Psalm 84 is a wonderful and mysterious psalm speaking of the psalmist’s appreciation and longing for the house of God; the two altars are mentioned in particular, as they refer to the leading consummations of the work of the incarnated Triune God for us to be incorporated into God.
The psalmist loves the lovely tabernacles of God (typifying the local churches), and his soul longed for and even fainted for the courts of Jehovah. At the two altars in the tabernacle even the sparrow found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself. Blessed are those who dwell in the house of God – they will be praising God (see Psa. 84:1-4)!
In this chapter we see a secret revelation concerning the enjoyment of Christ, who, as the incarnated Triune God, is the reality of all the furnishings in the tabernacle for our experience and enjoyment. Christ is the fulfillment of the type of the tabernacle, and He has been enlarged to include us, the believers in Christ, into the enlarged temple of God, the church as the Body of Christ.
It is very sweet to see how the psalmist likens himself to a sparrow who finds a home and the swallow who finds a nest for herself at the two altars of God. These two altars are the bronze altar for sacrifices and the golden altar of incense, both of which signify Christ in His accomplishments.
In His death on the cross Christ terminated all the negative things, and His cross has become a hiding place, a refuge for all those who believe into Him; we as the sparrows frightened by many things find our home at the cross of Christ.
Through His resurrection and ascension Christ has become the incense that satisfies God, and we can offer Christ to God for our acceptance to Him; we are like a swallow who makes a nest and lays her young at the altars of God.
Every day we need to start at the altar of burnt offering, opening to the Lord and emptying ourselves before Him, confessing our sins, and allowing His blood to cleanse us and His cross to overshadow us.
Then, we can go further and deeper into the tabernacle to experience Christ at the golden altar of incense, offering Him to God for His acceptance and satisfaction. In this way we are incorporated into the tabernacle – we are incorporated into the Triune God to be fully one with Him.
The Two Altars are the Leading Consummations of the Work of the Incarnated Triune God
We can see the Triune God in the Old Testament (see Gen. 1:1, 26; Isa. 6:1-3, 8), but we cannot see the incarnated Triune God there; it is only in the New Testament with the coming of the Lord Jesus that we can see the Triune God being incarnated into man.
The Triune God came into man to make Himself one with man; Jesus Christ was a human and divine person – He was a God-man (Matt. 1:20-23).
He lived and walked on earth in a divine-human way for 33.5 years, and then He died on the cross an all-inclusive, vicarious death on the cross; His death solved all the problems in the universe and all the problems between God and man. Christ’s death on the cross is a great accomplishment, a leading consummation, and it is signified by the first altar, the altar for burnt offering.
After He died, Christ entered into resurrection; in His resurrection He was begotten by God to be the firstborn Son of God (Acts 13:33; Rom. 1:3-4; 8:29).
He was the only begotten Son of God from eternity (John 1:18; 3:16), but through incarnation He put on the human nature and in His resurrection His human nature was glorified and uplifted to become the Son of God; now the firstborn Son of God has both the divine and human nature!
Also, in His resurrection Christ became the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45); He was the Spirit of God already, but He didn’t have the capacity to impart life to man since He didn’t have the element of humanity, so now in resurrection He became a life-giving Spirit.
After His resurrection, Christ ascended to the Father in the heavens; in His ascension there was another altar established: the golden altar of incense for God to accept what Christ has done and now He brings to Him. Christ became the acceptable One to God, the incense which can be offered on the incense altar for our acceptance before God and for His satisfaction.
The two altars in Psa. 84 speak of the leading consummations of the work of the incarnated God: in His crucifixion He became the bronze altar to shed His blood and solve all our problems, and in His ascension He became the reality of the incense altar to be our acceptance before God so that we may enter into the full enjoyment and experience of God in the deepest way in the Holy of Holies.
How we praise the Lord for these two leading consummations, the fulfillment of the two altars in the tabernacle, which give us a way to be at peace with God and experience the incarnated God as the reality of the tabernacle!
