Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing (epiphany) of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; Titus 2:13
his writings and through his arrangements would be over the chief Levites, the Epiphany Kohathites; and that therefore his teachings and arrangements for them are Divinely given, and are obligatory upon them. Hence revolutionism against his teachings and arrangements as that Servant is grossly contrary to God's will, and is a sure proof of the fact that such revolutionists are Epiphany Levites—Great Company members. From this verse, as well as from Matt. 24: 45-47 and Luke 12: 42-46, we can readily see why the Lord through the Epiphany message has so trenchantly testified against the disregard of that Servant's teachings and arrangements on the part of the Epiphany Levites; for his general teachings and arrangements are thereby shown to be God's teachings and arrangements for these Levites, because God gave them to him to present as His to His people for the Epiphany Levites.
(44) There yet remains for us a study of the Gospel-Age Merarite Levites' activities from the standpoint of the parts of the antitypical Tabernacle that they have borne. We closed the preceding section of this chapter with an exposition of Num. 3: 32, and our present study begins with Num. 3: 33. We pointed out above that the Gospel-Age Mahlite Merarites type editors of Bibles and pertinent books, etc., and that the Gospel-Age Mushite Merarites type the publishers, transcribers and printers of such works (v. 33). We also pointed out above that the number of the Merarites being smaller than those of the other Levite groups types the fact that they would be in their antitypes less numerous than the other two antitypical Levite groups (v. 34). So, too, we pointed out the antitype of Zuriel, the son of Abihail, to be the publishers of Bibles in the living languages. The position of the Merarites on the North side of the Tabernacle types the fact that their antitypes would be inferior in honor of service to the antitypical Kohathites, but superior in honor of service to the antitypical Gershonites (v. 35).
(45) In vs. 36 and 37 there are enumerated the tabernacle's parts which were the special charge of the Merarites. Their significance, understood, will show that our understanding of the Gospel-Age Merarites' work, as consisting of editing, publishing, transcribing and printing the Bible and pertinent books, etc., is correct. The parts of the tabernacle building in the charge of the Merarites were the boards, bars, pillars and sockets (bases, or pedestals, not sockets, is the meaning of the Hebrew word adonim, translated sockets in the A. V.). In the tabernacle proper there were 48 boards (Ex. 26: 18-23), 9 sets of bars— counting as a set each of the three rows on each of the three sides of the tabernacle (Ex. 26: 26-28)—and 9 pillars (Ex. 26: 32, 37). These, so counted, total 66, thus: 48+9+9=66. These 66 supports of the tabernacle proper—the linen curtains with their coverings (Num. 3: 25; Ex. 26: 1, 6), the former typical of The Christ as new creatures—type the 66 books of the Bible as the foundation and support of The Christ. It will be noted that we count the 9 pillars as typing 9 books of the Bible. This is not out of harmony with our Pastor's thought, who explained the five within the first veil as typing The Christ as embryo new creatures, and the four within the second veil as typing The Christ as born new creatures (T 114, 115). This latter thought is entirely correct, and not contradictory of the former thought; for these nine pillars type both sets of thoughts. Let us explain. Evidently the boards, which in the Holy as well as in the Most Holy were set on silver pedestals (Ex. 26: 19-25), do not in the Holy type embryo New Creatures in justified human bodies, as the five pillars within the first veil do, because the former were set on pedestals of silver, whereas the latter show that they type such New Creatures as are in justified human bodies, by being set on pedestals of copper (Ex. 26: 37). Hence the boards do not type New Creatures at all; much less would the
bars type such New Creatures, since they had no pedestals, but were attached to the boards by golden rings (Ex. 26: 29). These considerations prove that there is at least a difference in the symbolic meaning of the boards and the five pillars in the Holy, and this difference consists in these pillars typing something additional to that which the boards type, i.e., embryo New Creatures. But as the boards and the pillars had a similar office—holding up the tabernacle— they from this standpoint type similar things. Therefore we understand the pillars also to type things additional to New Creatures—things like those typed by the boards. Hence we understand the pillars to type two sets of things—New Creatures and certain Biblical books; and because of their twofold antitypes they were constructed somewhat differently from the boards. Since it is the office of the Bible books, as a foundation, to support The Christ as God's real Tabernacle; and since we note that there are 66 books in the Bible, and that there were 66 parts of the typical tabernacle that as a foundation supported the linen curtains and their coverings, which specifically type The Christ as God's real Tabernacle, we infer from the correspondencies of the case that the boards, bars and pillars type the 66 books of the Bible. Thus by the tabernacle structure God has given us positive typical evidence that the canon of the Scriptures excludes from the Bible the Apocryphal books, which the Roman Catholic Church teaches are parts of the Bible.
