Life-Study of Revelationby Witness Lee
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
Printed Copy: Available Online from Living Stream Ministry
After God’s judgment upon all the negative things revealed in chapters sixteen, seventeen, and eighteen, we have the marriage of the Lamb and the marriage dinner (19:5-10). Perhaps you have never realized that, as the Lamb, Christ needs a wedding. This concept is altogether unreligious. Who would ever think that the Redeemer needs a wedding? One day John the Baptist declared, “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). This verse clearly reveals that Christ came as the Lamb to take away the sin of the world. Later, John the Baptist also indicated that Christ is the Bridegroom. John said, “He who has the bride is the bridegroom; but the friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices with joy because of the bridegroom’s voice” (John 3:29). Hence, in the Gospel of John, Christ is revealed both as the Lamb who came to take away sin and as the Bridegroom who came that He might have the Bride. Christ’s goal is not to remove sin; it is to have the Bride. In the book of Revelation, also written by the apostle John, we see that Christ our Redeemer is the Lamb and the coming Bridegroom. Therefore, as the Bridegroom, He must have a wedding.
The wedding of the Lamb will be a universal wedding. It will be the marriage of the Redeemer and the redeemed. At the very end of the Bible we see a city, the New Jerusalem. This city is the wife (21:2, 9-10), and the redeeming God is the husband. Although this concept of the marriage of God and man is foreign to religion, we emphasize it in the Lord’s recovery in order to show that our position is that of the Bride, and that the position of the coming Christ is that of the Bridegroom. We are on earth being prepared to become the Bride to meet Him, and He is on the throne in the third heaven prepared to come as the Bridegroom to meet us. Thus, He is coming as the Bridegroom, and we are going as the Bride. The Bride and the Groom will meet, neither in heaven nor on the earth, but in the air. When we meet Him in the air, we shall have a wedding.
The wedding of the Lamb will transpire after the destruction of Babylon the Great (19:1-4). In this universe there is not only a pure, chaste Bride; there is also a counterfeit, the great prostitute. Even part of the Bride has been captured by the prostitute and involved with her. Take the example of Madame Guyon. Although she certainly was part of the Bride, she was involved with the prostitute. The prostitute, however, did not love Madame Guyon; rather, she had her cast into prison. Nonetheless, Madame Guyon clearly was involved with the prostitute. As we have pointed out, she even stood before the statue of Mary. Today’s situation is very complicated. The Bible condemns the prostitute, and we also condemn her. But within the prostitute there are a good number of genuine believers, many of whom seek the Lord more diligently than those in the denominations. Because the situation is complicated, our vision must be clear. We must know where we should be and that we should never be involved with the counterfeit, the prostitute.
The Bible reveals that Satan is always trying to involve himself with the things of God. Satanic activities are always stirred up by God’s move. According to the Bible, there is hardly one aspect of God’s move with which Satan has not tried to interfere. Wherever God goes, Satan goes also. He is even active in the preaching of the gospel and even attempts to inject himself into the work of the building up of the church. On the day of Pentecost both God and Satan were active. The principle is the same in the Lord’s recovery today, for Satan is still devising a counterfeit of what God is doing. Quite often, Satan’s work will precede God’s work. For example, before Jerusalem was built up by God, Satan erected the tower and city of Babel. Satan knows God’s intention and attempts to produce a counterfeit before God carries out His plan. How subtle! We must clearly perceive Satan’s counterfeit of the Bride and never be entangled with it. We are part of the Bride. How can we become involved with that prostitute?
Through the years many dear Christians have come to me, trying their best to argue with me and to subdue me. Some have said, “Brother Lee, don’t you realize that I am a real brother in the Lord? Don’t you know that there are many true believers in all the denominations? Why then do you renounce all of us?” Again and again strong Christians have confronted me with such questions. I have always answered by saying, “You are a dear brother, and I do not renounce you. However, do you know where you are? You are in a place condemned by God. Although you are right as a brother, you are still in the wrong place.” We must see the difference between the person and the place. The person may be absolutely right, but the place where he stands may be altogether wrong.
