The entire Bible speaks of life and building, and when we look at the priesthood in the book of Exodus we realize that it is inseparable from the building of God. As one of the hymns says, holy priests are living stones (see Hymns #849).
The building in the type of the tabernacle and the priesthood are one – they are one entity, and these two are inseparable; there’s no real priesthood without the building, and there’s no building without the priesthood.
The building of God is for His dwelling, and the priesthood is the assembly of priests as a collective entity to serve God; to have a genuine priesthood we must have the building, and in order to have the building, we must have a built-up priesthood.
As we begin to love the Lord by being constrained by His love, we desire to serve God, and this is right and necessary; however, we may neglect – like many children of God do – the matter of being built up. We may center on the service, on entering into a kind of service to God, but there’s almost no thought of building up.
Serving God has to do with God’s building. Many think that as long as they love the Lord and are zealous for Him, they can just go ahead and serve God; but the word of God clearly says that being built up as a spiritual house (1 Pet. 2:5) is the basic condition of our service.
The basic condition of serving God as a priest is not the exercise of gifts (although these are important, as mentioned in Corinthians), the need for knowledge or edification or perfecting, or even being trained to be a proper priest; the basic condition is being built up into the priesthood.
If we don’t serve up in a built-up way, if we serve without being built up in God’s spiritual house, there’s an inherent danger in our service – our service may become individualistic and independent in nature. To be a priest it is not enough just being burdened or zealous to serve God, but we need to be coordinated and built up with others.
May the Lord save us from being a “maverick priest”, one who serves by himself; such a priest may soon become a renegade priest, and there should not be such a thing. May we realize that, as the entire Bible reveals, there should be a coordinated body of serving ones who serve in a built-up way as an entity, for the Lord to gain His building, the priesthood.
Lord Jesus, save us from serving You in an individualistic and independent way. Cause us to realize that we need to be built up as a priesthood so that we may serve You and part of Your building. May we see that in order to have the building of God, the desire of God’s heart, we need to be built up as a priesthood, a coordinated body of priest. Amen, Lord, gain such a priesthood. Gain Your building. Build us up together with the saints in a coordinated way in spirit to serve You and be living stones in God’s building!
Life and Building are the Basic and Central Revelation of the Bible
The basic and central revelation of the Bible is life and building; from Gen. 2 all the way to Rev. 22, life and building pervade the entire divine revelation. Right after God created man, He put him in front of the tree of LIFE; also, there was a river issuing in four heads to reach all the four ends of the earth, and in its stream there were precious stones.
Then, Genesis proceeds to tell us that God took a rib from Adam’s side and built a woman, bringing it to him to be his counterpart. This is the principle clearly set in the divine record: life and building.
Throughout the Old Testament we see that God wants to be life to His people, supplying them abundantly, so that they may be His corporate expression as they enjoy Him as life and life supply.
In the New testament, similarly, we see life and building; when Paul says, Christ and the church, he actually refers to life and building. We need to grow in life, be saved in life, mature in life, and be transformed in life for the church, which is the building of God (also called the Body of Christ, the house of God, the one new man, and the bride of Christ).
In Revelation we see the conclusion of all that God is doing throughout the ages: a built up city with the throne, and the river of water of LIFE is flowing and the tree of LIFE is growing. Life is for building, the corporate expression of the Triune God, and the building is of life (John 11:25; 14:2; 1 Cor. 3:6, 9).
God’s building is not something physical or psychological; it is a spiritual house, which is in life and of life. Life is the content of God’s building, and the building of God is the corporate expression of the content. Life is God Himself, and building is the expression of the Triune God as life in a corporate organic entity (see Matt. 16:18; Rom. 8:2, 6, 10-11; 12:4-5).
God is looking for a group of people who would receive Him as life and express Him as a corporate entity, the Body of Christ as God’s building.
In the Gospel of John we see Jesus as the Word who became flesh so that we might have life (John 1:14; 3:15-16, 35) so that we may become God’s building, His corporate expression.
The Epistles of John speak of the fellowship of the divine life who enables us, the believers in Christ who received Him as our life, to enter deeper into God (1 John 1:2-10) and become His built-up church, the organic Body of Christ for His corporate expression.