(46) We note that from one standpoint there were 15 bars, and that from another there were 9. If we count the bars as separate pieces they totaled 15; but if we count them as sets of rows they totaled 9 (Ex. 26: 26-28). For the reasons shortly to be given we believe the Lord uses the bars as rows in typing the number of books that they were designed to type: they type, to our understanding, those purely historical books of the Old Testament that historically hold up
and bind together the Scriptural books in a logical whole, the golden rings typing that they are Divinely empowered to perform such a work. These nine purely historical books, as we understand the matter, are the following: Genesis, Joshua, Judges, 1 Samuel, 2 Samuel, 1 Kings, 2 Kings, 1 Chronicles and 2 Chronicles. These books are unlike the remainder of the Biblical books; for they are entirely historical as distinct from biographical and didactic, and their histories form the background and support to the religion revealed in the Word. Such books as Ruth, Ezra, Nehemiah and Esther are biographies and not histories, while Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy, etc., though containing some history, as distinct from biography, are more or less didactic, containing laws, etc. But the nine books above-mentioned are purely historical, and their histories are of such a character as to afford a background and support for the religion revealed in the Bible, both in connection with its types and its antitypes. It is because of this their peculiar relation to the religion revealed in the Bible that they hold up and bind together historically the Biblical books as a logical whole; and this their peculiar relation to the other Biblical books is fittingly typed by the bars, which held up, bound together and kept in place the boards of the tabernacle.
(47) In a remarkable way the Lord has indicated that six of these nine books would consist of three pairs. From the standpoint of the bars consisting of fifteen pieces there were five bars for each of the three board walls of the tabernacle (Ex. 26: 26, 27); but from the standpoint of each row being a bar there were nine bars, three for each of the three board walls. The middle bar of each side was in one piece, reaching the entire length of its respective side; but the top and bottom bars of each side were of two pieces (Ex. 26: 28, compare with vs. 26, 27). The three middle bars we understand type the three books, Genesis,
Joshua and judges; while, according to our understanding, the three top bar rows represent 1 Samuel, 1 Kings and 1 Chronicles, and the bottom bar rows type 2 Samuel, 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles. One may ask, Why did not the Lord have each of the top and bottom bars made as He did the middle bars, i.e., to consist of but one piece? We reply: (1) Because He purposed by each middle bar to type a supporting book that has no companion book—there is not a 1 Genesis and a 2 Genesis, a 1 Joshua and a 2 Joshua, a 1 Judges and a 2 Judges; and (2) because He designed by the two-pieced top bars and the two-pieced bottom bars to represent the thought that each of them types a supporting book that has a companion book—a 1 Samuel and a2 Samuel, a 1 Kings and a 2 Kings, and a 1 Chronicles and a 2 Chronicles. Thus the top and bottom bars, by consisting of two pieces, were in each set related to one another in a way in which the middle bar had no relation to them or to any other bar, thereby typing the fact that the books represented by the top and bottom bars were respectively related to one another in a way that they were not related to the books represented by their corresponding middle bars, and in a way in which each of the books, represented by each of the middle bars, was not related to any other books. Thus the books represented by the top and bottom bars of each set are shown to have a relationship to one another by a peculiarity that none of the other books represented by the three middle bars have—the relationship of a pair or of a series of two books. And the fact that there were three sets of the top and bottom bars so related types the fact that there would be three pairs, or sets, of such books. Truly this is a remarkably ingenious way of arranging this set of symbols.
