Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
In this message we shall consider the fifth and sixth seals. According to the record of Revelation, the first four seals are not consecutive. Rather, they are simultaneous. They all began to take place at nearly the same time and they will conclude at the same time. It is very similar to a four-horse race where the horses begin and end at almost the same time. The seven seals may be divided into two groups consisting of the first four seals and the last three seals. While the first four seals are not consecutive, the last three seals are consecutive.
As we have seen, the first four seals unveil the new testament age, which is an age of gospel preaching. Between Christ’s ascension and His coming back, the preaching of the gospel will continue. The other main things—war, famine, and death—work together for the advancement of the preaching of the gospel. God has a unique purpose in this age—to have the gospel preached that the church might be produced and built up for the fulfillment of His eternal plan. We need to have this overall view. But the great men on earth do not have this view. Not even the kings and the presidents of the nations know what they are doing. But we know. Everything these rulers do helps the preaching of the gospel. God is sovereign in this matter.
The book of Revelation begins with the local churches with Christ in their midst and it ends with the New Jerusalem with Christ as its centrality and universality. Between these two ends of Revelation, we have the church age and the kingdom age. In the church age, the new testament age, God is doing one thing: He is producing the churches through the preaching of the full gospel. All twenty-seven books of the New Testament are included in the full gospel. God’s purpose is not merely to save a group of pitiful sinners. This concept is too low, and many of the philosophical people refuse to accept it. They need to see that the preaching of the gospel has a much higher purpose and that it is on the highest plane—producing the churches for the composition of the New Jerusalem. After the church age, the kingdom age will come. In the kingdom age God will accomplish what has not been completed and perfected in the church age. After the age of the kingdom, God’s purpose will be thoroughly and absolutely completed. Then there will be eternity with the new heaven, the new earth, and the New Jerusalem composed of all the redeemed saints. This is a general view of the whole universe.
As we have already pointed out, through the first four seals, we have a view of what is taking place between Christ’s ascension and His coming back. Four things are transpiring: the preaching of the gospel, war, famine, and death. The second, third, and fourth horses help to speed up the preaching of the gospel. If there had been no war, I would not be in this country. In the past, none of us in the Lord’s recovery in China intended to come to the western world. We thought that perhaps after we had finished a certain amount of recovery work, the Lord would then use some other people or means, perhaps missionaries or the translation of the books, to bring the recovery to the western world. But suddenly, in 1949, mainland China was lost. As a result, the Lord’s recovery was brought to this country. Having been sent to Taiwan by the work, I was deeply troubled by the loss of the Lord’s recovery in mainland China. Day and night, I asked the Lord, “What is this? Why has the work been lost?” Eventually, the sovereign Lord brought His recovery to this country. This reveals that, in the sovereign hand of the Lord, there is only one thing in this age—the preaching of the full gospel to produce the local churches for the building up of God’s eternal dwelling place, the New Jerusalem. When we have this overall view, we can look into the book of Revelation and understand it adequately and properly.
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