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OTHER SIGNIFICANT TYPES
In the preceding description we have purposely omitted an explanation of some interesting details which can now be better understood by those who have, through careful study, obtained a clear understanding of the general plan of the Tabernacle, its services, and their typical signification.
THE POSTS which stood in the court and held up the white curtains, represent justified believers. They are in the „Court,” the proper place for such, as we have already seen. They are of wood, a corruptible material. This shows that they are not actually perfect as human beings; for since human perfection is represented by copper, those posts should either be made of copper, or covered with copper to represent actually perfect human beings. They were made of wood, but were set into sockets of copper, which teaches us that, though actually imperfect, their standing is that of perfect human beings. It would be impossible to more clearly represent Justification by faith.
THE WHITE CURTAIN, well illustrates the same justification or purity. These justified ones should continually hold up to the view of the world (the camp) the pure linen representing Christ’s righteousness, as their covering.
THE SILVER HOOKS by which the posts hold up the curtain, are symbolic of TRUTH; (Silver is a general symbol of truth.) they can really and truthfully claim that Christ’s righteousness covers all their imperfections. (Lev. 27:11-17.) and it is only by the aid of the TRUTH that they are able to hold to their justification.
The Posts at the entrance of the Tabernacle—at the „door” of the Holy—were covered by the first vail. They were totally different from the posts in the court, and represent the consecrated saints. The difference between these and the posts in the „Court” shows the difference between the justified and sanctified conditions. The consecration to death of a justified man, we have seen to be the way into the „Holy”—passing through, the death of the human will, the fleshly mind, the first vail. Hence these posts should illustrate this change; and so they do; they were covered with gold, symbol of the divine nature. Being set in sockets of copper, represents how „we have this treasure (divine nature) in earthen vessels” (2 Cor. 4:7)—i.e., our new nature is still based upon and rests in, our justified humanity. This, it will be remembered, corresponds exactly with what we found the „Holy” to symbolize, viz.: our place or standing as new creatures, not yet perfected. Exod. 26:37.
THE POSTS in the „Most Holy,” were just inside the second vail, and represent those who pass beyond the flesh (Vail) entirely, into the perfection of the spiritual condition. These posts were so constructed as to fully illustrate this—covered with gold, representing divine nature, but no longer set in sockets of brass—no longer dependent on any human condition; they were set in sockets of silver (reality and truth), which seems to say to us: When you come inside this vail you will be perfect—really and fully New Creatures. Exod. 26:32.
THE GOLDEN TABLE bearing the shew bread, represents the church as a whole, including Jesus and the Apostles—all „Holding forth the word of life.” (Phil. 2:16.) The great work of the true church during this age, is to feed and strengthen and enlighten all who enter the covenanted spiritual condition—The bride of Christ is to make herself ready. (Rev. 19:7.) The witnessing to the WORLD during the present age is quite secondary and incidental. The full BLESSING of the World will follow in God’s „DUE TIME.”
THE GOLDEN CANDLESTICK was all of one piece, hammered out; there was one central shaft with a lamp on top, and three branches on each side of it, each bearing a lamp, making seven lamps in all—a perfect or complete number. Does not this represent the complete Church from the Head, Jesus, to and including the last member of the „little flock,” He is taking out from among men, to be partakers of the divine (gold) nature? Jesus says, „The seven candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches.” Rev. 1:20. Yes, that candlestick represented the entire Church of the first-born. Not the nominal but the true Church is here meant however—the Royal Priesthood.
The form of workmanship was beautiful—a fruit and a flower, a fruit and a flower following successively, shows us that the true church [„whose names are written in heaven”] is both beautiful and fruitful from first to last. The lamp part on top of each branch was shaped like an almond, the significance of which we will see when considering Aaron’s rod.
The oil for this lamp was Olive oil—beaten or refined; and the lamps were kept lighted always. Oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. It was for the benefit of the priest class only, and represents the spirit or mind of God given to enlighten the church, in the deep things of God, which are entirely hidden from the natural man (1 Cor. 2:14), even though he be a believer—a justified man (a Levite). None were permitted to go, or even to see, into this deeper light, hidden in the „Holy,” but the true church, the consecrated ones—the Royal Priesthood. These always had access to the „Holy;” it was their right and privilege; it was intended for them. (Heb. 9:6.) The Levites could not see in, because of the vail of human-mindedness which came between them and the Sacred things; and the only way to set it aside was to consecrate and sacrifice wholly the human nature.
