Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message I want to consider, as a parenthesis, the precious materials revealed in various portions of the Bible. Genesis 2:10-12 mentions three categories of these materialsgold, pearl, and onyx stone. Revelation 21 speaks of gold, pearl, and several varieties of precious stones (vv. 11-14, 18-21). If we read Exodus 28:6-21, we learn that onyx stones mounted in plaited settings of gold were placed upon the shoulders of the ephod and that twelve precious stones were set in gold on the breastplate worn by the high priest. Precious materials are also mentioned in 1 Corinthians 3:12. Paul says that we must take heed how we build the church, that we should build with gold, silver, and precious stones. Although Paul replaces pearl with silver, the other two substances remain the same. The Lord Jesus spoke of stones when He told Peter that he was a stone for the building of the church (Matt. 16:18). Then Peter, in his first Epistle, said that we all are living stones for the building of a spiritual house (1 Pet. 2:5).
We also need to pay attention to a very crucial word in the New Testamenttransformation. This word is correctly translated from the Greek language in Romans 12:2, which says that we should be transformed by the renewing of our mind. However, the same Greek word is found in 2 Corinthians 3:18 where it is rendered by the King James Version "changed." According to the proper translation, it should read, "transformed into the same image." Thus, the Greek word for transformation is found at least twice in the New Testament. An English equivalent to the Greek is the term metabolic change. Transformation is not a mere outward change; it is an organic change, a metabolic change. Transformation means to change a substance from one form and element into another form and element. Precious stones are produced by such a process of transformation. This is the meaning of transformation.
Many Christians do not know that the Bible covers the matter of transformation. Therefore, this entire message will be devoted to it. In the previous messages we have seen the eternal purpose of God, which is to express Himself and to exercise His dominion through man. For the fulfillment of this purpose, God created man in a specific way as a vessel to contain God Himself as life. Thus, God created man with a human spirit that he might contact God, receive God, retain God, and assimilate God into his whole being. After creating man in this way, God placed him in a garden with the tree of life as the center. Near the tree of life was a river flowing with living water, and at the flow of this river were gold, pearl, and onyx stones. Genesis 2 presents such a vivid picture.
What does this picture signify? We know that the Bible is very economical: not one paragraph, sentence, or word is wasted. Every word is God-breathed (2 Tim. 3:16). Therefore, we must learn why God used nearly a whole chapter to portray a garden, a tree, a man, a river, and three precious materials. What does it all mean?
The Bible as a whole is God's revelation, and most of the seeds of this revelation were sown in Genesis 1 and 2. For example, God, man, and life are some seeds sown in Genesis 1 and developed throughout the whole Bible. The seeds sown in Genesis grow in the following books of the Bible, especially in the New Testament, producing a crop in the Epistles and a harvest in Revelation. Nearly everything sown in Genesis 1 and 2 is reaped as a great harvest in the book of Revelation.
Based upon this principle, let us attend to some of the items found in both Genesis and Revelation. In Genesis 2 we have the tree of life in the midst of the garden. Then we have a river which flows by the side of the tree and brings forth gold, pearl, and onyx stone. The setting for all of this is a garden, and a garden signifies the natural things created by God. In a garden we can see the growth of created things.
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