THE MIDDLE EAST
The situation in the Middle East is also under God’s sovereignty. Among the Arab countries which are against Israel, only two are significant. One is a military power, Egypt; the other is a financial power, Saudi Arabia. Egypt is favorable to the United States. Saudi Arabia, which has become wealthy because of its oil, is not favorable toward Israel, but it is friendly toward Egypt. The other Arab countries proved in the 1967 war that they lacked the strength to fight. Thus the Middle East situation is favorable for Israel.
Today we can see the fulfillment of God’s promise to Abraham, Israel’s forefather: “I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee” (Gen. 12:3). Russia is cursing Israel and is under God’s curse. The United States is blessing Israel and is under God’s blessing. The billions of dollars in financial aid that the United States has sent to Israel has brought God’s blessing to the United States.
THE UNITED STATES
Today the world is under the leadership of the United States. God has preserved this country and blessed her with riches. He has sovereignly prepared her for the carrying out of the final stage of His recovery. Because there is freedom of speech, we are free to spread the light we have seen in the Word.
The situation of this country is also good for the practice of the church life. It is peaceful, comfortable, and prosperous. Unfortunately, this very situation also makes it easy for evil to flourish. American society can ruin the young people if they are not in the church life. To find a good job with good pay is fairly easy. After the eight hours of work a day, however, there is time, money, and opportunity to engage in many evil things. Not all Americans are bad, of course. Many are good; this can be seen when it is time to vote. But still the evil influence is there. In any case, the United States is the best place for us to meet together to have the church life.
The United States is also the center when it comes to travel. From any part of the world one can reach this country by plane within eighteen hours. Even far-off Australia and New Zealand are no farther away than this. The international airports like those in New York, Los Angeles, and Dallas are busy. The skies are full of planes transporting people to and from the United States.
American English is known by educated peoples worldwide. College graduates in any country can read the publications that come from the United States. Don’t think that all these things happened accidentally. Don’t forget Acts 17:26 which says that the times have been appointed by our God; the boundaries have been drawn by Him. He prepared the Roman Empire; He prepared Germany five hundred years ago; He prepared Great Britain. And today He has prepared the U.S.A., not just for the preaching of the gospel, nor just for the teaching of the truth, nor just for scriptural meetings, but for the preparation of the bride.
We must realize our tremendous responsibility with these four things. Firstly, we must preach the gospel properly, adequately, genuinely. Secondly, we must teach people the Bible, bringing them to the full knowledge of the truth. We must be a people who really respect and know God’s divine Word. Thirdly, we must drop all kinds of religion and practices and come together according to the Bible. We have to be just genuine, biblical, bonafide, regenerated, saved, blood-washed Christians coming together to meet in the name of the Lord Jesus according to the Bible, with no organization.
However, although all these help, they still cannot satisfy God’s desire. What is His desire? It is for us to live Christ, to have Christ as our living, to have Christ as the reality, the real contents of the church life, making every local church a golden lampstand. The Body life will reach the reality of Romans 12 and this will be the spontaneous preparation of the bride for His coming back. From the very beginning, even from eternity, this is what the Lord has desired. This is the goal of the Lord’s recovery. This has been missed and neglected today, so it is toward this that the Lord is working.
The world situation has been prepared for this very purpose. The world situation under the leadership of the United States is fully for this purpose. America has been preserved for this. This is why God has blessed the United States with riches and influence. This is why so many people can easily come here.
There is one thing left for God to do. Many Christians have never seen the central vision of the Apostle Paul’s completing ministry. Their Bible seemingly omits this part. In the Far East the Chinese Christians like Proverbs; they are Proverbs people, not Christ people. The Western Christians like Psalms; they are Psalms people. Instead of singing the Psalms, why would they not rather sing Ephesians 3: “…That He would grant you…to be strengthened with power through His Spirit into the inner man, that Christ may make His home in your hearts through faith…that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God” (vv. 16, 17, 19)? They prefer Psalm 23, about goodness and mercy following us. What is goodness? What is mercy? The real mercy is Christ’s getting into us! The real goodness is Christ’s having a home in us! We need to sing about Christ’s making His home in us that eventually we may be filled unto all the fullness of God!
What hinders our singing about Christ’s making His home in our hearts? Why wouldn’t we sing that the church is the house of the living God? It is our background and atmosphere. What we are used to is: “Wives, submit yourselves unto your husbands.…Husbands, love your wives.…Love your neighbor as yourself.…” We lack the environment to realize that we should live Christ. Christ Himself is our living, our love, our submission! He is the content of the church. The mystery of godliness is great: God was manifested in the flesh! We need to build up an atmosphere where these things are real to us.
The situation among Christians has been built up for nearly two thousand years until it has become like a pyramid full of garlic. So many are still living in this pyramid, so drugged that they do not recognize the garlic smell! They need to get out and into the fresh air! The fresh air is the Spirit, the Spirit that gives life, the life-giving Spirit. It is the indwelling Spirit, who is really the resurrected Christ, the One who died on the cross for us. This is the air we need to breathe! This is the Lord’s recovery today.
The Lord is preparing the world situation. How grateful I am to the Lord that I am here! When I first came twenty-two years ago, I felt grieved to have lost my country. China was the great field of my work. There were hundreds of millions of people with one language. I could travel all over the country and speak to everyone. We had hundreds of churches. While Brother Nee was training people, I was the one who actually had charge of the entire work throughout the country. Then the political situation changed, and it was lost. Brother Nee told me and all the other co-workers that, no matter how I felt, I must leave the Mainland. When I asked why, he said I must go out, that one day the work there would be wiped out. If I went out, there would still be something left on the earth. At that time I was most sorrowful about our situation. Today I am grateful.
The whole world situation is under the Lord’s sovereign maneuvering. Maneuvering is sometimes not a positive word, but it fits here. The Lord rules the world. He removes kings; He sets up kings (Dan. 2:21). He has restricted Russia. Even today He is restricting her, in spite of all her efforts to be the leading nation on earth. This is the age when the Lord will use the United States. If all these messages were given in the Chinese language, they would lie buried in that hard-to-understand language. As it is, they can be sent out all over the world as Life-studies, audio and video tapes, and books. With the word sent out in spoken and written form, I believe it will not be in vain. The Lord will follow His word to accomplish His purpose.
Brothers and sisters, open your eyes! Look at the entire globe, and get into the world situation. Look at the situation among Christians. Now you can understand the world situation in relation to His move. We should not be satisfied with only gospel preaching, Bible teaching, and scriptural meetings. We must be for the Apostle Paul’s completing ministry, the central vision of God’s economy. We must take Christ as our living. He must be the contents of the church life. Then He will gain His purpose. The churches will be golden lampstands, and the bride will be prepared.
It surely does not seem that there is time for God to raise up another country and take another step after this. I believe this is the last opportunity for God to prepare the bride. May we all see the seriousness of this time and realize our responsibility.
(The World Situation and God's Move, Chapter 3, by Witness Lee)