THE BOOK OF REVELATION BEING CLOSED TO CHRISTIANITY BUT OPENED TO THE CHURCHES
Poor Christianity has degraded into a religion that pays attention only to outward actions and outward corrections. I can truthfully say that through our Chinese heritage we all understand ethics and morality, and we all know how to improve ourselves. Concerning self-improvement and ethics or morality, the books written by Confucius and Mencius are already sufficient. In my youth I was born into Christianity, and at first I loved and defended Christianity until one day I heard a Western pastor say that Christianity teaches us to honor our parents, to respect our elder brothers, to be upright, and to be honest, just as what Confucius taught. This caused me to question Christianity, and my heart became cold. The Western missionaries did not know enough about God’s economy and about the Spirit in God’s economy. They saw only the things in the Bible which matched their concepts. When they read Ephesians, they never found the truth of the spirit of wisdom and revelation, nor did they discover that the church is the fullness of the One who fills all in all. They could see that chapter five tells wives to submit to their husbands and husbands to love their wives, and they could also see that you must be humble and that you must honor your parents. But concerning the verses on the one Body, being members one of another, and putting off the old man and putting on the new man, of which we have been speaking, they could not understand, and they would not touch them. Some of them even said that the Bible is not for man to thoroughly understand, so one should read only whatever he can understand, and whatever he cannot understand, he should just let it go. This has been the pitiful condition of Christianity in the past.
We praise and thank the Lord that today the Bible before us is not like this. Today the depths of the Bible are shining before our eyes. We know the church is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all. We know what the church is, what the Body is, what the fullness is, what being filled is, and what is meant by the word all. We also know the one new man and the one Spirit. We know the all-inclusive Spirit, the Spirit, the seven Spirits, and the life-giving Spirit. Today the Bible is so clear, and the book of Revelation is truly revealed and not concealed anymore. I know this is the Lord’s marvelous work in His sovereignty.
I would like to say again that I am so happy that I can see the second generation, numbering even thousands, in the churches. There are young people rising up everywhere. Moreover, the light of the truth at this time is clear and bright. When we began the work here twenty-nine years ago, we did not have such clear light. We did not understand the life-giving Spirit, the sevenfold intensified Spirit, or the matter of eating the Lord to live by Him, but now the younger generation understands all these things. Therefore, I have the confidence that all these precious truths will be released quickly to the entire earth. Let the denominations oppose us today, but in ten years many may speak our language. This is because what is good is good, and what is superior is superior. Today we are here speaking about one Body, one Spirit, and one new man. In five years, those outside the Lord’s recovery will also speak about one Body, one Spirit, and one new man. The Lord will prevail.
THOSE WITH EARS TO HEAR WHAT THE SPIRIT SPEAKS TO THE CHURCHES BECOMING OVERCOMERS
Now I would like to show you that Revelation 2 and 3 speak again and again about what the overcomers must do and how those with an ear must hear what the Spirit is speaking to the churches. This word includes four things: first, the Spirit; second, the churches; third, those with ears (those who can hear); and fourth, the overcomers. One day a young brother asked me, “We in the local churches realize that we must be the new man. Then what about those who are in the denominations? What should our attitude be about them?” I would like to answer this question here. We must know this one principle in the Bible: When the majority of God’s people have failed God and cannot meet His need, God calls a small number of overcomers. You must see that even though the Spirit is speaking to the churches, not everyone in the churches will follow closely; therefore, there is the call for the overcomers. Although the word spoken by the Spirit is to all the churches, the Bible also says that whoever has an ear let him hear. If you hear it, you will be an overcomer. I am not saying that everyone in the local churches in the Lord’s recovery is an overcomer. I dare not say this. However, everyone in the churches today can easily have an ear to hear. Today many in the denominations oppose the Spirit’s speaking. Those in the local churches, however, listen respectfully instead of opposing. “O Lord, speak, and we will hear.” We are here in a position to hear the Spirit’s speaking, and we can easily have ears. Now I am happy because I know that almost everyone here has an ear to hear. We all have ears that can hear. We have the Spirit and the churches, and we also have ears to hear. As a result, the overcomers will be produced.
Today our attitude toward Christians is that we are broad and loving. We are blunt in speaking of Christianity because the “anity” is a bad thing, but despite this fact we love the Christians. We must distinguish Christianity from Christians. Regardless of what denomination Christians are in, even if they are in Catholicism, they are still the believers and our brothers. But the religion, the organization, is not of God. What we criticize, condemn, and oppose is the “anity” or religion. We do not oppose Christ; we oppose the “anity.” Neither do we oppose the Christians; we love our brothers and sisters. It does not matter what denomination they are in, we love them. It does not matter how much they oppose us; we still love them because they are children of God. However, you must remember that it is one thing to sympathize with them, and it is another thing to be faithful. Today many do not have an ear to hear, but you have an ear, so you cannot listen in the same way they listen; you need to overcome. Whoever has an ear to hear what the Spirit speaks to the churches should hear and then be an overcomer.
At this time I cannot tell you in detail what the overcomers are, but if you read through Revelation 2 and 3, the condition of the overcomers and the requirements for overcoming will be shown to you. When you overcome, you can enjoy Christ as the tree of life and as the manna, and you can become a white stone as the material for God’s building. When you overcome, you can be a pillar in the temple of God. When you overcome, you can wear white garments and walk with the Lord. When you overcome, one day you will have authority to reign with the Lord and rule over the nations. By what way do the overcomers come? They come by having ears to hear. The ear to hear is produced through the Spirit’s speaking to the churches. All those with an ear should hear what the Spirit speaks to the churches, and those who hear will be overcomers.
(One Body, One Spirit, and One New Man, Chapter 10, by Witness Lee)