(48) Viewed, not from the standpoint of the nine pillars typing embryo and born new creatures, but from the standpoint of their typing Biblical books, we understand the nine pillars to type nine books—each
one of which was written by a different one of the nine writers of the New Testament. The five pillars in the Holy seem to type five books written by the five less important writers of the New Testament—Sts. Matthew, Mark and Luke, James and Jude. These five books we accordingly understand to be the three Gospels, written by Sts. Matthew, Mark and Luke, and the two Epistles written by Sts. James and Jude. The four pillars in the Most Holy we understand to type the four books written by the Lord Jesus, and Sts. Paul, Peter and John. These four books seem to be the Revelation, written by our Lord, Hebrews, written by St. Paul, and 1 Peter and 1 John [Correction: John; E11, 484], written respectively by Sts. Peter and John. These four are the more important writers of the New Testament. The varied importance of these two sets of New Testament writers is typed by books of the five less important ones being represented in the five pillars in the Holy, and books of the four more important ones being represented in the four pillars in the Most Holy. Additionally, the subject matter of these first five books, relating as they do to the death of the human will—the antitypical first Veil— logically places them at the entrance to the antitypical Holy; for these books especially treat of consecration, and incite to it those who are in the antitypical Court, as the subject matter of the second four books, relating as they do to the death of the human body—the antitypical second Veil—logically places them at the entrance to the antitypical Most Holy: for these books especially treat of faithfulness in sacrifice unto death, and incite to it those who are in the antitypical Holy. Some mad object, saying that St. John, not Jesus, wrote the Revelation. To this we reply that as an amanuensis whom an author of a book uses to write out what the latter dictates and pictures cannot be called the author of the book in question, so St. John, acting as our Lord's amanuensis, wrote the book of Revelation at our
Lord's dictation and at His furnishing the symbols of which the book largely consists (Rev. 1: 1; 2: 1, 8, 12, 18; 3: 1, 7, 14). It is for this reason that we are right in calling St. Paul the writer of Romans, even thought Tertius acted as his amanuensis in its writing (Rom. 16: 22). Apparently Galatians is the only one of St. Paul's books that he wrote with his own hand, his poor eyesight making it preferable for him to dictate the others to his helpers (Gal. 6: 11). Repeatedly our Pastor in discourse and writing taught that the Lord Jesus was the Writer of the Revelation (H. 33, 2, etc).
(49) All the pillars had golden hooks, to support the veils and fillets, golden chapiters as their crowns, and golden fillets—poles joining pillar to pillar at the top, and attached to the hooks to support the pillars as the bars supported the boards (Ex. 26: 32, 37; 36: 38). The golden hooks holding up the first veil type how the teachings of the five pertinent books Divinely hold up to those in the antitypical Court the thought of consecration; while the golden hooks holding up the second veil type how the teachings of the four pertinent books Divinely hold up to those in the antitypical Holy the thought of faithfulness unto death. The chapiters served as crowns to the pillars; and golden crowns symbolize Divine authorization, either as a teacher, priest or king. Divine authorization as teachers is symbolized by the golden crowns on the heads of the 24 elders (Rev. 4: 4). This seems to be the thought represented by the golden chapiters on the tops of the pillars—they tell us typically that the pertinent books, and thus their writers, are Divinely authorized teachers. The golden fillets seem to type the thought that the pertinent books and thus their writers are Divinely upheld in their mission. Most assuredly the Bible, our experiences and the history of the Church agree with this thought.
