FIRSTBORN SONSHIP OF CHRIST
NEW BIRTH IN THE OLD TESTAMENT
Article 45 (continued)
THE CORDS OF THE COURT FENCE
26 "The hangings for the door of the court, the hangings of the court which are around the tabernacle and the altar, and their cords, according to all the work relating to them," Num 3:26.
The cords were an important part of the court fence, the court gate, and therefore of the whole tabernacle. The walls of the New Jerusalem provide the same symbol and shield against forbidden intrusion by those who fail to qualify as overcomers of the arduous covenant qualifying discipline.
Covenant discipline is nothing short of God's divine righteousness worked out in us day by day as we yield to the working of the Holy Spirit in us, Deu 8; 1Co 10:1-13; Heb 3; 4; 5:8-9; 12:1-17. This is what the fine linen represents: see this attire required of the covenant people in the book of Revelation, Rev 3:4-5, 17-18; 6:11; 7:14-15; 16:15; 19:7-8.
The court fence and the walls of the New Jerusalem provide a unified correlation. The fine linen of the court fence represents the righteous acts of the saints which are actually the divine righteousness of Christ and of God worked in and through the saints by the Holy Spirit. The bronze pillars, sockets, and stakes speak of the righteous judgments and discipline of Christ and the saints wrought in and through them by the Holy Spirit. The hooks, bands, and overlay of silver address the redemptive work of Christ which must be worked out by the Holy Spirit in the lives of the faithful covenant people.
The foundations, walls, and gates of the New Jerusalem are arrayed with every precious stone which point directly to the glorious attributes of God's divine nature. The high priest's breastplate was also studded with twelve of these precious stones: twelve signifying the righteous government of God in and through Christ and the firstborn covenant sons.
The court fence shut out all who would not come through the court gate, the brazen altar, the laver, etc. The nations on the new earth will not be permitted to approach into the presence of God through the gates of the New Jerusalem or any other way. Those nations will worship God representatively through the firstborn divine sons, who are the overcomers and who will receive the divine birth promised in the last will and testaments, Rev 2:26-27.
Use a concordance and trace the word "cords" to see the typological significance of cords, particularly the binding and stabilizing significance – Ps 2:1-3, for instance. We will give a few other examples:
1 "'Sing, O barren, you who have not borne! Break forth into singing, and cry aloud, you who have not labored with child! For more are the children of the desolate than the children of the married woman,' says the LORD.
2 "Enlarge the place of your TENT, and let them stretch out the CURTAINS of your dwellings; do not spare; Lengthen your CORDS, and strengthen your STAKES.
3 "For you shall expand to the right and to the left, and your descendants will inherit the nations, and make the desolate cities inhabited.
4 "Do not fear, for you will not be ashamed; neither be disgraced, for you will not be put to shame; for you will forget the shame of your youth, and will not remember the reproach of your widowhood anymore.
5 "For your Maker is your husband, the LORD of hosts is His name; and your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel; He is called the God of the whole earth," Isa 54:1-6.
The pillars, sockets, overlays, bands, curtains, cords, stakes, etc., refer to the working out of God's divine attributes in us by the Holy Spirit, Gal 5:22-23. The Law Covenant set forth the righteousness of God for all time, Rom 3:21-22. Abraham exemplified that righteousness throughout his life (Rom 4), the faithful through the ages and under the Law Covenant did the same, (Heb 11:25-40), and the Holy Spirit is now working that same righteousness in us by grace through faith, Rom 8:4.
How do we fulfill Isa 54:2-3 above? How do we enlarge our tents, stretch out our curtains, lengthen our cords, strengthen our stakes, etc.? We do it by worshiping God more, reading the Bible more, praying more, witnessing to others more, being more kindly disposed toward one another and toward others, being more separated from worldly lusts, and being more conscious and responsive to the working of the Holy Spirit in us as He seeks to transform us into the image and likeness of God, Ja 4:4-6; Gen 1:26-27; 2Co 3:17-18; 4:6-12,
20 "My tent is plundered, and all my cords are broken; my children have gone from me, and they are no more. There is no one to pitch my tent anymore, Or set up my curtains," Jer 10:20.
Observe the symbolic application of this verse: God was sending the Babylonian army to "sling out the inhabitants of the land" of Israel, and Jeremiah (in 10:20 above) interjects himself into the plight of the people of Israel. "The cords are broken" speaks of all the ingredients or cords of family, community, and national bonds and the prospects of present and future peace, happiness, and hope. "The cords are broken" speaks just the opposite of:
2 "Enlarge the place of your tent, And let them stretch out the curtains of your dwellings; Do not spare; Lengthen your CORDS, And strengthen your stakes," Isa 54:2.
