THE OLD TESTAMENT HOUSE OF THE LORD: TEN (EXCERPT OF THE TABERNACLE OF THE CONGREGATION)
“The Old Testament House of the Lord: Ten” is taken from The Tabernacle of the Congregation, copyright © 2011 Trumpet Ministries
Copyright © 2013 Trumpet Ministries, Inc. All Rights Reserved
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
Altar of Incense
Table of Contents
Ark of the Covenant
Jar of Manna
Mercy Seat (Atonement Cover)
Altar of Incense
The Altar of Incense stood just before the Veil, in direct line with the Ark of the Covenant and the covering Mercy Seat.
“And you shall put it before the veil that is before the ark of the Testimony, before the mercy seat that is over the Testimony, where I will meet with you. (Exodus 30:6)
The Altar of Incense should be of particular interest to Christians of the Pentecostal experience because the Altar of Incense is a type of the aspect of redemption that follows the Pentecostal expression of speaking in tongues, and other manifestations of the Holy Spirit.
The Altar of Incense is the fifth of the seven furnishings. You may recall that the number five symbolizes entrance into the Kingdom of God. The bronze Altar of Burnt Offering was five cubits square and typifies our entrance into the plan of redemption in Christ. There were five pillars at the entrance to the Holy Place, representing our entrance into the Body of Christ. The Altar of Incense was the fifth furnishing and it typifies our entrance into the rest of God.
On the fifth day animal life first appeared in the creation—fish in the waters and birds in the firmament. The fifth episode of the wilderness wandering was the first organization of Israel into a fighting force, preparing the way for entrance into the land of promise (Numbers, Chapter 10).
The march toward the land of promise was directed by the priests blowing silver trumpets The fifth Levitical feast was the blowing of trumpets. Trumpets signaled New Year’s day (Rosh Hoshanah) of the civil, or agricultural, year of the Hebrews; and also called attention to the nearness of the Day of Atonement and the feast of Tabernacles.
The Blowing of Trumpets typifies the establishing of the rule of God on the earth.
It is at the fifth stage of the plan of redemption that the Christian matures past the place of being a saved human being waiting to go to Heaven, and is formed into a servant of the Lord. It is then that we enter the purposes of God. Prior to this, the grace of God toward us is perceived by us as being primarily for our benefit. From the Lampstand forward we understand that we are being prepared for the war of God against the Kingdom of darkness.
It may be difficult for us to conceive of something that exists for God’s purposes and not just for us. We have for so long tried to use God as a means of our salvation, of our health, of problem solving, and of getting whatever it is we need or want, that we may never have grasped the fact that God has some purposes of His own and that we have been called according to these purposes.
During the beginning stages of our redemption we are quite self-centered. As we move past the golden Lampstand we pass from self to God. What becomes important to us then is God Himself, and the eternal plan of God to rid the creation of evil.
Proceeding past the Lampstand means death to self, to our purposes, to our plans to use God to help us pursue our own desires. For the first time, perhaps, we become conscious of the eternal plan of God. We groan, as did the Apostle Paul, for the fullness of victory, the redemption of our body, that we may be able to move ahead with Christ in bringing justice and peace to the nations of the earth.
The holy incense that was burned on the Altar of Incense was compounded from four ingredients seasoned with salt. The ingredients were ground together until the mixture was uniform.
Christ became perfect by the things He suffered. As we suffer, the Person of Christ is ground into us, beaten into us by the circumstances into which the Holy Spirit leads us, until the mixture is fine and uniform. We do not enjoy the process, but when we are “thrown on the fire of God” the perfume that arises moves God as few things do.
The Presence of God was lost from the earth because of disobedience. Ever since those first days of mankind, people have prayed to God to return to the earth with blessing. Once God is offended and withdraws it is not a simple matter to persuade Him to return.
When the Christian moves past the Lampstand, to speak figuratively, being filled with the Holy Spirit, has partaken consistently of the body and blood of Christ, has obeyed the other requirements of the Christian life, and then has the Life of Christ ground into him by suffering, he comes into the place of effective communication with God. “The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man avails much.”
