ONE CITY, ONE CHURCH
In 1:11 the voice said to John, "What you see write in a book and send it to the seven churches: to Ephesus, and to Smyrna, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to Sardis, and to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea." This verse is composed in a very important way. Here we see that the sending of this book "to the seven churches" equals sending it to the seven cities. This shows clearly that the practice of the church life was that of one church for one city, one city with one church. In no city was there more than one church. The jurisdiction of a local church should cover the whole city in which the church is; it should not be greater or lesser than the boundary of the city. All the believers within that boundary should constitute the unique local church within that city. Hence, one church equals one city, and one city equals one church. This is what we call the local churches.
GRACE AND PEACE FROM THE TRIUNE GOD
TO THE SEVEN CHURCHES
Revelation 1:4 and 5 are very significant verses. "John to the seven churches which are in Asia: Grace to you and peace from Him Who is, and Who was, and Who is coming, and from the seven Spirits Who are before His throne, and from Jesus Christ, the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth." According to these verses, grace and peace are transmitted to the seven churches from the Triune God. Notice that in these verses there are three "froms": from Him Who is, and Who was, and Who is coming (the Father); from the seven Spirits (the Spirit); and from Jesus Christ (the Son). What a full, complete revelation of the Triune God! As God the eternal Father, He was in the past, He is in the present, and He is coming in the future. As God the Spirit, He is the sevenfold, intensified Spirit for God’s operation. As God the Son, He is the Witness, the testimony, the expression of God, the Firstborn of the dead for the church, the new creation, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth for the world. From such a Triune God grace and peace are imparted to the churches.
The revelation of God in these verses is much more complete than the revelation in Genesis 1:1. The God revealed in Genesis could not be called Jesus, for in Genesis we do not yet have the incarnation. According to John 1, the very God who is the Creator in Genesis 1 is the Word who became flesh and tabernacled among us. When the Word became flesh, He was given the name Jesus. In Revelation 1:5, Jesus is the faithful Witness and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. Revelation 1:4 and 5 contain the ultimate revelation in the Bible. The revelation in the Scriptures begins with God as the Creator and consummates with the processed Triune God imparting grace and peace to the local churches. According to Revelation 1:4, the Spirit has become the seven Spirits, that is, the all-inclusive Spirit. Furthermore, the Son has become the faithful Witness, the Firstborn of the dead, and the Ruler of the kings of the earth. Having passed through incarnation, human living, crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension, He has been enthroned above all kings. This processed Triune God is related not primarily to individuals or to the church in a general way, but to the churches. For this reason, Revelation 1:4 and 5 specifically say that grace and peace come from the Triune God to the seven churches.
(The Genuine Ground of Oneness, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)