The oneness the Lord Jesus prayed for in John 17 is seen in picture in the tabernacle in Exo. 26 in three main steps: the three gold rings on the standing boards, the gold overlaying the boards, and the uniting bars that joined all the boards.
The Lord prayed that we all may be one even as the Father is in the Son and the Son is in the Father, so that we all may be in Them (John 17:21-23); this is the oneness of the Triune God which is being enlarged to become the oneness of the Body of Christ, and this oneness is in the Triune God Himself.
As believers in Christ we are the many members of the Body of Christ, and as seen in the picture of the tabernacle, we are the many standing boards which have three characteristics: they each have three rings attached to them, they each are overlaid with a thick layer of gold, and each of them have three bars joining them with the other boards.
First of all, at the time of our regeneration we have receive the Spirit, the initial Spirit, which is typified by the gold rings; we all have the Spirit and we simply need to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace (Eph. 4:1).
Furthermore, we need to be overlaid with a thick layer of gold, that is, we need to be overlaid with God as gold; our oneness is not in the “acacia wood”, that is, in our humanity, but in the “gold”, that is, in the Triune God.
Oneness is not something superficial or outward; oneness is a matter of us sinking deeply into the Triune God until we are fully overlaid with Him as gold. However, our problem is that we are short of God, and our need is to gain more of Him; therefore, in the Lord’s recovery today God is overlaying us with Himself for the producing and keeping of the oneness of the Body of Christ.
We need more gold: we need to pay the price to gain more of God, experience more God, and obtain more of Him, until we are fully overlaid with Him and there would be no dissension or division, but we would be fully one with the Lord and with the saints in the Body of Christ.
Besides these two main things – having the initial Spirit which we need to keep for the oneness, and being overlaid with God as gold for the oneness, we also need to have the uniting bars, the initial Spirit becoming the uniting Spirit.
The Initial Spirit is the Uniting Spirit to Join all the Members of Christ into One Body
What do these uniting bars signify in our Christian experience? The fact that they were made of acacia wood overlaid with gold and they passed through the three rings signifies the initial Spirit (which we received at the time of our regeneration) becoming the uniting Spirit to join all the members of Christ into one Body (Exo. 26:26-29; Eph. 4:3).
The uniting bars were made of acacia wood for connecting strength and overlaid with gold for uniting; the fact that the bars were made of acacia wood indicates that the oneness of the Spirit involves not only Christ’s divinity (gold) but also His humanity (acacia wood).
We need to be those who have all lowliness, meekness, long-suffering, bearing one another in love; such characteristics are not found in our natural humanity but are all found in the Lord’s humanity, which is being infused in us as we spend time with Him and are being transformed into His image.
In actuality, the uniting bars signify not the Holy Spirit alone but the Holy Spirit mingled with our human spirit (Rom. 8:16), that is, the mingled spirit, which includes both divinity and humanity.
There were five bars for the boards on each side of the tabernacle (Exo. 26:26-27), the middle bar stretching from end to end and being twice as long as the other bars. Hence, the five bars formed three lines, indicating that there were three rings on each board to serve as holders for the bars. The uniting of the boards of the tabernacle involved the passing of the bars through the rings on each board to join the boards together. This signifies that the believers in Christ are united when their spirit cooperates with the Spirit, thus allowing the uniting Spirit to pass through them to join them to other believers. (Exo. 26:28, footnote 1, Recovery Version Bible)
On the one hand, we as members of the Body of Christ are boards standing in the redemption of Christ (typified by the silver base of the boards), and on the other hand, we are united and crossed by the uniting Spirit, which is a mingled spirit – the divine Spirit mingled with our human spirit.
Praise the Lord, He has become the Spirit mingled with our spirit, the uniting spirit, to join us all into one Body, the Body of Christ, the expression of oneness on earth! We stand upright, but we are also crossed by the uniting Spirit who makes us one in the Body of Christ.
We need to not only realize that we have the Spirit with our spirit, and we need to not only enjoy the Lord and seek to be overlaid with Him as gold, but we need to allow the uniting Spirit to pass through us and join us to the saints for the building up of the Body of Christ and the expression of the oneness!