Finally, what we see in Revelation is the believers who are built in God’s life to be His eternal tabernacle, the dwelling place of God with man (Rev. 21:3); the New Jerusalem is a city built with gold, pearls, and precious stones, signifying the regenerated, transformed, and glorified redeemed people of God who are built up with God Himself.
Thank You Lord for coming to us as life so that we may become Your building, the church as the house of God. Thank You for working Yourself into us little by little every day so that we may together be built up in life and become Your corporate expression. Lord, cause us to see and realize that life and building are the basic and central revelation of the Bible. Praise the Lord, the divine life is us, growing in us, transforming us, and building us up for God to have a corporate expression, the building of God!
The Lord’s Recovery is the Recovery of Life and Building for God’s Corporate Expression
Life is the Triune God embodied in Christ and realized as the Spirit dispensing Himself into us for our enjoyment, and building is the church, the Body of Christ, God’s spiritual house, as the enlargement and expansion of God for the corporate expression of God (Gen. 2:8-9, 22; Matt. 16:18; Col. 2:19; Eph. 4:16). Witness Lee
Life is not merely human life or just the divine life; life is the Triune God who is embodied in Christ and realized as the Spirit (after He went through a long process) to dispense Himself into us for our enjoyment.
Building is not merely brothers and sisters depending on one another but it is the enlargement of God, the expansion of the Triune God in humanity to enable God to express Himself in a corporate way.
Throughout the ages God has been working Himself into His chosen people so that He may obtain a corporate expression. Eventually, we all will become God’s building – which is the enlargement of Himself in humanity for Him to gain a corporate expression.
Today God is working Himself into us continually so that He may gain a corporate expression, the building of God. This is the basic and central revelation of the Bible, and this has been lost throughout the ages; therefore, today the Lord has a recovery of life and building.
In the Lord’s recovery we are here for God’s purpose and His goal, which is life and building. Others may focus on a Christian work or on doctrines, but we are here so that the Lord may gain a group of people into whom He can enter, dispense Himself, and then build them up in His life to be His corporate expression.
The Lord’s recovery is the recovery of life and building for us to be built up to be the church as the house of God and the Body of Christ (see Eph. 2:21-22; Rom. 12:4-5; 1 Cor. 15:45b; 12:12, 27; Col. 3:4, 15; 2:19).
On the one hand, Christ today is the life-giving Spirit with our spirit to constantly impart the divine life in us; Christ is our life, and He is the preeminent One in us. On the other hand, we are being built up together in God’s life and in the church to be the Body of Christ, the house of God.
We experience Christ as life for the building of God. The central vision of the Bible – the building of the house of God – can be considered the highlight of the Bible and also the essence extracted from the Bible.
If we read such portions as Exo. 25:8; 40:17-35; Matt. 16:18; Eph. 2:21-22; 1 Tim. 3:15; and Rev. 21:2-3, we will realize that the highlight in the entire Bible and the essence extracted from the Bible is God working Himself into man as life to obtain a building, the church as the house of God; the entire Bible speaks of life and building, and today the Lord is recovering the matter of life and building for the building up of the church as His Body.
Lord Jesus, thank You for coming as the Spirit to dispense Yourself as life into us so that we, as a result of enjoying Your dispensing, may become the building of God as His enlargement and corporate expression. Lord, recover life and building for us to be built up as the church, the house of God and the Body of Christ! Keep us under Your divine dispensing of life today so that we may be part of Your corporate expression, Your building.
References and Hymns on this Topic
- Inspiration: the Word of God, my enjoyment in the ministry, the message by brother Minoru C. for this week, and Life and Building in the Gospel of John, ch. 1 (by Witness Lee), as quoted in the Holy Word for Morning Revival on, Crystallization-Study of Exodus (part 4, 2016 Summer Training), week 41 / msg. 5, The Tabernacle and the Priesthood.
- Hymns on this topic:
# God’s life and building can be seen / Within the Song of Songs; / He shows by types His seeking ones, / The Bride for whom Christ longs! (Hymns #1241)
# The Christian life is a life, / A life of living Christ / For the constitution and building up / Of the Body of Christ; / The Christian life is a life of living Christ. (Song on Living Christ for God’s building)
# Rise up! Grow in life! / Minister Christ to the nations, / Arrive at oneness— / Lord, have mercy, / We would see Your eternal purpose. / Keep us faithful / To recover and build up Your church. (Song on growing in life for God’s building)
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