III. THE INTRINSIC, CENTRAL LINE
OF THE FIVE HISTORICAL EVENTS
IN THE INTRODUCTION TO THE GOSPEL OF JOHN
The intrinsic, central line of the five historical events in the introduction to the Gospel of John is like the trunk of a big tree. The trunk grows or produces the branches. The "trunk" of John 1 is the creation, the incarnation, the Lamb, the Spirit, and the ladder. The word ladder is not in John 1 but in Genesis 28, which records Jacob’s dream (vv. 11-19). In Genesis 28 Jacob saw a ladder set up on earth and reaching to heaven, and the angels of God were ascending and descending on it. In John 1:51 the Lord Jesus told Nathanael that he would see the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man. This shows that Christ, as the Son of Man, with His humanity, is the ladder set up on the earth and leading to heaven, keeping heaven open to earth and joining earth to heaven for the house of God, Bethel.
A. Life in the Word
John 1:1 says that in the beginning, in eternity past, was the Word. Then verse 51, the last verse of John 1, says that the Son of Man will be the ladder, which Jacob saw in his dream. This refers to eternity future. This introduction of John 1 implies a wide span from eternity past to eternity future. This span, as we have seen, is with the five greatest events in the history of the universe, which are the trunk of John 1. On this great trunk, there is only one branch. This branch is in verse 4, which says that in Christ as the Word, through whom the creation was carried out, was life. This is a branch, altogether organic, a branch of life. In the Word, who is Christ as the definition, explanation, and expression of God, is life (John 1:4a). This is the intrinsic, central line of the five great historical events.
In Him, in this trunk, is life, and this life is the light of men, shining over men. This shining was His coming to visit people. Wherever He went, the light was shining over the people around Him, and that shining is God’s speaking. The shining speaks for God. Most of the Jewish people rejected this shining (vv. 10-11), but a certain number received it. As many as received this light, this shining, the trunk (that is, the Word, Christ) would give them life to be the authority to become the children of God (vv. 12-13). This is not a small thing. Many today speak of human rights, but the real right is the authority Christ as the trunk gives us. On the day of our regeneration, we received the divine life as our authority to become the children of God. This is to become "Godkind," God’s species.
We were of Adam, having nothing to do with God inwardly. We were only created by God in His image and after His likeness, but we had not received God’s life into us. About four thousand years after His creation of man, Christ as the Word became flesh. In this wonderful Word, through whom the creation was carried out and through whom incarnation was accomplished, is life. This life is the light, and the light shines. If we receive His shining, He gives us the life authority to become Godkind. We are now both mankind and Godkind, God’s species, the children of God. These children are the sons of God, and these sons of God are the brothers of God’s firstborn Son (Rom. 8:29). Actually, the trunk is the firstborn Son, and we are the many brothers of this firstborn Son. He and we are the sons of God. He is Godkind, and we are the same. He is of God’s species, and so are we.
Through these sons, God has a family, and this family is the house of God, which is the church. First Timothy 3:15 says that the church is the house, or the family, the household, of the living God. This house is the Body of Christ. To God it is a family and to Christ it is His Body, an organism. This Body of Christ will consummate the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem will be the consummation of the Body of Christ. In John there is such a line of life, implying light, to produce the many children of God, who are the many sons to be God’s family and the many brothers to be Christ’s members, to be His Body, which consummates in the New Jerusalem as the eternal expression and increase of the processed Triune God, with Christ as the ladder that brings heaven to earth and joins earth to heaven, making heaven and earth one.
(Crystallization-Study of the Gospel of John, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)