THE FINALITY OF THE WORLD SITUATION
Just a few days ago I came across an old book by A. T. Pierson. At the end of the last century he visited Philadelphia and, while there, gave a series of messages which he called The New Acts of the Apostles. This is a good title, reminding us that the book of Acts does not really have only twenty-eight chapters. We are still in the continuation of Acts; by our time perhaps there are two hundred eighty chapters!
In this book Pierson says that God kept a continent veiled for five thousand years, rending the veil only when a reformed church with an unchained Bible was ready to enter it. This thought is quite similar to what we have pointed out in these messages. But he adds, “and make it the theater of new gospel triumphs.” Our view differs from his in this. I do not believe that America was preserved only for new triumphs in gospel preaching. Those who came to the new continent already had access to the gospel. I believe this country was raised up by the Lord for the recovery. The status of the United States as the world’s leading nation is the world’s ultimate situation for the Lord’s ultimate recovery.
If the Bible has been nearly fully recovered, what about the present world situation? Do you believe that God will raise up yet another power after the United States? All the previous world powers were replaced. Babylon was overcome by Media-Persia. Greece followed Media-Persia as the leading world power. Then came the Roman Empire. Then the European nations gradually arose, with Germany, Spain, and Great Britain at different times being foremost. Now that the United States has come into the lead, it seems clear from the present world situation that it will not be replaced.
At the war of Armageddon there will be three military powers gathered. One will be from the west, Europe, under Antichrist. One will be from the north, Russia. The third will be from the sunrise. There is no hint of what the position of the United States will be. Do not think that Antichrist with his restored Roman Empire will replace the United States.
This country, symbolized by an eagle, is bordered by two oceans which separate it from other lands. In Daniel a ram symbolizes Media-Persia (Dan. 8:20), and a goat represents Greece (v. 21). As G. H. Pember relates, these are the ancient symbols of those countries. The ram has been found engraved on ancient Persian coins and sculptures. The goat is depicted on old coins from Macedonia; the waters to the east of it were called the Aegean, meaning Goat Sea.
Today there are a number of small countries around the Mediterranean Sea, besides the other countries in Europe. It may be that the peoples in these small, independent nations would like to have a strong leader unite them and thus rescue them from their weak position. Antichrist may take the chance to rise up and unite these countries, thus restoring the old Roman Empire. But this new empire will not replace the United States nor will it defeat Russia. It will also not defeat the two hundred million horsemen from the sunrise (Rev. 9:16). Since Antichrist with his restored Roman Empire will not defeat Russia, nor the east, neither will he be able to replace the United States. Thus there will be four sources of power. Three will go to Armageddon in order to get the wealth there. Probably the wealth will come from the oil.
THE NEED FOR A VISION
Under God’s sovereignty the gospel has been preached to every corner of the earth. The Bible prophesied this would happen, and it has. The Bible has been taught in every country. And God did gain some proper meetings even a hundred fifty years ago. Even though God has gained this much, however, He has never gained the central line of His purpose, that is, Christ as the mystery of God and the church as the mystery of Christ. This church as the mystery of Christ must be the Body, not just the assembly. It must be the new man. It must be the lampstand. It must be the bride.
What is our responsibility? We must look to the Lord to show us the central vision of Paul’s completing ministry and of John’s mending ministry. What is the vision? It is the all-inclusive, extensive, subjective Christ, who is the life-giving Spirit as the consummate expression of the Triune God now that He has accomplished all the processes. We must see Christ as such a One. We must live such a Christ. He must be our life. He must be our living. He must be our daily family life. He must be our church life.
We have the example of Paul. When he went to the cultured Greek city of Corinth, he determined not to go with excellence of speech. Just because of its high culture, he would not use eloquent words of wisdom. “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ, and this One crucified” (1 Cor. 2:1-4). His word to the Corinthians was that they as believers were joined to the Lord as one spirit (6:17). To the Philippians he said, “To me to live is Christ” (Phil. 1:21). It was his expectation and hope that Christ would be magnified in his body “whether through life or through death” (v. 20).
I am afraid what you may be impressed with is gospel preaching, Bible teaching, and good meetings. You may not have much realization of this all-inclusive Christ. Our responsibility is to live this Christ, to bring this Christ wherever we go. To do this requires that we be fully in the spirit, that we live by the Spirit, and that we walk by the Spirit, even by the sevenfold intensified Spirit.
Those who live Christ, who live in the spirit, are the actual Body of Christ corporately. This Body is one (Eph. 4:4). They are also the new man in actuality, a new creation with a new living to express the Triune God.
(The World Situation and God's Move, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)