(50) The Most, Holy was a perfect cube, its height,
length and width each being ten cubits. Each of the boards was a cubit and a half in width. We are told that there were six boards, which equaled nine cubits in width, and parts of two other boards, that formed the west wall of the Most Holy (Ex. 26: 22-25). Therefore there could be only a half cubit of each of the end boards within the Most Holy as a part of its west wall. In other words, only one-third of the corner boards showed inside as the wall of the Most Holy. For the same reason, on each of the two side walls of the Most Holy there were 6⅓ boards visible in the Most Holy. In other words, there were 18 entire boards visible from within the Most Holy; and of four other boards ⅓ of them was visible from within; while ⅔ of them were invisible in the Most Holy. These boards are likewise typical. The New Testament consists, as we know, of 27 books, nine of which we have found to be typed by the five pillars in the Holy and the four pillars in the Most Holy, and the remaining 18 of which we believe are typed by the entire 18 boards visible within the Most Holy. How about the four boards whose thirds form part of the four corners of the Most Holy? We believe that they type four of the five most important books of the Old Testament. The five books of Moses—the Pentateuch—are confessedly the most important books of the Old Testament. We have already seen that the first of these—Genesis—is represented by one of the middle bars. Hence we understand that Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy are represented by the four boards whose thirds are visible in the four corners of the Most Holy. This raises the question, Why is but ⅓ of each of the boards representing these books visible from within the Most Holy, while ⅔ of each of them are not there visible? This we believe is to show that while the books which they type do not as such belong among the New Testament books, yet their typical teachings determine the character and scope of
everything in the New Testament. Certainly, whoever understands the typical teachings of these four books knows that they shadow forth the teachings of the New Testament books as no other four books of the Old Testament do—yea, more so than do all the other Old Testament books combined. There remain yet 26 boards that thus far have not been discussed. It will be noted that they constitute the boards entirely within the Holy—13 in each of its side walls. These 26 boards we understand to type the remaining Old Testament books, probably those in the south wall typing the 13 more important, and those in the north wall typing the 13 less important. Surely in the bars, pillars and boards of the tabernacle the Lord has furnished us with a most remarkable set of symbols, and their fitness in symbolizing the 66 books of the Bible becomes apparent when we keep in mind that, as they were the foundation and support of the tabernacle proper—the linen curtains as well as their three coverings—so the 66 books of the Bible are the foundation and support of The Christ—God's real Tabernacle.
(51) There remain of the frame-work of the building proper yet to be considered the sockets—literally pedestals—and the tenons, which, by being inserted into mortise-holes in the sockets, served to hold the boards and pillars upright. All of these pedestals were of silver, except the five which supported the five pillars in the Holy (Ex. 26: 19, 21, 25, 32). These five pedestals were of copper (Ex. 26: 37). The silver pedestals represent the fact that the Truth is the basis of the Biblical books, and that these books are truly of Divine origin. The fact that the five pillars in the Holy rested on copper pedestals seems to type the thought that the five books which they type are especially useful for those who are just about to step, or who have just stepped from the justified into the Spirit-begotten condition. The two golden tenons (Ex. 26: 17)
that fitted into the two mortise-holes in each pedestal seem, on the one hand, to type the fact that there are two Divine doctrines that firmly fix each book of the Bible in the Truth of God. These two Divine doctrines are Restitution and the High Calling or the Song of Moses and the Song of the Lamb (Rev. 15: 2, 3). Because the Song of Moses is the main subject of the Old Testament, and because the Song of the Lamb is the main subject of the New Testament, the two tenons, on the other hand, seem also to represent these two parts of the Bible. From this standpoint their being in the mortise-holes of the pedestals types the fact that both parts of the Bible are equally and Divinely true, and are embedded in the Truth, and thus they, as the one Divine Revelation, Divinely and firmly hold in the Truth every one of their books. All of the tenons being equally distant from one another in the wall types the fact that these two parts of the Bible are Divinely harmonious with one another.