The lights were to be trimmed and replenished every morning and evening, by the High Priest—Aaron and his sons who succeeded him in office. (Exod. 27:20-21; and 30:8.) So our High Priest, is daily filling us more and more with the mind of Christ, and trimming off the dross of the old nature.
Are we sometimes puzzled to know why some who are in the church cannot see any but natural things—cannot discern the deeper spiritual truths of the Word? They can see Restitution for natural men, but cannot see our heavenly calling. These Tabernacle lessons show us why this is: They are brethren, of the household of faith, but Levites—in the Court; they never consecrated as priests, consequently cannot enter the „Holy,” nor see the things prepared for the priests only. The natural „eye hath not seen, nor ear heard—neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him. But God hath revealed them unto us who through consecration have become ‚partakers of the divine nature’ by His Spirit [light of the lamp], for the Spirit searcheth [Revealeth] all things—yea, the deep [hidden] things of God.” 1 Cor. 2:9,10.
The church nominal has always included both the justified and sanctified classes—Levites and Priests. In Paul’s letters certain parts were addressed to the justified class (Levites), who had not consecrated. Thus, after exhorting in Gal. 5, he winds up by assuring them, that the things he complains of, are evidences that they do not belong to the body of Christ, the Priesthood: for, he says, „They that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.” Verse 24.
In the same way he addresses the Romans (Ch. 12:1): „I beseech you therefore brethren [believers—justified by faith in Christ—Levites], by the mercies of God [manifest through Christ in our justification], that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice; [that you consecrate wholly—thus becoming Priests] holy, acceptable unto God.” Being justified freely by faith in Jesus, God reckons you as sinless or holy; and He has agreed to accept every such sacrifice—”With such sacrifice he is ever well pleased.” By so doing, you become Priests—members in particular of the High Priest’s body.
The succeeding verse tells them what will result from so consecrating—viz.; The transformation of their minds. Their wills being renewed, they will be priests—new creatures possessing the spirit of Christ. The fact that at this time they have not the spirit of sacrifice is an evidence that they were not members of Christ—for „if any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of His.” (Rom. 8:9) and it seems evident to us, that by far the larger proportion of the early churches (much more so of the modern worldly mixture, the confused „Babylon” of the present day) were not CONSECRATED, consequently not Priests, but merely Levites, doing the SERVICE of the Sanctuary, but not sacrificing.
Looking back at the type in the Law, we find that there were 8,580 Levites appointed in the shadowy SERVICE, while only five Priests were appointed for the shadowy SACRIFICING. (Num. 4:36,40,44,48; Ex. 28:1.) It may be that this, as much as the other features of that shadow, was designed to illustrate the proportion of justified believers to self-sacrificing, consecrated ones. Though now the nominal church numbers millions, yet when a fair allowance is made for hypocrites and one in every seventeen hundred of the balance supposed to be living sacrifices, (a correct proportion according to the type,) it seems quite evident that the Lord did not make a mis-statement when He said, that they who would receive the kingdom (the Royal Priesthood) would be a „little flock.” Luke 12:32.
The fact that we see believers who are trying to put away their sins, is not of itself evidence of their being Priests, for Levites, as well as Priests, should practice „CIRCUMCISION” of the heart—”putting away the filth (sins) of the flesh.” Nor is a spirit of meekness, gentleness, benevolence and morality, always a result of consecration to God. These qualities belong to a perfect natural man—(the image of God), and occasionally partially survive the wreck of the „Fall.” But such people when in the nominal church, not unfrequently pass for the cream of Christianity.
Nor yet, when we see believers practicing self-denial in some good work of political or moral reform, is that an evidence of consecration to God, though it is an evidence of consecration to a WORK. Consecration to God says, any work, any where; Lo, „I delight to do THY will, O, God”—THY will in THY way be done. CONSECRATION TO GOD, THEN, WILL INSURE A SEARCHING OF HIS REVEALED PLAN IN HIS WORD, that we
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may be able to spend and be spent, for Him and in His service according to His arranged plan.
Marvel not, then, that so few have ever seen the glorious beauties within the Tabernacle; only Priests can see them. The Levites may know of them only as they hear them described. They have never seen the hidden light and beauty; never eaten of the „bread of presence;” never offered the acceptable incense at the Golden Altar. No; for these, they must pass the Vail—in entire consecration to God in sacrifice during the Atonement Day.
