Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the book The Vision of God’s Building we pointed out that the main subject of the Bible is God’s building. God created man with a spirit to receive Him as life. According to the second chapter of Genesis, the divine life is presented to man in the form of the tree of life. Verse 9 speaks of “the tree of life also in the midst of the garden.” Verse 10 goes on to say, “And a river went out of Eden to water the garden; and from thence it was parted, and became into four heads.” From the place where the tree of life was, a river flowed to reach the four ends of the earth. Verses 11 and 12 speak of gold, bdellium, and onyx stone. As The Vision of God’s Building makes clear, these matters are related to the crucial points of life and building. In Genesis 2 we have the tree of life and the materials for God’s building.
It is very interesting to compare this record with that of the last two chapters of Revelation. In Revelation 22 we also have the tree of life and the river of water of life. But by the time we come to the end of the Bible, the building materials are in the building, the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem will contain the same three materials mentioned in Genesis 2: gold, pearl (bdellium), and precious stones.
If the Lord grants us the time to complete the life-study of the first five books of the Bible, the Pentateuch, we shall see that these books are books of building. Furthermore, the historical books, all the books from Joshua through Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther, are concerned with the building. In fact, the main subject of these books of history is God’s building. When everything was right with God’s building, the situation of the children of Israel was very good. But when the building was damaged, the condition of the children of Israel was also very poor.
In the books of the prophets the building is also a major subject. The book of Ezekiel contains many chapters that record a vision of the building. Actually, the book of Ezekiel is a book on God’s building. We have much to say regarding this in the book entitled The Visions of Ezekiel. Because the building is what God desires, the entire Old Testament is on the subject of God’s building.
There is no doubt that the Bible has much to say concerning salvation. Salvation, however, is not the ultimate consummation of the Bible. The ultimate consummation of the Bible is God’s building, the New Jerusalem. Throughout the Bible we have various matters related to the building. In Genesis we have the materials for the building, and in Exodus we have the building of the tabernacle.
The three precious materials in Genesis 2—gold, pearl, and onyx stone—are found in the tabernacle and the priesthood. To be sure, there is an abundance of gold in the tabernacle. We have seen that on the breastplate and the shoulder plates of the ephod worn by the high priest there were precious stones. But instead of pearl, with the tabernacle there is silver. Silver signifies redemption. In Genesis 2 there is pearl, but there is no silver, because at that time sin had not come in. Furthermore, in the New Jerusalem there will likewise be pearl instead of silver, for by then there will be no further need of redemption. But in between Genesis 2 and Revelation 21, there definitely is the need of redemption signified by silver. For this reason, in 1 Corinthians 3:12 Paul mentions gold, silver, and precious stones; he does not speak of pearl. The reason Paul includes silver and not pearl is that in this present age we need redemption. Moreover, with the building of the temple in the Old Testament, the same precious materials were used.
Paul received a marvelous revelation from the Lord concerning God’s building. His mentioning of gold, silver, and precious stone in 1 Corinthians 3 exactly fits in with the thought that in the beginning in Genesis there was no sin and thus no need of silver. But after sin came in, there was the need of redemption. In eternity, however, there will no longer be the need for silver, for there will no longer be any sin. But during the time after the fall and before the New Jerusalem in eternity, we must have silver. Once again we see how consistent the Bible is. What Paul wrote concerning the building is consistent with the full revelation of the Scriptures.
True spirituality is a matter of the building. Without the building, the spiritual house, there is no sanctification, spirituality, or spiritual power. A certain brother may seem to be kind, holy, and spiritual. But if this brother is not built into God’s building, his apparent spiritual wealth will become spiritual bankruptcy. The reason for such a condition is that without the building there is no protection or covering.
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