(52) The above discussion shows that the framework of the tabernacle—the boards, tenons, bars, pillars and pedestals—as a whole represents the Bible as such, and in its parts, the books of the Bible with their main characteristics and purposes. As it was necessary for us to understand the Gospel-Age significance of each part of the tabernacle that the Gershonites and Kohathites bore, in order to understand the work of the Gospel-Age Gershonites and Kohathites, so it is necessary for us to understand the Gospel-Age significance of each part of the tabernacle building that the Merarites bore, in order to understand the work of the Gospel-Age Merarites. Understanding the Gospel-Age significance of the frame-work of the tabernacle as above, we recognize that it has not been the work of the Gospel-Age Merarites to explain various matters pertaining to the contents of the Bible; for from various standpoints and purposes this has been the work of the Gospel-Age Kohathites and Gershonites. It
follows, then, that they had as to the Bible as their charge all of the Gospel-Age Levitical work which the other Levitical groups did not have as to the Bible as their charge, i.e., the work of editing, publishing, transcribing and printing the Bible. This work, then, is typed by the Merarites' taking down, carrying and putting up the frame-work of the tabernacle. Very noble and richly blessed indeed has been this work. Their industry and fruitfulness are manifest in the many editions of the Bible that have been prepared, transcribed, printed and circulated. All through the Age they have done this, first by hand and then later by the press. Since 1804, especially through the Bible Societies, there has been a veritable downpour of Bibles, refreshing and blessing the drought-blasted peoples of the earth. We thank God for the Gospel-Age ministry of the Merarites with respect to the Bible; for their labors have very greatly enriched the antitypical Priests, Levites and Israelites.
(53) However, additional to the work of editing, transcribing, printing and publishing Bibles, the Gospel-Age Merarites had the work of editing, transcribing, printing and publishing other literature—especially the writings of the Priests and of their fellow Levitical brethren on Biblical subjects. Yea, sometimes, in harmony with their office work, they have edited, transcribed, printed and published secular writings which have proven, as auxiliaries to religious knowledge, serviceable to the Priests, to their fellow Levites and to the nominal people of God. To understand this we must see the Gospel-Age significance of those parts of the tabernacle, not yet considered, which were in the charge of the Merarites. These are set forth as being the court pillars, sockets (pedestals), pins and cords (Num. 3: 37). Our dear Pastor very properly explains the court pillars as typing justified believers (T 113, 2). It being not yet due, he did not explain why there were 60 pillars in the court (Ex. 27: 10-16).
The light has since come on the question as to why there were 60 pillars in the court. There were 60 pillars in the court because there have been 60 sections of Gospel-Age Levites, as we showed above. Thus these 60 court pillars type for Gospel-Age purposes justified believers in their 60 Gospel-Age activities, just as God also gives us in Exodus, Numbers and 1 Chronicles as their types the 60 heads of Levite families. How marvelous is this piece of symbolism! On these pillars were hooks, fillets—poles—and chapiters, all of silver (Ex. 38: 17). Our Pastor has explained the significance of the hooks (T 114, 2); therefore we will not repeat it here. The silver chapiters being the crowns of the pillars seem to type the thought that the 60 sets of justified believers were truly authorized to do their Levitical work and that the Truth that God put into their possession authorized them to do their Levitical work. The silver fillets—poles—joining pillar to pillar at their tops and attached to the pillars over the tatter's hooks, keeping the pillars from swaying or falling toward or away from one another, as the cords prevented their falling into or out of the court, seem to type the Truth by which the various Levite sections would truly support one another. Our Pastor has explained the significance of the copper pedestals of the pillars (T 113, 2); therefore we omit repeating his explanation here. The cords that held the pillars seem to type the helps, especially by discourses and writings, that the Levites have given to one another to support the various Levitical sections in their proper activities. The cords that were pinned to the ground within the court seem to type such helps, in so far as they pertain to religious matters; and those cords that were pinned to the ground outside of the court seem to type such helps in so far as they pertain to secular matters, e.g., many of the Gospel-Age Kohathites not only have prepared helps that have assisted the Priests and the people, but they
also have prepared helps that have assisted their fellow Levites of all three groups. Such helps seem to be represented by the cords. Among the helps purely intended for Levites—typed by these cords—we might mention text books on secular and religious subjects that they have prepared to assist young men with collegiate and seminary knowledge for the ministry, such as text books on history, logic, rhetoric, languages, preaching, catechizing, pastoral work and the various branches of theology. The copper pins by which these cords were fastened to the ground seem to type the thought that all of these helps were to be serviceable to justification, and that, as works of tentatively justified persons, these helps had the benefit of their tentatively-justified standing before God. The fact that the pillars, so constructed and supported, held up the linen curtains types the fact that the 60 sections of Gospel-Age Levites have had as their special work the service of holding up the righteousness of Christ—justification by faith.
