Life-Study of Exodusby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In the foregoing message we began to consider from 23:20-33 the matter of the Angel of Jehovah for His people to take possession of the promised land. We saw that the Angel of Jehovah was sent by Jehovah (v. 20), that Jehovah’s name is in Him (v. 21), and that He is actually Jehovah Himself (3:2, 4, 6, 14, 16). Furthermore, we pointed out that His voice was Jehovah’s speaking and that He went before the children of Israel to guard them in the way and to bring them into the good land (23:20, 23). We also considered the boundaries of the promised land: from the Red Sea to the Sea of the Philistines, the Mediterranean, and from the wilderness to the Euphrates. We also saw that there were frustraters in the land, the pagan tribes with their idols. Finally, in a very general way we shared a word about how to take possession of the land. In this message and in the message following, we need to pay attention to the details concerning the way to take possession of the land. No matter how much we may know about the Angel of Jehovah and about the good land, this knowledge may be vain if we do not see the way to take possession of the land.
Taking possession of the good land is the terminology found in the typology in the Old Testament. In the New Testament Paul speaks of gaining Christ, obtaining Christ, laying hold of Christ (Phil. 3:8). These expressions from Philippians 3 are the fulfillment of the type of possessing the promised land in the Old Testament. Today we need to experience the all-inclusive Christ typified by the good land. My burden in this message is related to the way to take possession of Christ, the way to experience Christ, win Christ, gain Christ, obtain Christ, take hold of Christ, and grasp Christ. As a help in this matter, we need to patiently consider Exodus 23:20-33 in detail, digging into these verses in order to see the riches they contain.
At this point I wish to say that we do not intend to allegorize the Old Testament according to a certain interpretation. On the contrary, what we are doing is fitting various portions of the Word together in order to see a complete picture. This is not to allegorize or to guess at the meaning of things. This is to fit different parts of the Word together in order to see a picture of spiritual things, which are otherwise invisible. The matters related to spiritual experience are real, but they are mysterious and invisible. For this reason, God has given us both the types in the Old Testament and statements of fact in the New Testament. The Old Testament types are pictures of the spiritual realities revealed in the New Testament. Just as children put together the pieces of a puzzle, so we need to fit together various parts of the Bible in order to see a picture.
It takes time and patience to assemble a puzzle of hundreds of pieces. First you need to try one piece and then another. Eventually, little by little a picture comes into view. Do you want to see a portrait of the wonderful, heavenly, spiritual, and divine things in the Word of God? If you do, then patiently and diligently you need to put the pieces of the “puzzle” of the Bible together. I repeat, to allegorize the Old Testament in a certain way is not my way. Rather, my way is to fit the pieces together until a picture comes into view. In this message I shall present another picture which I have seen through patient study of the Word and prayer over the Word.
We have seen that the ordinances in Exodus 21 through 23 are very rich in their implications, indications, and significances. It is indeed significant that these three chapters conclude with a word concerning the Angel of Jehovah bringing God’s people into the promised land. Christ as God’s sent One guards us in the way and brings us into Himself as the all-inclusive good land. Furthermore, 23:20-33 tells us in a detailed way not only how to enter into the land, but also how to take possession of this land for our enjoyment. Actually in these verses not a great deal is said either concerning the Angel of Jehovah or concerning the good land itself. But a good deal of attention is given to the frustraters, the pagan tribes that would keep God’s people from possessing the promised land. Yet the description of the way to take possession of the land is even more detailed than that of the frustraters. This indicates that if we would experience Christ we must, on the one hand, know the frustraters and, on the other hand, know the detailed way to take possession of Christ and gain Him experientially. Just as we need a detailed map to find our way around a city, so we need the details in 23:20-33 in order to know the way to possess the good land for our enjoyment. A general sketch is helpful, but it is not adequate. The driver of an automobile needs not only a bird’s eye view of the city, but also a detailed understanding of the streets. Then he will be able to find his way. In these fourteen verses we have a detailed “map” for our spiritual “driving” into the promised land, the all-inclusive Christ.
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