Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The Bible is the revelation of God. If we are to understand any major aspect of this revelation, we must take care of the governing principles established and revealed in the Bible. The governing principle of the Bible as a whole is that God in eternity past made a purpose, a plan, which was to express Himself with His authority. This plan, God’s eternal purpose, is thoroughly revealed in the first two chapters of Genesis and the last two chapters of Revelation. In Genesis 1 and 2 we see that man is the center of God’s created universe. Although God created the heavens, the earth, and millions of other items, the central item is man. God made man in a very specific way, forming him out of the earth (Gen. 2:7) and in His own image (Gen. 1:26). Hence, man, a single entity, bears two things: the earth and the image of God. In substance man is earthly, but in expression he is divine. In this one entity, man, we see a wonderful principle—one creature bearing the earthly substance and the divine image. When man expressed God’s image and exercised His authority in His dominion, God was at rest. As we have seen in previous messages, this is the significance of the Sabbath rest. That was the situation at the very beginning of the Bible.
When we go to the end of the Bible, we see the consummation: the new heaven and the new earth with the New Jerusalem. In the new heaven and new earth, the earth will be more useful than heaven because the New Jerusalem will be on the earth. If we read Revelation carefully, we shall see that the New Jerusalem is not a physical building, but a living composition composed of living persons, such as the twelve Apostles of the Lamb and the twelve tribes of Israel (Rev. 21:12, 14). The city of New Jerusalem will bear the appearance of God and express Him in a full way. Moreover, God’s throne will be in that city, and God’s authority will be fully exercised there. This is the eternal kingdom of God. Therefore, in the New Jerusalem God will have complete rest and obtain His eternal Sabbath. This matter is the governing principle of the whole Bible.
If we are to know the Bible, we need to have an overall view of it. Do you realize that the universe is composed of three periods? The first period was the time before Adam, the period that is called the pre-Adamic age. As we saw in our Life-Study of Genesis, before Adam was created the universe was already in existence. No one can tell how long that first period of time was. The second period of the universe extends from Genesis 1:2 through the end of the coming millennium, from the time of the creation of Adam until the end of the millennium. This period of time is quite short, perhaps not more than seven thousand years. Although we may think that this is a long time, in God’s eyes seven thousand years are the equivalent of seven days, for to Him a thousand years are as one day (2 Pet. 3:8). Following this second period, there will be the third period of the universe—the new heaven and the new earth with the New Jerusalem. That period will last for eternity. In order to know the Bible thoroughly, we must understand these three periods of the universe.
The first period of the universe was the period of the fall. God created, Satan damaged, and God came in to judge the universe. In Genesis 1:2 we have the start of God’s re-creation. Strictly speaking, only verse 1 of Genesis refers to God’s creation, for verse 2 is the beginning of God’s re-creation. Within God’s re-creation there was further creation. Man, for instance, was not a re-creation but a creation. From the time of God’s re-creation until the full completion of His purpose will be a period of approximately seven thousand years. Since it is during this span of time that God accomplishes His eternal purpose, we may call this the period of accomplishment.
The period of accomplishment began with the creation of man. Man was God’s creation. God’s re-creation only recovered the fallen universe back to a condition suitable for man’s creation and existence. The second coming of the Lord Jesus will not end the period of accomplishment, because the old heaven and old earth will continue for another thousand years after the Lord’s coming back. Those one thousand years will be a continuation of the period of accomplishment. The Lord’s second coming is even a further step in the accomplishment of God’s purpose. Therefore, God’s accomplishment of His purpose began with the creation of man and will be completed not at the time of the Lord’s second coming but at the end of the millennium.
After the period of accomplishment, the new heaven and the new earth with the New Jerusalem will come. That will be the period of the eternal Sabbath, the time of the complete Sabbath. The eternal period in the future will be an unending Sabbath. Our Father, our Savior, and all the redeemed ones will be there. This is our destiny, our future. Our future is the eternal Sabbath where our Father, our Savior, and all of us will be at rest for eternity.
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