It is very enlightening to look at the pattern of the tabernacle in Exodus and apply it to our Christian experience today; two of the principles we see with the boards of the tabernacle is that we as members of the Body need to be completed for the building up of the church (just as each board was 1.5 cubits wide), and there’s a need for reinforcing when a turn is made in the Lord’s move (just as the boards at the corner were doubled down).
We have seen that the foundation and basis in our Christian life is nothing else but the redemption of Christ, and this foundation is solid, weighty, and firm, holding us strong to stand for God’s testimony. We stand not on our merits or good deeds; we stand on the redemption of Christ which is perfect, complete, and weighty.
Furthermore, we need to see and experience the manifestation of the divine nature, that is, when we meet what we should express is only Christ Himself! The way to express Christ is by being more mingled with God every day and by being transformed in our human nature.
The natural man is not qualified to be overlaid with God as gold; we need to enjoy, eat, and experience the humanity of Jesus, the perfect and uplifted humanity of the first God-man, so that our humanity would become proper for God’s building.
The standing strength in the Christian life and church life is the transformed human nature and strong character, the expression of the Lord’s humanity and character in us. God needs to have many believers who have a transformed humanity to “hold Him up”, that is, bear His testimony on earth.
Just as each board was fitted into two tenons and held in the sockets, so we as believers in Christ need to be held firm and strong by our complete faith in Christ’s redemption and by being checked, tested, and confirmed by others so that we may be balanced in the Body.
In His sovereignty God has placed certain members of the Body of Christ around us, and we need to seek to be built up with them so that we may be balanced; being in fellowship with the saints checks us, tests us, and confirms us, causing us to be a balanced standing board in the tabernacle.
We need to be Completed by being Matched with other Saints for God’s building
It is very interesting to see that the width of each of the boards of the tabernacle was one and a half cubits (Exo. 36:21), indicating a half measurement of three cubits; three is the complete number, and one and a half is the half.
This signifies that every believer in Christ as a half unit needs to be matched by another to form a complete unit of three cubits for the building of God’s dwelling place.
When Christ sent His disciples out to preach the gospel, He sent them two by two; similarly, when the apostles preached the gospel they went two by two (Paul and Barnabas, Paul and Silas, etc).
At most we each are a half; by nature God created us to need another half, and this is the reason we get married – we need a wife (if we are a man) or a husband (if we are a woman). Adam was created by God complete: male and female He created them (Gen. 5:2). A man is not complete unless he is married to his wife, and a woman is not complete unless she is married to her husband.
In the church life we are not complete unless we are matched with another brother or sister for the building up of the church as the Body of Christ. We must never be individuals, seeking the Lord individually and doing things for the Lord individually; we should always seek to be matched with other saints, being built up with them, so that we may be completed for the building up of the church.
We can never be individuals in the Body of Christ – we need to be matched, coupled, together with the saints for the building up of the church. Always remember: never do things individually in the church life; at best you are a half, and you need another saint to complete you.
For example, it is clear to us all that Paul wrote the epistle to the Corinthians, but when he introduced himself he said, “Paul, a called apostle of Christ Jesus through the will of God, and Sosthenes the brother” (1 Cor. 1:1), showing us that he was matched with this brother called Sosthenes who must have gone out with him for the ministry.
In his gospel trips and in his writing the Epistles to the churches, Paul did everything in the principle of the Body.
Also, Eccl. 4:9-10 says, Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their labor; For if they fall, the one will lift up his companion. But woe to the one who falls and does not have another to lift him up!
We need to be matched with the saints so that, if we fall, they will lift us up, and if they fall, we lift them up; we “warm one another up” by exercising our spirit together, we have a good reward for our labor, we are matched in the Body, and we are being completed together for the building up of the church.
Lord Jesus, save us from living or doing things individualistically in the church life. Cause us to realize our need to be completed by being matched with other saints for God’s building. Lord, complete us with other members in the Body, with other brothers and sisters, for the building up of the church! May we have companions in the church life to pursue You together, pray together, preach the gospel together, and labor for the Lord together. Keep us in the principle of the Body, in fellowship and coordination in vital groups!
