II. THE HOLY PRIESTHOOD
First Peter 2:5 says, “You yourselves also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, into a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.’’ The holy priesthood is typified by the priesthood according to the order of Aaron. To be holy is to be separated from the common things, the worldly things, unto the holy God. Positionally or objectively, we need to be separated so that we may be filled with the holy God dispositionally or subjectively. If we are not separated positionally, we cannot come to the holy God. After we come to God, we will be filled with God and His holy nature, dispositionally. Then we will be as holy as He.
How do we come to God as a holy priest? The tabernacle and its furniture is a picture of our actual experience. The first piece of furniture in the outer court of the tabernacle is the altar. The altar signifies the cross where Christ died as our sacrifice (Heb. 9:14). When we come to God, we first need to offer Christ as our spiritual sacrifice, as typified by the five basic offerings—trespass, sin, peace, meal, and burnt offerings (Heb. 9:14). As you come to the Lord, He may expose you on something you said to your mother that was rebellious. You may pray, “Lord, forgive me for speaking in a rebellious way to my mother.’’ By praying this way, you take the Lord as your trespass offering. The Lord will forgive you of your trespass (1 Cor. 15:3; 1 John 1:9). You may continue to pray, “Oh Lord, I spoke in a rebellious way because I have a sinful rebellious nature. Thank You Lord that You have crucified my sinful nature, and were made sin on my behalf.’’ Here, you have offer the Lord as a sin offering (John 1:29; 2 Cor. 5:21). At this point you may feel peaceful because you sense that the Lord has forgiven you and has cleansed you. Then you may pray further, “Oh Lord, thank You; because You are my trespass and sin offerings, now I have peace with God and with my mother.’’ You have just offered Christ as the peace offering (John 14:27; 20:21; Eph. 2:14). You may then pray, “Lord, I am not a proper and balanced person; that is why I always argue with my mother. But I praise You, You are so fine, balanced, and pure. I thank You that You live in me, and that I can take You as my person.’’ You have just offered Christ as your meal offering (John. 11:15,35; Matt. 21:12-13; 23:33). Finally, you may pray, “Lord, in fact, I argue so much because I am for myself. If I were fully for God and His interest, I would never argue with my mother in a rebellious way. Lord, You are fully for God; You are absolutely for His heart’s desire. Lord, I am one with You, and You are one with me for God and His economy.’’ In this prayer you have offered Christ as your burnt offering (John 7:16-18).
The second piece of furniture in the outer court is the laver. The laver signifies the washing of the water in the Word (Eph. 5:26). This water is the Spirit of life. We are cleansed by His Word from the defilement of the world (John 15:3). The first piece of furniture we come to in the holy place is the show bread table. The bread signifies the Word as our food (Matt. 4:4). The second piece of furniture in the holy place is the lampstand. The lampstand signifies the light received from reading the Word (John 8:12; Psa. 119:130). These three experiences are from the Word. When we use our spirit to read the Word, the Spirit will wash us, feed us, and enlighten us.
The third piece of furniture in the holy place is the incense altar. The incense altar signifies our prayer (Rev. 5:8). As we use the Word to pray, we enter into the holy of holies.
The main piece of furniture in the holy of holies is the ark. The ark typifies Christ as the embodiment of God (Col. 2:9). When we arrive at the ark we come “to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and may find grace for timely help’’ (Heb. 4:16). This is where we fellowship with God, and where God fills us with Himself to transform us. This is the place where we want to abide. By abiding in the holy of holies, we will know what the Lord desires and what He is burdened for, that we may pray accordingly.
Although we have described the process in a step-by-step way, our experience may not follow this sequence. Do not be too concerned; simply come to the Lord by prayer and with His Word. The Lord will guide us in our experience of Him, until we are saturated with Him.
(Lesson Book, Level 5: The Church—The Vision and Building Up of the Church, Chapter 19, by Witness Lee)