Our God is administrating the entire universe. The central point of His administration is seen by the Old Testament picture of the incense alter in the tabernacle from the book of Exodus. Stay with us today as we look at the central point of God’s administration on this Life-Study of the Bible with Witness Lee…a program furnished by Living Stream Ministry and featuring the ministry of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee.
Our God certainly is not a passive God. But rather one that is full of purpose. It’s a common question among believers…and even many unsaved that are not sure about God…that is they want to know…”What is God doing?”…”What is it all about?” Well, I think in this Life-Study that we’ve been enjoying regarding the tabernacle, we really have a full picture of God’s purpose.
In this picture we see that God is not idle. But He is really a God of purpose. He is moving. He is administrating. He is dispensing. He does have an economy. He does have a practice. He does have a move. These are all synonymous words to indicate that God is not idle…He is very busy. And as we’ll see in this program, by the picture of the tabernacle leading us to the reality in Christ…that our God in Christ is very busy. That man would not only be reached by God but man could be brought all the way into God for the sake of God’s testimony.
We hope and pray that every one of you who are listening to this broadcast would all be drawn to this marvelous administrating center which is just the interceding Christ. And that by His intercession you would be motivated very highly to go more deeply into the one whom you love. Not just for your sake…but for His sake: He needs a testimony.
And you mentioned Chris…this is a picture of God’s purpose…this picture of the tabernacle. The tabernacle is not just a tabernacle, but it’s called the tabernacle of the testimony. This means that all that we see by all the furniture in the tabernacle and particularly by the incense alter we see something is happening. God is administrating so that man could experience Him…be brought into Him even to the extent that He and His people are the same in life and nature so that His people could actually be His testimony.
How could we be His testimony unless we get saturated with Him and brought all the way into Him. So this marvelous picture shows what God is busy doing moving into us and moving us into Him for His testimony.
When Moses was leading the children of Israel through the wilderness, what they would have to eat became a major concern. To sustain and nourish them, God provided a mysterious food called manna. These small round wafers appeared on the ground every morning. And this was their sole diet for 40 years.
1600 years later God brings manna back to His people in the book of Revelation. But this rather than being out in the open as it was in Exodus is hidden in a golden pot within the ark in the holy of holies. What is this hidden manna?
Please don’t miss this classic presentation from the book of Exodus on our Life-study of the Bible with Witness Lee.
Rev 2:17…”He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, to him I will give of the hidden manna, and to him I will give a white stone, and upon the stone a new name written, which no one knows except him who receives it.” So the promise in Rev 2:17 to the overcoming believers is that they would enjoy Christ as the hidden manna. In the Old Testament, what the children of Israel were charged to do was to take a portion of that manna…put it in a golden pot…and put that golden pot within the ark in the holy of holies…which is the very center of the entire tabernacle. So that is the hidden manna.
What is the significance of this hidden manna? We’ve seen on previous programs in John 6 that Christ Himself is the very bread who came down out of heaven for us to feed on. In other words, Christ is our spiritual food that we need to enjoy day by day. But when we talk about the hidden manna, we’re talking about enjoying Christ as our spiritual food to bring us into the closest, most intimate, hidden, secret contact with Him. This is our enjoyment of Christ as the hidden manna.
So we need to take the way…day by day…to go into the holy of holies through prayer to enter into our spirit where Christ as the Spirit lives and to enjoy Him as our spiritual food and assimilate Him into our whole being. So that we can enjoy Him in the closest, most intimate, deepest, hidden and even secret way as the hidden manna for His purpose.
This is a great miracle! What a miracle that centuries and centuries ago the children of Israel enjoyed manna sent by God from heaven…in a physical sense. But today, we can enjoy Christ as our manna…as our spiritual food…even as our hidden manna. What a great miracle this is…and what a mystery this is. When that bread came down from heaven, the children of Israel said “What is this? What is it?” And actually that’s the meaning of the Hebrew word “manna.” Manna means “what is it?” Well that’s what Christ is. Who is Christ? Christ is “What is this?”
