EXCERPTS FROM THE MINISTRY
LIFE-STUDY OF GENESIS
In this message we shall again devote our attention to the two pillars at the temple. We have seen that when Jacob was first at Bethel, he set up as a pillar the stone he had used for a pillow and called it the house of God (28:18, 22). We have pointed out again and again that nearly everything in the book of Genesis is a seed that is developed in the following books of the Bible. The full development of the seed of the pillar is in Revelation 3:12, where the Lord Jesus says, "He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God." Between Genesis and Revelation, there are many portions of the Word concerning the pillars. Each time the two pillars at the temple are mentioned we see more of the details regarding them. Not every aspect of the pillars is found in any single portion.
Today's Christians have very little concern for God's building, which is for the accomplishment of God's economy. Although most Christians neglect this, the Bible strongly emphasizes it. If we would know the building, according to the biblical way, we must firstly see the pillar, for the pillar is a signboard of God's building. If we see what the pillar is and decide to become a pillar, then we are on the way of God's building. The pillar is so crucial that the Bible mentions it over and over again. Because most Christians have no understanding of God's building, they do not pay attention to those portions of Scripture which mention the pillar. But by the Lord's mercy we have been so deeply impressed with the pillar that we simply cannot get away from it. The Bible has no wasted words. Hence, whatever it reveals is meaningful and crucial for us. Because, at this end time, God is completing His building, we must carefully consider what the pillar is and how we can become a pillar.
I would like now to stress three positive aspects and two negative aspects of the pillars covered in the last message. The three positive aspects are the brass, the lily, and the pomegranates. The pillars themselves were made of brass. On the top of the capital were the lilies and around the capital were the pomegranates. I doubt that any human designer would ever have put these three things together. But how crucial and meaningful it all is to us! Brass signifies death under judgment. We must be under judgment, realizing that we are good for nothing but death and that we have been crucified (Gal. 2:20). Furthermore, we all have been buried in baptism (Rom. 6:4). Thus, we are a people under the judgment of death. But after death comes resurrection, and the lily grows upon us in resurrection. The pomegranates surrounding the capital signify the expression of the riches of life. Therefore, in the pillars we see death, resurrection, and the expression of life. Praise the Lord that many of us can testify that day by day we are the brass growing lilies and expressing pomegranates. Are you not such a person? If you are not, then you are not qualified to be a pillar and you have nothing to do with God's building.
The two negative aspects of the pillars are the checkerwork (the network) and the chainwork. The checkerwork and chainwork signify the intermixed and complicated situation. The checkerwork is a lattice composed of intersecting bars. This indicates that, in our experience, we are daily being crossed out. As we undergo this, we are held by the chainwork. Many times we brothers are under the crossing out of our dear wives. Although we may desire to escape this, we are held by the chains and cannot slip away. We may be cut into pieces, but not one piece can escape. The sisters can all testify of the same thing in relation to their husbands. Some in the church life say that they cannot bear the crossing out of the elders. However, the chainwork is also there. In the church life we have both the checkerwork and the chainwork. Praise the Lord for these two negative things, because the brass, the lily, and the pomegranates can only be connected by them.
Not long after I was saved, I learned that I had been crucified with Christ. But I did not know how this crucifixion could practically be applied to me. It is applied by the checkerwork, the network. Without the network and the chainwork, our co-crucifixion with Christ and His living instead of us would be mere doctrine. We may know the doctrine of being crucified with Christ and recite Galatians 2:20 over and over only to discover that this does not avail. I did this again and again without success. I repeated the words, "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me." Later, I experienced the network and the chainwork in the church life. It has been through these two negative things that the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ have been practically applied to my life. Eventually, therefore, the three positive things and the two negative things become one unit. We have the brass, the lily, and the pomegranates joined by the checkerwork and the chainwork. All five are joined in the pillar.
(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 84, Section 1)
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