By the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and often intensified by suffering, the saint begins to cry mightily to God night and day for God to meet the needs of the hour. God hears. God smells the perfume of His beloved Son, the Lord Jesus. God begins to rouse Himself to the great purposes yet ahead. One person crying out to God under the burden of the Holy Spirit can bring about wonders.
When a group of people call on God in this manner, giving thanks for all things and letting their requests be made known to God, we have the formula for earth-shaking revival.
Just before the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, the prayers of all saints will be blended with the holy perfume from the Altar of Incense, which is the fragrance of Christ. God will be so moved He will command the seven angels to commence blowing their trumpets. At the sounding of the seventh angel, the kingdoms of this world will become the Kingdom of our Lord and of His Christ.
The saints who are pressing forward in the overcoming life should attend to the leading of the Holy Spirit in the matter of prayer, intercession, supplication, petition, breaking of unclean bondages, adoration, praise, and thanksgiving. Their communication with God should become stronger each day as the substance of Christ is being ground uniformly throughout their personality.
We trust that God will move on many of His people in these days to keep seeking the Lord until He makes His Church a praise in the earth, and sends the Lord Jesus Christ to earth as King of all kings and Lord of all lords (Isaiah 62:1).
He who testifies these things says, Surely I come quickly. Amen. Even so, come, Lord Jesus. (Revelation 22:20).
As we have stated, the next move of God after Pentecost is the Spirit-empowered, holy communication with God that will bring down from Heaven an earth-wide revival of the preaching of the Word of God—the Gospel of the Kingdom—with unprecedented authority, power, and glory. The amplifying and maturing of the prayer and praise ascending from the Body of Christ will be a sweet fragrance in the Face of God. The holy perfume arising from obedient saints will move Him to command the seven angels to sound, the final result of which will be the return to earth of our Lord Jesus.
The seven trumpets are the heavenly fanfare that announces the Presence of the Lord. This is why the Altar of Incense is mentioned by the Holy Spirit as standing before the Ark of the Covenant and the Mercy Seat—it announces the Presence of the Lord.
The next move of God, in conjunction with the earth-wide revival of prayer and praise, will be the preaching of the Gospel with spiritual power never before witnessed on the earth, except for the ministry of Christ Himself. The end-time revival may well be the fulfillment of the “two witnesses” of Revelation, Chapter 11. Here is the double portion of Elisha that will go before the Lord to prepare His way and to make ready a people for the Lord.
Every valley (depressed person) will be exalted (brought up to spiritual victory), and every high place (a person who has exalted himself) will be brought down (to the place where God can commune with his spirit). The crooked places (realms of deception) will be made straight. The rough places (areas of sin and rebellion in God’s people) will be smoothed out, and the hearts of the parents reconciled to the children and the children to the parents (family relationships established firmly).
The above acts of preparation are the kinds of reconciliation to God that must be made before Christ can dwell in the Church. Zion, the Body of Christ, today is characterized by depression, defeat, self-exaltation, deception, sin, rebellion, self-seeking stubbornness, and every other evil work.
God and Christ cannot come and be made one with such uncleanness and confusion. Family relationships must be restored. Our lives must be brought into harmony with God’s Holy Spirit. Only then can the Lord Jesus Christ come to be glorified in His saints.
As soon as the saints have been made ready, the way of the Lord being thus prepared, then He, Christ, will come and feed His flock as the Good Shepherd. To the wicked of the earth He will be the avenging Lamb who will come with His saints to destroy sin out of the earth.
On certain occasions blood was placed on the horns of the Altar of Incense, signifying that our prayers to God must be presented through the blood of the Lord Jesus.
The four horns of the Altar of Incense reveal the fact that this altar, as well as the Altar of Burnt Offering, contains the power of God to overcome the world, our fleshly nature, and the accuser. Horns, in Scripture typology, indicate the power to overcome resistance. We overcome by the blood of the Lamb, and also by bowing in worship and obedience to the point of the death of the old adamic nature.
Our prayer and praise before the Lord God must increase in frequency, consistency, faith, hope, love, thanksgiving, and single-minded unswerving petition. Our prayer and praise must become filled increasingly with the holy Life of Christ and the anointing of the Holy Spirit. As our prayer and praise grow stronger our testimony becomes more effective. Power with God brings power with men. A weak prayer life results in a weak testimony.