THE GOLDEN ALTAR seems also to represent the entire (consecrated) church in the present sacrificing condition. From this altar ascends the sweet incense, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Here is offered to God the willing services of the Priests; their praises, their willing obedience; all things whatsoever they do, to the glory of God. Those who thus offer incense acceptable to God by Jesus Christ (1 Pet. 2:5), come very close to their Father—close up to the Vail; and if they have requests to make they may be presented with the incense „much Incense with the prayer of saints.” (Rev. 8:3.) The prayers of such Priests of God are effectual. Jesus kept the incense continually burning and could say, „I knew that thou hearest me always.” (John 11:42.) So we will be heard always, if we continually offer the incense of obedience to God: and none should expect to have requests recognized who do not thus keep their covenant—”If ye abide in me and my words [teachings] abide in you, ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you.”* John 15:7.
*The importance of a clear apprehension of Christ’s teachings as a guide to our requests and expectations; that we may not „ask amiss” and out of harmony with that teaching of God’s plan; is clearly shown by this Scripture—but seldom noticed.
We have learned through types previously considered, something of the glory of the „Most Holy” (the perfect, divine condition) which no man can approach unto (1 Tim. 6:16), but to which the „NEW creatures” in Christ Jesus—partakers of the Divine nature, will finally come, when the incense offering on the part of the BODY is finished and the cloud of perfume goes before us to Jehovah’s presence that we may live beyond the vail acceptable to God by Jesus Christ our Lord.
THE ARK. We would now endeavor to learn what God designed to symbolize by the „Ark of the Testimony,” the only article of furniture in the „Most Holy.” Its name suggests that it illustrates the embodiment of Jehovah’s plan, which he had purposed in himself, before even the head of the Christ had been created the beginning of the creation of God, or the minutest development of his plan taken place. It represented the purpose of God to develop a little flock, to be partakers of the Divine nature and to be imbued with power and great glory—the prize of our high-calling; the joy set before our Lord, and all the members of his body.
As before stated, it was a rectangular box overlaid with gold which represents the Divine nature. It contained the Law showing how the Christ should meet in full, all the requirements of God’s perfect Law, and also that legal authority should be vested in him as the Law executor.
The righteousness of the Law was actually fulfilled in our head, and it is also fulfilled actually in us as new creatures who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit; that is, who walk in obedience to the new mind. The infirmities of the old nature which we are daily crucifying, are not charged to us as new creatures.
When it is written that „the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us”—the end of our race—perfection—is reckoned to us, because we are walking toward, or after the spiritual perfection, which, when we reach the Ark condition in the „Most Holy” will be complete.
AARON’S ROD that budded, shows the elect character of all the body of Christ, as members of the royal priesthood. By reading Num. 17, the meaning of the budded rod will be seen to be Jehovah’s acceptance of Aaron and his sons—the head and underpriests—as the only ones who might perform the priest’s office of Mediator. That rod, therefore represented the acceptableness of the „Royal Priesthood”—the Christ, Head and Body. The rod budded and brought forth almonds. A peculiarity about the almond tree, is, that the fruit appears before the leaves; so with the „royal priesthood;” they sacrifice or bring forth fruit, before the leaves, or professions are made.
THE GOLDEN POT OF MANNA represents Immortality as being one of the possessions of the Christ of God. Jesus doubtless refers to this, when he says: „To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna.” (Rev. 2:17.) Manna was the bread which came down from heaven—a life sustainer; so God through Christ provides life for all Israel (the world) that they may live forever—continually eating of it; but he offers to those who become joint heirs, members of the Anointed Body, that they shall have a peculiar sort of manna, or life principal, the „hidden manna.” One peculiarity of this pot of manna was, that it was incorruptible; hence, it well illustrates the immortal and incorruptible condition promised to all members of the „Seed”—which is Christ. The manna fed to Israel was not incorruptible and must be gathered daily. So all except the „little flock” of Priests will be provided with life everlasting, but conditional, while the little flock who under present unfavorable conditions are faithful overcomers, will be given incorruptible life, Immortality. See „FOOD” page 134.
Here then in the golden Ark, is represented the glory to be revealed in the Divine Christ; in the budded rod, God’s chosen priesthood; in the tables of the Law, the righteous Judge; in the incorruptible manna in the golden bowl, Immortality in divinity.
Above this Ark, and constituting a lid, or head over it, was the Mercy Seat—a slab of solid gold, on the two ends of which, and of the same piece of metal, were formed two cherubim, with wings uplifted as if ready to fly—their faces looking inward toward the centre of the plate on which they stood. Here, between the cherubim on the Mercy Seat, a bright light, indicated Jehovah’s presence.
