Four Crucial Elements of the Bible, The—Christ, the Spirit, Life, and the Church, by Witness Lee


Hymns, #113, stanza 5 says, “Though angels praise the heavenly King,/And worship Him as God alone,/We can with exultation sing,/‘He wears our nature on the throne.’” This hymn was written by Thomas Kelly and was translated into Chinese by Brother Watchman Nee. The phrase, “He wears our nature on the throne,” is a wonderful expression. Since Christ’s resurrection and ascension, there have been many debates among Christians concerning the person of Christ, and one of those debates is whether or not Christ truly has humanity. This was the reason the apostle John wrote his first Epistle. In 4:2-3 he tells us, “Every spirit which confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, and every spirit which does not confess Jesus is not of God; and this is the spirit of the antichrist.” At that time there was a school of Greek philosophy called Gnosticism, which taught that all physical matter was filthy and essentially evil, and since the human flesh is physical, it also is filthy. The influence of Greek philosophy entered the church, and a great heresy called Docetism rose up. Following the teachings of the Gnostics, this heresy advocated that since Christ is holy, He could never have had the defilement of human flesh, and therefore His body was not real flesh and blood but was merely a deceptive, transient phantasm. Such a heresy undermines not only the Lord’s incarnation but also His redemption and resurrection. According to what the apostle John said, these heretics were antichrists.

This truth was debated up until the nineteenth century when orthodox theologians all rejected the heresy of Docetism. It is very strange, however, that today many Christians still believe a form of this teaching. At most, they confess that the Lord Jesus was a man when He was on the earth, but they say that after His resurrection from the dead, He is no longer a man; therefore, the Christ on the throne today is not man but only God. In the past, a so-called co-worker among us actually said that he did not approve of the last line of stanza 5 in Hymns, #113, which says, “He wears our nature on the throne.” He considered that Christ on the throne today does not have humanity. The Bible clearly reveals that Christ on the throne still has humanity. Matthew 26:63-64 says that when the Lord Jesus was being judged, the high priest asked Him, “Tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.” The Lord Jesus answered, “You have said rightly. Nevertheless I say to you, From now on you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of Power and coming on the clouds of heaven.” This indicates that Christ is still the Son of Man after His ascension and will still be the Son of Man at His coming back. Acts 7:55-56 says that when Stephen was being persecuted, he looked intently into heaven and saw the glory of God and Jesus standing at the right hand of God, and he said, “Behold, I see the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.” This indicates that Christ in the heavens today is still the Son of Man. In Revelation 1:13 the apostle John saw Christ walking as the Son of Man in the midst of the lampstands. Then 14:14 says that when Christ comes again to reap the harvest, He will be the Son of Man sitting on the cloud. Matthew 25:31 also says that when Christ returns to sit on His throne of glory in Jerusalem to judge the nations, He will still be the Son of Man. Furthermore, John 1:51 reveals that He will also be the Son of Man in eternity; at that time the angels of God will ascend and descend on the Son of Man. This shows us that in His ascension, in His heavenly ministry, in His second coming, in His rapturing the believers, in His judging the nations, and in eternity, He is always the Son of Man with humanity. This is the clear revelation of the Bible.

This is why we must see that, on the one hand, the Lord Jesus is God over all, blessed forever (Rom. 9:5), and on the other hand, He is also a perfect Man. The Lord in whom we believe is the One with both divinity and humanity. He did not have a body only when He was on the earth. Even after His death, He still has a body. When He came to the disciples on the evening of the day of His resurrection, the disciples were terrified and became frightened, and thought they beheld a spirit because all the doors and windows were closed tightly (Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-20). Perhaps they thought, “Wasn’t the Lord Jesus buried? Perhaps this is His ghost.” But the Lord Jesus said to them, “Why are you troubled, and why do doubts arise in your heart? See My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Touch Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you behold Me having” (Luke 24:38-39). He showed them the nail marks on His hands and the spear wound in His side, and He even ate a piece of broiled fish before them (vv. 40-43). This indicates that after His resurrection, the Lord still has a resurrected body, which is a glorious, spiritual body. When a grain of wheat dies and then sprouts, we cannot say that it does not have a body; the sprout that grows up still has a physical form. This is the truth that the Bible reveals to us.

(Four Crucial Elements of the Bible, The—Christ, the Spirit, Life, and the Church, Chapter 8, by Witness Lee)