Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we come to the last part of Genesis 2. Although Genesis 1 and 2 are quite brief, they contain many basic items. We have previously pointed out that nearly every item in these two chapters is a seed of divine truth, and that these seeds require the entire Bible to expound and develop them. The divine revelation in the Bible unveils spiritual things, and these spiritual things are mysterious, abstract, and, humanly speaking, unsubstantial. Due to our limited ability to understand them, God was forced to disclose His divine revelation in the way of picture and allegory. Genesis 2 was written in a figurative way, and all the items found therein are figures. We should not understand them merely according to the outward letters, but probe into the inner sense of the figures. Both the tree of life and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil are figures. What is the tree of life? It is difficult for people to understand. Nevertheless, it is the tree of life. In Genesis 2 we also find a river, and at the flow of this river we have gold, pearl, and onyx stone. What do all of these things signify? What do they mean? As we have seen in earlier messages, all of them are figures and compose an allegory.
Humanly speaking, the end of Genesis 2 is easy to understand because it relates the story of a marriage. Adam was created, but he had no wife. Thus, God provided a wife for him. This does not sound allegorical. If we only read Genesis 2 we will not recognize it as an allegory. However, if we read through the whole Bible, we will realize that the marriage found in Genesis 2 is indeed an allegory. Why do we say this? Because later in the Old Testament God told His people, "For thy Maker is thine husband" (Isa. 54:5). Man's creator is his husband, meaning that in the universe the unique man is God Himself. The man created by God actually is not a man, but a woman. I have a question to address to all the men reading this message: are you male or female? I am a female. I am a female because I am part of the wife. Firstly, God was my creator. Secondly, He became my redeemer. Now He is my husband.
This concept is thoroughly developed and expounded in the New Testament. Although many people think of Jesus Christ as a great teacher and others regard Him as their Savior, the four Gospels also reveal Him as the bridegroom. Undoubtedly He is a teacher and the Savior. However, He is also the bridegroom come to receive the bride (John 3:29). One day the disciples of John came to the Lord Jesus, asking Him why His disciples did not fast (Matt. 9:14-15). In His answer the Lord Jesus revealed Himself as the bridegroom. The Lord asked them, "Can the sons of the bridechamber mourn as long as the bridegroom is with them?" Furthermore, Paul, the greatest apostle, told us clearly that the church is the wife and that Christ is the husband. In 2 Corinthians 11:2 he said, "I betrothed you to one Husband, to present a pure virgin to Christ." Thus, we are a wife to Christ. Moreover, in Ephesians 5 Paul speaks of marriage, saying that when a man is joined to his wife the two become one flesh. In Ephesians 5:32 Paul says that marriage signifies the great mystery concerning Christ and the church.
Adam in Genesis 2 was a type, a prefigure of Christ. Speaking figuratively, we may say that Adam was Christ. When we see Adam in Genesis 2, we see Christ. What then does Eve signify? Apparently she was only a woman, Adam's wife. However, if we have the spiritual vision from Ephesians 5, we will see that Eve in the garden was a prefigure of the church. If we have this perspective, we will realize that whatever happened to Adam in Genesis 2 was an experience of Christ and that whatever happened to Eve was related to the church. We must understand Genesis 2 in this way. In figure, Adam was Christ and Eve was the church.
This is similar to the photograph of a person. Suppose I have a photograph of Brother John. If I show you the photograph and ask you who it is, you will be correct if you say that it is Brother John. However, we must be careful, for although it is a picture of Brother John, it is not the real person of Brother John. It is simply a photograph of Brother John, depicting his appearance and giving you some idea of what he is like. Likewise, in Genesis 2 we see a figure or picture of Christ and the church in the types of Adam and Eve. When we examine the picture of Adam and Eve, we understand how the church comes into existence. It will be difficult to understand this if we simply talk about Christ and the church; however, if we look at the picture, we will be very clear. The picture saves a great many words. If I describe Brother John to you, using many words, it would still be difficult for you to picture what he is like. However, if I show you his photograph, you will immediately be clear about him. Although the photograph is not the real person, it does afford you some understanding of the person, relieving you of the need to guess. God uses the picture of Adam and Eve in Genesis 2 to give us a definite revelation of Christ and the church. Without this chapter we could never understand the relationship between Christ and the church so exactly. This picture shows how the church came into being.
Please remember that Genesis 1 and 2 unveil two main things. Genesis 1 reveals God's eternal purpose, which is to express Himself through man and to exercise His dominion with man. Man was created to express God and to represent God. Genesis 2 continues by showing the way to fulfill God's purpose. Although God has a purpose, He must have a means of fulfilling it. What is God's divine way of accomplishing His purpose? As we have seen, His way is life. God desires to come into us as life. In order to accomplish His purpose, God wants to come into man to be man's life and life supply. Furthermore, Genesis 2 reveals that God's procedure involves three steps. The first step was for God to create man as a vessel to contain Him as life. Since man was made as a vessel to contain God, man can live by Him, express Him, and represent Him. As the second step, God placed man in front of the tree of life. We have seen that the tree of life represents God Himself. In placing man before the tree of life, God was indicating that He wanted man to take Him into his being that he might be transformed into the precious materials for the building up of the church.
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