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 in reading chapter thirty-two of Exodus we need to find out the principles implied in this record. Before we go on to consider the matter of the dealing with the idol and the idolaters, we need to consider the principle of the golden-calf idol.
Although there were idol worshippers in Genesis, the worship of the idol in Exodus 32 is unique. At least two million people had been rescued out of the hand of Pharaoh and brought out of the land of tyranny. They crossed the Red Sea and passed through the wilderness. These people had witnessed many great miracles done for them by God. Even in the days when they were making the idol and worshipping it, they still gathered the manna that came down from the heavens. They were in a situation under God’s miraculous care. Nevertheless, they made an idol and worshipped it as the very God who had brought them out of Egypt and led them to Mount Sinai.
Moses had already gone up the mountain once and descended. All the people knew about this. Moses must have told them something concerning the decree of God’s law. I believe that, at least, Moses must have spoken to the people about the Ten Commandments. Then Moses was called back to the mount and stayed there for forty days. According to the context, the idol, the golden calf, was not made in the earlier part of these forty days. As we mentioned already, the golden calf was probably made toward the end of these forty days.
In Exodus 32 we have two scenes: one on the mountain and the other at the foot of the mountain. The scene on the mountain was wonderful. Here the design of the tabernacle and its furniture was given to Moses. It may have been that while God was inscribing the law on the tablets of stone with His finger, Aaron and his helpers were making the golden calf at the foot of the mountain. In the scene at the top of the mountain, the inscribing of the law was taking place. But in the scene at the foot of the mountain, the fashioning of an idol was taking place. The comparison here is very significant.
The situation of God’s people today can be compared to that of the children of Israel at Mount Sinai. The Lord Jesus has gone into the heavens, where He is today. In the heavens the Lord reveals the design concerning God’s dwelling place on earth. In the Old Testament Moses was on the mount. But according to the New Testament, the Lord Jesus is now in the heavens. If you read the book of Hebrews carefully, you will see that Moses’ experience on Mount Sinai was a type. What was revealed to Moses concerning the tabernacle was a type of today’s revelation concerning God’s dwelling place. This is true especially regarding the matter of the priesthood. The priesthood revealed to Moses was a type of the New Testament priesthood revealed through the Lord Jesus in the heavens.
While Moses was tarrying on the mountain, God’s people began to worship the golden-calf idol. In principle, the situation is the same today among Christians. What is happening on earth among Christians while the Lord Jesus is tarrying in the heavens? Golden calves are being fashioned and worshipped by God’s people. The situation at the time of Exodus 32 and the situation among God’s people today are very similar. In fact, today’s situation is almost a copy of what happened in the Old Testament.
Moses received a revelation concerning the tabernacle for God’s dwelling place and the priesthood for God’s service. Likewise, after the Lord Jesus ascended to the heavens, He gave the revelation concerning the dwelling place of God and God’s priesthood. In writing the various New Testament books, apostles such as Paul, Peter, and John were working together with the Christ in heaven to reveal God’s design. As we read the New Testament Epistles, we can see the pattern and design of God’s dwelling place and His priesthood. In the Epistles of Paul, Peter, and John we can see the pattern of the tabernacle, the ark, the lampstand, the showbread table, the incense altar, the bronze altar, the laver, and all the utensils related to the dwelling place of God. Moreover, in all these Epistles we can also see the priesthood. This revelation has been given in the heavens. But at the bottom of the mountain Christians are making a golden calf.
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