Enjoying the Riches of Christ for the Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ, by Witness Lee

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Now we must see what the Lord’s recovery is. First we must point out the difference between recovery and revival. We are not speaking here about a revival. A revival is good, even marvelous. However, consider the situation of the people in captivity; even if they had a revival, what good would that have been to the Lord? Perhaps it would have been good for the people, but it would not have been much good for the Lord.

We may illustrate the need for recovery by the scattering in the Old Testament. The city of Jerusalem was in the center of the good land, the temple was built in the center of Jerusalem, and all the people surrounding the temple were one. Then the captivity came in. According to history, the first captivity was to Syria, and later the captivity went to Egypt. In the ultimate captivity almost all the people of Israel were captured to Babylon. By this we can realize that with captivity there is scattering. Scattering may not seem to be a negative word, but scattering implies divisions. The people were one in the holy land, but in captivity they were scattered and divided, some to Syria, some to Egypt, and some to Babylon.

While the people were in captivity, some godly ones might have prayed much, asking the Lord to give them a revival. By the Lord’s mercy He may have given them a revival there. Considering the whole situation, however, what good would a revival have been to the Lord? Regardless of how many revivals there were and how great they were, the people were still in captivity, and the building of God, the temple, was still destroyed. Even if there were a big revival in Syria, another big revival in Egypt, and many big revivals in Babylon, the Lord might have said, “I do not care for revivals. Regardless of how many revivals you have, I do not have a dwelling place. I do not have a temple. On this earth there is no place for Me to manifest My glory. You may have many revivals, but I am chased away by My enemy from this earth and from My people. You feel very good to have revivals, but I do not care for that. I care for a recovery of the building up of the destroyed temple.”

Some have been in Christianity for many years and heard much talk about revival, but they may never have heard about recovery. Many pray, “O God, send us a revival.” Many godly ones in the past few centuries did pray very much in this way. Even today some still kneel and pray for a revival, saying, “O Lord, America needs a revival! Oh, send a revival!” After the First World War, many Christian papers were published calling for a revival. I have been reading the newspapers day by day for close to fifty years. I have been watching not only the world situation but also the situation of Christianity. To my observation in all the past forty or fifty years, there has been no real revival. There have been many reports of big healings and other such matters. I went to some of the places where there was such a report. Before I went, there were wonderful reports of revival, but by the time I arrived, the revival was gone. This happened not only in one place but in several places. Today the Lord does not care much for revivals. He cares for a real recovery.

Again I say, if there were revivals in each place of captivity—in Syria, in Egypt, and in Babylon—the Lord would have said, “Regardless of how many revivals you have, I still do not have the temple. Rather, I have shame from the enemy. I do not need a revival. I need the recovery. Rise up and return. For My recovery I need your return. Return from captivity! Return from Babylon! Return back to Jerusalem! This is what I need.”

(Enjoying the Riches of Christ for the Building Up of the Church as the Body of Christ, Chapter 16, by Witness Lee)