(54) The Merarites' having charge of the pillars, their pedestals, cords and pins types the fact that by their editing, transcribing, printing and publishing secular and religious literature serviceable to justification to their fellow Levites, to the Priests and to the people, the Gospel-Age Merarites were to further one another and their fellow Levites in the good work of holding up the righteousness of Christ— justification by faith, as well as to put the helpful literary products of the Gospel-Age Kohathite and Gershonite Levites into the hands of the Priests, people and Levites. Those camping on the East side of the Tabernacle type Jesus as Jehovah's Administrator (antitypical Moses) and Jesus and the Church (antitypical Aaron and his sons) as Priests, having in their relation to the antitypical Tabernacle a more important position than had any of the Levitical groups. Any one not of this class who would presume to busybody in their work
would reap summary punishment (Num. 3: 38). The exchange of the firstborn for the Levites (Num. 3: 39-51) is not designed to type an exchange of certain persons for others; for the antitypical Firstborns and the antitypical Levites are the same persons. Rather, this bit of history is inserted to show how in Israel the tribe of Levi took the place of the firstborns in religious matters. The giving of the redemption money for the 273 surplus firstborns over and above the number of the Levites from 30 days old and upward is to show that the antitypical Firstborns and the antitypical tribe of Levi are of equal number, i.e., are the same persons. It is well for us to note that the power to be a Levite, with the privilege of exercising Levitical powers, was valued at five pieces of silver—shekels of the sanctuary.
(55) The service of the Gospel-Age Kohathites was described above. Their ministry was connected with carrying the furniture and vessels of the tabernacle, which they bore on their shoulders (Num. 3: 31; 4: 1-20; 7: 9). But before they could bear the furniture and vessels, the priests had to prepare them for the purpose by covering them according to the Lord's Word. The covering of the furniture and the vessels, like the furniture, the vessels, the tabernacle, the priests and the Levites, was typical of better—higher—things. It is our purpose in this chapter to set forth our understanding of the priests' work in covering these articles as typical of these better—higher—things.
(56) The Lord has been pleased to open our eyes of understanding as to the antitypical meaning of the sacred vessels, and it gives us pleasure to set this forth before the brethren. For many years we have known from Is. 52: 11 that the sacred vessels typed Biblical teachings; and for several years we have understood the antitypes of certain of the vessels. We knew in 1910 that the censers represent Bible passages, and we
stated this in print (P '19, 144, par. 5), when explaining the antitypes of the censers of the 250 Levites who with Korah offered incense in competition with Aaron. So, also, for years we have known from the type of John's head being placed on a charger, that the tabernacle chargers or plates typed teachings corrective of misconduct. So, too, from the vials or bowls of Rev. 16 we knew that bowls typed truths refutative of error; but it was not until the Spring of 1922 that we gained a viewpoint that enabled us to see what all of the sacred vessels type.
(57) We knew from Is. 52: 11 that the tabernacle vessels type Bible teachings, and while seeking by meditation and prayer, to learn the antitypes of all of the vessels mentioned in Num. 4: 5-20, 2 Tim. 3: 16, 17 came to mind, and gave us the clue. We had previously noted the fact that in connection with certain furniture of the tabernacle, apart from the censers there were four sets of vessels belonging to the brazen altar (Num. 4: 14; Ex. 38: 3), to the golden table (Num. 4: 7) and to the golden lampstand (Num. 4: 9); and quite likely with the golden altar (Num. 4: 11, 12) the same number of sets of vessels were had as were used in connection with the brazen altar. For many years we have known from 2 Tim. 3: 16, 17 that the Scriptures are especially intended to teach four lines of thought: (1) "doctrine," (2) "reproof," i.e., refutation of error, (3) "correction," disapproval and setting aside of wrong qualities and conduct, and (4) "instruction in righteousness," inculcation of proper qualities and conduct. In our study of these vessels, compared with this passage, the thought struck our mind: The four sets of vessels connected with the four pieces of tabernacle furniture, typing Biblical teaching, seemingly correspond to the four sets of Biblical teachings brought to our attention in 2 Tim. 3: 16, 17. The reasonableness of this thought inheres in the nature of the case; for if we ask ourselves, What
do the priests, apart from Bible passages, the antitypical censers, use in their sacrificial service, in teaching lines, as antitypes of the typical vessels? we must answer from the facts of the case, that they, in teaching lines, apart from Bible passages, use doctrines, reproofs, corrections and instructions in righteousness. Not only does the correspondence of the facts of the case, but also the fulfilled Scriptures respecting chargers, bowls and censers, show that our thought is evidently a Scriptural one.
