A FURTHER WORD
You have heard that all the truths in the Bible were sown in Genesis, especially in chapter 1. As we have seen, Genesis 1 says something about the light and this light has been developed through the whole Bible. We have seen the light on the first day, the lights on the fourth day, and the development of these lights to the end of the Bible where, in the last two chapters, it says, "night shall be no more." Eventually, God Himself is the light to His redeemed ones. As the redeemed ones in the New Jerusalem, we will not need the sun, the moon, or any other light. The light will be God Himself. So, the seed of light sown in Genesis 1 has been fully developed in Revelation 22.
In the same principle, we have the word image. "God made man in His own image." The image of God is for the expression of God. To express God is just to manifest God’s glory. This little word image has been developed and developed until, at the end of the Bible, it has grown into the New Jerusalem. The whole city has the appearance of jasper (Rev. 21:11). If you read Revelation 4:3, you can see that the One sitting on the throne looks like jasper. God’s appearance is like jasper. Eventually, the whole city of New Jerusalem is built with jasper. The wall of the city is also built with jasper (Rev. 21:18a). From every angle, from every direction, and from every side the New Jerusalem has the appearance of God. This is the expression of the image of God.
This morning, while we were pray-reading, Brother Al asked me about the four living creatures in Ezekiel 1:5, 10 and Revelation 4:6-7. In Ezekiel, each living creature has four faces: the front face is a man; the rear face is an eagle; the right face is a lion; and the left face is an ox. However, if you go on from Ezekiel to Revelation chapter 4, you see a little difference. There, each of the four living creatures has only one face. The first is not a man, but a lion. The second is not an ox, but a calf. You know the difference between an ox and a calf. An ox is older. This is strange. In my opinion, the ox in Ezekiel should be a calf, and the calf in Revelation should be an ox—first the younger, then the older. But the Bible first mentions the older and then the younger—first the ox, then the calf. I tell you, we Christians are not going to be older, but younger. The more we grow, the younger we are.
In Revelation, the lion is first, the calf second, the man third, and the eagle fourth. Brother Al asked me why there is this difference between Ezekiel and Revelation. The reason is that the order of the living creatures in Revelation is according to the order of the four Gospels. In Matthew we have the lion, the king. In Mark we have the servant, the slave, the calf. In Luke we have the man. In John we have God, the soaring eagle. What does this mean? The four living creatures in Ezekiel, strictly speaking, were the manifestation of God’s glory. In the conference we had on Ezekiel, we covered Ezekiel 1 and saw how the four living creatures were the manifestation of God’s glory. What is God’s glory? That is Christ. When God’s glory is expressed, that is Christ. But notice the difference. The four living creatures in Ezekiel were the manifestation of God’s glory. The four living creatures in Revelation are the expression of Christ Himself. There has been an improvement from God’s glory to Christ Himself. Thus, in Revelation, the appearance of the four living creatures is just like the four Gospels. This means that the four living creatures in Revelation are just the expression of Christ. I do not say they are Christ. They are not Christ, but they express Christ. They express what Christ is. Christ is in four aspects: the king, the slave, the man, and the very God. Christ bears these four aspects and this Christ needs an expression in His creation. So, in this universe there are four living creatures, representing all kinds of life on every plane, to express Christ.
Everything in Genesis 1, except the darkness, the death waters, and the creeping things, is Christ. The Spirit came to brood. That is Christ. Christ is the Spirit. Christ is also the Word. The light came in. The light is Christ. The air, no doubt, is Christ. The Spirit is Christ, and the Word is Christ; the light is Christ, and the air is Christ. The dry land is Christ. The grass is Christ because Christ is our green pasture. The herbs are Christ. Christ is the corn, the wheat, the henna flower, and all kinds of beautiful herbs. All the trees are Christ. Christ is the olive tree, the fig tree, the vine tree, the life tree. And the fish are Christ. Christ fed 5,000 people with five loaves and two fishes. Most Christians only pay attention to the five loaves, forgetting the two fishes. However, Christ is not only the five loaves; He is also the two fishes, something from the death waters to nourish us. Christ is also the birds. He is the eagle. Exodus 19:4 says that Christ was the big eagle which bore the Israelites upon His two shoulders. As a great eagle, He delivered His people out of Egypt. One day Christ said that He was a big hen. At the end of Matthew 23 (v. 37), Christ said, "I am a hen. I want to gather you all under My wings, but you would not come to Me." Christ is the cattle, the ox, the calf, the cow, the sheep, and the lamb. Christ is also a lion (Rev. 5:5). Finally, Christ is the man, the real Adam. Christ is also the sun, the morning star, and the real source of the moon’s light. In chapter 1 of Genesis, everything is Christ and Christ is everything.
If you only enjoy Christ as the grass, you are not qualified to express Him. If you enjoy Him as the herbs and as all the trees, you are still not qualified. Even if you enjoy Him as the fish, you are not qualified. Although you may enjoy Christ so much, you are not yet qualified to express Him. You must progress from all these levels of life to the level of the bird life. Then you begin to be qualified to express Christ.
The bird life is one of the four categories of life represented before the throne of God. As I mentioned last night, of the nine categories of life in Genesis 1, only four are represented before the throne of God. Let me give you the nine categories again: the grass, the herbs, the trees, the fish, the birds, the cattle, the beasts, the creeping things, and the man.
Out of nine categories, only four—the bird, the cattle, the beast, and the man—are qualified to express Christ. The grass is not qualified. It is good, but it is a kind of life on the lowest level. Neither the herbs, the trees, nor the fish are qualified. Of course, all the creeping things are forsaken for eternity. They go to the lake of fire.
Only the birds, the cattle, the beasts, and the man have a distinguished face. Your face is the outward appearance of your inward being. What you are inwardly is expressed outwardly by your face. As I have mentioned already, the grass, the herbs, and the trees have no face. The fish have a face, but their face is not distinguished. And the fish have no neck. We need a longer neck to make our face more distinct. Among all the nine categories, only four have a distinguished face, and among these four, the human face is the best, the highest, and the most distinct. Compare your face with the face of an eagle, calf, or lion. You will see that your face is much more distinguished. Why? Because, the human life within you is much more distinctive than the bird life, the cattle life, and the beast life.
According to God’s economy, Christ has four aspects. He is a man, but He serves people like a calf. He is a man, but He fights the battle, exercises control, and has dominion like a lion. He is a man, but He can fly far away, soaring like an eagle. Although we need the human life to express Christ, we still need the calf life, the lion life, and the eagle life. When we have all four we can express Christ in full.
Now we can see that the little word image in Genesis 1 has undergone a great development. We not only have the four living creatures expressing Christ in four aspects. Eventually we have the New Jerusalem, a high city with the image of God expressing Christ. God looks like jasper, and the appearance of the New Jerusalem is also jasper, the same as God’s appearance. This is the fulfillment of Genesis 1:26. Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)