Christ is a mystery. He’s inexplicable to the people who don’t know Him…the nations. And when we enjoy Him, we become “What is this?” People look at us and they say…”I can’t figure that person out. He’s got the same pressures as me…the same kind of problems. Even I know he’s passing through some suffering right now. But there’s a joy with him; there’s a peace about him. There’s something about him that makes him different. What is this?”
Why do we become like that? We become a testimony…a mysterious testimony of Christ to the people around us by enjoying Christ as manna. By enjoying Christ as…”What is this?” And we become a testimony of the marvelous, wonderful, beautiful, mysterious Christ in this universe.
In John 6:35, the Lord told us “I am the bread of life. I am that bread that came down out of heaven.” We need to realize Christ is the reality of that manna, and in verse 57 He said “He who eats me shall live because of me.” That means we need to eat Christ day by day. And He was not talking about something in the physical realm. Because in 6:63 He said “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing; the words which I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.”
So the way to eat Christ as our spiritual food is to enjoy Him in His words. His words that He speaks to us…they are spirit and they are life. It comes back to this. We christians need to be in the word every day. We need to eat Christ as our spiritual food by eating His word every day. We need to begin the day by having a spiritual breakfast. Some men of God in the past…they had a saying, “No Bible, no breakfast.” This means we need to have our spiritual breakfast before we have our physical breakfast. I would encourage all of you…consecrate yourself to give that first time in the morning to the Lord where you read the word with prayer, in prayer and in a spirit of prayer so that you can enjoy Him as your spiritual food. And as…during the day…you keep your heart turned to the Lord, you will become a mysterious wonderful testimony of Christ to all the people around you, and you will become a factor in their salvation.
In 1983, Witness Lee concluded his life-study of Exodus. It spanned nearly 4 years. It includes 185 messages and nearly 2,000 pages. In the final paragraph of volume #8, he wrote, “I have the full assurance that those who have been with us throughout the years can never be the same. Eternity will reveal what the Lord has been doing within us and among us for the fulfillment of His eternal purpose.” Praise Him for the glorious conclusion of the book of Exodus.
In the whole Bible, there is not one page that describes the redemption of Christ so clearly as in Exodus 12. The passover here is presented to us as a picture of Christ’s redemption. When you look at this picture, you need all the other places to give you the interpretation.
Paul didn’t say “Our lamb has been sacrificed.” Paul said…”Christ our passover has been sacrificed.” What does he mean that “Christ is our passover?” Christ is not only the passover lamb, but He is every point…every aspect…of the passover. And passover here means the judgement of God passes over us.
According to the record in Exodus chapter 12, the passover of God’s judgement was due to the covering of the blood. When we come to Paul’s development, Paul said not only the blood was the passover, but Christ was the passover. Today, God’s judgement passover is due to Christ. This is why Christ is our passover.
What we have here is not only Christ historically coming as our redeemer to fulfill the type of the passover lamb, dying a vicarious redeeming death, bearing our sins in His body on the cross. We also see that this Christ who is the reality of the passover, is for our daily enjoyment. Paul charges us “Keep the feast!”
Christ Himself is the passover feast and all the elements and aspects of it. And Christ is the feast of the unleavened bread, and that was to be…in the Old Testament…seven days of duration. But those seven days indicate the complete and entire course of the Christian life. So when we see the distinction that Paul makes, we do not have less of appreciation for the historical work of Christ. Rather we have more.
And then we can see, from the light in the Word, how Christ is our passover for us to enjoy today day by day. That we should keep the feast. Keeping the feast implies the enjoyment of Christ. A feast is a time of enjoyment. So when we see a fuller view of what is in the Word concerning the passover as a type of Christ, we have light on our path pointing us to the daily continual experience and enjoyment of Christ throughout our whole Christian life. It’s a happy time whenever we can touch and testify concerning the enjoyment of Christ.
When God gave His law to His chosen people, God’s intention was to seek lovers out of these people. We have read some of the verses from Jeremiah, from Isaiah, from Ezekiel and from Hosea. All these four prophets had the concept that considers God as the husband and God’s chosen people as God’s wife. This is the revelation in the Bible.
