Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
We thank the Lord for what He has been showing us about the Sabbath rest. God could never find His full rest in heaven, because heaven is not the place where His eternal purpose is fulfilled. God’s full rest is on earth with man. Regardless of how wonderful or excellent the angels may be, God’s rest is not with the angels in heaven but with man on the earth. This is why the Lord Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matt. 6:10). Eventually, the Bible reveals that God’s full rest, His full Sabbath, will be on the earth with a living composition of all the redeemed people.
Beginning at Genesis 2, this matter of the Sabbath rest develops progressively. In Genesis 2 we see that God’s first Sabbath was immediately after He had gained a man on earth in His image to express Him and with His authority to represent Him. Immediately after securing a man on earth in His image and with His dominion, God rested. That was the first Sabbath. God’s second Sabbath was with the children of Israel. After the children of Israel had gained the good land of Canaan and had built there a temple which was filled with God’s shekinah glory, God had His second Sabbath on earth. The temple in the good land filled with God’s glory signified that God had secured on earth a people to be His dwelling place, a place where He could dwell, express Himself and exercise His dominion. This was God’s second Sabbath with man on earth. Thus, in the Old Testament we have two outstanding stories concerning God’s Sabbath: the first in Genesis 2 and the second in 1 Kings 8.
As we saw in the last message, when the Lord Jesus came, He also was God’s Sabbath. Following the Lord Jesus, we have the church as the Sabbath rest to God. Christ is the Head and the church is the Body. When we come to the day of Pentecost in Acts 2, we see that the glory of God filled the temple once again, and God again secured a habitation with man on earth for His rest. We may say that this is the third Sabbath. God had gained a man on the earth. Although God did have something with Noah, Abraham, and with the Lord Jesus Himself, in this message we need to focus on the three main Sabbaths: the first Sabbath after the creation of man in God’s image and with God’s dominion; the second when the temple was built on earth and filled with God’s glory; and the third when the church, as the new man, was built with people in God’s image.
The first two Sabbaths, the Sabbath after the creation of man and the Sabbath after the building of the temple, both were pictures; neither of them was the real thing. The first real Sabbath that God secured with man on earth was the building up of the church. The church is not a Sabbath rest in figure but in reality. The Sabbaths with Adam and with the building up of the temple were types, but the building up of the church is not a type—it is the fulfillment.
God’s way is a progressive way. We can see this in His creation in Genesis 1. Why did not God create everything in a single day? He could have completed everything in just a few minutes. On the first day God simply called for the light, and on the second day He created the expanse. If we had been there, we probably would not have been very patient, saying to God, “God, the light is here, but we need air.” Sometimes we are faster than God. God’s way is often contrary to ours; He always does things in a progressive way. One day, God became a man, sowed Himself into mankind, and after the death and resurrection of that man, the church was produced. But God did not accomplish everything once for all. Although God has sown Himself into us as the seed, the harvest has not yet come. Whatever we have received, secured, and gained today is the seed, not the harvest. God is patient. Although the seed was sown nearly two thousand years ago, God did not accomplish all the work once for all at that time. When God sowed Himself into mankind, a wonderful age, the New Testament age, began. Before the Lord Jesus came God had never sown Himself into mankind. Adam and the children of Israel were types. God never sowed Himself into the soil of Adam or into the soil of the children of Israel because they were types. Only in the church is the real soil into which God has sown Himself.
Consider the natural law of the growth of a seed. If you sow a seed into the ground, you do not expect to have a harvest the next morning. Not even a mushroom grows that fast. The best harvest will always take the longest time. According to natural law, life takes time to grow, and the highest life requires the longest time to grow. A dog may grow to maturity in less than a year, but a human being needs at least eighteen years to grow into maturity. Parents do not expect their children to grow as quickly as a dog grows. Nevertheless, all the pastors, preachers, and ministers are dreaming, thinking that we Christians can grow up overnight. We need time to grow, time to ripen and mature.
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