When we look at how the boards and the uniting bars were made, put together, and functioning, we realize that in the Body of Christ we must be joined with others by the Holy Spirit and in the Holy Spirit with the holding power of the divine nature.
First of all, these boards were quite tall and wide, and so most likely they were also thick; however, they were one not by being “nailed together” but by being overlaid with a thick layer of gold and by being joined by the crossing bars.
Each board had three gold rings: one at the top, one in the middle, and one at the bottom, and there were three bars crossing them to join them and fit them together.
Each board was set in two tenons of silver and two sockets of silver, which signify the solid and firm foundation of the redemption of Christ. Our standing today is in the firm and unshakable foundation of the redemption of Christ.
We as the members of the Body of Christ are typified by the boards in the tabernacle; we are being transformed in our human nature to have the high, strong, and uplifted humanity of Jesus (typified by the acacia wood), and we are being mingled with God (we are overlaid with gold).
Furthermore, we are not a whole – the size of each board was one and a half cubits, meaning that they needed another board to complete it. Every believer as a half unit needs to be matched by another to form a complete unit for the building up of God’s dwelling place.
We need to be willing to be matched with other saints in the Body of Christ for God’s building. In ourselves we are not complete, and no matter how much we know the Bible and experience the Lord, we need other saints to match us and complete us for the Body of Christ.
In order for the tabernacle to stand and bear God’s testimony, there was a lot of joining together; first the boards were joined by the gold that overlaid them, and second they were joined by the crossing bars.
Today we want to see more concerning how we need to be joined by the Holy Spirit and in the Holy Spirit with the saints, with the holding power of the divine nature.
Being Joined with others by and in the Holy Spirit with the Holding Power of the Divine Nature
We see this in type in the way the boards are joined in the tabernacle: each board was made of acacia wood overlaid with gold, and each board had three gold rings attached to it, through which there were three bars crossing them. All the boards were joined together within the gold that overlaid them, and they were held together by the bars made of acacia wood overlaid with gold.
How can we as believers in Christ be one? It is only in the divine nature that overlays us; when we are mingled with God and partake of His divine nature, we become one, and such a oneness is strong, holding us together.
We can be one only in the divine nature and divine life of Christ. All the boards of the tabernacle were joined together within the gold and by the golden bars (see Exo. 26:15-30); as members of the Body of Christ, we are held together and kept in the oneness in the divine nature and divine life of Christ.
The bars were made of acacia wood for connecting strength and overlaid with gold for uniting. They signify the initial Spirit…becoming the uniting Spirit to join all the members of Christ into one Body (Eph. 4:3-4). The boards stand in silver, signifying Christ’s redemptive work, and they are united by gold, signifying Christ’s divine person. That the bars were made of acacia wood indicates that the oneness of the Spirit involves not only Christ’s divinity but also His humanity (Eph. 4:2 and footnote). In actuality, the uniting bars signify not the Holy Spirit alone, but the Holy Spirit mingled with our human spirit (Rom. 8:16)—the mingled spirit, which includes both divinity and humanity. (Exo. 26:26, footnote 1, Recovery Version Bible)
We all have received the Spirit at the time of our regeneration, and throughout our Christian life we learn to enjoy fellowship in spirit, walk according to the Spirit, and allow the Spirit to anoint us, lead us, and mingle Himself with us.
The initial Spirit we have received is becoming the joining and uniting Spirit to join us all as members of the Body into one Body. This Spirit is not merely the Spirit of God with divinity but, as typified by the bars made of acacia wood overlaid with gold, this Spirit contains humanity, for it is the mingled spirit – the Holy Spirit mingled with our human spirit, including divinity and humanity.
Also, since there were three bars (one at the top, one in the middle, and one at the bottom), this Spirit is the Spirit of the Triune God bringing us God, man, humanity, divinity, the perfect human living, the uplifted humanity of Jesus, Christ’s death and its effectiveness, and the resurrection of Christ.
Whenever we exercise our spirit, touch the Lord as the Spirit, and allow the Spirit to mingle Himself with us and even cross us out, we are being joined with other saints in spirit into God’s building, and our oneness is in the holding power of the divine nature of Christ.