We overcome the accuser of the brothers by the blood of the Lamb (Altar of Burnt Offering); by the word of our testimony (Lampstand—the gifts and fruit of the Spirit); and by loving not our lives to the death (the Veil, opening into the Most Holy Place). When we move past the Altar of Incense we come to the Veil.
Hanging directly behind the golden Altar of Incense was the ornate Veil, with its beautiful colors and cherubim, serving as a partition between the Holy Place and the Most Holy Place.
“You shall make a veil woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen. It shall be woven with an artistic design of cherubim.
“You shall hang it upon the four pillars of acacia wood overlaid with gold. Their hooks shall be gold, upon four sockets of silver.
“And you shall hang the veil from the clasps. Then you shall bring the ark of the Testimony in there, behind the veil. The veil shall be a divider for you between the holy place and the Most Holy. (Exodus 26:31-33)
It is written that the Veil symbolizes the flesh of Christ.
Therefore, brethren, having boldness to enter the Holiest by the blood of Jesus,
by a new and living way which He consecrated for us, through the veil, that is, His flesh, (Hebrews 10:19,20)
At the time Jesus died the Veil was torn apart, revealing that the way into the Most Holy Place is now open.
Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, (Matthew 27:51)
As far as our individual redemption is concerned, both the River Jordan and the Veil of the Tabernacle symbolize the same thing—death to self. It is impossible to enter the battles of the Lord when one is still being led about by self-will and self-direction.
The demolishing of our self life is a lifelong program, and God knows exactly how to point His finger at the sources of our problem with self. Our task is to be patient with God until we find rest in Him. Later on in our spiritual development we shall receive more understanding concerning the various tunnels and prisons we were and are called on to endure.
The Veil of the Tabernacle as well as the River Jordan typify the death to self of which we have been speaking. During our “wilderness wanderings” we learn how to bring ourselves under the discipline of the Holy Spirit. Sometimes we are “pressed out of measure”; but we have “the sentence of death” in ourselves that we should not trust in ourselves but in God who raises the dead.
When we go into spiritual battle we must commit our safety and well-being into the hands of God. The struggle is between God and Satan and we are not able to cope with supernatural wisdom and power. Sometimes we ourselves are the battleground.
By stating that the “struggle is between God and Satan” we are not implying that Satan is equal to God. It is not a struggle of power against power, for God has all power. In addition, every vestige of Satan’s authority over the Christian was stripped from him on the cross of Calvary.
Rather it is true that in the arena of Christian conflict the Lord God is demonstrating to the heavens and the earth the dreadful consequences of rebellion against the Most High and at the same time showing that the Seed, Christ, growing in a human being, will enable him or her to overcome sin and rebellion under the most difficult circumstances.
Meanwhile, Christ is resting in God, waiting patiently until every one of His enemies becomes His footstool.
The battle against self-will and sin is real in each of our lives. When we enter spiritual combat, if there is any sin on our part, any weakness, any fear, any timidity, any lust, any saving of our life, then we falter and God has to stop and deal with our problems so we will not be destroyed.
If we are to see the battle through to glorious victory we must do so by abiding in absolute trust as the Holy Spirit conquers self-love in us. Our death and resurrection in and with Christ can be described easily in a few words. But the actual experiencing of the transition from self life to Divine Life consists of a prolonged series of trials. Our patience and faith are severely tested. Sometimes a considerable period of time goes by before God brings to our attention the exceedingly great wisdom of His strategies in our life.
If we are willing to remain under the hand of God during times of trial and suffering, God’s wisdom and power will be revealed in our life and the complete victory will come in precise timing. If we reassert our own wisdom and desires, God may draw back for a season and teach us the same lessons in a different situation.
The beautiful Veil that represents the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the supreme example of the kind of victory through death we have just mentioned, represents also our own death in the Lord. The Veil is our death. It is only in our death that we will be able, through the Holy Spirit, to conquer the enemies who at the present time are living in our land of promise. Self must wither and die and Christ must be formed in us, if we are to enter the rest of God.
Our land of promise consists of all the promises of God to us. Chief among these promises is that we are being made a royal priesthood to God and that we will serve God throughout His creation forever. Christ will receive, because of the directive of the Father, the nations for His inheritance and the farthest reaches of the earth for His possession. We Christians are coheirs with Him.
