HWMR – Crystallization-study of Joshua, Judges, and Ruth (Week 5)
The Produce of the Land of Canaan and the Intrinsic Significance of the Allotment of the Good Land
Key Point – To reach the goal of God’s economy, we need to progress until we enter into the highest stage of eating Christ as the rich produce of the good land so that we may overcome the spiritual enemies, be built up to be God’s dwelling place, and establish God’s kingdom on earth.
Deut 8:7 For Jehovah your God is bringing you to a good land, a land of waterbrooks, of springs and of fountains, flowing forth in valleys and in mountains;
Deut 8:8 A land of wheat and barley and vines and fig trees and pomegranates; a land of olive trees with oil and of honey;
Consider what you are eating today. Are you eating the Lamb, the manna, or the rich produce of the good land?…In your Christian life, the eating of Christ must progress from the Lamb and the manna to the solid food of the good land. You need to eat the wheat, the barley, and all the other foodstuffs that have the minerals to make you strong stones, iron, and copper for God’s building and for the fighting of the battle. (CWWL, 1977, vol. 1, “The Kernel of the Bible,” p. 206)
We must build the temple and fight the battle so that God may have the kingdom. This is what God needs today. The tabernacle is not adequate. God needs a temple with a city in a kingdom with the kingship and the fighting capability. The Lamb energizes us to leave Egypt, and the manna nourishes us and constitutes us with the heavenly element. Although both of these items are good, they are not good for fighting. No one would fight a battle with a lamb or with manna. We need solid food with minerals in it. We need to be rocks, not wafers. We need weapons made out of iron and copper. Oh, we need stones, iron, and copper to build up the temple, to establish the kingdom, to fight the battle, and to defeat the enemy!…As His people eat the solid food and take in the minerals that make them stones, iron, and copper, God has His kingdom. These minerals make us rocks for God’s building so that the kingdom may be established, and they make us iron and copper to fight the battle to subdue the enemy.
Once we are in the good land, we shall no longer eat manna, for our supply is the rich produce of the land. In order to eat this rich produce, we must first live in the good land….In the wilderness there is no wheat, no barley, no grapes, and no figs; there is just manna. Second, we need to labor on the good land. We need to till the ground, sow the seed, water the seed, cultivate the soil, and then reap the harvest. The good land in which we are living is Christ. Day by day we need to work on Christ. Morning watch, prayer, and dealing with the Lord are all aspects of working on Christ. (CWWL, 1977, vol. 1, “The Kernel of the Bible,” pp. 206-208)
Life-study of Colossians (Message 43)
Identified with Christ by Being Grafted Into Him
Col. 1:27 To whom God willed to make known what are the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory,
Col. 1:28 Whom we announce, admonishing every man and teaching every man in all wisdom that we may present every man full-grown in Christ;
In Romans 6:5 Paul goes on to say, “For if we have grown together with Him in the likeness of His death, we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection.” We have grown together with Christ in the likeness of His death, that is, in the baptism mentioned in verse 4. Now we see that we shall also grow in the likeness of His resurrection, that is, in the newness of life, also mentioned in verse 4. The important point is that to be baptized is to grow. One who has been baptized has grown in the likeness of Christ’s death and now is growing in the likeness of His resurrection.
The growth in Romans 6:5 can be illustrated by the grafting of a branch from one tree into another tree. Through grafting, two lives become one. Hence, the process of grafting signifies our spiritual identification with Christ. We are identified with Christ, made one with Him, by being grafted into Him.
In Romans 11 Paul uses the example of branches from a wild olive tree grafted into a cultivated olive tree (vv. 17, 24). In order for grafting to take place, both trees must experience cutting. This cutting signifies the experience of being put to death. Apart from this cutting, grafting cannot take place. In His crucifixion, Christ was cut, and He still bears the marks of this cutting. This means that within the being of the resurrected Christ, there is an opening into which we, the wild olive branches, can be grafted. However, if we would be grafted into Him, we also must be cut. Then we are joined to Him at the very place where both He and we have been cut. In a sense, the two cuts embrace each other. Through such an embrace, the grafting is accomplished, and the two trees become one.
