Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Without the propitiation silver, God’s dwelling place could not be built up. Furthermore, apart from the propitiation silver, there was no way for God’s dwelling place to move. The propitiation silver provided the material for the sockets, the caps, the hooks, and the fillets of the pillars. The propitiation silver was also related to the numbering of the males twenty years of age and over to be drafted to form the army to fight for God’s move on earth.
Some teachers of the Bible misinterpret the significance of the propitiation silver and say that it is simply a type of Christ’s redemption. Apparently the propitiation silver does typify the redemption of Christ. But for the initial experience of Christ’s redemption, we do not need to pay anything. However, concerning the propitiation silver in Exodus 30, all those who were numbered were required to pay a half-shekel of silver.
Later, among the children of Israel, this half-shekel was known as the poll tax. Matthew 17:24-27 refers to this. Verse 24 says, “And when they came to Capernaum, those who received the half-shekel came to Peter and said, Does not your teacher pay the half-shekel?” This half-shekel was the poll tax for God’s dwelling place in 30:12-16. In Matthew 17 we see that, fifteen hundred years after the book of Exodus was written, the regulation in 30:12-16 had become a statute related to the paying of the poll tax, the head tax. According to chapter thirty of Exodus, the half-shekel had to be paid by every male twenty years of age and older. Surely this is more than simply a type of the redemption of Christ.
The payment of the half-shekel in Exodus 30 was a kind of tax. In principle, it was somewhat similar to today’s income tax. This tax was used by God to accomplish two things. First, God used this tax to collect silver for the building up of the tabernacle. From Exodus 38:25-28 we learn that the silver from this tax, the propitiation silver, was used to make the hundred sockets for the pillars of the tabernacle and also to make the caps, the hooks, and the fillets. Second, God used this tax to accomplish the formation of an army. Therefore, through the single matter of the half-shekel payment God did something for the building of the tabernacle and the formation of the army.
The propitiation silver is related to Christ’s redemption, but it is not a direct type of redemption, for in this type there is no blood. Because there is no blood, the silver is not actually related to the death of Christ. Rather, the Christ typified by the propitiation silver is the uplifted One, the ascended One, not the crucified One. All the silver paid in by those numbered to form God’s army was regarded as a heave offering. Exodus 30:14 says, “Every one passing over unto those that are numbered, from twenty years old and upward, shall give the heave offering of Jehovah.” The heave offering signifies Christ in ascension.
This heave offering was offered to God not for redemption but for a memorial. Verse 16 says, “It shall be a memorial for the sons of Israel before Jehovah to make propitiation for your souls.” A memorial is a pleasant matter. In the sight of God, the half-shekel paid by the children of Israel drafted into His army was a memorial.
We have emphasized the fact that the propitiation silver could be paid only by males twenty years of age and upward. This indicates that, spiritually speaking, we all need to grow up. If we do not grow up and reach the age of twenty, we shall not be qualified to be drafted into the army to fight for God’s move on earth. In some countries the young people may be afraid of being drafted and wish that they could stay under draft age. Because they are afraid of the military draft, they do not want to grow up. In the spiritual life many believers have their growth stunted. Although they may be rather old, it seems that they are dwarfs. They have not grown in life. We hope that among us in the Lord’s recovery there will not be any dwarfs. I hope that more and more of us will be able to say when we are asked how old we are, spiritually speaking, that we have reached the age of twenty and are qualified to pay the half-shekel. Eventually, we all should be able to say, “Praise the Lord that in the spiritual life I am no longer a teenager! I am past the age of twenty, and I am qualified to pay the half-shekel and be drafted into God’s army.”
What is the significance of the half-shekel? What does it typify? The half-shekel typifies Christ in ascension. It does not typify the incarnated Christ, the crucified Christ, nor even the resurrected Christ. The propitiation silver as a heave offering is a type of the ascended Christ.
In order for us to pay the half-shekel, our experience of Christ must reach the highest point, the point where we are sitting with Him in the heavenlies. This is the highest experience of Christ. We need to experience such a Christ in order to have Him as the half-shekel. In other words, the half-shekel of silver signifies the ascended Christ experienced by us and paid by us as the poll tax.
The half-shekel of silver signifies our experience of Christ as the ascended One. When we are in the meetings, we need to be in the heavens. Otherwise, we shall not be able to function. Whenever we are not with Christ in the heavens, we cannot function in the meetings. When we function properly, we are truly in the ascended Christ.
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