The Heavenly Vision, by Witness Lee



Scripture Reading: 1 John 2:15-17; James 4:4

Let us begin this chapter on the vision of the world by reading two portions of the Word. First John 2:15-17 says, “Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, love for the Father is not in him; because all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the vainglory of life, is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and its lust, but he who does the will of God abides forever.” These verses show us that the world is against God the Father and that the things in the world are against the will of God. James 4:4 also speaks concerning the world: “Adulteresses, do you not know that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever determines to be a friend of the world is constituted an enemy of God.” The world is against God, and those who love the world are enemies of God.

If we would see the vision of the world, we need to have a clear definition of the world. How would you define the term world? It is not easy to give an adequate definition.


God created man to live on the earth, and man needs certain things for his existence. In the first chapter of the Bible, two things are mentioned as necessary for man’s existence—food and marriage (vv. 29, 28). Man must eat in order to live, and man must marry in order to multiply and replenish the earth. Clothing is not mentioned until the record of the fall of man in chapter 3 (vv. 7, 10-11, 21). Immediately after the fall, man sensed that he needed something to cover him. From that time onward, clothing has been necessary for man’s existence. The first mention of housing in the Bible is in Genesis 4:17. Housing is not mentioned until after the second step of man’s fall.

In the fall of man there were three steps. The first step was the fall from the spirit to the soul, the second step was the fall from the soul to the flesh, and the third step was the fall from the flesh to idols. After the first step of the fall, man realized that he was naked, that he was sinful, and thus there was the need of clothing. After the second step of the fall, man became preoccupied with the physical body, and there was the need of housing.

In the garden man and God were on the same level. Then man fell from the spirit to the soul. This means that man fell out of the spirit into the soul. Before the fall man was living mainly by the spirit, but after the first step of the fall, man started to live by the soul, which had been changed into the self. After the first step of the fall, man became sinful, but he was not fleshly, just soulish. After the second step of the fall, the fall from the soul into the flesh, man became fleshly (6:3), and this eventually brought in the flood. Finally, in the third step of the fall, which took place after the flood, man fell from the flesh to idols. Man lived not just by the soul and by the flesh but even the more by the idols. By the time of Babel man had fallen to the uttermost and could not become more fallen. Man had fallen from the spirit to the soul, from the soul to the flesh, and from the flesh to idols. Then God came in to call Abraham out of this fall.

What did man need for his existence before the fall? He needed only food and marriage. After the first step of the fall, man became soulish. His understanding was corrupted by sin, he became conscious of evil, and he felt the need for something to cover him. Thus, there was now the need of clothing. Then after the second step of the fall, man began to care mainly for his body and started to build houses for himself. Now man also needed housing.


Today the more people pay attention to their house, the more they are in the fall. In this country a great deal of time, money, and energy is spent on the matter of housing. It takes a lot of time to maintain a modern house. This is a strong sign of being in the fall. I am concerned that even Christians may devote so much time to their house that they have very little, if any, time for prayer. However, the more we are delivered from the fall, the simpler we will become in the matter of housing. When the Lord Jesus was on earth, He could say of Himself, “The foxes have holes, and the birds of heaven have roosts, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head” (Matt. 8:20).

The more fallen we are, the more things we need. On the contrary, the more we are delivered from the fall, the simpler we become regarding what we need for our existence. This is a principle, and we need to keep it in mind. Consider the matter of clothing. Worldly people are occupied with clothing and spend much time and money on their adornment. A saved person, however, should simply care to have clothing that is proper, neat, and clean. The principle is the same with our need for food and transportation. If we look at the life of the Lord Jesus, we will see how simple He was regarding the necessities of human existence.

God agrees that we have all the things that we need for our existence. He has prepared food and the materials for clothing, housing, and transportation. However, there is a limit to what we need.

(The Heavenly Vision, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)