TABERNACLE SHADOWS OF THE BETTER SACRIFICES
The Court Post--The White Curtains--The Silver Hooks--The Door
Posts of the Holy and the Most Holy--The Golden Table--The Golden
Candlestick--Antitypical Priests Who See the Deep Things and
the Levites Who Do Not See Them--The Golden Altar--The Ark of
the Covenant in the Most Holy--Its Contents and Their Significance--The
Mercy Seat--The Two Cherubim--The Priest Unblemished--The Mystery
Hid from Ages.
THE preceding description we have purposely omitted an explanation
of some interesting details, which can now be better understood
by those who have, through careful study, obtained a clear understanding
of the general plan of the Tabernacle, its services and its typical
posts which stood in the "Court," and upheld the
white curtains, represented justified believers--the "Court,"
as we have already seen, represented the justified condition.
The posts were of wood, a corruptible material, thus implying
that the class typified are not actually perfect as human beings;
for since human perfection was typically represented by copper,
those posts should either have been made of copper, or covered
with copper, to represent actually perfect human beings. But although
made of wood they were set in sockets of copper, which teaches
<PAGE 114> though actually imperfect their
standing is that of perfect human beings. It would be impossible
to more clearly represent justification by faith.
white curtain, which, sustained by those posts, formed the
"Court," well illustrated the same justification or
purity. Thus, justified ones should continually hold up to the
view of the world (the "Camp") the pure linen, representing
Christ's righteousness as their covering.
silver hooks, by which the posts held up the curtain, were
symbolic of truth. Silver is a general symbol of truth.
The justified believers, represented by the posts in the "Court,"
can thus really and truthfully claim that Christ's righteousness
covers all their imperfections. (`Exod.
27:11-17`) Again, it is only by the aid of the truth that
they are able to hold on to their justification.
door posts at the entrance to the Tabernacle--at the "door"
of the "Holy"--were covered by the first "Veil."
They were totally different from the posts in the "Court,"
and represented "new creatures in Christ"--the consecrated
saints. The difference between these and the posts in the "Court"
represents the difference between the condition of the justified
believers and the sanctified believers. The consecration
to death of a justified man we have seen is the way into
the "Holy"--passing through the death of the human will,
the fleshly mind, the first veil. Hence these posts should illustrate
this change, and so they do; for they were covered with gold,
symbolic of the divine nature. Their being set in sockets of copper
represented how "we have this treasure [the divine nature]
in earthen vessels" (`2 Cor. 4:7`);
i.e., our new nature is still based upon, and rests in, our justified
humanity. This, it will be remembered, corresponds exactly
with what we found the "Holy" to symbolize, viz., our
place or standing as new creatures, not yet perfected.
door posts of the "Most Holy" were just inside the
second "Veil," and represented those who pass beyond
the flesh (veil) entirely, into the perfection of the spiritual
condition. These posts were so constructed as fully to illustrate
this. Covered with gold, representing divine nature, but no longer
set in sockets of copper--no longer dependent on any human condition--they
were set in sockets of silver (reality, truth, verity) seeming
to say to us, When you come inside this veil you will be perfect--really
and truly new creatures. `Exod. 26:32`
Golden Table, which in the "Holy" bore the shewbread,
represented the Church as a whole, including Jesus and the apostles--all
the sanctified in Christ who serve in "holding forth the
word of life." (`Phil. 2:16`)
The great work of the true Church during this age has been to
feed, strengthen and enlighten all who enter the covenanted spiritual
condition. The Bride of Christ is to make herself ready. (`Rev.
19:7`) The witnessing to the world during the present age
is quite secondary and incidental. The full blessing of the world
will follow in God's "due time," after the Gospel age
(the antitypical Day of Atonement with its sin-offerings) is ended.
