CHRIST COMING FROM THE POSITION OF THE CREATOR TO THE POSITION OF THE CREATURE
In 1934 Brother Nee held the third Overcomer Conference in Shanghai on Christ having the preeminence in all things. Both that dissenting one and I attended. I was the one who took notes of the message. Brother Nee asked me to organize my notes and publish them in the issue of The Present Testimony of March-April, 1934. There was even a note printed at the end of the message: “Spoken by Watchman Nee; recorded by Witness Lee.” In this issue of The Present Testimony was an article entitled “God’s Center or the Centrality and Universality of God.” [Editor’s note: This message has been included in The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, Set One, Volume 11, published by the Living Stream Ministry.] This message contains the following paragraph:
The first thing in Christ’s redemption is His incarnation. Christ was incarnated to be a man in order to come from the position of the Creator to the position of the creature. He had to take on a created body before He could die for man and for all things. There must first be Bethlehem before there can be Golgotha. There must first be the manger before there can be the cross. (The Collected Works of Watchman Nee, Set One, Volume 11, p. 740)
In this paragraph there is a line that says “to come from the position of the Creator to the position of the creature.” This means that He is the Creator, but that in incarnation He as the Creator became a creature. Later, that dissenting brother translated these messages into English and translated this part as, “In becoming a man He steps down from the position of the Creator to the place of the created.” In his translation, he completely changed the meaning of Brother Nee’s words. What Brother Nee meant may be compared to a king who steps down from his royal position to a commoner’s position; this means that the king becomes a commoner. However, the translator would not translate it this way. Rather, he changed it to say that the king steps down from his royal position to the place of the common people. This may be compared to the Queen of England, who, when she goes to Hong Kong, goes to the place of the common people for a little visit. However, when the Lord Jesus became a man, He did not merely come to the place of the common people; rather, He came to the position of the common people to become a common person. The way that brother translated was not faithful to the original writing.
THE CHURCH BEING THE MYSTERY OF CHRIST
Now we come to the subject of this chapter: the mystery of Christ. The universe is a mystery, man is a mystery, and even more, God is a mystery. The Bible reveals these things very clearly, and there is no need for man to infer or grope. Then the Bible reveals another great mystery, which is the mystery of Christ. The mystery of Christ is the church. Colossians shows us that the mystery of God is Christ, while Ephesians shows us that the mystery of Christ is the church. These two books may be called sister books; one is on Christ and the other is on the church. All the “stories” of God are related to Christ, and all the “stories” of Christ are related to the church. The church came out of Christ; the church is also the expression of Christ. This is an exceedingly great mystery in the universe.
In the New Testament, we have the four Gospels which record the things of Christ’s human life on the earth, showing us what kind of person Christ was. These four Gospels are biographies of Christ. After the four Gospels, the church began in the book of Acts. However, in the book of Acts we still cannot see the revelation and the story of the church. Only in the Epistles does Paul show us clearly how the church is the mystery of Christ and the story of Christ. This revelation was mainly written in the book of Ephesians.
From Ephesians 1 we can see that the church was chosen and predestinated by God before the foundation of the world. In time, because of man’s fall, Christ came to redeem us who were chosen and predestinated by God. After Christ redeemed us, the Spirit came to seal us; that is, the Spirit seals us with God’s life and nature and all that God is. The beginning of this sealing is our regeneration. When we believed in the Lord, the Spirit of God came to seal us. The first part of this sealing is regeneration. When the Spirit of God regenerated us, He sealed us with God’s life so that we have God’s life and nature within us. From that time the Spirit of God has been continuously sealing us within. This part of the sealing sanctifies us, makes us spiritual, and causes the elements of God to increase in us until we grow and mature in the divine life. This sealing of the Holy Spirit causes us to have an organic union with God. In this organic union, we enjoy God’s rich life, which is Christ Himself, and we become the Body of Christ.
(Five Great Mysteries in the Bible, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)