Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
If we would understand any book of the Bible, or any chapter, either in the Old Testament or in the New, we need to know the underlying thought of that book or chapter. We need to know what concept is beneath the surface. In particular, we need to know the underlying thought connecting Exodus 27 and 28. Why does the divine record speak of the priesthood immediately after the description of the tabernacle? It is rather difficult to find the reason. I have never read a book which tells us why, after the record concerning the tabernacle ending in chapter twenty-seven, we have a long section concerning the priesthood. Therefore, we need to find out why, in the sequence of the record in Exodus, the priesthood follows the tabernacle.
The last two verses of chapter twenty-seven speak of the lighting of the lamps in the tabernacle. These verses give us the reason that these two sections of Exodus are put together. Here is the reason: we cannot have the tabernacle without the priesthood, and neither can we have the priesthood without the tabernacle. The last two verses of chapter twenty-seven indicate that immediately after the tabernacle came into existence, there was the need of the priesthood for the lighting of the lamps. This indicates that, spiritually speaking, the priesthood and the tabernacle are one entity. In the typology of these chapters, God reveals that His redeemed people are both the tabernacle and the priesthood.
The tabernacle is a dwelling place. But how can such a dwelling place be a living people? With the fulfillment of these types in the New Testament, the tabernacle and the priesthood are put together. First Peter 2:5 says that we are built up into a spiritual house, a holy priesthood. In this verse, according to the grammar, the spiritual house and the holy priesthood are in apposition. This means that these terms refer to the same thing. Therefore, the spiritual house is the holy priesthood.
In English the word priesthood refers to two things. First, it denotes a body of priests, a group of priests who work and serve together. Second, the word priesthood denotes the priestly service, the work or ministry done by the priests. Many readers of the Bible emphasize the second meaning of this word. Whenever you read 1 Peter 2:5 in the past, what did you understand by the word priesthood used in this verse? The Greek language has two different words to denote the priesthood as a body of priests and the priesthood as a priestly service.
In 1 Peter 2:5 the priesthood is not the service of the priests; rather, it is a group of priests who live, serve, and work together. The priesthood here is not a service; it is a body of priests built together to live and serve as one entity. This priesthood is the spiritual house. Hence, the body of priests is also a house. In like manner, the saints who are built together are a spiritual house. This spiritual house is a collective people. My point here is that the house and the priesthood are one entity.
The church today is first the house of God. We the believers are being built together into a spiritual house. This spiritual house is a serving body, a serving unit, a serving people. The biblical term for this unit is the priesthood.
We are not a lifeless house. On the contrary, we are a house full of life. Although I appreciate the meeting hall in Anaheim very much, it cannot be compared to God’s spiritual house on one point: it is not living. The meeting hall is lifeless. The acoustics are excellent, and the stairways are very adequate. But in this building there is no life. As God’s spiritual house, the church certainly is not lifeless. However, for generations Christians have not realized that the church must be something living. Some even speak of a material building such as a chapel or cathedral as a church. The church is not a lifeless entity. Rather, the church is a constitution of Christ with His redeemed people. This means that the church is living. Therefore, we should never refer to a material building as a church. A chapel, a cathedral, or a meeting hall is not a church. We all must be delivered from tradition and never speak of the meeting place as the church. The church is a house built with life, filled with life, and constituted of life.
If the church as the house of God were not constituted of life and built with life, how could it be the priesthood? It would be impossible for a lifeless house to be the priesthood. The priesthood is a group of people who are full of life.
On the one hand, we, the believers, are a spiritual house; on the other hand, we are a priesthood, a body of priests. The house and the priesthood are one. To use a new term, the house is the “-hood.” The spiritual house is the priesthood, and the priesthood is the spiritual house.
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