Golden Candlestick or lampstand, which stood opposite the
Golden Table, and gave light to all in the "Holy," was
of gold--all of one piece hammered out. It had seven branches,
each of which held a lamp, making seven lamps in all--a perfect
or complete number. This represented the complete Church, from
the Head, Jesus, to and including the last member of the "little
flock" that he is taking out from among men, to be partakers
of the divine (gold) nature. Our Lord says, "The seven candlesticks
which thou sawest are the seven churches" (`Rev.
1:20`)--the one Church whose seven stages or developments
were symbolized by the seven congregations of Asia Minor. (`Rev.
1:11`) Yes; that
<PAGE 116> candlestick represented the entire
Church of the Firstborn-- not the nominal, but the true Church,
whose names are written in heaven--the true light-bearers--the
form of its workmanship was beautiful--a fruit and a flower, a
fruit and a flower, following successively--representing the true
Church as both beautiful and fruitful from first to last. The
lamp part on top of each branch was shaped like an almond, the
significance of which we shall see when considering the significance
of Aaron's rod.
light from this lamp was from olive oil, "beaten" or
refined; and the lamps were kept always lighted. This oil was
symbolic of the holy Spirit, and its light represented holy enlightenment--the
spirit of the truth. Its light was for the benefit of the priests
only, for none others were ever permitted to see it or to profit
by its light. Thus was represented the spirit or mind of God given
to enlighten the Church, in the deep things of God, which are
entirely hidden from the natural man (`1
Cor. 2:14`), even though he be a believer--a justified
man (a Levite). None but the truly consecrated, the "Royal
Priesthood," are permitted to see into this deeper light,
hidden in the "Holy." The priests (the consecrated Body
of Christ) always have access to the "Holy"; it is their
right and privilege; it was intended for them. (`Heb.
9:6`) The Levite class cannot see in because of the veil
of human-mindedness which comes between them and the sacred things;
and the only way to set it aside is to consecrate and sacrifice
wholly the human will and nature.
lights were to be trimmed and replenished every morning and evening
by the High Priest--Aaron and his sons who succeeded him in office.
(`Exod. 27:20,21; 30:8`) So our High
Priest is daily filling us more and more with the
<PAGE 117> mind of Christ, and trimming off
the dross of the old nature-- the wick through which the holy
Antitypical Priests and Levites
we sometimes puzzled to know why some religious people cannot
see any but natural things--cannot discern the deeper spiritual
truths of the Word?--why they can see restitution for natural
men, but cannot see the divine, heavenly calling? These Tabernacle
lessons show us why this is. They are brethren in justification,
of "the household of faith," but not brethren in Christ--not
fully consecrated-- not sacrificers. They are Levites--in the
"Court": they never consecrated as priests, to sacrifice
their human rights and privileges, and consequently cannot enter
the "Holy," nor see the things prepared for the priestly
class only. The natural "eye hath not seen, nor ear heard--neither
have entered into the heart of man the things which God
hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them
unto us [who through consecration have become "new
creatures," called to become "partakers of the divine
nature,"] by his spirit [light of the lamp], for the Spirit
searcheth [revealeth] all things--yea, the deep [hidden]
things of God." `1 Cor. 2:9,10`
church nominal has always included both the justified and sanctified
classes--Levites and priests--as well as hypocrites. In the Apostle
Paul's letters certain parts were addressed to the justified class
(Levites) who had not fully consecrated. Thus he writes to the
Galatians that "They that are Christ's have crucified
the flesh with the affections and lusts." (`Gal.
