After pointing out these abominations, the Lord told Ezekiel how to instruct the people. He did not tell Ezekiel to teach God’s people concerning the law and the Ten Commandments as He had Moses. Rather, He told Ezekiel to show God’s house to the people (43:10). From now on, it is not a matter of the dispensation of the law, but of the dispensation of God’s house. To keep the law is not good enough. You have to keep the form, the fashion, the ordinances, the statutes, the laws, the comings in and the goings out related to the house. Now your behavior must be according to God’s house. You should not behave yourself merely according to the Ten Commandments. Now you have to behave yourself according to God’s house. In Christianity, the lower teachings always teach people how to behave and what to do and what not to do. They have many rules of conduct. Then, in Christianity, there are also the higher teachings, teaching people to be spiritual. This is an improvement, but the Lord did not tell Ezekiel to show the law or the spiritual principles to the house of Israel. No! He said show My house to Israel. Today, it is not a matter of behaving ourselves or even a matter of being spiritual. It is a matter of fitting into the house. It is a matter of how we conduct ourselves in God’s house. The Lord told Ezekiel to show them the house. The house must be their regulation. The Lord charged Ezekiel to show them the form, the fashion, even the comings in and the goings out, the statutes, and the laws.
Suppose a certain person gets saved. Before he was saved, he treated his parents and his sister poorly, but after he got saved, he learned how to treat them well. He also learned how to have good behavior and good conduct before his parents. Later, he learned to be spiritual, to reckon that he was dead, and so forth. He is good in conduct, he is even spiritual in some of the spiritual things, but he is very independent. He is so independent that he will not pray with you or even with his sister. Though he is nice, good, and in a sense spiritual, he is extremely independent. This means he is a person who knows nothing about the house; he cares nothing for the church. Whatever he does is absolutely for his own individuality; nothing is for the body, nothing is for the church, and nothing is for the Lord’s corporate expression.
If such a person is measured by the house, he is short of the windows, that is, the life-giving Spirit. He needs to call on the Lord: "O Lord Jesus! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! Jesus is Lord!" These are the windows. If he would call on the name of the Lord, he would be full of windows. Furthermore, this brother needs to be checked and compared with the doors of the house. It may be that he has more than two hundred doors. He has many exits out of the church life. Today he comes into the church life; tomorrow he goes out. After two days, he comes back. This means he has many doors. But the temple does not have that many doors. When we enter the church life, we must come in through one gate. After we enter the one gate, we progress further inward, and we ascend higher. When we reach the corner on the third floor at the rear, we cannot escape. There are no gates to get out. But this brother has many gates. He has no windows, but many gates. He would never shout, "O Lord Jesus, Hallelujah!" But he has so many doors to get out of the church life. We all have to be checked by the building in our comings in and goings out.
In the temple, the number six was used many times, signifying the humanity of the Lord Jesus. It was used with the wall; it was used with the entry; it was used with so many portions of the temple. We have to check our humanity by the building. We must take the Lord Jesus as our humanity.
In the building, there is not one independent piece. This is a very important point! Every piece of the material has been built in. Every piece is related to another piece. Not one piece is independent. But what about you? Have you been built into the building? Does your form and your fashion fit into the building? Do you say, "I like this, or I don’t like that"? The question is not do you like it, but does it fit into the church. From now on, the house of Israel should behave themselves, not according to the law, but according to God’s house. From now on, we also must behave ourselves not according to certain teachings, but according to the church. The church has to be our regulation. We have to be regulated by the fashion of the church, the form of the church, by the comings in and the goings out of the church, by the ordinances and the statutes and the laws of the church. We should not be God’s people according to the law of Moses; we must be God’s people according to the form of the temple in Ezekiel. The Lord told Ezekiel, "Son of man, show them the form of the house."
The Lord’s concern today is not the law, but the house. His concern is not spirituality, but the church. We must fashion ourselves according to the church. Today the Lord only cares for the church, for the place of His throne, for the place of the soles of His feet, for the place where He can dwell for rest and satisfaction. Because the Lord only cares for His house, we also must care for His house. Do not care merely for the teachings from the Bible; do not care merely for the inner life; do not care merely for speaking in tongues or pray-reading; care absolutely for the church. Make yourself according to God’s house, the church. The proper church life is the greatest test of real spirituality. If you cannot pass the test of the church life, your spirituality is not genuine. We have to see that the requirement of the indwelling Christ is not according to the law, but according to His house. Everyone must be measured and checked according to the measurement of God’s house. We are not under the dispensation of the law of Moses; we are under the dispensation of the house. This is the age of the church; it is not the age merely of being spiritual. Now is the time for the church life. If what we are and what we do does not fit into the church, it amounts to nothing in the eyes of the Lord and is even an abomination to Him. It is a kind of whoredom. We have to fashion ourselves according to the church. We have to allow the church to measure us and check us in every aspect.
After the temple, we come to the altar (43:18-27). The altar was the place for God’s people to be redeemed and consecrated. It took seven days for people to be purified, offering a sin offering with the redeeming blood every day. Then, on the eighth day, the day of resurrection, they had to consecrate themselves by offering a burnt offering. Following the burnt offering they enjoyed the peace offering as a feast between the Lord and His people. After the purification, the cleansing on the altar for seven days, on the eighth day in resurrection, the Lord’s people were accepted by Him. They became a satisfaction to Him and also had a feast with Him. In the church life today, we need the purification and we need the consecration of the altar. We have to offer ourselves to the Lord as a burnt offering, meaning we are absolutely for the Lord. First, we must be cleansed, purged, and purified, and then we must consecrate ourselves to the Lord. To keep the temple, we need the altar. To preserve the church life, we need the purification and the sanctification of the cross.
The purification needed a time period of seven days, indicating that the purification cannot be done quickly (43:26). It takes a period of time for us to be purified and cleansed. We need a period of time to be kept away from all the negative things. Then on the eighth day, in resurrection, we must offer ourselves to the Lord as a burnt offering absolutely for His satisfaction. Following this, we can have a feast with the Lord, enjoying all the riches of Christ in the presence of God (43:27). From the eighth day onward, we can have a feast with the Lord.
The law of the house could be summed up in two points: it must be upon the top of the mountain, and it must be most holy (43:12). The church life must be high, on top of the mountain all the time. It also must be holy, separated, and sanctified from anything worldly. We must check ourselves by these two points—is our church life on top of the mountain, and is our church life most holy?
(The Visions of Ezekiel, Chapter 21, by Witness Lee)