NEW TERMS IN THE LORD’S RECOVERY
If you investigate, you will see that much of the terminology which we use today is definitely not found in Christian theology. Some among us have studied theology, and perhaps some even were pastors. I would ask them if expressions such as “the increase of Christ” and “the multiplication of Christ” have ever been used in Chinese theology. These terms were not found in theology before we were raised up by the Lord. We can say that they, especially the terms increase and multiplication, were invented by us.
Hymns, #203 was written by me in English after I brought the Lord’s recovery to America, when I was preparing the English hymnal in 1963. In 1967, when I returned to Taiwan to rearrange the Chinese hymns, I translated this hymn into Chinese myself. This hymn reads as follows:
1In the bosom of the Father, Ere the ages had begun, Thou wast in the Father’s glory, God’s unique begotten Son. When to us the Father gave Thee, Thou in person wast the same, All the fulness of the Father In the Spirit to proclaim.
2By Thy death and resurrection, Thou wast made God’s firstborn Son; By Thy life to us imparting, Was Thy duplication done. We, in Thee regenerated, Many sons to God became; Truly as Thy many brethren, We are as Thyself the same.
3Once Thou wast the only grain, Lord, Falling to the earth to die, That thru death and resurrection Thou in life may multiply. We were brought forth in Thy nature And the many grains became; As one loaf we all are blended, All Thy fulness to proclaim.
4We’re Thy total reproduction, Thy dear Body and Thy Bride, Thine expression and Thy fulness, For Thee ever to abide. We are Thy continuation, Thy life-increase and Thy spread, Thy full growth and Thy rich surplus, One with Thee, our glorious Head.
In this hymn we use expressions such as duplication, reproduction, continuation, increase, spread, and surplus. These were terms which I created while I was speaking and preaching the truth. They were already in the Chinese language, but it was I who first used them in theology.
CHRIST’S INCREASE AND MULTIPLICATION
In John 3:30 John the Baptist said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” This word was not translated accurately in the Chinese version. Its translation reads, “He must prosper, but I must languish.” To prosper does not necessarily mean to increase, and to languish does not necessarily mean to decrease. In the English King James Version this verse was translated quite well. It says, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” It is not a matter of prospering but a matter of increasing, and it is not a matter of languishing but a matter of decreasing.
When John the Baptist went out to preach and baptize people, a considerable number of people followed him, and he introduced the Lord Jesus to them. Later, when the Lord Jesus began His ministry, quite a number of John’s followers turned to follow the Lord instead. At a certain point, the Lord was baptizing even more people than John. Seeing the situation, John’s disciples were not at all happy, so they came to their teacher and said, “Rabbi, He who was with you across the Jordan, of whom you have testified, behold, He is baptizing and all are coming to Him” (v. 26). Then John told them, in effect, “I have already told you that I am not the Christ. He who has the bride is the bridegroom; I am only the friend of the bridegroom. I stand by the side of the bridegroom and rejoice when I hear his voice.” Therefore, he concluded by saying, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”
The subject of John 3 is regeneration. From our human point of view, regeneration is for us to be saved that we may become a new man. However, from God’s point of view, regeneration is for the increase of Christ. Before your regeneration, the increase of Christ was at least a fraction too small. Both you and I are very small, but even when a small one is saved, he can add a tiny bit to the increase of Christ. When the Lord Jesus was walking on earth, at that time there was only one Jesus on the earth. When the Lord called His disciples, some of them, at least twelve, followed Him at His side every day. At that time, Peter, James, and John were very near to Him, yet they did not have Jesus within them. Jesus was in their midst, but He was not within them. That was why there was only one Jesus in the whole universe. However, after the Lord Jesus died on the cross, was buried, and resurrected, He came in the midst of the disciples in the evening of the day of His resurrection and breathed into them, saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). Who is the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit is God Himself, the Triune God reaching man. To breathe the Holy Spirit into man is to breathe God into man. Therefore, in the evening of the day of His resurrection, Christ was increased. Before that time He had been only one Nazarene, but after that He was in a dozen or more Galileans.
When the time of His death was approaching, it is as if the Lord Jesus said, “Everybody welcomes Me, but I have to go and die. I am a grain of wheat. Unless the grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it abides alone; but if it dies, it bears much fruit, at least thirtyfold, perhaps sixtyfold, or even a hundredfold.” This word of the Lord tells us that once He passed through death and grew out of it, He would multiply in resurrection. In this multiplication, one grain would become many grains. This is multiplication, and this is increase. In the beginning of Acts, in chapter one, one hundred twenty people were there, and each one of them was like Jesus the Nazarene. At that time there was not only one Jesus the Nazarene but one hundred twenty-one. Then on the day of Pentecost, when the economical Spirit descended, three thousand people were saved. Therefore, at that time, Jesus was three thousand one hundred twenty-onefold.
I say again, in John 12, there was only one grain—Jesus. He was the only one. If someone has only one grain of wheat in his barn, he is pitifully poor. However, at the time of John 20, this grain increased because He breathed the Spirit into those Galileans. Therefore, when we come to Acts 1, this grain becomes one hundred twenty-one grains. Ten days later, on the day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came, and three thousand were saved and baptized. Then, there were three thousand one hundred twenty-one grains. Not only so, but in Acts 4, five thousand were added, so at that time there were eight thousand one hundred twenty-one grains. Furthermore, in Acts 21 when Paul went to Jerusalem for the last time, James told him that there were tens of thousands of Jews who had received the Lord. Thus, at that time in Jerusalem there were tens of thousands of grains. That was only in one city, Jerusalem. Consider the situation today. The grains are all over the world. This is multiplication and increase. Over one hundred years ago this increase came to China, and today it has come into you. Hallelujah, Christ’s multiplication has come into you! In this conference there are about seven to eight thousand who are His multiplication. On this whole earth His multiplication is countless.
Forgive me for saying that today’s Christians do not see this truth of multiplication and increase when they read the Bible. Not only so, even those Christians who are teachers do not speak about this aspect. No one talks about how Christ has propagated Himself into us who believe in Him. This is a regrettable situation.
(The All-Inclusiveness and Unlimitedness of Christ, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)