(58) Having thus pointed out in general what the tabernacle vessels type, we desire to show what, generally speaking, is the antitype of the priests' covering the vessels and the furniture. The covering of the vessels and furniture was for the purpose of preventing the Levites and the people (Num. 4: 20) from seeing them. As, therefore, the typical covering concealed the typical vessels and furniture from the natural sight of Levites and Israelites; so the antitypical covering must hide the antitypical vessels and furniture from the mental sight of all who are not antitypical Priests. Hence the antitypical covering of the vessels and furniture makes them so that they cannot be understood by antitypical Levites and Israelites. The Priests, therefore, act in such away toward the antitypical furniture and vessels as to make them not understood by the non-priests. How do they do this? By faithfully using, in the spirit of the Lord and in harmony with their consecration, these antitypical vessels, and by faithfully sacrificing with and for those who are typed by the furniture they make the antitypical vessels and furniture seem untrue and unnatural, and hence not understandable, to the natural mind (1 Cor. 2: 1-16). Certainly, our faithfully presenting the Truth as against the errors of the antitypical Levites and Israelites, our using these in ways that run athwart their selfishness and worldliness, and our using these to defend the Divine plan, which they reject, cannot
but make these teachings ununderstood and unnatural mysteries to them. Certainly, our faithfully sacrificing in the interests of God, Christ, the Truth and the brethren will make the selfish and worldly minds of the antitypical Levites and Israelites, who fail to get from us, just because of such sacrificing on our part, the selfish profit that they desire, not understand the antitypical furniture. To God and the priesthood, our course herein appears what it actually is—faithful—typed by the blue cloth; but to the selfish and worldly our course herein is repulsive—typed by seal skins. Thus, because of the natural-mindedness of the antitypical Levites and Israelites, the faithfulness of the priests toward the antitypical vessels and furniture blinds the former to the heavenly things—the antitypical furniture and vessels.
(59) A few illustrations will clarify the Biblical teaching on this subject, which is elaborated by St. Paul in 1 Cor. 2: 1-16: e.g., the faithful consecrated wife, while doing fully her duty to her unconsecrated husband, often follows a course that, impinging against his selfishness and worldliness, makes him think of the Truth and Truth people, and the God and Christ who stand for such a course, as repulsive and beyond understanding. Again, e.g., the faithfulness of our Pastor in correcting imperfect views formerly presented, as he did on the covenants, the difference between Advocate and Mediator, etc., etc., disgusted antitypical Levites and Israelites with him, his supporters and the kind of a God and Christ that these truths presented, which blinded them to the pertinent truths and persons. And again, e.g., who of us through our faithfulness in presenting the Truth and faithfully serving God, Christ and the brethren, has not been the occasion of hiding these from the understanding of the unfit? Evidently, the latter are "they that stumble at the Word, being disobedient."
(60) It will be noticed that in each case the vessels
were covered with blue cloth and with seal skins, and in certain cases cloths of other colors were used. In every case the blue typed the faithful course of the antitypical priesthood and how their course appeared as faithful in deed and in truth to God and to the Priests; while the same faithful course, impressing the antitypical Levites and Israelites as repulsive, is represented by the seal skins which, except in the case of the ark, were the outside covering and the only thing visible to the typical Levites and Israelites.