Even in the New Testament, the thought is still here. Paul said I have betrothed you to a husband…that is Christ. Christ is the husband and the church composed with all the believers is His wife. But many of us never heard that Israel was espoused to God. The ten commandments were a kind of engagement paper. What is engagement? Engagement is to bring two persons into one. Eventually, God and His chosen people all are one through this engagement. Not only so. Even in the proper marriage life after 50 years, you will see mostly the two parties became about the same. In habit, in likes, in dislikes, in character, in slowness, in quickness…all about the same. Eventually, all God’s chosen people will be the same as God!
The Old Testament prophet Zachariah tells us in chapter 3 that a stone with seven eyes will be engraved with an inscription. And by this engraving, the iniquity of the people will be removed in one day. The New Testament gospel of John tells us that the Lamb of God takes away the sins of the people. The stone with the seven eyes in Zachariah is this Lamb of God in John. And in the final book…Revelation…this Lamb-stone with seven eyes reappears.
This subject that we are going to consider in this broadcast is quite mysterious but very wonderful and very practical. Br. Witness Lee’s title for this message from 1976 was “The stone with seven eyes for God’s building.”
We want to review the matter of the lampstand because we’re going to see a definite connection today between the lampstand and this stone with seven eyes. The lampstand in the Bible is a tremendous symbol, and the first time we see this vision of the lampstand is in Exodus 25. There the lampstand is described in some detail, and it signifies Christ as the embodiment of the Triune God.
And then as we go on in the Old Testament again we encounter more details concerning the lampstand in the book of Zachariah which is where we are today. And there…in the mentioning of the lampstand…the main thing there is the seven lamps which are the seven eyes of Jehovah God. So here we see a further development. And these seven lamps are related to the Spirit of God. So in the Old Testament the lampstand is only one. But when we get to Revelation chapter one we can see a further development of this revelation or vision of the lampstand. Here we have not one lampstand but we have seven lampstands. And each lampstand signifies a local church.
So this is a tremendous progression in the vision of the lampstand, and it shows us that the one lampstand revealed in the Old Testament is eventually multiplied and reproduced to be many lampstands which are many local churches.
Zachariah 3 and 9. How can we say or how can we know that this stone with seven eyes is Christ? It is by the second half of this verse. “Behold, I will engrave the graving thereof says the Lord of host. I will remove the iniquity of that land in one day.” It means that the Lord Jesus as the building stone…He was dealt with…engraved…on the cross by God for the iniquity of God’s people. In that one day by that one engraving on the cross, the Lord Jesus removed all the sins of God’s people.
The next half of this verse equals to John 1:29…”Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world.” This means to remove the iniquity of God’s people. So by this half of the verse we can know that the stone with seven eyes is Christ. Then we read chapter 4 of the same book (verse 2). Now in this verse we see the lampstand has seven lamps. If you would exercise your spirit, surely you would understand the lampstand here equals to the stone. The stone is Christ and the lampstand is also Christ. And the stone we can understand easily it is for the building. And the lampstand is for enlightening. And on the stone you have the seven eyes and on the lampstand you have the seven lamps.
This is a real clue and a real indication that this stone is Christ. And it is a little mysterious because it speaks about the stone being engraved with an inscription. And of course we know that to engrave a stone you need to cut that stone…you need to chisel a piece out of that stone. In many places in the Bible, Christ is referred to as a stone. He is a stone for God’s building. He is the foundation stone. He is the cornerstone. He is the living stone. He is the precious stone. He is the top stone. He is all these kinds of stones for the building of God’s house.
