Life-Study of Joshua, Judges & Ruthby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Many spiritual items concerning Christ and the church are revealed in the New Testament in principle but not in detail. This is especially true in the matter of gaining Christ, experiencing Christ, and enjoying Christ.
In the book of Ephesians Christ is revealed as being all-inclusive because He is the One who fills all in all (Eph. 1:23). He is not only all-inclusive but also all-extensive because His love is immeasurable in its breadth, length, height, and depth (3:18-19a). Christ’s love is just Himself. If His love is immeasurable, He is immeasurable. In Ephesians 3:8 Paul speaks of the unsearchable riches of Christ. His riches are so plentiful and vast that they are untraceable. Although Ephesians reveals a Christ who is all-inclusive, all-extensive, and unsearchably rich, in this book we cannot find the detailed ways to gain this Christ.
The detailed ways to gain Christ, experience Christ, and enjoy Christ are not in the New Testament. However, Joshua 13—22 provides the detailed way to possess and enjoy the land, which is a type of the all-inclusive Christ.
The good land was spacious, stretching from the Mediterranean Sea to the Euphrates, but the children of Israel did not possess all the land. Even with what they possessed, they still needed a detailed way to allot the land in order to gain and enjoy it. The way was by casting lots. In the book of Joshua the word lot is used in the sense of casting lots (18:8,10). Humanly speaking, we know that casting lots depends on fortune, but God is our fortune, and the outcome of the casting of lots was according to what He had ordained. When God created the earth, He had a clear view concerning the situation of the good land. He was clear, for instance, that Jerusalem and the surrounding district were for Judah, out of whom Christ would come. This was foreordained, but it still had to be realized by casting lots. God’s ordaining hand was present in the casting of lots to direct the result. This means that the division of the land did not depend upon Joshua, upon the high priest, or upon anyone other than God. As a result, there was no ground for the tribes to complain about the portion of the land allotted to them. The way of allotting the land was fair, and it caused everyone to be subdued.
At this juncture, I would like to emphasize the fact that Christ in Himself is uniquely one and always the same. As to Himself there is no change; He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8). However, in our experience and enjoyment Christ is of many sizes and types, as indicated by the different kinds of burnt offerings and meal offerings. What Christ is to us in our experience does not depend upon Him—it depends upon us. We gain Christ, experience Christ, and enjoy Christ according to what we are. Therefore, someone who is diligent in pursuing Christ will experience a larger Christ than someone who is lazy in this matter.
Recently I have been considering that we may regard the twelve tribes of Israel as a picture of the believers from the first century until today. Galatians 6:16 says that we are “the Israel of God.” This indicates that among God’s New Testament elect there should be twelve “tribes.” The first tribe was the early apostles, who brought in the New Testament revelation. The second tribe was the church fathers. The third tribe was the martyrs in the Roman Empire. The fourth tribe was the reformers in the Roman Church, before the papal system was established. The fifth tribe was the Protestants, and the sixth was the mystics. The Protestants became shallow and dead, so there was a reaction from the mystics, including Madame Guyon, Father Fenelon, and Brother Lawrence. The seventh tribe was the Moravian brothers under Count Zinzendorf. The eighth tribe was the British Brethren under John Nelson Darby. When the Brethren became full of dead knowledge, there was a three-way reaction. First, there was a reaction from the inner life Christians, including Andrew Murray, Jessie Penn-Lewis, and T. Austin-Sparks. This was the ninth tribe. Second, there was a reaction from evangelical Christians, including C. H. Spurgeon, D. L. Moody, Charles Finney, Hudson Taylor, William Carey, and David Livingstone. This was the tenth tribe. Third, there was a reaction from Pentecostal Christians. This was the eleventh tribe. The twelfth tribe is the recovery, which has recovered the New Testament revelation back to the early apostles.
In the recovery the truths from Matthew to Revelation have been recovered by the Lord. In particular, the Lord has recovered the truths concerning the all-inclusive Christ and the New Jerusalem. The truth in the recovery is the consummate truth of the past nineteen centuries. We are standing on the shoulders of all the tribes that have gone before us. Thus, the truth has been extracted, condensed, and crystallized for us.
Let us now consider from chapters eighteen through twenty-two more of the details concerning the allotment of the land.
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