REACHING THE HIGH PEAK OF ZION
In today’s education the goal is not merely to finish elementary school and junior high school and then to graduate from high school. The goal is to study in a university and to earn not only a bachelor’s degree but even a master’s degree or a Ph.D. After many young people finish high school, they become tired of studying and terminate their education to get a job and make a living. This is just like our church life. To be in the church life may be likened to being in high school. Being satisfied to be merely in the church life, we may say, “Praise the Lord! Hallelujah for the church life! How good it is!” But will this reach the goal for the fulfillment of the Lord’s purpose? It will not, just as graduating from high school will not reach the goal of the purpose of today’s education. Today in the recovery, we need to go on and on to reach the high peak of God’s economy, that is, Mount Zion.
Jerusalem is built on the top of a mountain. Although Jerusalem is good, it is not the peak. In Jerusalem there is a peak, that is, Mount Zion, on which the temple was built. About one thousand years before the building of the temple, God asked Abraham to offer his son Isaac on Mount Moriah, which is another name for Mount Zion (Gen. 22:2; 2 Chron. 3:1). The good situation in the recovery today is just like Jerusalem. However, there is no Zion. In the New Testament the overcomers are likened to Zion. In Revelation 14:1 the 144,000 overcomers are not just in Jerusalem; they are on the peak of Zion. The overcomers, the vital groups, are today’s Zion. My burden today is to help you reach the peak of the vital groups, that is, the overcomers’ Zion. Although we may have a good church life, among us there is almost no realization, no practicality, no actuality, and no reality of the Body life. This is the need in the recovery today.
THE REGULAR PROCEDURES OF THE CHURCH WORK IN THE LORD’S RECOVERY TODAY
The regular procedures of the church work in the Lord’s recovery today consist of four steps: begetting, nourishing, teaching (perfecting), and building. Begetting is to have sinners saved and regenerated to become the members of Christ (1 Cor. 4:15b; Matt. 28:19); nourishing is to feed the new believers for their growth in the divine life (1 Thes. 2:7; John 21:15, 17); and teaching is to perfect the saints that they may mature to be built (Matt. 28:20a; Eph. 4:12-16). The steps of begetting, nourishing, and perfecting are all for another higher step, that is, for the building up of the Body of Christ (Eph. 4:12b, 16) in the local churches (Rev. 1:4a, 11). However, we need to ask ourselves, “Where is such a building? Where is the Body of Christ today? Within and among the many local churches, where is the reality of the Body of Christ?” According to my observation, we cannot see the reality of the Body of Christ anywhere today.
You may argue that the church is the Body of Christ. Yes, it is; but to be in the reality of the Body of Christ is not just a matter of setting up local churches with the establishing of elders and the practice of the church life in a particular way. This is merely an arrangement, a work, a service. It is not the reality of the Body of Christ. Even though our preaching of the gospel may be very good, there may not be much reality of the Body of Christ.
In the churches today we may have many saints in “elementary school,” many in “junior high school,” and many in “high school,” but where is the “university” that can educate people up to the standard of a “master’s degree” and even to the highest standard, a “Ph.D.”? Where is the “university” for the Lord’s recovery? I do not mean that we should set up a seminary. But we should not pay so much attention to the mere establishing of the churches and the arranging of many outward things. These have nothing to do with the reality of the Body of Christ.
This does not mean that we should close the doors of all the local churches. That would make the situation worse. This would be like saying that, since there is no possibility for us to have universities, let us forget about high school, junior high, and elementary school. That would make us primitive and backward.
The highest peak of the Lord’s recovery that can really, practically, and actually carry out God’s economy is for God to produce not many local churches in a physical way but an organic Body to be His organism. We all have a physical body, but our body actually is not the reality of our being. My body is me, but it is not the reality of my being. Likewise, the churches set up around the globe are a physical frame, but among the churches there may be no reality of the Body of Christ. If we are honest with ourselves, we must admit that this is our situation today. Where is the reality of the Body of Christ?
(Practical Points Concerning Blending, Chapter 2, by Witness Lee)