In Zachariah 3:9 we can see that this stone has seven eyes. And that it is engraved with an inscription so that the iniquity of God’s people can be removed in one day. Well, if we go on to the book of Revelation in chapter 5, we can see that there’s a Lamb there with seven eyes. In Zachariah, there’s a Stone with seven eyes. In Revelation, there’s a Lamb with seven eyes. And we know that the Lamb of God is Christ and that He is the one who removed the iniquity of God’s people in one day through His crucifixion…through His death on the cross. So when the Lord was crucified this was like the engraving of a stone. When He was crucified, He’s was cut on the cross and He was engraved. And through this engraving or through His death on the cross, all the sins of God’s people were removed by God so that God could then carry on…in His people…the work of building.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. Full of grace and reality. Behold the lamb of God. This One is the Word. And this One is God. And this One is the flesh. And this One is Jesus. And in this One is the life, and the life is the light of men. You have to add one thing. A stone. Then at the end of the same chapter, when Nathanael was attracted and this wonderful One told him, “…you shall see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.” Right away, we all can realize that this simple word brings us back to Bethel. So you can see even John chapter one covers from eternity past to eternity future. In eternity past was the Word, and the Word was God there. Now in eternity future there will be the Bethel the House of God. The dwelling of God. That will be the New Jerusalem.
After a number of years when he was very old…exiled to the island of Patmos…the Lord charged John to write the last book of the whole Bible. And eventually he developed to such an extent showing us that this seven spirits are the seven lamps and the seven eyes which were covered in Zachariah. He told us that these seven lamps which are the seven eyes are both the Stone and the Lord in Zachariah are today the seven Spirits of God. And this seven Spirits of God today are the seven eyes of the redeeming Lamb. And this redeeming Lamb is the overcoming Lion. He surely has defeated the enemy of God. So He was qualified to be the redeeming Lion. God engraved Him…dealt with Him on the cross. Just by that one dealing in that one day, all the sins of God’s people were removed. Because as the redeeming Lamb, He did this. So He became eventually the building stone. Today He is the Lion-Lamb-Stone.
And this stone seven eyes shining. Shining…burning before the throne of God. To accomplish God’s eternal economy.
After giving Moses the ten commandments, Jehovah God continued to unveil the details and plans for the tabernacle. In the center of the tabernacle was the ark, the preeminent piece of all the items in the tabernacle. And over the ark was placed a cover or a lid.
This very spot was to become the place…the unique place…where God would meet and speak with man. What does this cover represent today? This holy spot, the propitiation cover, is the focus of our Life-Study of the Bible today with Witness Lee.
The cover of the ark was a most important place in the Old Testament economy. But its importance is not limited to just the Old Testament, because in at least 3 New Testament passages its referred to in the context of our relationship and fellowship with God.
The Old Testament type…of course…is a picture, and the reality is our experience. Actually, the reality of being on this cover where God will meet with us and where God will speak to us…it equals what the New Testament calls the throne of grace.
Because of this cover, we have a way to meet with God.
In the Old Testament, the blood of the sacrifice was poured out on the alter to atone for the sins of the people. This blood…of course…was a precursor of the real blood that was to be poured out for the sins of mankind…the blood of Jesus Christ. But in the Old Testament, there was another need for the blood, and that was it was also to be sprinkled upon the cover of the ark of the testimony in the holy of holies in the deepest part of the tabernacle.
And what was crucial here was not the matter of sins…but the glory of God. The blood sprinkled on the very spot where God met and spoke with man is our focus on today’s Life Study of the Bible with Witness Lee.
In this series of programs dealing with the tabernacle and the ark, we are making the point that far beyond just becoming aware of the doctrines represented by these wonderful types. We’re much more interested in how a vision of what these types represent can help us experience Christ to a greater degree.
In New Testament terms to have an exodus is to get out of the world. However without the graphic picture in the book of Exodus, it is difficult to say just how we are to get out of the world…We need to realize that experientially many MANY believers today have experienced Christ as their passover. God has passed over them. The blood of the Lamb has redeemed them from the righteous judgement of God…But they remain in Egypt still needing to make an exodus so that God’s purpose to have a dwelling place can be fulfilled.
If we care only for the benefits that come to us through salvation, we may be content to remain in Egypt with Christ as our passover lamb. But if we care for God’s economy, not only will WE make our exodus from Egypt, we will be burdened that ALL of Gods people be released from Egypt and to serve God and be one with Him for the building up of the Church as His body to consummate the New Jerusalem.