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Apologetic discussions Apologetic Discussions Regarding the Teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee

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Old 01-12-2020, 11:10 PM   #1
JJ
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Default What are the Gold, Silver, and Precious Stones in 1 Cor 3:12?

What are Gold, Silver, and Precious Stones in this verse?

https://biblehub.com/text/1_corinthians/3-12.htm

Knowing the answer is not just an academic exercise but essential if we are to build with the right materials on the foundation laid by the apostles and not suffer loss on the Lord’s return.

Witness Lee, in his Life Study of 1 Corinthians said:

“Gold, silver, and precious stones signify various experiences of Christ in the virtues and attributes of the Triune God. It is with these the apostles and all spiritual believers build the church on the unique foundation of Christ. Gold may signify the divine nature of the Father with all its attributes, silver may signify the redeeming Christ with all the virtues and attributes of His Person and work, and precious stones may signify the transforming work of the Spirit with all its attributes. All these precious materials are the products of our participation in and enjoyment of Christ in our spirit through the Holy Spirit. Only these are good for God’s building.”

This sounds impressive and at first seems to make sense. But, what does the Bible say about these materials? I did some searching and found some alternative analogies for gold and silver, but not precious stones (yet, looking for help here). It is clear that all of these materials are considered very precious by human beings. And the first two work as currency that is universally recognized regardless of where one is.

Here are a few verses that may help decifer the puzzle:

https://biblehub.com/acts/3-6.htm

https://biblehub.com/text/psalms/19-9.htm

https://biblehub.com/text/psalms/21-3.htm

https://biblehub.com/text/matthew/2-11.htm

https://biblehub.com/text/psalms/12-6.htm

https://biblehub.com/text/acts/17-29.htm

https://biblehub.com/text/revelation/18-12.htm

https://biblehub.com/text/matthew/10-9.htm

2 Peter 1:1-3 https://biblehub.com/bsb/2_peter/1.htm

https://biblehub.com/1_peter/1-7.htm

Note what Paul said in Acts:

Therefore, being offspring of God, we should not think that the Divine Being is like gold or silver or stone, an image formed by man’s skill and imagination

Rather it seems that gold is both the judgements of the Lord and the like precious faith of Christ in the saints that is proven through fiery trials.

And, silver is the word of the Lord, tried in a furnace of earth and purified seven times.

What do you say these things are? And what do you think of Lee’s statements about them? Regardless of what he said, or what we think, it seems really important to know and do (build with gold, silver, and precious stones. And did Lee build on the right foundation?
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Old 01-13-2020, 11:09 AM   #2
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Default Re: What are the Gold, Silver, and Precious Stones in 1 Cor 3:12?

Good question and thanks for linking those verses! This should be a good exercise, that is, considering what this means via scripture. Needless to say, these "building materials" will be tried "by fire" to see if they will pass the test. WL would probably say that anything we build with, that is not according to Christ, will not pass the test, and I don't think I can disagree.

Peter says it is "the proving of our faith." So what is our faith? Do we not have the "faith of Christ"? So if it's of Him, it will withstand the fire; if not, it will not survive the fiery test.

That may be simplistic, but that's all I want to say - at least until others chime in.
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Old 01-13-2020, 08:00 PM   #3
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Default Re: What are the Gold, Silver, and Precious Stones in 1 Cor 3:12?

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Originally Posted by Sons to Glory! View Post
Good question and thanks for linking those verses! This should be a good exercise, that is, considering what this means via scripture. Needless to say, these "building materials" will be tried "by fire" to see if they will pass the test. WL would probably say that anything we build with, that is not according to Christ, will not pass the test, and I don't think I can disagree.

Peter says it is "the proving of our faith." So what is our faith? Do we not have the "faith of Christ"? So if it's of Him, it will withstand the fire; if not, it will not survive the fiery test.

That may be simplistic, but that's all I want to say - at least until others chime in.
Right. God likes to prove our faith in this age so we see His faith is the one that passes through the fire while ours doesn’t, so we don’t find out too late. And, once it does we can build with His.
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Old 01-13-2020, 10:24 PM   #4
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Default Re: What are the Gold, Silver, and Precious Stones in 1 Cor 3:12?

