ONE IN THE TRIUNE GOD AND
IN HIS EXPRESSION
In John 17 the Lord Jesus prayed that we would be one in the Triune God. This concept is deep and profound, far beyond our understanding. In verse 23 the Lord said, “I in them, and You in Me, that they may be perfected into one.” Such a word surpasses our comprehension. However, if we consider the type of the tabernacle in Exodus 26, we will find it much easier to grasp the meaning of the Lord’s prayer for oneness in John 17.
A PICTURE OF OUR ONENESS
IN THE TRIUNE GOD
Nearly all the spiritual realities in the New Testament are abstract. However, for most of the spiritual realities there are types or pictures in the Old Testament. In Exodus 26 we have a picture of the oneness in the Triune God. The standing boards of the tabernacle make up a corporate structure. The Ark inside the tabernacle was an individual item, but the tabernacle was a corporate entity. The Ark typifies Christ. However, the same materials used in making the Ark were also used for the standing boards. Both the Ark and the boards were made of acacia wood overlaid with gold. There was a total of forty-eight boards. When these boards were put together, they composed God’s dwelling place. To be sure, God’s dwelling place is a corporate matter. Hence, in the tabernacle with the forty-eight standing boards we see a picture of real oneness. In order to become one entity as God’s dwelling place, the forty-eight boards had to be brought into oneness. They were one not in the acacia wood but in the gold that overlaid the wood.
The Ark is a type of Christ with His two natures: the human nature typified by the acacia wood and the divine nature signified by the gold. We have pointed out that these materials were also used in making the boards for the building of God’s dwelling place. If the gold had been taken away from the standing boards, leaving only the acacia wood, the boards would immediately have fallen down. Even if they had remained upright, standing side by side, they would still not have been one. Rather, they would have been forty-eight separate, individual boards. Their oneness was not in the acacia wood; it was in the gold. This clearly portrays the fact that our oneness is not in humanity but in divinity, in the Triune God. If the divine nature were taken away from us, we would immediately become detached from one another. Although we might still love one another and even embrace one another, we nevertheless would not be one. The oneness of the standing boards of the tabernacle, or this oneness in the gold, symbolizes our oneness in the Triune God.
ONE IN THE GLORY OF GOD
The gold was not only the oneness of the standing boards; it was also their glory. By being overlaid with gold, the standing boards bore the glory of the gold, for the shining of the gold was their glory, their expression. Anyone who entered into the tabernacle could see on every side the shining of the gold. Hence, the oneness of the forty-eight boards was not only in the gold, signifying God, but also in the shining of the gold, signifying the glory of God. In the same principle, our oneness today is in the Triune God and in His glory, His shining.
THE WOOD AND THE GOLD
We all have been saved, washed in the Lord’s precious blood, forgiven of our sins, reconciled to God, and regenerated with the life of God by the Spirit. This means that we are genuine Christians. Let me now ask you this question: As one who has both the human nature and the divine nature, are you wood with gold in it, or are you wood overlaid with gold? In other words, with you, is the gold in the wood, or is the wood in the gold? If you simply have gold in the wood, you are finished with the oneness. If you say that you are wood in the gold, I would then ask you another question: What do others see when they come in contact with you, wood or gold? And if others see gold upon you, how much gold do they see? How much have you been overlaid with gold? Yes, we are wooden boards in the gold, but how much gold do we have upon us? This is a crucial question.
THE NEED FOR
A WEIGHTY LAYER OF GOLD
Each standing board of the tabernacle was ten cubits high and one and a half cubits wide. This means its dimensions were fifteen feet in length by twenty-seven inches in width. Certainly a large amount of gold was required to overlay a board of this size. If the layer of gold were too thin, it would not have been able to bear the weight of the board. To prepare the wooden boards was not too difficult; however, to overlay these large boards was quite a difficult task. Although we all are boards, we may be overlaid with a very thin layer of gold. Yes, we may be in the Triune God, but we may not be deeply in Him. Instead of being overlaid with gold, we may be merely gilded with gold, like Babylon the Great in Revelation 17. If the standing boards had been only gilded with gold, there would have been no gold for the rings that supported the weight of the boards. In order for the forty-eight heavy boards to be held together, they each had to be overlaid with a heavy layer of gold.
Although gold is glorious and shiny, it is somewhat soft. In like manner, the uniting God is also rather “soft.” If we have just a little of Him, we shall not have a sufficient amount of gold for the oneness. Our experience proves this. Suppose you contact the Lord early in the morning and gain some gold. But when you see an unpleasant expression on the face of your husband or wife at the breakfast table, you are immediately offended. The thin layer of gold that was covering you seems to have disappeared. However, if you have been overlaid with a heavy layer of gold, you will not be offended, no matter how much unpleasantness you may have to face. Nothing can damage such a thick layer of gold. Although you may have a certain amount of gold, the amount you have may not be enough to keep you in the genuine oneness.