Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
The book of Revelation is very well composed. Apparently, the various points included in chapter one are unrelated to each other. But if we approach them from the viewpoint of our experience, we shall see that they follow one another in a very good sequence. In the last two messages, we covered the matters of the coming again of the Lord Jesus and of our waiting for Him by being joint partakers in His tribulation, kingdom, and endurance. In this message we now come to the local churches. It may seem that this message on the local churches is unrelated to the two foregoing messages. But, according to our experience, we know that these three messages are all interrelated. The coming again of the Lord Jesus requires that some partake of the tribulation, the kingdom, and the endurance in Jesus. The best way to do so is to be in the local churches. Outside of the church, it is difficult for anyone to participate in these three things.
We shall approach the local churches by the way of considering the progress of the divine revelation in the Scripture. The divine revelation in the Bible begins with God and consummates with the local churches. The first two chapters of Genesis, along with the entire Old Testament, are a revelation of God Himself, and the four Gospels are a revelation of Christ. This fact reveals the progress in the divine revelation from God to Christ. Following the four Gospels, we have the Acts and the Epistles, which mainly are a revelation of Christ as the Spirit. Hence, the revelation of the Spirit is the continuation of the divine revelation in the Bible. Following this, the church is revealed. Thus, there are four main sections of the divine revelation in the Bible: the section of God, the section of Christ, the section of the Spirit, and the section of the church.
The Jews have only the first section of this revelation, for the thirty-nine books of the Old Testament cover only the revelation concerning God. Most Christians have more than this, having the Old Testament plus the four Gospels. Although they have the whole Bible, in practicality they have little more than the Old Testament and the Gospels. They may know God as He is revealed in the Old Testament and they may know the stories in the Gospels about Christ, but they know nothing of either the Spirit of life or the church. In the concept of many Christians, the church is a physical building. On Sunday morning, many parents say to their children, “Let’s go to church.” According to their concept, the church is a bungalow, or a cathedral, with a high tower. They know hardly anything of the church as revealed in the Holy Word.
Thank God that during the past two centuries other Christians have progressed in their knowledge of the Bible, having not only the Old Testament and the Gospels but also the Epistles. These Christians know God, Christ, and the Spirit. Of course, they do not know much about the Spirit of life. They know the Spirit mainly as the Spirit of power for baptism. They know very little of the indwelling Spirit. Although these Christians may know a little concerning the church, they only see the universal church, not the local churches. However, the first three chapters of Revelation are not concerned with the universal church; they are emphatically concerned with the local churches.
Today, we in the Lord’s recovery have the whole Bible: the Old Testament, the Gospels, the Acts, the Epistles, and the Revelation. I was with the Brethren Assembly for seven and a half years. During that time, we devoted considerable attention to the books of Daniel and Revelation. However, most of what I heard concerning Revelation was about the beasts and the ten horns. I had no impression that in the book of Revelation there were the local churches. I did not even hear much about the New Jerusalem. I was only told that it was a city in heaven with heavenly mansions, that its street was paved with gold, and that its doors were made of pearls. Praise the Lord that today our book of Revelation is not like this! In our book of Revelation, there are the local churches with the Son of Man in the midst, and there is the New Jerusalem with Christ as its centrality and universality.
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