A THOROUGH CLEARANCE
FOR GOD’S BUILDING
This matter of God’s building is of great significance. Day and night, the burden is coming concerning the building of God’s house. I believe that in the next few years this burden will increase, and that message after message will be given on God’s building. Today, the Holy Spirit is digging all the gold for the building out of the mine of the Word.
In the next message we shall see what Jacob did after God told him to arise and go up to Bethel. He made a thorough clearance, not only with respect to himself but with respect to his entire household. Few Christians today have had this kind of clearance. When Jacob and his family stole away from Laban, Rachel, his beloved wife, stole the family idols (31:34). Prior to chapter thirty-five, we are not told that Jacob did anything about it. He simply tolerated his wife’s bringing this abomination with her. But after God told him to go up to Bethel, "Jacob said unto his household, and to all that were with him, Put away the foreign gods that are among you, and purify yourselves, and change your garments" (35:2, Heb.). They not only put away the foreign gods; they also changed their garments, that is, they put off the old man and put on the new man (Eph. 4:22-24). Genesis 35:4 says, "And they gave unto Jacob all the foreign gods which were in their hands, and all their earrings which were in their ears; and Jacob hid them under the oak which was by Shechem" (Heb.). Here we see that earrings are equal to idols and that Jacob buried them both. Jacob made this thorough clearance, telling his people that they were going up to Bethel and that there they would make an altar unto God (35:3).
THE CHURCH AS THE TABERNACLE
Much later, the tabernacle was built. Many items are related to the tabernacle. In the outer court there were the altar and the laver; in the Holy Place there were the showbread table, the lampstand, and the incense altar; and in the Holy of Holies there was the ark of testimony containing the golden pot, the budding rod, and the tables of testimony. All this is for Bethel. Every step of Jacob’s life was involved with Bethel. This is a type. Today, we have Bethel in the church, because the church is the tabernacle filled with content. In the church we have the altar, the laver, the showbread table, the lampstand, the incense altar, and the ark of testimony. Everything in the tabernacle is for the building of the church.
OUR NEED TO SEE A GOVERNING VISION
We all need to pray, "Lord, show me this governing vision. Oh, I need to see this bird’s-eye view." Here in this vision we have everything—holiness, spirituality, gifts, healing. Now we can see why, after nineteen centuries, the Lord Jesus still has not come back. He has not come back because Bethel has not yet been solidly built. The Lord has been and still is waiting for the consummation of His building. In Matthew 16:18 He said, "I will build My church." This word cannot be in vain; it will certainly be fulfilled. Our burden today is for this. As I check with my spirit, day after day and night after night the burden is coming. This burden is not a matter of a doctrine, but of the Lord’s building of His church. We all must say, "Lord, help me to get through all other things. Lord, I only care for the building of Your church." This is the Lord’s recovery today. This is the building of Bethel and the fulfillment of Jacob’s dream. We are burdened for this.
I have been attending the Lord’s table meeting since 1932. I can testify that I have never enjoyed a meeting at the Lord’s table as I have tonight. This is another indication that the Lord is about to turn us from all minor things to His major goal—Bethel. When you were attending the so-called communion in the denominations before you came into the church life, did you ever hear of oneness, of the Body, of Bethel? But tonight at the Lord’s table meeting we declared to the whole universe that we are one and that we are Bethel, the house of God. Who can deny this? When we make this declaration, we have the full satisfaction, the proof, that the Lord is satisfied with Bethel, with the building of His house. Brothers and sisters, we all must prepare ourselves for this burden. From now on, we shall see the Lord riding throughout the whole earth for the building of His church. He will absolutely fulfill His prophecy—"I will build My church."
(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 77, by Witness Lee)