Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
According to the whole revelation of the Bible, God’s salvation is of three stages. It is a matter of a gradual process.
The salvation which God intended for the children of Israel to partake of was related to three places: Egypt, from which they were delivered; the wilderness, in which they wandered; and Canaan, into which they entered. Their history in these three places signifies the three stages of their participation in God’s full salvation. The children of Israel did not partake of the whole of God’s salvation in one place.
In Egypt, the Israelites participated in the first stage of God’s salvation. At the time of the Passover, they experienced the redeeming blood of the lamb (Exo. 12:7) and the nourishing meat of the lamb (Exo. 12:8) and were saved from God’s righteous judgment. When they made their exodus out of Egypt and crossed the Red Sea, they were saved from Egyptian slavery and tyranny. After crossing the Red Sea, they were a released and liberated people. In this sense, they all were saved. No one can deny that they had been saved from God’s judgment and from Egyptian bondage, tyranny, and slavery. However, they had only shared in one-third of God’s full salvation. Although they had been saved from God’s judgment and from Pharaoh’s slavery, what about God’s eternal purpose? What about God’s expression and dominion? With the children of Israel at that time, there was not yet the divine expression nor the divine dominion. The tabernacle had not yet been erected, and God’s divine government had not been established on earth. Although the children of Israel had been saved from Egypt, they had to experience two further stages of God’s salvation for the fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose.
After the Israelites were saved from Egypt where they ate the Passover lamb and the unleavened bread, they experienced salvation through the wilderness. Although they had had a sweet enjoyment of Christ, typified by the lamb in Egypt, that was merely the initial stage, the beginning. They had to enjoy, partake of, and experience Christ more, as typified by the manna and the rock flowing with living water. After the exodus from Egypt, God brought them into the second stage, which was signified by the wilderness. In the wilderness they enjoyed the feeding manna (Exo. 16:31-32) and the quenching water (Exo. 17:6).
Because of the influence of past teaching, whenever we hear the word wilderness we think of it as a bad word. Although it is not a good word, it is not altogether bad. If you consult a map, you will see that the children of Israel could not have gone from Egypt into the good land without passing through the wilderness. The wilderness was bad because the children of Israel did not go directly through it into Canaan but wandered in it for over thirty-eight years. It was that waste of time which made the wilderness so bad. If, however, they had crossed the Red Sea and gone directly through the wilderness into the good land, the wilderness would have been a good word. That the wilderness was not altogether bad is proved by the fact that there the Israelites enjoyed the manna and the water from the rock, both of which were types of Christ.
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