Would you say that the churches today are in Corinthians? Are we enjoying Christ as the Passover, yet still in Egypt? Or we may have made our exodus from Egypt and are now in the wilderness, receiving revelation, building the tabernacle, and feasting on manna. Surely it is good to have the tabernacle as God’s building, yet the tabernacle lacked solidity; it was portable with no foundation. There was no stone, only wood, in its construction. The wilderness had no supply for building the temple. Neither manna nor the living water could be used for building material. Only in the good land were there materials suitable for the temple’s construction. Are we wandering in the wilderness of the soul, enjoying manna from heaven and water from the rock, and carrying a floating church life with no solid foundation?
Or, are the churches today in Colossians and Ephesians? Are we walking about in a spacious land, full of unsearchable riches? Is the church life built up, as solid as the temple?
We hesitate to evaluate the churches from this standpoint, but at least we may say that we are on the way to the good land and are not satisfied to remain in the tabernacle church life. Within us there is a hunger and thirst for something higher in the church life than we have yet experienced. The dissatisfaction which we sense is really not ours but the Lord’s. He within us is aspiring to have the temple church life in the good land. He would have us out of Corinth and into Ephesus! out of the wilderness and into the good land! out of the soul and into the spirit!
During this interim stage, let us go on. We are well able to enter the good land and possess it! Our way is by means of the ark with the tabernacle. Without the ark and the tabernacle the children of Israel could not have succeeded in entering the good land. You remember that before they crossed the Jordan River, the ark preceded them and stayed in the river bed until all of them had crossed over (Josh. 3:14-17). By virtue of the ark and the tabernacle, they entered the good land.
In one way we are happy to be in the church life; in another, we long for something richer. We must go on by virtue of what we have. We do have the ark in the tabernacle church life. By this we can enter a higher level, the good land, where the temple can be built up. May we together press on toward this.
(Life Messages, Vol. 2 (#42-75), Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)