Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we pointed out that the Gospel of John may be regarded as representative of the entire Bible. In this Gospel we have creation, the tabernacle, and the various items found in the outer court and in the tabernacle: the altar of burnt offering, the laver, the table, the lampstand, the ark, and the incense altar. As we have seen, the last item to be revealed of the furniture within the tabernacle, the incense altar, is the center of God’s operation in the universe. It is the heavenly White House.
It is also possible to regard the book of Romans as representing the Bible as a whole. In the first few chapters of Romans we have the burnt offering altar, and in chapter eight we have the ark, for this chapter is the Holy of Holies. Furthermore, in chapter eight, we have the incense altar, Christ as the Intercessor. Verse 34 says, “Who is he that condemns? It is Christ Jesus who died, but rather who was raised, who is even at the right hand of God, who also intercedes for us.” According to this verse, the One who died for our sins, who has been raised from among the dead, and who has ascended to the right hand of God in the heavens is the One who is interceding for us. Only this One can condemn us, but instead of condemning us, He is interceding for us. Hallelujah, this One will never condemn us! Now, after His death, resurrection, and ascension, He is interceding for us.
If it were not for Christ’s intercession, no one would accept His death, experience His resurrection, or be one with Him in His ascension. In order for people to be motivated to experience Christ’s death, resurrection, and ascension, His intercession is necessary. Without the interceding of Christ and the church, sinners will not receive the death of Christ. Moreover, those who have received Christ’s death will not go on to experience His resurrection, much less know what it means to be with Christ in ascension, sitting with Him in the heavenlies. All these experiences are dependent on the motivation that comes from the interceding Christ and the interceding church. This is the significance of the incense altar.
The Bible first shows us the altar, the cross of Christ, and then the laver, the regenerating work of the Holy Spirit. Following this, we have Christ as the life supply, as the light, and in the Holy of Holies as the ark. Finally, in the book of Revelation, a book of God’s executing, we see that the divine administration, the divine executing, is always carried out by the incense altar.
As those who are seeking the Lord, we in the recovery both individually and corporately must learn one thing—to pray. We need a praying life. The real praying life is always a life of interceding. Genuine prayer is not mainly to pray for ourselves; it is continually to pray for others. Praying for ourselves is not intercession. But to pray for others is to intercede for them. Thus, prayer for others is intercession.
The proper prayer life is a life of praying for others, of interceding for them. We need to pray for the churches throughout the earth and for all the saints. We need to pray for the older ones, the younger ones, and the opposers. Day by day we need to pray not mainly for ourselves, but for others. We need such an interceding life. The intercession offered at the incense altar should daily be increasing.
If we consider the diagram of the tabernacle and the outer court, we shall see that the incense altar is the center. If there were no incense altar in the tabernacle, the tabernacle would not have a center. The executing center of God’s administration is not the ark; the executing center is the incense altar. It is very important that we all see this.
The diagram of the tabernacle and the outer court is also a diagram of our tripartite being. The outer court signifies the body; the Holy Place, the soul; and the Holy of Holies, the spirit. Where have you been today—in the outer court, in the Holy Place, or in the Holy of Holies? Some saints may have been in the outer court. When we lose our temper or when we murmur, complain, and gossip, we are in the outer court, that is, in the flesh. Anger and complaining are signs of being in the outer court, in the body.
From reading the Life-study Messages we may be enlightened concerning the tabernacle and its furniture. However, none of the matters concerning which we have received light may be effective in our experience; it may seem that nothing works. The reason is the lack of a prayer life. If we do not have the center, the incense altar, none of the aspects of the tabernacle and the outer court will be effective in our experience. Oh, we must have a prayer life! We must have the incense altar. The prayer life motivates us to experience the altar, the laver, the table, the lampstand, and the ark. If you will pray even a little, you will find in your experience that the showbread table is precious, that the lampstand is prevailing, and that the ark is attractive.
We may have much knowledge about the furniture in the tabernacle. We may know what is in the Holy Place and in the Holy of Holies. Nevertheless, we may not have any of these aspects of the tabernacle in our experience. Rather, we may be like a machine without a motor. Do you know what is the “motor” in our being, the motor in our body, soul, and spirit? The motor is the prayer life. Christ is not only the bread, the light, and the ark—He is also the incense altar. This means that He is the motivator and even the motor. Therefore, we need to enjoy Him as our prayer. We need to let Him pray in us, let Him guide us into prayer and into the enjoyment of Him as our prayer. I hope that we all shall see this.
In our experience we need to come to the altar, the laver, the table, the lampstand, and the ark. According to my study of the Bible, after we come to the ark in the Holy of Holies, we need to come back to the incense altar. The incense altar is not one item on the passageway through the tabernacle. On the contrary, it can be compared to a motor which causes everything to operate. Hence, the incense altar stands by itself as a turning point. Again and again we must come back to this turning point. This means that in order to experience any aspect of the outer court or the tabernacle, we need to pray. When we pray, everything works. When we pray, in our experience the altar, the laver, the table, the lampstand, and the ark are all effective. However, when the motor stops, everything else stops also. When the motor operates, everything else operates. This is the reason that we need to have a motor—the interceding Christ—operating within us. We need to have a prayer life, a life of prayer.
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