THE SON OF MAN
"And the Word became flesh, and tabernacled among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth."
The Two Materials - The Two Natures
In the last article, we saw that the Tabernacle of Moses is a picture, or shadow of Christ and the church. The ark is a picture of the individual Christ and the Tabernacle is a picture of the corporate Christ, the church.
The ark is made of acacia wood that has been overlaid with gold. The Tabernacle is made up of mainly 48 boards that are made of acacia wood overlaid with gold. So we saw that the tabernacle is the enlargement of the ark. When the ark is enlarged, expanded or increased, it becomes the tabernacle. When Christ is enlarged, He becomes the church. The church is the increase or enlargement of Christ.
The two kinds of materials (acacia wood and gold) speak of the two natures within our Lord. In the scriptures, wood always symbolizes the human nature or humanity. Gold always speaks of God's nature or divinity. So here we see an object that is made of acacia wood that has been covered in gold. The humanity and divinity combines as one.
We need to realize that the humanity of the ark (and the tabernacle) is not the fallen humanity of Adam. This is the humanity of Christ. Unfortunately, because of the heresy of the modernists, the fundamentalists have swung to the other extreme. The modernists say that Jesus is just a man and is not God. This, of course, is a great heresy and probably the greatest heresy of all time. To compensate, the fundamentalists emphasize the divinity of Christ almost to the exclusion of His humanity. This has been a great loss to the Christian world. Yes, of course, we must always remember that Jesus is the Son of God, but we must discover anew that He is also the Son of Man.
His perfect humanity is actually the structure on which God fulfilled His eternal purpose. The 48 boards of the tabernacle stood up straight to form the "walls" of the holy place and holy of holies. It was the wood that formed the structure of the tabernacle, not the gold. In a sense, you could say that the gold was more a decoration than anything else. The structure was made out of the boards of wood and those boards held up everything. It is the perfect humanity of Christ that fulfills God's purpose.
In Genesis 1:26, it is very clear that God's eternal purpose to have an image and a representation on the earth could only be fulfilled by man. In Psalm 8 and Hebrews 2 this is once again brought to the forefront. Only man could fulfill the purpose of God to have an expression of Himself on this earth. However, the first man, Adam, failed to fulfill this purpose.
For this reason, the second man, Christ came to perfectly fulfill God's original intention. But it had to be a Man! The humanity of Jesus Christ is not fallen, sinful flesh. He was conceived of the Spirit and born of a woman, so sin never came into the picture. Here was a Man who had God living inside of Him! This is what Adam was supposed to be. The perfect Man. The perfect humanity. Read the gospel of Luke and you can clearly see what kind of Man your Lord really is. God living in uncorrupted, unfallen, human flesh. This is what the word "tabernacle" is all about!
We must realize that the tabernacle in the wilderness is a complete and perfect picture of Christ. When I say "Christ," I am speaking of the whole Man, Head and Body. The tabernacle is a complete picture of Christ and the Church. But the main material used in this tabernacle is the acacia wood used for the boards. This means that the humanity of Christ is the main structure of the church. We have lost this experience in Christianity today.
I am speaking of the humanity of our Lord. He took humanity and brought it into God. He raised up humanity to its original height and purpose, to glorify or manifest God. God was manifested in human flesh! (I Tim. 3:15, 16) Now when you read that word, "flesh," don't think of the evil, corrupted, fallen flesh that you and I have. Instead, think of the perfect human flesh of our Lord that was completely untainted by sin, the world, and the devil. God came into this flesh and was made visible. He expressed Himself through this human flesh. This is the real tabernacle of God, the humanity of Christ! Now, of course, His divinity is also part of this tabernacle, but that is not what we are looking at right now. We need to see what has been neglected, the humanity of the Lord Jesus Christ. That is what holds up the tabernacle. The whole structure is built upon that humanity.
The Practical Application
We need the spiritual sight to see that the Person who lives inside of us is both human and divine. The Life that lives inside of you is both God and Man. Every believer has the glorified humanity of Christ living inside of them. Yes, it's true that you have your own fallen human life inside of you. But it's also true that you have His human life inside of you. Everything that He experienced as a man is inside of you. Everything that He experienced as God is also inside of you. Is this not awesome?
He lived as a man so that God could be manifested in the flesh. Not just the flesh of the man, Jesus of Nazareth, but the flesh of you and me as well! He lived as a man, without sin, and then took that humanity and glorified it through the resurrection and ascension, and then sent that glorified human life by His Spirit and placed it into you. Now you have the opportunity to take that perfect humanity of Christ and make that your Daily Bread. Could that be what He meant when He said, "Eat My Flesh and drink My Blood?" Was He saying "Eat My humanity?" Take this humanity of your Lord and feast upon it. When you wake up every morning, take this human life of Christ and dwell upon it, chew on it, and let your spirit feed upon this perfect life. Then, throughout the day, turn to that life instead of your own human life, to deal with the circumstances brought your way.
In this way, God will be manifested in the flesh again through you and me. He is taking something of this earth, something human, something made of clay, and transforming it into stones. These "living stones" are then transformed into "precious stones" and built together to form a great city. This city is the tabernacle of God, the New Jerusalem.
"And I saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice out of the throne, saying, "Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will tabernacle with them, and they will be his peoples, and God Himself will be with them and be their God." Rev. 21:2, 3