PRACTICING TO BEAR GOD’S TESTIMONY AS THE RETURNED REMNANT
We then began to meet so purely and so bravely according to the Bible. This was the start. We did not know much, but we saw divisions, organizations, and traditions in Christianity, which we could not follow according to the pure Word of God. We loved the Lord, and we loved His Word. We wanted to give our life to Him. Our first love was the Lord and His truth. This was our beginning. Then the Lord brought us into contact with some top missionaries. Through them we were brought into the Christian books, including the classical books, church history, and biographies from the second century until that time. All these writings further confirmed us.
From the very beginning we realized that despite the divisions, organizations, and traditions, there were a great number of genuine Christians scattered in these divisions. We saw that the Lord’s Body comprises all these genuine believers. Even in the Catholic Church we saw a number of genuine believers, and we also considered them as members of the church and as our dear brothers and sisters. On the one hand, we began to meet by ourselves and we fully realized that the dear, genuine believers who were scattered in the Catholic Church and the Protestant denominations were our brothers. We recognized them and we loved them. We realized that the Lord’s Body as the church of God did not only comprise us but also all the genuine believers, of which we were a small part. On the other hand, we also realized that they were not remaining in the proper church life. At the beginning, we did not see the genuine ground of the church, but we still realized that many of our dear brothers did not remain in the proper church life. They had been scattered into divisions in their organizations with all the traditions.
At this juncture, the Lord showed us the type in the Old Testament of the children of Israel being scattered to Syria, to Egypt, and to Babylon. When God came in to call them back to His chosen land, very few responded. The majority remained in their captivity. We realized from the Old Testament that these ones who were turned to build up the destroyed temple were the remnant of God’s people. The majority of the children of Israel remained in the heathen land, but only a small number, a remnant, came back to God’s chosen land.
We understood this type and we considered ourselves as the fulfillment of that type. We were the remnant of God’s people who had come back to His original intention while so many genuine believers had been scattered and still remained in their captivity. We love our brothers and desire that they would come this way. In the same way, in the Old Testament the returned remnant loved those who still remained in their captivity. They expected that many who were in captivity would come back to join them for God’s testimony. These returned ones immediately began to build the temple. The size of this temple was not as great as the original one, yet in principle it was the same and was considered as God’s testimony. God honored what they did because He was with them and His glory was there.
This vision and understanding strengthened our faith. We believed that, even though we were very small, we were the recovered testimony of God. This testimony is God’s dwelling place filled with His glory. We had the assurance that God’s glory was with us. I hope we can see that even by that time we brothers were clear concerning our attitude toward the Christians who did not meet with us. We realized that all of them were members of the Body of Christ. We loved them, yet they were scattered and still remained in their captivity. We not only loved them but also expected that they would come to join us to bear God’s testimony.
This is the second point of our attitude toward other Christians. The first point is that we have seen God’s vision and by God’s vision we realized the real condition of today’s Christendom. Based upon this vision, we practiced bearing God’s testimony as the returned remnant.
Undoubtedly, God had given His truths to us. In expounding any verse, we would go back directly to the Greek text. We did not study Greek, yet we had dictionaries, lexicons, and concordances to help us in our study. Brother Nee took the lead to say that since the Lord had given us the truths in this age, we must go out and send this truth to the denominations. I was the one who probably did this work the most. I was sent out to travel from province to province and to city after city in North China. Wherever I went I was warmly welcomed because I presented the truth which they mostly had never heard before. The result I saw, however, was not encouraging. This was like bringing the water out of a deep well and pouring it upon the earth. The earth became wet for maybe one day, and then the next day all the water went back to the same place from where it was brought up.
(Elders' Training, Book 04: Other Crucial Matters Concerning the Practice of the Lord's Recovery, Chapter 11, by Witness Lee)