Life-Study of Numbersby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In order for God's people to be formed into an army, certain terms, or conditions, must be met. One of these conditions is the requirement to deal with defilement. In this message we will begin to consider what Numbers 5 reveals concerning the dealing with defilement.
God is righteous and holy and cannot tolerate defilement. His people, therefore, must deal with defilement.
The cause of the dealing with defilement is threefold. First, God's people are His dwelling place and habitation (v. 3); second, God's people are His warriors fighting for Him (1:20, 22, 24, 26, 28, 30, 32, 34, 36, 38, 40, 42); and third, those who are formed into an army are also priests to serve God (3:3). For God to have a dwelling place, an army, and a priesthood, His people must deal with defilement. They, like God, must be righteous and holy and therefore clean.
The dealing in Numbers 5 is in a very good sequence. Numbers 5:1-4 begins with a corporate dealing. The whole army should have a corporate dealing, not just a dealing as individuals. This corporate dealing mainly concerns three thingsleprosy, discharges, and uncleanness through contact with the dead.
In the church life as God's army, there should be no leprosy. Leprosy signifies the evil issues of the natural man, especially in rebellion. In this sense, we all are leprous and have leprosy. Leprosy is something within us, in our very element. It is deep and subjective, and it needs a thorough dealing. If we do not deal with the leprosy within us, we will become defiled and unclean.
According to the Old Testament teaching, leprosy comes mainly from rebellion against God's authority. The first illustration of this was the case of Miriam and Aaron, who rebelled against God's deputy authority, Moses (12:1-10). By rebelling against God's deputy authority, Miriam became leprous.
The rebellious nature, the rebellious element, is within our blood and nature. Hence, it is something very natural. As a natural man, every one of us is a leper.
The second thing that must be dealt with is the discharges. Anything that comes out of our being, such as sweat, is a discharge. Spiritually, the discharges are the excessive, abnormal, and unrestrained issues of the natural man, signifying one's being without control, being unbridled, in relation to one's self, temper, preferences, likes, and dislikes. In our daily life, if our being is somewhat excessive and unrestrained, it becomes abnormal. This abnormality is a discharge. For example, if we lose our temper, we are excessive, unrestrained, and abnormal. This is a discharge, an issue, of the natural man. An unrestrained expression of our likes or dislikes is also a discharge.
The third thing that must be dealt with is the uncleanness through contact with the deadthe spiritual deadness. The Israelites were not to contact anything that was dead, whether an animal, an insect, or a person (Lev. 11:24-47; Num. 19:11). If they touched these things, they would be defiled.
Death is more dirty than sin. If we contact those who are spiritually dead, we will be defiled by spiritual deadness.
The defilements of leprosy, discharges, and uncleanness through contact with the dead were to be kept away from the camp, which is the dwelling place of God in the midst of His people. God is righteous, holy, and living. Thus, leprosy, discharges, and spiritual deadness cannot be allowed to remain in God's dwelling place, army, and priesthood.
The three kinds of defilement dealt with in the camp of Israel constitute all the uncleanness that needs to be dealt with in the church. These three thingsleprosy from rebellion, discharges from being excessive, abnormal, and unrestrained, and uncleanness through contact with the deadare a full type of the uncleanness that should be dealt with and removed from the church life. If we deal with these three things, the church will be clean.
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