Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
By the Lord’s mercy, in this life-study we come to the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation. Due to the subtle enemy of God, the book of Revelation has been closed, and few Christians understand it. Hardly anyone has seen something of life, of God’s economy, and of the testimony of Jesus in this book. Thus, we have been burdened by the Lord to have a life-study of this book.
Revelation is a book of prophecy (1:3; 22:7), for the revelation it contains is in the nature of prophecy. Most of the visions refer to things to come. Even the seven epistles to the seven churches in chapters two and three, in the sense of signs, are prophecies regarding the church on earth until the Lord’s coming back. Although this book is a book of prophecy, it is not prophecy merely in words, but in visions revealed to the seer. In the eyes of God, all the things prophesied in this book have already transpired and all have been shown to the seer in vision after vision.
In the book of Revelation, most of the verbs and predicates are not in the future tense, but in the past tense, indicating that the events recorded in this book have already transpired. Strictly speaking, Revelation is not merely a prophecy; it is a revelation of things which have already taken place. While they may not seem in our eyes to have transpired, in God’s eyes they have transpired. In God’s eyes, everything recorded in this book occurred nearly two thousand years ago. We all must believe this. Most Christians consider Revelation to be a book of predictions and they are curious to understand these predictions. Many of them read this book only for the sake of their curiosity. But we must say to the Lord, “O Lord, save us from this. We don’t want to know this book in the way of curiosity.” I say strongly, once again, that Revelation is not merely a book of prophecy, but a record of things which have already taken place.
In Revelation, two main things have transpired. The first is that the testimony of Jesus has been accomplished for eternity. Have you not seen the New Jerusalem? The apostle John saw it nearly two thousand years ago. Do you believe that you are in the New Jerusalem? If we appear to be crazy for saying this, we are crazy according to the Bible. The New Jerusalem, the ultimate consummation of God’s work through the centuries, has been completely built up, and we are in it! According to the last two chapters of Revelation, the building of the New Jerusalem has been accomplished. This first item is on the positive side.
On the negative side, a second main thing has transpired—Satan, the enemy of God, has been dealt with. In the eyes of God and even in the eyes of our brother John, Satan has been cast into the lake of fire (20:10). Satan, the serpent, is in the lake of fire, and we are in the New Jerusalem. Have you seen this? If we have seen that Satan is in the lake of fire, we shall not beg God to deal with him. Rather, we shall praise Him that the enemy has been dealt with. Whenever Satan troubles us, we must tell him, “Satan, you are in the wrong place. You should not be here. You belong in the lake of fire. Go back there and do not come here again.” Have you ever done this? We all must do it.
The Bible is always consistent, even in the matter of Satan, God’s enemy. In Genesis 3, Satan came to humanity in a very subtle way, coming in the form of a serpent. In Revelation, Satan is deliberately called “the old serpent” (12:9; 20:2). In the book of Genesis, the serpent was not so old, but in the book of Revelation, he has become old, at least six thousand years old. With a definite intention, the book of Revelation purposely calls him “the old serpent.” At the time of the book of Revelation, however, Satan is not only “the old serpent”; he has also become a dragon (12:9; 20:2). According to Revelation, this dragon is firstly cast out of heaven and down to the earth (12:7-9). Then, after three and one-half years, he is bound and cast into the abyss (20:1-3). In Revelation 20 we see that, still being somewhat useful in the hands of God, the Lord will release Satan from the abyss at the end of the thousand years (20:7). After his release, Satan will try his best to damage humanity, “to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to war” (20:8). But, shortly afterward, according to 20:10, the Devil will be cast into the lake of fire, which is his destiny and destination. The book of Revelation has been closed because it exposes Satan, disclosing his destiny and destination. But now, at the end of time, we believe that the Lord will open up this book and open up our hearts, spirits, and eyes that we may clearly see that God’s enemy is now in the lake of fire. Hallelujah, Satan, the old serpent, is in the lake of fire and we are in the New Jerusalem!
The New Jerusalem is the testimony of Jesus. Today’s church is also the testimony of Jesus. Today, we in the churches are the testimony of Jesus. We all must see this to the uttermost, forgetting ourselves, our weaknesses, our besetting sins, and even the fact that we are on earth. When someone asks you where you are, you must reply, “I’m in the New Jerusalem.” In the New Jerusalem there are no bugs, frogs, scorpions, or serpents. Furthermore, in that city there is no sin, death, or world. There is nothing there except Christ and God’s redeemed and transformed people. If we see this, we shall praise the Lord and shout, “Hallelujah!”
Revelation 1:1 says, “The revelation of Jesus Christ which God gave to Him to show to His slaves what must swiftly take place; and He made it known by signs, sending it by His angel to His slave, John.” The revelation of this book is mainly composed of signs, that is, symbols with spiritual significance, such as the seven lampstands signifying the churches and the seven stars signifying the messengers of the churches (1:20). Even the New Jerusalem is a sign, signifying the ultimate consummation of God’s economy (ch. 21—22). This book, then, is a book of symbols through which the revelation is made known to us. John’s Gospel is a book of signs signifying how Christ came to be our life to produce the church, His Bride. John’s Revelation is also a book of signs showing how Christ is now caring for the church and how He is coming to judge and possess the earth and to bring the church, His Bride, into God’s full economy.
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