II. JOSEPH RELEASED FROM PRISON INDIRECTLY
THROUGH HIS INTERPRETATION
OF THE CUPBEARER’S DREAM
Now we come to my burden in this message. My burden is to point out that Joseph was released from prison through his speaking by faith. Joseph dreamed that he was a sheaf rising up and that his brothers were bowing down to him. Ten years went by, and still this dream had not been fulfilled. If this had happened to us, we would have been disappointed to the uttermost and said, "Forget about this dream. I’m through with being a dreamer and with hearing about dreams." If Joseph had done this, he probably would never have been released from prison. He was released from the dungeon by speaking. However, Joseph was not released at the time he interpreted the dreams of his two companions. He interpreted their dreams by speaking in faith. If I had been the one interpreting dreams for others, I would have been afraid they would ask about my own dreams, because I would have had the vision, but not the experience or the fulfillment of the vision. Thus, I would not have dared to say anything for fear that someone might say, "What are you talking about? Don’t talk about dreams until your own dreams have been fulfilled. I don’t believe in you." But no matter whether his dreams had been fulfilled or not, Joseph spoke boldly by faith. If he had been questioned, he might have said, "Yes, I have had two dreams. Although they have not been fulfilled, I still believe in them. Perhaps tomorrow they will be fulfilled." Eventually, by his speaking Joseph was released from prison. If he had not spoken to the cupbearer, there would have been no one to tell Pharaoh about Joseph. It was the cupbearer who brought the news to Pharaoh that there was someone in prison who could interpret dreams (41:9-13). Therefore, Joseph was released from prison indirectly through his interpretation of the cupbearer’s dream.
I have experienced this myself. In 1957 I was somewhat troubled by a problem that had arisen in the churches in Taiwan. But one day the Lord showed me that I should forget about the problem and begin to speak concerning the kingdom and the New Jerusalem, telling people that the church life today is a miniature of the New Jerusalem. Thus, I began to speak boldly, first in Taipei and then in Manila. An elderly British missionary attended the meetings in Manila and heard my messages. After one of the meetings, he came to me and said, "Brother Lee, do you mean these things to be for today or for the future?" When I said that I meant both, he replied, "The New Jerusalem will certainly be in the future, but I cannot see it here today. How can you say that it is both present and future?" Nevertheless, I continued to say that it was both. He would not believe it, but I did. Eventually, he left the church life. This indicates that the more you say no to the vision, the more you will be out. You may say, "There is no such thing as the church life; this is simply Brother Lee’s dream. Let’s forget about it." But the more you say this, the more you will be out of today’s church life. We need to say, "Hallelujah! Praise the Lord! I believe that the church life is here today." The more you say this, the more you will be in it. This is a dreamer’s vision.
We all need to speak like dreamers. Do not wait until you have the experience before you speak. Speak first. Speak immediately after you have seen the vision and then you will have the experience. Andrew Murray once said that a good minister always speaks more than he has experienced. In a sense, a good minister must be a boaster. During the years I have been in this country, I have spoken so boldly about the church life that some might have thought that I was boasting. Regarding the church life, some asked me, "Brother Lee, does this work?" I answered, "Why not?" For those who have said that it was impossible to have the church life, it has been impossible. In 1962 we had our first conference in the United States. Immediately after that conference, I was invited to a brother’s home in Whittier. One day my host asked me, "Brother Lee, do you intend to say that what you minister actually works?" I replied, "I can assure you that it does. I would even sign a guarantee to this effect." Whether or not the vision works depends upon your mouth. If you say, "No," it will not work for you. But if you say, "Yes," it will work for you, even though it does not work for others. It all depends on whether you say yes or no. If you say no, it will be no; and if you say yes, it will be yes. Concerning the dream, the vision, it matters a great deal whether we say yes or no; for either our yes or our no will come true.
(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 114, by Witness Lee)