OVERCOMING THE THREE "ISMS" HATED BY GOD
The Lord’s recovery is for the producing of the overcomers. We should not think that to overcome is merely a matter of overcoming our temper. In Revelation 2 and 3 the overcoming of matters such as our temper is not mentioned. Revelation 2 and 3 cover the entire situation of Christianity, including Catholicism and Protestantism, and also the situation of Judaism. Throughout human history these three big "isms" have been God’s real enemies. To overcome is to overcome these three "isms," which God hates to the uttermost.
God is still dealing with these three "isms." In carrying out His dealing, God is very patient. God has dealt with the "ism" of Judaism for almost twenty-six centuries. God’s instrument in dealing with the Jews has been the four great empires—Babylon, Medo-Persia, Greece, and Rome—represented by the four sections of the great human image in Daniel 2:31-33. The Jews have been under God’s dealing since 606 B.C. At that time they lost their country through the Babylonian invasion. From that day the Jews have never fully regained their country. Although in 1948 the nation of Israel was reestablished, the number of Jews living in Palestine is still very small. Even today the Jews are still under God’s dealing.
At the same time God is also dealing with Catholicism. In Revelation 17 we are told clearly that near the beginning of the three and a half years of the great tribulation, after Antichrist begins to oppose and exalt himself above all that is called God or an object of worship (2 Thes. 2:3-4), he will burn the Roman Catholic Church (Rev. 17:16), which is the great harlot mentioned by the apostle John in Revelation 17:1 and the evil woman mentioned by the Lord Jesus in Matthew 13:33. The woman in Matthew 13 who took the leaven and put it into the fine flour, the woman Jezebel in Revelation 2:20, and the harlot in Revelation 17 all refer to the same entity, that is, Catholicism. Even some Catholic scholars recognize that the harlot in Revelation 17 refers to the Catholic Church.
God is also dealing with Protestantism. In the Protestant churches a prominent thing is the "tares," the nominal Christians (Matt. 13:24-30, 36-42). In Matthew 13:30, 40-42 the Lord said that when He comes back, the first thing He will do is bind the tares together and put them into the lake of fire.
PRACTICING THE GOD-ORDAINED WAY
IN FOUR DEFINITE STEPS
Practicing the New Testament
Priesthood of the Gospel
To those who love the Lord and have the intention to live an overcoming life for the Lord’s recovery, I would like to give some solemn advice: You must study to enter into the first step of the God-ordained way—the priesthood of the gospel. We are the priests of the gospel (Rom. 15:16). Today the New Testament priesthood is a priesthood of the preaching of the gospel to get sinners regenerated to make them members of the Body of Christ. As New Testament priests, we offer these members of Christ to God as our sacrifices. In the Old Testament the priests offered cattle as sacrifices. These sacrifices were merely types. Today we need to offer as our sacrifices not cattle but the regenerated, saved sinners.
We have all been chosen to be God’s priests (1 Pet. 2:5, 9; Rev. 1:6). The New Testament eventually tells us that this priesthood is a priesthood of the gospel. This is clearly stressed in Romans 15:16. There Paul said that he was a laboring priest, an energizing priest, of the gospel of God. Then he said that he offered to God as New Testament sacrifices all the Gentiles whom he converted into members of Christ. For this one step of the God-ordained way you must have a beginning. You yourself must study it and get into it and practice it.
(The Practice of the Church Life according to the God-ordained Way, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)