5:24`) He thus seems to imply that only some of them had
complied with the Gospel call to sacrifice-- crucifixion of the
the same way he addressed the `Romans (12:1`);
<PAGE 118> beseech you, therefore, brethren
[believers--justified by faith in Christ--Levites], by the mercies
of God [manifest through Christ in our justification], that ye
present your bodies a living sacrifice [that you consecrate wholly--thus
becoming priests], holy, acceptable unto God." All who in
heart renounce sin and accept God's grace in Christ are justified
freely by faith in Jesus--God accepting them as reckonedly sinless
or holy; and such sacrificers and their offerings God has declared
himself willing to accept through Christ during this Atonement
Day (the Gospel age) and until the full elect number of the royal
priesthood is completed. "Now is the acceptable time"--the
time when such offerings will be accepted. True, as we have just
seen, God will accept sacrifices of the world, and it will always
be the only proper course for all to pursue--to render unto the
Lord their purchased beings. But after this age is ended, none
will be permitted to sacrifice unto death and sufferings--
such sacrifices will be impossible after the new age and its regulations
seems evident that by far the larger proportion of the early churches
(much more so of the modern worldly mixture, the confused "Babylon"
of the present day) were not consecrated to death, and consequently
were not of the antitypical "royal priesthood," but
merely Levites, doing the service of the Sanctuary, but
back at the type in the Law, we find that there were 8,580 Levites
appointed in the typical service, while only five priests were
appointed for the typical sacrificing. (`Num.
4:46-48`; `Exod. 28:1`) It
may be that this, as much as the other features of the "shadow,"
was designed to illustrate the proportion of justified believers
to self-sacrificing, consecrated ones. Though now the nominal
Church numbers millions, yet, when an allowance is made for hypocrites,
and when only one in each seventeen hundred of the remainder is
supposed to be a living sacrifice (though few,
<PAGE 119> yet a correct proportion according
to the type), it seems quite evident that the Lord did not make
a misstatement when he said that those (the "royal Priesthood")
who would receive the kingdom would be a "little flock."
(`Luke 12:32`) And when we remember
that two of the five priests were destroyed by the Lord, in symbol
of the death5
of negligent and unfaithful priests, we find the proportion of
3 priests to 8,580 Levites to be only 1 to 2,800.
fact that we see believers who are trying to put away their sins
is not of itself evidence of their being "priests";
for Levites as well as priests should practice "circumcision
of the heart"--"putting away the filth [sins] of the
flesh." All this is symbolized in the Laver of water in the
"Court," at which both priests and Levites washed. Nor
is a spirit of meekness, gentleness, benevolence and morality
always indicative of consecration to God. These qualities belong
to a perfect natural man (the image of God), and occasionally
they partially survive the wreck of the fall. But such evidences
not infrequently pass as proofs of full consecration in the nominal
when we see believers practicing self-denial in some good work
of political or moral reform, that is not an evidence of consecration
to God, though it is an evidence of consecration to a work.
Consecration to God says, Any work, anywhere; "I delight
to do thy will, O God"; thy will, in thy way,
be done. Consecration to God, then, will insure a searching of
his plan revealed in his Word, that we may be able to spend and
be spent for him and in his service, in harmony with his arranged
and revealed plan.
not, then, that so few have ever seen the glorious beauties within
the Tabernacle: only priests can see them.
<PAGE 120> The Levites may know of them only
as they hear them described. They have never seen the hidden light
and beauty; never eaten of the "bread of presence";
never offered the acceptable incense at the "Golden Altar."
No: to enjoy these, they must pass the "Veil"--into
entire consecration to God in sacrifice during the Atonement Day.
Golden Altar in the "Holy" would seem to represent
the "little flock," the consecrated Church in the present
sacrificing condition. From this altar ascends the sweet incense,
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ--the willing services of the
priests: their praises, their willing obedience-- all things whatsoever
they do to the glory of God. Those who thus offer incense acceptable
to God (`1 Pet. 2:5`) come very close
to their Father--close up to the "Veil" which separates
from the "Most Holy"; and if they have requests
to make they may be presented with the incense-- "much incense
with the prayers of saints." (`Rev.
8:3`) The prayers of such priests of God are effectual.
