The Practice of the Church Life according to the God-ordained Way, by Witness Lee


God created the old creation by His speaking (Gen. 1:6-7, 9, 11, 14-15; Psa. 33:6a, 9). Psalm 33:9 says, "For He spoke, and it was; / He commanded, and it stood." In Genesis 1 God spoke and it was done. God said, "Let there be light: and there was light" (v. 3). Psalm 33:6 says, "By the word of Jehovah the heavens were made." God works by speaking.


God created the new creation also by His speaking. John 5:24 says, "Truly, truly, I say to you, He who hears My word and believes Him who sent Me has eternal life, and does not come into judgment but has passed out of death into life." Those who hear the Lord’s word will be regenerated. They will be made a new creation. In John 14:10 the Lord said, "The words that I say to you I do not speak from Myself, but the Father who abides in Me does His works." By this word the Lord indicated that the Father worked in Him; hence, His speaking was the Father’s working. The Father worked through the Son’s speaking.

When He was on the earth, the Lord Jesus traveled and performed many miracles. But in the four Gospels, He spoke more than He performed miracles. The Gospel of Matthew records the Lord’s lengthy speaking on at least three occasions in six long chapters. Chapters five through seven cover the Lord’s teaching on the mountain; chapter thirteen covers the Lord’s teaching of seven parables beside the sea; and chapters twenty-four and twenty-five cover the Lord’s prophecies given on the Mount of Olives. The Lord’s speaking is also prominent in the other synoptic Gospels of Mark and Luke.

In the Gospel of John, nearly every chapter contains the Lord’s speaking. But the Lord’s speaking in John 14—17 is very particular. His speaking to His disciples on the night before He was crucified was recorded in chapters fourteen through sixteen, and His prayer to the Father was recorded in chapter seventeen. The Lord’s speaking in these chapters of Matthew and John reveals the depths of God in a very profound way. The depths of God in the Gospels cannot be seen through the miracles but through the Lord’s speaking.

When the Lord Jesus was on the earth, His work was carried out mainly through His speaking. Today the New Testament work of saving sinners, edifying the saints, perfecting the saints, and building up the Body of Christ is also being carried out by speaking.

By the Lord’s mercy and grace, we intend to complete the life-study of the entire Bible by the end of 1994. In the summer training of 1992, we intend to cover the Minor Prophets, and in the winter training, we will study the book of Job. In the summer training of 1993, we want to cover the historical books of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth. Then we will cover 1 and 2 Samuel in the winter training of 1993. In the summer of 1994, we will cover 1 and 2 Kings, and in the winter we will cover 1 and 2 Chronicles. From 1992 through 1994 there will also be six terms of the full-time training. During this time, we will use a weekly meeting to cover the remaining books of the Old Testament. We will take three terms of the training to cover the Psalms; one term to cover Proverbs; one term to cover both Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs; and one term to cover Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther. Thus, by the end of 1994, if the Lord wills, the life-study of the entire Bible can be finished and will have taken twenty years to complete. Then the entire Bible, which has been written and translated, will be interpreted by us.

We need the proper interpretation to understand the Word of God. The book of Joel speaks of four kinds of locusts (1:4). How can we understand what these locusts are without the proper interpretation? To study the Old Testament prophecies, we need the historical facts. Daniel 2 reveals a great human image. Its head of gold, corresponding to the first beast in Daniel 7:3-4, signifies Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon. The breast and arms of silver, corresponding to the second beast in 7:5, signify Medo-Persia. The abdomen and thighs of bronze, corresponding to the third beast in 7:6, signify Greece. The legs of iron and feet partly of iron and partly of clay, corresponding to the fourth beast in 7:7-8, signify the Roman Empire and its last ten kings. In Revelation 18 Rome is referred to as Babylon the Great. Because the head and feet of the great image signify Babylon, we may say that the entire human image is Babylon in four stages, four empires.

The four kinds of locusts in Joel refer to these four empires. All of these empires carried out the Lord’s judgment, considered in the book of Joel as "the day of Jehovah" (1:15; 2:11, 31; 3:14). Thus, the four parts of the great human image in Daniel 2, the four beasts in Daniel 7, and the four kinds of locusts in Joel 1 refer to the same thing. The Babylonian locusts, the Medo-Persian locusts, the Greek locusts, and the Roman locusts did not let the nation of Israel have any peace.

I am sharing this to show us that we cannot understand the Word of God without the proper interpretation. In Acts 8 the eunuch from Ethiopia was reading Isaiah 53. When Philip asked him if he understood what he was reading, the eunuch responded, "How could I unless someone guides me?" (v. 31). This shows again that we need the interpreted Word. To speak forth the Lord in the proper interpretation of the Word is to prophesy.

(The Practice of the Church Life according to the God-ordained Way, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)