Life-Study of Genesis, by Witness Lee

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Let us turn to the book of Matthew and read the last verse of chapter sixteen and the first two verses of chapter seventeen. The Lord Jesus said, "Truly I say to you, There are some of those standing here who shall by no means taste death until they see the Son of Man coming in His kingdom. And after six days Jesus takes with Him Peter and James and John his brother, and brings them up into a high mountain apart. And He was transfigured before them, and His face shone as the sun, and His garments became white as the light." In these verses we see the coming of Jesus in His kingdom. When Jesus was shining in the transfiguration, that was the coming of the kingdom. Where there is the shining of Jesus, there is the kingdom. This shining is the bearing of God’s image. The image is present, and immediately the dominion appears. When we shine with God’s glory, there is no need for us to exercise dominion purposely. The authority of God is just there.

How can we shine with the glory of God? We need to read 2 Corinthians 3:18. "And we all with unveiled face, beholding and reflecting as a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, even as from the Lord Spirit." I like the word face, unveiled face. In the transfiguration the face of the Lord Jesus shone as the bright sun. However, the face mentioned in 2 Corinthians 3:18 is not simply the outward face, but the inward face. We all have an outer face and an inner face. The outer face is simply the expression of the inner face. The outer face is our outward being; the inward face is our inward being. The face is the index of our whole being, the expression of our whole being. None of us here has a veil upon his outward face, but I am afraid that many of us still have some veils over our inner face. We need an unveiled face.

Religious things and holy things as well as sinful things and worldly things can be a veil to us. If you study the context of 2 Corinthians 3, you will see that the veil mentioned there is specifically the Old Testament in letters. Even the Bible can be a veil. Even the letters in the Bible can be a veil to cover us, keeping us from seeing the living Lord. If the letters of the Bible can be a veil to us, then everything can be a veil—your wife, your husband, your friends, your children, your self, your brothers and sisters, your good behavior, your bad behavior, your zealous activity, your work for God—everything. All things, provided they are not the Lord Himself, can be a veil. It doesn’t matter how holy a thing is, how heavenly it is, how spiritual it is, or how religious it is, as long as it is not the Lord Himself, it can be a veil. You may still be under this kind of veiling. That is why you sit here, but you cannot see the Lord.

Second Corinthians 3:18 says that we all with an unveiled face behold as a mirror. We are a mirror. As a mirror, we behold. What a mirror beholds, it reflects. We need to have an unveiled face beholding and reflecting the glory of the Lord, just like Moses when he beheld the glory of God for forty days and God’s glory radiated from the skin of his face. When he came down from the mountain, he was shining, glowing with God’s glory. We all need to be like that. We all need to forget everything bad, good, holy, unholy, religious, unreligious, spiritual, unspiritual. Regardless of what a thing may be, if it is not the Lord Himself, we must put it aside. We need to recognize the subtlety of the enemy. Satan can utilize anything to turn you away from beholding the Lord. The only thing that Satan cannot utilize is the Lord Himself.

In the New Testament there are at least four books written specifically about the things that frustrate people from beholding the Lord, things that veil people from contacting and enjoying the Lord. The book of Galatians deals with the law, religion, and tradition. All of these are a veil of separation. The law was given by God and was holy. Even the New Testament says that the law is holy (Rom. 7:12). Yet, even something holy such as the law can sever you from Christ, cutting you off from the enjoyment of Christ (Gal. 5:4 ASV). It is possible to be severed from Christ, not just by immoral books, but by the God-given law. How? Because your face can be turned to the law instead of Christ. Thus, the law immediately becomes a veil. The law always forms a religion, and religion has long traditions. So we have the law, religion, and traditions, all forming layers of insulation, insulating you from the heavenly electricity which is the Lord Himself.

Colossians is another book. In Colossians the word philosophy is used. The word philosophy in Colossians really means Gnosticism. Gnosticism was a higher philosophy, a composition of Greek, Egyptian, and Babylonian philosophy, plus the philosophy of Christianity, which included the Jewish philosophy. That was quite a mixture. That philosophy, the highest product of human culture, came into the early church, causing considerable frustration. Although philosophy may be good and the best product of human culture, since it is not the Lord it becomes a veil. It must be dealt with.

We come to another book, the book of Hebrews. If you read the book of Hebrews, you will see that it itemizes all the good things of Judaism. Hebrews shows us that all the good things in Judaism should just be considered as types, figures, and shadows of Christ.

Suppose, before you come to visit me, you send me a picture of yourself. Since I love you, I will treasure your picture. This is right. I simply love your picture. Now you come to visit me in person. Instead of looking at you, I continue to look at your picture, loving the picture. Even your picture becomes a veil to my eyes. You would say, "Stupid man, throw away the picture. Look at me."

Before Jesus came, God used the Old Testament to present to His people many pictures of Christ from different angles. But the Jewish people just held on to the pictures, not only pictures in four directions, but maybe in thirty-two directions. That enclosed them, keeping them from seeing Christ. Christ is outside of that enclosure. The Jewish people saw so many things about Christ, but they couldn’t see Christ Himself. Thus, the book of Hebrews was written to tell all the Jewish believers that they must drop the pictures, the whole system of Judaism, and look at Christ. Consider the Apostle and High Priest, Jesus Christ (Heb. 3:1). Forget Moses, forget the angels, and forget Joshua. Just consider our Apostle, Jesus Christ. Consider our High Priest, Jesus Christ. Look at Him. Not only look at Him, but look away unto Him (Heb. 12:2). Look away from all the Jewish things. Look away from the Bible unto Jesus Himself.

We have still another book, 1 Corinthians. In 1 Corinthians Paul warned us that even the spiritual gifts—speaking in tongues, interpretation of tongues, healings, miracles—can all be veils to the Christian. Do you see the subtlety of the enemy?

The law, philosophy, Judaism with its scriptural items and teachings, spiritual gifts—all these things are good, but have become veils over the faces of many real Christians. We all need to tell the Lord Jesus, "Lord Jesus, I love You. I love the Bible because it reveals You, but I will never let the Bible become a veil. I love You, Lord Jesus. I love You personally, I love You directly, I love You most intimately. I love You by kissing You. I don’t like to see You far away. I like to see You face to face. Lord, I would even kiss You." Many of you, I believe, have entered into this experience already, but we all need to be preserved in this experience. We need to tell the Lord, "Lord Jesus, I love the gifts because the gifts help me to touch You, but if the gifts become a veil, I will throw them away. I just love You Lord. I love You personally, directly, intimately. I love You in the way that I can kiss You at any time. There is no distance between You and me, no distance, no separation, and no isolation. I am directly, intimately in Your presence." If you are like this, you will be on the mount of transfiguration. You will be transfigured and you will shine.

Many of us can testify about our folks. When they came out of their room after spending time in the presence of the Lord, their faces were shining, causing us to realize that they had been with the Lord. That shining subdues every rebellious creature. It subdues the husband, the wife, the children, and every kind of environment. This is the kingdom. This is dominion. Dominion comes from the shining. Jesus appeared in His kingdom when He was transfigured. He was shining as the sun. He had the image and He had dominion.

(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)