P. THE INK
In 2 Corinthians 3:3 ink is a symbol of the Spirit: “Being manifested that you are a letter of Christ ministered by us, inscribed not with ink, but with the Spirit of the living God.” The Spirit of the living God, who is the living God Himself, is not an instrument, like a pen for writing, but the very element, like the ink, with which the apostles minister Christ as the content for the writing of living letters that convey Christ. The writer of this letter is not the Spirit of God; the writer is the apostles. The Spirit of the living God is the “ink,” the element, the essence of the writing. This means that the Spirit of the living God is the element with which the letter is written.
The ministry of the apostles is to write letters with the life-giving Spirit as the essence. The more the apostles minister to you, the more they put into you the element of the life-giving Spirit.
In 2 Corinthians 3:3 Paul says “inscribed not with ink”; he does not say “inscribed not by ink.” The preposition “with” indicates that the spiritual ink, the Spirit of the living God, is an essence, an element, used by the one doing the inscribing or the writing. The Spirit is neither the writer nor the instrument used for writing; rather, the Spirit is the essence, the element, the substance, used in writing. The Spirit of the living God is the heavenly ink used by the apostles in writing living letters that convey Christ. Therefore, Paul’s view of the Spirit here is that of an essence used for inscribing letters of Christ.
Q. THE SEVEN LAMPS OF FIRE BURNING BEFORE THE THRONE OF GOD
In Revelation 4:5 the Spirit is symbolized by the seven lamps of fire burning before God’s throne, which are the seven Spirits of God. The seven lamps of fire, which are the seven Spirits of God, signify the enlightening and searching of the sevenfold intensified Spirit of God. God will touch the earth by the seven lamps, by His seven Spirits, which are burning, shining, observing, searching, and judging. The seven lamps here refer to the seven lamps of the lampstand in Exodus 25:37 and in Zechariah 4:2. In Exodus 25 and Zechariah 4 the seven lamps, signifying the enlightening of the Spirit of God in God’s move, are for God’s building. In Revelation 4:5 the seven lamps are for God’s judgment, which will issue in the building of the New Jerusalem. While God executes His judgment, His sevenfold intensified Spirit will carry out His eternal building by searching, enlightening, and judging.
The seven lamps of fire burning before the throne of God are for enlightening, searching, exposing, judging, and burning. All this is for the carrying out of God’s administration. Today, God is administrating His government by means of enlightening, searching, exposing, judging, and burning. Anything that does not correspond to God’s nature will be burned by His fire. Although we have been saved and have undergone some amount of transformation, our work will be burned if it is wood, grass, and stubble and not gold, silver, and precious stones (1 Cor. 3:15). Any fleshly work, work done in the name of the Lord but actually having nothing to do with Him, will be burned. Everything that is not of God or according to God will be counted by God as wood, grass, and stubble, and it will be burned by fire. This burning is the carrying out of God’s administration. The Bible reveals that God is the burning One (Deut. 4:24; Heb. 12:29). All things outside of Him or that do not correspond to His nature will be burned.
Although the seven enlightening, searching, exposing, judging, and burning lamps will burn all that does not correspond to God, they will refine those things that are truly according to His nature. The dross will go to the lake of fire, but the refined gold will go to the New Jerusalem. Even now the seven Spirits as the seven lamps of fire burning before the throne of God are burning, refining, and purifying for the carrying out of God’s universal governmental administration.
(Conclusion of the New Testament, The (Msgs. 079-098), Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)