I have never before considered the tabernacle and the priesthood together, but this week I have seen something further concerning this: the Lord’s heart’s desire is the building, the main emphasis of the Bible is life and building, and the tabernacle (the building of God) is actually the same as the priesthood (the built up corporate body of priests who are transformed and built up).
It is impossible to have the building of God without the priesthood, and merely having a priesthood without God’s building is useless. Spiritually speaking it is the same: we as believers in Christ are priests to God; on the one hand, we need to be built up to be God’s spiritual house in spirit, and on the other, this spiritual house is the holy priesthood (1 Pet. 2:5).
When we speak of the priesthood we don’t mean merely the office of the priests but the corporate entity, the group of priests, who are being built up together in spirit to be the serving ones of God – one with the Lord and one with one another for God’s purpose.
Many believers, after being regenerated, love the Lord and desire to serve Him, and they end up doing things for Him, even in His name, yet without being built up with their fellow priests. Satan, God’s enemy, is not bothered by such ones; he knows that he can “take down” the lone priests, but he is afraid of the priesthood, the building of God.
As long as we are “piled up” in the church life as a pile of living stones, the enemy has nothing to fear; when we are built up into God’s building as a priesthood, however, Satan trembles, and God’s kingdom is advancing.
Serving God has to do with God’s building; God doesn’t need “errand boys” but a priesthood, a group of people who are regenerated with His life, and being transformed and built up together as God’s spiritual house, His priesthood.
Therefore, we as believers in Christ and priests to God need to give ourselves to the Lord to be built up together with our fellow priests; our basic requirement and condition to be a priest is to be built up with our fellow priests into a priesthood.
God’s Unique Goal is and has Always been the Building; God wants to Gain a Building!
God’s unique goal – from Genesis to Revelation – is the building; in Genesis we see the seeds of the divine revelation concerning God’s building (especially in Jacob’s dream concerning God’s house, Bethel), throughout the Bible we see the development, and in Revelation we see the consummation: God gains the New Jerusalem!
God’s goal was, is, and will forever be the building (see Exo. 25:8; Matt. 16:18; Eph. 2:21-22).
When He saved His people from the tyranny of Pharaoh and the usurpation of the Egyptians, He wanted them to build a tabernacle so that He may dwell in their midst. Later, when they entered into the land of Canaan, He desired to have an enlarged tabernacle, a temple, so that He may be with His people.
If we read the book of Psalms we see that many psalmists speak of the temple; their spirituality, victory, and power were all related to the temple, the dwelling place of God.
In the New Testament, Christ came as the building of God: He was God tabernacling among men (John 1:14), and He promised that three days after His death, He will raise up and enlarge this temple (John 2:19-22).
Through His death Christ’s physical body was put to death, but in His resurrection three days later He enlarged His Body to the mystical Body of Christ which includes millions of regenerated believers.
Now Christ is on the throne constantly ministering life to all His believers so that they may grow in life and be built up as the church, the Body of Christ, in this age, and become the New Jerusalem for eternity.
When we receive the Lord, we enter the gates of the New Jerusalem, and the Holy Spirit does a work of resurrection in us; first He strips us of our earthly element and then He brings everything in us into resurrection so that we can be transformed in resurrection and built together into the Lord’s mystical Body. Hallelujah!
Today Christ is in His ascension as the Head over all things to the church, and He is building up His mystical Body in His resurrection and with His resurrection life, so that He may gain a building – a built-up church in this age, the overcomers in the next age, and the New Jerusalem for eternity.
For eternity God wants the New Jerusalem; today He wants the church, which is the precursor of the New Jerusalem (see Rev. 21:2-3; Matt. 16:18). The work of building is so important that the Lord Himself said the greatest prophecy in the Bible, I will build My church (Matt. 16:18).
