THE TABERNACLE, No. 3.
[We have been hindered for some time from following up our series on this subject, and gladly take it up again.]
We have already looked at the court and its gate. We have entered, and, so to speak, have passed the altar and the laver. And now, having been consecrated as priests at the laver, having brought our sacrifice --our flesh life--and laid it down with Christ on the altar of burnt offering--crucifying the flesh; being made conformable unto his death-- we are prepared to go on unto perfection.
We stand at the door of the Tabernacle. Like the gate of the court, it is made of snowy linen curtains. We look at it closely. It is radiant with blue and purple and scarlet, and covered with needlework. We have already seen, when looking at the entrance to the court, that Christ is the door; and now again we discover
"'Tis the very same Jesus."In admiration we gaze at the beautiful colors, symbolic of his faithfulness, his majesty and his saving grace. We see him as the faithful and true--one who sticketh closer than a brother--as our glorious King and Head and as our Saviour who redeemed us with his own precious blood. The needlework appears to symbolize those Christian graces which, though slowly developed, and perfected through toil and suffering, make a garment of beauty at last.
Shall we enter this mystic lodge? Are we desirous of seeing its light, and of learning its mysteries? Do we obligate ourselves to walk in obedience to its teachings, and obey --even unto death--the mandates of its Royal Master? We may do it with safety. There is no dark unhallowed work here, fearful of the light. Yes! we have taken the obligation, we have passed through the ceremony of initiation, we have been clothed with its spotless regalia-- the beautiful garments of the Royal priesthood, the robe of Christ's righteousness, without which none can enter. Shall we then, bidding farewell to the light and sunshine of this world, enter the secret place of the Most High? Without is sin and suffering and death; within is life and light and holiness.
This is the highway of the overcomers; this is the path of the just, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day. Within are mysteries and beauties which those without who serve tables know nothing of. The Levites must not even look at the glories within; they are hid from their eyes.
We enter. A new and heavenly light--spiritual light--breaks upon us. We gaze around, and lo, the blue, and purple, and scarlet is above our heads and all about us on every hand. We are covered and hidden beneath a weight of glory. It is the glory of the Master: Jesus and his righteousness. We have believed into Christ now "we are in him that is true, in the Son, Jesus Christ." Jesus prayed the Father for his disciples "that they also may be one in us." "As the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about his people from henceforth even for ever." Psa. 125:2. Not only so, but, pictured on the snowy curtains above and on every side, are the cherubim: no flaming sword in their hand now. We realize that we are surrounded by God's messengers. We have come to "an innumerable company of angels." [R159 : page 5] Heb. 12:22. We remember that it is written, "the angel of Jehovah encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them. Ps. 34:7. Like Jacob at Bethel we discover that "this is none other than the house of God;" and "are they not all ministering spirits, sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation." Heb. 1:14.
"In God I have found a retreat,
Where I can securely abide;
No refuge, nor rest so complete,
And here I intend to reside.
Oh, what comfort it brings,
My soul sweetly sings:
I am safe from all danger,
While under his wings."
"He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. ...Because thou hast made Jehovah, which is my refuge, even [R159 : page 6] the Most High, thy habitation. There shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling. For he shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee in all thy ways." Ps. 91:1,9-11.
Having come so far on our journey, what are our privileges? Firstly, we may walk in the light; for are we not in the presence of "the true light that lighteth every man (in due time) that cometh into the world?" Jno. 1:9. And "if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:7. God is light, and in him there is no darkness." Not only have we light upon our pathway, but strength for the journey is provided. An abundant supply of living bread--always fresh and sweet --is spread before us. And whether we sing for very joy, or pray for needed grace, the sweet incense of Jesus' merits rising in a perfumed cloud makes our presence acceptable, and our prayers and praises fragrant as they ascend before "Our Father." W. I. M.
[To be continued.]