Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The book of Hebrews begins with God speaking. The divine speaking is the opening point of this book. God has spoken! Praise Him! It is absolutely not a small thing that God has spoken. Without speaking God is mysterious. But He has revealed Himself in His speaking. He is no longer mysterious. Now He is the revealed God.
The emphasis of this book is that God, not man, has spoken. Therefore, it does not mention who the writer of this book is, nor, in all its quotations from the Old Testament, does it mention the speakers’ names. According to the concept of this book, the entire Scripture is the speaking of God. Hence, when it refers to the Old Testament, it always says that it was the Holy Spirit’s speaking (3:7; 9:8; 10:15-17).
We need to consider this matter of God’s speaking. If there were a God in the universe, what would be the first thing that He would do? Certainly, before doing anything else, He would speak. If God is living, He must certainly speak. If He is real, His speaking testifies His reality. If He is moving, He will move by speaking. If He is working, He will surely work by speaking.
A living person is a speaking person. If you are a living person, I do not believe that you will be able to be silent for even one hour. If you are at home alone, you will find that you simply must speak. If you do not speak to the angels, you may speak to something or to yourself. A living person must speak.
Our God is living! So our God is speaking, and His speaking testifies that He is living. We know that our God is living because He speaks. How foolish it is to say that there is no God! Have you not heard His speaking? God has spoken! Since eternity, this speaking God has spoken millions of times. If He never spoke, then where did the Bible come from? No one can deny the wisdom expressed in the Bible. If not every sentence, then at least a great many sentences in the Bible could never have come out of a human mind. One great French philosopher has said that if the four gospels were falsehoods and there were no Christ, then the person who wrote the gospels is fully qualified to be Christ. If you do not believe that the writer of the gospels is qualified to be Christ, then you try to write such books. Who can utter things in such a profound and wise way? Peter was a Galilean fisherman and John was a mender of nets. They did not graduate from a university. Where did they get their wisdom? “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God....In Him was life, and the life was the light of men” (John 1:1, 4). Who can utter such simple yet such profound words? Certainly not a little mender of nets from Galilee. Only God Himself can speak in this way. How can you say that there is no God? Can you find another book to compare with the Bible? There is no other book that can compare with it. The Bible is the book among all books because it bears profound wisdom.
The Bible also bears light. No other book enlightens people as does this book. Many of you who are reading these messages are very well educated. You have read many books and newspapers. Please tell me, have you been enlightened by any of those books or newspapers? Whenever people read the newspapers, they are darkened, veiled, drugged, doped, and befuddled. However, so many of us can testify that whenever we come to the Bible, regardless of the chapter, the light shines upon us. Light may even shine through such a verse as Genesis 3:1, a verse that speaks about the serpent. Perhaps light may not shine immediately because you are not ready. The light is ready to shine, but you are not ready to open up to it. Eventually, however, the light comes.
Let us use Genesis 3:1 as an example. “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.” One morning, a young sister read through this verse and it got into her. As she read that verse early in the morning, she had no understanding of it. Later on in the day, one of her schoolmates came to her with a certain kind of temptation. Immediately, the word came to that young sister, “The serpent was more subtle.” The more her schoolmate talked, the more this word came to her. Eventually this sister said within herself, “Little serpent, get away from me.” Throughout my ministry I have heard hundreds of these kinds of testimonies.
People are enlightened by reading the divine Word. Can anyone testify of being enlightened as a result of reading a magazine or newspaper? There are no such testimonies, because such writings are not the Word of God. But the whole Bible is a composition of the speaking of God, If you put the word Satan in a newspaper, it means nothing, but when you read it in the Bible, especially when you pray-read over it, you are enlightened and Satan is exposed.
Many times we are not only enlightened by the Word, but are enlivened, quickened, and made alive. Try to pray with the words of a newspaper and see what happens. The more you repeat the words, the more you will be darkened and killed. However, when you pray-read the Bible, you are made alive. This is a strong proof that the Holy Bible is God’s speaking. God has spoken! More than a hundred times I have seen great sinners saved just by reading one verse of the Bible. In an instant their whole life was changed. That was the result of the working of the Holy Word.
God has spoken and He is still speaking today. He is speaking to your heart and in your spirit. How do we know that our God is living? Because He speaks to us. How do we know that He is moving and working? Because He speaks. Consider your experience in the past forty-eight hours. Can you say that during that time God has not spoken to you? So many of us can testify that during the past forty-eight hours we have heard God speaking. We know that He is real, living, and moving because He speaks. Where is God? God is in His speaking. He is speaking day by day.
What is God’s speaking? God’s speaking is not only the Word; it is also His breathing. When God speaks, He breathes Himself into us. Whenever God speaks to you, He gets into you. Therefore, whenever you listen to God’s speaking or take the Word of God, you will be involved with God. He bothers us constantly by His speaking. I do not know how many times I have been bothered by Him. If you do not want to get involved with God, you had better close your ears when He is speaking. His speaking is constant. He will never swallow His words. Once He breathes His Word out, He will never take it back. Suppose God says to you, “Go to your wife and apologize to her.” You may argue, saying, “Why must I go to her and apologize? I can’t do it.” But the word continues to come to you, “Go and apologize.” Some who have not obeyed such a word from the Lord have testified that even in their dreams they have expressed His word to go and apologize. The wife is awakened and says, “What do you mean, ‘Go and apologize’?” God spoke to that brother to go and apologize to his wife. He did not do it. So eventually in his dreams he spoke the words, “Go and apologize.” God’s speaking is that constant.
