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

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We praise the Lord that there was a response to the Lord’s call. Not many, but a small number returned to Jerusalem. However, Ezra and Nehemiah, the two books of recovery, tell us that those who returned from captivity were a mess. They were small in number and not very spiritual. They were so timid that only a little opposition caused them to give up the work. Today some among us may be concerned that in the Lord’s recovery we are so small. When we hear of opposition, we may be concerned and afraid, and we may want to hide. This is the fulfillment of the type of the recovery. It must be like this; otherwise the type would have no fulfillment. In the type there were the timid and “messed up” ones, and today in the recovery of the church life we also have some timid and “messed up” ones. Hallelujah for this! In a sense there were not many good ones in the recovery. Other than Zerubbabel and Joshua, most were the fearful ones. Therefore, our situation already has been prophesied and typified. When I consider our situation, in one sense I am sorry, but in another sense I am happy. I say, “Praise You, Lord. Here You have the fulfillment of the type.” Regardless of how timid the people were, there was still a return, and as long as there was a return there was the recovery.

At that time in Babylon there still were a good number of the people of Israel who were more spiritual and godly. In principle, they may have done the same thing that some dear Christian leaders do today, telling people, “There is no need for you to go to Jerusalem. Just stay here. God is omnipresent; God is everywhere. He is not limited by a place. If God can be there in Jerusalem, to be sure, He can be here with us in Babylon. There is no need to go. Simply be godly and spiritual. God does not care for the place. Babylon or Jerusalem, Jerusalem or Babylon; it is the same. If you are not a spiritual person, regardless of how much you go back to Jerusalem, you will still not be spiritual. If you are a timid person, even if you go back to Jerusalem, you will still be timid.”

Do not listen to that kind of message. Consider the return from captivity. Regardless of how timid the people were, regardless of how much they were messed up, they were still the returned captivity. They made it possible for God to have the recovery. Regardless of how spiritual the people in captivity were, they could never rebuild the temple. But regardless of how weak the returned ones were, it was they who rebuilt the temple. They brought in the recovery, and they rebuilt the temple. Today it is the same. Look at the captivity in the Catholic Church, in all the denominations, and even in the small free groups. There is revival after revival, and people are seeking to be spiritual and godly. Some have become spiritual and godly, but where is the rebuilding of the church life? Where is the recovery? Will God be defeated to the uttermost? Do you believe that the Lord Jesus will come back under such a defeated situation? To be sure, He will not. Before His coming back, He has to regain the victory; He has to rebuild the church.

Consider the type, the picture, of the scattering from Jerusalem to Syria, Egypt, and Babylon. This picture is better than a thousand words. After considering this picture, will you still pray for a revival? Will you still seek to be individually spiritual? Will you still seek to be a godly person, merely looking up to the heavens and praying for America and for other places? A spiritual and godly person is wonderful, but consider the picture of the captivity. What can the Lord gain from this kind of person?

Do we believe that in a scattered situation the Lord can come back as the Bridegroom to receive His bride? This would be a shame to Him. If everything among the Christians is poor, yet the Lord comes back in glory as the Bridegroom to receive His bride, Satan will challenge Him, saying, “Jesus, where is Your bride?” The Lord Jesus cannot come back under this kind of situation. Today in this century the nation of Israel has been re-formed, and Jerusalem has been returned. Therefore, today is a day of fast recovery. Jerusalem was returned to Israel, but what about the church? It is still a mess. The Lord must do a quick work to recover the church life!

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