We are joined to others not merely by meeting with them week after week but by and in the Holy Spirit; the Spirit joins us, and in the Spirit we are joined.
How can the church with so many believers – thousands and even millions of believers – be joined together and be built up together? Only the holding power of the divine nature and divine life of Christ can do it, and our being joined together is by the Spirit of the Triune God.
Lord Jesus, join us together with the saints in and by the Holy Spirit so that we may be joined and knit together for the building up of Your dwelling place. Show us, Lord, that our oneness is not in our humanity or in our character but in the divine life and nature that keeps us and holds us together. Keep us walking according to the divine nature, and may Your promises be our daily food, so that we may be held into oneness in the Body of Christ. Hallelujah, we are one by eating Jesus and by letting the Spirit pass through us to join us with the other saints!
The Spirit takes the Full Responsibility for God’s Building by Mingling Himself with us
The tabernacle had three sides, and on each side there were five bars joining the standing boards; there were four smaller bars joining at the top and the bottom, and a long bar crossing from one end to the other.
Five is the number of responsibility; this shows us that the Spirit of the Triune God (three times five) takes full responsibility for God’s building by mingling His divine nature with our human nature.
There were at least two functions of these five bars, the first of which was to join the boards together. There were no nails in the tabernacle: only the gold and the bars were joining the boards together and fitting them tightly.
There has to be the real joining work of the Spirit for us to be joined together into a standing wall to support God’s testimony, otherwise we are merely boards here and there.
The Spirit Himself operates in us both the willing and the working according to God’s good pleasure (Phil. 2:13); He takes full responsibility for God’s building, joining us together by mingling Himself with us more and more.
In the church life we need to allow the Spirit to operate in our being both to mingle Himself with us and to cross us out, so that we may become a “wall” keeping out the foreign elements and providing an inner condition for man to contact God in the church.
The second function of the bars was to stabilize the boards from the wind. It is good to have a solid foundation, but if we are not stabilized, the wind can bring us down. The bars made the building of God steady, sturdy, and strong against any kind of movement.
How can the church be built up with so many thousands of believers and against so many winds of teaching from within and attacks of the enemy without? It is only in and by the Spirit, and in the divine nature with the divine life of Christ.
We as members of the Body are being joined together and kept in the oneness not because of our good humanity or strong human character but because the Spirit mingles Himself with us and crosses us out to produce the practical oneness for which the Lord prayed in John 17:21-23.
The regenerating Spirit (John 3:6) is now the joining Spirit to join us in resurrection with other believers. On the one hand it is God as the Spirit who does everything, but on the other hand we as members of the Body need to be in the process of being mingled with God and allowing Him to cross us out to join us with others in the Body of Christ.
May we be those who realize that our oneness as believers in Christ is in the mingling of God with man, and that it is the Spirit who takes the full responsibility for God’s building by mingling Himself with us to join us together in the church.
Thank You Lord for taking the full responsibility for God’s building by mingling Yourself with us more and more for the building up of the church. Lord, we open to You today: mingle Yourself more with us through all the things and situations we’re in and go through. Amen, Lord, mingle Your divine nature with our human nature more today. Overlay us with gold, and keep us in the mingling process, until we are fully mingled with God and thus we’re built together as the church, the dwelling place of God.
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Minoru C. for this week, and Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1963, vol. 1, “Spiritual Applications of the Tabernacle,” p. 120, as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Exodus (part 4, 2016 Summer Training), msg. 10 (week 46 in the HWMR), The Eightfold Significance of the Tabernacle.
- Hymns on this topic:
# In my knowledge and experience / I would not exalted be, / But submitting and accepting / Let the Body balance me; / Holding fast the Head, and growing / With His increase, in His way, / By the joints and bands supplying, / Knit together day by day. (Hymns #840)
# ’Tis by serving in the Body / Riches of the Head we share; / ’Tis by functioning as members / Christ’s full measure we will bear. / To the Head fast holding ever, / That we may together grow, / From the Head supplies incoming / Thru us to the Body flow. (Hymns #913)
# We, the Church, His Body, / He, the Head, the Son; / By the Spirit’s flowing, / We are joined in one. (Hymns #854)