Life-Study of Ephesiansby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall give a further word on the heading up of all things in Christ. Ephesians 1:9 and 10 say, “Having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself unto a dispensation of the fullness of the times, to head up all things in Christ, the things in the heavens and the things on the earth, in Him.” The Greek word rendered “unto” at the beginning of verse 10 can also be rendered “in order to have.” Thus, that portion can be translated, “according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself in order to have a dispensation of the fullness of the times.”
The dispensation which God purposed in Himself is to head up all things in Christ at the fullness of the times. The times refer to the ages. When the new heaven and the new earth come after all the dispensations of God in all the ages have been completed, that will be the fullness of the times. The word “dispensation” is also found in 3:2, “If ye have heard of the dispensation of the grace of God which is given me to you-ward.” The dispensation of the grace of God means the administration of the grace of God.
In order to understand what the dispensation of the grace of God is, we need to see that in eternity past God purposed a plan. According to this plan, He created the universe with the heavens, the earth, and billions of items. He then created mankind as the center of the universe to be a vessel to contain God for God’s expression. This word is brief, but it covers the whole Bible. Man was created not to be an instrument, but a vessel to contain God so that God may be expressed from within man. This is God’s eternal plan, His eternal purpose.
In His wisdom God allowed an archangel to rebel. Without God’s permission, no rebellion could ever take place. Not even the rebellion among the angels could happen without God’s permission. God allowed one of His angels to rebel against Him. This was according to God’s wisdom. Satan’s rebellion serves in the same way as the black background of a painting that makes the main object all the more outstanding.
The book of Genesis reveals that Satan came to inject himself into man, who was the center of the universe. When Satan injected himself into man, Satan became death and darkness to man. Whenever Satan comes to us or into our home, there is death and darkness. The result of this death and darkness is a collapse. A person who is full of life can stand upright. But when the power of death has been injected into him, he falls down; he collapses. Instead of being headed up, he collapses into a heap. As we pointed out in the foregoing message, the entire universe, including mankind, is a heap of collapse caused by Satan injecting himself as the factor of death into God’s creation. Satan has brought death to the entire creation of God. All of creation has been infected by the death factor of Satan. This is the reason that Romans 8:20 and 21 say that the creation has been subjected to vanity and is under the slavery of corruption.
In order to inject a substance into a person’s body, there is no need to inject it into every part. Instead, the injection is made at a certain spot, and then the substance spreads throughout the body. Likewise, Satan injected himself into man, the center of the universe, and from man Satan’s poison has spread everywhere. Therefore, not only is man subject to death, but also every living thing is subject to it. Whenever any living thing dies, it collapses. The element of death has spread into every part of God’s creation, causing the creation to collapse into a heap.
The collapse of the universe gives God an excellent opportunity to manifest His wisdom. Without such a situation of death and collapse, God’s wisdom could not be fully manifested. Through the church God’s manifold wisdom will be expressed. The collapse caused by Satan’s injection of the factor of death into man serves as the black background to make God’s wisdom all the more glorious.
Satan’s way is always to act ahead of God. This is a principle in the Bible. Whenever God wants to do something, Satan acts first. For example, the Bible reveals that God’s intention is to build a city, the New Jerusalem. But the first city was a counterfeit one built by Satan. Likewise, God’s intention is to impart Himself into man and to work Himself into man. But before God did this, His enemy, Satan, came in to do a counterfeit work by injecting himself into man. After God created man, He placed him in front of the tree of life. This indicates that God desired man to take Him in. God is never in a hurry; He is always willing to wait. Satan, on the contrary, is always in a rush. We need to learn from this that anything that we do hurriedly is probably not of God, but of Satan. Before God dispensed Himself into man, Satan injected himself into man, the center of God’s creation, and thereby caused the entire creation to collapse. Now instead of life, there is death everywhere: in the offices, factories, businesses, schools, and even in the so-called churches. Because death is everywhere and in everything, everything is in a state of collapse. This is the background of God’s working Himself into man.
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