THE TYPES OF THE RECOVERY OF THE CHURCH
In the Old Testament, there are two types: one is the tabernacle, and the other is the temple. Many people can speak on the tabernacle; there are at least one hundred books on this subject. But it is difficult to find a book on the temple. Men pay attention to the type of the tabernacle, but neglect the type of the temple. They think that the tabernacle and the temple are more or less the same thing, and that they are repetitive types. Actually, the two types are entirely different. The tabernacle was something temporary and on the periphery. The temple was something eternal and in the center. The tabernacle was in the wilderness, and the temple was built by Solomon. The tabernacle in the wilderness typifies the condition of the church on earth, and the temple in the kingdom typifies the eternal condition of the church before God. If we see this light, we will be very clear concerning today’s situation.
God had obtained a tabernacle in Exodus already. This tabernacle followed the Israelites wherever they went. Later the tabernacle settled in Shiloh (Josh. 18:1). But the children of Israel stumbled and sinned. They had no king among them, and everyone acted according to that which was right in his own eyes (Judg. 21:25). Later the Philistines came, and they became enemies of the Israelites. Then Samuel, Saul, and David were raised up. At that time, the two sons of Eli sinned, and the Israelites were defeated before the Philistines. The people tried to take the ark out. The ark was the ark of the testimony, which was also the ark of grace. The Israelites thought that the ark could help them. However, God did not help them, and the ark left the tabernacle and was moved into the house of Dagon. God did not try to protect the Israelites for the sake of the ark, nor did He need the Israelites themselves to protect the ark. After the ark left the tabernacle, it never went back to it again. It remained outside the tabernacle until Solomon finished the temple, when it was moved into the temple. Jeremiah 7:12 says that at the time of Jeremiah men were still going to Shiloh. Because the ark had left the tabernacle, God left the tabernacle also. The ark had turned its back on the tabernacle and was facing the temple. This is the condition of the church today.
At the time of Solomon, the king went to Gibeon to offer up sacrifices. Solomon prayed for wisdom in Gibeon, and his wisdom was unmatched by anyone else. The Bible says that Solomon went up and offered a thousand burnt offerings (1 Kings 3:4). Second Chronicles 1 tells us that there was still the brazen altar, and there were priests at Gibeon (vv. 3-5). But the ark was no longer inside the tabernacle. The ark had turned its back on the tabernacle and had turned toward the temple. This is the testimony of Christ. It is also our way today. Our way is the way of following the ark; it is not toward Gibeon, but toward the temple.
Today, God is preparing all kinds of gold, silver, wood, stones, brass, and iron. One day, when the time comes, Solomon will appear. On that day, no one will hear the sound of any work, for all the materials will have been prepared (1 Kings 6:7). Once Solomon came, the temple was completed. The materials for Solomon’s temple were not cut on the spot; they were prepared ahead of time. Although there are noises today, in that day everything will be coordinated, and there will be the temple.
The desolation of the church is a fact. However, the testimony of the temple throughout the past two thousand years has never stopped. One truth after another has been recovered. These are not small recoveries. Although there are all kinds of noises today, all the materials are being prepared. As a fulfillment of the type of the building of the temple, the church of God is advancing. At present, the materials are being prepared one by one. By that time, there will no longer be any need for any last-minute work; all that will be needed will be for the materials to be put together. The temple is not built on the spot. Rather, it is prefabricated. God’s work today is the perfecting of the Body of Christ, and it is for the arriving at the oneness of the faith (Eph. 4:12-13). This has been God’s work throughout the ages. His works today are more numerous and more advanced than His works yesterday. The Lord Jesus said that the Father works until this day, and He works also (John 5:17). As time goes on, the Lord’s work becomes better and better, and the content of it becomes richer and richer. Today, if we take the way of recovery, we will surely see God’s work among us.
Sister Pearl Wang prayed: May the Lord’s word not be distorted through man. May His word not be locked up by man. May we not frustrate God’s work, and may we not limit His work. Instead, may God’s work have a free way among us.
(Messages Given During the Resumption of Watchman Nee's Ministry (2 volume set), Chapter 55, by Watchman Nee/Witness Lee)