General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, A - Part 1: The Gospels and the Acts, by Witness Lee


The Need for Authority, Equipping, and Qualification

The resurrection life imparted into us is the inward aspect of life. There is also the need of something outward for authority, equipping, and qualification. All things in nature are types and signs of the spiritual things. Our physical life, for example, is a type. Although we may have a strong physical life, it is only for us to live. Our physical life is not the qualification, equipping, or authority to exercise an office. In order to carry out an office, we must be qualified, equipped, and authorized. Even though a person is living and healthy, he cannot go into the street and act as a policeman without the proper authorization. He must do something further to be qualified before he can act as a policeman with authority.

The resurrection of Christ enables us to be regenerated. It imparts Christ Himself into us as our life and nature, but His resurrection is not sufficient to equip us, qualify us, and authorize us. Therefore, we also need His ascension. Whereas resurrection is a matter of life, Christ’s ascension is a matter of position, and position is a matter of authority. If we do not have the position, we can never have the authority. We can compare our position to the presidency. In the United States the president must be inaugurated. When he is inaugurated into office, he is put into a position that authorizes, equips, and qualifies him to act and exercise the power of the presidency.

By raising up Christ from the dead, God testified that Christ is life. Death can neither subdue nor hold this life (Acts 2:24). This life is an indestructible life which can never be destroyed or damaged by anything (Heb. 7:16). This was proved and testified by Christ’s resurrection. By Christ’s ascension, however, God testified that Christ is the Lord, the Head, and the King (Acts 2:36; Eph. 1:22; Rev. 19:16). In reference to this, Psalm 2:6 says, “But I have installed My King /Upon Zion, My holy mountain.” Christ is the Head, the Lord, and the King of kings. As the anointed One, all power and authority have been committed and entrusted to Him. He is the very center of God’s authority, power, administration, and government, and now He is on the throne. This was accomplished in Christ’s ascension. Hence, resurrection is a matter of life, while ascension is a matter of headship, lordship, kingship, authority, government, enthronement, and power.

In the evening of the day of resurrection, the Lord came to the disciples in a very mysterious way; that is, He came to them as life. He came not openly but privately to the room where the disciples were meeting in a hidden way. None of the Lord’s followers knew what was about to happen, but in a very secret and mysterious way He came to breathe Himself into them, saying, “Receive the Holy Spirit” (John 20:22). From that moment on, the disciples had this wonderful One within them as their life and nature. However, although these disciples were enlivened, regenerated, and raised up with Christ, they were still not qualified, equipped, and authorized because Christ Himself had not yet been enthroned. Not until He ascended into heaven was He enthroned. Ephesians 1:20-22 tells us that God raised Christ up and seated Him in the highest place as the Head over all things. He was enthroned and entrusted with all authority. Resurrection, therefore, is a matter of life, while ascension is a matter of authority.

The Inauguration of the Body by the Anointing upon the Body

Today Christ is the Head and the center of all authority. After His ascension, He descended as the Spirit of power to inaugurate His disciples on the day of Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4). According to the Old Testament, whenever apprentices assumed the priesthood, they needed to be anointed. This anointing was equivalent to their inauguration. In the same way, Christ inaugurated the disciples on the day of Pentecost. That day was their inauguration day. At that time they were authorized, equipped, qualified, and placed into the position of power, and on that very day they began to assume their function.

This is the real meaning of the baptism in the Holy Spirit. The baptism in the Holy Spirit is the inauguration, the anointing, of the church. Moreover, the baptism in the Holy Spirit is not for individual believers but for the Body (1 Cor. 12:13). The Head has inaugurated the Body, not the individual members separately. In other words, He has appointed and authorized the Body to function.

(General Sketch of the New Testament in the Light of Christ and the Church, A - Part 1: The Gospels and the Acts, Chapter 7, by Witness Lee)