The Economy of God and the Building Up of the Body of Christ, by Witness Lee


The Corporate Israel

God’s intention is to have a corporate body. The nation of Israel was a type of this body. For this, God went on from Genesis to Exodus, working Himself into the corporate Israel that they would become the house of God, which is God’s habitation on earth as typified by the tabernacle in the midst of the Israelites. This corporate Israel was a type of the church as the Body of Christ to be God’s dwelling place on earth among men.

Experiencing the Passover, Having God’s Judgment Pass over Them

At that time, the Israelites went down into Egypt and were enslaved by the Egyptians. In order to deliver them from the bondage of Egypt, God had to judge Egypt and smite the firstborn of the Egyptians. To spare the Israelites from the same smiting, God gave them a way of salvation. He commanded them to slaughter the Passover lamb and strike the blood on the lintel and the side posts. Under the covering of the blood, the destroying angel would pass over them and would not smite them (Exo. 12:21-23). But all the firstborn of the land of Egypt were judged by God and were smitten by the destroying angel. In this way, the Israelites were delivered from the enslaving hand of Pharaoh and were freed from Egypt.

Leaving Egypt and Crossing the Red Sea

After the Israelites experienced the Passover, they left Egypt the same night and crossed the Red Sea. This is a type of all the believers in the New Testament, that is, the whole church, experiencing Christ as the Passover and being baptized to be delivered from the world. For the Israelites the experience of the Passover, the exodus from Egypt, and the crossing of the Red Sea were not individual matters but were all corporate matters. They experienced the Passover as a corporate body, they left Egypt as a corporate body, and they crossed the Red Sea as a corporate body. In the eyes of God, we believers are not saved one by one individually. Instead, we enjoy Christ as the redeeming Lamb together, we are baptized together, and we are delivered from the world and saved from this age together. In God there is no difference in time and space. We the believers experience our Passover at the same time, and all of us leave Egypt and cross the Red Sea at the same time.

Passing through the Wilderness to Offer Sacrifices to God

The Israelites were led by God out of Egypt to cross the Red Sea and enter into the wilderness to serve God. Today it is the same for us, the saved ones. We are in the wilderness, away from the bondage of the world, having been released from the enslaving of man and having the true freedom. Here we learn to serve God.

Experiencing the Bitter Water Turned Sweet

In the journey through the wilderness, God led the Israelites to pass through many experiences. First, they experienced the bitter water turned sweet. The Israelites came to Marah. Because of the bitterness of the water, the people complained to Moses. Jehovah commanded Moses to cast a tree into the water, and the water turned sweet (Exo. 15:25). The bitter water signifies a bitter situation. The tree signifies the cross of Christ. Christians are like the Israelites in the wilderness; often we are confronted with difficulties while journeying on earth. During these times, if we consider the cross of Christ and receive it into us, our bitter situations will turn sweet.

(The Economy of God and the Building Up of the Body of Christ, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)