TRANSFORMATION IN THE HOLY PLACE
It is by all these experiences that we are overlaid with gold, the material of God’s building. Through these experiences we become suitable material and actually become part of the building. Prior to the experiences of the inner court, the most we had was brass, silver, and linen; we had nothing of gold. And prior to the experience of the outer court with its fine linen, we had only the clay and filth of our fallen nature. Through the work of the brazen altar and laver we were purged and purified from everything of Babel, Sodom, and the treasure cities of Egypt. We were made white linen, the righteousness of God; we were made right with God and with man. However, we had nothing of gold until we learned to enjoy Christ, until we took Him into our very being day by day as food. Then, the more we eat Him, the more light we receive; and the greater the light, the more fragrance we have to offer to God. By such experiences we are overlaid with gold, the divine nature of God. We must be thoroughly overlaid with God as gold. It is only possible as we feed on Christ and enjoy Him as the bread of life, as we are enlightened by Him as the light of life and made acceptable to God in the fragrance of His resurrection. We must truly experience Christ in this way, rather than merely listen to teachings about Him.
For many years the Lord has been keeping me in the constant practice of entering the holy place to enjoy Christ. The more we enjoy Him as the bread of life, the more He becomes the light within, enlightening us and turning us to the Father to express the sweetness and fragrance of Christ. There need not be any separation, any kind of veil, between the Father and us. We may experience the sweetness of Christ to the Father, and we may also experience His sweetness to us in the fragrance of His resurrection. By this blessed presence and acceptance before God, we are spontaneously overlaid with the divine gold.
Partaking of God’s divine nature has absolutely nothing to do with endeavoring to correct our conduct. When we try to improve our behavior outwardly, we are still in the outer court. We must go on to experience Christ within the tabernacle. We must leave the outward correction and enter into the inward enjoyment of Christ. It is then that we experience an inward mingling of Christ with us. We must experience Christ in this way. Within the tabernacle we are never conscious of good or evil; our only thought is to enjoy the bread of life. We are fully and completely occupied with Christ as our enjoyable food. The more we thus enjoy Him, the more life we have. And the more we experience Him as life, the more we are enlightened by Him. Such an increase in life causes more fragrant communion with God. Thus we are more fully overlaid with God in Christ as gold.
In the outer court we have God’s righteousness, but in the holy place we have God’s holiness. God’s holiness is God’s nature, even God Himself. Only God is holy. There is nothing common with God. When we are overlaid with the divine gold, we also are holy. To be holy means to be divinely “golden.” In the outer court we are right with God and with men. Everything is right—all wrong has been done away on the cross and cleansed away by the laver. Yet we are only righteous, we are not holy. Within the holy place, however, it is not a matter of the cleansing of sin and defilement, but a matter of partaking of the bread of life, of enjoying Christ firstly as the life, then as the light within us, and eventually as the fragrance to God. Have you had such experiences of Christ? I must confess that I experience the Lord in such a way every day. Day by day I feed on Christ, enjoy something of Him, and sense the enlightening within me and the sweet odor towards God. Spontaneously I say, “O Father! My dear God!” How sweet it is! Such prayer is the burning of incense to God. It is only in this way and at such a time that our prayer becomes incense, for it is then that we are in the light and in the Spirit of resurrection. When we enjoy Christ in such a living way, we are overlaid with gold. Our intention is to enjoy Christ as food, light, and fragrance to God, but God’s intention is to add more of His divine nature into us, to overlay us with more gold. Thus we are made fit for God’s building.
God’s purpose is not fulfilled merely by judging us, purging us, and delivering us from the negative things. We have seen the steps for the fulfillment of God’s full intention outlined in Genesis 1 and 2. All these reveal God’s original intention and purpose to make man the proper material for His building. The judging and the purging are only to deal with the negative things resulting from man’s fall. If man had never fallen, there would be no need for this. After man is purged, God intends to go on to fulfill His original plan.
First we must be dealt with and purged from satanic forces, sins, and worldliness in the outer court. Then we may enter the holy place to enjoy Christ. We no longer try to adjust our outward behavior, but deal inwardly with Christ day by day. We enjoy Him as our food, our life, our light, our incense, and our everything. By this we are transformed in nature.
It is easy to help Christians realize they must abandon idolatry and sins, but it is not so easy to help them see how worldliness keeps them from God’s purpose. It is even more difficult to help Christians differentiate between the correcting of their outward behavior and the inward enjoyment of Christ. If we could only be brought from the place of outward adjustment to the constant, inner enjoyment of Christ, we would experience great deliverance. When we enter the holy place, we know nothing but the inward enjoyment of Christ.
As Christians we must press on to enter into the holy place. We should not be satisfied merely with being righteous in outward conduct and behavior. We should not be content with the fine linen of righteousness in the outer court. We must proceed into the holy place to enjoy Christ Himself as food, life, light, and sweet incense. Such experiences in the holy place greatly transcend those of the outer court.
It is God’s intention that we proceed from the negative work of the cross and the washing of the Holy Spirit in the outer court into the positive experiences of Christ at the table, the lampstand, and the incense altar in the holy place. God uses the outer court to recover us by purging us from our fallen condition. But this dealing with the negative things is just the beginning. We must go on to positively enjoy Christ in the holy place as the life with the constant inner shining, bringing us into sweet communion with God. By such experiences of Christ in the inner life we will be transformed for the building of God.
(The Vision of God's Building, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)