The Lord Jesus prayed for the oneness in John 17, and in Exodus 26 with the tabernacle we can see a picture, a type of this oneness, in the standing boards of the tabernacle which were overlaid with gold; we need to be overlaid with God as gold, for us to be one practically and to keep the oneness of the Spirit.
God doesn’t want us to be merely good men or outstanding believers; He wants us to be God-men, gold-men, men with a proper humanity which is being overlaid with God Himself as the gold. God wants to dispense Himself into us and overlay us with Himself so that we may be fully mingled, saturated, and permeated with Himself as gold.
It is amazing to see even in the picture of the tabernacle how the oneness in the Triune God is typified; the standing boards in the outer court surrounded the tabernacle, they were quite tall, and they were all overlaid with gold, having three bars uniting them as they passed through the rings of gold.
How can we be one in the Body of Christ? The oneness is not in our humanity but in the gold that covers us, that is, in the thick layer of God which we have gained and experienced.
We need to enjoy and experience God more so that we may gain more gold, more of the Spirit, and thus be one. We even need to sink deeply into the Triune God until we are fully overlaid with Him as gold, and we will be one in practicality.
Sometimes we may see saints who leave the church life, become dissenting, or simply stop meeting, even though they have seen the ground of the church and they have been in a sweet fellowship with the saints; the main reason we become divisive and don’t keep the oneness is because we don’t have an adequate amount of God as gold overlaying us.
In His resurrection Christ became a life-giving Spirit, the processed and consummated Triune God reaching us as the Spirit; now we as the members of the Body of Christ are part of the enlarged oneness in the Triune God: we are in “US” (John 17:21) by being in God and God being in us.
We need to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace simply by paying the price to gain more of the Spirit day by day.
Keeping the Oneness of the Spirit by Enjoying the Spirit with our spirit
The gold rings [in Exodus 26:29] signify the sealing Spirit (Eph. 1:13), the initial Spirit, that is, the regenerating Spirit (John 3:6), given to us by God at the time of our believing in Christ (Gen. 24:22; Luke 15:22; Acts 2:38). Since the number three signifies the Triune God in resurrection, the three rings (see Exo. 26:28, footnote 1, par. 1) indicate the all-inclusive Spirit of the Triune God in resurrection (John 7:39) for the uniting of the believers (Eph. 4:3). (Exo. 26:29, footnote 2, Recovery Version Bible)
Through regeneration we have received the Spirit, who is now with our spirit; we have the oneness of the Triune God in our mingled spirit, and today we need to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace.
This Spirit is the sealing Spirit in our spirit, and this Spirit witnesses with our spirit that we are children of God (Rom. 8:16). Hallelujah for the Spirit with our spirit, the source of oneness!
In our spirit we now have the divine Spirit; our spirit is not a small thing: it is the habitation of God, His dwelling place (Eph. 2:21-22). In the Old Testament God dwelt in the temple in Jerusalem, but today God dwells in our spirit, His real dwelling place; our spirit is much larger than Jerusalem – it is universally spacious!
God dwells in our spirit, and our spirit is joined to the heavens; also, since the Spirit witnesses with “our spirit”, this spirit includes the spirits of all the saints! Hallelujah!
We need to be released from any preoccupying religious teachings and natural thoughts and be updated with God in the mingled spirit, realizing that whenever we are in our spirit enjoying the Spirit, we are in the enlarged oneness of the Triune God.
The way to keep the oneness is to simply enjoy the Spirit with our spirit and live a life in oneness with the Lord as the Spirit.
The Spirit “crosses” our spirit just as the bar was crossing the boards in the tabernacle; whenever we are the mingled spirit, touching the Lord and enjoying Him, we are being crossed out by the Spirit, and we are being made one with all the other saints in spirit. In the mingled spirit we have the one new man, the habitation of God, and all the divine supply.
Praise the Lord for our mingled spirit!
Thank You Lord for giving us the regenerating and sealing Spirit to unite us and make us one in spirit for God’s testimony! We want to be diligent to keep the oneness of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace by simply enjoying the Spirit with our spirit. Thank You Lord for our mingled spirit, a universally vast and spacious place, where we can be and remain all the days of our life! Save us from any religious teaching or natural thoughts, and keep us living one spirit with You, enjoying You as the Spirit with our spirit!
