Life-Study of Ezekielby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we will go on from the inner gate and even from the inner court to consider the central matter—the altar. Before we do this, I would like to review two other matters so that we may be impressed with them.
First, we have seen that altogether there are six gates in three groups of two, on the east, on the south, and on the north. We need to remember that six is the number of man, who was created on the sixth day, and that the number three signifies the Triune God in resurrection. The six gates signify that the Triune God is mingled with man. Three is mingled with six. The fact that the gates are divided into three groups of two indicates that the Triune God became a man, the God-man, and was “split,” or “cut,” in His crucifixion, and is now in resurrection. He is now the gate through which we enter into God and into all the things of God.
Second, we need to notice that from the outer gate to the inner gate is a distance of exactly one hundred cubits (40:47). The number one hundred is composed either of ten times ten or of twenty times five. Ten times ten signifies fullness in fullness or completion in completion. Twenty times five signifies full and complete responsibility as a testimony. Furthermore, as the chart on page 215 indicates, there are three sections of one hundred cubits each, making a total of three hundred cubits. Once again, the number three signifies the Triune God, who became a man, the God-man. How wonderful and marvelous it is that we are in such a God-man! He was crucified, but now He is in resurrection, and we are in Him.
If we consult the diagram on page 215 which shows the plot plan of the temple, we will see that no matter which gate we take to enter the compound, eventually we will come to the altar. There is no exception; the altar is unavoidable. We have all come in through the wonderful God-man, who was crucified and who is now in resurrection. If we want to meet God, we must come to the altar.
The altar is at the center of the compound. The altar is the center not only of the inner court but also of the whole premises of the temple.
This altar, which signifies the cross, is actually the center of the universe. As far as the relationship between man and God is concerned, the earth is the center. The center of the inhabited earth is the good land of Canaan, Palestine, for it is the connecting center that connects the continents of Europe, Asia, and Africa. The city of Jerusalem is the center of the good land; the temple compound is the center of Jerusalem; and the altar is the center of the temple compound. Thus, ultimately the altar is the center of the universe. Since the altar signifies the cross, this means that the cross is the center of the universe.
It is crucial for us to know the full significance of the cross. According to superficial Christian teachings, the cross is the place where the Lord Jesus died for us. This is surely true, but the cross means much more than this. As the center of the universe, the cross signifies the all-inclusive death of God, of man, and of all the creatures. The death of the Lord Jesus on the cross was not the death merely of one single person; it was an all-inclusive death involving God, man, and all the creatures.
As we have pointed out, by looking at the plot plan of the temple compound, we can see that no matter through which gate we enter, we will arrive at the altar. When God comes from the temple to meet man, He likewise arrives at the altar. Therefore, the altar is not only the center of the universe but also the meeting place of God with man and of man with God. If one person comes in through the north gate and another enters through the south gate, both will eventually meet God and each other at the altar.
God came out of His dwelling place and went to the cross and died there. First, He left His dwelling place and was born in Bethlehem. After living on earth for thirty-three and a half years, He went to the altar, to the cross. As He was dying there, He was not alone. Through His incarnation He had put man upon Himself. Hence, as He was dying on the cross, man was also dying there. This indicates that God and man met together on the cross in the way of death.
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