Scripture Reading: Genesis 1:1, 2, 9-12, 26, 27, 29; 7:17; 8:1, 13, 22; 12:1, 7; Exodus 3:8; 6:8; Ezekiel 20:40-42; 1 Corinthians 1:30; Colossians 2:6, 7, 16, 17; 3:11; Ephesians 2:12; Galatians 5:4
In this series of messages we want to see something of the land of Canaan, which is the type of the all-inclusive Christ. We also want to see how the city and the Temple, which were built on this land of Canaan, are types of the fullness of Christ, which is His Body, the Church. Thus, what we will consider is the all-inclusive Christ, out of which and upon which the fullness of Christ, the Church, is built. Remember well that it is not just Christ and the Church but the all-inclusive Christ and the fullness of Christ which is His Body, the Church!
First of all, I would ask you to realize that according to the Scriptures all physical things, all the material things that we see, touch, and enjoy, are not the real things. They are but a shadow, a figure of the true. Day by day we are contacting so many material objects: we are eating food, drinking water, putting on clothes; we are living in our houses and driving in our cars. I would ask you to realize and remember well that all these things are not real! They are but shadows, figures. The food we take every day is not the real food but a figure of the real. The water we drink is not the real water. The light before our eyes is not the real light but a figure pointing to something else.
Then what are the real things? Brothers and sisters, I would by the grace of God tell you in truth that the real things are nothing but Christ Himself! Christ is the real food to us! Christ is the real water to us! Christ is the real light to us! Christ is the reality of everything to us! Even our physical life is not a real life. It is but a figure pointing to Christ. Christ is the real life to us! If you don’t have Christ, you don’t have life! You will say, “I am living; I have life in my body!” But you must realize that this is not the real life. It is merely a shadow pointing to the real life which is Christ Himself.
Day by day while living in my house, I have the realization and feeling that it is not my real dwelling. One day I said to the Lord, “Lord, this is not my dwelling place; this is not the real one; this is nothing. Lord, You Yourself are my dwelling place.” Yes, He is the real habitation to us!
Now I would ask you a question. Probably this has never occurred to you. You may be quite clear that Christ is your food, that Christ is your living water, that Christ is your light, and that Christ is your life. But let me ask you, have you ever realized that Christ is the very land on which you are living? Christ is the land! You may feel that day by day you are living on this earth, on this piece of land, but you must realize that this earth is not your real land. Even this earth is nothing but a figure pointing to Christ! Christ is the real land to us! Food is a figure, water is a figure, light is a figure, our life is a figure, and the land is a figure too! Christ is the real land to us! I must tell you that I have been a Christian for more than thirty years, but never until recent years did I have the thought that Christ is the land to me. I knew that Christ to me is the life, the light, the food and everything, but not the land!
In the last few years the Lord has brought me to experience Him more and more. Before the Lord showed me that He is the land to us, He first showed me that He is our dwelling place! I had read the Scriptures day by day for more than twenty years without noticing that the Lord is our dwelling place. Then one day I saw something from the ninetieth Psalm. In the first verse Moses said, “Lord, You are our dwelling place from generation to generation.” Oh, that day the Lord opened my eyes to see that He is my dwelling place! At that time I knew the Lord as something more. But after two or three years the Lord opened my eyes even further. I saw that the Lord is not only the dwelling place to me, but also the land! The Lord is the land to me! Oh, from that time the Lord has shown me many things from the Scriptures. From that time I began to understand why in the Old Testament the Lord always referred to a piece of land. The Lord called out Abraham, telling him that He would bring him to a certain land, which was the land of Canaan. You can recall how many times from the twelfth chapter of Genesis to the end of the Old Testament the Lord stressed and referred to the land again and again. The land...the land...the land I promised to your fathers. The land I promised Abraham; the land I promised Isaac; the land I promised Jacob; the land I promised you. I will bring you into the land! It was the land, the land, always the land!
The center of the Old Testament is the Temple within the city. This Temple within the city was built on that piece of land, and this piece of land with the Temple and the city built upon it is the very center of the Old Testament Scriptures! It is also the very center of God’s mind! In God’s mind is this piece of land with its Temple and city!
If we know the Scriptures and have light from God, we will realize that the center of God’s eternal plan, typically speaking, is the land with its Temple and the city. The Old Testament, from the first chapter of Genesis, always takes the land as the center, always mentions something related to the land!
