II. MAN’S FAILURE
God will take at least seven thousand years to finish His project of gaining the new creation out of the old creation. He takes four ages to do this because the human race failed God.
A. The Failure of the Race of Adam in the Age before Law
God created Adam, which means that He chose Adam with his descendants to be the very means for Him to bring forth the new creation. Eventually, however, the Adamic race became flesh at the time of the deluge (Gen. 6:3a). At the time of the flood, man had become totally sinful and ugly in the sight of God. Later, the Adamic race became one with Satan at Babel (Gen. 11:4-9). Man became satanic. Then God came in to choose Abraham so that He could have a new race, a called race.
B. The Failure of the Earthly Descendants of the Race of Abraham
But even the new race, the called race, the earthly descendants of the race of Abraham, became a failure. They forsook God with His old covenant (Jer. 2:13; 11:10b), choosing Satan with his kingdom (11:10a).
C. The Failure of the Heavenly Descendants of the Race of Abraham
Abraham has two kinds of descendants. One kind is signified by the dust. Genesis 13:16 tells us that the descendants of Abraham were likened to the dust of the earth. These are his earthly descendants, the Jews according to the flesh. The second category of Abraham’s descendants, according to Genesis 15:5, are likened to the stars of heaven. These are the New Testament believers, the spiritual, heavenly descendants of Abraham. Galatians 6:16 says that we, the New Testament believers, are the spiritual Israel of God.
The heavenly descendants of Abraham also become a failure. They become defeated in the enjoyment of the processed Triune God (cf. 2 Cor. 13:14) and corrupted by Satan through sin, self, the world, and the religious world (1 John 3:8; Matt. 16:24; 1 John 2:15; Gal. 1:4; 6:14). The later Epistles of Paul and the epistles to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 show that by the end of the first century, the church had become degraded. Thus, the created race became a failure, the chosen race as the earthly descendants of Abraham became a failure, and the heavenly descendants of Abraham also became a failure. This is why the Lord Jesus came in the book of Revelation to call for overcomers. He calls for the overcomers seven times in His epistles to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3 (2:7, 11, 17, 26-28; 3:5, 12, 20-21). He is calling us, the believers, the heavenly stars and the heavenly descendants of Abraham, to be the overcomers.
With the race of Adam, God suffered a loss. With Abraham’s descendants of dust, God suffered a loss. With Abraham’s heavenly descendants, God also suffered a loss. But with the last group of people, the overcomers, God gains the victory. In the last book of the Bible, Revelation, we see that Christ has gained a group of overcomers, and this group eventually becomes a big success to God.
D. Christ Calling the Overcomers out of the Heavenly Descendants of the Race of Abraham for the Age of the Kingdom
Christ calls the overcomers out of the heavenly descendants of the race of Abraham for the age of the kingdom to consummate God’s economy and to bring in the kingdom of Christ and of God (Rev. 11:15). Some Christians today are sighing and groaning about the pitiful and defeated situation of the church. Apparently, this is right, but hiddenly throughout the centuries, there have been groups of overcomers. I believe that among us there are some overcomers. I can testify from the depths of my being that some of the saints with whom I served for many years are overcomers. We should not think that the church is wholly defeated. Apparently, it is defeated; actually, it is not. There is a group of saints who are standing with the Caller, Christ, to be His overcomers.
The overcomers consummate God’s economy and eventually bring in God’s kingdom. As overcomers, we do not live ourselves. We are living God. While we are living God, we are conquering all kinds of circumstances. In 1 Corinthians, Paul charged the saints to be full-grown men and to be strong (16:13). Paul’s word was given not only to the brothers but also to the sisters at Corinth. We all need to be such strong, full-grown men. We should forget about ourselves because God is in us. We have to overcome, to conquer, all our circumstances. Then we have to subdue our environment. This is to bring in and spread God’s dominion, which is to bring in God’s kingdom. It is wrong to wait passively for God’s kingdom to come. God needs a number of overcomers to conquer the circumstances and to subdue the environment so that His dominion will be brought in and spread for the bringing in of His kingdom.
(The Overcomers, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)