The Boards, the Bars, & the Oneness (2)
The tabernacle shows us
that we can only be one
with our fellow believers
because we all share in
the nature of Christ
If we truly desire to keep the oneness of the Spirit with our fellow believers in Christ, we need to manifest the virtues of Christ in our human living. That is, our “lowliness and meekness” must actually be an expression of Christ living within us as we partake of His divine nature (Gal. 2:20, John 1:12-13, 2 Pet. 1:4; see)
But while the New Testament gives us the clear teaching concerning this matter, the Old Testament shows us the same thing, in the picture of the Tabernacle in the wilderness, which is a type of the church as God’s dwelling place.
At the very center of the Tabernacle was the ark, which was essentially a box, or perhaps it would be better to say a chest, make of acacia wood overlaid with gold, in which they placed the golden pot with the manna, Aaron’s budded rod, and the tablets of the covenant (Heb. 9:4; Exo. 25:10-11).
This is clearly a type of Christ in His incarnation, with the wood signifying His human nature and the gold signifying His divine nature. Just as in the Old Testament God told Moses that He would meet with him at the ark (Exo. 25:22), so today in the New Testament, Christ is the very place where we meet with God (cf. Rom 3:25).
But the ark was not the only thing in the tabernacle made of wood and overlaid with gold. So were the many boards of the tabernacle (Exo. 26:15,29), which clearly signify the many believers in Christ.
The boards, of course, provided the basic structure for the tabernacle. The fact that they are of the same nature as the ark, of wood overlaid with gold, shows us that if we desire to be a part of God’s dwelling place in a practical way, we must partake of the nature of Christ, and allow him to permeate our being with Himself.
This means that just as He is divine and human, we also are now divine and human; this is what it means to say that today we are the children of God (John 1:12-13), and also, that Christ is now the “firstborn among many brothers“ (Rom. 8:29); whether as God’s children or as the brothers of Christ, we surely share in His nature.
To be clear, we of course never partake of His person, His Godhead. Moreover, He has an inward content, the source of the divine nature, that we do not share in; this is signified by the ark having its inward content, while the boards have none. Still, it is absolutely right to say that we are the same in nature as He is, for again, just as the ark and the boards are both made of the two substances, the wood and the gold, so today both Christ and we share in the two natures, the human and the divine.
In the New Testament the Apostle Paul speaks of “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” and of how he struggled to “present every man full-grown in Christ” (Col. 1:27-29). Here in the tabernacle we see a picture of the result of such a struggle: the believers built up together and standing together so that God can have His dwelling place on the earth. This is only possible because we all share in the nature of Christ, for only in this way can we truly express His “lowliness and meekness” and any of His other virtues.
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— 16 September 2023 —