Let us look at the first chapter of Genesis. Perhaps you are so familiar with that chapter that you could even recite it. But one thing may be hidden from you. In the first chapter of Genesis there is something very important hidden beneath the surface. It is the land! Please consider. What is the purpose and aim of God’s creation according to the record of the first chapter of Genesis? It is nothing but the recovery of the land! God wanted to recover the land and do something upon it. “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” What about the earth? There was chaos upon the earth. Waste and void and deep waters were upon it. It was buried under the deep. So God came in to work; God began to recover the earth. He divided the light from the darkness and the waters which were above from the waters which were beneath. Then He divided the water from the earth, and the earth came out from the waters on the third day. It was the third day when the Lord Jesus Christ came out of the depths of death. So, you see, this is a type! On the third day God brought the earth out of the waters of death. From this type you can realize what the earth is! The earth, or the land, is a type of Christ!
Then after the land came out of the waters, what happened? Oh, all kinds of life came into being—grass, herbs producing seed, and fruit trees yielding fruit. I think that now you see the picture. After the resurrection of Christ, after the Lord was brought out of death, He produced abundant life! [John 10:10] Yes, He was full of the production of life! Then on this land which was full of life, man was created according to the image of God, having the likeness of God, and to this man was committed God’s authority. After the Lord came out of death, there was an abundance of life produced, and in the midst of this fullness of life a man was created who was the representative of God, with God’s image, God’s likeness, and God’s authority! All these things have transpired in Christ as a piece of land!
Now you know what is meant by the land. The land is but a figure of Christ as everything to us! Everything that God prepared for mankind is concentrated in the land! Man was created to live on the land to enjoy all the provision of God! All things related to man are concentrated in the land, which is a type of Christ! All things which God has prepared for us are concentrated in Christ!
Later you will see how God brought His people into the promised land and how His people remained there and enjoyed all its riches. The result was that the city and the Temple came into being. The city and the Temple are the result of the enjoyment of this land. What is the city and the Temple? The city is the center of God’s authority, God’s Kingdom, and the Temple is the center of God’s House, God’s dwelling place. The Kingdom of God and the House of God are the result of the enjoyment of the land. When the people of God enjoy this land to a certain extent, something comes into existence—the authority of God and the presence of God, or, in other words, the Kingdom of God and the House of God. If we possess Christ as a piece of land and enjoy all His riches, after a certain extent something will issue forth—the Church with God’s Kingdom, the Temple in the city!
Now you can apply all these things to the Old Testament and New Testament Scriptures. In principle, everything recorded in the Old Testament is exactly the same as that in the New; there is no difference! God’s intention revealed in both the Old and New Testaments is that Christ should be the land to us! We have the ground to enjoy all the riches of Christ! God gave us this ground. After a certain amount of enjoyment of His riches, something will issue forth—the Kingdom of God and the House of God, the Church with God’s Kingdom. This is the central thought of God’s eternal plan!
If you read the Scriptures carefully, you will see a very grim and serious activity being carried on. Satan, the enemy of God, has done his utmost and is still doing his utmost to frustrate the people of God from enjoying this piece of land. He will do whatever he can to spoil the enjoyment of Christ as the land. Read the Scriptures. Not long after God created the heavens and the earth with the intention of giving the earth to mankind as an enjoyment, Satan did something to frustrate Him. Because of Satan’s rebellion, God had to judge the universe, and due to that judgment the earth was buried beneath the waters of the deep. This hindered God’s plan for some time. Then God came in to work and do something, and as we have seen already, He recovered the land from the waters of the deep. Upon this recovered land, an abundance of life came into being. And then a life with the image of God and committed with the authority of God came forth. However, we know that it was not long after this before the enemy came in again. He deceived man and put God in a position where judgment upon the earth was again imperative. The recovered earth was once more put under the waters of the deep: the flood came and covered the whole earth, and typically speaking man was separated from the enjoyment of the land which is Christ. Remember the phrase in Ephesians, apart from Christ? That you were at that time apart from Christ, alienated from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world (Ephesians 2:12). All those people who were under the judgment of the flood were a type of people separated from Christ. To be separated from the earth, figuratively speaking, is to be separated from Christ. But through the redemption of the ark, Noah and his family obtained the right to possess the land and enjoy all its riches. The ark brought them back to the enjoyment of the land. The flood separated people from the earth, but the ark brought people back to the earth. Once more man took possession of the land and enjoyed its riches. But again, it was not long before the enemy did something more to spoil the enjoyment of the earth. So, out of that race made rebellious by Satan, God called one man, Abraham, and told him that He would bring him to a certain land. Now you realize that God’s work is always to recover the land. The enemy’s work is always to frustrate, to spoil, to hinder, to do something to put the land in chaos. Now the Lord once more brought His chosen one to the land. But then, you remember well, it was not long before even this chosen one gradually drifted away from the land into Egypt. Yes, and the Lord brought him back once more to this piece of land. And then his sons, the people of Israel all left this land and went down into Egypt. Then, after a long period, the Lord once more brought all the people up from Egypt and back to this very piece of land. Again, after a period of time, the enemy moved again and sent the Chaldeans, the army from Babylon, to spoil the land and capture the people from it. And again, after seventy years, the Lord brought them back once more to this piece of land.
