A FAITHFUL WITNESS AND THE RULER OF
THE KINGS OF THE EARTH
Revelation 1:5 also mentions that Jesus Christ is the faithful Witness. While He was on the earth He was a witness of God. He was resurrected from the dead, and today He is the Ruler of the kings of the earth. You don’t need to worry about the world situation. All of the rulers of the earth are under our Ruler. This is why His calendar is the universal calendar. Even those atheistic Communist countries who are opposing Christ use His calendar. He is the King of kings. He is the Ruler of all the kings.
THE GOLDEN LAMPSTANDS
By these examples you can see that the book of Revelation has a special tone. In such a tone what God wants today is a church in every city as the practicality of God’s expression. Every local church in this book is a lampstand. The lampstand is the embodiment of the Triune God. With the lampstand there are three things: the substance, which is pure gold. The substance is not made of wood nor of mud, but of pure gold. In the biblical figures gold signifies the divine nature of God the Father. So in the lampstand there is God the Father as the substance. Second, the golden lampstand is not just a formless piece of gold. It is gold formed and shaped into the form of a lampstand. The form, the embodiment, of the Triune God is the Second of the Trinity. All the fullness of the Godhead dwells in this Second of the Trinity bodily (Col. 2:9). Jesus Christ is the form of God. This is God the Son. So there is the substance of the Father and the form of the Son.
Third, there is the expression of the lampstand. The lampstand is for shining, and the shining is the expression. The expression is seven lamps. The Bible tells us clearly, not only in Revelation, but also in Zechariah that the seven lamps are the seven Spirits (Zech. 4:2, 6; Rev. 4:5). The substance of the lampstand is God the Father. The form and the embodiment of the lampstand is God the Son. The expression of the lampstand is God the Spirit. So the lampstand is just the embodiment of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit. This is the church. The church is the lampstand which is the embodiment of the Triune God. By this you can see what a local church is. A local church is one that has God the Father as its substance, God the Son as its embodiment, and God the Spirit as its shining, its expression.
It is right to say that the Lord’s recovery is to recover the local church, but it depends upon your understanding. If you simply mean that the local church is a group of Christians meeting without a name in a city, not being a denomination, not having a pastor, sitting in four directions instead of one, with everyone standing up to function, that is not adequate. Such a local church may be of the Lord’s recovery, or it may not be. It all depends upon the reality. What is the reality of the local church? It is the substance of the Father, the embodiment of the Son, and the expression of the Spirit.
Suppose an outsider visits a local church and he hears the older sisters gossiping and the younger sisters murmuring. He sees the elders debating and the brothers complaining. Is this the condition of a golden lampstand? This is a muddy lampstand. When there is gossiping and murmuring and debating and reasoning, where is the substance of the Father, where is the embodiment of the Son, and where is the shining expression of the Spirit? Among Christians today it is very difficult to find the proper situation of a golden lampstand which has the substance of the Father, the embodiment of the Son, and the shining of the Spirit. If you go to most Christian groups today you mainly find politics and nice manners.
(Concerning the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 6, by Witness Lee)