Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the book of Hebrews all of the basic factors of the New Testament are implied in a deeper and yet very simple way. Apparently it is difficult for anyone to realize that the church is mentioned in the book of Hebrews. Although you might have read Hebrews a number of times, perhaps you have never been impressed with the mention of the church in this book. We are all familiar with the mention of the churches in Acts and in the other Epistles, but we may not have the impression that the church is found in Hebrews. Thirty-eight years ago I conducted a detailed study of this book with two different groups of people. At that time, I thought that I knew this book thoroughly, but I did not see the church in this book.
The church is only mentioned twice in this book, in 2:12 and 12:23. In 2:12 it says, “I will declare Your name to My brothers; in the midst of the church I will sing hymns of praise unto You.” I do not think that in the past many of us paid attention to the church in this verse. This verse is composed essentially with the matter of the church. In this verse both the brothers and the church are mentioned in a very deep way. The Son says to the Father that He will declare the Father’s name to His brothers and sing hymns of praise to the Father in the church. Do you know the meaning of this? In this verse we must notice three elements: the brothers, the church, and what the Lord is doing today in the church. This verse is a very great revelation of what the church is and of what the Lord is doing in the church. In no other book can we find out something concerning the nature of the church that is revealed so thoroughly, basically, fundamentally, and crucially as it is found here. Do not consider 2:12 as a small verse. It is a great verse. It contains a marvelous revelation. In this message, I hope that we all shall not only have a revelation, but that we all shall see a vision of what the church is and of what the Lord is doing today in the church.
What is the church? The church is a corporate composition of the brothers of the Firstborn Son of God. Do you still remember the difference between the only begotten Son of God and the Firstborn Son of God? The only begotten Son of God had divinity without humanity. Although He had the divine nature, He did not have the human nature. But the Firstborn Son of God has both the divine nature and the human nature. The brothers are not the brothers of the only begotten, but the brothers of the Firstborn Son of God. We are the same as the Firstborn. He is divine and human, and we are human and divine. The Firstborn Son has humanity as well as divinity and all of His brothers are the same as He is. Whether we are brothers or sisters, we are all His brothers, for Christ does not have any sisters. Tell me, are you human or divine? Is the Firstborn Son divine or human? He is both divine and human, and we are both human and divine. He is first divine and then human, and His brothers are first human and then divine. Eventually, He and we, we and He, are the same. We are wonderful people. We are not only human—we are also divine. Do you realize whose son you are? You are God’s son. God is our divine Father, and we all are His divine sons because we all have been born of His divine life with His divine nature. We are the many sons of the Father and the many brothers of the Firstborn Son of the Father. This is not a dream. This is reality.
The church is both human and divine. This is the nature of the church. The church is a composition of the many sons of God. The church is a corporation of the many brothers of the Firstborn Son of God. This is the church. I never saw the church this clearly years ago. More than forty years ago I saw that the church was a group of real believers in Christ meeting together. This definition of the church is not wrong. Approximately one hundred fifty years ago it was revealed to some of the brothers that the church is not a building of brick and stone. They declared strongly to all of Christendom that the church is not a physical building. It is not a cathedral, chapel, or sanctuary. They declared that the church is a gathering of God’s called ones. When true believers in Christ come together, they are the church. We have received much help from this revelation and more than fifty years ago we also began to say that the church is a gathering of God’s called saints. We were thankful for the help that we received from those brothers in the last century. Later on, we began to see that the church is not only a gathering of real believers; it is a body, the Body of Christ. If you gather many chairs together, the chairs cannot become a body. If you gather sheep together, they likewise cannot be a body. As everybody knows, a body is an organism with life. It has life tissues, life cells, life nature, life shape, life ability, and life function. The church is deeper, higher, and more profound than just a gathering.
The Lord has shown us the real significance of the church. Praise Him that He has granted us to see that the church has two natures—the human nature and the divine nature. The church has two lives. These lives are not only combined but are also mingled together. The church is an organism with two natures and with two lives combined and mingled together. This is marvelous! Do you realize that the church has two lives? Do you realize that the church has two natures? Do you realize that the Firstborn Son of God has two lives and two natures, that He is not only the Son of God, but also the Son of Man? The Firstborn has all of the divine attributes as well as all of the human virtues. What we have is not just a little humility or submission. This rich store is much more profound than this. It is unlimited and immeasurable, filled with the divine attributes and the human virtues. The church is such an organism. It is the Body of Christ.
Quite often bad news comes to me about a church in a certain place. Someone may say, “The church there is not good. It has problems.” I do not like to hear things like this, because my concept of the church is based upon my faith. I believe that every church is wonderful. There is not a church that is not good. Although you may think that a certain church is not good, after a period of time that church becomes very different. Why? Because the church is organic. It grows. Your body may be quite tired, but after a while it is invigorated. It changes by life because it is an organism. The churches in the Lord’s recovery are organic. Never believe that the church in a certain locality is not good. The church is wonderful because it is an organism that grows. Never forget that the church is a living corporation of all the brothers of the Firstborn Son of God. The church is neither physical nor organizational; it is altogether of life—the divine life and the uplifted, resurrected human life. Nothing is richer than life. The best life in the universe is the divine life, and the second best life is the human life. The human life that we have today for the church is not the natural human life but the uplifted, resurrected human life. We have such a life! This human life plus the divine life is the life of the church. It is in such a profound way that the church is revealed in this book. The church is a living composition of all the sons of God, a living corporation of all the brothers of the Firstborn Son of God.
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