Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Genesis is a wonderful book. The more we study it, the more we realize that no human hand could have written it. Apparently Genesis is simply a book of stories; however, when we probe into the depths of this book through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, we find that it contains something profound related to our experience of life. If we read superficially, we shall not be able to understand why the events of chapter thirty-eight are put after those of chapter thirty-seven. Not until we discover the spiritual significance of these chapters can we appreciate the deep meaning of their sequence.
According to the record of the book of Genesis and according to our spiritual experience, Joseph should not be considered a person separate from Jacob, but rather as an aspect of Jacob's biography. When we first came to Abraham in this life-study, we pointed out that, in spiritual experience, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are not three separate individuals. Instead, they represent three aspects of the experience of one saint. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob represent three aspects of one spiritual man, and their biographies portray different aspects of the complete life of a saint. Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are three aspects of one person, somewhat like the Father, the Son, and the Spirit are the three of the Godhead. In the record of Genesis, God revealed Himself as the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. But the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob is not three separate Gods; He is one Triune God. In a similar way, spiritually speaking, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob are not three separate persons, but three aspects of one complete person. Therefore, we have not only the Triune God, but also a complete man of three aspects.
It is difficult to determine whether Abraham or Jacob comes first. According to the historical record, Abraham was the grandfather, and Jacob was the grandson. According to spiritual experience, however, Jacob must come first. Jacob was chosen before he was born (Rom. 9:11-13). This means that the complete saint was chosen as Jacob before birth. The book of Ephesians reveals that this selection took place before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1:4). Thus, the complete person was chosen as Jacob. He was also fallen as Jacob. Then this chosen and fallen one was called as Abraham. With Abraham, he not only was called, but also was justified and lived a life by faith. Furthermore, he inherited and enjoyed all the riches of Christ as Isaac. After he had been called and justified, and while he was living a life by faith, he inherited all the riches of Christ and enjoyed them. But this is not all. As Jacob, he also struggled and suffered because of his strivings. Moreover, he was dealt with and became matured. All this is the experience of Jacob. For all these experiencesthe choosing, the fall, the calling, the justification by faith, the living by faith, the inheritance and enjoyment of the riches in Christ, the self-struggling, the sufferings, the dealings, and the maturitythere is the need of three persons, the need of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.
These three represent you and me. We are chosen and fallen as Jacob. We are called, we are justified by faith, and we live by faith as Abraham. We inherit the riches of Christ and enjoy them as Isaac. We struggle, suffer, are dealt with, and mature as Jacob. When Jacob was matured, his name was changed. Not only was his disposition transformed, but his name was changed from Jacob, a supplanter, to Israel, a matured prince of God, one who could reign for God.
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