NOT BEING DELIVERED OUT OF THE SATANIC CHAOS
BUT OVERCOMING AND CONQUERING IT TO TRIUMPH
IN GOD’S UNIQUE CONSTRUCTIVE ECONOMY
In one meeting I heard someone pray, "Lord, deliver us from the chaos." I would like to ask whether this prayer is right or wrong. Some may say that this is right because the Lord Jesus told us to ask the Father not to bring us into temptation but to deliver us from the evil one (Matt. 6:13). We may, however, have a wrong concept about what this kind of deliverance is. God does not want us to be delivered out of the satanic chaos. What God wants is embodied in the words overcome and conquer. If God delivered us out of the satanic chaos, He would not need us to overcome it, to conquer it. God wants us to conquer the satanic chaos. The real deliverance to us from God is our conquering. In Ephesians 6 Paul told us that we need to be empowered in the Lord to stand against the stratagems of the devil (vv. 10-11). Then he said, "Therefore take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand" (v. 13). We are not to be delivered out of the chaos, but we are to stand against it.
While the carrying out of God’s economy has been going on, the satanic chaos has been accumulating throughout the nearly six thousand years of human history. This accumulation has consummated in Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism. Judaism did not come out of God’s economy. Judaism is part of the satanic chaos. In Revelation 2:9 the Lord spoke to the church in Smyrna of the "synagogue of Satan."
We have seen that the church, due to its degradation, eventually became married to the world during the time of Constantine. At that time, the church actually became a kind of "anity," that is, Christianity. That "anity" was also an accumulation of the satanic chaos. The church’s marriage to the world, as seen with the church in Pergamos (Rev. 2:12-17), eventually issued in Roman Catholicism, as seen with the church in Thyatira (vv. 18-29). In Roman Catholicism there is the hierarchy of bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and the pope. The universal papal system was established in the latter part of the sixth century. With the Catholic Church there is much heresy, much superstition, and many pagan practices. Catholicism is an accumulation of the satanic chaos. Judaism is the first accumulation and Catholicism is the second accumulation.
The seekers of the Lord could not tolerate the degradation of the church, so they stood up again and again in different centuries to carry out a certain amount of the Lord’s recovery. Eventually, in the sixteenth century, Martin Luther rose up, and the Lord used him to recover the truth concerning justification by faith. Eventually, Protestantism came out of this period of reformation. The issue of the Reformation was the state churches, such as the Church of Germany, the Church of Norway, and the Church of England, today’s Anglican church. Then some lovers of the Lord began to see truths from the Scriptures which were not present in the state churches. Thus, the private churches were formed, such as the Presbyterian church, the Baptist church, and the Methodist church.
In the eighteenth century, the Lord used Zinzendorf to recover something of the practice of the proper church life. Then in the nineteenth century, the Brethren under the leadership of John Nelson Darby went on to recover the church life in a further way. The Brethren began in 1828, but within ninety years they were divided into about one hundred divisions.
In the early part of the twentieth century, the Lord caught a young man in China named Watchman Nee, and the Lord used him to continue His recovery. Brother Nee once told me that both Europe and America had been spoiled as far as the Lord’s move was concerned at that time. That forced the Lord to go to China, which Brother Nee said was "virgin soil" for the Lord to have a new start of the church life. We are now in the Lord’s recovery of the proper church life for the building up of the organic Body of Christ.
God’s economy has passed through the Adamic race and also through the Abrahamic race, both physically and spiritually. Alongside this economy, there has been Satan’s chaos, which has resulted in three accumulations, which are three "isms": Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism. Because of the failure among the first three races and because of the accumulations of the satanic chaos with Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism, the Lord needs a fourth race, the race of the overcomers. In the last book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, the Lord has a sevenfold calling for the overcomers.
According to church history, the Lord’s recovery with His overcomers began in the second century. The divine revelation was fully completed in the first century with Paul’s ministry and John’s mending ministry. Within the first century, however, there was also the degradation of the church life. Even within such a short time after the completion of the divine revelation, the church fell into degradation, so there was the need of overcomers. Brother E. H. Broadbent in his book The Pilgrim Church pointed out that the line of the overcomers started in the second century and has continued throughout the centuries.
I was born in China far away from western Christianity, but thank the Lord, about one hundred fifty years ago, the Lord sent a number of the best missionaries to that old conservative country. They were real men of God who were honorable, faithful, and excellent in character. They opened up the door for the gospel. My mother was baptized because of their work. It was through this that I came into Christianity. After I was saved, the Lord gradually opened my eyes. I saw that since I was a man, I had to be a Christian, and if I was going to be a Christian, I must be an overcomer. I must come out of Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism to stand with the overcomers.
I was born in northern China, and Brother Nee was born in the south. Eventually, under the Lord’s arrangement, we came into contact with each other. As a young believer, I was able to read his magazine called The Christian. When I read this, I was caught by the Lord. I realized that since I was a Christian, I had to be the same kind of Christian as Brother Watchman Nee was—an overcomer. About seventy years ago, Brother Nee and I were among the progressive young people in China. We studied in modern schools and learned English. We were also very patriotic, but we were caught by the Lord to be overcomers.
We were called by the Lord to be one with Him to conquer His enemy, to overcome him. Some of us may feel that there is too much chaos today. Judaism, Catholicism, and Protestantism are a threefold chaos. We might want to ask the Lord to deliver us out of this. Instead of delivering us, however, the Lord might allow chaos to come to our place so that we would learn how to be one with Him to conquer it, to overcome it. We are in the Lord’s recovery, which is for the carrying out of God’s economy on this earth. Because of this, the satanic chaos is here also. The overcomers are not delivered out of this present chaos. Instead, the overcomers conquer all the destructive chaos and triumph in the unique constructive economy.
(The Satanic Chaos in the Old Creation and the Divine Economy for the New Creation, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)