Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the last message we saw that whatever Abraham experienced prior to Genesis 15 was a matter of God's blessing for his existence. But God's calling of Abraham was not merely that Abraham should exist; it was that God's eternal purpose might be fulfilled through him. Beginning with chapter fifteen, God came in to show Abraham that he needed grace for the fulfillment of God's eternal purpose. Abraham not only needed outward blessings in his environment but also grace in his life. If we read Genesis 15 through 22 carefully, we shall see that in these chapters God was dealing with Abraham in order to bring him to the realization that he needed His grace in order to fulfill His eternal purpose. So God came in not simply to bless Abraham outwardly but to work Himself into him as grace in order that Abraham might have something substantial for the carrying out of God's eternal purpose.
As we saw in the previous message, two things were needed for Abraham to fulfill God's purposethe seed and the land. If you read Genesis 15 again, you will see that these two things, the seed and the land, are mentioned repeatedly. We have seen that both the seed and the land are Christ. Firstly, the seed is the individual, personal Christ, and eventually it is the corporate Christ. Galatians 3:16 reveals that Christ is the seed of Abraham. Initially the seed was the individual Christ, but ultimately it has become the corporate Christthe Christ who is the Head with all of us as His Body. This is the seed that is needed for the fulfillment of God's purpose.
Christ is also the land. The concept that Christ is the land may seem rather new or strange because in the past many of us were told that the good land of Canaan was a type, a symbol, of heaven. This concept is held by many Christians, but if we return to the pure Word, we can see that the land actually symbolizes Christ. In type, the land is the place where God's people have rest and where God can defeat all of His enemies and establish His kingdom with His habitation for His expression and representation. Please remember the following points regarding the land: that it is the place where God's people may have rest; that it is the place where all of God's enemies can be slaughtered; and that it is the place where God establishes His kingdom and builds up His habitation that He may be expressed and represented on this rebellious earth. What is qualified to be such a land? Nothing other than Christ. In Christ, we have rest and we slaughter the enemies. In Christ, God establishes His kingdom and builds His habitation, the church, for His expression and representation. Have you seen that both the seed and the land are Christ? The seed that God promised Abraham is today the corporate Christ, and the land that God promised him is the wonderful resurrected and elevated Christ in whom we rest and slaughter our enemies and in whom God establishes His kingdom and builds up His habitation that He might be expressed and represented.
When God promised Abraham that he would have a seed, Abraham believed God for this immediately (15:6). When Abraham believed in God for the promise concerning the seed, his faith, which was so precious to God, was counted as righteousness to him by God. At that time, Abraham was justified by faith, by the faith that believed that God would give him the seed to accomplish God's eternal purpose. When Abraham believed in God for that, God was happy with him. After this, however, when God also promised Abraham that He would give him the land, Abraham fell short, saying to the Lord, "Lord God, whereby shall I know that I shall inherit it?" (v. 8). Although he was able to believe in God for the promise concerning the seed, he could not believe in Him for the promise concerning the land.
The principle is the same today. To believe that Christ is the seed is easy, but to believe that Christ is the land is difficult. It is easier to believe that Christ is our life than it is to believe that Christ can be our church life. Many Christians believe in God for Christ's being their life, but when they come to the matter of the church life, the good land where we can rest, slaughter the enemies, and afford God the ground to establish His kingdom and build up His habitation, they say that it is impossible for us to have this today. Many Christians seem to be saying, "It is possible for us to live by Christ, but it is impossible to have the church life." It is easier for them to believe that Christ can be their life than that the church can be their living. They cannot believe that it is possible to have the church life today. Once again we see that we are the same as Abraham, finding it easy to believe in God for the seed but finding it difficult to believe in Him for the land. Do you have Christ as the seed? Do you also have Him as the land? It is not such a simple matter to have Christ as the land for us to live in so that we may have the church life and that God may have His kingdom with His habitation for His expression and representation.
Years ago, before we came into the church life, we ministered on the matter of living by Christ, but we ourselves were not in the rest. We wandered restlessly until one day, by His grace, we came into the church. When we came into the church, we began to have the sensation that we were in the rest. Before we came into the church life, it was very difficult for us to slaughter the enemies, but after coming into the church life, we found that it was easy to slaughter them all. In the church life God's kingdom is set up, His habitation is built up, and God is expressed and represented. This is the fulfillment of God's eternal purpose today.
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