The "cords" of the tabernacle court fence represent the strong bonds of knowledge, faith, virtue, reverence love, peace, grace, worship, obedience, holiness, kindness, patience, temperance, compassion, justice, mercy, humility, gentleness, tenacity, wisdom, goodness, godly joy, etc. These cords first represent the flow of the divine virtues of God in Christ, but they also represent us as the body of Christ and members of the body of Christ individually. Christ is seen in every part of the tabernacle: the court fence, the court gate, the brazen altar, the sacrifices, the laver, everything in the tabernacle, the priesthood, their garments, and otherwise. And the same is true of all the faithful covenant people of all ages in the body of Christ in a divine oneness with Christ. This divine "oneness" with Christ will be a major point of emphasis throughout this study. May we give all diligence to be constantly adding all the godly virtues and attributes available to us by the Holy Spirit, and thereby enlarge the place of our tent, stretch forth our white linen curtains, lengthen the cords, strengthen the stakes and break forth on the right and on the left with great joy and reverent worship, Isa 54:3-4.
20 "Look upon Zion, the city of our appointed feasts; Your eyes will see Jerusalem, a quiet habitation, A tabernacle that will not be taken down; Not one of its stakes will ever be removed, Nor will any of its cords be broken," Isa 33:20.
4 "I drew them with gentle cords, With bands of love, And I was to them as those who take the yoke from their neck. I stooped and fed them," Hos 11:4.
Observe the purpose and relationship of the "cords" and "bands:" both provide for the court fence. All the component of the court fence: 1) the pillars, the sockets, with the pins, pegs, or stakes all of bronze, 2) the hooks, bands and overlays of silver, 3) and the curtains and cords of fine linen speak of the integrated and unified oneness and stability of the court fence. The pillars of acacia wood overlaid with bronze, with the bronze sockets and stakes speak of the human, yet Spirit governed endurance and stability of Christ and the faithful covenant people. The hooks, bands, and overlays of silver address eternal redemption worked out by the Holy Spirit in the person of Christ and the covenant members of His body – this calling and election must be worked out daily by the Holy Spirit in the life of each member of the body - each covenant person, 2Pe 1:4-11. And the curtains and cords of fine linen point to the righteous acts of the Holy Spirit in and through us. All of these address the purpose, stability, and prophetic testimony of the court fence.
THE TABERNACLE CONTINUED: THE COURT GATE
16 "For the gate of the court there shall be a screen twenty cubits long, woven of blue, purple, and scarlet thread, and fine woven linen, made by a weaver. It shall have four pillars and four sockets," Exo 27:16.
Let us emphasize again that the way into God's presence is a strait and narrow way from start to finish: both the gate and the way are restricted, compressed, and difficult to find, difficult to enter, and difficult to travel. It is difficult to find because the gate is Christ, currently in a true local church, and there are multiplied millions of "Christians" who will not find the right gate. They will say "Lord, Lord, look at the many things we have faithfully done in your name," and He will say, "I never knew you," Mt 7:21-27.
Furthermore, even in a true church, God's holy and righteous way is not attractive nor palatable to the earthy lifestyle we crave by natural birth, Rom 3:9-19,23; 5:12. We were all born into an inescapable sin and death pattern of life (Rom 5:12; Eph 2:3), and to enter into God's holy presence, we must be born again into His holy and divine state of being. To qualify for this new birth, we must daily bear about in our bodies the dying of the Lord Jesus so that the life of Christ may be constantly manifested in and through our bodies in our manner of life, 2Co 3:17 through 2Co 4:12; 2Pe 1:4-11.
All the Bible last will and testaments prescribe a rigid training in godliness: a lifestyle manifestly portraying the holy attributes of God. That manner of life must be pursued tenaciously in order to qualify for the new birth when Christ returns, 1Co 15:1–2, 29-50. God's covenants require that we give all diligence to make this calling and election sure:
3 "As His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue,
4 "By which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises, that through these (promises) you may be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
5 "But also for this very reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge,
6 "To knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness,
7 "To godliness brotherly kindness, and to brotherly kindness love.
8 "For if these things are yours and abound, you will be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
9 "For he who lacks these things is shortsighted, even to blindness, and has forgotten that he was cleansed from his old sins.
10 "Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble," 2Pe 1:3-10.
God dwelt among His covenant people in the most holy place of the tabernacle; however, the court fence, the court gate, the brazen altar, the laver, the curtain covering the first holy place, each of the contents of the first holy place, the curtain covering the most holy place, and the contents of the most holy place were all constantly witnessing that a fiery death faced every worshiper seeking to approach God – every time they worship at the tabernacle. Everywhere else they worshiped God, they were to remember the pattern of the tabernacle and the altar they had to pass through.
