Verses 18, 20:"And Zachariah said to the angel, By what shall I know this? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years." "And behold, you shall be silent and not able to speak until the day that these things happen, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time." Those who want evidences by which they could believe do not believe at all.
2 CORINTHIANS 3
Verse 16:"But whenever their heart turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away." First the heart has to turn; then the veil is removed. Man always wants to remove the veil first and then turn!
2 CORINTHIANS 5
Verse 1:"For we know that if our earthly tabernacle dwelling is taken down, we have a building from God, a dwelling not made with hands, eternal, in the heavens." Our present body is a "tabernacle," whereas the resurrected body is a "dwelling."
Verse 3:"If indeed, being clothed, we will not be found naked." "Naked"—a soul without a body cannot appear before God.
Verse 14:"For the love of Christ constrains us because we have judged this, that One died for all, therefore all died." "The love of Christ constrains us" to be "beside ourselves...to God" and "sober-minded...for you" (v. 13). The love that dies a vicarious death is the love that constrains.
"The love of Christ constrains us" so that men "no longer live to themselves but to Him who died for them and has been raised." "He died for all that those...may...live."
Verse 17:"So then if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old things have passed away; behold, they have become new." Hence, "know no one according to the flesh."
Verse19: "Namely, that God in Christ was reconciling the world to Himself, not accounting their offenses to them, and has put in us the word of reconciliation." God and man met in Christ.
2 CORINTHIANS 6
Verses 8-12:"Through glory and dishonor, through evil report and good report; as deceivers and yet true; as unknown and yet well known; as dying and yet behold we live; as being disciplined and yet not being put to death; as made sorrowful yet always rejoicing; as poor yet enriching many; as having nothing and yet possessing all things. Our mouth is opened to you, Corinthians; our heart is enlarged. You are not constricted in us, but you are constricted in your inward parts." How can the world understand this? When unbelievers see this, they will think that this is a riddle! The world does not know how to reconcile these two contradicting facts. Yet how real they are in our experience!
2 CORINTHIANS 7
Verse 2:"Make room for us; we have wronged no one, we have corrupted no one, we have taken advantage of no one." "We have taken advantage of no one"—to take advantage of others is a defilement of flesh (v. 1). To take advantage of someone is to try to benefit oneself. Those who are faithful in the small things are faithful in the great things.
Verse 3b:"For I have said before that you are in our hearts for our dying together and our living together." One has to have such a heart before he is qualified to rebuke others!
Verse 4:"And God met Balaam; and he said to Him, I have set up seven altars, and I have offered upon each altar a bull and a ram." He thought that God could be moved by his sacrifices just because he was touched by the money.
Verse 9: "For from the top of the rocks I see him, / From the hills I behold him. / Behold, a people that will dwell alone, / And will not reckon themselves among the nations!" "Dwell alone...not reckon themselves among the nations!" This is the believers’ position. We are those who do not belong to this world.
Verse 21:"He has not beheld iniquity in Jacob; / Nor has He seen trouble in Israel. / Jehovah their God is with them, / And the shout of a king is among them." This was the position of Israel—a position under the blood of the lamb. How different is this from their experience! We have to differentiate between position and experience.
Verses 22-23:"God brings them out of Egypt; / He has as it were the horns of the wild ox. / For there is no enchantment against Jacob, / And no divination against Israel. / Now it shall be said of Jacob / And of Israel, What God has wrought!" "Out of Egypt"—this is salvation by grace through the blood. "The horns of the wild ox"—this is to receive the power of the Holy Spirit. With the experience of the cross and Pentecost, one can overcome all the attacks of Satan. "Enchantment...divination"—these are the weapons of the power of darkness. But they cannot harm us.
Verses 13-14:"And when you have seen it, you also shall be gathered to your people, as your brother Aaron was gathered, because you rebelled against My word in the wilderness of Zin during the strife of the assembly, to sanctify Me at the waters before their eyes. (These are the waters of Meribah of Kadesh in the wilderness of Zin.)" This is one result of sin.
Verse 6:"In addition to the burnt offering of the new month and its meal offering, and the continual burnt offering and its meal offering, and their drink offerings, according to the ordinance for them for a satisfying fragrance, an offering by fire to Jehovah." Holiness is related to rest.
Every verse in chapters twenty-eight and twenty-nine has to do with the sacrifices. In all of God’s dealing with us, there is the merit of the cross to supply us.
Verses 1-6:"And on the first day of the seventh month you shall have a holy convocation; you shall do no laborious work. To you it shall be a day of the blowing of trumpets. And you shall offer a burnt offering for a satisfying fragrance to Jehovah: one young bull, one ram, seven lambs a year old without blemish; as well as their meal offering of fine flour mingled with oil, three tenths of an ephah for the bull, two tenths for the ram, and one tenth for each of the seven lambs; and one male goat as a sin offering, to make propitiation for you; in addition to the burnt offering of the new month and its meal offering, and the continual burnt offering and its meal offering, and their drink offerings, according to the ordinance for them for a satisfying fragrance, an offering by fire to Jehovah." The day of the blowing of the trumpets is a type of the saints’ rapture to the air. Without the Lord’s burnt offering (obedience to God’s will), the meal offering (the holy life), and the sin offering, we will miss the rapture!
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 07: The Christian (5), Chapter 29, by Watchman Nee)