BEING AN OVERCOMER TO CONQUER JUDAISM, CATHOLICISM, AND PROTESTANTISM
My burden in this chapter is to show us how to conquer the satanic chaos and what to conquer. We may feel that as Christians, we should conquer sin, the world, our flesh, and our self. But Revelation 2 and 3 show that the Lord wants us to conquer three things: Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism. The Lord referred to those in Judaism as being of the synagogue of Satan. If anything of Judaism is still lingering in us, we will be defeated. We must conquer anything Judaistic.
We also have to conquer three kinds of teachings: the teaching of Balaam (Rev. 2:14), the teaching of the Nicolaitans (v. 15), and the teaching of Jezebel (v. 20). In the seven epistles to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3, these are three other teachings besides the apostles’ teaching. The teaching of Balaam and the teaching of the Nicolaitans are the teachings of today’s Protestant churches. These teachings build up the organized system of Christianity. If we are going to be an overcoming believer, we have to conquer the teaching of Balaam and the teaching of the Nicolaitans.
The teaching of Jezebel is the teaching of the Catholic Church. In the eyes of God, the Catholic Church is an evil prostitute, a great harlot (Rev. 17:1). According to Revelation 17:5 this great harlot has daughters. The daughters of the apostate church must be all the different sects and groups in Christianity that hold to some extent the teaching, the practices, and the tradition of the apostate Roman Church.
The contents of the teaching of the Roman Church, the teaching of Jezebel, is first the worshipping of idols. The Catholic cathedrals are full of idols. In his book The Great Prophecies, G. H. Pember points out that even Buddha has entered into Catholicism. In the Catholic calendar, there is a saint named Josaphat, whose story is actually that of Buddha (see message fifty-one of the Life-study of Revelation, p. 585). Alexander Hislop, in his book The Two Babylons, exposes the origin of the evil, demonic, pagan things that were brought into the apostate church. Also with the Catholic Church there are the deep things of Satan (Rev. 2:24).
We have to be the overcomers who conquer everything of Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism. In the eyes of the Lord, these three "isms" are more evil than sin, than the world, and than our self. Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism should be the first category of things that you and I have to conquer. It is worthwhile to study the outline at the beginning of chapter three, which is concerning the overcomers spoken of in the epistles to the seven churches in Revelation 2 and 3. The Lord charges us in these epistles to conquer, to overcome, Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism.
The book of Revelation tells us that Antichrist will destroy all religions at the beginning of the great tribulation. He will exalt himself above all gods and force people to worship him (Dan. 8:9-11; 11:36-37; 2 Thes. 2:3-4; Rev. 13:4-6, 12, 14-15). He will persecute the apostate Roman Church and destroy it. Revelation 17:16 says, "And the ten horns which you saw and the beast, these will hate the harlot and will make her desolate and naked and will eat her flesh and burn her utterly with fire." This harlot is the Catholic Church, and the beast is Antichrist. This verse prophesies clearly that Antichrist will burn the Catholic Church, will make her desolate and naked, and will eat her flesh. Peter tells us that we need to give heed to the prophetic word as to a lamp shining in a dark place (2 Pet. 1:19). Such prophecy is a lamp to our feet (Psa. 119:105).
Surely we should not remain in anything of Judaism, Catholicism, or Protestantism. If we are going to be overcoming believers, we have to overcome, to conquer, these three kinds of "isms." This is why I spent nearly seven years to overthrow the system of one man speaking in the churches. Such a system is according to the teaching of the Nicolaitans (concerning the Nicolaitans—see Rev. 2:6 and note 61 and Rev. 2:15 and note 151). In 1937 Brother Watchman Nee saw the need to have the church meeting in mutuality as revealed in 1 Corinthians 14. This fellowship is in his book The Normal Christian Church Life. At that time, however, we could not find a way to replace the one man speaking service in the Lord’s Day morning meeting. Over ten years later in 1948, Brother Nee spoke concerning this again in his book Church Affairs. He said that this system is hard to overthrow, but if you push, I push, and everyone pushes, eventually this evil system will be pushed away.
The real factor of this recent turmoil was that I was working to push away the practice of one man speaking and the rest listening, that is, the Lord’s Day message meeting in the churches. The leading dissenting ones would not say that they opposed this, but actually this was the real case. They thought that if this practice were pushed away, they would lose their "jobs." They were fond of speaking to a congregation. It is not a small matter to give up the practice of one man speaking and the rest listening, the practice of the Lord’s Day message meeting. Brother Nee said that this practice was according to the customs of the nations (2 Kings 17:8—NASB). This is a part of the "isms" which we have to conquer.
In order to push away the clergy-laity system, the system of one man speaking and the rest listening, we must be those who speak for the Lord. If all of us rise up to speak for the Lord, the clergy-laity system will be pushed away. If we come to the Lord’s Day meeting in a neutral way without the intention to speak for the Lord, we are contributing to this system. Our silence, our not functioning, our not opening up our mouths to speak in the meeting, is what constitutes the system of one man speaking.
All of us need to rise up to speak for the Lord. The more we speak, the younger we become. If we want to reduce our oldness, we need to speak. If we do not speak in the meeting, we may feel that the meeting was poor. The meeting was poor to us because we did not speak. Every meeting in which we speak is a meeting in the heavens. The more we exercise to speak for the Lord in the meetings, the higher the meetings are to us and the more we love the meetings.
The Lord is pleased with our speaking because we are conquering and annulling the destructive chaos by our speaking. After these past seven years, a number of churches have tasted the riches and the sweetness of the prophesying meeting, the church meeting in mutuality. By this kind of practice, many of the young people among us will be trained to speak. If the Lord had not led us into the God-ordained way of meeting with all functioning, there would have been no way for us to take up the work in Russia today. The saints who are serving in Russia are all speaking for the Lord. I want to say again that in every aspect of our practical church life, we must remember that we have to conquer Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism.
(The Satanic Chaos in the Old Creation and the Divine Economy for the New Creation, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)