In 1957 a dear servant of the Lord was invited to Taiwan. During his visit, the leading brothers had much fellowship with him. One of the brothers asked him, “Here in Taipei there are several Christian groups claiming to be nondenominational and meeting in the name of the Lord Jesus. Brother, please tell us which of these groups is right.” He replied by saying that none of them was absolutely right and that all of them were relatively right. Shocked by this answer, the brothers immediately asked him by what standard these groups were relatively right. His reply was that they were relatively right according to the measure of Christ. He said that the greater our measure of Christ, the more correct we are in the matter of the church, and the smaller our measure of Christ, the less correct we are in this matter. During the first two meetings with this brother, I did the interpreting. But at this point I entered into the debate and said, “Now we are talking about the measure of Christ. Some say that the greater our measure of Christ, the more correct we are in the church matter. We would all agree that in the past three hundred years Madame Guyon was probably the one who had the greatest measure of Christ. Nevertheless, can we say that she was right with respect to the church? She was in the satanic Roman Catholic Church. Let us also consider the typology in the Old Testament. The children of Israel were captured and held in captivity seventy years. At the end of those seventy years God intervened to command them to return to Jerusalem. Suppose a preacher rose up and said, ‘There is no need to return to Jerusalem. See how spiritual Daniel is, and he is still in Babylon. As long as we are spiritual, it does not matter where we are.’ Do you agree with this? To be spiritual is one thing, and to be in the right place is another. You may be as spiritual as Daniel, but if you remain in Babylon, you are still in Babylon. Your condition may be spiritual, but you are still in captivity. Don’t use Daniel as an excuse. Although he remained in Babylon, he opened his windows toward Jerusalem and prayed three times a day (Dan. 6:10). Daniel died in the very year the command came to the captives to go back to Jerusalem (Dan. 1:21; Ezra 1:1-3). If he had not died in that year, he probably would have returned. As long as you are alive, you must go back to Jerusalem. Do not disregard the matter of position. The Catholic Church and all denominations and divisive groups are condemned by the New Testament. Who can justify them? No matter how spiritual you are, as long as you are in the Catholic Church, in the denominations, or in the divisive groups, you are in a position condemned by the Scriptures.”
Although some may justify themselves, deep in their conscience they know that they are in the wrong place. When some argued with me, often I simply smiled and said, “Although you are arguing with me, Someone within you agrees with me and disagrees with you. This inner One doesn’t take sides with you; He takes sides with me.” Many of us who turned to the way of the church did not see the vision immediately. Rather, we stayed where we were and tried to reconcile the situation. Eventually, the One within, who is much stronger than we are, captured us, and we had to come to the right place. Please be clear that to be the right person is one thing and to be in the right place is another.
We live in a day of complications and confusion. Both the Bride and the counterfeit, the prostitute, are here. Apparently, the prostitute is much more prevailing than the Bride. The Bride is just a small herb, and the prostitute is a huge tree (Matt. 13:31-32). If you merely look at the outward appearance, you will be deceived and distracted. It is difficult for most Christians to discern between them. The outward appearance of both is about the same—gold, pearl, and precious stone. They both have something of God, something of Christ, and something of the Bible. But in the Lord’s recovery today the vision is clear, and the light is shining. This light exposes and discerns. By the light in the Lord’s recovery we know what is real and what is false; we know what is the Bride and what is the prostitute, and we can easily discern the one from the other. Hallelujah, we are in the Bride and have nothing to do with the prostitute! Furthermore, we know that one day the Lord will intervene to judge this prostitute. Hence, the wedding of the Lord will transpire after the destruction of the prostitute.
Some of you may still feel sympathetic toward the prostitute. However, I am certain that when the marriage of the Lamb has come, none of us will sympathize with her any longer. Although you may argue on her behalf today, eventually she will be utterly burned and destroyed. The Lord hates the prostitute, and before He enjoys a pleasant wedding with His Bride, He will utterly get rid of the prostitute. No bridegroom would want some kind of triangular relationship, and the Lord as the Bridegroom surely would not tolerate such a thing. In the marriage of the Lamb and the Bride there will be no third party. The third party, the prostitute, will be completely burned. Praise the Lord for this! I shall rejoice to see the destruction of this counterfeit, Babylon the Great.
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