proceeds from the Mercy Seat, meets the maturing Church at the Altar of Incenseat the place of prayer, worship, and death to self-will.
Can you see in this pattern the fulfillment of the Old Testament events associated with the bringing of the Ark to Zion and the setting up of the Tabernacle of David?
4. The Lampstand symbolizes the next move in the order of events of setting up the Kingdom of God in the earth. The Lampstand typifies the going forth of the Servant of the Lord to the ends of the earth, during the Day of the Lord, bringing through the Holy Spirit the Presence, will, ways, and purposes of the Lord God to all the people of the nations of the saved.
Here is the promise made to Abrahamthe restoring of God's Spirit to mankind. At the coming of the Spirit of God every particle of wickedness must flee away, finding no longer a place of repose in the earth. In that day, righteousness, health, peace, joy, enlightenment, and every other good and perfect gift and blessing will be the portion of earth's peoples.
5. The Table of Showbread is the tree of life of which the nations of the earth must eat if they are to live. The leaves of the tree are for the healing of people. The showbread is the Virtue of Christ that is in the Church and that will be ministered to people, as is true today.
The nations are dead spiritually because mankind cannot live by natural food alone. The body and blood of Christ must be given to people or else they return as grass to the dust of the ground. The Substance of Christ is the only eternal life, and this life is in the Church when Christ is in the Church.
6. The Laver signifies the deliverance from sin of earth's peoples by the power of Christ, beginning with the nation of Israel. Christ possesses the authority to forgive whomever He chooses. He will use His authority throughout the earth according to His own will and purposes, as soon as He prepares His Church for the work of the Kingdom.
The teachings of the Kingdom of God, the same injunctions that come to us in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew, Chapters Five through Seven), are the laws of the Kingdom of God. In taking heed to these laws we cleanse our way before God.
The saints of the Lord will bring the teachings of the Lord to the ends of the earth so the inhabitants may learn righteousness. The anointing of the Holy Spirit will be present to guide and empower people to keep these holy laws. The Glory of God will increase among the nations as righteousness fills the earth.
It will become easy to walk in God's ways on the earth just as it is easy to do God's will in Heaven. Finally the whole earth will be so full of the Glory of God that righteousness will prevail in every place. In that day, God's will shall be done in the earth as it in Heaven.
7. The Altar of Burnt Offering, the largest of the furnishings of the Tabernacle, teaches us that the Kingdom of God is established through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ. Only by accepting the redemption that is through Him can people be received of God.
The four horns of the great Altar of sacrifice look toward the four points of the compass. The power of the shed blood and broken Body of Christ must reach every person so he or she can be among those who are saved. The Kingdom of God is founded on the crucifixion, resurrection, and living Person of the Lord Jesus as on a mighty Rock.
So solid, so secure, so everlasting is the Rock that it can and does bear on itself the entire universe. The Lord God Almighty is in that Rock, establishing its immovability forever. If you have anchored your life in the Rock, Christ, you can never be moved.
It is not enough that we cry Lord, Lord, and then not do what He commands.
Christ is our covering and we were accepted in Christ when we had no righteousness of our own. What, then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound?
If we claim we are in Him, then we are to walk as He walked. If we are walking in sin we have neither seen nor known Him.
Jesus came to save us from our sins, not in our sins. We are to confess our sins. By His atoning blood we gain complete forgiveness. Then we are to forsake our sins by the enabling power of the Holy Spirit.
Without holiness no man shall see the Lord. This refers not only to an imputed (ascribed) holiness given to us through the holy Life of Christ but also to an inwrought holiness that brings forth in us the fruit of the Holy Spirit.
The Lord knows those who are His. Let every person who names the name of Christ depart from iniquity.
We take pleasure in sharing with you the ideas concerning the Tabernacle that we believe the Holy Spirit has taught us. Every scribe who has been instructed in the things of the Kingdom of Heaven brings forth from his treasures things new and old.
Perhaps some of the material in this book was familiar to you. Some concepts may have been new. We Christians have been founded solidly on the old, the Rock, the crucified and resurrected Lord Jesus. But we also must have the new to keep us seeking Christ with a perfect heart. The Ark of His Glory must remain portable. We must keep forging ahead in Christ.
Are you portable? Are you ready to press on, and on, and on to the fullness of Christ?
A final thought: As we have taught, there were seven major furnishings of the Tabernacle. Of these seven, the Lampstand was number four and the Altar of Incense was number five.