Our Lord Jesus kept the incense continually burning, and could
say, "I know that thou hearest me always." (`John
11:42`) So the under-priests, "members of his Body,"
will be heard always if they continually offer the incense of
faith, love and obedience to God: and none should expect to have
requests recognized who do not thus keep their covenant--"If
ye abide in me and my words [teachings] abide in you, ye shall
ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you." (`John
15:7`) The necessity of a clear apprehension of Christ's
teachings as a guide to our requests and expectations, that we
may not "ask amiss" and out of harmony with God's
plan, is clearly shown by this scripture--but seldom noticed.
have learned, through types previously considered,
<PAGE 121> something of the glory of the "Most
Holy" (the perfect, divine condition), which no man
can approach unto (`1 Tim. 6:16`),
but to which the "new creatures in Christ Jesus" made
partakers of the divine nature--will finally come, when the incense-offering
on the part of the entire Body of Christ, the "Royal Priesthood,"
is finished, and the cloud of perfume goes before them into Jehovah's
presence, that they may live beyond the "Veil," being
acceptable to God by Jesus Christ, their Lord.
Within the Most Holy
Ark of the Covenant or "Ark of the Testimony" was
the only article of furniture in the Most Holy. (See
`Heb. 9:2-4` and Diaglott footnote.) Its name suggests
that it illustrated the embodiment of Jehovah's plan, which he
had purposed in himself, before the beginning of the creation
of God--before the minutest development of his plan had taken
place. It represented the eternal purpose of God--his foreordained
arrangement of riches of grace for mankind in the Christ (Head
and Body)--"the hidden mystery."6
It therefore represents Christ Jesus and his Bride, the "little
flock," to be partakers of the divine nature, and to be imbued
with the power and great glory--the prize of our high calling--the
joy set before our Lord, and all the members of his Body.
before stated, it was a rectangular box overlaid with gold, representing
the divine nature granted to the glorified Church. It contained
the two Tables of the Law (`Deut. 31:26`),
Aaron's Rod that budded (`Num. 17:8`),
and the Golden Pot of Manna (`Exod. 16:32`).
The Law showed how the Christ would meet in full all the requirements
of God's perfect Law, and also that legal authority would be vested
in him as the Law-executor.
righteousness of the Law was actually fulfilled in our Head, and
it is also reckonedly fulfilled in all the new creatures
<PAGE 122> in Christ, "who walk not after
the flesh but after the Spirit"; i.e., who walk in obedience
to the new mind. (`Rom. 8:1`) The
infirmities of the old nature which we are daily crucifying, once
covered by our ransom-price, are not again charged to us as new
creatures--so long as we abide in Christ.
it is written that "the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled
in us," it signifies that the end of our course (perfection)
is reckoned to us, because we are walking after or toward that
actual perfection which, when reached, will be the condition in
the "Most Holy," represented by the Ark of the Covenant.
The Contents of the Ark
Rod that budded" showed the elect character of all the
Body of Christ as members of the "Royal Priesthood."
By reading Numbers XVII, the meaning of the budded rod will be
seen to be Jehovah's acceptance of Aaron and his sons--the typical
priesthood, representatives of Christ and the Church--as the only
ones who might perform the priest's office of mediator. That rod,
therefore, represented the acceptableness of the "Royal Priesthood"--the
Christ, Head and Body. The rod budded and brought forth almonds.
A peculiarity about the almond tree is that the fruit-buds appear
before the leaves. So with the "Royal Priesthood": they
sacrifice or begin to bring forth fruit before the leaves
of professions are seen.
