The Central Thought of God, by Witness Lee


If you receive God, you will have the life of God. Then you will have a flow, a stream, a river, of living water within you. In Genesis 2:10-14 we see that by the side of the tree of life there is one river flowing with four heads toward the four directions of the whole earth. When you receive Christ as your life, there is something within you flowing all the time as a stream of living water.

Christians are living persons. They are very active and very positive because there is another life within them that is living, moving, acting, and energizing. There is only one way for you to check whether you are proper as a Christian. That way is to check if you have the living stream flowing within you all the time. Do you have the living flow, the living stream, within you at this very moment? By our experience we know that there is a flow, a current, of the life of God. When we are regenerated, we have something within us that is living, acting, moving, and energizing as an inner flow.

One day a servant of the Lord whom I knew well told me that in a certain place at a certain time he desperately felt that the stream within him stopped. A year later I met him again, and he told me, “Brother, even up to this day, the stream, the flow, within me has not been recovered.” Then he said, “Brother Lee, this morning I got up early, about five o’clock, to cry to the Lord, ‘Lord, why has the flow within stopped? For more than a year, even up to this day, it has not been recovered. O Lord, why?’”

As a Christian, a reborn one, you should have the divine life within you flowing all the time. If the flow is stopped, that means you are wrong. As a husband or a wife, you may quarrel about who is right and who is wrong. While you are quarreling, however, the current within you is stopped. You are right, but the current is stopped. You are right and everything is to your credit, but there is a debit within you. As far as the current is concerned, there is a debit. The heavenly bank would not credit you. The more you quarrel, the more you reason with others, the more your inner conscience tells you that the current within you is stopped.

Sometimes you have another kind of experience. While you are trying to quarrel, there is a frustration within you. That frustration is the inhibiting of the flow of the life stream. If you would go along with this inner sense and say, “Lord, I will stop everything,” you will sense how living the flow is within you. You may give up your reasoning, but you have the living flow, the current, the fellowship, the communion, the stream, of the life of God. What good is it to be right yet not have the flow? As long as you have the divine life, you should have the divine flow. If you are in the communion, the fellowship, with God, you have the flow. Otherwise, you are out of the fellowship.


The picture in Genesis 2 further shows us that out of the flow, three precious items come into being. These three items are gold, bdellium (pearl), and onyx stone. There are one tree and one river, but three items. The number three points to the Divine Trinity. If you have God as the tree of life, you will have the divine stream flowing within you all the time. Then the issue, the result, will be three items of precious things. Man was a piece of clay, formed out of the dust of the ground, but before him was the tree of life with a flow of living water issuing in three precious items. This picture shows that we can be transformed into precious materials for God’s building by partaking of the tree of life and enjoying the inner flow of the river of water of life.

At the beginning of the Scriptures, there was a man by the name of Adam. That man was of dust, a man of clay, an earthen man. But at the end of the whole Scriptures, that is, at the end of the book of Revelation, there is another man, a corporate man, a collective man, with the names of the twelve tribes and of the twelve apostles. With this collective man, this corporate man, everything is gold, pearl, and precious stones. That corporate man is the holy city, the New Jerusalem. The city itself is gold, the entrances of the city are pearls, and the wall with its foundations is precious stones.

The man in the first creation is a man of dust, but the man in the second creation is a man of gold, of pearls, and of precious stones. In the first two chapters of the Scriptures, that man was the old man in the old creation. In the last two chapters, this man is the new man in the new creation. Man as a piece of clay is transformed, transfigured, into precious materials by taking the Triune God as life.

By taking the tree of life and by having the flow of the divine river, we are first regenerated. Regeneration is a change, a transformation, a transfiguration, in our spirit. After regeneration, gradually we have to be transformed, and finally our vile body will be changed, transfigured, into a glorious body. We have three parts: spirit, soul, and body. In our spirit we have been regenerated. From that time onward we have to be transformed in the soul—in the mind, emotion, and will. Then eventually, when the Lord comes back, our body will be transfigured. First, we are regenerated in the spirit; second, we are being transformed in the soul; and lastly, we will be transfigured in our body. We were made persons of clay, but by taking God as life and by having the divine river flowing within us, we can be regenerated and transformed into gold, pearl, and precious stones.

All these precious materials are something of the Triune God. The first item is of the Father, the second item is of the Son, and the third item is of the Spirit. God the Father to us is the divine nature as the gold. After we have been regenerated, we have the life of God and the divine nature of God, which is signified by gold. In the types of the Scriptures, gold signifies the divine nature, whereas wood signifies the human nature. For instance, in the Old Testament there is acacia wood overlaid with gold to make many items within the tabernacle. Acacia wood signifies the human nature of Christ, and gold signifies the divine nature. Gold is God the Father’s divine nature. Gold is not an element that has been transformed.

However, pearl is different. Pearl is not something created by God. It comes out of a pearl-bearing oyster. The oyster is hurt, wounded, by a grain of sand. Then the secretion of the oyster gradually transforms the grain of sand into a pearl. The oyster signifies Christ. Christ lived in the death waters, in this world of death. He was wounded by us, a piece of sand, and He secretes His life over us to make us precious pearls for the building of God’s eternal expression. By Christ’s wound and life we as little grains of sand are regenerated to be pearls. Hence, this is the work of the Second of the Godhead. The pearl signifies God the Son as regeneration to us. Our regeneration transpired in the Son, by the Son, and with the Son.

Now we need to consider the significance of the precious stones. Precious stones are not created by God. They have been transformed, transfigured, from some other material. A piece of coal becomes a diamond, a precious stone, through a tremendous amount of heat and pressure over a long period of time. Since we have been born again, the Holy Spirit has been trying His best to put us under a certain kind of pressure and into a certain kind of burning for our transformation. Do you consider yourself to be precious, good, and nice? Truthfully, I do not feel that I am so nice. Many times I look at myself as a piece of black, dark coal. I have been regenerated, and I have the nature of God. There is no doubt about this, but I am still a piece of coal or a piece of clay. I need pressure and burning. The Holy Spirit always tries His best, if we are available, to put us under a certain pressure and burning for our transformation. Then we become the precious material for His building.

(The Central Thought of God, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)