Four Crucial Elements of the Bible, The—Christ, the Spirit, Life, and the Churchby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Christ’s coming among men through incarnation was entirely a story of the Spirit. If He had not been conceived and born of the Holy Spirit, and if He had not had the Spirit poured out upon Him, He could never have had those three and a half years of ministering and living. All those who read the four Gospels acknowledge that among the millions of biographies in the world, only the four Gospels are unique, being different from all other biographies in flavor, color, and style. In reading the biography of any person, we are never at a lack for words to describe him, but in reading the four Gospels, everyone admits that no words can adequately describe this Lord Jesus, because He is too marvelous and transcendent, and His living is too sublime. There is the fact, but there is not the utterance; there is such a person, but there is no way to describe Him. Man can only say, “He is too wonderful!” There are no better words to describe Him. This marvelous and transcendent One is altogether a story of the Spirit in every aspect. After three and a half years of living and ministering, this One, who is God yet man and is altogether a story of the Spirit, willingly walked into death and allowed Himself to be sown into death. However, His death was not the end. After three days He grew out of death, rose again, and became the sprouting Spirit, the life-giving Spirit. The life-giving Spirit is equivalent to the sprout from a wheat seed that is able to bear many grains.
First there was Christ, then the Holy Spirit, and finally “the Spirit.” Romans 8:2 says that this Spirit is the Spirit of life. This shows us that after the church was formed and established, the revelation of the Spirit progressed to the Spirit of life. Genesis 1:2 says that the Spirit of God brooded upon the death waters. The Spirit of God was present in creation. According to the record in chapter 2, after God’s creation of man, the name Jehovah is used in the relationship between God and man. In the record of the Bible after this and until the end of the Old Testament, the divine title the Spirit of Jehovah is used in the relationship between God and man. At the beginning of the New Testament, first there was the coming of John the Baptist. Then Christ was conceived and born, and He was anointed at the age of thirty. In all these events the term the Holy Spirit is used. In John 7 when the Lord was ministering, He called people to come to Him and drink, that is, to receive the Spirit, but at that time “the Spirit was not yet,” because Jesus had not yet been glorified (v. 39). This means that the physical body of this God-man had not yet entered into glory. It was not until He rose from the dead that He was glorified (Luke 24:26). When a grain of wheat is sown into the earth, that is the glorification of the seed; it is the seed’s entering into glory. In the same way, when the Lord entered into resurrection and was glorified, there was “the Spirit.”
It was after this God-man had passed through death and resurrection that there was the Spirit. Therefore, the Spirit is not merely the Spirit of God before incarnation but the Spirit after the Lord’s resurrection. Now the Spirit is the Spirit of life (Rom. 8:2), the life-giving Spirit (1 Cor. 15:45b), the Spirit of Jesus (Acts 16:7), the Spirit of Christ (Rom. 8:9), and the Spirit of Jesus Christ (Phil. 1:19). The Spirit of life refers mainly to the reality and element of the divine life, whereas the life-giving Spirit refers mainly to dispensing this divine life into us. The Spirit of Jesus refers mainly to the Lord’s humanity and human living, the Spirit of Christ refers mainly to the Lord’s resurrection, and the Spirit of Jesus Christ refers mainly to experiencing the Lord’s sufferings in His humanity and His resurrection. Finally, in Revelation the Spirit becomes the seven Spirits of God—the sevenfold intensified Spirit (1:4; 4:5; 5:6). Thus, the Lord is the Spirit, and the Spirit today has become the seven Spirits for God’s move in His administration. Finally, in the ultimate consummation of God’s administration, the Spirit and the bride speak together as one (22:17). This is the story of the Spirit.
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