Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, by Witness Lee

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The Christ in whom many of today’s Christians believe is a Christ far away in the third heaven. But our Christ is not only the resurrected and ascended Christ in heaven; He is also the One who has descended and entered into our spirit. Hallelujah, Christ is now in our spirit!

In John 14 the Lord Jesus spoke to His disciples regarding His going and His coming. In John 14:1 He said, “Let not your heart be troubled; believe in God, believe also in Me.” In the next verse the Lord spoke about the many abodes in the Father’s house and about going to prepare a place for them. In verse 3 He said, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I am coming again and will receive you to Myself, that where I am you also may be.” Here the Lord Jesus seemed to be saying, “Do not be troubled by the fact that I am going. Apparently I am leaving you. But actually My going is for My coming. After I go, I shall come back again.” The Lord Jesus was not saying that He was going to heaven. Rather, He was going to the cross and then to the tomb and to Hades. Then in resurrection He would come back to the disciples.

Nearly all Christians take the Lord’s word in John 14 to refer to His second coming. This understanding is not accurate. In John 14:18 the Lord Jesus said to the disciples, “I will not leave you orphans; I am coming to you.” If the Lord’s coming in John 14 were His second coming, the disciples certainly would have been orphans. If the Lord Jesus were only in the heavens today, we all would be orphans. When the Lord said, “I am coming to you,” He was speaking of His coming in another form. This coming was fulfilled on the day of His resurrection in John 20:19-22. After His resurrection, the Lord Jesus came back to His disciples to be with them forever, so that they were not left orphans.

The Lord’s coming in John 14 refers to His coming in another form. The Lord first came in the form of the flesh. When He spoke to the disciples in John 14, He was still in that form. But in this chapter He seems to be saying, “I am now in the flesh. But I am going to the cross, where I shall be slain. Afterward, I shall be buried in a tomb. Then I shall rise up from among the dead and come again in another form. When I am in that form, I shall come back to you.” And the Lord did come back in this form on the day of His resurrection.

Chapter twenty of John describes how the Lord came to His disciples on the day of His resurrection. John 20:19 says, “When therefore it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in the midst and said to them, Peace be to you.” The Lord Jesus appeared in a splendid, excellent way, in a way beyond human ability to understand. The Jews were opposing the disciples and trying their best to destroy them. Therefore, the disciples were afraid and met behind closed doors. Perhaps they were groaning and wondering what to do. Suddenly the Lord Jesus appeared and said, “Peace be to you.” This One who appeared to them was not Jesus in the flesh—He was Christ the Lord.

According to verse 21, the Lord said to them, “Peace be to you; as the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” Then, as we see in verse 22, the Lord breathed into the disciples the holy pneuma, the Holy Spirit: “And when He had said this, He breathed into them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit.” The Lord Jesus in His resurrection is now the pneuma, the Spirit. He appeared to the disciples in the form of pneuma, and He told them to receive the holy pneuma, the holy breath. In the Greek language the word pneuma means both Spirit and breath. Hallelujah, Christ in resurrection is the breath, the pneuma, the Spirit! After the disciples received Him as the holy pneuma, He began to live in them.

We also have received the Lord Jesus Christ as the holy breath, the holy pneuma, the life-giving Spirit, and now He is actually in us. I believe that if we have a proper realization of Christ in us, we shall be very excited, even beside ourselves with joy. The fact that we may not be at all excited about this may indicate that we do not realize that Christ is in us.

Where is Christ today? The answer is that Christ is on the throne in heaven and also living in us. Oh, we should be able to declare with a strong release of the spirit that Christ is in us. Our Christ today is the One who lives in us! In a very real sense, our Christ is different from the Christ in whom many Christians believe, for they have a Christ merely in heaven, but we have both the Christ in heaven and the Christ who dwells in our spirit.

I have been condemned and falsely accused of preaching another Christ. I do not preach a Christ different from the One revealed in the Bible. But, in a certain sense, I preach a Christ who is somewhat different from the One in whom many Christians believe, for the Christ I preach is both in the heavens and in me, whereas many Christians have a Christ only in heaven. Rather than enjoy the indwelling Christ today, they are waiting to die and to meet Christ in heaven. The Christ I preach is the Christ revealed in the Scriptures. He is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is the Lord in an all-inclusive sense. For Him to be the Lord means that He is both Jesus and Christ.

(Life-Study of 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Chapter 9, by Witness Lee)