Ark of the Covenant
“And they shall make an ark of acacia wood; two and a half cubits shall be its length, a cubit and a half its width, and a cubit and a half its height. (Exodus 25:10)
The Ark of the Covenant was a wooden chest. The wood used in its construction, acacia (called shittim, Hebrew pronunciation shi-TEEM, a derivative of sho-TATE, to pierce, referring to the thorns of the acacia tree), was from a thorny tree native to the wilderness in which Israel wandered.
Ours is a “thorny” experience while we are being fashioned. People around us get “stuck” while we are in process. We ourselves feel a “thorn in the flesh” once in a while.
It is significant that so much of the Tabernacle was constructed from wood. Many Scriptures scholars believe wood, as used in the Old Testament typology, symbolizes humanity. We find the Ark itself, to speak in a figure, will be fashioned from people (wood).
The new covenant fulfillment of the old covenant Ark is the Throne of God. It is the secret place in the bosom of the Father in which Christ dwells. It is the plan of salvation that the heart of the Christian saint be fashioned into the Throne of God.
The Ark of the Covenant was overlaid “within and without” with gold (Divinity), indicating that people (wood) will endure a process that will make them partakers of the Divine Nature.
“And you shall overlay it with pure gold, inside and out you shall overlay it, and shall make on it a molding of gold all around. (Exodus 25:11)
Acacia wood is thorny, hard, and durable. It is suitable for cabinet work in that it can be polished. God’s elect are like this. They are thorny, hard, durable, and will “take a polish,” so to speak.
The saints often are difficult to work with and to shape into the desired form. Once God gets them cut into shape, covers them with Christ on the inside and the outside, and carefully and patiently polishes them, the result is an enduring and beautiful piece of furniture for God’s dwelling place.
The wood (humanity) was covered outside and inside the Ark with gold, pointing toward the day when the victorious saints will have Christ dwelling in them to the full and they will be dwelling in Christ to the full. Humanity totally eclipsed by Divinity. Mortality swallowed up by immortality.
Don’t give up, Christian. We will reap one day if we do not faint along the way. The goal of our life is to be re-created in the express image of Christ, God’s Son, in spirit, soul and body in order that we may be filled with all the fullness of God.
The Ark of the Covenant was the sixth item of furniture. The number six is believed to symbolize mankind since man was created on the sixth day. Man was created in the image of God during the sixth day of God’s workings.
Man, passing through the Veil and being fashioned into the Ark of the Covenant, into the throne of God, becomes at that time the image of God.
Human character is transformed by continued exposure to the Glory of God in the face of Christ until the believer can claim: “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me.”
Blessed be the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who is working until we have been fashioned into the exact image of His Son in spirit, in soul, and in body.
The Ark of the Covenant was constructed from acacia wood, showing that human beings are to be made the resting place of the almighty God. God is preparing a living temple in which He can settle down to rest. The Mercy Seat was beaten into shape from refined gold and placed on top of the Ark. The Ark and the Mercy Seat go together, demonstrating the mutual, interdependent rest of God and the believer (Hebrews 4:3).
Therefore the Ark portrays the completion of the process of redemption. The Ark is the omega of the work of salvation in human beings. The Christian who has been created in the image of Christ in spirit, soul and body, who has been filled with the fullness of the Father and the Son through the Holy Spirit, and who has been anointed with the fullness of the Holy Spirit for ministry, has an eternity of eternities in which to dwell in the bosom of the Father, to serve Him throughout His creation, and to come to know Him ever more fully.
The Ark of the Covenant contained three items: (1) Aaron’s rod that budded; (2) the jar of manna; and (3) the two stone slabs inscribed with the Ten Commandments.
The three elements in the golden chest, the Ark of the Covenant, portray the fully-developed Christian character. Aaron’s rod that budded shows that the Christian has learned to flow with the resurrection life that proceeds from the Father—the Life of the Holy Spirit of God. “That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection.”
Flowing in and with eternal resurrection life is one of the principal aspects of the rest of God.
