The Tabernacle, its Spiritual Significance, Part 20
ISRAEL'S TYPICAL TABERNACLE
The following article was taken from the reprints (R3054), I included here at this juncture in our study
because it brings to mind several very important points to be considered.
"Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise." Psa 100:4
“We cannot do justice to this lesson here; nor is it necessary. We refer our readers to the booklet,
"Tabernacle Shadows of Better Sacrifices," which a majority of them already possess, and which we
believe has been very helpful to the Lord's people,--deepening the work of grace in their heart by its
explanations of the riches of divine grace already bestowed upon us and those yet future, illustrated in
Israel's typical tabernacle and its typical arrangements, sacrifices, etc.
Incidentally we guard our readers against certain misapplications which, from contemporary reviews of the
lesson, we may infer to be quite common. The tabernacle and its court, etc., were not, as many suppose,
a church edifice, or place of worship for Israel.
An ordinarily able minister and writer totally misrepresents the tabernacle and its services as
"Suppose yourself approaching the Tabernacle at some desert camping place… It is a brilliant sight; the
white hangings of the court contrast with the dark coverings of the tabernacle within. The gorgeous
entrance curtain is looped up, for the Court is full of worshipers bringing sacrifices. White-robed priests
are burning offerings at the large bronze altar in the center, while another is using the sacred laver near
the Tabernacle entrance preparatory to entering. The many-colored curtain is here looped back on its
golden pillars. From within we catch a gleam of the golden table and exquisitely wrought lamp stand, while
a fragrance of rare incense floats out upon us. Deep in the recesses of the Holy Place we can see the
resplendent curtain, and we tremble as it seems almost luminous with the shining of the Shekinah behind
it. All is so reverently silent that we hear the chime of bells on the high-priest's garment as he moves
forward, and, turning, we read above his beautiful robes and glittering breast the crown and meaning of
it all, "Holiness to the Lord."
Quite to the contrary of this description, the Israelites in general were not permitted within even
the outermost of the Tabernacle enclosures, the Court. Nor could they see over the high linen
curtain which enclosed it, nor directly see through its doorway, which was behind a "gate" of heavy
curtains (i.e. the “Entrance Curtain”). Only the tribe of Levi, consecrated to the Lord's service, was
permitted inside this enclosure in the Courtyard, and of these only the one priestly family, consisting at
first of the five persons, Aaron and his four sons, were permitted to enter the Tabernacle proper, whose
curtains, so far as from being looped up about the gold-covered pillars, so as to permit the Levites to
see the candlestick, tables, etc., were kept down, with the very object of hindering them from
seeing anything within. And that they might not seek to look in when the officiating priests lifted the
curtain and passed under it, a divine law was promulgated forbidding them to look, and prescribing a
penalty of death for disobedience. Num 4:19, 20.
It is abundantly clear that this Minister never really studied the Tabernacle as his interpretation wholly
violates numerous precepts set by the Lord in regards to the Tabernacle and its services. As for the
illustration at the top of the page this was merely one which I found on the Internet, which I thought
best illustrated what the writer perceived.
All of this has a deep significance in connection with the proper understanding of the meaning of these
types. As the Court represented the condition of justification through faith in the sacrifice for sins in the
atonement accomplished by the high-priest, so its brazen altar represented primarily the perfection of the
man Christ Jesus, upon which his offering was accepted of God, as our sin-atonement, sanctifying in turn
any offering of others that might be presented upon it. Likewise the laver taught in type a cleansing of
the flesh, and a putting away, so far as possible, of all filthiness of the flesh and spirit on the part of
those in the (tentatively) justified condition as preparatory to their entering the Tabernacle itself. As
only the priests were permitted to enter the Tabernacle, or even to see its glories and beauties, the
teaching is that as the Courtyard represents one condition, the "Holy" represents another, and
the "Most Holy" still another condition.
As the priests, before being consecrated to the priestly office, must be Levites, so those who
would be of the Royal Priesthood must previously have been justified believers, otherwise they
would not be acceptable as members of the Royal Priesthood. Their entrance as priests into the
Holy symbolizes their change of nature-from justified human nature to that of "new creatures,"
begotten of the spirit. The Holy represents the state or (“in-part”) condition of these new creatures in
this present life, while still in the flesh, and only reckonedly new creatures, while the Most Holy represents
their future state or (“perfect”) condition, in which they will be perfected as new creatures by
participation in the first resurrection-beyond the "Vail."
Our Forerunner, the "High Priest of our profession," or order, passed through the Court condition as
the perfect man, presenting himself in consecration when thirty years of age; and then passed from the
Court condition into the Holy, the sanctified or new creature condition, when begotten of the holy spirit.
The three and a half years of our Lord's ministry are represented in the Holy of the Tabernacle;
and as the First Vail represented his consecration to death, so the Second Vail represented his
actual death, beyond which he arose in the perfect spiritual condition-condition-the Most Holy.