I tell you, this is the history of the Old Testament. How many times did the Lord recover this land? At least five or six times. The Lord created it, but the enemy spoiled it. The Lord came in to recover, but the enemy countered with something else. The Lord moved again to recover, but the enemy again reacted. Oh, here is the struggle! Do you see? Here is the battle!
I would ask you to consider the purpose of these battles recorded in the Old Testament. For what purpose were they fought? You must see that they were all focused upon the land. The enemy came to assault the land, to take over the land. Then God moved to fight for His people and recover the land. All the battles in the Old Testament were concerned with this piece of land.
What is this piece of land? Never forget, this land is the all-inclusive Christ! Not just Christ, but the all-inclusive Christ! If I were to ask you if you have Christ, you would answer, “Oh, praise the Lord, I have Him; I have Christ!” But I would ask you what kind of Christ you have. I am afraid that in your experience you have just a little Christ, a poor Christ, not an all-inclusive Christ.
Let me tell you a story, a real story. Not long after I was saved, I studied the Scriptures, and I was taught that the Passover lamb was the type of Christ. Oh, when I learned this, how I praised the Lord! I exclaimed, “Lord, I praise You, You are the Lamb; You are the Lamb for me!” But I would ask you to compare the lamb with the land. What kind of comparison can you make between a little lamb and a great land? What is the Lamb? You must say that it is Christ! But I would tell you that it is a little Christ. That was not the goal of God for His people. God never told them, “All right, as long as you have the Lamb, that is sufficient.” No. God told them in effect that the reason He gave them the Lamb was to bring them into the land! The Passover was for the land!
Do you have Christ? Yes, you have Christ. But what kind of Christ do you have, a Lamb or a land? All the people of Israel had the lamb on that Passover Day in Egypt, but very few, I’m sorry to say, got into the land. Very few took possession of that piece of land.
After I was saved for one or two years, I was taught that the manna which the children of Israel enjoyed in the wilderness was also a type of Christ. I was so joyful. I said, “Lord, You are my food; You are not only the Lamb to me, but also my daily manna.” But, I would ask you, is the manna the purpose, the goal of God? Did God deliver His people from Egypt to enjoy the manna in the wilderness? No! The land is the purpose; the land is the goal! Do you enjoy Christ as the land? I doubt it, and I venture to say that even you doubt it. You can say that you enjoy the Lamb as your Passover and the Lord as your daily manna, but very few can really say that they enjoy the all-inclusive Christ as the land!
The Word tells us in Colossians Chapter 2 that we have been rooted in Christ. Now I would ask you to consider: If we have been rooted in Christ, then what is Christ to us? Yes, Christ is the earth; Christ is the soil. A plant or a tree is rooted in the soil, in the land. Even so, we have been rooted in Christ. I am afraid you have never realized that Christ is the very soil, the very land to you. You are a little plant rooted in this land which is Christ Himself! I must confess that five or six years ago, I never had such a thought. I read the Scriptures and spent much time in the book of Colossians. I read it over and over, but never obtained this light. I never knew that Christ is the soil, my very earth. It was not until the last few years that my eyes were opened.
I deeply feel that most of the Lord’s children are still remaining in Egypt. They have only experienced the Passover; they have just taken the Lord as the Lamb. They have been saved by the Lamb, but they have not been delivered out of this world! Yes, some have come out of Egypt, some have been delivered from the world, but they are still wandering in the wilderness. They enjoy Christ a little more; they enjoy Him as their daily manna. They can boast that they enjoy Christ as their food and they are so satisfied. But, brothers and sisters, is this good enough? I think when we meet those who enjoy Christ as their daily manna, we are very happy. We say, “Oh, praise the Lord, here are some brothers and sisters who really enjoy the Lord as their manna day by day!” But we must realize that this falls far short of God’s purpose! God’s purpose is not just that we enjoy Christ a little, but that He should be the all-inclusive One to us! Look at this verse: “As therefore you have received the Christ, Jesus the Lord, walk in Him” (Colossians 2:6). He is a sphere, a realm for us to walk in! He is not just some food or water, but a realm, a land within which we can walk! We must walk in Him! He is our land, He is our earth, He is our Kingdom! Walk in Him!
