The Kingdom, by Witness Lee

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The Old Testament contains many types of the spiritual things revealed in the New Testament. In fact, nearly every spiritual thing in the New Testament has its type in the Old Testament. The greatest and most all-inclusive type in the Old Testament is the history of Israel. The nation of Israel as a type begins with the first chapter of Exodus and ends with the last book of the Old Testament. First the nation of Israel experienced the passover in Egypt. We know that the passover in Exodus 12 is a type. Christ is actually our passover. The passover lamb was slain for them and its blood sprinkled on the house. Then they passed through the Red Sea and went into the wilderness where they ate manna and drank the water out of the cleft rock. All of these different experiences are types. The passover lamb and even all the aspects of the passover are just Christ. The manna is Christ, and the rock which flowed with water is also Christ flowing as the life-giving Spirit. Moreover, even the produce of the land of Canaan is a rich type of the all-inclusive Christ. In addition, the whole land of Canaan is an all-inclusive type of Christ.

The book of Hebrews does not tell us that the good land is Christ; instead it tells us that the good land is a rest. In Hebrews 3 and 4 the good land is revealed as the rest to God’s people. They left Egypt, went through the wilderness, passed through the Jordan River, and entered into the good land. Deuteronomy 12:9 calls the good land the rest. But the good land was not merely a rest. God’s intention in bringing His people, Israel, into Canaan was not only for rest, but for the building up of the kingdom. Not only did God’s people need rest, but God Himself wanted a kingdom. God’s purpose in bringing His people into the good land of Canaan was to establish His kingdom on the earth. There in the good land God built up a kingdom through, with, and among His people. That was the kingdom of God upon earth.

Before that time, God was the God of heaven (Neh. 1:4), and He was anxious and desirous to come down to earth to express Himself. However, there was a great lack of human coordination. Therefore, He was working, waiting, and expecting to have a group of people who would cooperate with Him. Eventually, He brought His people out from the dominion of Satan, out of Egypt, and through the wilderness into the good land. Ultimately, He defeated all the enemies in the good land through His people, who built the temple and a city. When the city and the temple were built, that was the building of the kingdom. After the temple was completed and at the time it was being dedicated, God’s glory filled it. God’s glory is just God Himself. God Himself came down from the heavens to get into His habitation. But He obtained not only a house to inhabit, but also a city to contain the house. Because of the city, His habitation was accessible and preserved. The city, protecting His dwelling place, signifies the kingdom and authority. God finally had a house upon earth within a city as a symbol of the kingdom in which He could dwell and express Himself. So the good land was not only a type of Christ as rest to God’s people, but also a type of Christ as the kingdom.

The kingdom is simply the maturity of Christ as life. It is the consummation of our enjoyment of Christ. First we enjoy Christ as the land, and eventually what we enjoy of Christ will become the kingdom. When we were first saved, we simply enjoyed the Lord Jesus as a little lamb. At that time we probably ate only a small portion of the lamb. From that time we began to eat more and more of the Lord Jesus until eventually we enjoy Him to the full all the time. The ultimate consummation of the enjoyment of Christ is the kingdom. We receive Christ into us as our life, and this life rules in us gradually—a little today and a little more tomorrow. He is so patient. We are growing with Him and His life is growing with us. One day we will have the maturity of His life, which will be the kingdom.

(The Kingdom, Chapter 45, by Witness Lee)