To our understanding that Mercy Seat, Glory-light, and Cherubim, together represented Jehovah God. As with the Christ, so with Jehovah, He is here represented by things which illustrate attributes of his character. The light reminds us of Paul’s words: (1 Tim. 6:16) God „only hath immortality, dwelling in light, which no man can approach unto.” Humanity cannot enter his presence; hence, the priesthood, head and body, represented by Aaron, must become new creatures, „partakers of the divine nature” (having crucified and buried the human) before they can appear before that excellent glory.
The slab of gold called the Mercy Seat, or more properly the Propitiatory, because on it the Priests offered the blood of the sacrifices which propitiated or satisfied God’s just demands, represents the underlying principle of Jehovah’s character—JUSTICE. His throne is established upon JUSTICE. „Judgment and justice are the habitation of thy throne.” Psa. 89:14; Rev. 15:3; Job 36:17 and 37:23; Isa. 56:1.
The TWO CHERUBIM represent two elements of our Father’s character as revealed in his Word, viz.: Love and Power. These attributes, Justice the foundation principle and Love, and Power of the same quality and lifted up out of it, are in perfect harmony with each other. They are all made of one piece; they are thoroughly one. Neither Love nor Power can be exercised until Justice is fully satisfied: Then they fly to help, to lift up and to bless. They were on the wing ready but waiting; looking inward toward the Mercy Seat, toward Justice, to know when to act.
See the High Priest as he approaches with the blood of the Atonement sacrifices. Will he put it upon the Cherubim? No, neither the Power nor the Love of God independently require the sacrifice; he need not, therefore, sprinkle the Cherubim. It is the Justice of God that will by no means clear the guilty—It was Justice that said: The wages of sin is death. When, therefore, the High Priest would give a ransom for sinners, it is to Justice that it must be paid. Hence the appropriateness of the ceremony of sprinkling the blood upon the Mercy Seat—upon the PROPITIATORY.
Love led to the whole redemptive plan. It was because God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten Son to redeem it, by paying to Justice the ransom. So Love has been active, preparing for the redemption ever since sin entered—yes „from before the foundation of the world.” 1 Pet. 1:20.
„Love first contrived the way
To save rebellious man.”
When the Atonement Day sacrifices (bullock and goat) are complete, Love tarries to see the results of its plan. As the blood is sprinkled, JUSTICE cries, it is enough. It is finished. Then comes the moment when Love and Power may act and swift they wing their flight to bless the ransomed race. When Justice is satisfied, Power starts upon his errand which is co-extensive with that of Love, using the same agency—Christ.
The relationship and oneness of that divine family the Son and Bride, represented by the Ark in harmony and oneness with the Father represented by the Cover, is shown in the fact that the Mercy Seat was the lid of the Ark, and hence a part—the top or head of it. As the head of the Church is Christ Jesus, so the head of the entire Christ is God. (1 Cor. 11:3.) This is the oneness for which Jesus prayed, saying: Father „I pray not for the world, but for those thou hast given me”—”that they all may be one; as thou Father art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us—that the world may [then] believe.” John 17:9,21.
It is significant also, that any member of the priesthood that had a blemish of eye, hand, nose, foot, or in any way, could not fill the office of Priest [High Priest]; neither any man having any superfluity, such as an extra finger, or toe. This seems to teach us of the perfection of every member of that body—they are all „overcomers:” and furthermore, it shows that when the body of Christ is complete, there will be no additions permitted—no superfluity. If then, we are called, if we here heard the invitation to become members in particular of his Body, and have accepted it, let us seek to make our calling and election (as members of that „little flock”) sure, by so running as to obtain the prize. If we miss the prize some one else will win in our place, for the body will be complete; not one member lacking, not one superfluous. Take heed „that no man take thy crown.” Rev. 3:11.
It has been a matter of surprise to some that the glories and beauty of the Tabernacle—its golden walls, its golden and beautifully engraved furniture, and vails of curious work were so completely covered and hidden from view of the people; no sunlight from without even, to illuminate its glorious beauty. But this is all in keeping with the lessons we have received from its services. As God covered the type and hid its beauty under curtains and rough unsightly skins so the glories and beauties of spiritual things are seen only when within, by those who enter—the Royal Priesthood. These, too, enter a hidden glory which the world and all outside fail to appreciate. Their glory and also their standing as new creatures are hidden from their fellowmen.
„Ah, these are of a royal line,
All children of a King,
Heirs of immortal crowns divine,
And lo, for joy they sing!
„Why do they, then, appear so mean?
And why so much despised?
Because of their rich robes unseen
The world is not apprised.”
— July and August, 1885 —