BRINGING GOD INTO MAN AND MAN INTO GOD
The main principle of the building of God is that God is brought into us and we are being brought into God. As we have seen, the Lord is the Son of Man as the heavenly ladder bringing God down to man and man up to God. By His incarnation He brought God to man. When He became flesh, He brought God into man. Before that time, God had never been in the flesh, but by the incarnation of the Lord, God came into man. Following this, there is a “U-turn.” After coming down with God, the Lord goes up with man. He brought God into man by incarnation, and then He brought man back into God by death and resurrection.
In the Gospel of John, there is the Lord’s coming and the Lord’s going. His coming was His incarnation, and His going was His death and resurrection. By His coming, He brought God into man, and by His going, He brought man into God. In John 7:33-34 the Lord told the people that He was going to a place where at that time they could not go, but after a while, in 14:2-6, He told His disciples that He would bring them to the place where He was. The place where He was is not heaven but God Himself. It is as if He was saying, “I am in the Father. The Father is the place where I am. I have brought God to you by My incarnation, but there is now the need for Me to die and resurrect. By My death and resurrection I will bring you into God. Then at that time you will be where I am.”
Christ is the way through which man can come not to the place of the Father but to the Father Himself. Verse 20 says, “In that day you will know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you.” These perplexing “ins” tell us that because Christ is in the Father and we are in Christ, we are in the Father. Therefore, where He is, we also are (v. 3). Before His death and resurrection, however, He had only brought God into man. Bringing man into God was accomplished by His death and resurrection.
Read the Gospel of John again. Then you will see the Lord’s coming and the Lord’s going. The Lord’s coming and going are the process of the divine building. The coming of the Lord brings God into us, and the going of the Lord brings us into God. By His coming and His going He mingles God with us.
The Lord did not speak in vain of the heavenly ladder in 1:51. The principle of the heavenly ladder is found throughout the entire book of John. This is a full picture of eternity to come. If we have the spiritual insight today, we will say, “O Lord, You are the heavenly ladder. Day by day the angels of God ascend and descend upon You. Day by day You bring something heavenly to earth and something of earth to heaven.”
On the day we repented and believed in the Lord, He as the heavenly ladder brought something heavenly into us, and He brought something of earth into God. The moment we received the Lord Jesus, He was the real heavenly ladder. At that time there was the opening of heaven, and there was a Bethel on the earth, the house of God as the dwelling place of God and the resting place of man. The Lord as the heavenly ladder brought God into us and brought us into God. He is the heavenly ladder to join heaven with earth and unite earth with heaven, that is, to mingle God and us, us and God, with one another.
This mingling is the divine building, the building of God. Throughout all the generations and unto the end of this age what God has been doing and what He still will do is to accomplish this divine building. God continually brings Himself through Christ to man, and brings man through Christ to Himself. This is the building of God.
Some time after the naughty Jacob had his dream, he became the father of a great house. The Old Testament speaks not of the house of Abraham or the house of Isaac but of the house of Jacob, the house of Israel. The house of Israel is the house of God. How could the house of a naughty young man become the house of God? It was by God coming to the people of his house and bringing them to God. This is the story of the people of Israel. God came to the people of Israel, and God brought the people of Israel to Himself.
In Exodus, God told the people of Israel to build a tabernacle. Throughout the tabernacle there is the mingling of two materials, gold and acacia wood. Gold signifies the divine nature, and acacia wood signifies the human nature. The building of God is the mingling of the divine nature with the human nature. We stress this matter so much because we need to realize that the building of the church is nothing other than the mingling of these two natures. We must have God mingled with us day by day by means of the heavenly ladder with an open heaven. This produces Bethel.
(The Building of God, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)