(61) Having thus given some general explanations necessary for the understanding of Num. 4: 5-20 as a whole, we now desire to enter into the particulars of this Scripture. In vs. 5 and 15 mention is made of the camp setting forward; and this raises in our minds the question: What is typed by the Israelites' being encamped and by their marching from one station to another? The antitypical marching becomes clear when we remember that Israel's journey from Egypt to Canaan types the Lord's people leaving the present evil world and progressing to the Kingdom. Israel's marches, therefore, represent progress in grace, knowledge and service, leading onward to the Kingdom. Every trialsome experience of Israel occurred while they were in camp. Hence trials as to the immediately preceding growth in grace, knowledge and service are typed by the pertinent encampments. The breaking of camp would represent the transition from the completed trial to fresh opportunities of growth in grace, knowledge and service, while erecting a new camp would represent the experiences leading up to the trials in line with the immediately preceding growth. As in the type the breaking of camp began (v. 15) with the priests beginning to cover the sacred vessels and furniture, so in the antitype the Priests always start to minister faithfully as to the things along the lines of which progress in grace, knowledge and service is to be made, and it is only after the Priests have made this
beginning on each phase of the antitypical covering, that next in order the antitypical Levites have started to work along those pertinent lines, and later the antitypical Israelites have begun such pertinent activity.
(62) Aaron's and his sons' covering the ark with the second veil types how the faithful sacrifice of the priesthood in its various members unto death has hidden the antitypical Ark—God and the Christ—from the antitypical Levites and Israelites. Such sacrificial deaths being abhorrent to the antitypical Levites and Israelites (Heb. 13: 12, 13) is typed by the covering of seal skins. But that these, while not understanding God and the Christ beyond the veil, will later come to recognize them as fully faithful, is typed by the wholly or perfectly blue cloth being put as the final covering over the ark. The 2 staves (v. 6) that were placed in the ark rings to enable the Levites to bear the ark, seem to type the Old and the New Testaments; for it is by means of these that the antitypical Levites have ministered to the antitypical Priests and Israelites so far as God and the Christ beyond the veil are concerned, i.e., borne the antitypical Ark. The placing of these staves into the rings types the priesthood commending the Old and New Testaments to the antitypical Levites as the means by which they could serve God and the glorified Christ, the antitypical Ark.
(63) The covering of the table, its bread and vessels, is described in vs. 7 and 8. The table types the Church as strengtheners of the brethren with the bread of life. The covering of the table with a blue cloth represents that the faithful ministry extended to the Priests for their growth in grace and service, by the more developed Priests strengthening them with the bread of life, appears to God and the priesthood as it is in deed and truth—faithful, blue. The putting of the pertinent vessels and the shewbread on the blue cloth represents the thought that the ministering Priests faithfully use with the bread of life, the supporting.
and pertinent truths as the means of facilitating their strengthening their brethren. The dishes or chargers represent the corrections; the spoons (which were used especially for the sweet incense, Num. 7: 14, etc.) represent instructions in righteousness; the bowls represent refutations; and "the cups to pour withall" (mistranslated "the covers to cover withall") represent the doctrines. Cups were used for the drink offerings, which like the meat offerings type our praise and worship, i.e., service, of Jehovah. We worship Him by serving His cause, and praise Him by declaring His plan which manifests His glorious character to others. Hence the cups type the doctrines of the plan, which, of course, show forth God's praises (1 Pet. 2: 9). The scarlet cloth (v. 8) that was cast over these, represents the merit (sacrifice) of our Lord, which must cover the Church (the table) as it feeds the brethren with the strengthening Word, to make their service acceptable; and its use in connection with the table and its appurtenances also suggests that the strengthening brethren teach and emphasize to the priesthood that for their being strengthened in growth unto every good word and work they must have the Lord's merit as theirs to make them acceptable while growing as New Creatures. Their placing the final covering of the seal skins over the table and its vessels and bread represents that the faithfulness of the antitypical Priests in such service makes these things repulsive to the nonpriests. The staves and their placing in the rings has a meaning similar to the same things and act in connection with the ark, except that the table represents the Church as strengtheners of the brethren and not God and Christ in heaven—the antitypical Ark.
(64) Vs. 9 and 10 treat of the covering of the lampstand and its vessels. The lampstand represents the Church as the enlighteners of the brethren, and its vessels represent the teachings that the enlightening brethren use for the enlightenment of their fellow Priests.