In the seventeenth chapter of Numbers the story is told of the manner in which God demonstrated that the tribe of Levi in general, and Aaron and his descendants in particular, were chosen to lead Israel in the service of God. Of twelve rods left by Moses overnight before the Ark of the Covenant, one rod for each of the tribes of Israel, Aaron’s rod alone came to life.
By a miracle, buds, blossoms and almonds appeared on the rod of Levi on which Aaron’s name had been written. This demonstration was brought about because of the rebellion of Korah, of the tribe of Levi, of the family of Kohath.
The family of Kohath was the branch of the Levites chosen to carry the holy furnishings. Korah’s father was Izhar, making Korah a first cousin of Aaron, Moses, and Miriam. Perhaps Korah was envious of the special favor of God shown toward Moses and Aaron. Dathan and Abiram of the tribe of Reuben also participated in the rebellion against Moses and Aaron.
The appearing of the buds, blossoms and almonds on the rod of Levi is an outstanding picture of resurrection life. In the first chapter of Romans, Christ is declared with power to be the Son of God by His resurrection from the dead.
Of all the dead bodies lying in the ground from the time of Adam, Jesus’ alone came forth. Of all the religious teachers who claimed to be able to lead people to salvation, whose flesh has long since rotted away and whose bones being the only reminder that they once taught on the earth, only Jesus returned from the land of the dead in stupendous triumph, laughing at His enemies, with the keys of Hell and death in His powerful grasp.
The rebellious scheming of men, even of personalities in the high place of religion and spiritual matters, are brought to nothing because Jesus is the only One who has resurrection life. All other leaders and teachers are dead while they yet live unless they are found in Him.
Each of God’s saints must come to know the power of Christ’s resurrection. Also, each must come to experience the fellowship of His sufferings. The resurrection Life of Christ flows out from our crucifixion with Him.
It is the resurrection life that proves Jesus to be the Son of God. It is the power of endless life that makes both Melchizedek and Jesus the priests of God. It is the power of eternal life that proves the saints have been chosen of God. All who envy the spiritual authority and power of the members of the Wife of the Lamb will be brought to nothing. It is life—God’s Life—that proves who has been chosen of God.
Who is made, not after the law of a fleshly commandment, but after the power of an endless life [an indestructible life]. (Hebrews 7:16).
There is no other way. God’s power works through our confusion, our weakness, our helplessness. Every day we are brought in some manner to the dying of the Lord Jesus so His living power may have opportunity to come forth according to the needs of the moment.
Resurrection life cannot be gained merely by an assent to correct doctrine, although there is a place for correctness of doctrine. The resurrection force of God works in the spirit, soul and body of people because it is in the deepest parts of the personality that God creates eternal truth. God perseveres with us until the instincts of our nature are righteous rather than rebellious and self-centered.
Death, and life! Death, and life! Death, and life! The process goes on day by day. We have been crucified with Christ and our new life is His resurrection Life. That much we understand mentally from studying the sixth chapter of Romans.
God presses us on the hot mold of circumstances so the crucifixion with Christ and the resulting resurrection with Christ are of substance in us. Death with Christ and resurrection with Christ are prepared in us while we are subject to the problems of the material world. Our “wilderness wanderings” produce eternal virtue in us.
always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.
For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. (II Corinthians 4:10,11)
God is bringing us into the death of Christ so His resurrection life may be revealed in us. The eternal life being created in us is communicated to other people.
The resurrection Life of Jesus that flowed from Paul’s many afflictions, trials, imprisonments, sufferings, found expression in Paul’s epistles—a source of Divine Life for multiplied millions of people. Paul’s willingness to follow Christ into the fullness of death has resulted in the fullness of the Life of Jesus being brought to the nations of the earth for two thousand years.
In the Day of the Lord, resurrection life will clothe our mortal body. We then shall be redeemed completely. In view of our coming total redemption, which will include the redemption of our mortal body that gives us so much trouble at the present time, we need to be sowing to the Spirit of God and not to the lusts of our flesh.
If we Christians sow to our flesh, living all the time to appease the desires of our flesh and fleshly mind, we will die spiritually—Christian or not. If we keep a strong hand of discipline on the inclinations of our fleshly body and give ourselves to the things of Christ, we will reap eternal life in spirit, soul, and body.
