This page lists the items on our site for the year you have selected, in all formats (audio, video, or PDF). To access the actual content you need to go to the full entry by clicking on its title. (Note: "Daily Words" have their own, separate archive. Look for the "List Daily Words by Date" link in the side-bar to the right.

The graphic underneath the title of the post indicates what kind of entry it is.

     
Article   Audio   Book   Video


Moses: The Raising Up of The Tabernacle (12)

Sunday, October 1st, 2017

The Fine Twisted Linen

“Moreover you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twisted linen and blue and purple and scarlet material; you shall make them with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman”
– Exodus 26:1.

Under the curtain of goats’ hair was the curtain of “fine twisted linen and blue and purple and scarlet material.” Exodus 26:1 makes it seem like this was the only covering that counted, for the tabernacle was made of it.

 

Byssus

John Darby’s New Translation called this linen “byssus.” He translates this verse as, “And thou shalt make the tabernacle with ten curtains of twined byssus, and blue, and purple, and scarlet: with cherubim of artistic work shalt thou make them.” Byssus was an ancient Egyptian linen most likely made from cotton and flax.

Darby is accurate when he drops the word “material” after the words “blue, and purple, and scarlet.” There is no word in the original language to say what these colors were made of. The three uses of the word “and” indicate that there were four distinct items used in this covering: linen (or byssus), and blue, and purple, and scarlet. These colors may have been colored thread as some translators say, or they may have been colored pigment used on the linen. God in His wisdom did not say, so the New American Standard translation simply uses the word “material.”

A long process is required to produce byssus. Thread must first be produced from the raw materials, and those threads must be woven together to form the covering of the tabernacle. Somehow during this process the three colors get woven in as well. This represents the believers today (the byssus) being woven together in the divine life (the colors) to form God’s testimony (the tabernacle).

 

Cotton

The first material used to make byssus is cotton. As the cotton plant grows it produces a thin hard shell that protects the cotton material as it forms. Eventually the shell cracks on its own and the cotton ball is exposed on the plant ready to be picked. The cotton does not go through a lot of hard processing to become useful. It is picked, the seeds are removed, it is cleaned, and it is ready. From there it is spun with other balls of cotton into thread.

For God to have His testimony today, some of us have to be cotton. We simply grow with no special hardship. The spinner must be skillful to produce useful thread that is of consistent thickness and strength using whatever cotton he has. Praise the Lord, He is the most skilled spinner. As cotton, we have to do nothing but stay in the church life and let Him do His work.

When we are ready, God picks us, cleans us, and begins to spin us with others. We shouldn’t be a cotton ball that rolls away every time He reaches for us. We must be willing to be handled and controlled by God so that useful thread can come out.

If we resist the spinner, no thread will be produced. We know we are resisting Him if we don’t spend time touching Him in our daily life, if we rarely read the Bible, or if we often miss the meetings. If we find reasons to avoid the saints and not answer their calls, we may be cotton balls, but no thread will be produced.

On the contrary, the more we touch the Lord, enjoy His presence, taste His riches, enjoy the brothers and sisters and the church life, the more we will experience a divine spinning that produces useful thread. Eventually a good deal of riches will be produced for God to weave together as fine linen for His testimony.

 

Flax

Unlike cotton, flax comes from a rough plant that is sharp and easily cuts people. For this reason, it must pass through a hard process before it can become useful. Once harvested, it must be soaked in water to soften it. Then it is beaten to make it tender. I am told that some kind of oil is used during this beating process, which is good because we need a supply of the Spirit if we are to pass through such a hard process. Eventually thread is produced that can be spun with the cotton.

If we are cotton, we need only take care of life. We just praise the Lord, read the Bible, go to the meetings, enjoy Christ, and then the thread will come out. It’s all a matter of life. If we are flax, however, we have to be soaked in situations too deep for us, in order to soften us up. When we finally learn how to swim a little, we stick our head up, and boom, He knocks us down and beats us. This continues until we lose our original shape and texture. His soaking and beating make us different. The hard thing becomes soft and the rough thing becomes fine, something God can use.

Would we rather be cotton or flax? All the sisters want to be cotton. No sister wants to experience the soaking and beating needed to become flax. They pray, “Lord just make me a sweet piece of cotton. Hold me so I won’t get lost, so I’ll still pray to you, I’ll still read the word, I’ll still make the meetings, and I’ll still be with all the brothers and sisters. Please Lord, cotton is good enough.”

