Some of the most deeply spiritual truths are taught in connection with the tabernacle.
I. It is a type of Christ. “And the Word was made flesh, and tabernacled among us” (John 1:14, R. V.).
II. It has its fulfillment in His saints. “What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost?” (I Cor. 6:19).
When a believer enters into the blessing of Entire Sanctification and the Holy Ghost takes up His abode in the heart, he becomes God’s tabernacle. His body corresponds to that of the outward court which was rough and visible to the eye his soul to the holy place, and his spirit to the holy of holies, where the Shekinah dwelt.
This beautiful structure was forty-five feet long, fifteen feet wide, and fifteen feet high. The holy place was fifteen feet by thirty feet. The holy of holies was fifteen feet square. Let us notice its spiritual meaning. The first thing we approach is the outward court. There were two objects in this place — the brazen altar of burnt offering and the laver or fountain of water. The altar where the blood was shed was at the entrance of the door, in order that every one coming into the tabernacle had to pass this altar. The priests were required to have their garments sprinkled with blood from this altar. Their right ear, right thumb and right toe must be touched with blood before they could minister before the Lord. All of the vessels in the holy place were sprinkled with blood. Oh, how God burned into the minds of His children the need of the blood! Even the High Priest did not dare go into the presence of God behind the second veil without first taking blood from this altar and sprinkling it seven times before the mercy-seat and once upon it. This done, he confessed the sins of the people; he then reappeared and blessed them because the blood had made atonement for them. Blood is life. The blood of Christ is the heart of Christianity. Christ’s life reaches us only through His blood. Salvation through the Blood is the only salvation. To reject the blood of Christ is to reject the whole plan of salvation. The blood of Christ is the touchstone that tests every religious teaching, hence salvation or damnation depend on the attitude toward the Blood.
Let us notice some places where the blood was found. First, we find it on the door posts of the houses of the children of Israel just before they passed out of bondage. A death sentence had been pronounced on the firstborn of all Egypt. God’s promise to the Israelites was: “When I see the blood, will pass over you.” The blood was not only to be shed, but it must be applied in order to avail. It is not sufficient to believe in the blood in a general way; we must believe in it in a specific way — to the extent that we will have it applied to our hearts. Notice, He said: “When I see the blood,” not “when I see your good works.” Good works apart from the precious Blood count for nothing, some unwise ministers during the World War went so far as to tell the soldiers, who were on their way to the battle’s front (many to meet death) that, no matter what they believed nor how wicked they were, if they fought and bled and died for their country that they made their own atonement and were saved. Could anything be more blasphemous? St. Paul said that we may give our bodies to be burned, but without Divine love it profits us nothing. God does not say, “When I see your prayers and your tears,” essential though they are, but it is the Blood that is the plea that avails with Him for the guilty soul.
Second, we find blood on Abel’s altar. In Heb. 11:4, we are told that by faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than did Cain, by which he obtained the witness that he was righteous, God testifying of his gifts. Real faith in the blood always brings the clear witness of the Spirit-not a feeling forced from the brain, but a living, heart-faith, moving God into instant action. He will break the silence of eternity to let a soul know its standing. We are told in Gen. 4:4 that the Lord had respect unto Abel first, then to his offering. “But unto Cain and his offering he had not respect.” This was because Cain made no confession of his need of the Blood.
Nothing insults God more than to reject the blood of His precious Son. The world is full of Cain religion, which is a bloodless, fireless, powerless, juiceless, formal religion, which denies the virgin birth and Deity of Christ, and tries to rob Him of His Divinity. Concerning Cain’s innate depravity, God says, “Sin lieth at the door;” or, this is translated, “Coucheth like a wild beast, ready to spring on its victim.” The picture is not overdrawn. Inbred sin, that devilish twist in the warp of the nature, is truly like a wild animal when it is stirred. In Heb. 12:15, inbred sin is compared to a “root of bitterness” springing up and troubling believers. Notice that a root is something below the surface and is out of sight. This is true of carnality. It can remain invisible for a long time. A root remains after the tree is cut down; so does the “old man” remain after conversion; and not until the refining fire goes through the soul, purifying every part, is the root of bitterness removed. No believer is safe as long as this powder-like nature remains in the heart.
