Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In 1925 I began to read, study, and research the book of Revelation. The most difficult thing that faced me was getting through the first three chapters, especially the two chapters concerning the seven churches. In the seven epistles to the seven churches there are many difficult verses which hardly anyone can explain. One of the most difficult verses is 3:12, where the Lord said, “He who overcomes, I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall by no means go out anymore, and I will write upon him the name of My God, and the name of the city of My God, the New Jerusalem, which descends out of heaven from My God and My new name.” When I read this verse fifty-one years ago, I had a very difficult time understanding it. What does it mean to say that the Lord will make us a pillar in the temple of God and that He will write the name of God, the name of the New Jerusalem, and His new name upon us? None of the books I consulted regarding this matter could answer my question. Although even a fourth grader can understand the words, it is most difficult to apprehend the true significance of this verse. Revelation 3:12 has been a difficult verse for all expositors because none of them has had the adequate experience. Through the years, I eventually have come to realize that this promise is the greatest among the seven promises in the seven epistles in Revelation two and three. In this message we need to consider this promise of the Lord to the overcomer in the church in Philadelphia.
We cannot understand 3:12 unless we have the necessary experience. The Lord’s promise here is not to give us something but to make us something. Whenever we think of the Lord’s promises, we always think that He will give us something. According to our concept, a promise is related to a blessing. To us, without a blessing, there can be no promise. But in 3:12 the Lord did not say, “I will give him”; He said, “I will make him.” In 3:12 the Lord does not promise to give us holiness or a heavenly blessing. No, here He promises to make us become something—a pillar in the temple of God.
Becoming a pillar in the temple of God involves two things—transformation and building. Since I came to this country, my burden has been on these two matters. The greatest blessing the Lord can render us is to transform us and to build us into His temple. Most Christians have been unable to understand what it means to be made a pillar in the temple of God. What does this mean? And what does it mean to have the name of God, the name of the New Jerusalem, and the new name of the Lord written upon us? But those who have reached the level of the church in Philadelphia have the proper understanding within them. If we are on this level, then we are ready for the Lord to transform us. If we use the little power we have received of the Lord on His word and mean business with Him, then we are ready to be transformed and are in the proper position for the Lord to make us a pillar. This requires that we firstly be transformed into precious material and secondly that we be built into a pillar. How can we, who are clay, become a pillar in God’s temple? There is no way except to be transformed from clay into precious stone and then to be built into God’s building. Prior to 3:12, we have the Lord’s promise in 2:17 that indicates that we can be transformed into a white stone by eating Him as the hidden manna. This is truly the greatest blessing. This involves our very being, for it is related to what we are. The greatest blessing is not what the Lord gives us, but what the Lord makes us.
Suppose I am a mass of clay. No matter what you give me, whether it be gold or diamonds, I am still clay. Even if you would bring me into heaven and place me in front of God Himself, I would still be clay. The greatest blessing is that the Lord would transform me into something related to God’s dwelling place. In the church life we should not expect objective blessings. Rather, we must realize that the Lord’s blessing is always to make us something, to transform us into precious material, and then to build us into God’s building. If you take this word into you, it will absolutely revolutionize your concept. If you have seen this vision, would you still expect the Lord to bless you with outward things? No, we would drop this expectation. If we have truly seen this vision, we shall realize that in the church life the Lord’s intention is not to do something outside of us, but something altogether related to our very being. He will make us into another being.
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