Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We continue with the subject of the ultimate consummation. As we have seen in the previous message, the first item of this consummation was God expressed and represented. That was the climax. Based upon this point, we will consider several other points.
God blessed man to be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth, and conquer it (Gen. 1:28). This is not a small thing. Before the time that God had a man to express Him and represent Him, there was no way for God to pour out His full blessing. God is rich and God is rich in blessing, but before the creation of man there was no object to receive His blessing in full. There was no way and no opportunity for God to render His blessing to His creatures in a full way. According to the record of Genesis 1, God did not begin to bless until the time when the living creatures came into being (Gen. 1:22). Yet, only the human life is up to the standard to receive God's blessing in full. After God created man, He was able to see on earth a living creature bearing His image and having His dominion. Immediately God bestowed His full blessing upon man.
Blessing is a good word. Many talk about God's blessing. We have prayed many times, "O Lord, bless us." However, if we are to receive God's blessing, we need to meet the qualifications. The qualifications, once again, are image and dominion. If there is the image of God with God's dominion in your home, you can be assured that the blessing of God will be there. God's blessing always follows His image and His dominion. In other words, God's blessing always follows His expression and His representation.
God's blessing is always with the priesthood and the kingship. We see this with Melchizedek. He was the king of Salem and the priest of the Most High God who blessed Abraham (Gen. 14:17-19). Blessing always comes with the priesthood and the kingship. If the church is seeking God's blessing, the church must have the priesthood and the kingship. What do the priesthood and the kingship mean? They simply mean God's image and God's dominion. The priesthood is for God's image; the kingship is for God's dominion. As long as we exercise the priesthood to contact God, to behold God and to reflect the image of glory, we have the kingship. God's blessing follows immediately.
God blessed man that he might be fruitful, multiply, and fill the earth. The blessing is fruit bearing, increase, multiplication, and the filling of the earth. Suppose Adam, the corporate man, had been made in the image of a scorpion or serpent, and God blessed the scorpion and the serpent to multiply and fill the earth. The earth would have been filled with scorpions and serpents. What a dreadful earth that would have been! If this had been the case, I would prefer to have never been born. Suppose you had two hundred scorpions in your bedroom and two hundred serpents in your living room. That would not be a blessing, but a curse. God, however, created a man in His image, giving him authority to have dominion for the Almighty on earth. This man was ready for God's blessing. God's blessing was to enable this man to be fruitful. One would become ten, ten would become one hundred, one hundred would become a thousand, a thousand would become a hundred thousand, a hundred thousand would become a million, and a million would become a billion, until the whole earth was filled with beautiful faces expressing God and representing God.
Although human beings are fallen, something wonderful still remains. That wonderful thing is the image of God. People may love dogs, but the love for a dog is much different than the love for a human being. Regardless of how good a dog is, it is not nearly as lovable as a human being. Every human being is lovable because every human being bears the image of God. Regardless of how much human beings have fallen, the earth is filled with men bearing the image of God.
In the church life today we are the real man bearing God's image and exercising God's dominion. In the church life we are ready for God to come in and render His blessing to us. How much God is able to bless us depends on how much we express Him and represent Him. If we express Him and represent Him in an adequate way, we will surely have His full blessing in multiplication and fruit bearing.
At this point I would like to say a word about gospel preaching. Everything in the Christian field, including gospel preaching, has been damaged by the poor practice of the past centuries. The real gospel preaching is not only an outward work. Real gospel preaching is fruit bearing out of the overflow of the inner life. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, the Lord Jesus said to go, preach the gospel, and disciple the nations, but in John He said that we must bear fruit. Preaching is one thing; fruit bearing is another thing. Genuine gospel preaching is not to convince people doctrinally, to subdue their thinking, and change their concept. Genuine gospel preaching is to minister life to others. Fruit bearing is the outflow of the riches of the inner life. Look at the branch of a tree filled with the life juice. The branch has the overflow of life and this overflow produces fruit. Fruit is the issue of the inner riches of life. We must realize that gospel preaching should be fruit bearing and that fruit bearing comes from God's blessing. Although we need to pray for the gospel preaching, it is not simply a matter of our endeavoring. We must have God's blessing. If a church wants to increase, the gospel certainly must be preached. However, if the preaching of the gospel is not under God's blessing, nothing will be gained regardless of how much we endeavor. The fruit gained will not have human faces, but scorpion faces. You may bring in many people, but when God looks at them He will say, "This is a scorpion, that is a serpent, and that is a frog. Yes, you brought in many people, but not many with a proper face expressing God." What kind of person are you going to bring in? People with the faces of scorpions or people with beautiful faces expressing God Himself? The fruit you bear is an expression of what you are. If you are an apple tree, you can never bear oranges. If you are a peach tree, you can never bear bananas. If you are going to produce bananas, you must be a banana tree. If you are a tree of knowledge, don't expect to bear the fruit of life. Only the tree of life can produce the fruit of life. We all must endeavor to preach the gospel, but consider what we are. If we are in the image of God and if we have the dominion of God, we will surely bring others into the image of God and dominion of God. All the local churches need the increase, but never use gimmicks, which may produce "Moabites" instead of the proper fruit.
God promised Abraham a seed. God was testing Abraham until Abraham's natural energy was terminated. Then He would give him a seed. While Abraham was under God's testing, his wife came in with a good proposal (Gen. 16:1-2). It worked. But it did not bring forth Isaac whom God wanted, but Ishmael whom God rejected. In English letters, both Isaac and Ishmael start with "Is." They are very much alike. All the churches need the increase, but don't imitate Sarah. Don't produce Ishmaelites.
Another case was the two daughters of Lot (Gen. 19:30-38). Do you remember how they discussed fruit bearing? They said, "There is a possibility that our father will have no descendants. Let us do something to help him produce an heir." They did something, and it worked. They brought forth Moabites and Ammonites. Many Christians today bring forth Ishmaelites, Moabites, or Ammonites. It is better not to have any descendants like these.
We must be men who bear God's image and exercise God's authority. Then we will be under God's blessing to be fruitful and multiply. Human faces with God's image will fill the earth. This is one of the points of the ultimate consummation. Don't think that gospel preaching is something low. It must be high. Our gospel preaching must be the climax, not producing Ishmaelites, Moabites, or Ammonites, but Isaacs.
We Christians always have a vain dream. We quote the record in Acts where it says that 3,000 were saved on the day of Pentecost and 5,000 saved on another day. Although there is such a record, the multiplication of human beings cannot come too fast. It may take twenty years to produce a generation. You cannot have a generation in five years. After five years a person is still a small child. Even after fifteen years he is a teenager. It generally takes twenty years to produce a generation of human beings. It is easy to make artificial flowers. In one night we can fill this meeting room with flowers, but all will be artificial. However, to grow an orchard takes time. If you come to the orchard one morning, it will appear about the same as the day before. The same will occur the following day, and every day will appear as the preceding day. It may take several years to grow trees that bear fruit. But hallelujah! Once they grow up they will multiply. This is the church life. All the churches need the increase, but we don't want the mushrooming increase, the overnight increase. We need the increase that comes from the image and dominion under God's blessing. This takes time.
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