Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Although Genesis is a long book, it has only three sections: God's creation (1:12:25), the serpent's corruption (3:111:9), and Jehovah's calling (11:1050:26). In the last message we saw the significance of God's calling. God's calling means the new beginning of God, the transfer of race, and the transfer of life. On our side, God's calling is a transfer of race and life, but on God's side it is a new beginning. God had a new beginning in His creation of man, but that man became corrupted. So God came in to have another beginning when He called Abraham. This new beginning is actually the transfer from the race of Adam to the race of Abraham, a transfer from the created race to the called race. God's calling means that we are called out of the original, created race into the present, called race. This transfer of race is not merely positional but also dispositional, for it is actually a transfer of life.
Abraham experienced both a positional and dispositional transfer. He was transferred from the old land of Chaldea to the good land of Canaan. That was a positional transfer. However, God worked upon him inwardly as well as outwardly. At a certain time, God came in and told him that his name had to be changed (17:5). According to the Bible, the changing of name always indicates the changing in life. When Abraham's name was changed, it meant that his disposition, his life, was being changed. It seems that God was telling Abraham, "You are still in your old man. You are too much in your natural life. Although you have been called out of the old race, the nature and life of the old race still remain in you, and you still live by that life. It is necessary for Me to deal with you. I must cut off that life." This cutting off of the old life was signified by circumcision. Abraham's circumcision transpired at the same time that God changed his name. Outwardly, his name was changed, and inwardly, his disposition, his nature, and his life were dealt with. After the strength of Abraham's natural life had been cut off, Isaac was born at "the time of life." In a very real sense, Isaac was not born of Abraham's natural strength; he was born of God's coming, for God had said, "At the time appointed I will return unto thee, at the time of life, and Sarah shall have a son" (18:14, Heb.). The coming of the Lord was the birth of Isaac. This means that Isaac was not produced out of Abraham's natural strength but out of a life dealt with by God. We see by this that Abraham was not only transferred positionally but also dispositionally.
Apparently Isaac did not need a transfer of life. Nevertheless, Esau, the first of the twins born to Isaac and Rebekah, was very natural. God will never accept anything that is natural. Since the first of Isaac's sons was so natural, God chose the second. The firstborn signifies the natural life. For this reason, God destroyed the lives of all the firstborn in Egypt during the night of the Passover. The second, on the contrary, signifies the transferred life. Because Jacob was the second, he was chosen.
Although Jacob had been chosen, his nature was not transferred. So, at a certain time, God came in and touched Jacob's natural strength. At that time his name was changed from Jacob, a supplanter, to Israel, a prince of God. From then on, Jacob was lame. His lameness was a sign that he had been touched by God, that his natural strength had been dealt with, and that he had become a prince of God. This is the true meaning of God's calling.
Have you been called? If you say that you have been called, then you must come out of Chaldea, Babel, the old race, and your natural life. You must get out of your natural life and get your natural life out of you. In God's calling there is the need of the new beginning, the transfer of race, and the transfer of life. We all need to be transferred. In all the years that I have been here with the saints, I have been watching the process of this transfer. I have been happy to see so many saints undergoing the transfer of life. Although at times the process of this transfer is not pleasant, after awhile you can see in the saints the real transfer of life. This is the meaning of God's calling.
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