Life-Study of Hebrewsby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
This message is on the indestructible life, the life that is the essence, element, and constituent of Christ’s divine priesthood. To say that Christ’s priesthood is kingly is not too difficult to grasp because the logic there is not that deep. But to say that Christ’s divine priesthood is constituted with life, having life as its element, essence, component, and constituent, is very deep. The logic here is quite deep. As I pointed out in the previous message, Christ’s divine priesthood is the absence of death. Before we consider the matter of the indestructible life, I need to say more about Christ’s divine priesthood being the absence of death.
According to the Scriptures, there are three aspects of the priesthood: the aspect of the Aaronic priesthood, the aspect of the kingly priesthood, and the aspect of the divine priesthood. The Aaronic aspect of the priesthood is for offering sacrifices to God for our sins. Hence, the Aaronic priesthood is mainly concerned with the sin offering. The kingly aspect of the priesthood is for ministering the processed God to us as our life supply. The aspect of the divine priesthood is for saving us to the uttermost. Therefore, we have three words to describe the three aspects of the priesthood: offering for the Aaronic aspect, ministering for the kingly aspect, and saving for the divine aspect. Offering solves the problem of sin, ministering imparts the processed God to us as our daily supply, and saving rescues us to the uttermost. The saving of the divine priesthood rescues us especially from death and all of the environment of death.
While the Aaronic priesthood solves the problem of sin, the kingly priesthood ministers God to us, not as the object of our worship but as our enjoyment for our daily supply. Whenever you mention God to most Christians, they think of Him as the object of their worship. But, for the time being, we must forget this. When we mention God, we must think of Him as the One who has been processed and imparted to us to be our daily supply. There is no better worship to God than enjoying Him as your supply. Although you may like to kneel down to Him, He may say, “Child, don’t do this. I like to be the bread and wine that you eat and drink. The more you eat and drink of Me, the more worship you render to Me.” Eating and drinking of God is the best worship. The worship that satisfies God’s heart desire to the uttermost is that we enjoy Him as our supply.
That man should eat and drink of God was the original and initial intention of God in His eternal plan (Gen. 2:9-10). In God’s eternal plan, God intended to dispense Himself into man to be man’s everything that man might become His complete expression. This intention can only be accomplished by Christ’s kingly priesthood, which ministers the processed God to us as our daily supply. However, before this was accomplished, sin came in. Therefore, the problem of sin had to be solved. But solving the problem of sin was not intended by God to fulfill His eternal purpose; it was added later due to the entrance of sin caused by the fall of man. Because of man’s fall, sin came in to frustrate and damage God’s purpose of ministering Himself into man as man’s daily supply. Since Satan had brought in sin to frustrate God’s purpose, the problem of sin had to be solved. Hence, there was the need of the Aaronic priesthood, which was brought in to solve the problem of sin. By this we can see that the Aaronic priesthood was not a part of God’s initial intention but was added later. Many Christians, forgetting the initial things and concentrating on what was added later, neglect the kingly priesthood and concentrate on the Aaronic priesthood. The Aaronic priesthood solves the problem of sin, whereas the kingly priesthood fulfills God’s eternal purpose. The Aaronic priesthood took away sin, and the kingly priesthood brought in God as our grace.
Why then is there the need for the third aspect of the priesthood, the divine priesthood? Although sin is over, it caused a tremendous result—death. According to Romans 5, the issue of sin is death. We should not understand death according to the narrow view of our human concept. According to the broadest understanding of death in the Bible, death includes vanity, corruption, sighing, groaning, and decay. Everything is decaying. You may have a strong body, but before too long it begins to decay. The matters of vanity, corruption, bondage, groaning, and decay are fully developed and covered in Romans 8. In Romans 5, we have sin and death; in Romans 8 we have vanity, corruption, bondage, groaning, and decay. The whole universe has been polluted by death, which is the result of the sin that came in through Adam, the head of the old creation. What is the pollution that comes from death, the result of sin? It is corruption, vanity, decay, and groaning. Romans 8:22 says that the entire creation is groaning. Why do people today have so many sports and entertainments? Because they, along with the whole creation, are sick and are groaning. Every person is groaning deep within. Since people want to escape from this groaning, they go dancing or partake of other worldly entertainments. All of these entertainments are drugs, like opium, that take away the feeling of the sickness. But opium does not heal; it merely drugs you. The dancing and all sports and entertainments are drugs. When many people come home from dancing or from a sporting event, they find that the inward groaning is still there. The only thing that has been changed is that they have been drugged. Education is also a drug. Although you may attain the highest degree, once you have graduated, you will say, “What is this?” and will throw away your diploma. This groaning is one of the issues of death.
Because of the issues of death, we need the divine priesthood, which is the presence of life and the absence of death. When you visit the homes of some of the dear saints in the church, you see nothing but vanity, corruption, groaning, and decay. If this is the situation in your home, it means that there is a lack of the divine priesthood in your home. When your home is filled with the divine priesthood of Christ, there is the absence of death and the presence of life. There will be no more vanity, corruption, groaning, and decay. Contrary to the concept of many Christians, Hebrews 7:25 does not mean that Christ will save us from such things as gambling; it mainly means He will save us from all of our corruption, vanity, groaning, and decay. Oh, we need to be saved to the uttermost! When you come to my home, there should be praising, reality, building up, and growth, not groaning, vanity, corruption, and decay. To be saved from these issues of death is what it means to be saved to the uttermost. This is not the saving of the Savior but the saving of the divine priesthood.
