Life-Study of Genesisby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The book of Genesis, in which nearly all of the truths in the Bible are sown as seeds, may be considered a biography of eight great men: Adam, Abel, Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. These eight men are arranged in two groups of four. Adam, Abel, Enoch, and Noah make up the first group; and Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph form the second. The first group represents the created race, the Adamic race, whereas the second group represents the called race, the Abrahamic race. Because of the failure of the created race, God had a new start with the called race. The created race began with Adam and ended with Noah. At both the beginning and the ending, the created race was a failure. Adam, the head of God's created race and its representative, became fallen. With Abel we have the coming back to God. In Adam, man fell away from God; but through God's redemption, Abel came back to Him. Enoch, who came after Abel, not only returned to God, but also walked with God. The issue of his life was a type of the rapture. Enoch was raptured out of death unto God. Enoch's life issued in Noah, who also walked with God and who had an experience of reigning, although his reigning was neither adequate nor full. However, Noah's reigning issued in a fall. Noah's descendants rebelled against God at Babel, and that rebellion resulted in God's giving up of the created race. Forced to have a new beginning, God visited Abraham and called him out of the rebellious created race. This marked the beginning of a new race, the called race, the Abrahamic race.
With this called race God certainly achieved a great success. Beginning with Abraham and continuing through Isaac and Jacob, the way rose higher and higher. Eventually we see a full reign in Jacob. As we have pointed out, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph should not be considered separate individuals. Rather, they represent four aspects of a complete, mature saint. In them we see God's selection, God's calling, and justification by faith. We see how a called and justified saint can live in the presence of God by faith to enjoy all the riches of the inheritance. However, such a one still strives to gain the birthright. But all his struggles cause him nothing but suffering. In his sufferings God's hand comes upon him to deal with him, and he is dealt with by God until he becomes mature. Hallelujah, in the called race we see the maturity of life! This matured life has a reigning aspect, an aspect portrayed by the life of Joseph. This is the reason that in the book of Genesis Joseph is so excellent and marvelous.
When I was young, my mother used to tell us Bible stories. She spent a long time on the story of Joseph. Oh, how I sympathized with this excellent one when I heard that he was cast into a pit and sold into slavery! Although I loved Joseph and realized that he was someone special, I did not know why he was so excellent. I knew only that Joseph was very good and that I wanted to be like him. Even after I had ministered the Word for years, I still did not know the reason for Joseph's excellence. But now I can boldly give you the reason Joseph was excellent: it was because he was the reigning aspect of the mature life. And he was the reigning aspect of a matured Israel, not of Jacob. Thus, Joseph was the cream of a matured life.
What we see in Joseph, of course, is simply a shadow. In reality and in actuality, the reigning aspect typified by Joseph is Christ constituted into our being. We all are Jacobs, but we have the constitution of Christ within us. On the day we were regenerated, Christ was constituted into us. Eventually this Christ becomes our constitution. That part of our being that is constituted with Christ is neither our flesh nor our mind; rather, it is our spirit. Second Timothy 4:22 says that Christ is with our spirit. This means that Christ is constituted into the depths of our being. The Christ-constituted aspect of our regenerated being is fully represented, portrayed, and typified by Joseph. Because Joseph represents the reigning aspect of a victorious and mature life, his life is recorded in the Bible in such an excellent way.
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