THE LORD URGENTLY NEEDING THE EXPRESSION OF THE BODY
Today the Lord has an urgent need on the earth. He needs the reality of the Body to be expressed in each locality. At this time, by the Lord’s own doing, there are brothers and sisters gathered together here from six major continents of the world, representing at least eighteen countries. We are not conferring, negotiating, or bargaining. We are here for only one thing, that is, to be in spirit. What does it mean to be in spirit? To be in spirit is to be in Christ. Today the Lord needs this kind of testimony on the earth. In locality after locality, no matter how many people there are in the church life, all are one in spirit. “There cannot be Jew nor Greek, there cannot be slave nor free man, there cannot be male and female” (Gal. 3:28). Here there is only Christ. We all have become one in Christ. This is what the Lord wants today. This should not be the case only in one locality, but even when many localities come together, all are one. When Taipei, Taichung, Tainan, Kaohsiung, and Chiayi all come together, they are also one. Here there cannot be Taipei or Tainan; there cannot be Kaohsiung or Chiayi; there can only be Christ. In Christ we are all one. The same is true not only among a few localities, but even when many countries are gathered together. When all those from Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, the Philippines, Hong Kong, and Taiwan come together, they also should say, “There cannot be Indonesia or the Philippines; there cannot be Malaysia or Hong Kong; there cannot be Singapore or Taiwan. There can only be Christ.” This is the Body which the Lord wants. The Body is not only local but also universal. In principle it is one, whether in its local aspect or in its universal aspect. Thus, we can all see that these few passages of the Bible are extremely demanding.
THE ALL-FILLING CHRIST NEEDING A GREAT BODY
“[The church] is His Body, the fullness of the One who fills all in all” (Eph. 1:23). This verse of the Bible is a great problem to the translators. Colossians 3:11 says, “Where there cannot be Greek and Jew, circumcision and uncircumcision, barbarian, Scythian, slave, free man, but Christ is all and in all.” If you have a Greek Bible in your hands, you can compare these two verses. You will see that the same words are used in both verses. In Colossians 3:11, all refers to all the saints. In the new man, there cannot be Greek and Jew, and so on, but Christ is all the believers and in all the believers. According to this verse, Ephesians 1:23 should be translated: “…the One who fills all people in all people.” However, if you continue your reading to Ephesians 4:10, you will see that there are still some particular details. There it says that the Lord Jesus first descended to the earth to be incarnated and then after His death and resurrection He ascended far above all the heavens. This ascension was “that He might fill all things.” All things here and all in 1:23 are the same word in Greek, so it is not proper to translate it as “all people.” We see in 4:10 that there is the earth as well as the heavens. Hence, it is not a matter only of people; it truly is a matter of all things. The reason that He first descended to the earth and then ascended above all the heavens was that He might fill all things. Therefore, according to Ephesians 4:10, Ephesians 1:23 should be translated, “the One who fills all things in all things.” According to the meaning of the original language both translations are correct. If we go by the second translation, Christ today is the One who fills all things in the universe.
This universal Christ, the Christ who fills all things, the Christ who is both in the heavens and on the earth, needs a Body to be His fullness. When He was on earth as Jesus the Nazarene, He could not be in Judea at the same time He was in Galilee, nor could He be in Jerusalem when He was in Samaria. This was because He was a small Jesus. He was limited by His flesh. But what about today? He has risen from the dead and ascended to the heavens, so He fills all things. He can be in the heavens and on the earth simultaneously; He can be in one place in the heavens, and at the same time He can be in millions of places on the earth. He is such a One who fills all things, so He needs a great Body as His fullness. Thus, today we can say that because He has such a great Body on earth, He is in heaven and He is also in Taipei, in Hong Kong, in Manila, in Singapore, in London, in Germany, in the United States, in Africa, in North America, and in South America. His Body is everywhere. What is this Body? It is His fullness, His universal fullness.
Dear brothers and sisters, you should not merely listen to this word and take it as doctrine. You must see that today the actual church (I am not speaking of the genuine church alone but the practical, present church) is the fullness of Christ in each locality. In other words, the actual church today is a part of Christ. The church in Taipei is the part of Christ that is in Taipei. The church in Singapore is the part of Christ that is in Singapore. Christ today is not a local Christ but a universal Christ, and this universal Christ has a part of Himself in every locality. The part in Taipei is called the church in Taipei, the part in London is called the church in London, and the part in New York is called the church in New York. Every local church is a part of Christ. All these parts constitute the Body.
(One Body, One Spirit, and One New Man, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)