Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
I am quite burdened concerning the incense altar because some of the points related to it are rather new to us. Thus, it will take time for us to enter into the depths of the truth with respect to the incense altar.
We need to pay attention to the fact that the incense altar was in the center of the tabernacle. It was not outside the tabernacle, and it was not in the outer court. If you consult the diagram of the tabernacle with the outer court printed in message one hundred forty-seven, you will see that the incense altar was in the center of the tabernacle.
Regarding the tabernacle, John 1:14 says, “And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us.” According to John 1:1, the Word that became flesh is God Himself. Hence, we have God, the Word, and the tabernacle. This tabernacle was Jesus, and Jesus is the very God. John 1:1 says, “In the beginning was the Word...and the Word was God.” The Word became flesh, and this flesh is the tabernacle. By this we see that the tabernacle is actually the incarnated God. In other words, Jesus is the incarnated God.
The incarnated God is available to be contacted by us. Not only can we contact Him; we can also enter into Him. This means that we can have a tour of the tabernacle and enjoy its contents.
As we consider the tabernacle in Exodus, we need to be impressed that it signifies the incarnated God. God is invisible, abstract, mysterious. However, as the tabernacle, the incarnated God, this invisible, abstract, and mysterious One, becomes real, practical, and concrete. He becomes touchable and, in a very real sense, visible. For this reason, 1 John 1:1 says, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we beheld, and our hands handled concerning the Word of life.” Here we see that the Apostle John touched the incarnated God. We may even go on to say that the incarnated God is enterable. Therefore, now He is not only visible and touchable—He is also enterable.
When the Lord came as the tabernacle, He also came as all the offerings. John 1:29 says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Where did the Lamb of God take away the sin of the world? He did this on the cross, which is signified by the altar of burnt offering. As the Lamb of God, Christ is the offerings offered on the altar. Therefore, He is both the tabernacle and the offerings.
Christ is both the incarnated God into whom we may enter, and He is also the offerings that are good for us to eat. The eating of the offerings is quite unusual because the goal of this eating is that we enter the tabernacle. If we had only the tabernacle without the offerings, in particular without the sin offering and the trespass offering, we would not have the means by which to come into God. The means by which we are qualified to enter into the tabernacle, into the incarnated God, is Christ as the offerings. This is the reason He says, “I am the way, and the reality, and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). Apart from Christ, we have no way to the Father. If we did not have Christ as the offerings, the tabernacle might still be present, but we would not have a way to enter into it.
Do you think you are qualified to enter into the tabernacle, to come into the incarnated God? We all are sinful, unclean, and full of trespasses. Because this is our condition, we are under God’s condemnation. If we tried to come into the tabernacle, we would die. What, then, is the entrance to the tabernacle? What is the way by which we may enter? The entrance, the way, is Christ as the offerings.
Without the burnt offering altar and the offerings, we would not have a way to enter into the tabernacle. This is the reason the book of Hebrews speaks of a new way consecrated for us: “Having therefore, brothers, boldness for entering the Holy of Holies by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, which He dedicated for us through the veil, that is, His flesh” (10:19-20). The blood of the offerings shed on the altar opens the way for us to enter into the tabernacle. This was the blood shed by Christ on the cross when He was crucified as our sin offering and trespass offering. Because His blood opens the way, it becomes the means by which we are qualified to enter into God.
Furthermore, when we enter into the tabernacle, we should not be empty within. Rather, we have something to fill us inwardly. We not only offer the sacrifices to God, but after offering them, we may have a portion of them to eat. Thus, we have the blood outwardly and the food, the meat of the offerings, inwardly. The blood of the sacrifice without opens the way for us to enter into God, and the meat fills us inwardly. We are not hungry when we come into the tabernacle. No, we are those who have been fully satisfied.
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