Paul left everything that seemed to be of value to him in order to come to know Christ, the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings. If we would have the buds, blossoms and almonds of resurrection life appear on our personalities we must allow God to place us as He will “before the Ark of the Covenant,” before His Presence.
Waiting on God does not mean waiting for God. It does not mean ceasing to seek God each day in a determined manner. It does not refer to giving ourselves over to our flesh and the world with the thought in mind that some day—maybe!—God will dump revival on our head. We find God in the day that we seek Him with all of our heart.
If our “waiting on the Lord” is a passive affair, with no time being given each day to prayer and meditation in God’s Word, nothing of eternal value will spring forth in our life. “Aaron’s rod” will not bloom, as it were.
Waiting on God is the first business of the Christian discipleship, and it requires that we give time to seeking the Lord each day—seeking Him in single-mindedness of heart. It requires also we do not run ahead of God, attempting to build the Kingdom of God by our own wisdom, strength, and desires.
If you find yourself at this time in a place of indecision and it seems impossible to find the right way to walk in God, ask the Lord Jesus to place all your alternatives in the Presence of His holiness. You may have to wait for a while, and in the meantime the pressures may build. Hold steady. Pray much. Move cautiously. Stay before the Lord. In God’s perfect timing, not one second too soon or too late, the wisdom He has chosen for you will bloom with His Life.
There is no power in the heavens or on the earth, angelic or human, that is equal to the resurrection life in Christ. If any combination of evil powers could have prevented His resurrection, Jesus never would have been able to come forth with the keys of Hell and death. The same indestructible, irresistible force is at work in you now, if you are a Christian.
and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power
which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,
far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come. (Ephesians 1:19-21)
Jar of Manna
The jar of manna (Exodus 16:33) was a sample of the manna that began to come down on the Israelites as soon as they had crossed the Red Sea.
An important characteristic of manna was that it could not be kept from one day to the next (Exodus 16:20). How this jar of manna was able to keep fresh over a long period of time can be explained only by the power of the Lord.
Israel ate manna for forty years, that is, until they came to the land of promise. No doubt it was some time before the Hebrews got over the habit of going out to look for manna. To remind them of their long drawn-out lesson of dependence on Him, God had them place a jar of manna inside the Ark of the Covenant (Hebrews 9:4).
There is a time coming for us Christians when the manna will cease, so to speak.
But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. (I Corinthians 13:10)
The day will arrive when we shall see the Lord face to face. We shall be with Him for ever and shall have a glorious body that no longer is subject to “thorns in the flesh.”
There will be no more perceiving “through a glass darkly”; no more perplexities; no more attempting to glean God’s will and purpose from tongues, prophecies, and dreams. Every Christian will possess the full revelation of the Godhead (Hebrews 8:11; Revelation 22:3-5).
We shall know and understand in that day as we now are known and understood by the Lord (I Corinthians 13:12). Because of our long “wilderness” experience in which we have learned dependence on God, engraved in our spirits will be the realization of the need for continual reliance on the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It seems likely we shall bear this mark of dependence on God in our characters throughout eternity (I Timothy 4:8).
Another concept illustrated by the provision of manna is that of our need for continually eating the body and drinking the blood of Christ.
In the sixth chapter of the Gospel of John, starting with the thirty-first verse, the manna of the Old Testament begins to be placed in context with the bread from Heaven of the New Testament. Christ is the “bread of God… which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world” (John 6:33).
Christ is the “word that proceeds out of the mouth of God” by which every person must live. Except we “eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood” we have no life in us.
It is not enough that at one point only in our life we eat his flesh and drink His blood. The concept that we are to “get saved” and then wait to go to Heaven is only partially true. Just as the Jews ate manna each day, we each day must keep ourselves in the place where the living Lord Jesus Christ can come to us and feed us with His body and give us to drink of His blood.
The Communion service is a practice in the physical world representing the fact that in the spirit realm the Lord Jesus is continually nourishing us and imparting to us His body and blood so we are becoming one with Him in every aspect of our personality.
