Life-Study of Numbersby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to a new section of Numbers, chapter seven. This chapter covers the offerings of the children of Israel.
After the dealing with defilement, the testing of suspicion, the vow of the Nazarite, and the blessing of the Triune God, the situation between God and Israel came to a new stage. On the people's side everything was ready. They had been formed into an army and were camping in array. On God's side, the tabernacle had been built and set up, and it was standing on earth, declaring that the God of the heavens now had a dwelling place on earth, even in the wilderness.
From a bird's-eye view, we can see two items: the tabernacle and the altar. The tabernacle signifies God's embodiment on earth. This embodiment is God's habitation, where He can dwell among men and through which man can not only contact Him but also enter into Him to participate in all that He is in His elements and attributes. These elements and attributes are signified by the showbread, the lampstand, the incense altar, and the ark. Man can enter into God. How wonderful!
Before this time, God did not have a home on earth. As far as the earth was concerned, God was homeless. He had nowhere to go, to stay, or to settle down. Abraham was a close friend to Him and was very good to Him. God liked Abraham very much as a close friend, but He could only come to visit him, to stay in His friend's tent for a few hours and then leave. He had no place to settle and to rest. When the children of Israel went down into Egypt, they were usurped, occupied, by Pharaoh, who used them as slaves. God could do nothing. At that time He could be considered only the God in the heavens but not yet the God on earth.
In the book of Numbers the situation is altogether different. Now, in the wilderness, among the approximately two million children of Israel, God could have a home, a habitation, and could become fully settled and rest. Also, His people had been formed into an army in good order to have a display in a beautiful array in order to declare something to God's enemy. Furthermore, God's chosen people had the right, through the altar (that is, redemption), through the shedding of the blood of the sacrifices, which pointed to Christ, not only to contact God but also to enter into Him. At this stage in the book of Numbers, God was no longer just in the heavens; He was the very God of the heavens and of the earth. Thus, God now has two residencesthe heavens and the earth. The residence He prefers is His residence on earth.
The tabernacle with all its furnishings fully portrays and typifies the embodied Triune God, the processed Triune God. To be in the tabernacle is to be in the embodied and processed Triune God. Once we are in the tabernacle, we can take a tour within it and view all its contents.
The Christian life is a touring life; it is a life of daily taking a tour in the tabernacle, the typified Triune God. This means that after entering into the tabernacle, we can have a tour to see God's attributes and elements. As we are taking such a tour, we will see the showbread, the lampstand, and the incense altar, all of which typify Christ. God is life; the showbread table displays the bread of life. God is light; the lampstand shines upon us, and we are in the light. God accepts repentant and redeemed sinners, and the incense altar signifies God's welcoming of us.
Have you taken a tour in the tabernacle today? After you rose up this morning, did you call, "O Lord Jesus," and enter into God's dwelling place? In God's dwelling place we see life, light, the incense for acceptance, and the ark. After spending time at the altar to deal with our sins, we can enter into the tabernacle and make a tour, looking at the showbread table, the lampstand, and the incense altar. Then we can enter into the most holy place and muse upon the ark. We can even open the ark and see the law of the testimony, the budding rod, and the hidden manna. The Christian life is such a sightseeing life, a life of daily touring the tabernacle.
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