In 1925 I began to hear the Lord’s speaking to me. Although for eight years I did not obey Him, that word never left me. Week after week, I argued with God and reasoned with Him. I said to Him, “No, I can’t do it.” He did not argue with me. When I reasoned, He was quiet. When my reasoning ceased, He began to speak again. I said, “Lord, I’ve heard this already.” Nevertheless, although He did not say a word when I argued with Him, when I was quiet, He spoke again and again for a period of eight years. Eventually I had no choice except to listen to Him and surrender. I obeyed and the speaking stopped. Once we obey, that speaking stops.
Once God’s Word has come out of His mouth, no one can send it back to Him. If you do not obey what God speaks in this lifetime, you will obey it in the next. All mankind will believe what God has spoken. If they do not believe it today, they will believe it in eternity.
God has spoken and is still speaking. We know that our God is real because He is speaking. How do we know that God is working in His recovery? Because He is speaking. Although I have been a Christian for many years, I have never heard so much of God’s speaking as among us today. First Samuel 3:1 says that the word of the Lord was rare in those days. The King James Version uses the word precious instead of rare. Anything that is rare is precious. In the days of 1 Samuel 3 the Word of God was rare, but it is not rare today. In the Lord’s recovery today there is the multiplication of God’s Word. There is the abundance of God’s Word. God is speaking day after day and meeting after meeting. Do you not realize that He is speaking? His speaking proves that He is working.
Everyone among us has some amount of God’s speaking. However, many Christians that are not in the Lord’s recovery would say that they do not understand what we are talking about when we say that we have the abundance of God’s speaking. Once this matter has been explained to them, they would say, “It has been a long time since I heard God speak.” Why is there no speaking of God among so many Christians? Because there is no moving of God among them. There is no working of God.
It is a punishment not to have God’s speaking. In the days of 1 Samuel 3, the Word of God was rare. That was a punishment to the family and house of Eli the priest. When you are under God’s blessing, God will be speaking every minute. God’s speaking to you proves that you are under His blessing. There is an abundance of God’s speaking among us in His recovery. Everyone hears His speaking. Is God speaking to you? That means that He is real, living, and moving.
Before many of the sisters came into the Lord’s recovery, they had no conviction whatsoever when they were angry with their husbands. They felt that they were angry with their husbands for a good reason and that such anger was altogether right. They could even tell others that their anger was absolutely justified. Now that these same sisters are in the Lord’s recovery, they find that God speaks to them immediately whenever they lose their temper. They are no longer free to be angry with their husbands. Now if they become angry with their husbands, God speaks to them about it. If they are angry with their husbands on a Saturday night, they may have no peace to take the Lord’s table the next day. This speaking proves that God is moving and working among us.
The living God imparts Himself into us by speaking. During the Life-study of Romans the Lord gave us a good word—transfused. God wants to transfuse Himself into us. This is mainly accomplished by speaking. The more He speaks to you, the more His divine element will be imparted or transfused into your being. The more you are in His speaking, the more you are infused with all of His divine elements. Once you hear His speaking you can never be the same.
Without exception, God’s Word brings us three things. The first of these is light. When God speaks, the light shines. The first element with God’s Word is light. Where God’s Word is, there is light. There is no need for you to expound it or interpret it. The light shines, for the Word bears light. The divine Word is the best illuminator, the best light-bearer. When He speaks, He shines. We can all prove this by our experience. Whenever we hear His Word, we are under His shining, and this shining brings us light. With this light there is the understanding, vision, and the proper wisdom, knowledge, and utterance. Light includes several things: understanding, vision, knowledge, wisdom, and utterance. When you have light, you have the seeing power, the view, and the vision. When you have light, you have knowledge, understanding, and wisdom. This gives you utterance, and you cannot be dumb. None of the tourists who visit Disneyland in Anaheim are dumb. When they see all the sights that are there, they are bubbling. Once you get into Disneyland, how could you be dumb? Even the little children, who cannot speak well, will have utterance because they see so many things.
Why do the pew members in the Christian denominations sit dumbly in their pews during the Sunday eleven o’clock service? Because they are short of light and see nothing. When you are in darkness, it is very difficult to speak. Try to speak when you are in darkness. You will be dumb because you see nothing. You will have nothing to say. If I am blind and you ask me to speak, I will have nothing to say. How different it is when we are in the light! When light comes, you have a great deal to say because you see so much. You see so many people, places, and things. You see so much that you speak spontaneously.
Light produces seeing, and seeing produces utterance. Why are all the church members so bubbling when they come to the meetings? Because they all have seen something and have something to say as a result. What we see spontaneously comes out in our utterance. There is no need to think of something to say. We talk about what we see. Light produces sight. Light comes from the Word. When you have the Word, you have light.