Lord Jesus, thank You for dying on the cross for us to solve all our problems before God and thus become the reality of the bronze altar for offerings. Praise the Lord that, based on Christ’s sacrifice we can now come forward to God and enter into God to enjoy God and experience God! Thank You Lord for Your ascension in which You became the incense for us to be accepted by God in peace. Now we can come forward to God in the Holy of Holies and offer Christ as the incense to be accepted by God and for Him to be satisfied! Praise the Lord for His leading consummations!
Experiencing Christ at the Two Altars to be Incorporated into God as seen in Psa. 84
The God who lives in the tabernacle has come out to us in the outer court at the altar of burnt offerings to solve all the problems and give us a way to enter into the tabernacle and enjoy Him.
Our problems before God are solved through the crucified Christ as the sacrifices, and we are now qualified to enter into the tabernacle, a type of Christ as the incarnated and enterable Triune God, and to contact God at the incense altar.
When we apply the blood of Christ and hide in His cross, we are qualified to enter into God; our God is now enterable and experiential, and He desires for us to enter into Him. God came out of the tabernacle to meet us in the crucified Christ who solved all our problems, and now He is beckoning us to come forward into Him and enter into Him.
He has come into us, in our spirit, and He has made our spirit the practical Holy of Holies today; through experiencing Christ as the crucified One, we can enter into our spirit and experience Christ as the incense and as the reality of the ark of the testimony.
At the golden altar of incense in front of the Holy of Holies (Heb. 9:4), the resurrected Christ in His ascension is the incense for us to be accepted by God in peace; through our prayer at the incense altar, we enter into the Holy of Holies—our spirit (10:19)—where we experience Christ as the Ark of the Testimony with its contents.
These altars are to bring us into God to enjoy Him in the Holy of Holies, where the ark is; within the ark there’s the golden pot with the hidden manna, the budding rod, and the tablets of the testimony. When we partake of Christ as the hidden manna in the golden pot in the ark in the Holy of Holies in the tabernacle, we are experiencing being incorporated into God.
Incorporation is two persons in each other; it is higher than union (two lives are united) and mingling (two natures are mingled together). The Father, Son, and Spirit are an incorporation; they are three yet one, and they are not only one in life and nature but also in person – the Father is in the Son, the Son is in the Father, and the Father and the Son are in the Spirit.
On the day of resurrection the Triune God has enlarged this incorporation to include us: in that day we know that the Son is in the Father, the Father is in the Son, and He is in us (John 17:20-22).
Now in our experience at the bronze altar for sacrifices we enjoy God’s judicial redemption accomplished in the physical realm by Christ in His earthly ministry (Rom. 5:10a; 8:3; Heb. 9:14; 7:27; 10:10), and we can apply His blood and come forward to God.
Then, we can experience Christ at the golden altar of incense, experiencing God’s organic salvation carried out in the divine and mystical realm by Christ in His heavenly ministry (Rom. 8:34; Heb. 7:25; 9:24).
Through the experience of Christ at the two altars we are incorporated into the tabernacle, the incarnated Triune God, to become a part of the corporate Christ (1 Cor. 12:12) as God’s testimony for His manifestation!
Thank You Lord for opening the way for us to not only come back to God to enjoy and experience Him but also to be incorporated with the Triune God! Hallelujah, we now can enjoy God’s judicial redemption and experience God’s organic salvation for us to experience Christ as the reality of the two altars and be incorporated into God! Lord, amen, gain such a corporate Christ as God’s testimony for His manifestation among men on earth today!
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother James L. for this week, and Life-study of the Psalms, pp. 379-381 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Exodus (part 4, 2016 Summer Training), week 40 / msg. 4, The Three Tabernacles.
- Hymns on this topic:
# This unique truth the whole Bible unveils: / Our God has put on humanity; / Both God and man, as the Scripture reveals; / Hallelujah unto eternity. / Praise the Lord for Christ’s humanity! / It’s central to God’s economy / To produce a divine-human incorporation / Which consummates the New Jerusalem. (Song on the Truth in the Bible)
# God’s economy is to have God and man / Incorporated as one—divine-human, / To build up His Body—an organism, / Which consummates the New Jerusalem. (Song on God’s economy)
# God and man will have one living, / Always in the mingled spirit; / We two are incorporated / One organic entity! / This the vision of the ages / Will control our daily living / That the Lord may have His Body / Shining as the holy city. (Song on God’s purpose)
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