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 saw the two-way traffic between God and us portrayed by the ointment and the incense. The ointment typifies God coming to us in Christ and through Christ for our enjoyment. The incense typifies our going to God through Christ in prayer for His satisfaction. In this message we shall begin to consider the elements of the incense.
In both the anointing oil and the incense we have the numbers three, four, and five. Furthermore, in both the Triune God is portrayed. In both the anointing oil and the incense we see divinity, humanity, the mingling of divin ity with humanity, and the death and resurrection of Christ.
In the messages on the anointing oil we pointed out that although there were four spices, the quantity of these spices was three units of five hundred shekels each. The middle unit, formed of cinnamon and calamus, was divided into two parts, each measuring two hundred fifty shekels. Therefore, with the anointing oil we have four spices but only three units. These three units signify the Triune God. This is made especially clear by the fact that the middle unit signifies the Son who was “split” on the cross. With the incense we have three spices instead of four. As we shall see, these three spices of the incense also signify the Triune God.
In the incense there are three kinds of spices—stacte, onycha, and galbanum—with pure frankincense. According to the numbers and items of the ingredients, there are three in one, that is, three kinds of spices with pure frankincense. According to the grammatical construction of verse 34, the three spices form one group, while the fourth item, the pure frankincense, is in a category by itself. Therefore, here we have three plus one, which equals four. Three is the number of the Triune God, and four, the number of the creature, the human being, used in a positive sense. The meaning here is that the Triune God becomes a human being. Divinity is brought into humanity. This, of course, refers to Jesus Christ. He is the very God becoming a Man; He is divinity brought into humanity.
All four ingredients were compounded and mingled into one incense. Therefore, here we have God mingled with man, God compounded with man, divinity mingled and compounded with humanity, to produce the incense.
Exodus 30:34 says, “And Jehovah said to Moses, Take to yourself fragrant spices, stacte, and onycha, and galbanum—fragrant spices, and pure frankincense; there shall be an equal part of each.” Both the first spice, stacte, and the third, galbanum, are resinous gums produced by trees. The middle spice, onycha, is the shell of a little animal. The order of these three spices is significant. It is important that the onycha is not mentioned either first or last, but in the middle.
As we have pointed out a number of times in foregoing messages, there are two factors in the life of Christ: the generating or producing life, signified by the vegetable life, and the redeeming life, signified by the animal life. Both aspects of Christ’s life can be seen in the Gospel of John. According to John 12:24, Christ is the grain of wheat that falls into the ground, dies, and produces many other grains. This is the vegetable life as the generating, producing, life. The animal life, however, is for redemption, for it is a life that can be slain and from which blood may be shed. In John 1:29 we see the redeeming life of Christ: “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” Christ is the Lamb who was crucified for our redemption. Christ, therefore, has both a generating life and a redeeming life. As the Lamb of God, Christ has the life signified by the animal life, and as the grain of wheat, He has the life signified by the vegetable life, the plant life. The animal life is for redeeming, and the plant life is for generating, producing.
In order to redeem us, there was the need for the second of the Godhead, with the aspect of the animal life signified by the onycha, to be slain on our behalf. The Lord Jesus was such a redeeming One. As the second of the Godhead, He accomplished redemption for us. This is the reason that the second spice, not the first or the third, has the animal life. The onycha, therefore, the second of the spices, surely signifies the second of the Trinity, the One who was crucified for our redemption. Neither the Father nor the Spirit died for the accomplishment of redemption. It was the Son who shed His blood on the cross so that we may be redeemed. Therefore, the three spices with onycha in the middle give us another portrait of the Triune God.
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