THE CHURCH LIFE BEING
THE THRESHOLD OF THE KINGDOM
Now that we have received an overview of the book of Revelation, we need to consider where we are and who we are. Thank the Lord that today we are in the church life. The church life is the threshold of the kingdom. As long as we are living in the church life, we are ready to take one more step to cross the threshold into the kingdom, the New Jerusalem, which is called the Paradise of God (Rev. 2:7). In the Paradise of God, we can enjoy the tree of life for one thousand years. After the thousand-year kingdom, we will be in the new heaven and the new earth as the New Jerusalem. The New Jerusalem in eternity includes the overcomers and all the dear saints whom God perfected during the thousand-year kingdom. I hope that all of us will be included in the race of overcomers, who will consummate God’s economy. We all need to be the triumphant ones in God’s unique constructive economy.
THE FIVE GROUPS OF OVERCOMERS
IN THE BOOK OF REVELATION
We have seen that the first sixty-five books of the Bible are on the Adamic race, the Abrahamic race physically, and the Abrahamic race spiritually. In all the ages, these races suffered a defeat. God could not get through with them to finish His eternal economy. Thus, in the sixty-sixth book, the last book of the Bible, the Lord calls overcomers. It is the final race, the race of overcomers, who will accomplish and consummate God’s eternal economy.
Revelation shows us the overcomers in five groups. The first group is in Revelation 6:9-11 where we see the martyrs who are under the altar. They are underneath the earth in Paradise, crying out, at the fifth seal near the end of this age, for the Lord to avenge them. They are both the martyrs of the Old Testament, such as Abel, the first martyr (Gen. 4:2-8), Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others (Matt. 23:34-36), and the martyrs of the New Testament up to the time before the great tribulation.
The second group of overcomers is the man-child in Revelation 12:5. The man-child born of the universal woman is composed of the overcoming saints who have died and been resurrected before the three and a half years of the great tribulation (vv. 6, 14). These who constitute the man-child should include those martyrs who cried to the Lord at the fifth seal. They do not love their soul-life even unto death (v. 11). Unto death indicates martyrdom.
The third group of overcomers is the hundred and forty-four thousand living overcomers, the firstfruits, in Revelation 14:1-5. The living overcomers will be raptured to the heavenly Mount Zion before the great tribulation.
Those who are standing on the glassy sea in Revelation 15:2-4 are the fourth group of overcomers. These overcomers are the martyrs who will be killed in the time of the great tribulation under the persecution of Antichrist and will be resurrected and raptured before the close of the great tribulation.
These four groups of overcomers constitute the fifth group, which is the prepared bride in Revelation 19:7-9. The bride is a composition of all the overcomers, who, except those who will stand on the glassy sea, will be raptured to the third heaven before the three and a half years of the great tribulation. The man-child will be raptured to the throne of God in the third heaven (Rev. 12:5), and the hundred and forty-four thousand living overcomers will be raptured to stand on heavenly Mount Zion in the third heaven (14:1). Then the Lord Jesus will come down with them to the air near the end of the great tribulation. In the air the Lord will rapture the majority of the saints (14:14-16), and all the believers will stand before the judgment seat of Christ (2 Cor. 5:10). The mature believers will be the Lord’s bride for His wedding. The immature ones will enter into a place for discipline, which the Bible refers to as outer darkness (Matt. 25:30). Through this discipline, they will be matured. While they are in outer darkness, the Lord will have the marriage feast with His overcoming believers.
(The Satanic Chaos in the Old Creation and the Divine Economy for the New Creation, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)