In all this he was the Forerunner of those who will constitute the Royal Priesthood, his house, the
members of his "Body." We by nature are sinners, and hence must enter the Courtyard condition of
justification through faith in our Lord's sacrifice (through the “gate” or “entrance curtain” ); we must
be cleansed from the defilements of the flesh, so far as possible, through the word spoken unto us,
represented in the washing at the Laver; and then we must make our consecration full and complete,
represented by the Vail at the door, if we would enter thus into the Holy, enjoy the privileges typically
represented in the light of the Golden Candlestick and the Showbread and the Incense Altar, which signify
the light, the truth, and the spiritual privileges, praises, prayers and communion which we have with the
Lord as members of the body of Christ, this side the Second Vail. And for all who shall finish their course
faithfully and joyfully, there remains beyond the Second Vail of actual death a glorious share in our Lord's
resurrection to perfect spiritual conditions, to be partakers of the divine nature and to behold his glory in
the first resurrection.
The natural man, even though justified, represented by the Levite, cannot see into, cannot
discern, cannot appreciate, cannot enjoy, the privileges of the consecrated. He can hear
through the priests (the fully consecrated) some description of the glorious things beyond, but
he cannot fully comprehend them or see their beauty-- except by becoming a priest-by
consecration, by self-sacrifice to the Lord.
The same expositor that we quoted above errs again, as follows:
"Christian ministers continue the Tabernacle service of Aaron and his sons, pointing men to Christ,
leading men in prayer, and inciting them to offer their bodies a living sacrifice. They are to be revered as
standing in this noble succession."
We fear there are many ministers in the nominal church who have neither part nor lot in the Royal
Priesthood. Many of them confess that they are not even Levites, not even in the Courtyard condition,
when they acknowledge that they disbelieve the Scriptural teaching of man's fall into sin and the
atonement for his sin effected by the great High Priest-when they claim, on the contrary, that there was
no fall and no need of a redemption, but that man has reached his present plane of intelligence by a
process of evolution. These evolutionists, of whom there are many in the nominal church ministry, are
not in the Courtyard condition of justification, nor have they any right or standing there. They are not
even of the Levite class, the household of faith; consequently, they could not be of the priestly class.
(What they are, are the “blind guides”, false shepherds leading many astray.)
Although many others of the ministers of the nominal church, as well as of the laity, have reached the
position of justification through faith in the Lord's redemptive work, and although some of them have
washed at the brazen laver, purifying their lives through the Word of truth, yet comparatively few have
gone on to take the (“Second”) step of full consecration necessary to their becoming members of the
Royal Priesthood-necessary to their having the right to enter into the Holy, to discern the glorious truths
represented therein, "the deep things of God," which can be seen only in the light coming from the
Golden Candlestick, symbolizing the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.
But if the word "ministers" be used in the Scriptural sense, as signifying servants-persons devoted to
the service of God, consecrated to do his will even unto death, then the term "minister" will be
applicable, not only to those of this class who do public preaching, but to those of this class also who
with different talents are serving the Lord and laying down their lives for the brethren in other ways
public and private.
Human systems, misnamed churches of Christ, have raised false standards on the subjects of the
priesthood, and have separated God's people contrary to his arrangement, into "clergy" and "laity."
Very shortly now the Lord will show how different is the divine standard of measurement; for surely then
will be demonstrated what our Lord and the apostles explicitly declared, that "not many wise men after
the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called" and accepted into his priesthood; but chiefly
"the poor of this world, rich in faith, to be heirs of the Kingdom." (1 Cor 1:26; Jas 2:5)
Amongst the Lord's priests will be found some very lightly esteemed amongst men, some who have been
mechanics or farmers or laborers or housekeepers, but whose hearts were fully devoted to the Lord, and
whose ministry consisted in doing with their might whatsoever their hands found to do, as unto the Lord-
doing good unto all men as they had opportunity, especially to the household of faith-- laying down their
lives for the brethren. When the lists shall be proclaimed doubtless the names of many highly esteemed
amongst men, the names of many great and noble and wise and learned, honored of men and expected
to be honored of the Lord, may be found wanting; because, in their love for the approval of men they
sought not exclusively the honor which cometh from God only-because either of their failure in not
exercising the proper faith in the ransom, or because of their failure to exercise the proper consecration,
--devotion of their lives to the Lord's service.
Unfortunately like many, their true devotion was not to Lord alone, to the truth, but rather to the
particular sect or organization to which they belonged.
It is to this priestly class that the Golden Text is applicable. Their thankfulness to the Lord for his mercies
and blessings leads them to count not their lives dear unto themselves, but to lay down their lives
willingly in his service. Their hearts are filled with praise, because, having made consecration of
themselves, and having entered thus the courts of the Lord to be seated with Christ in heavenly
conditions (the spirit begotten condition of the “Holy”), the heavenly light and food supplied them
enables them to rejoice exceedingly even in tribulation, even in matters which otherwise, according to the
flesh, without the strength and enlightenment of the truth, would discourage them and cause them fear.
Because they have entered into this fellowship with the Lord in his sufferings, with his spirit of
appreciation, therefore they may be joyful even in the house of their pilgrimage (even whilst residing
in these corruptible earthen vessels) --and when the pilgrimage of the present life is ended, and as new
creatures they shall pass beyond the vail, there shall be fullness of joy for them as they enter into the
joys of their Lord in the full and complete sense-made like him, seeing him as he is, and sharing his
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