Speaking in terms of the warlike remnant, the firstfruits of the Church that are being called out by the Spirit, we are wrestling in the Lord that we might move past Pentecost, the Lampstand, and press forward until we apprehend all that the Altar of Incense represents.
The future of the Kingdom depends upon the success of the godly remnant of today pressing their way to the Altar of Incense.
The first four furnishings profit man. Man is forgiven his sins. Man is cleansed in water baptism. Man is born again at the Table of Showbread. Man is filled with God's Spirit at Pentecost, the Lampstand.
The next step is God's Kingdomthat which profits God.
There was at one time a colossal rebellion on the part of the angels of God. Since that time God has been desirous of bringing the heavens into His holy Presence, forming an eternal bride for His Son, and revealing Himself in a company of sons formed in His image. These are God's needs and desires.
God wants everlasting righteousness on the part of all of His creatures, new heavens and a new earth wherein dwells righteousness.
Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy. (Daniel 9:24)
Nevertheless we, according to his promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness. (II Peter 3:13)
Satan understands that the material creation is superior to the spirit Paradise and it is here that he intends to rule. Satan's rule is not brought to an end in us or in the earth when we are forgiven, baptized in water, born again, and filled with God's Spirit. Satan's rule is not threatened until we come to the Altar of Incense, bow before God in stern holiness and obedience, and plead, "Not my will but Yours be done."
When we bow in stern obedience we make it possible for the Father and the Son to enter us and begin to work through us. The work of the Father and the Son is to put down all disobedience and to bring everlasting righteousness into our personality and actions and then into our surroundings. This is the Kingdom of God.
We understand, therefore, that nothing is actually happening, as far as installing the Kingdom of God in the earth, until God finds people who will love not their own lives unto the death, who will present themselves as the servant of the Lord, taking their place in the great Servant of the Lord, the Body of Christ.
When the Lord Jesus Christ shed His blood on the cross an atonement was made for all time. As long as eternity lasts there never again will be made an atonement for sin.
The same is true of the giving of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit has been given to mankind once and for all time.
Each person who would please God must avail himself or herself of the Divine forgiveness and the Holy Spirit. Through the authority of the atoning blood and the wisdom and power of the Spirit of God each person can start on the path that leads to eternal life, that is, to reconciliation to God.
The gate to life is small and the way is filled with obstaclesat least in the present hour. But a hardy remnant of saints will build the highway of holiness so in the future all who have a willing heart may walk thereon.
The atonement has been made. The Spirit has been given. Now it is our responsibility to enter the program of reconciliation to God. The program of reconciliation is the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament Day of Atonement. The completed reconciliation is the spiritual fulfillment of the Old Testament feast of Tabernacles.
The "woman," the Church, is in travail today. The purpose of the travail is to bring forth Christ in the saints. Until Christ comes forth in us, and God in Him, the accuser of the brothers cannot be torn from his place in the heavens and the Kingdom of God cannot enter the earth.
God's will cannot be done in the earth until it first is performed in the holy remnant whom the Lord is calling out from the churches of our day.
A nation shall be born at once. The nation is the Body of Christ, the Servant of the Lord. The travail has begun. The Lord is at the right hand of His Father, waiting until all of His enemies have been crushed under the feet of His Body.
Are you prepared to give your life so Christ might live in you and bring the Father's will to pass in the earth? You show your love to your Lord by making it possible for Him to live in you in place of your self-will, self-seeking, and self-love.
Are you ready to be "holiness unto the Lord"?
In that day shall there be upon the bells of the horses, Holiness Unto The Lord; and the pots in the Lord's house shall be like the bowls before the altar. Yea, every pot in Jerusalem and in Judah shall be holiness unto the Lord of hosts: and all they that sacrifice shall come and take of them, and seethe therein: and in that day there shall be no more the Canaanite in the house of the Lord of hosts. (Zechariah 14:20,21)
We have seen the cloud lift from the Tabernacle of the Congregation. We have heard the silver trumpets of the priests sounding the signal for Israel to march. We have observed the priests hurrying to wrap the sacred furnishings so the Levites can take hold of the staves and move into place in the midst of the host of Israel.
Let us all march on toward the land of promise. Let us press forward toward the milk and honey; toward mountains where we can dig out the gold, silver, and iron of God; where we can eat the old corn of the land, and then grow new corn; where we can drink without ceasing from the River of God's Holy Spirit.
Let us forget our accomplishments to this point and follow on to know the Lord. If we do, He will come to us as the rain, as the seed and harvest rain falling on the plowed earth.
The end of our journey is the fullness of Christ. With God's help we will never cease pressing forward until our goal has been reached.