Many brothers however want to be heroes and choose to be flax. They pray, “Lord, beat me up. I’m not afraid of the cross, I’m not afraid of hardship. Discipline me, knock me down, do everything so that I can be broken. Lord, I want to be flax!”

Eventually the one who becomes flax is very solid. The one who becomes cotton is very tender. If you put them together, as God did in the tabernacle, we have both. It is like a good family in which the mother is full of tenderness and love for their children, while the father loves them in a different way, with firmness and discipline. Cotton becomes the tender life-strength for the family to go on. Flax becomes the shelter that protects it. Children whose parents are both cotton or both flax will have problems, but those who have one of each will most likely grow well.

 

Both Cotton and Flax are Needed

The church life is same. We need some who are flax. We also need those who are cotton. We need the brothers and sisters who have been through a lot, who can stand firm for Lord’s interest. We also need many who are rich in the enjoyment of Christ, able to supply life to the Church.

Actually we have no choice regarding what we become. It makes no difference how much we beg the Lord to be one or the other. God decides if we are cotton or flax. Both were needed to make the byssus for the tabernacle, and both are needed in the church life today. Most of us have some experience of each. At times He holds us close and nourishes us. At other times we experience His discipline. Eventually He as the skillful spinner produces a good covering for His testimony.

Sometimes a church wants to try different kinds of activities to bring people to the meetings. As long as they keep the fellowship I say let them try. But I know that if what they try is worldly, it will not work, because it is neither cotton nor flax. It violates the principle of the covering of the tabernacle. There is nothing wrong with having good meetings with good music, but never violate the principle by going too far. If we bring people to their emotions and not to God, there will be no cotton or flax, and no covering for the tabernacle can be produced.

We think that because we have beautiful music the church can go on, but the people who come may come just to hear the beautiful music, not to meet the Lord. This will never be enough to cause them to give their lives to the Lord and consecrate themselves to His service. They will become neither cotton nor flax because they are only feeding their soul with good music. Yes, we should have good music, but we must have more than that.

Those who come to us must be brought to the Lord. They must be placed in the hand of the Lord to let Him work on them. If they are cotton, He will confine them. If they are flax, He will pressure them by striking and breaking them. But remember He always adds the oil of the Spirit to His work so that it will produce what He desires—the fine humanity of Christ in His divine attributes.
Woven Together

The threads of cotton and flax must be woven together to produce the fine linen. If we are not woven with other saints in life, there will be no covering, and those who experience a hard time may become bitter toward the Lord and the church. They need to be woven with those who have gone through such hard times before them and who now have some growth in life. These mature ones can help them pass through their difficulties. The apostle Paul writes, “We will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 1:4). If no one has already had such experiences and the whole church is made of cotton, that church is hopeless because no one can render the proper help.

I went through an experience when I was young that made me bitter and so I wanted to give up the Lord for a time. I had finished my basic military training in Taiwan and then received orders to go through that same training again. I remember, while waiting at the station for the train to take me back, singing songs about the cross because I felt I was suffering so much. Suddenly another train pulled up and many of my old companions from my first basic training got off. When they saw me, they began to taunt me. They were going home and I was going back. This was too much. I told the Lord that He had the right to work on me and beat me, but not to humiliate me. I decided to give up on Christ and stop being a Christian. Every time I started to pray, I stopped myself. Every time I started to sing or turn to the Bible, I stopped myself. After about two weeks I became so dry I had to repent and turn to the Lord. Almost immediately after my repentance, the mistake of my being there was discovered and I was sent home. How happy I was that I had repented before I was released and not after. I got back just in time to attend a three month church training where I spent every day with mature brothers who could help me. That time has been my stability for many years. What a wonderful Christ we have. He surely knows what He is doing.

Every church needs both those who are cotton and those who are flax. The cotton ones will keep us in life, and the flax ones will stand firm for the truth and help us pass through hard times. These brothers and sisters nourish and protect the saints. If a church has only cotton, it will never be able to take a strong stand. If it is all flax, it will be too rough and many may leave. How blessed is that church that has both. This is the fine twisted linen that makes up the covering of the tabernacle.


