The tabernacle in Exodus is full of spiritual significance and implication, and today we want to see more concerning the transformed human nature and how to be firm and unshakable, standing in the Body, being willing to be balanced by others.
First of all, when we look at the tabernacle we see quite a lot of boards which are standing in the sockets of silver; because the wall had no foundation, each board was standing in two silver sockets (each socket was approx. 100 pounds of silver), being firmly supported by them.
Silver signifies Christ’s redemption, and the weighty and full silver sockets signify the weighty and full, perfect and complete redemption of Christ, which is our standing today. We need to see and experience the redemption of Christ, which is the solid base for all the believers’ standing in God’s dwelling place. Our unique standing today is the redemption of Christ.
When you enter into the tabernacle, all you see is gold: both the walls and the furnishings are all covered or made of gold; when we enter into the church life, what we should see and manifest is simply the divine nature of God with the life of Christ.
We need to walk according to the divine nature, partake of the divine nature, and express the divine nature; nothing natural should be expressed in the church life. Within the church as the building of God we should manifest not merely the works or doings of God but the nature and life of God.
When we meet together, we should exercise our spirit to contact the Lord, live by the spirit, and manifest Christ to others. Then the church will become in reality the mystery of godliness – God manifested in the flesh (1 Tim. 3:16).
Today we want to go on and see how the acacia wood used in many of the furnishings and in the boards signifies the transformed human nature, more precisely, the perfect humanity of Jesus Christ, the God-man.
Then, we want to enter into a realization of how we need to be firm and unshakable in faith in the Body, and be willing to be balanced by others – just as the boards were joined and knit together.
The Human Nature Transformed by the Divine Nature is our Standing Strength
The substance of most of the structures in the tabernacle was not gold but acacia wood; the standing boards were made of acacia wood overlaid with gold, and the same was true with the altars and the table with the bread of the presence.
Especially in the case of the standing boards, what gave the wall the strength to stand was the acacia wood; gold was covering the wood, but the wood had the standing strength. The gold of the tabernacle overlaid the acacia wood, signifying the divine nature overlaying and transforming the human nature (see Exo. 36:20, 31, 36; 37:1, 4).
This transformed human nature that we should have is the uplifted humanity of the man Jesus, the One who is perfect, complete, solid, and durable; only Christ has the solid humanity needed for the church to stand and have the testimony of God.
With the building of the church, the divine nature depends greatly upon our human nature; the standing strength for the gold was the acacia wood.
The acacia wood represents the transformed human nature and character. According to the history of the church, the building of the church has depended very much upon the transformed human nature. Brothers such as Martin Luther, George Müller, and John Darby had a transformed human nature, and their character was strong. If you would read their biographies, you could see that they were the real acacia wood. The building of the church needs the proper human character. The manifestation in the church is the divine nature with the divine life, but the support is the human character, the human nature. The standing strength needed for the tabernacle is with the human nature “overlaid,” that is, transformed, with the divine nature and divine life of Christ. The human nature and the divine nature must be mingled together. (Collected Works of Witness Lee, 1963, vol. 1, “Spiritual Applications of the Tabernacle,” pp. 118-119)
Just imagine, each board was 22.5 inches wide and 15 feet tall; they were not thin but most likely they were 9-12 inch thick, otherwise they would fall easily. Acacia wood is a dense, durable, and heavy wood, not soft and light.
The humanity of Jesus is the reality of acacia wood; we need to take Him and have a transformed humanity and character so that we can be the standing boards and hold up the testimony of the church. All the servants of God throughout the ages had a strong character and a transformed humanity; if we are soft and wimpy, we cannot bear the testimony of Jesus.
We need a new humanity and a new character to serve the Lord; our character and humanity render us the standing strength. The standing strength that we need for the tabernacle is with the human nature overlaid – that is, transformed – with the divine nature and the divine life of Christ.
The divine nature and the human nature need to be mingled together, so that God would be expressed in us, while our strong and transformed humanity would support the expression of Christ.
In a very real sense, God needs us to have a transformed humanity and strong character so that we may hold Him and express Him, bearing His testimony on earth. The building up of the church needs not only the divine nature being partaken of and experienced by us but also the transformed human nature, the mingling of God with man.
