The Court Wall And Its 60 Pillars.

The Security, Stability, Unity, and Responsibility of Believers. (Read Exodus 27, verses 9-19).

We speak to-night of the Court Wall and its sixty pillars, which surrounded the Tabernacle. It was 100 cubits long and 50 cubits wide. That would be about 175 by 87 feet. Its height was 5 cubits, or 8 feet 9 inches. We shall see how very simply and clearly we get four truths set forth in this Wall—they are the Security, Stability, Unity, and Responsibility of all Believers.

First, it might be well to notice something that has a bearing on many things that will come before us. It is this. The first thing in connection with the Tabernacle that must strike every student of the Word of God, and that probably is believed by almost all God’s people is, that it brings the Lord Jesus Christ before us in a most wonderful way, in the various offices that He sustains toward His people. It gives us many blessed views of that work upon which our hopes for eternity rest. It sets forth also, the great Worker Himself, and there are few truths connected with the believer’s standing and walk, which are not seen in type in some part of the Tabernacle.

While it is true that the Lord Jesus stands prominently out in the Tabernacle, it is also true that in the Tabernacle we see God’s people, and wherever we see God’s people in blessing, we get thereby a view of Christ and the excellence of His work, which puts and keeps them there. “Every whit of it uttereth His glory,” and never more fully than when it proclaims that poor sinners are taken from the dark depths of sin and linked with the Lord Jesus Christ, sharing with Him in that glory.

Here we see the Lord’s people in more relationships than one. In the pillars of the Court Wall outside, we see God’s people, and in the boards of the Tabernacle inside we see them also. In the boards, firm in their silver sockets, we see God’s people in their standing before God; while in the pillars around the Court, we see them in their responsibility in the world. You remember the boards could not be seen at all save from within; they stood upon silver sockets, covered with gold, but hidden completely by the coverings and the curtains.

The first thing here is Security. You notice the brazen sockets that the pillars stood upon. There is a uniformity of meaning preserved all through the Tabernacle. When you get the meaning of a material, it will ever be consistent. There may be a fulness of meaning, which cannot be exhausted by one application of it; but while this is true, you will never get a contradictory meaning. Well now, what is the meaning of brass? That meaning, whatever it may be, will carry right through the whole series of types. What does the Altar bring out? The Altar was covered with brass, and whatever it proclaims, we shall see that these sockets, which are of brass, proclaim the same thing. As we see the pillars standing each upon a socket of brass, we see in type the child of God standing upon the accomplished work of the Lord Jesus Christ. As a poor sinner, he has been brought to rest upon the Cross work of the Lord Jesus Christ. So the brazen socket proclaims the same truth as the brazen Altar, only, it is the individual making the work of Christ his own, and standing upon it before God. You remember that verse in Psalm 30:4, “Sing unto the Lord, O ye saints of His; give thanks at the memorial—the remembrance—of His holiness.” No unconverted sinner ever has, nor is he ever likely to give thanks at the remembrance of God’s holiness. While some may appear to be thankful for His mercy, you will never hear any thanking God for His holiness. But the child of God can look at the character of God in all its righteousness, in all its unsullied holiness, in all its abhorence of sin. And as he thanks God for all His holiness and righteousness, he does so because away back at Calvary, every sin was dragged out into the light, every sin was laid upon the head of the Holy Son of God, every sin got its merited judgment, for it all fell upon Christ. And now he takes his stand upon that; and as he stands upon what Christ did he can sing:—

I stand upon His merit,
I know no other stand,
Not e’en where glory dwelleth
In Immanuel’s land.

There is no other standing. You may vainly seek to rest upon some other; you may think that perhaps God will be gracious to you, though you have never trusted His Beloved Son, never rested your soul on His finished work. But my friend, unless you know what it is as a poor lost sinner, to take your stand upon what Christ did, you will never know what rest is. Never! Oh! blessed be God, all who stand upon what Christ did, have rest.

The next word is Stability. There are many believers who are not stable. I would not say that because some have doubts they are unconverted. Many who can go back to a time when they trusted Christ, and knew that they were saved, the devil tries to make doubt.

