THE FULFILLMENT OF THE OUTWARD APPEARANCES
In the Gospel of John the Spirit uses two things to indicate that all the things given through Moses are fulfilled in this one Person, Jesus Christ. These two things are the tabernacle in 1:14 and the Lamb of God in 1:29. The tabernacle is the central item representing the entire set of the tabernacle, including the furniture, the altar, the laver, and the outer court separation. This one word, tabernacle, indicates a whole set. The Holy Spirit did not use tabernacle as a noun but as a verb. John said that the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us (1:14). This indicates that Christ as the tabernacle is not the old one which had no life. This one has life because it can tabernacle. It does not need people to carry it; it can move by itself. It does not need people to set it up or to take it down. He Himself tabernacles. This tabernacle is a Person. This wonderful Person is actually God becoming man. This God becoming man is a living tabernacle.
In Him was life and the life was the light of men (John 1:4). In 1:29 John said, "Behold, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!" This one item represents the whole set of the priesthood. If there is a lamb there is a need for the priests to offer. This indicates the priesthood. The entire priesthood now is a living Person. This living Person is the fulfillment of both the tabernacle and the priesthood. This is why we say that the Gospel of John is the fulfillment of the tabernacle and the offerings.
We were born in the best age to see these things. The Lord Jesus said to the Jews that Abraham expected with exultation to see Christ’s day (John 8:56). In Matthew 11:11 the Lord Jesus indicated that no one in the Old Testament age was so great as John the Baptist, because John the Baptist was born later than they were. But then the Lord went on to say that he who is smallest in the kingdom is greater than John. In the same principle we have to say that those who are born in the last days of this age are greater than those born at the beginning of this age.
Through the generations the Jewish people held the outward things. One day the reality of those things came. Christ was the reality of the tabernacle and the priesthood, yet those who treasured the tabernacle and the priesthood opposed Him. Saul of Tarsus was a top example. After the genuine One came and accomplished everything, passing through incarnation, human living, crucifixion, entering into resurrection, and even into ascension, there was one, Saul of Tarsus, who was treasuring all the outward things to the uttermost. He had learned all the things concerning the outward appearance, and yet he was taking the lead to oppose the genuine One. But while he was persecuting, the genuine One came to him purposely. That turned him, not from sin or the world, but from the types, from the appearances, to Christ Himself. While the Lord Jesus was carrying out His ministry during those last three and one half years, His opposition mainly came from those who treasured and protected the outward appearances. There was a kind of transitional period during which the outward appearances of the Old Testament were all transferred into the New Testament reality.
(Concerning the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)