Thank You Lord for becoming the uniting Spirit who joins us to other believers into one Body, the Body of Christ! Hallelujah for our mingled spirit in which we have the Divine Spirit with the Lord’s humanity and His divinity! May this Spirit pass through us and join us to the saints for the proper expression of the oneness, the Body of Christ. Lord, we stand firm in Your redemption, we seek to be overlaid with God as gold, and we allow You as the uniting Spirit to pass through us and join us together in the Body for God’s corporate expression!
Allowing the Uniting Spirit to Cross us and Join us to other Believers in the Body
In order for the uniting Spirit to pass through us and join us with others, we need to cooperate with the Lord, that is, we need to allow the uniting Spirit to pass through us and join us to other believers in the Body of Christ.
This means that we need to receive the cross, for the uniting Spirit always crosses the standing boards. The Spirit always brings us to the cross, and the result of the operation of the cross is that we receive more abundance of the Spirit.
The Spirit was continually leading the Lord JEsus to live a crucified life in spirit before He went to the cross while He lived on earth, until He was led to the physical cross.
The more we are crucified with Christ and live a crucified life, the more Christ will live in us (Gal. 2:20; Matt. 16:24). If we follow the Lord to die, the Lord as life and as Spirit will have a multiplication.
We are joined into one by our spirit with our mind, will, and emotion, cooperating with the crossing Spirit; whenever our spirit is one with the crossing Spirit, we experience the uniting Spirit. Just as the joining bars crossed all the boards, so the joining Spirit crosses us in order to join us with others in spirit for the building of God.
When our spirit agrees with the crossing Spirit, we have the uniting bar joining us with the saints in the Body.
The cross of Christ has accomplished many marvelous matters such as putting away sin, destroying the devil, crucifying the world, crucifying us, crucifying our old man, and abolishing all the ordinances of the law. Whenever we experience the crossing Spirit by allowing the Lord to cross us out, we experience all these aspects of the cross.
The initial Spirit needs to be come the uniting Spirit in us; then, we will have the oneness and the building, and we will be safeguarded from dissension and division.
We need to realize that we have to allow the Lord to spread in us as oneness and bring us together with other saints for the building up of the church, and we need to allow Him to transform us and join us with others in the Body through the dealing of the cross.
We shouldn’t hate or avoid the cross; we should simply exercise our spirit and cooperate with the crossing Spirit, allowing Him to cross us out and join us with the saints in the Body of Christ.
We need to lift up our eyes from looking at ourselves in introspection, and simply look away unto the Lord, the One who is in resurrection leaping over every problem and skipping over every difficulty – such a One calls us to Himself to experience Him as the crucified and resurrected One.
When we get out of our introspective self and touch Him as the ascended One, we are transported into Himself as the clefts of the rock and the covert of the precipice, and He delights in us as we enjoy Him (see Song of Songs 2:8-14; Phil. 3:10). Amen!
Everything that we do and say in the church life and our Christian life must be through the cross and by the Spirit to dispense Christ into others for the building up of the Body of Christ.
When we exercise our spirit in everything and allow the Lord to pass through us and join us with the saints into His Body, we will be built up in oneness and the Lord will be corporately expressed through us.
Lord Jesus, may our spirit cooperate with the Spirit by allowing the uniting Spirit to pass through us and join us to other believers in oneness in the Body of Christ. Lord, we are willing to be joined together by You with other saints. Give us the experiences we need in order for us to receive the cross and be united by the Spirit with the other saints into Your Body for Your building. We want to cooperate with You with our spirit, our mind, our will, and our emotion, so that we would be conformed to Christ’s death through the power of His resurrection and do everything through the cross and by the Spirit for the dispensing of Christ into others for the building up of the Body of Christ.
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Ed M. for this week, and Truth Messages, ch. 11 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Exodus (part 4, 2016 Summer Training), week 42 / msg. 6, The Oneness in the Triune God Typified by the Tabernacle.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Jesus is getting us together, / Come and see the saints in one accord. / His love is knitting us together, / To the stature of the fullness of the Lord. (Hymns #1232)
# Build me, Lord, with other saints, / Independence ne’er allow, / But according to Thy plan / Fitly frame and join me now. (Hymns #839)
# By the cross discern the spirit, / Put the soul to death alway; / Bear the cross, deny the self-life, / Walk in spirit day by day. (Hymns #748)
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