We must learn to live by Him as He lives by the Father. We begin to understand how important it is to dwell totally and consistently in Christ. It is those who eat His flesh and drink His blood who dwell in Him and He in them. It is those who will rise to meet Him in the first resurrection from the dead. Where the carcass (the slain Lamb) is, there the eagles (those who live by feeding on the slain Lamb) shall be.
The two stone slabs inscribed with the Ten commandments were placed inside the Ark of the Covenant along with Aaron’s rod and the memorial jar of manna. The Ten Commandments symbolize the transformed moral character of the Christian (Exodus 25:16; Hebrews 9:4).
Many times in the Scripture the Ten Commandments are referred to as the testimony. We Christians often refer to our testimony. One wonders if we do not miss a vital meaning of the word.
The testimony about which God is concerned is the moral law. When the moral law has been carved into our heart by the finger of the Spirit of God and we have been renewed in God’s moral image, then we become the new covenant—God’s testimony to the world concerning His own Personality.
It is not what we say about Christ (although spoken words are significant and essential) but what we have been made by God’s working, that is the true testimony of God. We attempt to testify for Christ, but it is what the Holy Spirit does in and through us that is the true Divine testimony.
God has commanded us to preach, to teach, and to exhort other people in the Word of Christ. But the Divine testimony, the testimony that is all-important for the world to see and hear, is not only what we say about Christ and His love but also what we ourselves have become—the transformed moral nature.
The transformed character is something other people can see and experience in the saint. The righteous nature of the Christian is a true testimony of the Lord to the heavens and to the earth. Righteousness, holiness, and obedience of conduct run deeper than words spoken by Christians, although words are necessary in their place.
We are not claiming that good moral behavior alone on the part of the Church will save the unregenerate. God has ordained that the unsaved be saved by accepting the atonement made by the Lamb of God on the cross. The preaching of the cross of Christ is God’s provision for the unsaved.
The moral testimony of which we are speaking is the miracle of re-creation prepared in people by the working of forces that operate in the plan of salvation. The new life in Christ is a miracle of reconstitution of the person’s entire personality and way of life. The miracle comes about by receiving the Divine Nature of God in Christ and by receiving the wisdom and power that come to us when we walk in obedience to the Holy Spirit of God.
The miracle of redemption is the forming of the sons of Adam into the image of God. Redemption can be accomplished only by means of the Divine Life that comes to us from God through our Lord Jesus Christ. It cannot possibly be accomplished by the striving of human effort no matter how well-intentioned.
We see then that there were three elements in the Ark of the Covenant:
- Aaron’s rod that budded (resurrection life operating in God’s chosen priesthood).
- The memorial jar of manna (daily provisions of grace from God).
- The two stone slabs on which were inscribed the Ten Commandments known as the “testimony” (the transformed moral personality of the victorious saint).
Mercy Seat (Atonement Cover)
Perfection in the Christian experience is the possession of God Himself rather than any assortment of techniques, spiritual secrets, power with God, or any of the other things set forth from time to time as being goals of the Christian life.
Jesus is a person and He wants us to be occupied with Himself rather than with concepts, experiences, persons, or things related to Him. He who possesses the Person of the Lord Jesus possesses everything of value in the heavens and on the earth. He who does not possess the Lord Jesus is bankrupt—deprived of everything of value.
The true goal is found in the pattern of the Tabernacle of the Congregation. The seventh article of furniture is the pure gold Mercy Seat. There was no wood (humanity) in the Mercy Seat. The Mercy Seat was beaten from refined gold, indicating that the climax of the Christian salvation has to do with the unalloyed Godhead.
Pure Divinity. “That I may know Him!” Paul cried. It is time now for the Christian believers to exclaim from the heart: That I may know Him! How quickly everything else will be placed in perspective.
“You shall make a mercy seat of pure gold; two and a half cubits shall be its length and a cubit and a half its width.
“And you shall make two cherubim of gold; of hammered work you shall make them at the two ends of the mercy seat. (Exodus 25:17,18)
“You shall put the mercy seat on top of the ark, and in the ark you shall put the Testimony [ten commandments] that I will give you.
“And there I will meet with you, and I will speak with you from above the mercy seat, from between the two cherubim which are on the ark of the Testimony, about everything which I will give you in commandment to the children of Israel. (Exodus 25:21,22)
Some of the verses in the New Testament writings teach us how the fulfillment of the Mercy Seat is prepared in the lives of individuals.
