Life-Study of Genesis, by Witness Lee

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Hiram’s Tyrian father died. What a difference there would have been if his mother had died instead of his father! If that had been the case, this record would not match our experience, and it would be impossible to allegorize this portion of the Word. Praise the Lord that our "father," not our "mother," has died. This means that the source of secular skill has been cut off by God. The father signifies the source of skill, and the mother signifies human existence. If our "mother" died and our "father" lived, we would be "ghosts" fully involved with the world. We must go on existing as humans. Even Paul says, "I have been crucified with Christ, and it is no longer I who live" (Gal. 2:20). The old man, the old "father," has been crucified; yet we still exist. That "I" who continues to exist is the "mother" of our human existence.

Moses is a good example. He was raised in the royal Egyptian family where he learned all the wisdom of the Egyptians. At the age of forty, he considered himself qualified to deliver his people from the usurping hand of the Egyptians. However, he failed because his "Tyrian" father, his connection with Egypt, still remained. This indicated that the source of his skill had not been cut off. The Lord intervened to break that connection, and Moses fled to the wilderness. Although Moses’ "Tyrian" father, the royal Egyptian family, died, he himself continued to exist. The widowed "mother" remained. Although she continued to live, she was no longer tied to her husband.

Let us now apply this to our own experience. You may earn a Ph.D. from Massachusetts Institute of Technology. But after you earn this degree, Massachusetts Institute of Technology must die. This does not mean that you must die. You must continue to exist, but your existence must be widowed, separated from the worldly source. You continue to possess your skill, but the origin and source of that skill has been cut off. Your continued existence is the "mother," and the source of your skill, which has been cut off, is your deceased "father." Now you possess the skill without the source, and your human existence is no longer tied to your worldly origin.

Many of the young brothers and sisters are unbalanced and say, "We are in the Lord’s recovery and we are expecting the Lord to come back soon. He may come back in two years. Why then should we worry about finishing high school and preparing ourselves for college? We should spend our time to pray-read and to fellowship with other brothers and sisters. Since the Lord is coming soon, why should we waste our time reading and studying?" If this is your attitude, the Lord may delay His coming back until you have learned to study. Actually, you should not just aim to finish high school, but also to graduate from college, and even to earn a Ph.D. I know what is on the heart of the young people. Many sisters think that it is sufficient to graduate from high school or, at most, junior college. They may say, "We sisters will not be elders. Why should we waste our time in school? Isn’t it good enough to learn to type and make six hundred dollars a month? Let us enjoy an easy Christian life and a happy church life." Sisters, you must abandon this concept. No matter how much you love the Lord, if you hold this concept, you will never be very useful to Him. No time spent in studying is wasted. As young people, you must use your time to study. Although the Lord may come back in a few years, you must still study and learn the "Tyrian" skill. If you are under the age of twenty-three, your time must be devoted to your education. You should finish your university course by the age of twenty-two or twenty-three. This is not a regulation of the church in the Lord’s recovery; this is my teaching. From now on, when young brothers and sisters come to me, I shall ask them what year they have finished in school. If anyone aged twenty-two would say that he has not yet graduated from high school, I would not waste my time in talking to him. Such a person, four years behind in school, might be retarded and would be unable to understand my fellowship concerning the Bible. But if a brother would tell me that he has just finished his first year of graduate school, I would be happy to talk with him concerning the depths of the Bible.

Although you should do your best to earn an advanced degree, after you have earned it, you must be prepared to sever the worldly ties. Do not burn your diploma (you will need that for business purposes), but say within yourself, "My ‘Tyrian’ father has died. The day of my graduation will be the day of his funeral." After you have labored for years to earn your degree, you must put your "Tyrian" father in a coffin and bury him. Never boast that you have graduated from a university. After Moses left the royal Egyptian family, he never mentioned it again. That family was buried. But many Christians with earned doctorates always like to put the title "Dr." in front of their names. Fifty or sixty years ago, people liked to say that they had graduated from Oxford or Cambridge. Although some boast of their education, after we have earned our degrees, we must bury Cambridge, Oxford, and every other university. The father of our "Tyrian" skill must die and be buried. The skill is useful, but the father has a foul odor.

As you read this, you may say that you do not understand what I am talking about. This is mysterious, and there is no need to understand it. The best Christians are those who study diligently and who afterwards seem to forget that they have earned a degree. Their unbelieving relatives and friends will not understand this. To them, it is mysterious that we would devote so much time and labor to earn a degree and then not respect it. Praise the Lord that they do not understand us! This is another aspect of our Christian mystery. We Christians have many mysterious aspects. For example, I know of some Christians who freely spend money on others, but not on themselves. Their relatives do not understand why they are so strict with themselves and so generous with others. We Christians must be people with a mysterious history. How mysterious of us to earn a degree and then to cut off our "Tyrian" father!

If this father does not die, he will bind us to the world, and our education will become the strongest tie. In my ministry throughout the years I have learned that no highly educated person can understand the Bible unless he cuts off this worldly tie. Being proud of your education will hinder you from knowing the Scriptures. No matter how educated you are, you must humbly tell the Lord that you are a teachable little child and that in your whole being you are utterly empty. You should be able to say, "Lord, although I have three Ph.D.’s, I know nothing. I am not filled up by my education. I am empty in my spirit, in my mind, and in my whole being." Many highly educated professional people are filled to the brim. For this reason, even after they are saved, they are unable to receive anything from the Word. Their pride has usurped them. We need to cut the tie with our "Tyrian" father and become like a child who knows nothing. Although we have knowledge, we would not be proud or filled with knowledge; instead, we would be empty. If we are like this, we shall be able to understand the Bible.

We need some brothers and sisters with doctor’s degrees. It would be very beneficial to have some with Ph.D.’s in biblical Hebrew and Greek. It would also be helpful for some to earn Ph.D.’s in space science and nuclear physics. The church should not be poor or on a low level. Rather, it should have the highest people on earth. Young people, this must become your burden.

(Life-Study of Genesis, Chapter 86, by Witness Lee)