By Thomas Newberry
THE SETTING UP
Directions for Setting up, in the Tabernacle
Verses 1, 2. "And Jehovah spake unto Moses, saying, On the first day of the first month shalt thou set up the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation."
THE first day of the first month is significant of a beginning, or beginning anew. A type of the commencement of the Christian dispensation at Pentecost. On the first day of the month the moon began to shine afresh on the earth with light reflected from the sun: so the Church, during the present night-time of the world, is appointed to shine in the light of an absent Christ. A dispensation altogether new; characterised by Messiah rejected, and the Comforter present, to communicate to the Church the truth of Christ, and to maintain His Lordship.
"The tabernacle of the tent of the congregation."
Both titles are here combined; the tabernacle being the type of a dwelling-place for God through the Spirit, and the tent of the congregation, typical of believers assembled in the Name of the Lord Jesus.
Verse 3. "And thou shalt put therein the ark of the testimony, and cover the ark with the veil."
The ark is first mentioned, for it sets forth Jesus, God's centre of gathering to His own people, and in whom they are builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit (Eph. 2.22).
The veil was to be hung up before the ark, the Holy Ghost thus signifying that the way into the Holiest was not then made manifest; but to us, since Calvary, the veil is rent, and the way into the Holiest is open; for we gather to the name of a risen and glorified Christ.
It is here called "the Ark of the Testimony," for the purpose for which the Church is gathered is, that it should be a testimony to Him, and especially to the great "mystery of godliness, God manifested in flesh, justified in the Spirit, seen of angels, preached among the nations, believed on in the world, received up into glory."
Verse 4. "And thou shalt bring in the table, and set in order the things that are to be set in order upon it."
Where believers are gathered unto the Name of the Lord Jesus, and builded together for a habitation of God through the Spirit, there in God's presence, the sweet and sacred memorials of a Saviour's sufferings and death are to be observed.
It is remarkable that after the ark, the table is first mentioned; and at Troas, on the first day of the week, the disciples came together to break bread (Acts xx. 7).
If the communion of saints in the presence of God, and in the remembrance of the sacrifice of Christ, is to be observed, it must be in God's order. "God is not the author of confusion." He has His order, and this must be maintained. The table is to be a pure table, and all things which are done in connection with it, must be done decently and in order, as in the presence and fear of God.
"And thou shalt bring in the lampstand, and light the lamps thereof."
Ministry, according to God, in the exercise of the gifts of the Spirit, and in testimony to the truth of Christ, has its place in connection with God's dwelling place. It is to be brought in, and its light maintained. Ministry in the power of the Spirit of God, is to be in God's order, according to His mind and will; and the gifts of an ascended Saviour are "for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ."
THE ALTAR OF GOLD.
Verse 5. "And thou shalt set the altar of gold for the incense before the ark of the testimony."
Teaching us that the worship of the Father in the Spirit and in truth, is connected with Christ risen and glorified within the veil, through whom the believer has boldness and access with confidence by the faith of Him.
THE HANGING OF THE DOOR.
"And put the hanging of the door [entrance] to the tabernacle."
Christ said, "I am the door, by Me if any man enter in he shall be saved." Faith in, and confession of the name of Jesus, living, dying, risen and glorified, is the way, no mere ordinance, nor anything else, is to take the place of Christ.
THE ALTAR OF BURNT OFFERING.
Verse 6. "And thou shalt set the altar of the burnt offering [ascending offering] before the door [entrance] of the tabernacle of the tent of the congregation."
Christ, in death and resurrection, in His atoning and accepted sacrifice, is to be set forth as the only ground of communion and acceptance with God. And only through faith in Him can the communion of saints be enjoyed.
Verse 7. "And thou shalt set the laver between the tent of the congregation and the altar, and shall put water therein."
Christ is also to be set forth as made of God, SANCTIFICATION to the believer, as well as redemption; and the full provision of the Spirit of God for the sanctification of the believer through the truth, is to be testified to.
THE COURT AND THE GATE.
Verse 8. "And thou shalt set up the court round about, and hang up the hanging at the court gate."
Consistency of character and conduct with the confession of the name of Christ is to be maintained, and the exercise of fervent charity one towards another, with separation from the world, is to be manifested even when not assembled together in Church fellowship.