THE CONTENTS OF THE TABERNACLE
What are the contents of the tabernacle? From God’s side the rearing up of the tabernacle begins from the west end where the ark is. But from our side it begins at the east end where the altar is. When we come into the sphere of God’s dwelling the first thing we have to contact is the altar. The altar deals with our sin and our sins. Here we offer the sin offering to deal with our sinful nature, our indwelling sin. Here we offer the trespass offering to deal with our trespasses, transgressions, faults, offenses, and wrongdoings. Unless the sin within you and the outward sins are dealt with, you are not allowed to go further to reach God. Where is God? God is at the ark. First you were wandering out in the world, but one day you heard the gospel and desired to contact God. Once you entered into the sphere of God’s dwelling place you reached the cross typified by the altar. You heard the gospel that Jesus the Son of God died for your sins. You heard that He was the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world. There at the cross, at the altar, you said, "Lord Jesus, thank You. You are my Savior. You died for my sins. You died for me, a sinner." After such a confession you were saved, you were forgiven, you were redeemed, you were justified.
At the altar there is not only the sin offering and the trespass offering but also the burnt offering and the meal offering (Exo. 40:29). The burnt offering was only for God. It was the food to satisfy God’s hunger. You are not the only one who wants to eat. Your hunger should remind you of God’s hunger. You need to serve Him with some food by offering Christ. What does it mean to offer Christ as food to God? Actually, in our Christian experience we have realized this to some extent already. When we repented at the cross of Christ and received Him as our Savior and Redeemer, this was to take Him as our trespass offering and sin offering.
Simultaneously, we may realize that we can never please God and satisfy God. Then we would say, "Lord Jesus, You not only died for me and for my sins, but You also died to satisfy God. You have pleased God for me." This is to offer Christ as the burnt offering. I believe that a good number of newly saved persons had such a prayer.
Exodus 40 doesn’t mention all the offerings; it only mentions the burnt offering and the meal offering (v. 29). After the burnt offering there was the meal offering which was food for God and also for the serving priests. After you have been saved you are no more sinners. Rather, you are priests serving God. Outside of the outer court we were sinners. When we got into the outer court and we experienced Christ as our trespass offering and sin offering at the cross, the altar, we got saved. Right away the sinners became priests. So we need to eat the priestly food, not the secular food. We need to eat Christ. Christ is not only for God’s satisfaction, but also for our satisfaction. We eat Him, and this is the meal offering. Although you may not have received this kind of teaching in the past, you surely had the experience to some extent.
(Concerning the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)