THE HIGH PRIESTLY MINISTRY
How is it possible for every local church to be an embodiment of the Triune God as the lampstand? Christ’s heavenly priesthood is needed. His walking in the midst of the churches is His functioning as the heavenly High Priest. By ministering His priesthood to us, He purifies and transforms us. Originally we are not golden but muddy. We may still have a layer of mud on us! We need to be purified. We need to be transformed.
Read again the seven epistles in Revelation 2 and 3. There Christ as High Priest is ministering to cleanse away the mud and add the gold. If you read these two chapters with this thought in mind, you will have new insights. These epistles seem full of rebukes. Why did He rebuke so much? He wanted to purify.
While He was rebuking, His word was also supplying. To the church in Ephesus He said: “To him who overcomes, to him I will give to eat of the tree of life, which is in the paradise of God” (2:7). To the church in Pergamos He promised, “To him who overcomes, to him I will give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he who receives it” (2:17). To eat of the tree of life and of the hidden manna is to take in Christ as our life supply. The result of eating this supply is transformation. We become a white stone. To the overcomer in the church in Philadelphia the Lord promises, “I will make him a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall by no means go out anymore…” (3:12). Purified and transformed, those who overcome eventually are built into the temple as pillars.
OVERCOMERS BROUGHT FORTH
The outcome of our High Priest’s ministering in the churches is that a number of overcomers are brought forth. This is not to say that everyone in the local churches is an overcomer. Outside the churches, however, does the Lord have a way to produce any overcomers? I do not see any possibility for Him to gain any overcomers in the Catholic Church. I doubt that He can do so in the denominations or free groups either. In the local churches, however, the Lord has the full ground and a full entrance to come in and purify His seeking ones, supply His lovers, and transform them into stones for His building and pillars for His temple.
Thus Christ’s heavenly priesthood ministered to the churches produces a number of overcomers. We are now under this ministry. Christ is busy walking through the churches and speaking. As He walks through the churches, He speaks to every one.
His speaking is according to what He is and also according to the condition of the church. In every epistle He begins by saying who and what He is. Then He also speaks in every case according to what the church is. His speaking is both practical and equipping.
In His walking He is Christ. In His speaking He is the Spirit. At the beginning of each of the seven epistles it is the Lord who speaks (2:1, 8, 12, 18; 3:1, 7, 14). At the end it is the Spirit speaking to the churches (2:7, 11, 17, 29; 3:6, 13, 22). “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”
Your experience will confirm this. When Christ came and walked through the church in your locality, you were enlightened and rebuked. The walking Christ became the speaking Spirit. Christ is the Spirit. By His speaking you are supplied with the tree of life and the hidden manna. Then you are transformed. Little by little the muddy things are washed away and you become a white stone, justified, accepted, and approved by God for the building up of His dwelling place, which consummates in the New Jerusalem. Christ today is busy ministering His heavenly priesthood.
(The Mending Ministry of John, Chapter 13, by Witness Lee)