The Greek word translated uttermost in 7:25 has the same root as the Greek word for perfection. Hence, to be saved to the uttermost means to be saved into perfection. Into what kind of perfection is Christ saving us? Into His perfection. To be saved to the uttermost is to be brought into Christ’s perfection. The divine Son of God was incarnated, lived on earth, passed through death, was resurrected, and has been fully perfected forever. This means that in His perfection there is no groaning, vanity, corruption, bondage, or decay. In Christ, the perfected Son of God, the One who has been resurrected and uplifted, there is no groaning. Do you think that within Him there is any vanity, bondage, corruption, or decay? No, He is absolutely free from these things. Vanity, groaning, decay, bondage, and corruption are all by-products of death. Christ, the perfected One, is able to save us from all of these by-products of death and to bring us into His perfection. In this wonderful perfection there is no vanity, corruption, bondage, groaning, or decay. This is the saving to the uttermost, the saving to perfection. This is the saving of the divine priesthood of Christ.
While Christ was on earth, He solved the problems of sin and death. As we saw in message thirty-one, the work of Christ typified by the Aaronic priesthood was only on the first floor, and the ministry of His kingly priesthood is on the second floor. Now we are on the second floor enjoying His kingly priesthood. The kingly priesthood does not solve the problem of sin. Sin is over, and there is no longer an offering for sin. This is what 10:26 means when it says that there “no longer remains a sacrifice for sins.” Here, on the second floor, we are enjoying Christ’s kingly priesthood in which He ministers God as our enjoyment for our daily supply.
As we are enjoying His kingly priesthood, we participate in the divine priesthood that diminishes and even swallows up all of the by-products of death. While we enjoy God being ministered into us as the processed One, we partake of the divine priesthood that diminishes, eliminates, and swallows up all of the by-products of death such as vanity, corruption, bondage, groaning, and decay. Day by day, there is within us a diminishing, a swallowing up, of our groaning and vanity. The more we participate in the divine priesthood of Christ, the less groaning we have. The more we enjoy His divine priesthood, the less sighing we have. No longer do we sigh—we shout. The most striking characteristic of certain Christian meetings is their sighing. All you can hear in the meetings is sighing. When we came into the church life and began to say “Amen,” we were told, “You should not say amen so loudly or shout hallelujah. You must keep a decent order.” Those who sigh all the time in their meetings are not even on the first floor but in the basement. We shout in our meetings because we have been uplifted to the second floor. The more we enjoy the divine priesthood of Christ, the less we shall sigh and the more we shall shout.
Many Christians only have the Aaronic priesthood. In their preaching of the gospel they stay on the level of the Aaronic priesthood. Praise the Lord that today our level has been elevated to that of the kingly priesthood and the divine priesthood! The divine priesthood is constituted with the indestructible life. Thus, it is able to save us to the uttermost from the by-products of death into Christ’s perfection.
According to Romans 8, the last step of God’s work on us is to glorify us. What does it mean to be glorified? It is to be thoroughly saturated with the divine priesthood. When we have been thoroughly saturated with the divine priesthood, that will be our glorification. To be glorified is also to be delivered from vanity, corruption, bondage, groaning, and decay. This is exactly the meaning of glorification in Romans 8—the full sonship, the redemption of our body. The redemption of our body is its being transfigured out of vanity, corruption, and decay into a stage in which it is completely filled with the divine priesthood. That will be our glorification. The Aaronic priesthood is in Romans 3 and 4, the kingly priesthood is in Romans 6 and in the first part of Romans 8, and the divine priesthood is in the middle and the last part of Romans 8. Hebrews 7 does not correspond with Romans 3 or 4; it firstly corresponds with Romans 6 and the first part of Romans 8, and eventually it corresponds completely with the middle and the last part of Romans 8 dealing with glorification and our deliverance from vanity, corruption, bondage, and decay into the freedom of glory.
We are now on our way toward this perfection; we are under the process of being perfected. As our Forerunner, Christ has already entered into that complete perfection, and we also shall be brought there. We shall be saved to the uttermost. To be saved to the uttermost is to be brought into Christ’s complete perfection where there is no vanity, corruption, bondage, groaning, decay, or sighing. To save us in this way is the ministry of the divine priesthood. When we come to Hebrews 8, we shall see that this is the more excellent ministry spoken of there. The more excellent ministry is the ministry of the kingly priesthood and the divine priesthood.
The kingly priesthood is for God’s building. According to Zechariah 6:12-13, Christ, as the King Priest, combines the kingship and the priesthood together for the purpose of building the Lord’s temple. Hence, the kingly priesthood is for the building of the church, for it is the kingly priesthood that maintains the order of righteousness and peace. Such an order of righteousness and peace gives the opportunity for God’s building work to go on. While this ministry of the kingly priesthood is taking place, the divine priesthood, being constituted with the element of the indestructible life, comes in to reduce all the by-products of death. Now we need to see what is this indestructible life, the element of the divine priesthood.
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