Golden Pot of Manna represented immortality as being one of
the possessions of the Christ of God. Our Lord Jesus doubtless
refers to this when he says: "To him that overcometh will
I give to eat of the hidden manna."
was the bread which came down from heaven as a life-sustainer
for Israel. It represented the living bread, supplied to the world
by God through Christ. But as the Israelites
<PAGE 123> needed to gather this supply of
manna daily or else want and starve, so it will be necessary for
the world ever to seek supplies of life and grace if they
would live everlastingly.
to those who become Christ's joint-heirs, members of the Anointed
Body, God makes a special offer of a peculiar sort of manna, the
same and yet different from that given to others--"the hidden
manna." One peculiarity of this pot of manna was that it
was incorruptible; hence it well illustrates the immortal,
incorruptible condition promised to all members of the "Seed"--which
is the Church. The manna or life-support fed to Israel was not
incorruptible, and must therefore be gathered daily. So all
the obedient of mankind who shall by and by be recognized as Israelites
indeed, will be provided with life everlasting, but conditional,
supplied and renewed life; while the "little flock,"
who under present unfavorable conditions are faithful "overcomers,"
will be given an incorruptible portion--immortality.7
then, in the golden Ark, was represented the glory to be revealed
in the divine Christ: in the budded rod, God's chosen priesthood;
in the tables of the Law, the righteous Judge; in the incorruptible
manna in the golden bowl, immortality, the divine nature. Above
this Ark, and constituting a lid or head over it, was
Mercy Seat"--a slab of solid gold, on the two ends of
which, and of the same piece of metal, were formed two cherubim,
with wings uplifted as if ready to fly, their faces looking inward
toward the center of the plate on which they stood. Between the
cherubim, on the "Mercy Seat," a bright light represented
the Ark represented the Christ, so the "Mercy Seat,"
Glory-light and Cherubim together represented Jehovah
<PAGE 124> God--"the Head of Christ is
God." (`1 Cor. 11:3`) As with
Christ, so with Jehovah, he is here represented by things which
illustrate attributes of his character. The light, called the
"Shekinah glory," represented Jehovah himself as the
Light of the universe, as Christ is the Light of the world. This
is abundantly testified by many scriptures. "Thou that dwellest
between the cherubim, shine forth."
`Psa. 80:1`; `1 Sam. 4:4`;
`2 Sam. 6:2`; `Isa. 37:16`
cannot enter Jehovah's presence: hence the royal priest, Head
and Body, represented by Aaron, must become new creatures,
"partakers of the divine nature" (having crucified
and buried the human), before they can appear in the presence
of that excellent glory.
slab of gold called the "MERCY SEAT" (or more properly
the Propitiatory, because on it the Priest offered the blood of
the sacrifices which propitiated or satisfied the demands
of divine justice) represented the underlying principle of Jehovah's
character--justice. God's throne is based or established
upon Justice. "Righteousness and justice are the foundation
of thy throne." `Psa. 89:14`;
`Job 36:17; 37:23`; `Isa. 56:1`;
Apostle Paul uses the Greek word for Mercy Seat or Propitiatory
(hilasterion) when referring to our Lord Jesus, saying--"Whom
God hath set forth to be a Propitiatory8
[or Mercy Seat]...to declare his righteousness...that he might
be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus."
(`Rom. 3:25,26`) The thought here
is in accord with the foregoing presentation. The Justice, the
Wisdom, the Love and the Power are God's own as well as the plan
by which all these cooperate in human salvation: but it
<PAGE 125> pleased God that in his well beloved
Son, our Lord Jesus, all of his own fullness should dwell, and
be represented to mankind. Thus in the type the High Priest,
coming forth from the Most Holy, was the living representative
of Jehovah's Justice, Wisdom, Love and Power to men--the living
representative of divine mercy, forgiveness, appeasement. Although
the divine being is veiled, hidden from human sight, his divine
attributes are to be displayed to all men by our great High Priest,
who, as the living Mercy Seat, will at the close of this age draw
nigh to mankind and make all to understand the riches of divine
Two Cherubim represented two other elements of Jehovah's character,
as revealed in his Word, viz., divine Love and divine Power. These
attributes, Justice, the foundation principle, and Love and Power
of the same quality or essence, and lifted up out of it, are in
perfect harmony. They are all made of one piece: they are
thoroughly one. Neither Love nor Power can be exercised until
Justice is fully satisfied. Then they fly to help, to lift up
and to bless. They were on the wing, ready, but waiting; looking
inward toward the "Mercy Seat," toward Justice, to know
when to move.