Now let us look at these pillars. Here is a pillar standing on a socket of brass; it is connected with the pillar on either side by a silver rod, and it cannot fall sideways. But what will make it present a solid front to the winds of the desert, so that it will not fall out or in? It needs stability. We read about “cords” and “pins of brass” in Numbers iii., verses 36-37. When the Merarites were getting their burdens, a part of these burdens was the “pins” of brass. They were to be as careful that these were carried along, as if they were the big sockets, boards, or bars. What were the pins for? You would see a pin driven on either side, and then from that pin there would be a cord attaching to the pillar, and this gave it stability. Do we know anything in the Word of God like that? In Romans 14:4, we read, “Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” Some of us, when God saved our souls, rejoiced in the forgiveness of sins, but it was not perhaps very long until a wave of doubt came, and instead of standing bolt upright, able to say, “Thank God, I have got eternal life and can never perish”—instead of that, it was “I am afraid I shall never be able to stand.” Maybe some of our companions came to us and said, “You saved! You won’t stand.” And so God comes in, in that fourth verse of Romans xiv., and gives us that little word which adapts itself to our need. He says, “Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand.” I want you to notice that the pins were of the very same material as the Altar and the sockets. And if there is anything that is to give us stability, anything that is to give us a sense of security, anything that is to make us stand, we must find that entirely outside of ourselves. Turn in upon yourself, turn back upon your life, get occupied with your feelings, and you have destroyed your stability. But when God wants to give His people stability, He directs their minds away from themselves entirely, to the same Source where they first got spiritual life. That is to Christ alone.

Now for a few “pins.” I will just give you two, and these two will serve our purpose: they will give you a class of Scriptures that you can add to from memory. The first one is John 10:28, 29, and 30, “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish.” Now, mark you, there is not a single thing in that, but what is of the very same character as the Altar; it is not, “I give unto you life, and it depends upon you, whether it is eternal or not.” This is the way many would like to read it; but the Lord says, “I give unto them eternal life, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.” It would not be eternal, if you could lose it. Look again at this peg. It is a very blessed one. “No man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are One.” I saw in that verse, not what saved me, for I was saved before ever I saw that precious truth. I am not now speaking of security, but of stability. Every believer is secure, even when he is doubting—but he is surely uncomfortable when doubting: but while uncomfortable, it does not touch his security. Some of us have much reason to bless God for the ministry of the “pins and cords,” and for men whom He used to establish us by them. Instead of the years of settled peace and happy assurance, it might have still been up and down, fearing that after all we might fall away and be lost. Since that truth laid hold of my soul, it holds like a peg driven into the ground. Faith, like the cord, has laid hold on Christ, and I thank God for the stability it gives. The devil may say, “You will never stand.” Christ says, “No man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand, I and My Father are One.” That is a grand peg, surely! Here is another one: “Your life is hid with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). Is not that a safe hiding-place? “Hid with Christ in God.” Men have their “strong rooms” now, for their valuables. God’s strong room for His people, who are His “peculiar treasure,” is in Christ.

We will look at Unity, the unity of believers as pictured here. We read, “All the pillars round about shall be filleted with silver.” That word “filleted” may convey but very little meaning to the average reader— it may scarcely be intelligible to one in ten. But if you read Newberry’s Bible, you get the words in the margin, “connected with rods of silver.” Each pillar was linked with every other pillar, right around the Court Wall, by a silver rod. Turn to the 30th chapter of this book, read verse 16: “And thou shalt take the atonement money of the children of Israel, and shall appoint it for the service of the tabernacle of the congregation, that it may be a memorial unto the children of Israel before the Lord to make an atonement for your souls.” The atonement money was a half shekel, that each Israelite above 20 years old gave for his ransom. It was called “atonement money.” Now, turn to the 38th chapter, verses 25 and 28: “And the silver of them that were numbered of the congregation was an hundred talents, and a thousand seven hundred and three score and fifteen shekels, after the shekel of the sanctuary; And of the thousand seven hundred seventy and five shekels he made hooks for the pillars, and overlaid their chapiters, and filleted them.” You see what we have thus connecting these pillars, is the atonement money. There was one thing that made the sixty pillars around the Tabernacle one, and that was the silver. Now turn to the first Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, 12th chapter, verses 12 and 13, and Ephesians, 2nd chapter, verses 12-15. In these two Scriptures we have most blessedly brought out that “in Christ,” and “by the precious blood of Christ,” a unity has been established, and in that unity there is neither rich nor poor, there is neither “Barbarian, Scythian, bond or free.” We see in Ephesians the Jew who was “nigh,” and the Gentile with all his abominable idolatries, by the precious blood of Christ, brought together and made one. Let me say, that in these days, when sects are being multiplied, and when God’s dear people have been separated, and when sometimes the separation has engendered bitterness, and when rivalry is rampant, there is one note which, when struck, touches a responsive chord in the heart of every child of God, there is one Name enthroned in every breast, there is one link each feels. What is it? Have you ever been situated like this? You are travelling on the railway; there are people in the same carriage who are religious; you hear them talking about some particular business at the time in connection with their church, and it does not strike a single chord in your heart; it matters but little to you. But did you ever hear one speak sympathetically of Christ? Did you ever hear one make some remark about His finished work? Tell me, how did you feel? “How did I feel,” you say. “Well, I felt I could go right up to that man and say, “I heard you speak about One very dear to me, and I feel I am speaking to a brother. I feel if you know Jesus and think well of Him, that we have a great deal in common.” So you would. He may differ from you on many points, and you may apprehend the truth of God in different measures, but if he knows the Christ of God as his Saviour, he has got “hooked,” as it were, to you, and you are hooked to him, and it is the atonement that has done it. Perhaps prior to the conversation you would have regarded him with scarce a passing interest. All is changed by the power of that “Name.” When we read the words of that old hymn—

Jesus, the very thought of Thee,
With sweetness fills my breast.

