If you read Ezekiel 40-48 and have the Lord’s divine light shining in your reading, you will realize that we have to experience and enjoy Christ for the Body in a detailed and specific way, as shown in all the features and details of the holy building of God.
From the wall to all the features of the chambers, gates, carvings, furnishings, pavement, steps, etc, all these point to our experience and enjoyment of Christ both personally and corporately for the building up of the church, the Body of Christ.
However, if we don’t have the divine light and we don’t pay attention to the ministry of the age which opens up the word of God, we will not experience and enjoy Christ for the Body but we will gain a lot of knowledge, which may not really help us.
We have seen some of the details (and their spiritual application) of the wall, the gate, the entrance, the guardrooms, the palm trees on the posts, the chambers, the inner court, the stairs, the chamber for washing the burnt offering, and the altar, and today we want to see more concerning the holy building of God with its features.
In myself and by myself I don’t understand or know the application of all these features, but with the help of the ministry I can appreciate more, I can pray over these details, and I can open to the Lord to allow Him to work these features out.
We all need to ask the Lord that all the features and specifications of the holy building of God revealed in Ezekiel would become our experience in the spiritual realm for God to gain a building!
Going Higher in our Experience of Christ and doing Everything through the Cross and by the Spirit
The altar in the temple signifies the cross of Christ, and the temple itself signifies both Christ (who is the temple of God, see John 2:19-21) and the church, the Body of Christ (see 1 Cor. 3:16; Eph. 2:21). The central subject of the New Testament and of the entire Bible is Christ, the church, and the cross.
The fact that the altar stands in front of the temple indicates that we can’t have the church (the reality of the temple) apart from the cross. We can have the reality of the church only after we have passed through the cross.
This means that all that we do and say in our life and work should be not in ourselves or by ourselves but through the cross and by the Spirit, so that we may dispense Christ into others for the building up of the Body of Christ.
When we come together to fellowship or coordinate, our first order of business shouldn’t be to “get things done in a proper way”; what is foremost in our being is that we want to do everything through the cross and by the Spirit, so that we may dispense Christ to others for the building up of the Body of Christ.
An outstanding feature of the holy building of God was the elevation: the deeper you go into the temple, the higher you go on the steps. The elevation of the temple was ten steps higher than that of the inner court, and it was twenty-five steps higher than the elevation outside the temple (see Ezek. 40:49, 22, 31).
This means that, in our experience of God’s building, the further we proceed, the higher we rise. The further inward we proceed in our experience of God’s building, the higher we rise.
The pillars of the temple (two of them) had no measurement; this indicates that they signify a supporting strength that is unlimited and immeasurable.
These two pillars by each post signify Christ as God’s Witness (signified by the number two) bearing the house of God with a strength that is unlimited and immeasurable. Hallelujah, Christ gives the Spirit not by measure as He speaks the Word of God (John 3:34; Phil. 4:13)!
Another very interesting matter concerning God’s building as revealed to Ezekiel is the fact that, the deeper you go into God’s building, the narrower the gate becomes.
The entrance of the porch measured 14 cubits (Ezek. 40:48), the entrance of the outer temple (the Holy Place) was of 10 cubits, and the entrance into the inner temple (the Holy of Holies) was of six cubits (Ezek. 41:3).
This indicates that, as we progress further in our experience of God’s building, the way becomes narrower. The further inward we progress in our experience of God’s building, the narrower the way becomes.
The closer we are to the Lord, the more free we are in spirit, but at the same time, the more we are restricted by Him (see Matt. 7:13-14). The closer we are to the Lord, the more we want to enter through the narrow gate and not the wide one, and walk on the constricted path and not the broad one.
Lord Jesus, we want to have the experience of God’s building and advance in our experience and enjoyment of Christ for the building up of the church. May everything we do and say in our life and work be through the cross and by the Spirit to dispense Christ into others for the building up of the Body of Christ. Amen, Lord, may we advance in our experience and enjoyment of Christ so that we may rise higher and walk on the constricted way, entering through the narrow gate. Save us from being those who enter through the wide gate and walk on the broad way. May we be part of those who find the way that leads to life!
Enjoying the Humanity of Jesus in a Broader and More Progressive way for God’s Building
The thickness of the wall is related to number six (Ezek. 41:5), signifying the humanity of Jesus as the standing strength of God’s dwelling place. Similarly, in the tabernacle the boards of acacia wood standing upright signify the humanity of the Lord Jesus (Exo. 26:15).
As a proper human being, the Lord Jesus is the standing and supporting wall of God’s building. We need to enjoy the humanity of the Lord Jesus and experience it for God’s building.
The thirty chambers of expression (Ezek. 41:6) are based on the thirty chambers for enjoyment (40:17); we can express Christ only to the extent that we have enjoyed Him.
Our enjoyment of Christ becomes eventually the fullness, the expression of Christ; as we enjoy and experience Christ more by allowing Him to make His home in our heart, we become the fullness, the expression of Christ. We need to give ourselves to enjoy the Lord and eat His humanity so that we may express Him as His building.
The side chambers in the building of God become wider as they go up (Ezek. 41:7), indicating that, as we go higher with the Lord, we become broader and richer in our experience (see Eph. 3:18). The higher we go with the Lord, the more we progress in our experience of God’s building; the experience of God’s holy building is progressive.
All the parts of the building related to the temple were panelled with wood (see Ezek. 41:16); wood signifies the uplifted humanity of Jesus. In God’s building in Ezekiel, the primary material is wood, showing us that the primary material of God’s building is the crucified, resurrected, and ascended humanity of Jesus.
