The Unique Place of Gods Choice for Keeping OnenessDeuteronomy 12.
The oneness of the church, visibly manifested in the local church, was a matter of supreme importance to Witness Lee. In fact, he wrote an entire book on the matter of the practical oneness of the church, entitled The Genuine Ground of Oneness. In his commentary on the illustrations found in Deuteronomy 12, he emphasizes the type of genuine Christian oneness found there:
We thank the Lord that for nearly all the spiritual things in the New Testament there are types in the Old Testament. One of the types of genuine oneness is found in Deuteronomy 12. In this chapter the good land typifies the all-inclusive Christ, whereas the mountains, hills, and green trees typify various centers of worship. The offerings mentioned in this chapter typify various aspects of the riches of Christ. Yes, Deuteronomy 12 is a record of a charge given to the children of Israel upon entering into the good land. But the details of this charge are also types, not only instructions that were to be taken literally by God's people at the time. We may use the Passover lamb as an illustration of something that has both a literal and typical significance. The very lamb that was slain at the time of the Passover was also a type of Christ as our Redeemer. In the same principle, the manna eaten by the children of Israel in the wilderness was a type of Christ as our heavenly food. This principle also applies to the good land in Deuteronomy 12. The land was not only a physical realm possessed by the children of Israel; it was also a type of the all-inclusive Christ. In this chapter God's chosen people were commanded to go to the unique place of God's choice. This place was selected in order to preserve the oneness of the children of Israel. This place was not only an actual location in the land of Canaan, but also a type of the genuine oneness of the believers in Christ today.]
(Witness Lee, Genuine Ground, 90)
The oneness among all believers as well as the practical, visible oneness in the local churches, a central matter in the Bible, is clearly typified in the Old Testament. Elaborating on the matter of the unique place of God's choice for keeping the oneness, Witness Lee said:
The universal Body of Christ is the house of God, that is, the kingdom of God, appearing in various cities as local churches. The Bible shows us that one city should have only one church for the sake of keeping the oneness and preventing division (Acts 8:1; 13:1; Rev. 1:4, 11). Deuteronomy 12:5-18 clearly tells us that when the Israelites arrived in the good land, they could not choose a place of worship as they liked. They needed to go to the place where God had placed His name, which was the place where God would build His dwelling place. The Israelites needed to worship God there. In the Old Testament God chose Jerusalem. Hence, although the twelve tribes of Israel were scattered throughout the land of Israel, all their males had to go up to Jerusalem three times a year to worship God there. No one dared to set up another worship center besides Jerusalem. Later, Jeroboam rebelled. He set up Dan in the north and Bethel as worship centers and thus was cursed and punished by God, with the result that all the kings of the kingdom of Israel were rejected by God and excluded from the record of 2 Chronicles.
Today the practice of the church that God desires is the same as this in principle, that is, one city having only one church for the keeping of the oneness. One cannot say that he is not satisfied with the church in a certain locality and then start another meeting on the next street with a few of his more intimate brothers. Because Christianity is not willing to be restricted by one city having only one church, today's situation has become confused and divided.
(Witness Lee, Issue of the Union, 84-85)
It is essential that the believers in Christ realize the primary importance of the matter of oneness in the Bible in order that they could abide in oneness in the local church, the church in their city. The believers' enjoyment of Christ as �the good land� is dependent upon their participation in the practical oneness which has been recovered today in the local churches.
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