The Economy of God and the Building Up of the Body of Christ, by Witness Lee


In this chapter we will first look at God’s economy in the types of the Old Testament. If we read the Old Testament carefully, we will see that it is roughly divided into two sections. The first section is a history of nine persons. The second section is a history of the nation of Israel. Both the history of the nine persons and the history of the nation of Israel are types and pictures. They both describe the same thing—God’s economy.

We will first consider the first section of the Old Testament which is the story of nine persons recorded in the fifty chapters of the book of Genesis. The first five persons of these nine form one group—Adam, Abel, Enosh, Enoch, and Noah. The last four form another group—Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and Joseph. The first group shows us how God works Himself into the sinner. The last group shows us how this man into whom God has worked Himself experiences Him as the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. In the end the sinner becomes Israel, who is the prince of God, ruling for God and dispensing His riches into men.


Adam—Christ as the Expression of God

Among these nine persons, the first is Adam and Eve. Adam is a type in two aspects. After his creation and before his fall, he was a type of Christ who is the embodiment of God. Adam was created by God according to His own image for the purpose of expressing Him. God also entrusted him with the authority to rule over all things to represent Him. Hence the created Adam is a type of Christ expressing God and ruling for God as the Head.

Eve—the Church as the Expression of Christ

God took a rib from Adam to form a woman (Gen. 2:22) who is Eve, his wife. Eve is a type of the church as the expression of Christ. As Eve was from Adam, so the church is from Christ. This picture shows us the desire of God in His economy. God is the unique Male in the universe. He needs a counterpart (Gen. 2:18) which is the created man, redeemed and regenerated by Christ, transformed, and built together to become the church. This is why at the end of the Bible we see the Spirit and the bride speaking as one man in Revelation 22:17. The Spirit is the ultimate expression of the Triune God. He is the processed Triune God. He has a bride which means that He is married to the created, redeemed, regenerated, transformed, and glorified tripartite man. This matter was mentioned by John the Baptist in John 3: “He who has the bride is the bridegroom” (v. 29). The Bridegroom is the Lord Jesus, and the bride is the church. Ephesians 5 also says that as Adam and Eve were made husband and wife, so Christ and the church are made one body (vv. 30-32). When we come to Revelation 19, we see that the marriage of the Lamb is come (v. 7). Chapter twenty-one says that the holy city, New Jerusalem, comes down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband (v. 2). The New Jerusalem is on the one hand the dwelling place of God, and on the other hand the bride of the Lamb. The Lamb is the embodiment of the Triune God, and the Lamb’s bride is a composition of the redeemed ones throughout the ages. In eternity future the Triune God will become one body with His redeemed tripartite man. The two will become one universal couple. This is the goal of God’s economy.

(The Economy of God and the Building Up of the Body of Christ, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)