High Priest, as he approached with the blood of the Atonement
sacrifices, did not put it upon the Cherubim.
neither divine Power nor divine Love independently required the
sacrifice; hence the High Priest need not sprinkle the Cherubim.
It is the Justice quality or attribute of God that will
by no means clear the guilty, as it was Justice that said: "The
wages of sin is death." When, therefore, the High Priest
would give a ransom for sinners, it is to Justice it must
be paid. Hence the appropriateness of the ceremony of sprinkling
the blood upon the "Mercy Seat"--the PROPITIATORY.
led to the whole redemptive plan. It was because God so loved
the world that he sent his only begotten Son to redeem it by paying
to Justice the ransom-price. So Love has been active, preparing
for the redemption ever since sin entered; yes, from "before
the foundation of the world." `1 Pet.
"Love first contrived the way
To save rebellious man."
the Atonement Day sacrifices (bullock and goat) are complete,
Love tarries to see the results of its plan. When the blood is
sprinkled Justice cries, It is enough; it is finished! Then comes
the moment when Love and Power may act, and swiftly they wing
their flight to bless the ransomed race. When Justice is
satisfied, Power starts upon its errand, which is co-extensive
with that of Love, using the same agency--Christ, the Ark or safe
depository of divine favors.
relationship and oneness of that divine family--the Son
and his Bride, represented by the Ark, in harmony and oneness
with the Father, represented by the Cover--was shown in the fact
that the "Mercy Seat" was the lid of the Ark, and hence
a part--the top or head of it. As the head of the Church is Christ
Jesus, so the head of the entire Christ is God. (`1
Cor. 11:3`) This is the oneness for which Jesus prayed,
saying, "I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou
hast given me"--"that they all may be one; as thou,
Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in
us, that the world may [then] believe."
The Priest Unblemished
is significant also that any member of the priesthood that had
a blemish of eye, hand, nose, foot, or of any part,
<PAGE 127> could not fill the office of Priest
(High Priest); neither any man having any superfluity, such as
an extra finger or toe.
teaches that every member of the Body of Christ glorified will
be complete--lacking nothing; and also that there will be in that
"little flock" neither one too many nor one too few,
but exactly the foreknown and foreordained number. When once the
Body of Christ is complete, there will be no further additions--no
superfluity. All, therefore, who have been "called"
with this "high calling" to become members in particular
of the Body of Christ, and have accepted it, should earnestly
seek to make their calling and election (as members of that "little
flock") sure, by so running as to obtain the prize. If any
such be careless, and miss the prize, some one else will win in
his place, for the Body will be complete; not one member will
be lacking, and not one superfluous. Take heed, "let no man
take thy crown." `Rev. 3:11`
"The Mystery Hid from Ages and Generations"
has been a matter of surprise to some that the glory and beauty
of the Tabernacle--its golden walls, its golden and beautifully
engraved furniture, and its veils of curious work--were so completely
covered and hidden from view of the people; even the sunlight
from without being excluded-- its only light being the Lamp in
the Holy and the Shekinah glory in the Most Holy. But this is
perfectly in keeping with the lessons we have received from its
services. As God covered the type and hid its beauty under curtains
and rough, unsightly skins, so the glories and beauties of spiritual
things are seen only by those who enter the consecrated condition--the
"Royal Priesthood." These enter a hidden but glorious
state which the world and all outside fail to appreciate.
<PAGE 128> Their glorious hopes and also their
standing as new creatures are hidden from their fellowmen.
"Ah, these are of a royal line,
All children of a King,
Heirs of immortal crowns divine,
And lo, for joy they sing!
"Why do they, then, appear so mean?
And why so much despised?
Because of their rich robes unseen
The world is not apprised."
TABERNACLE SHADOWS OF THE BETTER SACRIFICES