Brother Titus’ Online Video Channel

Thursday, September 7th, 2017
We are very pleased to announce that Brother Titus now has an online channel for you to view video excerpts from his recent ministry, at YouTube.com. You can access his channel here:

The Ministry of Titus Chu on YouTube.com

To search for it directly on YouTube, look for “Titus Chu Ministry Messages.”

Many of these excerpts are from recent conference messages, so watching them is a good way to review and consider again what our brother has recently shared as his burden from the Lord. As a sample, this is an excerpt from the recent Memorial Day Weekend conference:

“The Depth of His Riches”

We pray that these videos will be a real help and blessing to you in your Christian life!

(more…)


Moses: The Raising Up of The Tabernacle (11)

Friday, September 1st, 2017

Our “Goat” Nature

The tabernacle is the most crucial picture in the whole Old Testament. It shows us the testimony of the Lord concerning both the church and the growth of all the individual saints. In it we see Christ, God, and how He works with people like us to turn us into what He wants.

 

God’s View

The tabernacle has four coverings. God, who dwells in the holy of holies in the center of the tabernacle, looks from the inside out. He sees the inside covering, the “fine twisted linen and blue and purple and scarlet material” (Exo. 26:1). Isn’t it wonderful that God sees the church and us in such a way? From His view, everything is complete.

 

Man’s View

Man, however, lives on the outside. We see all the problems and ugliness. The apostle Paul, who was a spiritual man in whom God had done so much, said, “From now on we recognize no one according to the flesh” (2 Cor.‬ ‭5:16). Yet the Corinthians could only see according to the flesh and said of Paul, “His personal presence is unimpressive and his speech contemptible” (10:10). Most people only see the top layer—the ugly badger skin.

Over the years God has produced many spiritual men and women such as Paul, and like Paul, they look so common. They do not seem at all special, but they are solid, standing firm for the interest of the saints and the church. This is the outermost covering of badger’s skin. They have no boast even though they may be quite operative, because they know who they are. They are just sinners saved by grace, and apart from the redeeming blood of Christ they could not stand. This is the covering of rams’ skin dyed red, the second covering. If we examine these spiritual ones closely we will discover that they are each quite goat-like in their own way, yet their goats’ hair has been made beautiful and used by God. This is the third covering. If we only know men according to the flesh, we will be disappointed, but if we dig deeper, we will see in them the fourth covering of fine twisted linen. This is what God sees.

 

Goat-Like

We may see past the first two coverings, but it is hard to get past the third. We think spiritual people should not have anything goat-like, yet God allows it and even uses it. No one knows what the thorn was in Paul’s flesh, but it must have been quite goat-like because he prayed three times for God to remove it (2 Cor. 12:7-8). God’s response was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (v. 9). God used this thorn to make Paul into the servant He wanted.

People sometimes think that, because I am a servant of God serving the churches, I must have no interest outside the Bible. They are surprised to learn that I keep a small collection of novels by my bed. Often when I cannot sleep, I open one of these and read until I get tired. This is some of my goat hair. I use these novels like others use a sleep aid. It is my medicine. I would never promote novels or read them in front of others, because I care for others’ consciences. But reading helps me to be enlarged and to understand the human condition. It is a bit goat-like, but it is not sin and God has used it in this way to enrich my ministry.

I have more that is goat-like. I love vases. One day some brothers came to my home for fellowship. While I was out of the room, they counted that I had around one hundred fifty vases on display. How goat-like! Please do not examine me too closely. You will find a lot of other goat-like things.

If you touch my being, you will discover that I have a goat-like nature, a little lion-like. This comes as a genuine surprise to many. They ask, “How can a spiritual man be like this? How can he be so goat-like?” Sin is taken away by the blood of Christ, but for some reason God allows some of our goat-like nature to remain so He can have the goats’ hair for His tabernacle. Paul’s thorn could not have been sin, or God would never have tolerated it. It was something goat-like, and it kept Paul from exalting himself.
It is hard to tolerate anything goat-like from someone we think is spiritual. We want them to grow gold, not goat hair. But no one grows gold. We can only grow goat hair—messy, dirty, matted, and mixed with thorns and other things. Amazingly, this is the covering directly above the fine twisted linen.

