THE TABERNACLE AND THE LAMB
Let us go on from the mysteries of the Word and the tabernacle to the Lamb of God. According to John 1:29, John the Baptist said, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” John, of course, did not see a lamb; he saw the Man Jesus walking. But he declared that this One is the Lamb of God. This also is a mystery.
In John 1:1 we first have God and the Logos, the Word. Then in John 1:14 we have the tabernacle. In the Life-study of Exodus we studied the tabernacle in great detail. The tabernacle in Exodus is a type of God’s dwelling place. In the beginning was the Word, the Word was God, and this Word, which is God, became flesh. This flesh is the tabernacle. Hallelujah, we have God! We have the tabernacle!
Once we have the tabernacle, the next crucial matter is to behold the Lamb of God. The Lamb of God represents all the offerings, for this Lamb is the leading offering. Therefore, in John 1 we have God, we have God’s dwelling place, the tabernacle, and we have all the offerings.
The tabernacle signifies that it is possible to enter into God, or we may say that God is enterable. This is clearly indicated by the fact that the tabernacle, which signifies God incarnate, has an entrance. Therefore, the tabernacle with its entrance indicates that God Himself is enterable. But how can we enter into God as the tabernacle? According to the typology in the Old Testament, we enter the tabernacle by means of the offerings. In the Old Testament the offerings were the means by which the children of Israel could enter the tabernacle. Without the offerings, no one was allowed to come into the tabernacle. This indicates that apart from the offerings required by God, no one can enter into Him. This is the reason that after the tabernacle in John 1:14 we have the Lamb of God in 1:29 as the unique representative of all the offerings.
John 1:29 says that the Lamb of God takes away the sin of the world. This means that Christ as the Lamb of God takes away sin from the human race. The phrase “from the world” in this verse actually means from mankind. Through Satan sin has entered into man. Satan injected sin, his poisonous nature, into the human race. But the Lamb of God has come to take away this sin from the world, from mankind. Therefore, through this unique offering it is possible for fallen human beings to enter into God.
THE DOVE, A SYMBOL OF THE SPIRIT
Following the Lamb, we have the dove, which symbolizes the Spirit. First, the Word, the Logos, becomes the tabernacle. Then the very One who is the tabernacle is also the offerings represented by the Lamb. Now we must go on to see that the One who is the tabernacle and the offerings has become the life-giving Spirit signified by the dove. First Corinthians 15:45b says, “The last Adam became a life-giving Spirit.” This life-giving Spirit is the dove in John 1:32.
In the Life-study of Exodus we have seen that after the tabernacle and the offerings we have the ointment. The ointment in Exodus 30 typifies the life-giving Spirit. Hence, both the ointment and the dove symbolize the Spirit.
It is important to understand why the ointment is recorded after the tabernacle and the offerings and why the dove is mentioned after the tabernacle and the Lamb. The reason for this sequence is that first we need the incarnation, the crucifixion, and the resurrection. It was through resurrection that Christ became the life-giving Spirit. This Spirit is symbolized by the dove and by the anointing oil. This should help us to understand why the dove, a sign of the Spirit, must come after the tabernacle and the Lamb, the unique offering.
The symbols in the Bible are very meaningful. This is true in particular of the Lamb and the dove in John 1. A lamb is something on earth, and a dove soars in the heavens. Christ as the Lamb was a man walking on earth. But when He became the life-giving Spirit, He became the Spirit in the heavens signified by the dove.
Thus far in John 1 we have seen four aspects of one wonderful Person. In eternity past Christ was the Logos, the Word. Then in time He became the tabernacle and also the offerings. After becoming all the offerings, He became the life-giving Spirit, the dove from heaven. I am pointing out the mysteries of the Logos, the tabernacle, the Lamb, and the dove in John chapter one. These are not ordinary words; they are signs. The Logos, the Word, is a sign. Likewise, the tabernacle, the Lamb, and the dove all are signs.
(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)