Jesus answered and said to him, “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make Our home with him. (John 14:23)
When the Christian believer becomes the fulfillment of the Ark of the Testimony by sharing continually in Christ’s death and the power of His resurrection life; by experiencing the continual impartation of the body and blood of the living Lord Jesus Christ; and by being transformed in character into Christ’s moral image; he then is ready for the fulfillment of the Mercy Seat, God Himself, to crown his personality.
Carefully notice the following expressions of Christ: “He [the Christian] will keep my words.” “My Father will love him.” “We will come to him and make our home with him.”
This is the coming of the Mercy Seat, the Godhead, into the life of the victorious Christian in the same manner in which God dwells in Christ. Such is the tenor of several passages of the new-covenant writings, both in the Gospels and in the Epistles. The seventeenth chapter of John probably is the best example of such passages.
The coming of God and Christ to abide eternally with the completely reconciled saint is the fullness of redemption, the rest of God, perfection, full sonship—call it what you wish. It is the completion of salvation, the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles, the omega of the pursuit of God, the “all things” of Revelation 21:7.
“A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.
“At that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you. (John 14:19,20)
The phrase “at that day” is significant. It refers to the Day of the Lord. The phrase “in that day” is used several times in the Book of Isaiah.
We have a partial fulfillment of the preceding passage from the moment of accepting Christ as our personal Savior and Lord. The fullness of the experience may be ahead for most of us.
“He who has My commandments and keeps them, it is he who loves Me. And he who loves Me will be loved by My Father, and I will love him and manifest Myself to him.” (John 14:21)
The above verse is not referring to the second coming of our Lord Jesus nor is it referring to our initial acceptance of Christ. It is the fulfillment of the feast of Tabernacles and comes after Pentecost—after we receive the Holy Spirit. It is the coming of the Father and the Son to dwell in the saint.
“that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that you sent Me.
“And the glory which you gave Me I have given them [His body], that they may be one just as we are one:
“I in them, and you in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that you have sent Me, and have loved them as you have loved Me. (John 17:21-23)
The preceding passage describes the perfect reconciliation of the saints to God through Christ. It is the marriage of the Lamb.
The oneness with the Godhead occurs after the Christian becomes the Ark of the Covenant, so to speak. The Glory of God always comes to rest in a prepared place.
The coming of the Father and the Son to abide eternally in us is the capstone of salvation. It is the placing of the Mercy Seat on the Ark. This is the plan for the construction of the living Temple of God, the Temple of God being the Holy City, the new Jerusalem. There is no temple in the new Jerusalem because the entire city is the Tabernacle of God.
The Christian goes through the process of death to self, and resurrection, in the power of the Holy Spirit.
There must be a continual eating of the flesh and drinking of the blood of Christ.
There must be a transformation of moral character.
As soon as these three processes have been completed, or rather as they are being completed (for this is no simple one-two-three procedure, it is a complicated hammering out of one’s life on the anvil of human experience), the Godhead will indwell the Christian and absorb the Christian into the Divine Life. This is the meaning of such passages as the following:
“He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go out no more. And I will write on him the name of My God and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which comes down out of heaven from My God. And I will write on him My new name. (Revelation 3:12)
“To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne. (Revelation 3:21)
We have known and believed the love that God has to us. God is love; and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him. (I John 4:16).
There shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: They shall see his face [that which is perfect has come—I Corinthians 13:12]; and his name shall be in their foreheads [His name in their foreheads signifies they always do the will of God rather than their own will].
There shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever. (Revelation 22:3-5).
We have seen, then, that there are two elements in the Holy of Holies: the Ark of the Covenant, and the Mercy Seat. Yet, these two are one since the Mercy Seat fits on top of the Ark, providing the area where God can dwell between the Cherubim of Glory.
So it is that God in Christ in the Christian are joined together making one piece. Together they constitute the place of God’s Presence from which God can dwell and rule earth’s peoples in a successful manner—a manner that neither will permit His own perfect holiness and righteousness to be violated nor will terrify or destroy His subjects and neighbors.
(“The Old Testament House of the Lord: Ten”, 3964-1)