On all the wood panelling, cherubim and palm trees were carved (vv. 18-20); cherubim signify the glory of the Lord manifested upon the creatures (10:18; Heb. 9:5), and palm trees – which grow in the wilderness and are evergreen – signify the victory of Christ and the everlasting and ever-existing power of Christ.
What does this mean in our experience? The carving of the palm trees and the cherubim on the walls indicates that the victory of Christ (the palm trees) and the glory of the Lord (the cherubim) are being “carved” into our being through sufferings (see Col. 1:24).
Of course, we cannot experience the sufferings of redemption – only the Lord can do that; but we can fill up in our body what is lacking of the sufferings of Christ for the Body. We need to have the fellowship of Christ’s sufferings for the building up of His Body, which is the church.
In Ezek. 1 the cherubim had four faces (see Ezek. 1:6, 10), but in the carvings on the walls of the holy building of god they had only two faces – the face of a man and the face of a lion; this signifies and expresses victory in humanity (41:19).
The fact that between every cherubim there was a palm tree (v. 18) signifies that, as parts of God’s building, we manifest the victory of Christ in the manifestation of the glorious image of Christ (see 2 Cor. 2:14-16; 3:18).
The incense altar standing in the temple was made only of wood, signifying the humanity of Jesus (Ezek. 41:22). In the tabernacle and in the temple there were both the incense altar and the table of the bread of the Presence, but in Ezekiel the altar is also the table.
This means that the altar is for us to offer Christ as incense to God for His satisfaction, and the table for God to prepare Christ as food for our satisfaction.
The altar of wood was put in a place of wood panelling carved with cherubim and palm trees; this indicates that, if we are those who manifest the glory and victory of Christ, we will have the altar-table for God and us to have fellowship together in Christ.
Here, in our expressing God and experiencing the altar-table, God is satisfied by the incense we offer in Christ, and we are satisfied by the food supplied by God in Christ.
Lord Jesus, we want to eat Your humanity and experience it for the holy building of God. We want to enjoy You more today than we have ever enjoyed You in our entire life. We give ourselves to enjoy You, Your humanity, for God’s building. May we have a progressive experience of God’s building, and may all the features of God’s building revealed in Ezekiel become our experience in the church life today. Lord, we want to enjoy and experience Christ with His humanity for the building up of the church, the Body of Christ.
Dwelling Safely in the Church where we Live in Christ, Eat Christ, and Express Christ
The doors in the temple had the function of letting the priests go in and keep the negative people out; the function of the “doors” in the church (Ezek. 41:23) are to let the positive persons and things in and to keep the negative persons and things out (see Matt. 7:15; Acts 20:29).
The fact that each door had two swinging leaves (Ezek. 41:24) indicates that the doors in the church should be flexible. The Lord promises that all those in His recovery will dwell in peace and safety; they will safely dwell in the wilderness and securely sleep in the woods.
They will be safe in their land, dwell safely there, and none will make them afraid. Hallelujah, in the Lord’s recovery there’s no need to be afraid of anything. A proper local church as nothing to be afraid of; rather, when we meet with the saints, there should be a sense of safety under the Lord’s shepherding.
The fact that the palm trees carved on the walls next to the windows indicates that victory and everlasting power and strength always go together with spiritual air and divine light. This means that our victory and power are related to the life-giving Spirit – if we enjoy the life-giving Spirit, we will also enjoy Christ’s victory, power, and strength.
The holy chambers – located both on the north side and the south side – are buildings that connect the inner court with the outer court (Ezek. 42:1).
The chambers on the pavement in the outer court are for the people to eat the offerings, whereas the holy chambers are for the priest to eat the offerings and also to store the offerings and to lay their priestly garments (vv. 13-14).
The offerings signify Christ as our enjoyment, and the priestly garments signify Christ as our expression (see Exo. 28:2). The holy garments for Aaron are for glory and for beauty; Christ is our glory (His divine attributes are our glory) and our beauty (His human virtues are our beauty).
In the holy chambers we reach the highest peak of spiritual experience; to live in the holy chambers is to live in Christ (Phil. 4:13), to eat the offerings in the holy chambers is to eat Christ (John 6:57), and to wear the holy garments is to wear Christ for His expression (Rom. 13:14, 12).
Like the side chambers, the holy chambers are of three stories (Ezek. 42:3), indicating that they correspond to the fullness, the expression, of Christ (41:6). The priests enjoy Christ to such an extent that the height of their chambers equals the height of their fullness of Christ (see Eph. 3:16-19).
Thank You Lord for Your shepherding in the church life, which brings us into a feeling of rest, satisfaction, safety, and security. Hallelujah, in the church life we have no need to be afraid of anything, for we are all safe here under the Lord’s shepherding. Lord, we want to be clothed with You as our glory and beauty today; we want to have Your divine attributes expressed through our human virtues for the building up of the church as the Body of Christ. We want to live in Christ, eat Christ, and express Christ for God’s holy building.
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by Ed Marks for this week, and portions from, Life-study of Ezekiel, msgs. 22-23 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-study of Ezekiel (2), msg. 5 (week 17 in the HWMR), The Vision of the Holy Building of God in Its Outstanding Features.
- Hymns on this topic:
# By the cross discern the spirit, / ’Tis the holiest place divine; / There commune with God in spirit / And His presence will be thine. (Hymns #748)
# We must eat Jesus till God can / Have the fulfillment of His plan— / One man expressed for all to see, / One church in each locality. / We’ll masticate Jesus! / We’ll masticate Jesus! / Then to the tent of meeting bring / Jesus, our real meal offering. (Hymns #1146)
# Christ is our rest and enjoyment, / Here we have nothing to fear; / Here all the sheep dwell securely, / Kept by His presence so dear. (Hymns #1221)
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