Life-Study of Ezekielby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing messages we saw the appearance of the glory of the Lord, the judgment of God by fire, and the recovery of the Lord by life. Now we come to the last section of Ezekiel (chs. 40—48), which is concerned with the holy building of God. The three previous sections are for the last section; that is, the glory of the Lord, the judgment of God, and the recovery of the Lord are all for the holy building of God. We may even say that the issue of the glory of the Lord, the judgment of God, and the recovery of the Lord is the building of God. God’s eternal purpose is to have a building. Whatever God does among His people on earth is for His building.
At the very beginning of this section (40:1), we are told the time of the vision—the year, the month, and the day. If we compare the year mentioned here with that mentioned at the beginning of the first chapter, we will see that there is a difference of twenty years. The vision of the appearance of the glory of the Lord which Ezekiel saw in chapter one was seen in the fifth year of the captivity. The vision of the building of God’s house which he saw in chapter forty was in the twenty-fifth year of the captivity. There is a difference of twenty years, which is not a short time. We need to remember that when Ezekiel saw the first vision, he was thirty years of age, the age at which a priest began to function. When he saw the last vision, he was fifty years of age, the age of retirement for a priest. This is very meaningful, for it indicates that to see the building of God, Ezekiel needed more maturity in life. When he saw the first vision, he was still rather young, only thirty years of age. But when he saw the vision of God’s building, he was at the age of retirement, indicating that he attained further maturity in life and could see the building of the Lord. To see the vision of God’s building, maturity in life is required. Due to their immaturity in the divine life, very few of today’s Christians have seen anything regarding the Lord’s building. Spiritually speaking, many are far below the age of thirty and thus are not even qualified to be an apprentice. Thus, it is not possible for them to see the vision of God’s building.
It is significant that the years are counted in increments of five. The first vision was seen in the fifth year, and the last vision was seen in the twenty-fifth year.
Twenty-five is five times five. In the Bible the number five signifies man plus God. Four is the number of the creature, man, and one is the number for the Creator, God. Five signifies the bearing of responsibility. Therefore, five, which is composed of four plus one, signifies that man as a creature plus God as the Creator together bear responsibility. The number twenty-five signifies not only maturity but also the full qualification for bearing responsibility.
This year is also called the fourteenth year. The twenty-fifth year was counted from the time of the captivity, whereas the fourteenth year was counted from the time of the destruction of Jerusalem. Ezekiel 40:1 says, “After that the city was smitten.”
In the Bible the number fourteen is composed mainly of seven times two. Seven is the number of completion, and two is the number of testimony. Therefore, seven times two denotes a testimony of completion. This indicates that for fourteen years the destruction of the city of Jerusalem had been a strong testimony to the people. Originally, the people did not believe that the city would be destroyed. Nevertheless, Ezekiel prophesied concerning the destruction of the city of Jerusalem, and his prophecy was fulfilled. Fourteen years after the destruction of Jerusalem, Ezekiel saw further visions. This means that the testimony of the destruction of the city was sufficient. It stood for fourteen years, and after those fourteen years the people in captivity realized that it was a strong testimony.
Furthermore, we are told that Ezekiel saw the visions at the beginning of the year, in the first month. The first month indicates a new start. This indicates that with us in our experience, the building of God must have a new start. When we see something regarding the building up of the church, this is a new start in our life.
The record speaks also of the tenth day. According to Exodus 12:3 the tenth day of the first month was the day that the people of Israel prepared the lamb for the Passover. This surely points to Christ, our Passover, for our redemption. From this we see that whenever we have a new beginning in our Christian life, it must be based on Christ and His redemption. In ourselves, by what we are and what we can do, we can never have a new beginning. We are not qualified to have a new beginning, and we have no merit to have a new beginning. Any new beginning that we can have in our spiritual life is always based on Christ, the Passover Lamb, and His redemption. Only by Christ and His redemption can we have a new beginning in our Christian life.
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