The Boards of The Tabernacle
"Pillars in the Ecclesia" (Gal. 2:9).
UPON drawing aside the entrance curtain, and entering the Tabernacle one would see that the curtain, the Mishkan and Ohel coverings, were all supported by the gold-covered Shittim wood boards, described earlier, that formed the North, South and West walls of the Tabernacle.
The Tabernacle as such pointed forward, as a figure for the time then present" (Heb. 9:9) to the "greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands" (v.11).
Isaiah (ch. 53:2) declared of the Lord Jesus Christ that he "grew up - - as a tender plant and as a root out of a dry ground" - a description of the spiritual condition of Israel when the "tender plant" grew up in its midst. He declared of himself when 12 years of age, that he "must be in his Father's house" (Luke 2:49 R.V).
Isaiah proceeds to describe the Lord's preparation as Yahweh's dwelling place in Israel. He describes how he was cut down, having been specially selected and prepared human nature (Isa. 53:3-8). His willing submission to the Divine Hand that guided his testing trials (e.g. Matt. 4:1-10; Luke 4:1-13) saw the removal of all outward display of, or tendency towards, fleshly-mindedness. Instead there was manifested the faith that had been subjected to the heat of affliction and, being tried, was a display of the character of Yahweh dwelling in the Son (John 1:14). The testing of the Lord was the equivalent of the Tabernacle "pillars" being measured - a Scriptural term for the measuring out of Divine punishment or correction, whichever should be appropriate (cp. Rev. 11:1,2).
Such has been the lot of Yahweh's chosen children in all ages, as He has shaped them to the Divine pattern, seen so gloriously in His own submissive and responsive son.
The Apostle Paul referred to Peter, James and John in Gal. 2:9, as "pillars" in the Ecclesia. The members of the Ecclesia since that time, have faithfully followed the apostolic pattern and are today also "pillars" in Yahweh's dwelling place. Each one is to be seen in the position into which they have been called or placed. There are not to be any absent when the Ecclesial "sanctuary" is assembled (ct. Heb. 10:25). It is at those times and occasions that the fullest possible reflection of Divine Glory becomes manifest, as will be better demonstrated a little later in this book.
Not only are we assembled together at such times as many parts of the one body (1 Cor. 12:12-14), but we are associated together for a common purpose in mutual co-operation. There ought to be no need for legislation to effect these necessary features of the Ecclesia; indeed the observance of the pattern given to Moses in the mount, is quite adequate for the purpose before us all - that of becoming Yahweh's habitation.
John, in Rev. 3:12 records the promise that certain would become "pillars" in the Kingdom. Notice how the Spirit words the matter:
Those who "overcome" - The "wood" of this fleshly nature is overcome, or cut off, by a circumcision of the Spirit-Word. It is then to be covered by the gold of a faith that has been well tried; of Divine Character displayed; of Divine Nature to be shared.
"Will be made pillars" - i.e. A pillar in the Ecclesia is one who supports or holds up and displays the Truth in doctrine and practice, manifesting Divine characteristics thereby.
"In the temple of my God" - The temple of living stones will be revealed in its glory in the Kingdom. Hence in this anti-typical manner the activities of the saints in the Age to come are foretold.
The foundation in Christ upon which Yahweh developed the manifestation of His righteous character, was that of His son's sacrificial life and death. His death was for the manifestation of Yahweh's salvation both for himself and his people (Heb. 9:12; Phil. 2:9; Heb. 13:20).
The same foundation is the basis of our membership of the Ecclesial Sanctuary and of our manifestation of Divine righteousness. The silver stands for our Heavenly Father's purchase of the many parts of His Ecclesia (Acts 20:28) because we are His "purchased possession" (Eph. 1:14). His atonement forms the common basis of our association together in the Ecclesia; of our sharing together of Divine manifestation. As the tenons took hold of the sockets, we are to take hold of the principles of the Atonement.
The two sockets for each Pillar could represent the two aspects of the Gospel (Acts 8:12): the things "Concerning the Kingdom of God" and the things "concerning the Name of Jesus Christ".
The Golden Bars
"Joined together and compacted" (Eph. 4:16).
THE North, South and West walls of the Sanctuary were provided with five shittim wood, gold covered bars which traversed the entire length of each wall. Four of the bars were apparently visible being fastened to the pillars forming each wall by golden rings (v.34). The middle bar (v.33) was invisible, being made to transversely "shoot through" the boards forming each wall. Exod. 40:18 describes the assembly of the walls when these bars were "put in".
This assembly arrangement ensured that each wall was securely held together so that the whole structure was strong and stood firmly erect. The bars held each member of the wall in place and prevented any from being in the wrong position or even absent. The center bar particularly kept each in its true alignment with the remainder of the assembly.
Thus the pattern shown to Moses in the mount provides a very clear illustration of our part in the Ecclesia. We are bound together by uniting principles.
