EMMANUEL—GOD WITH MAN
We know that the first part of the New Testament consists of the Gospels. The subject of the Gospels has two main points, one being the kingdom and the other being life. The kingdom is God’s demand, whereas life is God’s supply. The demand of the kingdom is much higher than the requirement of the law. The law says, “An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth”; whereas, the kingdom demands that we turn our other cheek to the one who strikes us, yield our cloak to the one who sues us, and go the second mile with the one who compels us. Therefore, no one can meet such demands. Hence, we need the supply of life. Only when God comes into us to be our life can we answer His demands for the kingdom. Only when God supplies Himself as life to us can we meet His demands. Therefore, among the four Gospels, Matthew, a book on the kingdom, is a representative book, and John, a book on life, is also a representative book.
These two representative books, however, have two similar points. First, both mention the Lord’s origin. Matthew refers to the Lord’s origin and so does John. Of course, we know that Matthew refers to the origin of the Lord as a man, as the seed of David, whereas John refers to the origin of the Lord as God, as the Son of God. The view of Matthew is from the angle of the seed of David, whereas the view of John is from the angle of the Son of God. Both are concerned with the Lord’s origin. Although the angles are different, they both tell us that this One is God. From the angle of His being a man, He is God; also from the angle of His being the Son of God, He is God. He was the son of David, yet His name would be called Jesus, that is, Jehovah coming to be our Savior. As the Son of God, He became flesh, yet He is God who was in the beginning.
Second, both books speak about this One coming to be with us. Matthew says that He is Emmanuel, God with us. Wherever we who belong to Him are gathered, there He is with us. Moreover, He is with us until the consummation of the age. John goes further to say that He is with us not only outwardly, to be in our midst, but also inwardly, to be with us forever. Because both of them speak about this presence, neither of them mentions the Lord’s ascension. Both Mark and Luke speak about the Lord’s ascension because they do not refer to the matter of His presence. Mark tells us at the end that the Lord was taken up into heaven to the right hand of God. Luke also tells us that the Lord was carried up into heaven. Matthew and John, however, specifically deal with the matter of the Lord’s presence; therefore, the Lord cannot leave us.
These two books both speak about the Lord’s origin at the beginning and refer to the Lord’s presence at the end. Brothers and sisters, this is not a small matter. If you want to know the kingdom of God, you must know that there is One who was God and who became flesh to be the seed of David. This One who was God yet man became flesh as the seed of David in order that He might be with us as our Emmanuel. He is with us not only momentarily but even constantly until the consummation of the age, when we will be with Him face to face. Of course, then He will be with us to a fuller degree. Prior to the realization of His outward face-to-face presence, His invisible presence within us will continue until the consummation of this age. John shows us that if we want to enjoy, touch, and experience Him as life, we must see that He is God who came to be with us and who even came into us to be with us. His being with us inwardly is so that we may have life and may have it more abundantly.
AS OUR SAVIOR AND OUR LIFE
I hope that the brothers and sisters can understand this point. The Lord is God who became flesh so that He could be with us, but His ultimate purpose is to come into us to be with us inwardly. His being with us in this way is to be not only our Savior but also our life. If He wants only to be our Savior, then He only needs to be in our midst and be with us outwardly. However, since He wants to be our life also, He must come into us to be with us.
Here a question arises: How can He come into us? In His body He could only be among us and could not be within us. He could offer His body as a sacrifice on the cross to accomplish redemption for us and be our Savior, but He could not come into us in His body to be our life. Yet His being our Savior is for Him to be our life, and His being with us outwardly is for Him to come into us to be with us inwardly. Now you can understand that there is a prerequisite here, namely, that He had to die and enter into resurrection. It is through such death and resurrection that He became a Spirit—the life-giving Spirit.
(The Spirit in the Epistles, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)