When the Lord makes a Turn in His Move there’s the need for Doubling, Strengthening, and Reinforcing
At the rear of the tabernacle, at the corners, the boards were doubled, and at their top they were joined to a single ring (see Exo. 26:24). If you think about it, it makes sense that the corner of the tabernacle would be strengthened, but if you try to imagine how this would work out, it is difficult to determine where to put the top ring, how does it fit with the other rings, and how does the joining bar cross them.
On the one hand we understand that there’s a reinforcing at the corner, but on the other hand we don’t fully understand how this works. I was very much helped by brother Lee’s writing on this matter,
The spiritual significance of these boards being doubled [is as follows]. The corner is a place of turning. Whenever there is a turn in the Lord’s move, there is the need for doubling, strengthening, reinforcing. For example, the church life spread from Jerusalem to Antioch. Antioch was a corner, a place of turning toward the Gentile world. If you study Acts 13, you will see that an important turn took place at Antioch. However, just as we cannot have a thorough understanding of the corner boards of the tabernacle, so we cannot have a complete understanding of the turn which took place at Antioch. Likewise, we do not have a full understanding of the turns the Lord has made in His recovery. (Witness Lee, Life-Study of Exodus, msg. 97)
Before Acts 13, the Lord’s move was mainly among the Jewish people, but from acts 13 the Lord changed the direction toward Europe. While the brothers were ministering to the Lord, the Holy Spirit chose and sent Paul and Barnabas (matched together for the Lord’s move) to do the work He gave them to do.
This was the Lord’s move, and there was a reinforcing, a strengthening, even a doubling; from then on, the Lord richly blessed what these two were doing and where they were going, and He raised up churches as they preached the gospel of the kingdom.
Whenever the Lord moves, He provides the doubling and strengthening, and at the same time as we cooperate with Him, there’s a rich blessing and supply – and yet we don’t fully understand how this all works out.
All we know is that we are willing to be matched and coupled with other members of the Body for the Lord’s move, and He blesses what we are sent to do.
When the Lord moved in His recovery from mainland China to Taiwan in 1949, many cooperated with the Lord and He had a fresh beginning in Taiwan with brother Lee; he himself testified that, even though he was right there in this move, he couldn’t figure out this turn completely.
Furthermore, in the 1970’s the Lord moved from Taiwan to the USA, and many participated in His move; later in 1990 many cooperated with the Lord in His move to Russia, then to Eastern Europe, and then to Western Europe, and the Lord richly blessed their going.
These days the Lord has a strong move toward Western Europe and especially toward Germany to preach the gospel, save, shepherd, and edify these seeking migrants from the Arab-speaking countries.
Those who have participated in the Lord’s move experienced His blessing, and though they don’t fully understand how it works out, they just enjoy being coupled with the saints, doubled in portion, and reinforced in the Body. Hallelujah, praise the Lord for His move!
Lord, we praise You for Your move. Strengthen and supply the saints cooperating with You to go in the Body in fellowship to preach the gospel, feed the new believers, shepherd the seekers, and perfect them to be functioning members in the Body. We want to be one with You in Your move, being ready to be joined to others in the Body, remain in fellowship, move in coordination, and enjoy the reinforcing, doubling, and strengthening from You. Lord, bless Your move and bless all those who are participating in the turns in Your move!
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 Life-study of Exodus, msg. 97 (by Witness Lee), 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:
# I’m thankful that God has placed me / With you to build up His Body. / Christ in you is the hope for me! / You also need Christ lived in me. / I live, if you stand firm in the Lord. / You live, if I stand firm in the Lord. / My going on is for you, / Your going on is for me, / Not sep’rate entities, / I need you saints desp’rately! (Song on being built up)
# Build me, Lord, with other saints, / Independence ne’er allow, / But according to Thy plan / Fitly frame and join me now. / In experience not my boast, / Nor in gifts would be my pride; / For Thy building I give all, / That Thou may be glorified. (Hymns #839)
# O Lord, grant us the strength to say, / Our will is Yours in every way; / You’d move through us to all the earth, / To show the nations Your unbounded, / Everlasting worth. (Song on the Lord’s move)
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