Being Overlaid with God as Gold to Practically Keep the Oneness of the Spirit
The second of the oneness in the Triune God as seen in the type of the tabernacle is with the standing boards overlaid with gold; the overlaying of the boards (signifying the believers with the human nature) with gold (signifying God with the divine nature) is for the keeping of the oneness.
The oneness of the boards in the tabernacle was not in the acacia wood but in the gold that overlaid the wood; today in the church the oneness is not in our humanity (no matter how high, refined, and good it may be) but in the Triune God with His divine nature (see John 17:21).
Also, the oneness is not only in the gold but also in the glory, the shining of the gold, just as the boards were shining together to express the gold; in the church today our oneness is in the Triune God and in His glory, His shining, His expression (John 17:22-24).
This is the oneness the Lord prayed for in John 17:21-23, and it is for the building up of God’s dwelling place, the Father’s house (John 14:23).
When Paul says, “keeping the oneness of the Spirit” – this can be a little abstract, but when we look at the type of the standing boards in the tabernacle, it becomes clear. We as believers in Christ are the boards, the members of the Body of Christ; our nature is “wood”, but it is overlaid with gold, even with a thick layer of gold, so that we may be one with the next “board” in God’s expression.
This is a corporate matter, and oneness is really expressed here; to become one entity as God’s dwelling place, we need to be overlaid with God as gold, and we will practically keep the oneness of the Spirit.
The initial Spirit, who is the Triune God typified by the gold, is the oneness of the Spirit (Eph. 4:3); the overlaying of the gold is actually the spreading of the oneness. The more we are overlaid with God as gold, the more oneness we have; the more we have of God, the stronger our oneness will be (Col. 2:19).
However, if we look at ourselves, we may have only a thin layer of gold gilding us, that is, the quantity of God in us may not be that big. Instead of being overlaid with gold, we may be merely gilded with gold – like Babylon the Great in Rev. 17; the amount of gold we have may not be enough to keep us in the genuine oneness.
When something is gilded with gold, it looks deceptively attractive to others, but the inside is not of gold. Only a substantial amount of God as gold can keep us in the oneness of the Body. We need more oneness: we need to be more overlaid with gold!
We need to hold Christ as the Head, receive His constant supply, and grow into Him in all things, allowing Him to grow in our whole being; in this way, we gain more gold.
It was not easy to overlay the wide and tall boards in the tabernacle with a thick layer of gold; similarly, it takes a long time for us to be overlaid with God as gold, even with an adequate amount with God so that we may be one.
If we don’t have enough God added to our being, it is easy for us not to be one. Oh Lord Jesus!
One characteristic of the gold is that it is soft: it is not only glorious and shiny, but also soft; the uniting God is rather “soft”, so if we don’t have a sufficient amount of God, we may not be kept in the oneness.
But if we have been overlaid with God as gold with a heavy layer, no matter who says what and what offenses come, we will not be offended but we will keep the oneness of the Spirit in a practical way.
Lord Jesus, save us from merely being gilded with God as gold! We want to be overlaid with God as gold – layer upon layer, until we are fully saturated and permeated with God for the keeping of the oneness in God’s building! Amen! Lord, our oneness is not in ourselves but in the Triune God and in His glory, His shining. Add more of Yourself to us. Overlay us with more of God as gold, more of God Himself. We hold You as the Head to receive Your element and grow into You, allowing Your element to grow in us and saturate us for the keeping of the oneness practically!
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. 9 (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:
# The boards when joined support the tent / On silver sockets standing sure; / Gold overlaid, with golden rings / And interlocking bars, secure. / The Church is thus the gathered saints, / On Christ’s redemption standing sure; / In life divine, by Spirit bound, / Together built and framed secure. (Hymns #838)
# Thus we must relinquish doctrines of all kinds, / Only keep the faith that oneness we may find. / In the Lord the Spirit we are one indeed; / Just to keep this oneness is our only need. (Hymns #832)
# In our daily life and all we are and do and think and say, / How we need a deeper mingling just to gain the Lord each day; / Lord, we give ourselves completely just to take the mingled way. / Yes, mingling is the way. (Hymns #1199)
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