The Old Testament or Jewish religion focuses on several holy days characterized by feasts. Preeminent among these is the Passover feast…marking their deliverance from slavery and captivity in Egypt. In Luke, the Lord Jesus (a real Jew) instructed His disciples to prepare for a final passover feast in an upper room in Jerusalem. Then at its conclusion, He announced the end of the passover and instituted the first Lord’s table feast.
And He instructed not just His disciples but all of us (His New Testament believers) to come together and enjoy this feast in remembrance of Him. What is the relationship between the Passover and the Lord’s table…the Lord’s supper? What did He mean when He said “For I tell you I shall by no means drink from now on of the product of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”
We’ll touch this interesting and important connection on today’s broadcast.
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.
There are two (2) basic ministries that characterize both the Old and New Testament. The ministry of the priesthood and the ministry of the kingship. It’s interesting that in Matthew chapter 3, we see two representatives of these two basic ministries together as the age is changing.
Well, we’re coming to the first part of Matthew chapter 3 today and the appearance of the ministry of John the Baptist. This chapter is very interesting, because in a very real sense the whole age is changing…some would say the dispensation is changing. This is a pivot point in God’s economy…in His divine revelation. And we see these two ministries…John the Baptist and the Lord Jesus Christ…together in this chapter for the first time. It’s very interesting…John the Baptist’s heritage is one out of the tribe of Levi which was the tribe of the priesthood. And John the Baptist was somebody who ended the Old Testament economy which was of the law.
The law was lifeless…helpless…could cause no one to really experience the King…but only be exposed by the King. But this marvelous ministry of John the Baptist also introduced the King of kings and ushered people to the King and allowed the King to be brought to the people.
John the Baptist ministry therefore is something that terminated the Old Testament economy and ushered in the New Testament economy…which is an economy of grace. And grace is just God in Christ coming to us to be our life and our everything…even coming into us to be our “Inside King.”
So John the Baptist terminated that Old Testament priesthood and brought us into the New Testament priesthood which is a priesthood full of the experience of Christ. Full of the King of the kingdom of the heavens who wants to come into us as life and everything and be the “Inside King” within us.
We need to repent for the kingdom.
In the whole Bible, there are only two basic ministries that constitute the kingdom of God. And these two ministries are firstly the priesthood…then the kingship. In the Old Testament, the priesthood was with the tribe of Levi. John the Baptist was just a descendant of Levi. He is the consummation of the priesthood of the Old Testament. Then Jesus is the consummation of the Old Testament kingship. The kingship in the Old Testament was in the tribe of Judah, and Jesus came to be a descendant of Judah as the consummation of the kingship.
So you can see these two persons…John the Baptist and Jesus Christ…They, on the one hand, terminated the old priesthood and kingship. They also germinated the New Testament priesthood and kingship. When the priesthood brings people to God, the kingship brings God to man. Then there is the heavenly reigning…the heavenly ruling. That is the kingdom.
And this kingdom is just today’s proper church life. And this church life will continue till the millennium comes. Then in the millennial kingdom, there will be the priesthood and the kingship. The overcomers will be there…on the one hand the priests…and on the other hand the kings. So in the millennial kingdom, the priesthood and the kingship will be even stronger to maintain God’s kingdom on this earth. That the king may have the people and all the people may gain the king. This is the millennium.
Then after the millennium there will be no more need of the priesthood. What will be left for eternity will be only the kingship, because in the new heaven and new earth with the New Jerusalem, everyone is in the presence of God. So there’s no need any longer for the priesthood to bring people to God, because by that time God will be with man. God’s presence eliminates the priesthood by that time. But the kingship will be still there reigning over the surrounding nations.
Well, this is just a summary of the whole Bible in the light of the priesthood and the kingship.
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 the Old Testament you had to keep the law then you can have a good fellowship with God. But today, you need to have the Faith, then you can get into the fellowship with God. Today, God’s dealing with His people is based upon the principle of faith.
If you look into God’s dealing with Abraham, you could see God’s dealing with him was based upon God’s promise. God didn’t give Abraham any commandments. God only gave Abraham the promise. So God’s dealing with Abraham was according to God’s promise. So the promise given by God to Abraham became the principle upon which God dealt with Abraham.
Then later on Moses came and God gave the law through Moses to the children of Israel. Then that law given at Mount Sinai became the principle according to which God dealt with the children of Israel. In the New Testament, you could see that today God deals with the believers in Christ not according to the law…but according to the Faith.
So Abraham’s entire relationship with God was based on God’s promise.
If the children of Israel kept the law, then they were able to have a good relationship with God. If they broke the law, however, then they were in trouble in terms of their relationship with God. We see in the Old Testament many times the children of Israel had a big problem with God because they did not keep the law, and God had to come in and deal with them and judge them based upon the principle of the law.
Well this principle didn’t work well in the Old Testament so in the New Testament God brought in a new principle and that is the principle of Faith. So today, our relationship with God is not based upon our keeping of the law of the Old Testament, but it’s based upon our faith in Christ. Actually, this Faith is not just a kind of a mental agreement with the gospel or the teachings of the Bible. This Faith is a living Faith in a living person that joins us to that Person and that causes that Person to enter into us and to become one with us.
So now we have a relationship with God in the principle of Faith which makes us one with Christ and makes Christ one with us. God wants us to live our Christian life based upon this principle. Not on the principle of trying to keep the law by the strength and the effort of our natural life. God wants us to be joined to Christ by Faith and to live by the principle of Faith.
The standard of the kingdom of the heavens is to have no anger toward our brother and no lust. Who can keep such a standard? Actually, only one person in the entire universe is able to keep this standard and that is Christ Himself. And this is precisely the key thing here. What this shows us is that if we’re going to live in the kingdom and meet the requirements of the kingdom, we cannot rely on our own natural life. Because our life is not capable of living to such a high standard. This means that we must join ourselves to Christ every day and every moment of every day by Faith.
Christ today…He’s the life-giving Spirit, and He dwells in our spirit. If we are one with Him, then spontaneously we will live a life that keeps not only the requirement of the Old Testament law, but that also satisfies the requirement of the higher law of the kingdom of the heavens. This is a life that is just the living of Christ in us.
After we have been saved according to the principle of faith, we need to live a higher life. …You are qualified to be judged at the judgement seat of Christ. And that judgement at the judgement seat of Christ is described here three times by three (3) kinds of judgement.. All 3 levels of judgement refer to that one judgement, the judgment at the judgement seat of Christ. We Christians…we the saved ones according to the principle of faith will be judged…not at the white throne recorded in Revelation chapter 20…but will be judged at the judgement seat of Christ, and this will be 1000 years earlier than the white throne.
Yes to be saved it is absolutely by Faith through Grace…that is right. But after you have been saved, be careful. You need to live a life that is higher than what the old law requires. It not only touches the outward doing…but it touches the inward moving. Such a high standard. What should we do then? The Lord’s word warns us, if you would not be serious, you’ll be put into the fire. Don’t think this is to be lost. We have to be fearful and trembling.
I must keep myself to the resurrected Christ. I must be one with Him. I must trust in Him. I must rely upon Him. I must stay in Him. I must remain with Him because the standard of morality of the kingdom of the heavens is too high for me. And this is too serious. We have to flee your temper…flee your lust. This not a small thing to lose your temper. This serious word may force us to keep ourselves to Christ.