Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The last sixteen chapters of Exodus are a test of whether or not we truly have a heart seeking after God’s economy. In their reading of the Bible many Christians skip over these chapters after they have read the book of Exodus through once or twice. They may prefer the stories in Genesis and in the first chapters of Exodus to all the details related to the tabernacle and its furnishings recorded in Exodus 25 through 40.
We have pointed out that, according to Colossians 1:25, Paul’s ministry was a completing ministry. The revelation given to Paul was the completion of the Word of God. Actually the last sixteen chapters of Exodus are closely related to the completing ministry of Paul.
Exodus 1 to 24 is mainly concerned with history. However, God’s concern in this book is not with history—it is with the tabernacle. The tabernacle and all its furniture is a type of Christ and the church, including many details of the church life. Because the spiritual significance of the types in Exodus 25 through 40 is deep and mysterious, they have been neglected by many in today’s organized religion. The revelation in these chapters brings us into the depths and also into the details of Christ and the church. The writings which make up the heart of the divine revelation in the New Testament—Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, and Colossians—are brief, but they are profound and unfathomable. Deep and profound matters related to Christ and the church are also found in the last sixteen chapters of Exodus. For this reason we need a seeking heart when we come to this portion of the Word.
In this message on 25:12-16 we shall consider the rings and the poles of the ark of the testimony. However, before coming to these matters, I would like to say a further word about the rim of gold which was made round about the ark (v. 11).
Exodus 25:11 says, “And you shall make upon it a rim of gold round about.” Instead of the word “rim,” some versions say “wreath” or “crown.” In the previous message we pointed out that the rim of gold around the ark signifies the glory of the divine nature, and that the glory of the divine nature as a rim signifies the divine keeping power and holding strength. It is significant that concerning this rim no measurements are given. In typology anything that does not have a measurement refers to something eternal, immeasurable, unlimited, and inexhaustible. Verse 11 does not tell us how high or how wide the rim was. This verse simply speaks of a rim of gold. We have seen that acacia wood signifies Christ’s humanity with its character and standard and that gold signifies His divinity. Although the ark was made of acacia wood overlaid with gold, the rim upon the ark was made only of gold. This rim thus signifies the glory of the divine nature.
Christ as the embodiment of God’s testimony has glory. He is the effulgence of God’s glory (Heb. 1:3). When the Lord Jesus was on earth, outwardly He was a despised Nazarene, One without form or comeliness. But not even those who opposed Him could deny the fact that there was a wonderful and glorious expression with Him. This was the divine nature lived out of Him. Through the Lord’s human life the divine nature was expressed as a wreath, or crown, of glory. As you consider the record of the Lord’s life in the four Gospels, you will realize that in His living, glory was expressed. This glory was not human, something of wood; it was divine, something of gold.
The glory of the divine nature as a rim signifies the divine keeping power and holding strength. With Christ as the embodiment of God’s testimony, there is a keeping power and a holding strength. Peter, James, John, and others were kept, held, and preserved by the rim of glory upon Christ. Because of his weakness, Peter denied the Lord. In the end, however, his denial was actually a proof that he believed in the Lord Jesus and loved Him, for afterwards Peter went out and wept bitterly. Peter had seen the expression of God’s glory in the Lord Jesus on the mount of transfiguration. That expression of divine glory was the holding power and the keeping strength which preserved Peter.
We also are kept by this holding power and keeping strength. The expressed glory of the Lord’s divinity can keep us from falling. If we live Christ at home and at work, the very Christ whom we live will become the glory expressed through us. This glory, this expression, will become a rim that holds us and keeps us.
In Philippians Paul expected that, whether through life or through death, Christ would be magnified in his body (1:20). Because Paul lived Christ and magnified Him, no one would presume to suggest that he join them in worldly entertainments. The glory expressed through his humanity was a rim that held Paul and kept him.
Although our experience is very limited compared to Paul’s, many of us can testify that we have been held and kept by the rim of the expressed glory of God. Our relatives and friends may not dare to speak to us about worldly things. This is an indication that upon us we have a golden rim, the rim of the ark of God’s testimony. In our daily living we all should have this rim upon us.
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