The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, by Witness Lee

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In the early chapters of Genesis we see the serpent and the bride. If we read through the Bible in this light, we shall be able to see the story of the serpent and the bride in both the Old Testament and in the New. In Matthew 23:33 the Lord Jesus called the Pharisees “serpents, brood of vipers.” In John 3 the Lord Jesus indicated to Nicodemus, one of the Pharisees, that he also was serpentine. When the Lord likened Himself to the brass serpent lifted up on a pole, He seemed to be saying to Nicodemus, “In Genesis 3 you all were bitten by the old serpent. Then do you remember when the children of Israel were bitten by serpents in the wilderness, and they cried out to Moses? The Lord told Moses to make a brass serpent and lift it up on a pole. Nicodemus, everyone, including you, has been bitten by the serpent. But as the brass serpent was lifted up on a pole, I shall be lifted up on the cross as your Substitute so that eternal life may be imparted into you. This eternal life will regenerate you and make you a new person to become part of the bride as My increase. In this way, serpentine people can become My increase.”

In Adam, the old serpent gained us for himself by biting us. Do you know what it means for the serpent to bite us? It means that he imparts the poison of his nature into us to make us his increase. Through the fall, the entire human race has become the increase of Satan. Do you know what you were before you were saved? You were a part of Satan’s increase. No matter what kind of person we were before we were saved, we were all part of the increase of that evil one. When the serpent bit Adam in the garden of Eden, he gained the entire human race, and all of mankind became his increase. No doubt, after he had bitten man in Genesis 3, Satan, the old serpent, was happy. He may have laughed and said to himself, “I have gained man for myself. The man created by God has now become my increase.”

But the Lord Jesus came to be the brass serpent. This means that He became sin for us. Second Corinthians 5:21 says, “Him who did not know sin He made sin on our behalf.” Sin came from Satan, entered into man (Rom. 5:12), and made man not only a sinner but sin itself under God’s judgment. Hence, when Christ became a man in flesh (John 1:14), He was made sin (not sinful) on our behalf to be judged by God (Rom. 8:3).

For years I have taught according to the Bible that the sin which dwells in our flesh is the nature of Satan. However, some claim that it is heretical to teach this. But this certainly is not heretical, for the New Testament reveals that the sin in our flesh is the nature of Satan, the serpent.

In order to understand this, we need to put together John 3:14, 2 Corinthians 5:21, and Romans 8:3. Romans 8:3 says that God sent His Son in the likeness of the flesh of sin. Just as the brass serpent had the form of a real serpent but not the poisonous nature of a serpent, so Christ was in the likeness of the flesh of sin. God sent His Son in the form, the likeness, of the flesh of sin. The brass serpent had the form of a serpent, and Christ had the likeness of the flesh of sin.

Actually, the very sin that dwells in our flesh is the serpent, the Devil. It is not only the nature of the Devil; it is the Devil himself. Therefore, as fallen people we all were part of Satan, his increase. Praise the Lord that He came in the likeness of the flesh of sin and was nailed to the cross in the form of a serpent! According to Hebrews 2:14, through His death on the cross, Christ destroyed the Devil, the one who had the authority of death. This evil one is the serpent.

When we put all these verses together, we can realize that when the Lord Jesus was lifted up on the cross, He was the brass serpent. As a result, the old serpent, the Devil, Satan, was destroyed through the death of Christ on the cross.

Christ’s death on the cross opened the way for us sinners to believe in Him and receive Him. Now we can receive His life. It was through His redemption that He imparted Himself into us to make us His increase. In this way we who were once the increase of Satan have become the increase of Christ. In the past we were part of Satan’s increase, but we praise the Lord that we have become part of the increase of Christ.

(The Fulfillment of the Tabernacle and the Offerings in the Writings of John, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)