GOD’S EXPRESSION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT
The New Testament began not with nine great men but with one unique man. This man is wonderful. He is both God and man. He is God in the heavens becoming a man on this earth. So this man joined the heavens to the earth and brought the earth up to join the heavens. He was surely the ladder which Jacob saw in his dream (Gen. 28:12). This ladder is the very gate of heaven and also the house of God, Bethel. While He was on this earth He was tabernacling. The tabernacle, the first stage of God’s dwelling place in Exodus, was not grounded, but was traveling. When the Lord Jesus was on this earth He also was traveling. He traveled from Galilee to Judea, from Nazareth to Bethlehem, from Jerusalem to Samaria. He was really a traveling tabernacle. But He was God’s dwelling place. As God’s temple He was destroyed, and He raised Himself up in the way of enlargement. In His resurrection He raised us up with Himself. Don’t think that you were saved in the twentieth century. You were resurrected in the first century when Christ was resurrected. All of us were resurrected with Him and became the temple.
The temple was on a bigger scale than the tabernacle. When the Lord Jesus was the tabernacle traveling on the earth, He only traveled in a small country, the Holy Land. He was limited. He was the infinite God in eternity, yet He became a finite man. But after He raised Himself up in an enlarged way, that tabernacle became a temple. This temple today is all over the globe. This is the church. In the four Gospels, God was manifested in the tabernacle. But from Acts to Revelation God is expressed in a temple. So the New Testament is also easy to remember. It contains a unique man who was God’s tabernacle and the church which is the enlargement of this unique man as God’s dwelling place on the earth.
THE CONTENTS OF GOD’S EXPRESSION IN ITS MODEL
The nine great men in the Old Testament issued in God’s dwelling place for God’s expression. But that was still not the real thing; that was just a model. In the last chapter we pointed out that the Old Testament and the New Testament reveal the same thing. The Old Testament reveals the model, while the New Testament reveals the reality.
In Exodus 40:17-33 there is a depiction of all the details of this model. In these seventeen verses one clause has been repeated seven times: "As the Lord commanded Moses." This means that the model is of seven sections. Whenever one section is completed in its rearing up, that section ends with this word, "As the Lord commanded Moses." The first section is that of rearing up or erecting the tabernacle. First the foundation was laid, not with cement blocks, but with one hundred silver sockets, each of which was made of one talent of silver. A talent weighs over one hundred pounds. It may be that at least four persons were needed to carry the sockets. This means four hundred young men were needed. They must be matured, otherwise how could they carry the silver sockets as the foundation?
(Concerning the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)