THE BOILING PLACES
Furthermore, attached to the enjoyment of Christ in the outer court were the four boiling places in the four corners. This means that, by God’s grace, the preparation of Christ for others to enjoy was spreading to every corner of the court. Every corner had a kitchen which was cooking Christ for others’ enjoyment. Praise the Lord! The local churches are spreading to every corner of this country. Every corner of this country needs a boiling place to prepare Christ for peoples’ enjoyment.
The measurement of the corner chambers was thirty by forty cubits. Thus, we have a new number, forty, which is the number of testing and trial. The people of Israel were tested in the wilderness for forty years and the Lord Jesus was tested in the wilderness for forty days. Apart from the Lord’s suffering and trials, He could not have been prepared for us to enjoy. When the sisters prepare food in the kitchen, the food suffers. Christ passed through some suffering for our enjoyment. While He was on the earth and while He was dying on the cross, He was under the cooking and suffering for the sake of our eating.
At this point in the building we have the number thirty mentioned four times. There were thirty sides to the posts, thirty windows, thirty chambers, and now thirty cubits. This means that we must pass through Christ and then we must enjoy Christ. Whatever we enjoy of Christ must have been cooked; that is, it must be according to our experience.
THE INNER COURT
Another Set of Stairs
From the outer court we pass into the inner court. As we enter, we also ascend higher. At the entrance to the inner court there was another set of stairs, this one consisting of eight steps. Outside on the street there were seven steps leading up to the gate of the outer court, and then there were eight steps bringing us to the inner gate of the inner court. This means that the more inward we travel, the higher we become. After we pass through the inner gate, we are fifteen steps higher than the people outside the wall. The number seven means perfection and completion, and the number eight indicates resurrection. This means if we would get into the inner court, we must be in resurrection. All the natural life and the natural man has to be repudiated and crossed out. We must be absolutely in resurrection. The staircase is in resurrection. Then we experience Christ again by passing through another gate. The second gate is not a different Christ, but simply more experience of Christ. This ushers us into the inner court.
A Place for Washing the Burnt Offerings
In the outer court there was some enjoyment of the Lord through the boiling and eating, but there was no service, no ministering to the Lord. When we come into the gate of the inner court, the ministering begins immediately. There is a chamber, probably within the north gate, for the priests to wash the burnt offering (40:38). It is not a place to kill or skin or to cut in pieces, but to wash the burnt offerings. The burnt offerings needed four steps of preparation: they were killed, skinned, cut into pieces, and finally, they were washed. After being washed, they were ready to be burnt. Thus, washing the burnt offering was the last step of the preparation. This chamber was not for killing, for skinning, or cutting in pieces, but for washing the burnt offering. This means at this point we are ready to be a burnt offering for God. We are now in resurrection and at a higher level; we are ready to be absolute for God. Only at this point are we really for God. In the outer court there was only the enjoyment of Christ, but in the inner court there was much improvement and progress. We are becoming more inward and also higher. The priests were ready to offer the burnt offerings, meaning that they were ready to be absolute for the Lord.
Also, within the north gate there were eight tables upon which the offerings were slain (40:39-41). Four were on one side and four were on the other side, making a total of eight. This was the real service of the priest. Today we all are the priests. According to our experience, though, when we were in the outer court, we were still only the people; we were not yet the priests. Only after we get higher and more inward, having the maturity in life, are we ready to be a burnt offering. At that point we can actually serve the Lord and minister to Him. At that point we become the priests and no longer simply the people. We become the priests ready to serve the Lord. There were eight tables signifying resurrection. The eight tables were divided into two groups of four and also into four groups of two. These numbers show the creature is in resurrection as a testimony. Four signifies the creature, eight signifies resurrection, and two signifies testimony. Therefore, we have the creature in resurrection as a kind of testimony.
The tables are one and one-half cubits square and one cubit high (40:42). The height of one cubit signifies the only, the unique, God. By adding the one and one-half cubits of the length to the one and one-half cubits of the breadth, we have three cubits. This indicates the Triune God in resurrection. He is the Triune God who was divided by His death. As a creature signified by the number four, He was split, yet He was resurrected, and now in resurrection He is a testimony. All our service and ministry must be in the Triune God, who was split and is now in resurrection. He is the living testimony as our ministry and our service.
Further into the court, there were two more chambers, one on the north side and another on the south side. The chamber in the inner court on the north side is for the priest who keeps the altar (40:46). The chamber on the south side is for the priest who keeps the house (40:45). The priests were divided into two groups. The first group took care of the temple, and the other took care of the altar. There were two separate chambers for these two groups of priests. This means that at this point, their service and ministry was settled, fixed, stable, and steady. They were fully qualified and steadfast in their ministry.
(The Visions of Ezekiel, Chapter 17, by Witness Lee)