II. A COMPARISON
Let us now go on to make a comparison between certain aspects of Exodus and Leviticus.
A. God Speaking on Mount Sinai and God Speaking in the Tabernacle
There are some significant differences between Exodus and Leviticus. The first difference we would point out concerns the place of God’s speaking. In Exodus God spoke on Mount Sinai, which is a bare mountain; in Leviticus God speaks in the tabernacle, which is a building.
At this point we need to ask a question: Where is God in the book of Leviticus? In Genesis God, generally speaking, was in the heavens. At times He came to earth for a visit, but then He returned to the heavens. In Exodus God was on Mount Sinai. In Leviticus God is in the tabernacle, in the tent of meeting. In Genesis God was in the heavens. In Exodus God came down to stay on Mount Sinai to do a work to build up His habitation on earth. In the last chapter of Exodus, the tabernacle was erected, and the furniture was arranged within it. Then God came into the tabernacle to dwell in it. Now in Leviticus God is in the tabernacle, which is the tent of meeting, and speaks in the tent of meeting.
The first and last verses of Leviticus indicate that the entire book is a record of God’s speaking. The speaking that began in 1:1 took place not in the heavens nor on Mount Sinai but in the tabernacle. God’s speaking today is also in His tabernacle, and this tabernacle is the church. According to the principle of the typology here, God speaks in the church as His tabernacle, the tent of meeting. This tent of meeting is the oracle, the place of God’s speaking.
In the church God is always speaking. The extent to which a congregation is the church actually and practically depends on how much of God’s speaking is there. If a certain group does not have God’s speaking, it is hard to regard such a group as a church.
According to typology, where the tent of meeting was, there was God’s speaking. The children of Israel camped in thousands of tents, but God’s speaking was only in one tent, a unique tent—the tent of meeting.
The one sign of the tent of meeting was God’s speaking. The tent itself and all its furnishings could be copied or imitated, but this is not true of God’s speaking. God’s speaking cannot be imitated, copied, or duplicated. The principle is the same today. Many things in the church can be imitated, copied, or duplicated by others. But one thing cannot be imitated, and that is God’s speaking. God’s speaking is unique. It depends solely on God and not on man.
Suppose that one day Aaron became unhappy with Moses, who was taking the lead in the tent of meeting, and gathered a group of Israelites and made another tabernacle. In every respect Aaron’s tabernacle was a duplicate of the original. In color, material, design, and workmanship the two tabernacles were identical. If you had been there, to which tabernacle would you have gone—to the one set up by Moses or to the one set up by Aaron? You might say, “I would never go to Aaron’s tabernacle; I would only go to Moses’ tabernacle.” This answer is wrong. The correct way to answer this question is to say, “I would never go to a tabernacle where there is not God’s speaking. I would go only to the tabernacle where God speaks. Actually, I would not go to a tabernacle—I would go to God’s speaking. Without God’s speaking, the tabernacle means nothing.”
The preciousness of the tabernacle was not the gold in it. There was more gold in Egypt than in the tabernacle. The preciousness of the tabernacle was God’s speaking. The same is true of the church today. The preciousness of the church is God’s speaking or, as it may be better to say, the speaking God. Praise the Lord that in the church we have God’s speaking! This speaking is a treasure to us.
(Life-Study of Leviticus, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)