The manifestation of the church is the divine nature with the divine life, but the support is the human character, the human nature.
Today we need to eat the humanity of Jesus and let Him transform us from within so that we may have a humanity that is high in standard and strong in character, a humanity that is suitable for upholding the testimony of Jesus.
Lord Jesus, we give ourselves to You to have not only more mingling of God with man but also a strong and transformed humanity. Lord, only Your humanity is suitable for the building up of the church and for supporting the testimony of God. We pray that our humanity would be transformed, uplifted, and overlaid with the divine nature so that we may be suitable for supporting the testimony of Jesus in the church. Lord, we want to cooperate with You for our humanity to be transformed to be the acacia wood overlaid with gold for God’s building.
We need a Firm Standing in Faith and we need to Balanced by Others in the Body
Each standing board in the tabernacle were fixed in two tenons, which were connected to two sockets of silver (see Exo. 26:19; 36:22); the two tenons may signify our complete faith in Christ’s redemption, which gives us a firm and unshakable standing.
We stand in the Lord in our Christian life by faith in the redemption of Christ (2 Cor. 1:24). It is by faith that we have obtained access through Christ into this grace, in which we stand (Rom. 5:2); we need to exercise our spirit of faith to have more faith in His redemption and His redemptive work.
Christ has set us free, and now we stand fast in this freedom (Gal. 5:1); we shouldn’t live according to our emotions, feelings, or desires, but realise that we have a strong standing for the church, the redemption of Christ.
In ourselves we are naturally shakeable, but the Lord will bring us through and will work on us until we have a firm and unshakable standing in faith in the Body.
Furthermore, these two tenons are for balance; we always have to be balanced by others. All of us are peculiar; we were born with a certain set of peculiarities, and we don’t “become peculiar” but as we grow we become MORE peculiar.
Because we are born with these natural peculiarities, our salvation is the balance, and the brothers and sisters the Lord put us with are for us to be tested, checked, and balanced. We must always be checked, tested, and confirmed by others so that we may have the balance; otherwise, we will be peculiar and will go to an extreme.
The standing boards were set in the two tenons and in the sockets, and they were also fitted together with other boards in the building of God. Many times the Lord puts us with certain people simply to balance us; the other brothers and sisters around us are to help us be balanced.
We need to welcome and even seek the balance of other members in the Body. We may ask the Lord why did He put certain people around us, but He may not answer; part of His unspoken answer may be that we need to be balanced.
Without being balanced in the Body, we are all “one-liners”, doing something we are good at but without being balanced. On the one hand, we need to have faith by exercising our spirit and standing on the redemption of Christ, and on the other hand we need to be willing to be balanced by other members in the Body next to us for the building up of the church.
If the boards had only one tenon, it was easy for them to fall or be turned. If we would have just one leg, it would be easy to fall or turn, but with two legs we are strong and can stand and walk.
If we are by ourselves and are not checked, built up, or tested with other brothers and sisters, we may do something for the Lord but we are not balanced.
Lord Jesus, we exercise our spirit of faith to believe in the perfect, weighty, and complete redemption of Christ. We stand firm and unshakable by faith in Your redemption, in the Body of Christ. Thank You Lord for bringing us into this grace in which we stand today! Hallelujah! Lord, show us our need to be balanced in the Body. Make us willing to be checked, tested, and confirmed by other members in the Body so that we may have the balance needed in building up the church. Build us, Lord, with other saints!
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,” ch. 7, 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:
# Oh! Christ, expression of God, the Great, / Inexhaustible, rich, and sweet! / God mingled with humanity / Lives in me my all to be…. / Thy Spirit will me saturate / Every part will God permeate, / Deliv’ring me from the old man, / With all saints building for His plan. (Hymns #501)
# Christ is God incarnated, / Born according to God’s plan / To bring divinity, into humanity, / By mingling with man. / Christ is God incarnated, / He became the Son of Man; / A man of flesh yet without sin, / Accomplishing redemption, / He was a perfect man. (Song on Christ as God incarnated)
# 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)
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