V. JOSEPH’S LIFE BEING A LIFE OF DREAMS
Joseph was truly a dreamer, and his life was a life of dreams. A victorious and overcoming Christian will always be a dreamer. You need to have dreams, and you need to interpret the dreams of others. Day by day, let us all speak according to our vision, according to our dreams. Furthermore, we must interpret the visions of others, and we must live according to our vision. We should not speak according to our feelings, but according to the vision. We are visionaries. Because we are visionaries, we do everything according to the vision. Although a certain thing has not yet come to pass, we speak according to what we have seen of it, and we find that our vision is being fulfilled.
When we compare Joseph with the other outstanding men in Genesis, we see that he is unique in dreams and in suffering. None of the seven other great men had as many dreams as Joseph had; Joseph was always involved with dreams. His life was also unique with respect to suffering.
Dreams require interpretation, and interpretation is a matter of speaking. Therefore, Joseph was constantly speaking. Through his speaking, all the dreams were fulfilled. Firstly, Joseph spoke himself into trouble. If he had not spoken about his dreams, he would not have gotten into trouble. His brothers hated him and sold him into slavery simply because he spoke about his dreams. If after having these dreams Joseph had been silent, there would have been no problem. His sufferings came from his speaking.
After the Boxer Rebellion, many saints in England prayed desperately for the vast country of China. The Lord answered their prayers by coming in and doing a marvelous work in the colleges throughout the country. Thousands of students, including a good number of brilliant ones, were captured by the Lord, and many of them saw a vision. I was one of these students, and I was very familiar with the situation. Brother Nee was not the only one to see something concerning the church. Many others did also. However, they were afraid to speak of their dream concerning the church. These students were afraid of the missionaries, whose goal was to advance their mission work, their mission church. They were fearful that if they spoke something different from what the missionaries were doing, they would get into trouble. Because of his bold speaking, Brother Nee was betrayed. In the middle 1920s he published twenty issues of a paper called The Christian. In the articles in this paper Brother Nee spoke according to his dream. As a result, people laughed at him, and he got into trouble. The missionaries, teachers, and theologians, all of whom were older than he, disregarded him and opposed him. Brother Nee had seen a vision of local churches in every city throughout China. A quarter century later, his dream was fulfilled. By 1948 there were about five hundred local churches in the provinces of China.
Before Brother Nee’s dream was fulfilled, however, he suffered a great deal, not only from outsiders, but even from turmoil stirred up by insiders. Due to this turmoil, his ministry was set aside for a number of years. Brother Nee once told a certain brother that there was no possibility to ever resume his ministry. This is an indication of the severity of Brother Nee’s sufferings. He suffered so intensely that he felt that it was impossible for him ever to resume his ministry. But, much to his surprise, the Lord did something in 1948 to restore his ministry. In the forthcoming biography of Brother Nee now in preparation all this will be made clear. As a result of the restoration of Brother Nee’s ministry, hundreds of churches were raised up in the cities of China. This was due to Brother Nee’s speaking, to his sounding of the trumpet, and to that of a few co-workers who were faithful to him.
(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 114, by Witness Lee)