Another thought concerning the Blood is this: It atones for and covers our mistakes. If provision were made under the old covenant for a Jew who sinned through ignorance to be restored to favor, would not an all-wise and loving Father, in the new covenant, which is far superior to that of the old, make provision for a remedy in case of lapses, blunders and mistakes? Let no one despair here, for our all-sufficiency is in the cleansing Blood. John says the Blood cleanseth from all sin. (See I John 1:7.) This one verse forever does away with the old dark-age theology that bodily mortification, penance, pilgrimages and long seasons of fasting are invested with saving power. There is nothing in these to cleanse the soul. It is all right and necessary to fast and to humble one’s self, but it is the Blood, after all, that finally saves and sanctifies.
John also says that it cleanseth from all sin now. The verb is in the present tense. There is no efficacy in waiting, or in the flight of years. to cleanse the soul. Christ can save in two minutes just as easily as He can save in two years.
A little more than twenty years ago, the writer, by speaking unadvisedly to a brother, grieved the Spirit and fell into darkness. Had we had light on the efficacy of the precious, cleansing Blood to avail in case of blunders and mistakes, we could have been instantly restored, as the mistake was an unintentional one. Through doubting, the sweet, warm presence of Christ was lost from the heart, and a horror of gloom settled down upon us. For three months the suffering was like death to both mental and spiritual natures. Satan tempted us to believe that we had sinned against the Holy Ghost. Only God knew the lonely hours spent in the grove weeping, praying and humbling ourselves; but the way grew ever darker. At this time, a copy of Heart Talks, by Rev. B. Carradine, was providentially given us. In commenting on John 1:7, the author said that, no matter the nature or the cause of the sin committed, if only a full confession were made to Christ, and a perfect trust exercised in the cleansing Blood, instant forgiveness would result. This statement proved like a sunburst from behind a black cloud. Tears gushed forth as the floodgates from the skies seemed suddenly to open. Looking up, and without rising from the chair, we cried, “Lord, I believe the Blood cleanseth even now.” Like a flash, the Spirit returned, the wonderful presence of Christ reappeared, the birds began to sing, the heavenly choir took up the glad refrain in the soul, and for over twenty years the witness of the Spirit has been ours without a break. We have never quoted “The blood cleanseth” more than once or twice without the precious presence of the Spirit answering to the Blood. When will God’s people learn the lesson that we do not forfeit pardon or purity because of errors or mistakes? If we will go at once to Christ and appropriate the Blood, we will find ourselves most blessedly kept.
Do not cast away your confidence. Do not argue with Satan; he will out-talk you. In case of mistakes, errors or weaknesses, fly at once to the all-cleansing Blood; plead its merits, wait until the spirit answers with His conscious, illuminating presence, telling you that you are clean. Thank God for the remedy that never fails!
The second object in the court of the tabernacle was the laver, with its mirrored sides, which held the cleansing waters. This served a two-fold purpose. The priests saw their defilement in the mirror-walls; and the fountain of the cleansing was also revealed.
Dr. A. B. Simpson says: “This laver was a type of the Holy Spirit, as our fountain for cleansing and our way of approach to the holy place of Christ’s immediate presence. Only as we are cleansed in that laver can we enter in as the priests of God and feed upon the Living Bread, dwelling in the light of the golden lamps and breathing the sweet odor of the incense that fills the chamber with the atmosphere of Heaven. At once it reveals and removes the defilements of our hearts and lives.” But there is a constant liability to contract at least the stains of earth, if not the taint of sin. The very atmosphere is so laden with the breath of evil that it is almost impossible to escape its touch and taint. But the blessed Holy Spirit stands ministering within the sacred temple of the heart, ready every moment to wash away the faintest touch of earth or evil, keeping us spotless, undefiled and perfectly accepted in His sight.
In the description of the tabernacle furniture, we read not only of the laver, but of its foot, also. For what purpose was the foot used? Perhaps it was a little outlet through which the waters could more easily flow within reach of one who sought cleansing. The laver itself was too high to be easily reached, at least at its brim; but through this little pipe, which probably could be opened by a simple mechanism, the waters flowed to the ground and were always within reach of even the smallest child who had need to come. How truly and beautifully this illustrates the blessed nearness of the Holy Ghost! Not in the highest Heaven do we need to seek Him, not afar off do we have to cry to Him but He is our Paraclete; one by our side, one very near, ever near to help in time of need. He is to us the Presence of the holy God already given, and ever present in the heart of His Church. He is as ready to enter the yielded and trusting heart, as light is to flow into the open window and as sunshine to meet the petals of the opening flower. Let us send Him this whole-hearted prayer:
“Blessed Holy Spirit,
Welcome to my breast;
In my heart forever
Be my holy Guest!”