Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Exodus 25:10 says, “And they shall make an ark of acacia wood.” According to verse 22, this ark was called “the ark of the testimony.” In the book of Exodus the testimony refers to the law. God regarded the law decreed through Moses on Mount Sinai as His testimony.
The photograph of a person is a testimony of that person. Suppose I have never met a certain brother. When someone shows me a photograph of that brother, I see a testimony of what that brother is like. As a description of the brother, his photograph is his testimony.
We know from the first chapter of Genesis that in His work of creation God accomplished many things. However, Genesis 1 does not reveal what kind of God our God is. We do not know from this chapter whether He is a God of love or of hate, a God of darkness or of light. We do not know whether He is holy or common, righteous or unrighteous. The law was given that we might have a portrait, a description, of God and thereby understand what He is. For this reason, God considers the law as His testimony. As a testimony of God, the law is a type of Christ. Christ is the living portrait of God, His living definition and description. Therefore, Christ is the real testimony of God.
Just as Christ is the testimony of God, so the church is the testimony of Christ. The church is a portrait, a picture, of Christ and is therefore the testimony of Christ.
We have seen that the ark is called the ark of testimony or the ark of the testimony. The meaning is the same whether or not the definite article is used. Furthermore, the tabernacle is called the tabernacle of the testimony (38:21), because the testimony is in the ark, and the ark is in the tabernacle. In these messages on the last sixteen chapters of Exodus, when we speak of the ark of the testimony or the tabernacle of the testimony, we should understand that the word testimony refers to the law. However, it refers to the law as a definition of God, not as commandments for people to keep.
In the messages on Exodus 19 and 20 we emphasized the fact that, contrary to the concept of both Jews and Christians, the law was given not for us to keep, but to reveal what kind of God our God is. As the testimony of God, the law is indeed lovable. Romans 7:12 says, “So that the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.” In Romans 7:14 Paul says that “the law is spiritual.” The law is holy, just, good, and spiritual because it is a portrait of God. We should love the law because it is a picture of our God.
God’s testimony, the law, was placed in the ark for safekeeping. The ark can be compared to a safe used to keep important documents or personal valuables. In the tabernacle of the testimony there was a “safe,” a box, where the law, God’s testimony, was kept. Thus, the ark of the testimony was a divine safe for the preservation of God’s “photograph.”
The ark of the testimony was the first item of the furniture of the tabernacle. The tabernacle had a number of important furnishings: the altar and the laver in the outer court; the showbread table, the lampstand, and the incense altar in the Holy Place; and the ark in the Holy of Holies, the inmost chamber of the tabernacle. The first of these furnishings was the ark. As the first item, it occupied the place of preeminence. We know from 40:2 and 3 that it was in the tabernacle, and from 40:20 and 21, that it was in the Holy of Holies.
To have a proper understanding of the tabernacle with its furnishings, we should have clearly in mind a diagram of the tabernacle including the altar and laver in the outer court, the showbread table, the lampstand, and the incense altar in the Holy Place, and the ark in the Holy of Holies. We need to have a clear understanding of the location of each item in relation to the tabernacle.
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