 

A Border of Goats’ Hair

The covering of goats’ hair was made by joining eleven panels, each measuring thirty by four cubits (Exo. 26:7–8). The covering of fine linen under it was made by joining ten panels, each measuring twenty-eight by four cubits (vv. 1–2). Thus the goats’ hair covering was a little larger in both its length and width. If we were in the holy of holies admiring the fine linen, we could still see a border of goats’ hair all the way around the bottom.

The fine linen is the most spiritual of the four coverings. It is the most inward covering and represents our most spiritual and heavenly experiences. There is nothing here of the ugliness of the badgers’ skin or of the sin dealt with by the rams’ skin dyed red. But it seems that no matter how spiritual we become, our goat-like nature is larger and always shows something of itself. The more spiritual we think we are, the greater our shortcomings will be.

A number of years ago our young people seemed to be continually writing new songs. They were excellent songs and I really enjoyed singing them. I was amazed that we had so much talent among us. Then, years later, I discovered that they were using contemporary music with only a few changes to the words. A popular love song with only minor changes instantly became a love song to the Lord. I didn’t know it, but every new one who came through the doors quickly recognized the music and saw how goat-like we were. There was nothing wrong. It was not sinful. It was simply goat-like.

Even something as simple as a baked potato can become goat-like to us because while we eat it we forget about the Lord. It tastes so good that it temporarily replaces our enjoyment of Christ. If we try to not enjoy it we cannot help ourselves. If we try to give up potatoes, our heart longs for them even more. Eating our favorite food is not sinful, and if it causes us to forget Christ for a while, we can always repent to the Lord and come back. No mater how mature we are in Christ, something of our goat-like nature always remains.

We all have a bit of the goat nature. We all do things and have things that smell of goat. Often we are not even aware of these things, but if we are, there is no need to put them on display. This is not hypocrisy—this is caring for other’s consciences. Those who are spiritual will not be bothered, but those who are a bit religious may be unnecessarily troubled.

 

Responsibility

The Bible doesn’t simply say that the covering of fine linen was made of ten panels and the one of goats’ hair was made of eleven. It is much more specific. It tells that the linen panels were divided into two sets of five (Exo. 26:3), and the goats’ hair panels were divided into one set of five and another set of six (v. 9). In the Bible, the number five represents responsibility, and the number six represents man.

The fine linen represents God’s testimony, and for this He uses five and five. Both God and man must bear responsibility for His testimony. But when it comes to our goat-like nature God uses five and six, indicating that He bears all the responsibility for us.

Who is responsible for our individual growth in life to produce the fine linen with its three colors? Who is responsible for raising up the corporate testimony of the church? This responsibility is both God’s and ours. God uses all things, but we must cooperate with Him even if it is through tears. God is so wise and eventually He gets all the glory.

Yet right above this covering, and showing all around the bottom, is the goats’ hair. We can never fully deal with our goat-like nature. No matter how spiritual we become, it remains. This is why God says that this layer is uniquely His responsibility.

We grow a lot of goats’ hair. When we make a decision, it causes lots of problems. When we give a message, some brothers get offended. When we preach the gospel, we do it in a way that the police have to come. But through all this, remember that we have the number five (God) and the number six (us). God is responsible for all the problems, the hurt feelings, and the damage we have caused. Concerning our goat-like nature we are hopeless, but we have God.

We must worship the Lord for such a picture. We must grow and develop to become a covering to the tabernacle. At the same time, we also grow so much goats’ hair. The things we do can sometimes damage the church much more than we realize, but God finds a way to use even this.

I have been serving the Lord for sixty years, and over this time there are many things I regret. I have done many unwise things out of a good heart that were not necessarily of God. Yet in spite of all the frustrations and failures due to my goat-like nature, what eventually comes out is a covering for the tabernacle. It is a covering made of transformed goats’ hair. Only God could take such a messy thing and produce something so beautiful. Our accumulation of failure becomes such a blessing!

God’s view of the tabernacle starts from the ark of testimony on the inside and looks out. He sees the covering of fine linen as the beautiful result of His finished work. People always start from the outside and look in. They see how messy God’s people are and are amazed that they can be made into a beautiful covering for God’s testimony. When people see us, they see goats’ hair. When God sees us, He sees fine linen. What can we do but praise the Lord for His masterful work to gain His testimony.


 

 

This website uses the WordPress blogging platform.
Theme modifications © Copyright 2008-2015. All rights reserved.