Paul reminded the brethren of Colosse that the Truth was designed to unite all members together, linking them with "the Head" from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God" (Col. 2:19). He brought home the lesson of the Tabernacle by teaching that members of an ecclesia are "knit together" by "joints" and "bands" as the Tabernacle was with its golden bars. Also Eph. 4:16.
"Joints" (Gk Haphtie) denotes a ligament for fastening and holding together; while "bands" (Gk Sundesmos) represents a joint tie and, figuratively, an impediment (that is, to individual freedom of actions or inclinations). What a very practical illustration of the effect that the Truth and our association together has upon us as members of the body of Christ! The inclinations and dispositions towards the desires and pleasures of thc natural man are restrained by the principles of righteousness and faith.
There is a close compaction of members of the true Body one with the other. There are none missing from the assembly such as those who concerned Paul when he wrote Heb. 10:25 because they had "forsaken the assembling of themselves together". Rather all are so closely united that he calls them "knit" together (Col. 2:19). The spiritual, unseen, power of the Word of God that was seen in His son, runs through each member, and thus in each assembly, like the hidden bar. Its effect can be seen, however, in the union of member with member and in the strong stability in truth and faith, of each assembly. There are those who, like the Shittim-wood gold-covered bars, help to hold the assembly together in a close, co-operative association, with each member responding to his responsibilities and functions in upholding the character and work of thc covering, the Lord Jesus Christ; and, at the same time, showing the true faith that has been tested under trial and affliction.
One of the effects of such oneness and closeness of association is that outside light is unable to penetrate into the Ecclesial Holy Place. The light necessary in the Ecclesia is that of the Knowledge of Yahweh's Word. Knowledge of the world is in no way necessary or even helpful as far as Ecclesial functioning and illumination is concerned.
The Holy Place
"And all the wise men, wrought all the work of the sanctuary" (Exod. 36:4).
THE only entrance into the rectangular (3O feet x l5 feet x l5 feet high) Holy Place was obtained through the curtained doorway which has already been described, These curtains (Exod. 26:36,37) were suspended by rings of gold upon 5 pillars of gold-covered shittim wood, each of which stood upon sockets of brass (Exod. 26:37). This was the last occasion upon which brass was visible on the inside of the structure. Two other metals now predominated: gold and silver. The boards that formed the north and south walls together with the furniture were covered with gold; the sockets that formed the bases of the walls were of silver. The only other material visible to the eyes were the beautiful colorful curtains at the eastern and western ends of the Holy Place, and its overhead covering of curtains.
The priests entered the Holy Place to show their daily dedication to Yahweh before Whom they presented themselves for service, praise and fellowship. Here they were separated (or sanctified) from the rest of the encampment and the outside world, and so were free of distractions that would otherwise cause digressions from the things that belonged to Yahweh.
This part of the Tabernacle is the most important for this present time for the children of God. It certainly is the most significant because of the many lessons it contains for us. An examination of the Holy Place will substantiate this, in the following ways:
Saints must now conform their life and actions to the light of the knowledge of the Word of God; only in this state can we acceptably please Him.
Just as the Tabernacle was "measured", so are those whom it represents: the saints in all ages. They have been measured with the rod of affliction (Rev. 11:1) but, in the Age to come (the revealed heavenly or exalted places in the Kingdom - Rev. 4:1), they will be counted (or measured) as the perfected Temple or dwelling place of Yahweh.
Gold represents faith, which having been tried in the fire of trial and affliction (Rev. 3:18), will find all the dross of fleshly lusts which would tarnish the character removed, and thus is enabled to reflect the character of God and the light of His Truth.
Faith is essential for all those who will find an abiding place in the one body of Christ, the Temple of God (Heb. 11:6). Just how essential is seen in the vision recorded in Rev. 21:3-18 of the Holy City into which those who lacked faith (described in v.8 as "fearful and unbelieving") will not enter.
In this "Holy Place" state there is no directly-manifested glory of Yahweh. That is veiled off by the veil of the flesh, or our human nature. The only light here is the knowledge of the glory of God, coming from the Lampstand of the Word of God which, being seven branched (or seven-fold), is perfect for the purpose for which it was Divinely designed in preparing us for the future. The knowledge (light) of the outside world is not only not necessary but is excluded from the Divine arrangement.
That is the state at which we arrive in the development described in Romans 5:1-2.
The surety of the fulfillment of this hope is found in the one who is now in the actual "heavenly places" at his Father's "right hand" (Eph. 1:20).
Read also Eureka Vol. 2, p.355 par. 2.
It is our present duty to maintain the holiness or separateness, of the "Temple" Ecclesia (1 Cor. 3:17; Rev. 15:5-8).
Thus the Ecclesia, through its members, is able to reflect the "truth which is in Christ Jesus", through the light of Divine Knowledge shining upon and through the tried faith of every part of the Ecclesia.