Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The Bible begins with God's creation and ends with God's habitation. We all need to be impressed with these two wordscreation and habitation. The consummation of the Bible is God's eternal dwelling place. If we would know the Bible, we must keep these two things, God's creation and His habitation, firmly in mind. We have seen that the book of Genesis contains nearly all the seeds of the truths concerning God's economy. Perhaps the last seed in this book is the seed of Bethel, God's habitation. Not only at the conclusion of the Bible, but even in the latter part of Genesis, we have the consummate end of God's economyBethel, God's dwelling place. The word Bethel means the house of God, or the temple of God, the dwelling place of God.
The book of Genesis covers the biographies of eight great persons: Adam, Abel, Enosh, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob with Joseph. We must include Joseph's life as part of Jacob's. In Adam, we have God's creation, and in Jacob, we have God's habitation, Bethel. With Jacob we do not merely see God's selection. Most Christian teachers have spent considerable time on the matter of God's selection of Jacob. Yes, God's selection is the beginning, but what is the ending, the consummate goal, of God's selection? It is Bethel, God's dwelling place. God created, selected, called, and saved us for the purpose that He might have a dwelling place for eternity. This seed of the building, like all the other seeds in the book of Genesis, is developed throughout the whole Bible. If we would understand the significance of this seed, we must consider the entire Bible.
Following Jacob, we have the house of Israel. The house of Israel was actually the house of God. After the exodus from Egypt, there was among the house of Israel the building of the tabernacle, and following the tabernacle, there was the building of the temple. Hence, the Old Testament is a record of eight great men, from Adam through Jacob, plus the tabernacle and the temple. The construction, destruction, and rebuilding of the temple bring us to the end of the Old Testament. What do we have in the New Testament? Again, we have two main things: the tabernacle, which was Jesus (John 1:14), and the temple, which is the church (1 Cor. 3:16). The consummation of the church as the temple is the New Jerusalem. One meaningful and simple way of memorizing the Bible is to remember the eight great men from Adam through Jacob, the tabernacle and the temple as the types in the Old Testament, and the tabernacle and the temple as the reality in the New Testament, the ultimate issue of which is the New Jerusalem. These thirteen items cover the entire Bible.
What is the subject of the Bible? Some may say that it is man's fall, God's redemption, our repentance, God's forgiveness, our regeneration, and our salvation. Obviously, all these things are found in the Bible. Others may point out that the Bible mentions things such as serpents, scorpions, and frogs. The Bible, containing more than a thousand chapters, is not a simple book. Even one chapter may contain many points. But what is the subject of the Bible? Studying the Bible is similar to studying a human being. Although medical students have studied anatomy and physiology for centuries, they have not exhausted the study of the human body, one-third of a human being. They know something about man's body, but nothing about the soul and the human spirit. Man is very complicated. Nevertheless, he is still a man, a complete unit. We cannot refer to a man as being a heart, a kidney, or a nose. A man has a nose, but he is not the nose and the nose is not the man. Some say that the subject of the Bible is justification. Justification is included in the Bible, but it is no more the subject of the Bible than a man's nose is the man himself. If we would know what the subject of the Bible is, we must see that the Bible tells us of eight men, beginning with Adam in God's creation through Jacob with God's house, Bethel, and that following this we have the tabernacle and the temple in the Old Testament and the reality of the tabernacle and the temple in the New Testament, consummating in the New Jerusalem. Revelation 21 says that the New Jerusalem is the tabernacle of God and that God and the Lamb are the temple in it. Hence, the New Jerusalem is the ultimate issue of Bethel.
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