The Kingdom, by Witness Lee

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The human soul is complex. At least six items are related to it. The mind, the will, and the emotion are all in the soul. In addition, the self, the soulish life, and the world are related to the soul.

As we have seen, Satan is in our flesh, operating for his kingdom, and the Lord Jesus is in our spirit, operating for the kingdom of God. Ephesians 2:2 tells us that Satan, the ruler of the authority of the air, is the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience. This word "work," meaning operate, is the same word used in Philippians 2:13 which tells us that God is operating in us. So, there are two operators within us, one in our flesh and the other in our spirit. Both of these operators are working toward the soul. Satan works from the outside inward, and God works from the inside outward. Both are aiming toward the soul of man, making our soul very strategic. Whether God will have His kingdom or Satan will have his kingdom depends upon our soul. Our soul is strategic for both kingdoms. This is why the Lord Jesus speaks so much in Matthew, Mark, and Luke about taking up the cross in relation to the soul (Matt. 16:24-25; Mark 8:34-36; Luke 9:23-24). We must apply the cross to our soul because Satan dwells in our flesh and seeks to control our soul. Our soul has been saturated with Satan himself. Our mind, will, emotion, self, soulish life, and relationship with the world have been saturated and permeated with Satan.


Matthew 16 tells us that one day the Lord Jesus had some very good fellowship with His disciples in which He told them that He would be persecuted, put to death by the religious people, and raised up again on the third day. Peter heard the Lord’s fellowship, but he did not hear the words "raised up"; he only heard the word "killed." Because he loved the Lord, Peter said, "God be merciful to you, Lord." This was a good suggestion and it proceeded out of a good intention and concern. If there had been no record of the Lord’s reply to Peter’s suggestion, we would never have learned that Peter’s concern was satanic. But, the Lord Jesus saw through this and spoke boldly to Peter, rebuking him: "Get behind me, Satan!" Can you imagine that Peter could express such a noble concern for the Lord and at the same time be one with Satan? What subtlety! Peter thought that he loved the Lord. He did not realize that his suggestion was from Satan. He thought that he was being a good disciple of the Lord Jesus, displaying a genuine concern for Him. If the Lord had not rebuked Peter in such a strong way, we all would have admired his concern. The Lord rebuked Peter because his mind was not on the things of God, but on the things of men (Matt. 23). Whenever we put our mind upon the things of men, we are one with Satan. This is serious. If we fail to put our mind upon the things of God, but set it upon the things of men, immediately we are one with Satan.

(The Kingdom, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)