We own the strength of that silver rod to link us with the monk in his cell who wrote it. Thank God, each pillar is linked with a silver rod; every child of God is one in Christ. Now, tell me, do you not think it well that we should exalt that Name? Do you not think that we as Christians ought, to the best of our ability, to bring out this grand and blessed truth: we are in Christ, and being in Christ we are one? And the things in which we are one are surely of far more importance than the things on which Satan has got us to differ. I am persuaded if God’s dear people were to get a good hold of this, it would make man-made distinctions, man’s walls of separation, very distasteful to them.

Our Responsibility. What was the wall composed of? Linen, only linen. As we looked at that gate in our first meeting, the linen spoke of the Lord Jesus Christ as Man. “Fine twined linen” brings Jesus before us as “the Man.” When we mention that precious Name “Jesus,” the human Name of Christ, God would, as it were, hold the fine twined linen before our eyes. Now turn to the second Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 4, verses 10 and 11: “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh.” Notice that peculiar expression, “the life also of Jesus.” It is one often misunderstood. What does it mean? You know all Christians have life in Christ, but “life in Christ,” and “the life of Jesus,” are not just the same. All believers have life in Christ, else they would not be Christians. But tell me, does every Christian display the life of Jesus in his body, or his “mortal flesh” here and now? Here on this earth at the present time it is the will of God that you, beloved child of God, should display in your body in its present condition the “life of Jesus.” Now, mark you, life in Christ we received the moment we believed, as quickly as a flash of lightning. The moment the eye of faith turned to Calvary, that moment we got life in Christ. “But the life of Jesus” means that in some degree at least the separation that characterized Him as Man, the walk He maintained, His separation from evil, His devotion to God, ought to be seen in you now. Mark you, that is our responsibility, that the life of Jesus might be reproduced in these mortal bodies.

Although the pillars held up the linen, they did not show themselves. When I see a picture of the Tabernacle with the pillars outside, it is an evident mistake, and it is characteristic of the present day, man showing himself off. No, the pillars stood inside holding up the linen. Tell me of a believer who seeks by the Power of God to let it be seen in his life, that like Peter and John he has been with Jesus: and there you have a pillar holding up the linen.

Responsibility is stamped on that Court Wall. Look, how many pillars were there? 60 (6 times 10). What was the width? 50 cubits (5 times 10). What is the length of the Court? 100 cubits (10 times 10). Three times over God stamps the number of responsibility on that Court Wall. The number “10” stands for responsibility. When God gave the law, the measure of man’s responsibility to Him, it was the ten worded law, the Decalogue. When the Lord Jesus in Matthew 25th would put before us a picture of the Church, He selects the figures of ten Virgins going forth to meet the Bridegroom. Now that was the responsibility of the Church—to be separate from the world, and looking for the coming of the Lord. Again in Luke 19:He puts before us the responsibility of the servants, we read—that the nobleman, ere he went into the far country, delivered unto the ten servants ten pounds, saying, “Occupy (or trade) till I come.” It is just this, when service is in view it is ten servants, and when the responsibility would be pressed home upon the conscience of the servants, it is ten pounds. Thus we say, 10 is the number of responsibility, and God has stamped that three times over, around that Tabernacle. Responsibility says, “You, child of God, were not saved only to have a good time,” just to get to heaven merely. He saved you and caused His Spirit to dwell in you, that you might hold up the linen, that the life of Jesus, the holiness, the righteousness, the separation from sin, the devotion to God that was seen in that Man when He was upon earth—the Man Christ Jesus—may be seen in you. Are you doing it? A boy was once asked, “My boy, is your father a Christian?” “Yes” said the boy, “but he is not working at it now.” Are you working at being a Christian? Does your business transactions accord with your profession? When you give your word, do you regard it as sacred? When you make an appointment, would you rather go without your dinner or tea, than break that appointment? Oh! beloved friends, if there are those on earth who ought to be the soul of honour, the soul of integrity, the soul of uprightness, who ought to have a horror of a mean thing, it is a Christian. If a pillar was not standing straight, it was well in view; and if a Christian is not upright, the world will soon pick him out, and the people of God will have that one cast at them as a reproach, and the saints will find him just so much dead weight to carry.