Since God’s unique goal is the building, we need to allow the Lord to have the building among us, otherwise we will be a failure as far as God’s purpose is concerned (2 Tim. 1:9; Eph. 3:1). We may do many good works and things for God, but if they are not according to God’s purpose and for His heart’s desire, it is a failure. We need to tell the Lord,
Lord, make Your heart’s desire to gain a building be our heart’s desire. Infuse us with a yearning for God to gain a building among men. Oh Lord, may we care for nothing else but what You care for, the building up of the church as the Body of Christ to consummate the New Jerusalem, God’s eternal building! Amen, Lord, gain a built-up church in this age, the overcomers as the Bride in the next age, and the New Jerusalem for eternity! We want to be one with You for Your building, the fulfilment of Your heart’s desire, dream, and purpose!
Taking Christ as Life and Everything for us to be Transformed and Built up Together
God’s unique goal and His heart’s desire is to gain a built up church as the Body of Christ; where can we see the reality of this today? The reason that the situation among God’s people today is disappointing and discouraging is the lack of building.
The Lord has not YET been able to gain His goal of the building; He promised He will do this (Matt. 16:18), He aspired to do this in prayer (John 17), He commissioned the gifts in the Body to do the work of the building (Eph. 4:16), and He enabled each and every saint to do the work of the building, but WHO cooperates with the Lord to build up the church?
If we are off from God’s goal, no matter how many and how great works we do for Him, we will not be able to do anything for the fulfilment of God’s eternal purpose (Matt. 7:21-24; Eph. 1:9; 3:11; 2 Tim. 1:9).
God wants us not only to be saved but also be transformed and dwell together in oneness, coordinate together with the saints in one entity, and become His dwelling place (see Psa. 133). How good and how pleasant it is when brothers dwell together in unity, God pours out His blessing, and God is expressed in the built-up church!
Because Christianity in general has lost view of God’s purpose and goal, the Lord needs a recovery; we all need to see that the goal of the Lord’s recovery is to recover Christ as life and everything to us so that we may be transformed and built up (see Col. 3:4, 10-11; 2 Cor. 3:18; Eph. 2:21-22).
Today we are in the process of recovering Christ as life and everything to us so that we may be transformed and built as God’s dwelling place, His house. When we are built up together, God will have the building that He desires. This building is the priesthood (see 1 Pet. 2:5, 9).
It is impossible for God to have the priesthood without the building; in order for the Lord to gain a serving body of priests to satisfy and please Him, He must gain the building.
On the one hand as we look at the situation in Christianity today and even among us in the church life, we may be disappointed with what we see, since there’s not much building; on the other hand, as the Lord showed Elijah in the Old Testament, the Lord has “seven thousand” chosen ones who have not been defiled, and He will obtain what He is after.
We shouldn’t look at the situation today and be disappointed but be those who cooperate with the Lord to take Christ as our life and everything so that we may be transformed and built together!
Also, we should be encouraged: there are many seeking ones of God – of whom we should be a part – that have not defiled themselves with the things of this world and who hate religion, and these ones will be used by God for the building up of His dwelling place.
Oh, may the Lord strengthen us to take the way of His recovery for the building up of the church as the dwelling place of God!
Lord Jesus, keep us in the process of Your recovery of Christ as life and everything to us so that we may be transformed and built up into Your dwelling place, Your house, Your building! We choose to be those who do not defile themselves with the things of the world, who reject religion, who are not drugged by this age, and who fully cooperate with You for Your building! We take Christ as our life and everything, and we allow You to transform us and build us up with our fellow priests so that You may gain a building, a priesthood!
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. 117 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Exodus (part 4, 2016 Summer Training), week 41 / msg. 5, The Tabernacle and the Priesthood.
- Hymns on this topic:
# Building God and man in one / Is their work before the Lord; / In this fellowship divine / Saints are built in one accord. / When in prayer our spirits blend, / Then together built are we, / Then a priesthood we become, / Off’ring sacrifice to Thee. (Hymns #849)
# What Thy heart desires and loves / Are not precious stones alone, / But together these to build / For Thy glory, for Thy home. / Thou, the all-inclusive Christ, / Dost a builded Church require, / That Thy glorious riches may / Radiate their light entire. (Hymns #839)
# In God’s house and in Thy Body / Builded up I long to be, / That within this corporate vessel / All shall then Thy glory see; / That Thy Bride, the glorious city, / May appear upon the earth, / As a lampstand brightly beaming / To express to all Thy worth. (Hymns #840)
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