THE WORKS WHICH THE LORD ACCOMPLISHED IN HIS PROCESSES
We have to see that our Lord is not the founder of a religion but One who died and resurrected. From the time of His incarnation to the time of His ascension, He did a number of great works. We have already pointed out in the second chapter that the Lord’s all-inclusiveness and unlimitedness are manifested in His work. Due to limitations, I was not detailed enough, so I would like to add a further word.
Our Lord was incarnated, passed through human living, passed through death, entered into resurrection, and ascended to the heavens. What commission did His work fulfill? The first step He took was to bring God from heaven into man. Before Him, in the four thousand years of human history, no one had ever had God in him. Whether sages or sinners, whether good or evil, they were all alike in that they did not have God in them. Then one day, in the city of David, a child was born who was laid in a manger, and within this child was God. The Lord Jesus’ incarnation brought the complete Triune God—the Father, the Son, and the Spirit—into man. That day, on the earth there was a descendent of Adam, who was Jesus the Nazarene, who had God in Him. The complete God was brought into man. Therefore, while Jesus was on the earth in those thirty-three and a half years, He became an exceedingly mysterious person. He was a genuine man, yet it was God who lived in Him. This is very mysterious.
Then when He went to the cross, He brought the created man, whom He had become, with all the creation, the devil, and sin to be crucified there. Like a huge broom, the cross gave the whole universe an extensive sweeping and thus ended the entire old creation. Satan was terminated, the demons were annihilated, sin was cleared up, and you and I were also ended there. Hallelujah, this is the cross!
As I have said before, when the Lord Jesus died, He passed through death, and while He was passing through death, He did a great work. He died in seven statuses—as the Lamb of God, the bronze serpent, the last Adam, the Firstborn of all creation, a man in the flesh, the Peacemaker, and the divine grain of wheat. He passed through death in many statuses, and in the process, He accomplished a particular work in each status. As the Lamb of God, He took away our sins. As the bronze serpent, He dealt with our sinful nature. As the last Adam, He terminated our old man. As the Firstborn of all creation, He ended all the old creation. As a man in the likeness of the flesh, He condemned sin in the flesh. As the Peacemaker, He abolished the law of the ordinances. Furthermore, as the grain of wheat, He released the divine life. If He had not died, the divine life could not have been released. Once He died, the divine life was released from the shell of the grain of wheat. His death was truly a great step in His work. He accomplished a great work in His passing through death.
In the accomplishment of His great work, He also rested. While He was resting, He went in His living Spirit to the place where the fallen angelic spirits are imprisoned temporarily to proclaim to them. Therefore, 1 Peter 3:18 says that Christ, on the one hand, was put to death in the flesh, but on the other hand, was made alive in the Spirit. This is just like a grain of wheat that is sown into the earth. According to the outward shell, it decays and dies, but according to the life within, its organic function is activated and made alive so that it grows. Therefore, when the Lord Jesus passed through death and accomplished His work, He was strengthened, made alive, in His living Spirit, and then He walked out of death. That was His resurrection.
In such a resurrection He brought man into God. In His incarnation God was brought into man, while in His resurrection man was brought into God. We must thank and praise the Lord and shout with joy! Today there is a man sitting on the throne in the heavens. When Stephen was stoned to death, he saw the heavens opened up and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God. Today some theologians do not believe that the Lord Jesus is still a man after His resurrection. They say that the Lord Jesus was a man only from His birth to His crucifixion, and that after His resurrection from the dead, He ceased to be a man. When He was born, He put on humanity, but once He resurrected, He put off everything of humanity. They say, therefore, that today He is not man but only God. This is a heresy. The Bible tells us clearly that today in the heavens He still has His humanity. Before His incarnation, our Lord was God, not man. From the time He put on flesh and was born on the earth, He was not only God but also man. After His resurrection and ascension, He was still not only God but also man. Nevertheless, before His resurrection, His humanity was of the old creation. After His resurrection, His humanity of the old creation was uplifted into the new creation. This may be likened to a grain of wheat, which is small and brownish in its outward form. When it is sown into the earth, its shell decays, and the germ within breaks forth. In this way the grain changes in its outward form and becomes a green sprout. The sprout grows into a stalk, and after more growth, green leaves come out. After still more growth, ears of wheat appear. Thus, after the ears are produced, its form and shape have changed.
First Corinthians 15 shows us that after the Lord Jesus resurrected from the dead, He was still a man, yet His body was a resurrected body. In the evening of the day of His resurrection, He came to the place where His disciples were and stood in their midst, although the doors were shut. The disciples thought that they saw a spirit. The Lord showed them the marks of the nails on His hands and the mark on His side to prove that He had a body. How can we explain that the resurrected Christ still has a body? I do not know how to explain this. There are many great things in this universe that we cannot explain. Our Lord resurrected, and as the Spirit He still has a resurrected body. To this day He is still a man on the throne. Praise Him!
(The All-Inclusiveness and Unlimitedness of Christ, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)