Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In chapters thirty-five through thirty-nine of Exodus we have a record of the making of the tabernacle with its furniture and the garments for the priests.
In 35:4-9, 20-29 and 36:3-7 we have the offering of the materials. Exodus 35:4 and 5 say, “And Moses said to all the congregation of the sons of Israel, This is the word which Jehovah has commanded, saying, Take from among you a heave offering to Jehovah; everyone whose heart is willing shall bring it, Jehovah’s heave offering.” Then various materials are mentioned: gold, silver, bronze, blue, purple, scarlet, fine linen, goats’ hair, rams’ skins dyed red, porpoise skins, acacia wood, oil for the light, spices for the anointing oil and for the incense of fragrant spices, and onyx stones, and stones to be set for the ephod and for the breastplate.
In the matter of offering these materials, the people who had been idolatrous now became faithful to God. Formerly they used their gold to make an idol. But now they were faithful and offered everything to God for the building of the tabernacle, His dwelling place. This thought is conveyed in the record in chapter thirty-five regarding the offering of the materials. However, it is somewhat superficial. The emphasis in this message will be on the spiritual significance of the offering of the materials.
The materials offered for the building of the tabernacle typify the Christ experienced by us in different aspects. Although these materials were gained by the children of Israel while they were in Egypt, they are nevertheless called heave offerings, wave offerings, and freewill offerings (35:5, 21-22, 24, 29; 36:3). Some translations do not point out that these offerings were heave offerings, wave offerings, and freewill offerings. Instead, certain versions say only that these offerings were gifts or contributions. The heave offering signifies the ascended Christ; the wave offering, the resurrected Christ; and the freewill offering, the Christ we offer to God of our free will. God does not force us to experience Christ. Whether or not we experience Christ and then offer Him to God is a matter of our free will.
According to the spiritual interpretation, all the offerings here are types of the Christ whom we experience. Sometimes we experience Christ as the reality of God. This is gold. At other times we experience Christ as our Redeemer or as our redemption. This is silver. At other times we may experience Christ as the One judged by God for us, as the Christ who takes our place in judgment, as the One who is our Substitute to suffer God’s judgment for us. This is bronze. All these are different aspects of the Christ experienced by us.
For the building of the church, God’s dwelling place, we all need to experience Christ. If we do not experience Christ, we shall not have anything to offer to God as a heave offering, wave offering, or freewill offering for the building up of His dwelling place. Suppose some of the Israelites were empty-handed, having nothing to offer to the Lord for the building of the tabernacle. They may have said, “Moses has spoken to us concerning offerings for the building of the tabernacle. But we are pitiful and have nothing to offer.” What a shame that would have been! Nevertheless, this is the situation of many saints today. As far as the experience of Christ is concerned, they do not have an offering to bring. Regarding the building up of the church, their hands are empty.
We all need to have some riches of the experience of Christ. At least we need to have a brooch or an earring (35:22). We should at least have Christ as a small brooch that we can offer for the building of the church. Perhaps you are wondering what this means in our practical experience. Suppose a sister wears a little brooch. If in wearing that brooch she experiences Christ, eventually that experience, in its spiritual significance, will be an experience of Christ as a golden brooch. Likewise, a brother may experience Christ even in the small matter of wearing a tiepin. If a brother experiences Christ in the buying and wearing of a tiepin, that will become an aspect of Christ experienced by him. Then in the sight of God he will have Christ as a spiritual tiepin. The important point here is that we should not have anything by ourselves, but we should have everything by Christ and with Christ. If we experience Christ in a certain thing, we shall have Christ in a particular aspect to offer to God for the building up of the church, His dwelling place.
It is possible to experience Christ even in buying a tie and in wearing that tie. If I experience Christ in the wearing of a tie, then in spiritual experience I shall have Christ as my golden tie.
A married brother can experience Christ when he is tempted to argue with his wife. When he is about to argue with her, he should say, “Lord, I’m going to argue with my wife. Lord, I don’t want to argue without You. If You are not my way to argue with my wife, I will not argue with her.” If a brother experiences Christ in this way, he will gain Christ, even in a situation where he is about to argue with his wife. This is an illustration of how practical the experience of Christ needs to be. However, among many Christians today there is a shortage of the subjective teaching concerning the practical experience of Christ in our daily life.
We need to experience Christ in every aspect of our daily life, for example, in the clothes we wear, in the way we cut our hair, and in our attitudes. In everything, great or small, we need to experience Christ. In wearing shoes, in cutting our hair, and even in expressing our attitudes, we should have Christ. A sister should not show a “long face” to her husband by herself. Instead, she should say, “Lord, I intend to show a long face to my husband. Will You do this with me? If You are not one with me in this matter, I will not do it.” Before showing her husband a long face, a married sister should first abide in the Lord and pray to Him concerning it. If she prays like this, she will not show a long face to her husband. On the contrary, she may show him a broad, happy face. I use this as an illustration to point out that we need to apply the truth of experiencing Christ as the materials offered to God for the building of His dwelling place in a practical way. If we are practical with this truth, we shall have something of Christ to offer to God for the building up of the church, His dwelling place on earth today.
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