Every worshiper must pass through the death of the brazen altar every time he draws near to God. From Gen 3, that has been the only way to approach God in the holy of holies. This will be pointed out many times as we proceed in this study of the tabernacle. The death of the brazen altar (or death of the cross) must take place every day of the Christian life. All of us, like Paul, must die daily, 1Co 15:29-50; 1Co 3:18 thru 4:12. We must present our bodies a living sacrifice daily, Rom 12:1-2.
The strait and narrow way of God's last will and testament is the only way provided, and it requires us to daily bear about in our bodies the death or dying of the Lord in order to acquire the divine life of Christ's new birth resurrection, Rom 12:1-2; 2Co 4:7-12; 2Ti 2:10-13; Phi 2:5-15; 2Pe 1:4-11.
The redemption cycle with its death-of-the-Redeemer requirement is inherent in every detail of the tabernacle and court structure. Not only must the Redeeming Seed of the woman die, but the ever-governing last will and testaments (both Old and New Testaments) stipulate that every faithful covenant person must pass through the death of the brazen altar together with Christ. As with Paul, we must die daily (1Co 15:31) together with Christ as a member of the body of Christ:
11 "For we who live are constantly being delivered over to death for Jesus' sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh," 2Co 4:11.
10 "Therefore I endure all things for the sake of the elect, that they also may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory.
11 "This is a faithful saying: For if we died with Him, We shall also live with Him.
12 "If we endure, We shall also reign with Him. If we deny Him, He also will deny us.
13 "If we are faithless, He remains faithful; He cannot deny Himself," 2Ti 2:10-13.
The Old Testament saints ate Christ's flesh and drank His blood daily "by grace through faith" obedience just as we do. This was demonstrated in eating the Passover lamb and drinking the blood of the grape, as we do in the Lord's Supper. Both the Passover and the Lord's Supper portray the same "by grace through faith" eating of Christ's flesh and drinking of His blood, Gen 12; 1Co 5:7; 11:18-32; 10:16-18.
Eating Christ's flesh and drinking His blood (blood of the grape, Gen 49:11; Deu 32:14) symbolically in the Passover and the Lord's Supper testify of our "by grace through faith" lifestyle. When we observe the Lord's Supper, we are not only symbolizing the Lord's death and His divine resurrection birth until He returns, but we are also testifying that we are daily bearing about in our bodies the hope of His divine new birth resurrection life. This divine life is the major "promise" in all the last will and testaments (2Pe 1:3-4), and we must persevere in that "hope" in order to receive that new birth into the divine kingdom when Christ returns, 2Pe 1:3-11.
Eating Christ's flesh and drinking His blood, as Jesus emphasized in John 6:27-67, was rejected by many of His disciples, so they left Him and would follow with Him no longer. They did not consider that we feed our minds, our psyche, our love, anger, grief, fear, hope, joy, etc., by what we hear, see, smell, taste, and feel. Our minds are constantly and literally being fed information by our five senses.
4 "But He answered and said, "It is written, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God,'" Mt 4:4.
47 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who is believing into Me has everlasting life.
48 "I am the bread of life.
49 "Your fathers ate the manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
50 "This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die.
51 "I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone is constantly eating of this bread, he will live forever (in God's book of divine life); and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world," Jn 6:47-51.
63 "It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life," Jn 6:63.
We are eating Christ's flesh and drinking His blood symbolically as we believe and obey His Word. We must remember that as Christ died, we must also die daily throughout our lives, 2Co 4:9-12; Rom 12:1-2. In God's metaphoric reckoning, the church is the body of Christ, and the members of the church are the members of the flesh-now-deified body of Christ.
The church and everyone in the church are counted to have been crucified together with and in the body of Christ, died together with and in the body of Christ, were buried together with and in the body of Christ, and were born again into a divine body and spirit out of the grave together with and in the body of Christ, Rom 6:2-13; Gal 2:20; 5:24; 6:14; et al.
Therefore, since the human body of Christ was born again out of the grave into a divine body (Col 1:18; Rev 1:5; Act 13:29-33; 1Co 15:44-50; et al), so it is metaphorically counted to be with everyone in the body of Christ - crucified together with Christ, dead together with Christ, buried together with Christ, born again out of the grave into a divine body together with Christ.
This is what we will demonstrate in every part of the tabernacle, including the court fence, the court gate, the brazen altar, the laver, and throughout the tabernacle and its contents. The divine "oneness" of John 17:21-23 is to be observed throughout the Bible and throughout the tabernacle as God's master blueprint of the redemption cycle within His eternal purpose.
