Life-Study of Hebrewsby 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 matter of Jesus in incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, glorification, and exaltation. These are very significant terms and probably we are all familiar with them. My burden in this message is to show you how Hebrews chapter two puts all of these five items together. No other chapter or other portion of the Holy Word does this. In some chapters we see Christ’s crucifixion. In other chapters we see His resurrection, glorification, and exaltation. But in no portion as short as Hebrews 2 do we see incarnation, crucifixion, resurrection, glorification, and exaltation put together. These five major points concerning what Christ has passed through and attained are presented in this chapter in a very particular way, not in the way as they are presented in the Gospels, the Acts, or in the other Epistles. Throughout so many years, the Lord has been showing me all of the items in this one chapter. We have already seen in message four how Hebrews 1 reveals Christ in so many stages: in eternity past, in creation, in incarnation for redemption by crucifixion, in resurrection for imparting life, in exaltation, in His second coming, in the kingdom, and in eternity future. No other chapter affords us such a revelation of Christ as the Son of God from eternity past to eternity future. The sequence in this chapter is more than wonderful. Chapter two of Hebrews is the same in principle. No other chapter gives us all of these five major aspects of Christ. But in Hebrews 2 these items are particularly and even peculiarly revealed. We all must be impressed with these major points of our Christ.
From my youth, I heard from the pastors that Christ was incarnated simply because God loved us and sent His Son to this evil earth to die for our sins on the cross that we might be saved from hell. That was all I saw concerning the incarnation of Christ. Although this is correct, it is rather shallow. Some of the learned, high-class people will not accept this kind of preaching. They will say that it is low and that it has no purpose or goal. Only low-class people will accept such a low preaching of the gospel. Although the gospel is not low, it has been preached on a low level. I have never heard a preacher who said that Christ became a man in order to partake of our blood and flesh. This thought is much higher. The purpose of Christ’s incarnation was that He might share in the children’s blood and flesh (2:14). Using human words, we may say that this is very philosophical. This type of high preaching will convince the people who have philosophical minds. They will think that such preaching is very thoughtful.
In the 1920’s, in answer to the prayers of so many dear missionaries, the Lord did a marvelous work in the colleges and universities throughout China. Many thoughtful young college students were saved. I also was saved during that time. After we were saved, we began to preach Christ in a higher way. We, the Chinese young people of that time, knew the Chinese philosophical thought. As a result, we knew how to convince people. We preached the higher gospel not according to our human thought but according to the “divine philosophy.” God is more than philosophical. What does it mean to say “philosophical”? It simply means thoughtful. God is not simple, superficial, or low. He is deep, thoughtful, purposeful, and meaningful. Our God is a God of purpose. Who could be more philosophical than He? As a result of that higher preaching of the gospel, many doctors, nurses, professors, and learned people were brought to the Lord.
The book of Hebrews is not shallow. It is both deep and high. It is in the highest bracket. This book does not say that because we were fallen and sinful Christ came to save us. It says that all the children are partakers of blood and flesh and that Christ came to share in our nature. This thought is deeper and higher. One day, the Son of God, our Savior and our God, became exactly the same in nature as we are. He became a human being, sharing in our blood and flesh. This is wonderful. We do not have a Savior who is different in nature from us. No, our God and Savior became exactly the same as we are. I can testify to you that a good number of scholars in China were convinced just by this one thought. They began to think about it, finding it most thoughtful. They saw that God came in the flesh not to command us to do something, but to be one with us. He did not come as God to rescue us, for that would have terrified us. He did not come as an angel to embrace us, for we could not have accepted that. He came, in reality, just as we are. He partook of our nature, of our blood and flesh. This thought will certainly convince the learned people. They will admire it, saying, “This truly is a high thought. The very God became the same in nature as we are, partaking of blood and flesh.” This is the incarnation, and this is the deepest thought and the highest “philosophy.”
The incarnation should not be associated with Christmas. You need to burn everything related to Christmas. If you would go to China and preach the gospel to the learned people and mention Christmas, they would not listen to you. They would say that things such as Christmas trees, stockings full of candies, and Santa Claus are too low, shallow, and childish. That is not the gospel from the Word of God. That is the paganism, the leaven mentioned by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 13:33, brought into Catholicism by the “woman” as the Lord prophesied. How could the learned people be convinced with this kind of preaching? You may convince the poor children in the street, but you will not convince the thoughtful people.
Christianity has preached the Lord’s highest salvation in a low way. We need those who have experienced the high salvation to go to the thoughtful people. Immediately they will be convinced. They also are seeking after truth, for they too were made by God. In their nature there is a seeking after God. But Christianity has superficially and inaccurately presented the gospel to them. The incarnation is not a matter of Christmas. Incarnation means that the very God, the Almighty God, has become flesh. As John 1:14 says, “The Word became flesh.” Who is the Word? The God who created everything. This Word, God the Creator, has become flesh. This is thoughtful and meaningful. Why did He become flesh? Simply that He might be the same as we are. We are men of blood and flesh, and Christ partook of the same. Through incarnation He came as a man to our level. Although Christ is God, He came to our level and shared in our nature. This is the kind of gospel preaching that university students need to hear. They will listen to this. You can hold them night after night with this kind of gospel. The learned people and students do not want to hear the low preaching of the gospel. They regard that as low and selfish. It lacks purpose. We must tell them of God’s purpose—that God came as man in order to establish His corporation of Christ and the church.
I am not speaking about a gospel preaching that I myself have not experienced. In China we did preach the gospel in this way. When we preached about God’s purpose regarding Christ and the church, some of the professors and students said, “We must get into this. For years we have been seeking the answers to the questions of what is the meaning of man, what is the real meaning of human life, and what the universe was created for.” So we gave them a message telling them of God’s purpose. This is the higher preaching of the highest gospel.
It is also a matter of sympathy that Christ shared in our nature, partaking of blood and flesh. He is the Firstborn Son of God and we are His many brothers. Yet, we all are weak and fragile in the flesh. So He became a man in the flesh, the same as we are. Because we are weak and fragile, we need Him to sympathize with us. If you want to sympathize with another person, you need to be the same as he is. If I am not on the same level and in the same situation as you are, I could never sympathize with you. However, if I become the same as you are, I shall be able to sympathize with you. The Lord’s sympathizing with us is also an aspect of His incarnation. Hebrews 2:17 indicates this. The Lord was made like His brothers in all things in order that He might sympathize with them.
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