V. THE GOVERNING OF GEDALIAH
Verses 22 through 26 are a record of the governing of Gedaliah.
A. Nebuchadnezzar Appointing Gedaliah over
the People Who Were Left in the Land of Judah
Nebuchadnezzar appointed Gedaliah over the people whom Nebuchadnezzar had left in the land of Judah (v. 22). When all the captains of the forces heard about this, they came to Gedaliah, and Gedaliah swore to them and said to them, "Do not be afraid of the servants of the Chaldeans; dwell in the land and serve the king of Babylon, and it will be well with you" (vv. 23-24).
B. Ishmael Coming with Ten Men
and Striking Down Gedaliah
In the seventh month Ishmael, one of the royal seed, came with ten men and struck down Gedaliah and the Jews and the Chaldeans who were with him. All the people and the captains of the forces escaped to Egypt, being afraid of the Chaldeans (vv. 25-26).
Eventually, after being ruled by the Babylonians, Persians, and Greeks, Israel became part of the Roman Empire. Shortly after the Roman Empire took over the holy land, the Lord Jesus was born. The lineage of Christ’s genealogy became very thin, but we thank and praise the Lord that in His sovereignty the lineage of the genealogy of Christ was never broken. The royal Davidic family was destroyed, but God kept David’s lineage so that He could come to be a man through incarnation. This brought God to humanity and into humanity. This changed the age in the whole universe, including the heavens.
God came to be a man and lived on earth, entering into death and passing through death into resurrection. In resurrection the incarnated God, as the last Adam in the flesh, became the life-giving Spirit. The God-man’s becoming the life-giving Spirit is even greater than the incarnation. The incarnation brought God into one person, but the last Adam becoming the life-giving Spirit brought God into millions of the human race. We all were regenerated through Christ’s resurrection (1 Pet. 1:3). God became a man, and this man became the life-giving Spirit to germinate millions of God’s chosen, redeemed people, to live in them, to make an abode with them, and even to build a home in them with Himself as the element. This building is a constitution that makes Him one with all the redeemed to be a great universal new man. The Head of this new man is Christ, and the Body is composed of the millions of God’s redeemed and regenerated people.
Paul’s Epistles tell us that, as believers in Christ, we have to live in Christ, who as the life-giving Spirit is the reality of resurrection. Resurrection means the termination of all that is old and natural and a new beginning through germination. In the sight of God, everything of the old creation has been terminated, and the new creation has been germinated. We are the new creation, which is altogether in resurrection.
However, the majority of those in the Lord’s recovery do not live in resurrection actually and practically. The saints may have good character and good behavior, but this good behavior is mainly according to the principle of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. On the one hand, we know about the life of resurrection, but, on the other hand, unconsciously and unintentionally we live a life according to the principle of good and evil, not according to the principle of life.
From the very beginning, God’s intention was that man would live not by his own life but by God’s life. For this reason, after God created man, He indicated to him that he should partake of the tree of life and thereby take God as life and live by this life. This means that the man created by God needed to be regenerated. Regeneration does not mean that man became so fallen that he needed another life. Even before man fell and before sin entered into the human race, God intended to regenerate man.
As those who have been regenerated, we should not live by our natural, human life but by God’s life in resurrection. We now have two lives in us: the created life and the regenerated life, the natural life and the resurrection life. Our natural life—our self, our old man, our flesh—has been terminated by Christ on the cross. We have not only been terminated but also regenerated. We were terminated by Christ’s death and we were germinated by Christ’s resurrection, the reality of which is the Spirit mingled with our spirit. Now every day, in all things great and small, including the way we comb our hair and speak to others, we should not do anything by ourselves but do everything by the One who is joined to us and mingled with us. This is to apply the death of Christ in our daily life.
If we practice this life, then in our experience we will be crucified and conformed to the death of Christ. Then we will be able to say with Paul that we have been crucified with Christ and that we no longer live but Christ lives in us (Gal. 2:20). When Paul was in prison, he could declare that for him to live was Christ (Phil. 1:21). He was one with Christ and he lived Christ and magnified Christ by the bountiful supply of the Spirit (vv. 19-20).
When Christ lived on earth, His life was pure and holy. Yet He never did anything by Himself nor spoke anything of Himself or from Himself. Whatever He did and spoke was by the Father (John 5:19, 30; 7:16; 8:28; 12:49-50). For thirty-three and a half years He lived a crucified life, always living by the Father. Now we are Christ’s continuation, and we should live a crucified life every day. This is why we are told to pray unceasingly (1 Thes. 5:17). We need to inquire of Him in everything.
To live in resurrection means that we reject our natural life, that we deny it and put it on the cross and thus be conformed to the death of Christ. Then we are in resurrection, living by the pneumatic Christ, the life-giving Christ, the consummated Triune God.
We need to remember that, as believers in Christ, we are particular persons—we are God-men. We are Christians, Christ-men. We should not live by ourselves. We should live by Him who is joined to us. This is to be conformed to Christ’s death and to live in resurrection.
(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Kings, Chapter 22, by Witness Lee)