CHRIST IS THE GATE OR DOOR OF THE COURT FENCE
1 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who does not enter the sheepfold by the door, but climbs up some other way, the same is a thief and a robber.
2 "But He who enters by the door is the Shepherd of the sheep.
3 "To Him the doorkeeper opens, and the sheep hear His voice; and He calls His own sheep by name and leads them out.
4 "And when He brings out His own sheep, He goes before them; and the sheep follow Him, for they know His voice," Jn 10:1-4.
9 "I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture," Jn 10:9.
11 "I am the good Shepherd. The good Shepherd gives His life for the sheep," Jn 10:11.
Here we have another metaphoric pairing: Christ is the Shepherd of the sheep and He is also the Door into the sheepfold. He is the way, the truth, and the life, Jn 14:6. He is the only Savior, (Act 4:12), and the only Mediator between God and man, 1Ti 2:5. Moreover, it is the Father's will, the will of the Son, and the will of the Holy Spirit that the faithful last will and testament people be made "one" with and in the divine nature of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit:
21 "That they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.
22 "And the glory which You gave Me I have given them, that they may be one just as We are one:
23 "I in them, and You in Me; that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me," Jn 17:21-23; 10:30-36; 14:8-11; Eph 1:22-232; 3:19; 5:21-32 Col 1:19; 2:9-10; 2Pe 1:4.
Metaphorically, possessing this "oneness" with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, the true local church is also the door together with Christ and has the authority to bring people "inside" the sheepfold or kingdom, and put "outside" those who are leavened and will not correct their unholy manner of life. The true local church alone on earth has these "keys of the kingdom," and the authority to use them as specified, Mt 16:18-19; 18:15-18; Jn 20:22-23; 1Co 5:5 (1-13); 2Co 2:6-7; Act 26:17-18; Col 1:12-13.
A true local church alone has this authority to go forth with the Great Commission into all the world, by the Scriptures and by the Holy Spirit as the divine Administrator of the Commission through the church, Mt 28:18-20; Act 1:4-8. In this capacity of oneness with Christ, the church, as the body of Christ (and metaphorically sharing this divine oneness), is also the "gate" or "door" into the tabernacle court.
Christ is seen in every part of the tabernacle from the court fence and its gate on through to the ark of the covenant and its contents in the holy of holies. We shall observe this "oneness" with Christ, therefore with the Father and with the Holy Spirit throughout our tabernacle study.
The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit have worked through all the covenants which are last will and testaments. They worked through the Law Covenant and through Israel to bring people into their divine kingdom, and are now working through the church and the New Covenant to carry us through the strait and narrow last will and testament training, and qualify us to share Their divine glory above all creation. Christ is the Gate (the Door), yet it is God's divine will that the church share the ministry of that gateway together with Christ. It is through the church as His kingdom gateway or door that God brings others into the kingdom: Christ gave the "keys of the kingdom" to the church (Mt 16:18-19; 18:15-18), and the church (by the Spirit using the Scriptures) puts people in and out of the kingdom, 1Co 5:5 (1-13); Act 26:17-18; Col 1:12-14.
All of creation is God's overall kingdom; however, here the Scriptures are speaking of a higher kingdom of divine beings. We must be born again into this divine kingdom, Jn 3:1-8; 1Co 15:44-50. The kingdom is in heaven and our citizenship is in heaven, Phi 3:20-32. Furthermore, though the church is on earth as the embassy of the kingdom, it has been given the keys (authorities) of the kingdom (Mt 18:15-18) to perform a kingdom ministry on earth, 2Co 5:18-21. In this kingdom ministry, we are to bring people into the kingdom, train and qualify them through the working of the Holy Spirit and the Word to be accepted as divine firstborn sons in a divine kingdom. As the embassy of the kingdom we are to maintain a holy embassy, and those who will not submit to the prescribed discipline of the last will and testament, we are to put them out of the kingdom, Mt 18:15-20; Jn 20:23; 1Co 5:1-13; 6:1-20; Gal 6:1; 2Th 3:6-15.
Again, we are the embassy of the divine kingdom, and have the keys (authorities) of that kingdom to perform the commission given to us as the embassy of the kingdom, Mt 28:18-20. That ministry includes two major factors, among others, that we are indicate here: 1) in the true local church, we are in a qualifying status, where we are being trained (disciplined) in view of qualifying for the firstborn sonship of Christ and thereby be in the divine kingdom, 2) we are being used by the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit to train and qualify each other and others to overcome the covenant discipline and be born again into the divine kingdom when Christ returns, 2Pe 1:4-11.