GOD’S FOCUS THROUGHOUT THE AGES BEING HIS AUTHORITY AND EXPRESSION ON EARTH
I have no thought of giving young people too much doctrine. Nevertheless, I hope that you would know something about God. In the first chapter of the Old Testament, after God created man, His focus was on two things: first, He wanted man to have His image, and second, to have authority on His behalf. From the beginning of the Bible, we can see that what God cares for in man are the matters of image and authority. From Genesis to Revelation, from the beginning of mankind all the way to the new heaven and new earth in the future, God’s special focus on man has been with these two matters.
Image indicates God’s expression. Suppose you are not presently in the United States. Your friend in the United States cannot see you. However, you can take a picture and send it to him. He will then know your image by the picture. You can print copies of this picture and send them all over the United States. You can even print it in all the American newspapers. In this way, everyone in America will see you. Hence, an image is an expression. In the same way, man is created in God’s image. In other words, man is God’s picture; he is an expression of God’s image. Someone once told us that a sculptor first takes pictures of a model from the front, back, right, and left sides, and then sculptures according to these pictures. In the end, the statue that he makes will be exactly the same as the image of the model. When you see the statue, it is as if you see the real person. Hence, an image is the expression of a person.
Please remember that expression is a matter of glory. Image is expression, and expression is glory. After Solomon finished building the temple, it was filled with God’s glory. That was God’s image expressed, and God Himself was manifested.
At the same time, there was the matter of authority, that is, the matter of the throne and the kingdom. Brothers and sisters, the Bible focuses all the time on the matters of image and authority.
If we realize this, we will understand the reason that in the prayer the Lord taught the disciples, He said, “For Yours is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory” (Matt. 6:13). The reason He said this is that in the beginning of the Bible there were these two matters, and at the end of Revelation there are still these two matters. I cannot speak in detail here. I only hope that the young brothers and sisters will have an impression that being a Christian is not merely a matter of being saved or just a matter of loving the Lord. What being a Christian concerns, touches, and relates to is something very significant; it has to do with the question of image and authority, of God’s glory and the kingdom.
MAN’S FAILURES THROUGHOUT THE AGES BEING AN OVERTURNING OF GOD’S AUTHORITY AND A FAILURE TO ALLOW GOD TO BE EXPRESSED
Although from the very beginning God focused on the matter of image and authority, and although the work He did on Adam concerned these two things, we know that before God reached His goal, that age became fallen. This fall continued from Adam’s time to the time of the tower of Babel. At the time of the tower of Babel, men did two things. First, they denied God’s authority. Men collectively rebelled against God there, denying His authority. They said with a stern face, “Who is God? We do not know Him! We human beings are everything. We will build a tower reaching to heaven in order to proclaim our name. We do not know who Jehovah is. We only know ourselves!” In this way, they utterly overturned God’s authority.
Please remember that before the tower of Babel, no nation had yet appeared on earth. It was from the tower of Babel that nations of men began on earth. Men wanted to establish their own nation; they did not want God to rule. At the time when the age of the kings was about to begin, the Israelites did one thing that displeased God very much. They imitated the nations and desired a king over them instead of having God as their King. It was at Babel that men began to resist God’s ruling and tried to make themselves king.
(Men Who Turn the Age, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)