Exodus 28:2 And thou shalt make holy garments for Aaron thy brother for glory and for beauty.
3 And thou shalt speak unto all that are wise hearted, whom I have filled with the spirit of wisdom, that they may make Aaron's garments to consecrate him, that he may minister unto me in the priest's office.
...
17-21
17 And thou shalt set in it settings of stones, even four rows of stones: the first row shall be a sardius, a topaz, and a carbuncle: this shall be the first row.
18 And the second row shall be an emerald, a sapphire, and a diamond.
19 And the third row a ligure, an agate, and an amethyst.
20 And the fourth row a beryl, and an onyx, and a jasper: they shall be set in gold in their
21 And the stones shall be with the names of the children of Israel, twelve, according to their names, like the engravings of a signet; every one with his name shall they be according to the twelve tribes.


I believe WL shared in the Exodus training (Chapter 28) that the 12 precious stones, named here, were on Aaron’s robe, worn into the Holy of Holies, representing the the 12 tribes, and the priestly intercession for God’s people, His precious stones...always on His heart.

This is a beautiful picture of God’s love for his people, comparing them to precious stones. Each stone is named. I would think any NT reference to precious stones would likely be based on this OT reference? I would think that my name is also on His heart and in that sense, I also am in his eyes a precious stone.

Notable is the nature of the stones. Twelve different stones with different properties and beautiful in different ways. No two people are the same. The tribe signified by the emerald stone surely can’t mean that all members of that tribe are the same: emerald. God’s people are “one” but not the “same”. God specifically made 12 different precious stones. We are each precious stones in God’s eyes.

That’s what I think.

Nell

Last edited by Nell; 01-14-2020 at 08:00 AM.
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Old 01-14-2020, 08:37 AM   #5
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Default Re: What are the Gold, Silver, and Precious Stones in 1 Cor 3:12?

I think that trying to give some kind of specific meaning to the separate items is to chase a squirrel from Paul's meaning. The verse is part of a passage talking about the teachers that the Corinthians were lining up behind. In this particular part, he was using a metaphor of building — the teachers were builders who were building the Corinthians as a church on the foundation of Christ. While not the same context, the reference to gold, etc., v wood, etc. is like his mention of wholesome teachings v myths and genealogies in 1 Timothy. I doubt he had any specific intent for each of the positives or the negatives. Just a clear reference that there are things that could be taught that would withstand fire while there were other things that would not.

If we really want to know what those things are, just look at some of the teachings you see today, both inside and outside the LRC. Some will stand untarnished against any test while others will waver and turn to ash. Isn't that enough? If you miss that message trying to give specific meaning to gold v silver v precious stones, then you missed the point. Same for wood, hay, and stubble.

There is no coded message in the details of the materials.
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Old 01-15-2020, 01:04 PM   #6
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Default Re: What are the Gold, Silver, and Precious Stones in 1 Cor 3:12?

Thanks for pointing out the context and “the forest” to not lose “for the trees” OBW. Perhaps I’m doing the fortune cookie method of interpreting scripture here?

I agree that we shouldn’t miss need for using durable versus perishable materials.
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Old 01-15-2020, 01:14 PM   #7
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Default Re: What are the Gold, Silver, and Precious Stones in 1 Cor 3:12?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nell View Post
Notable is the nature of the stones. Twelve different stones with different properties and beautiful in different ways. No two people are the same. The tribe signified by the emerald stone surely can’t mean that all members of that tribe are the same: emerald. God’s people are “one” but not the “same”. God specifically made 12 different precious stones. We are each precious stones in God’s eyes.
Great insight and verses to point us to Nell!

The words “for beauty and glory” really stood out to me for the first time today.

Precious stones show up again in the New Jerusalem and are related to God’s people again.

If I remember right the high priest also had similar stones on his shoulders too and could represent Christ bearing his people in strength as well as on his heart in love. And the Urimn and Thummim would somehow shine light in particular stones as the high priest was in the holy of holies.
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Old 01-15-2020, 08:15 PM   #8
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Default Re: What are the Gold, Silver, and Precious Stones in 1 Cor 3:12?

The end of 1 Peter 1 + beginning of 1 Peter 2 (read without stopping between them) are relevant

https://biblehub.com/blb/1_peter/1.htm
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