THE FIFTH STEP—BUILDING TOGETHER
The fifth step of God’s intention in creation is the process of our being built up as His building. I have observed many Christians who are very proper in conduct and who appear quite spiritual. But the precious stones God needs are not for men’s praise but for God’s building. God desires to transform us that we may be built up with others as His building. God desires a house, not a myriad of individual precious stones to be put on display. The great need of today’s Christians is to be mutually constructed as God’s building. If we learn to be built up with others, we will have the victory, the riches, sanctification, holiness, power, and the fulness of God. Our only need is to be built up with others in God’s building.
In chapter 1 we illustrated what happens to an isolated, severed member of the body. It may seem to be healthy and function properly, but it is of no avail. This is the prevailing condition of today’s Christianity. So many individuals are seeking power and a holy life, yet the more they seek, the poorer they become. Each of us must learn to be built up together with other saints as a living body. No matter where we are or where we go, we must be built up with others in that locality. In a later chapter we will consider how we may be related with others. My present burden is that we all may see the need of being built up with others as God’s building.
THE SIXTH STEP—PRODUCING A BRIDE
The sixth and last step of how God will attain His goal is the producing of a Bride. “The Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a help meet for him” (v. 18). J. N. Darby translates this portion more clearly in his footnote. He says, “I will make him a helpmate, his counterpart.” We need to compare this portion of Scripture with Ephesians 5:22-32 for the proper interpretation.
The Bride is synonymous with the building. In the final picture of Scripture, the Holy City, New Jerusalem, is not only the tabernacle of God, but also the Bride of Christ. When the Bride appears, God’s final goal is reached. In Genesis, the first Adam was a type of Christ, and Eve was a type of the church. In Revelation, the Bride, the church, is the counterpart to match the last Adam, the Lord Jesus Christ.
It is only when seeking Christians are locally built up together that there will be a real Bride to match Christ. That will be a victorious display, a real gain and glory to Christ. What a disgrace to our Lord that for hundreds of years on this earth there has been so little of a Bride to match Him and be His counterpart! Yes, there have been and there presently are many materials, but they are so poor. There are not many who are shining and bright; there are not many precious stones. There are poor materials, and there is hardly any building. Where can you find a real building of God today?
The picture shown in Ezekiel 37 is an exact portrayal of the present situation in Christianity. There are many dead and dry bones without one living body; and there is no house, no army. But eventually the dry bones are resurrected and formed together as a living body. This body is the house, the dwelling place of God, and it is also the army which fights the battles for God. Someday God’s children will be recovered and raised up to realize God’s intention. Then they will not want to be individualistically “spiritual,” but corporately built up with others. God’s desire for a house will be satisfied, and there will be a Body and a Bride for His Son. We know this for a fact. The final picture in Revelation is the Bride, the building of the Triune God.
SOME COMPARISONS—THE BIBLE AND A BUILDING MANUAL
There are four corresponding items seen both in the beginning and at the end of Scripture: a Bride, the tree of life, a flowing river, and three precious materials—gold, pearl, and precious stones. There is a distinct resemblance and a definite correlation. Genesis 1 and 2 are like the blueprint in the beginning of a manual of building instructions. Revelation 21 and 22 are like a photo of the finished structure inserted at the end of the manual. First we look at the blueprint; then we read the building instructions and go to work; finally, at the end, we attain the finished structure, similar in every detail to the photo in the manual. The Scriptures are such an instruction book regarding God’s building. At the beginning there is the blueprint, and at the end there is the completion according to the initial concept.
We must spend much time in the detailed instructions of this “manual.” But first we must be deeply impressed that we are a vessel made with a spirit, an inner recipient to receive God. We must learn how to exercise our spirit continually to contact and receive God. Next we must realize that God in Christ by the Spirit is the tree of life, the real food for us to eat and enjoy. As we enjoy Christ in such a way, we will have the flowing of the living water within us, and by this flowing we will be transformed from clay into precious materials. Then as transformed materials we must be built up with others. We cannot be independent, precious Christians. We must learn to be related with others and very dependent. Finally, such a building will be the Bride on this earth, the Bride which will satisfy Christ.
We have seen now the corporate man whom God is after is not only His expression and representative, but also the Bride to satisfy the Bridegroom. However, it is only when we are enjoying Christ as our food that we may be transformed, and it is only as we are being transformed that we may be built up with others, and it is only as we are built up with others that Christ will have full satisfaction with us. We will be the expression and representative of God as well as the Bride of Christ.
We all know that in ourselves, by ourselves, and with ourselves—in our natural life—we can never be one with others. Every natural man is a peculiar man, a separate man. A husband in his natural state is not one with his wife. Though we are husband and wife, the closest relationship on earth, we are individually peculiar and naturally divided. It is impossible in such a state to be one. Our natural life must be swallowed up by Christ. We must learn how to contact and feed on Christ in our spirit. We must learn how to deny ourself, rejecting our natural life, and live by Christ. Then the Lord will flow within, transforming us from clay into precious stone. Then, as we are united, related, and built up with others, God’s goal will be attained.
From Genesis 2 we have briefly outlined six steps, showing how God’s intention is to be realized. These matters are not doctrines. We must pray over all these points. We must see a recovery of such a testimony, a group of people who practice these things, giving all the honor and glory to the ascended Head because they are His Body on this earth. Then there will be a Bride on this earth to express God and to satisfy Christ.
(The Vision of God's Building, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)