In my speaking throughout the years, many people have been surprised and have asked me where I get all my messages. My messages all come from the heavenly seeing, from the heavenly holy land tour. Nearly every morning I have a tour and see many things. I have much to say because I see much in the Word. The Word brings in light, light brings in the sight and the vision, and the vision gives the knowledge, wisdom, and utterance. This is not the knowledge in dead letters; it is the life knowledge, the knowledge that is full of life. It all comes from the Word.
The Word also brings us life. The Lord Jesus said that the words He speaks are spirit and life (John 6:63). “In the beginning was the Word....In Him was life” (John 1:1, 4). In the Word is life. When you touch the Word, you are enlivened. Why are we so living? Because of the Word. Throughout the years I have seen many groups of Christians, but I have never seen such a group as are in the church life today. So many of the young ones deal with the Holy Bible day and night. This is a good sign. Some people have spread the rumor that Witness Lee tells people to throw away the Bible. That is a devilish lie! No one charges the saints to take the Word more than this ministry does. Look at the number of verses we use for each message!
Why are the church people so living? It is because of the life that is in the Word. Before you came to the church, you were not very living. You were starved to death. You were lacking the Word. Even now, if you were to keep yourself from the Word, the messages, and the meetings for two weeks, you would be dead. Today so many are living because they are filled with the Word. I am so happy to see that in this age, an age full of evils, the young people have sold themselves to the Holy Word. To so many of you the thing most precious in your heart is the Word. This is a good sign that the Lord is moving among you. His speaking is with us, and His Word is in us. Today everyone in the church life is bubbling because of the Word of life. We have the living Word.
The life that is in the Word includes a great deal. It includes holiness, love, humility, kindness, and patience. Life includes all the divine attributes and all the human virtues. We cannot exhaust the richness of life. Who can tell the riches of life? There is no need to speak of the divine life, for even the life in a carnation seed is very rich. It may be a tiny seed with seemingly a small amount of life in it, but it grows. As the carnation seed grows and blossoms, you can see the richness of life. All the riches are in the life. I ask you to consider the life we have, the life we touch. What riches are in the divine life! I have the full assurance to say that all the riches of God are in the church because the Word is in the church and the Word brings life. This life includes all the rich attributes, virtues, and qualities. As long as we have life, we have the riches. Do not try to be humble, for humility is like a bird. If you try to catch it, it flies away. Do not try to love your wife or to submit to your husband. You cannot do it. Simply take the Word. The Word brings life, and this life will issue in love and submission. Humility, love, and submission are all found in this life. We cannot acquire these virtues by our effort or work. They are all in the divine life.
How can we have life? Simply take the Word and life comes. When life comes, every good thing comes with it. In this life is the humility and beauty of a human being. Since God created man in His image, there certainly is beauty in humanity. But this beauty of humanity can only be found in the divine life, and the divine life is in the divine Word. When the Word comes, life comes, and beauty comes with the life. Look at the church people; everyone is handsome and beautiful. If the same people were not in the church life, they would have the appearance of scorpions, turtles, or monkeys. I have truly fallen in love with the church people. Even the older ones are so lovely. This beauty, this loveliness, comes from life, and life comes from the Word. When God speaks, life is there. This life is so rich.
When the Word comes, it also brings power. The Word brings light, life, and power. Many Christians trust in the so-called Pentecostal things. I also fully believe in the Pentecostal things, but not in the so-called “Pentecostal” way. Many say that if you do not have a certain “Pentecostal” experience, you do not have power. I do not agree with this. In my home town, very close to the church meeting place, was a Pentecostal meeting place. After ten years, they were less than a hundred in number. They practiced the “Pentecostal” things and claimed to have power. The church meeting place, however, was always crowded. One day, a leader from that Pentecostal group talked with me. I said, “Brother, according to your opinion, you have the power and we do not. But look at the facts. How few you have! How many we have here!” Power is with the Word.
When we preach the living Word, the power is there. This power is not the instant power; it is the constant power. It is not the mushrooming power; it is the growing power. During the past years I have seen many mushrooming movements. One night a hundred repent, but after two months you can only find a few of them. What we are doing in our labor is like sowing a little carnation seed. It seems that after two weeks nothing has happened. Gradually a green sprout appears. Eventually, it blossoms, produces seed, and a second reproduction occurs. This is the power of life.
In the churches in the Lord’s recovery we have no mushrooming developments. If the brothers in a certain locality would claim to have gained three thousand people in a week, I would say, “Let us wait and see. After a short time, most of them will disappear.” We like to see the Word being sown and grown in the church field. Year after year it will grow and reproduce. You wait and see. Nothing will last so prevailingly as what is in the churches. It will be prevailing and it will endure forever because the power here is nothing other than life. This life comes from the Word. The Word brings in life, and life remains and reproduces. If the Lord would take me away from this country, I would have the complete assurance that the Lord’s recovery in this country would still go on because it is not a movement of man’s doing. It is a move of the divine life growing. The seed has been sown here, the Word has come, and life is here. Hallelujah! Where the Word is, there is power in life. Now we can see why God speaks. He speaks to shine, to enliven, and to empower.
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