The Glorious Church, by Watchman Nee


After creation, life went on in a very ordinary way. Then God began with Abraham. God laid hold of Abraham and Sarah. He wanted a nation, but He began with just two people. God worked on these two, choosing them from out of all the other nations to produce a kingdom of priests. Abraham left his kindred and country. Abraham was greater than Abel, Enoch, and Noah because of God’s choosing. It was as if these earlier men were quite ordinary. They had no dispensational value to God, but Abraham did. Then God said that his seed would go into Egypt and remain there for four hundred years. This was God’s next move.

God laid hold of Joseph, not his brothers, and took him to Egypt. Joseph ruled in Egypt. God’s actions were meant for good. Joseph was an overcomer in Egypt. He showed forth his power in the kingdom and showed forth his knowledge of God through dreams. God had made a dispensational move. He put an overcomer in Egypt; He did not put someone who could be defeated there. This is a principle of God’s working.

After four hundred years, it was time for them to come out. At that point God laid hold of Moses. Without the events in the first few chapters of Exodus, there never would have been an exodus from Egypt. Moses came out of the water. He had an exodus from water. Then he had an exodus from Egypt. Moses was triumphant over death. God chose him to deal with Israel. Moses dwelt in the palace, which was the Egypt of Egypt. Not only did his spirit leave Egypt, but his body left Egypt as well; therefore, God chose him. Those who can only say, "Go," but not "Come," will have no effect. All of God’s dispensational moves are based on one man. This is a principle of the overcomers.

When the nation of Israel wanted a king, the people chose Saul. He was a head taller than all the other men, but all of his ability was in his head. However, God chose His own king—David. Even when he was in the wilderness caring for the sheep, he was a king. He did not run when a lion came but went against it in the name of the Lord. Fear is not a kingly attitude, but when Goliath came, Saul was fearful. In contrast, David trusted in the Lord and went to fight against Goliath. Whoever is truly a king can be a king in any place. Later, David became a servant of Saul. When Saul became his enemy, David even had an opportunity to kill him, but he did not. Whoever cannot control himself is not worthy to be a king. There was no king of Israel greater than David. Only he was called King David, because he had dispensational value to God.

When Israel was taken into captivity for seventy years, God still had a dispensational move for Israel because of Nehemiah; he was a true overcomer. Even as he was serving a foreign king, he was preparing to go back to Jerusalem. He was not touched by Shushan and the affairs of the palace. Because God gained Nehemiah, He could make a dispensational move.

At the beginning of the New Testament, a group of special people were waiting in Jerusalem for the Lord Jesus. Anna, Simeon, and all those (Luke 2:38) were waiting for redemption in Israel. Their waiting brought in the fullness of the time, the Lord Jesus. God will not do things automatically; He will wait for His children to work with Him.

The Lord has two works on earth: redemption and building the church. The church is built on "this rock" (Matt. 16:18). The apostles were the first to stand on this rock. Even though they were weak in the flesh, their spirits were not weak. Because of this the twelve apostles have a special position—not even Paul is reckoned with them; they were a dispensational instrument. Paul said that he was less than the least of the apostles. The apostles and disciples waited for ten days, praying in Jerusalem. They might have said, "We have a great work to do after these days; we should rest now." Instead, they prayed. There were one hundred and twenty, but where were the others who had followed the Lord? Clearly, not everyone will work with God. These one hundred and twenty were overcomers.

(The Glorious Church, Chapter 6, by Watchman Nee)