The Life and Way for the Practice of the Church Life, by Witness Lee


Now I want to help us see that throughout the Scriptures, there is the line of Christ with the church. There is the line of the church always going together with Christ. There is the church as the counterpart of Christ.

In the Old Testament

In the very first chapter of the Bible, there is a man created by God. The created man, Adam, was not only an individual man but also an inclusive man, a corporate man (1 Cor. 15:22). Adam as the inclusive man was created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26). In Colossians 1:15 we are told that Christ is the image of the invisible God. Hence, for man to be created according to the image of God simply means that man was created according to Christ. Why did God create a man? What was His purpose? God’s purpose was that man would be the material for the formation and building up of the Body of Christ.

In the second chapter of the Scriptures there is a wife. After He created Adam, God said, "It is not good that the man should be alone" (Gen. 2:18). In other words, it was not good for man to be single. There was the need for man to have a wife, so God created Eve. Eve is a type of the church (Eph. 5:31-32), and Adam is a type of Christ (Rom. 5:14b). Eve came out of Adam and went back to Adam to be one with Adam as one body. In the New Testament we are told that the church is the counterpart of Christ, the bride of Christ (Eph. 5:24-25; John 3:29).

Later in the Scriptures there is the house of God. In Genesis 28, Jacob came to a certain place where he had a dream and saw a vision, and he called the name of that place Bethel, which means the house of God (vv. 11-19). The house of God is the church (1 Tim. 3:15).

When we go on further, we see a tabernacle (Exo. 25:8-9; 40:2). That tabernacle was not merely a tabernacle made of material things; it signified all the children of Israel as a dwelling place of God.

After the tabernacle, there was the temple. There are a lot of types in the Old Testament, and the temple is the last and the fullest of them all.

In the Old Testament, there is also the city. At the end of Ezekiel, there is a city with twelve gates (48:30-35). It has three gates on each side, which is exactly the same as the New Jerusalem (Rev. 21:16, 12-13).

Besides the man, the bride, the house, the tabernacle, the temple, and the city in the Old Testament, the children of Israel were formed together as an army to fight for the kingdom of God (Num. 1:1-3).

If we take away these few items—the man, the wife, the house, the tabernacle, the temple, the city, and the army—from the Old Testament, the Old Testament becomes empty. The whole Old Testament is a record of these few items.

(The Life and Way for the Practice of the Church Life, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)