Our Christian Life is a journey. It begins with our exodus from Egypt and our crossing of the Red Sea. But it doesn’t end there. Rather, our salvation and our baptism were only the beginning of a life long journey with the Lord. So let us not stop or wander forever in the wilderness but press on towards the goal – our destination, which is the tabernacle – God’s Building.
The type of the tabernacle in the Old Testament is a marvelous picture of God’s heart’s desire, showing us in detail what He wants. The first section of the tabernacle is ‘the outer court’ in which we see ‘the altar of the burnt offering’ and ‘the laver’ which we must pass through before the entrance into the tent of meeting. God desires a building and for this He needs building materials. However, we in ourselves are inadequate – we are materials unfit for God’s building. So as we come to the ‘the laver’ we are exposed to see who we really are. God brings us to the point where we realise that we are ‘hopeless cases’. This realisation will cause us to put ourselves on ‘the altar’ so that our self can be burnt away with fire from God. This experience of the cross qualifies us to proceed further so that Christ can replace us with Himself. All this can be done if we are willing. God wants to fill us but He never forces Himself on us. Are you willing to lay yourself on the altar, for the Lord’s sake, for the Lord’s building? Psalms 110:3 says ‘Your people will offer themselves willingly, In the day of your warfare, In the splendor of their consecration‘. The real significance of ‘the altar of the burnt offering’ is our consecration. The Lord wants to make His home in our hearts and He wants to transform us into spiritual stones for His building, but for this we must willingly offer ourselves to the Lord. ‘Lord make us willing’.
The fire at the altar must never go out – it continues for our entire life! This continual experience of a life on the altar is the entrance for God to come in and enter into man. After this kind of experiences at ‘the outer court’ we must go still further, into ‘the Holy Place’, and then all the way into ‘the Holy of Holies’.
The ultimate purpose of the tabernacle in our experience is that we would be ushered into ‘the Holy of Holies’ – our spirit – to become the dwelling place of God.
Within the Holy of Holies is the ark of the testimony which we experience “in the innermost way to become the enlargement and expansion of Christ“. This is what God desires. Furthermore, the ark was 2.5 cubits in length, 1.5 cubits wide, and 1.5 cubits high – the dimensions of the ark reveal God’s intention, they signify a half of five / three. What does this mean? While we in ourselves are worth nothing, we are worth something to Christ. He has an urgent need for the Body of Christ – the Church. Without the Church, Christ was no way to carry out His will. Through the subjective experiences shown in the type of the tabernacle we become part of God’s building – Christ and the Church.[sharing from the recent college-age conference in London, UK, by brother Oliver]