Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Because the Bible is the divine revelation, we should not read it in a superficial way. We need to get into the depths of the Word in order to mine its riches. Many precious things are found beneath the surface of the Word. Because such vast riches are found beneath the surface, it is not sufficient merely to know the Bible in black and white letters. We must go deep into the Word and discover the precious things under the surface.
I come from a country which produces the highest quality crystal. One day a friend showed me a large, unsightly stone ball. He told me that hidden within this stone ball was a beautiful crystal. Then he cut into the ball and revealed the crystal concealed within it. We may compare the Bible to this ball of stone which contains precious things. In every chapter of Scripture there can be found things of great value. In particular, many “diamonds” are hidden beneath the surface of chapters twenty-one through twenty-three of Exodus. My burden in this message and in the message following is to mine these “diamonds” and present them to the Lord’s people.
The title of this message uses three important words: implications, indications, and significances. These words point to three aspects of the riches found in the depths of Exodus 21 through 23. In certain verses we find implications; in others, indications; and in still others, significances. If we would mine the riches in these chapters, we need to consider the implications, indications, and significances of the ordinances of the law presented here.
In the decree of the law with its ordinances there is a clear indication that man is fallen and is living in the fall. The expression “fall” or “living in the fall” cannot be found. However, words like pollution, nakedness, slavery, murder, stealing, coveting, and witch strongly point both to man’s fall and to his living in the fall. The ordinances related to these matters describe the fallen condition of man. If man had not fallen, or if man were not living in a fallen condition, there would be no need for God to give such ordinances. If we pay attention to words like pollution, murder, lying, and idols, we may be enlightened to see that man’s living in the fall is indicated. In this way we get into the depths of the Bible.
The law with its ordinances was not given to people who were innocent and pure. On the contrary, the law was given to fallen mankind, to people living in a fallen condition. Because of man’s fall and because of man’s living in the fall, there was the need for God to come in to decree the law with its ordinances.
In these chapters we have a picture of man’s fallen condition. How very dark is the scene! Here we have pollution, nakedness, witchcraft, idolatry, adultery, fornication, and covetousness. Behind all these negative things is Satan. Although Satan is not mentioned in these chapters by name, his existence behind the negative things is implied. Demons also are mentioned by implication. Witchcraft involves contact with demons. If there were no demons, there would be no witchcraft. Hence, the one word “witch” implies the existence of witchcraft and demons.
The ordinances in these chapters also imply the fact of indwelling sin. In Romans 7 Paul speaks of covetousness, of coveting of every kind. Although Paul hated the sin of covetousness, he had no way to overcome it. The more he loathed it, the more active it became. Paul could even say, “So now it is no longer I that do it, but sin that dwells in me” (Rom. 7:17). The very mention of coveting implies indwelling sin. Furthermore, this indwelling sin is actually Satan with his lusts. We admit that there is no explicit reference to Satan in Exodus 21 through 23. However, in the light of the full revelation of the holy Scriptures, we can trace the word coveting to indwelling sin, and indwelling sin to Satan. Therefore, hidden beneath coveting is indwelling sin, and concealed under indwelling sin is Satan, the Devil, with his lusts.
These chapters not only indicate the fact of indwelling sin, but also speak of outward sins. Murder, lying, and stealing certainly are sins. Therefore, as in the book of Romans, we have both indwelling sin implied and outward sins clearly indicated. In Romans Paul deals with sins in chapters one through three, and he deals with indwelling sin in chapters five through eight. On the negative side, the ordinances in Exodus 21 through 23 point to Satan, demons, indwelling sin, and outward sins.
The picture of the items on the negative side in these chapters is dark and bleak. But the picture of the items on the positive side is bright and glorious. First, these chapters reveal that God is kind and gracious, full of care for us. As the most gracious One, He cares for widows, orphans, and strangers. By preparing cities of refuge into which a person may flee, He even provides for the mistake of one who kills another unintentionally. Furthermore, God also provides that one who sells himself into slavery may be released after six years. All these ordinances show us that God is kind, gracious, and loving and that He cares for mankind.
In these chapters we also have a picture of Christ. Christ is typified by the sacrifices (20:24-26). With Christ, through Christ, and by Christ, we can worship God. Christ is not for angels; He is for fallen man. The ordinance concerning worshipping God through the altar and with the sacrifices was intended for fallen man, not for angels. Christ is also signified by the city of refuge and by the Sabbath. Furthermore, even the sabbatical year is a picture of Christ.
The cross of Christ is signified by the altar in chapter twenty. This altar is not for angels; it is for fallen man. Angels are spectators, those who observe Christ and the cross, but we are partakers, those who enjoy Christ and the cross.
In these chapters we have, on the negative side, Satan, demons, indwelling sin, and outward sins. On the positive side, we have God, Christ, and the cross. We also have redemption, forgiveness, justification, and reconciliation implied. To be sure, no man-made law has such implications, indications, and significances. As students of the Word of God, we need to consider all the implications, indications, and significances found in these chapters.
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