XI. CONCERNING THE CHURCH
He pointed out that the church is constituted of all those who believe into Christ and who belong to Christ. On the one hand, this church is universal, and on the other hand, it is local. On the universal side, the church is both God’s house and the Body of Christ in the universe. On the local side, the church is the local manifestation of the house of God and the Body of Christ. These local manifestations are the many local churches which together form the one unique church in the universe.
This church as God’s house is also God’s household and God’s habitation, which affords God the satisfaction and joy of a Father with His children; it is also God’s dwelling place, which affords Him full and satisfying rest. In this way, He can freely express all that He is, has, and can do in this house.
This church as the Body of Christ is an organism by which Christ moves and walks among mankind and through which He lives out His all-inclusive self. This Body is also the bride of Christ, the counterpart of Christ; it is out of Christ, unto Christ, and for the satisfaction of Christ’s love. This Body is also a new man created by Christ in Himself, being constituted with His life and element for the fulfillment of the eternal plan (economy) of God.
In order to exist among mankind, this church is scattered over all the earth to become the many separate local churches. Each one has its elders for administration and its deacons for service. In business affairs the churches are independent and separate, but in life and nature they are still one universal Body, receiving the same apostles’ teaching, maintaining the one apostles’ fellowship, and bearing the one testimony for Christ for the accomplishment of God’s one plan (economy).
Such a church is composed outwardly of the many saints called out by God from the world, but inwardly it is the result of the Triune God working Himself into and growing out of the believers in Christ. Hence, it is a living organism; it is absolutely not a religious organization in the society, much less a lifeless material building.
This church is also the kingdom of God today, in which God reigns and rules over everything.
XII. CONCERNING THE NEW JERUSALEM
Finally, he also pointed out that the ultimate revelation of the Bible, the New Jerusalem, is constituted of all the redeemed ones in the Old and the New Testament. It is the tabernacle of the Triune God, the habitation of God with man in eternity. It is also the bride of Christ who is the embodiment of the Triune God, His beloved spouse in eternity. This holy city is also God’s Holy of Holies, with the same one dimension in height, length, and breadth. It is constituted of God and the Lamb to be the serving place and dwelling of all God’s redeemed. It is constituted of: (1) God the Father, the source of the Triune God, as its essence, like the transparent pure gold; (2) God the Son, the expression of the Triune God, as its entrance in His redeeming death and His life-dispensing resurrection, like the beautiful pearl; and (3) God the Spirit, the application of the Triune God, as her walls and foundations, through the Spirit’s transformation in the believers, like the glorious precious stones. She is thus constituted by the Triune God to be the ultimate consummation of God with the redeemed, regenerated, and transformed tripartite man, in which He and man become one as His corporate expression and manifestation in eternity. In this city the Lamb is the lamp, shining forth God’s glory, and in the midst of this city there is the throne of administration of God and the Lamb, from which flows a river of water of life, clear as crystal. This river flows in the middle of a spiral street, which encircles the whole city and reaches the twelve gates at the circumference of the city, nourishing the entire city. On either side of this river grows the tree of life, with new fruits every month, supplying the entire city. In this way, the holy city, the New Jerusalem, is the culmination of the union between the Triune God and His redeemed tripartite man; it is filled with the glory of the Triune God and expresses His fullness in eternity. It is also full of the supply of the Triune God to His redeemed in His redemption, so that they can have a full enjoyment and a full taste of all that the redeeming Triune God is, has done, and has attained. All this is a summary of the divine revelation which Brother Nee saw and conveyed to us.
The things which Brother Nee preached and spoke from the whole Bible are broad, deep, and far-reaching. But the above twelve items are their center, their course, and their goal. During the first thirty years of my Christian life, I read through all of Brother Nee’s writings. During the subsequent thirty or more years, I have reviewed and re-read them in the course of my Christian work, referencing and using his writings. The riches of the benefit I have received and the abundance of grace I have inherited can only be expressed thoroughly by the master work of the new creation of the Triune God in endless eternity. I sincerely hope that all the readers will receive grace from the Lord to take Brother Nee’s writings as the center, the course, and the goal—the center of their faith, the course of their race, and the goal of their pursuit—that we may all bask together in such abundant grace. Although Brother Nee sleeps, may his word continue, and although the watchman is no longer with us, may his voice be heard, until the morning star arises and the night shadows are dispersed. I hereby respectfully offer this brief introduction in unfading memory to the writer, Brother Watchman Nee.
Respectfully, a beneficiary,
Witness Lee, Anaheim, California, U.S.A.
July 24, 1991
(Translated from Chinese)
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 01: The Christian Life and Warfare, Chapter 1, by Watchman Nee)