PICTURES OF INVISIBLE THINGS
The Triune God is the reality of the universe and also the reality of the tabernacle with its furniture and utensils. Many teachers of the Bible have pointed out that the tabernacle with its furniture and utensils is a shadow or picture of invisible things. As such a picture, the tabernacle points to the divine mysteries.
In the books of Exodus and Leviticus there are many types of Christ. Dr. Scofield once said that we can see Christ on every page of the book of Leviticus. The tabernacle and its furniture, the offerings, and all the priestly garments are pictures of Christ. For example, every aspect of the clothing worn by the high priest—the ephod, the inner robe, and the turban—is a type of Christ. Because Christ is divine and mysterious, God in His wisdom used the types in the Old Testament as pictures of Christ.
All these messages are concerned with the fulfillment of the tabernacle and the offerings in the writings of John. Throughout years of study and experience, I have come to realize that the tabernacle and the offerings, which are pictures of Christ in the Old Testament, are fulfilled in the New Testament. This fulfillment is clearly recorded in the writings of John. We can see more of the fulfillment of the tabernacle and the offerings in the writings of John than in the other New Testament books.
John’s writings are of three categories: his Gospel, his Epistles, and his Revelation. In these writings we see signs that point to the fulfillment of the tabernacle and the offerings. For this reason, in these messages we are giving special attention to the signs in the Gospel of John.
THE FULFILLMENT OF THE TABERNACLE
We have seen that in chapter one of John’s Gospel we have the signs of the tabernacle and the Lamb of God. John 1:14 says that the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us. In the book of Revelation the Apostle John also speaks concerning the tabernacle. For example, Revelation 7:15 says, “Therefore they are before the throne of God, and serve Him day and night in His temple; and He who sits upon the throne shall spread His tabernacle over them.” A literal translation of the Greek words rendered “shall spread His tabernacle over them” would be “shall tabernacle over them.” Christ is the tabernacle of God, and the New Jerusalem as the ultimate enlargement of Christ will be God’s eternal tabernacle, where all God’s redeemed ones will dwell with Him forever. God will overshadow them with Himself as embodied in Christ. As the embodiment of God, Christ will be their tabernacle.
In Revelation 21:2 and 3 we see that the New Jerusalem will be the eternal tabernacle: “And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He shall tabernacle with them, and they shall be His peoples, and God Himself shall be with them.” Here we see that, as God’s habitation, the New Jerusalem will be the tabernacle of God with men for eternity. The tabernacle made by Moses was a type of this tabernacle (Exo. 25:8-9; Lev. 26:11). First, that type was fulfilled in Christ as God’s tabernacle among men, and it will be fulfilled in the fullest way in the New Jerusalem. From these verses we see the fulfillment of the tabernacle in the writings of John.
THE FULFILLMENT OF THE OFFERINGS
In John’s writings we also have the fulfillment of the offerings. John 1:29 says, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” In the Gospel of John, the Lamb of God is the aggregate, the totality, of all the offerings. Hence, in John’s Gospel we have the Lamb as the fulfillment of the Old Testament offerings.
The book of Revelation also has much to say concerning Christ as the Lamb. Everyone who reads Revelation should pay attention to this extraordinary expression. In Revelation 5:6 we see “a Lamb standing as having been slain”; in 6:1, “the Lamb opened one of the seven seals”; in 7:17 we are told that “the Lamb in the midst of the throne shall shepherd them and shall guide them to springs of waters of life”; in 12:11 it is said that “they overcame him because of the blood of the Lamb”; in 13:8 we read of “the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world”; in 14:1 we have “the Lamb standing on mount Zion”; and in 22:1 we are shown the river of water of life “proceeding out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. Again and again, the book of Revelation speaks concerning the Lamb. For eternity, the Lamb will be sitting on the throne of God in the New Jerusalem. Therefore, in the writings of John we see the Lamb as the fulfillment of all the offerings.
(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 25, by Witness Lee)