THREE LAYERS IN THE DIVINE REVELATION
OF THE BIBLE
In the Bible there are three layers to the divine revelation. We all know that anything that is noble and valuable is not simple but has more than one layer. Tsingtao in China produces a kind of crystal rock. If a person digs in the shallow places, he will be able to find only the coarse crystal. If he wants the precious crystal, he must dig in the deep places. In the Bible there are three levels to the divine revelation, and the kind of person we are determines what we receive when we read the Bible. The level at which we are determines the level of revelation we will find in the Bible. For example, there was a top philosopher in modern China called Hu Shih. According to his realization, the Bible is a superb literary work of the modern Chinese language. Some people who look for filial piety from their children find the Bible to be a book on honoring one’s parents. The sisters who want their husbands to love them find the Bible to be a book about husbands loving their wives. Those who expect their wives to submit to them find the Bible to be a book on wives’ submission to their husbands. Hence, the kind of person we are determines the kind of revelation we will find in the Bible.
If we read the Bible without prejudice, and study it again and again with a heart that fears God, we will see that the Bible is not simple and shallow. John 1:1-2 says, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God." Verse 4 says, "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." The wording of these verses is very simple, but the meaning is very profound. The Lord Jesus said, "I am the light of the world; he who follows Me shall by no means walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life" (John 8:12). Which world ruler, sage, or wise man could say such a thing? Who can understand this word? In John 14—17 we have the Lord’s word of farewell to His disciples and His prayer on the night of His betrayal. This passage is even more profound and difficult to understand. I have been studying these four chapters for decades. Even today I still cannot say that I have exhausted the mystery in these chapters. After years of study and research on the Bible, I have arrived at the conclusion that the Bible is not simple; it is a book of three layers.
The First Layer—the Gospel and Salvation of God
In the Bible the first layer of the divine revelation is the gospel and salvation of God. When Adam fell, God came to preach the gospel to him, saying, "Her [the woman’s] seed..shall bruise thy [Satan’s] head" (Gen. 3:15). After Adam fell, he both hated and feared the serpent. God promised Adam that the seed of the woman, Christ, who would be born of a virgin, would bruise the head of the serpent, Satan. At the fullness of time, Christ Himself took on a body of flesh and blood to destroy him who has the might of death, that is, the devil (Heb. 2:14).
Later, God preached the gospel to Abraham, saying, "In thee [in thy seed] shall all families of the earth be blessed" (Gen. 12:3b; Gal. 3:8). The promise God gave to Abraham is the gospel He preached to him. God preached the gospel not only to the patriarchs, but to the Old Testament saints as well, saying, "Therefore with joy shall ye draw water out of the wells of salvation" (Isa. 12:3).
In the New Testament we see the same thing. The redemption Christ accomplished through His death and resurrection is not only for man, the chief object among all God’s creation, but also for the entire creation. This is the reason the Lord charged the disciples to "go into all the world and preach the gospel to all the creation" (Mark 16:15) because our Savior God "desires all men to be saved" (1 Tim. 2:4).
(The Economy and Dispensing of God, Chapter 1, by Witness Lee)