The Kingdom, by Witness Lee

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The Bible says clearly that the Lord Jesus is with us all the days until the consummation of the age (Matt. 28:20). Since He is with us, how can He come in the future? Is He not here today? Since He is here already, how can He come? This is something wonderful and it cannot be systematized. Never rely on your natural concepts when studying the Bible. Your natural concept cannot give you a proper understanding of the Bible. On the one hand the Lord Jesus is here. On the other hand He is coming. This means that He has already come as the seed, but He is coming and will come as the harvest. He has come as the seed, and He is coming as the seed grows. Eventually, He will come in full as the harvest. Although nearly two thousand years have passed, the Lord Jesus has not yet come because the seed has lacked the growth. Due to the shortage of growth it is difficult for Him to have the harvest.

The coming of the Lord will not be a sudden occurrence. One day the Lord Jesus will come, but not in the way you have probably thought. The Lord Jesus will not merely come from the heavens, but will come from within you. You are expecting Him to suddenly descend from the heavens. However, you must realize that He will come out of you. But when the Lord Jesus comes out of you, He will not leave you. To all the unbelievers, He will descend from the heavens. But to us, the believers, He will not come from the heavens—He will come out of us.

How else can we interpret the statements that the Lord is with us and that He is also coming. The Lord has come into us, He is growing within us, and He is transforming us by performing a metabolic work within us. His coming is the completion of this work of transformation. The Lord will not merely come out of heaven; He will come out of us.

Together with Brother Watchman Nee we have considered all the schools of theology. We worked together, talked together, and fellowshipped what we had read. In this way we helped one another and we came to know all of these matters. We do know where we stand and we do know what the Lord has committed to us. We read many of the books about the Lord’s second coming, studying the schools of pre-tribulation and post-tribulation, pre-millennial and post-millennial. We also studied the different views about the rapture: the partial rapture, the pre-tribulation rapture, and the post-tribulation rapture.

By the Lord’s grace and for the sake of His recovery, He has shown us this mysterious way—that His coming back is not according to our concept. According to our natural concept, the Lord sits on the throne watching and bestowing blessings until the day when He will suddenly appear. Nearly every theological book speaks of the coming of the Lord in this way. But the Lord Jesus is coming by the growth of life, not by a sudden appearance from the heavens. I know that you may quote Philippians 3:20 which says that we are waiting for the Lord Jesus to come from the heavens. But you must also read Matthew 28:20 which says that the Lord is with us all the days. I cannot tell you how much time we have spent studying these two verses. How can you reconcile them? You simply cannot do it. However, it is a fact that the Lord Jesus has sown Himself into us and that He is now growing within us, transforming us, and becoming matured within us. When He has ripened and matured within and through us, that will be the time of His coming. To us, His coming will not be a sudden event.

(The Kingdom, Chapter 19, by Witness Lee)