CHRIST IN THE WRITINGS OF JOHN
Those in the world do not know what is going on behind the scenes regarding God’s government. Revelation 5 opens this view to us, but it is concealed from them.
“And I saw on the right hand of Him Who sits upon the throne a scroll, written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the scroll and to break its seals? And no one in heaven nor on the earth nor under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it” (Rev. 5:1-3).
The scroll must be the new covenant, recording God’s thought concerning the church, Israel, the world, and the universe. When no one was found worthy to open this scroll, John wept (v. 4). Then one of the elders comforted him, saying, “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has overcome to open the scroll and its seven seals” (v. 5).
What John saw when he looked, however, was a Lamb, not a Lion. In John’s Gospel John the Baptist had recommended this same Lamb: “Behold, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29). The Lamb here, however, is not concerned with redemption. He is concerned with God’s administration. John, then, opens the view to us of the redeeming Lamb now become God’s universal Administrator that His purpose might be fulfilled.
Surely God has an administration over the universe. Otherwise, how could His purpose be realized? In this administration the redeeming Lamb, the Redeemer, is the Administrator. When did this scene occur, that the Lamb came and took the scroll out of the right hand of Him Who sits upon the throne (Rev. 5:7)? It must be right after He ascended to the heavens. What John records here is a view, not a prophecy, of what has taken place already. When Christ ascended to the heavens, He received a book from God, thus opening the secret of the universe for the carrying out of God’s administration.
How great a view of Christ John had! Yes, Paul did reveal that Christ is all-inclusive, but he did not say that Christ is the universal Administrator. Why is John’s ministry stronger than Paul’s? It is because he came to mend what was damaged; a repair has to be doubly strong. He wanted to make sure there would be no more damage regarding these matters.
THE CHURCH IN THE WRITINGS OF PAUL AND JOHN
Now let us compare what the two writers say regarding the church. Paul surely tells us some wonderful facts. The church is the Body of Christ, the fullness of the One Who fills all in all (Eph. 1:23). It is also the new man (Eph. 2:15). It is also the temple of God, His habitation (vv. 21-22). John, however, adds two more items of what the church is.
In Revelation 1 John shows the church as a lampstand (v. 12). What Paul reveals of the church—the Body of Christ—is in the realm of life. Brother Paul, why did you not tell us of the golden nature of the church? Why did you not mention its shining function? I have spent much time with you, brother Paul, but now I must come to John. He has something further to say about the church. When I was with you, I learned that the church is the Body, that it is the fullness, and that it is the new man. But without John I could not have known that the church is also a golden lampstand. A lampstand is stronger than the Body, though both are surely precious.
John also reveals the ultimate consummation of the church as the New Jerusalem. How much greater is a city than a temple! Paul presented the temple. When it was damaged, John presented something greater, higher, and stronger. How indestructible is the New Jerusalem! How strong is the mending ministry of John!
(The Mending Ministry of John, Chapter 12, by Witness Lee)