I believe that the picture is very clear. In Egypt was the Lamb, in the wilderness was the manna, and ahead of the people of Israel was the land of Canaan. That is the goal; that land is the goal of God! We have to enter in! It is our portion! It is the all-inclusive gift of God to us! We must take possession of it. It is ours, but we must enjoy it!
In these days we have been speaking much about the Church and the expression of the Body of Christ. But you and I must realize that if we are not able to take possession of Christ as the all-inclusive One and experience Him, there can never be the reality of the Church! You and I must realize that we have been rooted in Christ as a plant rooted in the soil. We must possess Christ as everything to us, not just in words or in doctrine but in practical reality! We must realize that just as the soil is everything to that plant, so Christ is everything to us! We must realize this to such an extent that we can experience Christ! You and I have already been rooted, but we do not realize the fact, we do not take possession of the fact. Colossians tells us that having been rooted, we are being built up in Him with others. If we have no experience of having been rooted in Christ, how can we be built up with others? That is why the building up of the Church among the Lord’s people is almost [nothing], nil. How could there be a Temple and a city when the people of Israel were still wandering in the wilderness? Since they were not in possession of the land, it was impossible. How can there be the real building up of the Church? How can there be the real expression of the Body of Christ? It can only be by realizing and experiencing Christ as everything to us! Brothers and sisters, may the Lord open our eyes!
Day by day we are speaking many words. But do you realize that all our words must be Christ? Do you speak Christ? Do you take Christ as your words? If you do not, you are speaking nonsense. Perhaps you will ask what I mean. I mean this: if you have received light to see that in God’s mind Christ is everything, the Holy Spirit will lead you to the place where you realize that even the words you speak day by day must be Christ! You will accept the work of the Cross upon your mouth and upon your words. You will be renewed in your speaking. You will be renewed in your language. You will experience Christ to such an extent that you will say, “Lord, if what I am going to say is not of You, I will not say it. I apply the Cross to my mouth. I apply the Cross to my speaking so that I may be renewed by You in my words.”
Let me give you a few more examples of how we must realize Christ as everything to us. Whenever we are going to eat, we should immediately have the registration within us that Christ is our real food. We have to say, “Lord, this is not my true food; You are the food by which I live. Man does not really live by this food, but by Yourself. Lord, I would spend more time taking You than eating this food.” When we are going to rest, we must say, “Lord, You are my rest; You are my true rest!” Whatever we are going to do, whatever we are going to enjoy and experience, we must realize that Christ is that very thing.
Sisters, you are the ones who are always doing the shopping. Have you ever thought that Christ is that very thing for which you are going to shop? I believe very few of you have had such a thought. Perhaps you have heard a message about Christ being everything to us; you have sung Hallelujah in the meeting, but immediately afterward you have forgotten everything. If you have received true light from the Lord, the Holy Spirit will point out Christ to you in a practical way day by day, step by step. He will show you that whatever you are going to buy must be a figure of Christ! You will not want to pay the price for anything outside of Christ. You will say, “I wish to gain Christ; I want to have more of Christ.” You can apply Christ to everything!
Young people, when you are going to study, you can say, “Lord, You are my book. I would read You; I would study You much more than these books. I would apply You at this very moment while I am reading.”
Try to exercise in such a way day by day. Take Christ as the land; take Him as everything to you—not just as food, not just as the light, not just as your dwelling place, but as the all-inclusive land! You must realize that Christ is the all-inclusive One to you! You must practice to experience Christ and apply Him in everything! Then, I believe something will issue forth from you, and that something will be the building of the Church in God’s Kingdom, the Temple in the city. This is the purpose of God!
Verses and footnotes are taken from The Holy Bible Recovery Version and Words of Ministry from Brother Witness Lee, The All-Inclusive Christ, Introduction, Chapter One, and [with personal enlightenment and inspiration]. Both are published by Living Stream Ministry, Anaheim, CA. All Rights Reserved.
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To open their eyes, to turn them from darkness to light and from the authority of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.
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