Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall still dwell on the experience at Bethel. In 35:14, at Bethel Jacob eventually set up a pillar of stone as he did after having the dream when he was at Bethel the first time (28:18). There, this pillar of stone was called the house of God (28:22). If Jacob had not called this pillar the house of God, we would never realize that the pillar of stone was for the building of God's house. We would think that it was simply a mass of rock. But now we know that this stone can become a house. This indicates that the pillar will become a building, the house of God.
In the book of Genesis, there are two kinds of pillarsthe pillar of stone (28:18; 35:14) and the pillar of salt (19:26). Which kind of pillar do you want to be? Certainly, we all want to be pillars of stone. The pillar of stone indicates building in strength. Solomon set up two pillars in the porch of the temple (1 Kings 7:21). The first pillar was named Jachin, which means, "He shall establish," and the second was named Boaz, which means, "In it is strength." The pillar of stone not only indicates building, but building in strength. The pillar of salt indicates shame, for a pillar of salt is useless for God's purpose. Lot's wife, who was one of God's called people, became a pillar of shame. She should have been building material, but due to her degradation she became shameful material.
During the course of this life-study, we have seen again and again that nearly everything in this book is a seed of the truth that is developed in the following books of the Bible. The way to study Genesis is to trace all its points in the subsequent books of the Bible. The way to study the book of Revelation is just the opposite. If you would understand Revelation, you must trace its points backward in the foregoing books. In this message we need to follow the development of the seed of the pillar.
After Solomon built the temple, he purposely added the two pillars. According to our natural concept, we would think that Solomon should firstly have built the pillars and then the temple. But it was after he had built the temple that he proceeded to build two pillars and to place them in front of the temple (1 Kings 7:15-22). If we could have seen that temple, our eyes would have firstly attended, not to the temple itself, but to these two pillars. The size of these pillars is seemingly out of proportion to the size of the temple. The disproportionate size of the pillars is significant. It indicates that the two pillars in the temple are like a huge signboard. Today, when we approach a certain building, there is a sign designating what that building is. Likewise, in front of the temple were two pillars which said, "God shall establish," and, "In it is strength." These two pillars declare to the whole universe, including mankind, Satan, and all the fallen angels, that the Lord establishes and that strength is in the building. The Bible emphatically says that the first pillar is called Jachin and the second Boaz. We have pointed out that the name Jachin means, "He shall establish" and that the name Boaz means, "In it is strength." This reveals clearly that the building of God's house is altogether dependent on the pillar. This is the reason that Jacob did not build the house of God, but only set up a pillar.
In chapter twenty-eight, Jacob was still a supplanter. Nevertheless, this supplanter received both the vision and the interpretation of the vision. He interpreted his vision, his dream, by setting up a pillar and calling it God's house. This interpretation was much better than Daniel's interpretation of Nebuchadnezzar's dreams. Daniel merely interpreted; he did not set up anything or take any action. Jacob, however, not only interpreted his dream verbally, saying, "This is the house of God"; he also set up a pillar and called it the house of God. How could Jacob, an unrepentant, unregenerated, and untransformed supplanter, have done such a wonderful thing? Nevertheless, he did it, and we all must say, "Thank you, Jacob, for opening the heavens that we might see the house of God."
For the building of God's house, the heavens were opened by a supplanter. I believe this because the Bible tells us so. I do not trust in my concept, for according to my concept, it would be impossible for a supplanter to do this. I could easily believe that a godly and pious person like Daniel, a man who prayed daily, could have interpreted a spiritual dream. But it seems neither fair nor logical for a supplanter to do this. But he did it spontaneously. This is absolutely a matter of grace. As Romans 9:11 indicates, it is "not of works, but of Him who calls." Romans 9:13 says, "Jacob I loved, but Esau I hated." Grace is not a matter of fairness. Do not question God, saying, "God, why do You hate Esau? To me Esau is better than Jacob. It is unfair for You to love Jacob and hate Esau." To this, God would reply, "I simply love Jacob and hate Esau. What do you have to say about this? When I hate, I have the position to hate, and when I love, I have the grace to love." Who are youEsau or Jacob, a good man or a supplanter? We all must confess that we are Jacobs, heel-holders, supplanters. The church is filled with heel-holders. If you are not a heel-holder, you will miss God's grace. We are true heel-holders, but we are heel-holders in grace. No one can deny this. I can shout and declare, "Praise the Lord that I am a heel-holder in grace. Grace makes me different."
Although in chapter twenty-eight Jacob was a supplanter, by the time we come to chapter forty-eight we see that this supplanter has been thoroughly transformed into a man of God. This man of God is the pillar. In a sense, the house of God was built with this pillar. When you enter into the temple of God in the universe, the first thing you see is this God-man, this Israel standing before God's building. After Jacob was transformed into Israel, he stood in front of God's building as a signboard of God's house.
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