Immediately after the process of grafting has been completed, the branch from the wild olive tree begins to grow in oneness with the cultivated olive tree. Furthermore, the cultivated olive tree grows with the branch from the wild olive tree. Both trees grow together as one tree with one life and one living. The life in this tree is a new life in which two natures have been mingled together.
To be baptized is to be grafted into Christ. This baptism involves growth. After a person repents and believes in the Lord Jesus, he grows with Christ first in the likeness of His death and then in the likeness of His resurrection. By the growth which takes place in baptism we get into Christ.
Now that we are in Christ, we are growing in Him. In Colossians 1:28 Paul speaks of presenting every man full-grown in Christ. By warning others and teaching them in all wisdom, Paul helped them to grow. We should do the same thing in the church life today. After a person has been baptized, he needs to be nourished in order to grow to maturity.
Because we are in Christ, Christ is also in us. This fact is also illustrated by grafting. After the branch from a wild olive tree is grafted into a cultivated olive tree, it is part of the cultivated olive tree, and it grows in it. The life juice from the cultivated olive tree enters into the branch from the wild olive tree. In this way, the cultivated olive tree grows in the branch from the wild olive tree. In like manner, since we have been grafted into Christ, He now dwells in us and is growing in us.
Life-study of Colossians (Message 44)
Having Been Rooted in Christ to Grow with the Growth of God
Col. 2:6 As therefore you have received the Christ, Jesus the Lord, walk in Him,
Col. 2:7 Having been rooted and being built up in Him, and being established in the faith even as you were taught, abounding in thanksgiving.
In the book of Colossians there are implications that believers are to grow like plants rooted in the soil. In order to understand the Bible, we need to understand both the direct meaning of the words and also the implications. Sometimes the revelation expressed through the implications of a verse is deeper than that conveyed in the direct statements. This is true of Colossians 2:6 and 7. Verse 7 speaks of our “having been rooted” in Christ. This implies that, in God’s eyes, we are plants. Those who have been baptized into Christ are plants rooted in Christ.
The phrase “having been rooted and being built up in Him” is related to those who are walking in the preceding verse. We are to walk in Christ, having been rooted and being built up in Him. This means that we are to walk by having been rooted in Christ. If we have not been rooted in Him, we cannot walk in Him. As living plants, we are walking plants. We walk by being rooted in Christ. What wonderful, mysterious plants Christians are! We are plants who both walk and grow.
Some may think that it is not logical to say, on the one hand, that we can be rooted and, on the other hand, that we walk. How can one who has been rooted in Christ also walk in Him? The answer is that the land in which we are rooted is a living land. Since we have been rooted in a living, moving land, we live and move in Him. Hence, it is not actually that we do the walking, but it is the land which moves. Praise the Lord that we are rooted in Christ who is the living land! Because the land moves, we can move also. According to the implication of these verses, it is proper to speak in this way.
We should not think that we are the ones walking in the land. If we try to walk, we shall stumble and fall. Then we may be defeated by Satan and led astray. We should regard ourselves as plants rooted in Christ as our living land. As those who have been rooted in Him, we walk as He moves. This is to walk in Him.
Colossians 2:6 says to walk in Him. This adverbial phrase modifies the word walk. It indicates that we cannot walk in Christ unless we have been rooted in Him. Thus, we walk in the living land in which we have been rooted.
As we consider 2:6 and 7, we see that to grow in Christ is to walk in Him. We have pointed out that “having been rooted and being built up in Him” is related to the word walk. This phrase gives us the meaning of walking in Christ. Because we have been rooted in the moving Christ, we walk in Him.
The fact that walking in Christ is a matter of growing is indicated by the word rooted. Plants are rooted in the soil for the purpose of growth. If a tree is to grow, it must be properly rooted. Without roots, a tree will die, for it has no way to absorb moisture from the soil. A tree is able to grow, however, when it absorbs moisture through its roots.
Although the rooting is for the growing, 2:6 does not speak of growing, but of walking in Christ. However, the implied significance of these terms is that genuine growth consists of our walking in Christ. We do not grow by walking in ourselves; we grow by walking in Christ. We have seen that if we would walk in Him, we must first be rooted in Him as the living land. Then we walk as He moves and acts. Such a walk is genuine growth.