Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Chapters one through seventeen of Exodus form a complete section. In this section we have a full picture of God’s salvation, a picture that includes both the dealing with the world and the dealing with the flesh. God’s chosen people were in bondage in Egypt, which signifies the world. Then God came in to deal with the world, to accomplish redemption, and to deliver His people from the world. Afterward, they enjoyed the supply of the heavenly manna and the living water. Then, in Exodus 17, God dealt with Amalek, that is, with the flesh.
If we have a bird’s-eye view of the first seventeen chapters of Exodus, we shall see a picture of God’s salvation which begins with the dealing with the world and concludes with the dealing with the flesh. This picture enables us to realize that, as God’s chosen people, we once were under the tyranny of the world. But after we were redeemed, saved, and delivered, we began to enjoy the divine provision of manna and living water. One day, however, we had to face a very subjective enemy—the flesh. This enemy seeks to trouble us, to occupy us, and even to destroy us.
The next section of the book, chapters eighteen through forty, is a long section related to the kingdom. This indicates that after we have been delivered out of the world, have enjoyed the divine provision, and have dealt with the flesh, we shall be in the kingdom. What good news this is! Perhaps you have never realized that these chapters are related to the kingdom. Your only realization may have been that these chapters cover the building up of the tabernacle as God’s dwelling place. It is crucial to realize, however, that apart from the kingdom there is no possibility for God’s house to come into existence. Only when we defeat the enemy, overcome the world, and deal thoroughly with the flesh shall we be in the kingdom. In the kingdom it is possible for us to build up the tabernacle as God’s dwelling place. The principle is the same with the building of the temple. After David fought the battle against the enemies and gained the victory, Solomon enjoyed the kingdom. In this enjoyment the temple was built. In the second section of Exodus, chapters eighteen through forty, we see that God’s redeemed people were in the enjoyment of the kingdom. Having been delivered from the world and having dealt with the flesh, they were able to build the tabernacle as God’s dwelling place.
According to the New Testament, the Devil, the world, and the flesh are called the enemies of God (Matt. 13:25, 39; Rom. 8:7-8; James 4:4). In Exodus Satan is signified by Pharaoh, the world is signified by Egypt, and the flesh is signified by Amalek. After these three enemies have been dealt with, the kingdom of God comes in.
In the Old Testament no enemy is dealt with more thoroughly than Amalek, because Amalek is a type of the flesh, which is the last enemy against God’s kingdom. The flesh is what keeps the church from being built up adequately. As long as the flesh remains a problem, the kingdom cannot come. The kingdom comes in only after the flesh has been dealt with. For the sake of the church life, we need to deal with our flesh. If the flesh is not dealt with, there can be no kingdom of God. Then without the kingship of Christ, His headship, there is no way for the Body to be built up. This is the reason that, during the past nineteen hundred years, there has been very little building of the church. The confusions and divisions among Christians today are primarily due to the flesh, to Amalek. Among Christians Amalek is prevailing. Because of this, we do not have the kingdom of God in a practical way. Without the kingdom, it is impossible to have the building. Among the vast majority of Christians, it is not possible even to speak about the building of the church.
We thank the Lord that by His mercy and grace we in His recovery have learned something of the importance of dealing with the flesh. Although the flesh remains a problem, we dare not let our flesh be unrestrained. We simply do not have the boldness to stay in the flesh. However, many Christians are extremely bold to be in the flesh. How strong is Amalek today! Because Amalek prevails, there is no kingdom and no building.
In his writings Paul thoroughly deals with the flesh. He uses certain expressions to show that the flesh is enmity against God. For example, in Romans 8:7 he says that “the mind set on the flesh is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can it be.” The flesh is ugly for the simple reason that it is not subject to the law of God. From God’s point of view, the flesh is lawless. Lawlessness prevails among many Christians today. The flesh is lawless in its inability to be subject to God.
In 8:8 Paul goes on to say, “And those who are in the flesh cannot please God.” The flesh is not subject to the law of God, it cannot be subject to the law of God, and it cannot please God. Therefore, in the eyes of God there is no place for the flesh. It must be terminated.
The flesh denotes the totality of the fallen old man. Hence, the flesh does not refer simply to part of our being, but to our entire fallen being. According to Romans 6:6, the old man has been crucified with Christ. Because the old man is hopeless, God put it on the cross and crucified it with Christ. As we shall see, we need to cooperate with God in what He has done by crucifying the flesh (Gal. 5:24). The destiny of the flesh is to be put to death. No matter how the flesh may appear to us, in God’s eyes it is rebellious and despicable. For this reason, God has decided to blot out the name of Amalek.
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