THE RISING UP OF THE SAINTS
Question: Do believers who have slept in the Lord ascend to heaven directly, or do they wait in Hades for the Lord’s coming? (Lai, Chingliu)
Answer: They have not yet ascended to heaven. The same is true with the saints in the Old Testament (John 3:13). They wait in Hades—the Paradise section—until the Lord’s coming. Therefore, the future resurrection of the saints is rendered in the original text of the Bible as a "rising up." To be "up" is to come from below. Hence, they are now in Hades.
Question: I read the Question and Answer Box in the fifth issue which said that for women to preach is improper. This is right. But did Paul forbid it because at that time the women who preached in the meetings were not spiritual and were disorderly, or because it is wrong for women to preach, then and now, and whether or not they are spiritual? Why does the Lord Jesus pour out His Spirit upon many women in this age and choose them to preach to all nations? If women must not preach at all, may I ask then what is the explanation for Acts 2:17-18 and 21:9? (Chung, Chekiang)
Answer: In the fifth issue of The Christian, we did not say that "for women to preach is improper." Our teaching is that women should not preach in the meetings, that is, in a church meeting where there is a mixture of men and women. Women can preach (1 Cor. 11:5), but the Bible forbids them to speak "in the churches" (14:34). We should make this distinction. It was not due to the fact that the women in those days were not spiritual that Paul restrained them. Paul said, "For it is a shame for a woman to speak in the church" (v. 35). Moreover, immediately after this, Paul said, "If anyone thinks he is a prophet or spiritual, let him fully know the things which I write to you, that they are the commandment of the Lord" (v. 37). Today, man considers that spiritual women can preach in the meetings, but Paul considered that if women were spiritual, then they would not preach in the meetings! The world considers that spiritual women can be an exception, but the Bible uses this to test who is spiritual: those who are spiritual will not open their mouth! It is true that the Lord Jesus chose many women to preach for Him, but the Lord did not command them to preach in the meetings. Pentecost was a fulfillment of the prophecy in Acts 2:17-18, but we do not see Mary or other women standing up to preach in the meetings among male and female. Peter was the only one who preached there. It is true that they prophesied in Acts 21:9, but the Bible does not say that they did it in the meetings. Women can preach, but they should not preach in meetings that have both men and women. This is the Lord’s commandment, and all who are spiritual should obey it.
THE INDEPENDENT CHURCH
AND SOCIAL REFORM
Question: Is the Chinese Independent Church the same as the Christian Social Reform? Please inform me. I ask this because there are many who want to form an Independent Church. (Chang, Honan)
Answer: The Independent Church is one of the present denominations. Social Reform is one of the institutions established by the denominations. The two are different. In the Bible, there is never such a thing as the Independent Church. Everything concerning the church should be practiced wholly in accordance with the Bible. A church that is really in accordance with the Bible cannot be established just because man "wants to" establish it. God’s attitude toward the existing denominations is to "flee" (2 Tim. 2:21-22).
THE YOUTH IN LINEN CLOTH
Question: Is the young man in Mark 14:51-52 Joseph? And why did he have a linen cloth cast about his naked body while following Jesus? When all laid hold on him, he left the linen cloth and fled. What is the hidden meaning? Please inform me. (Chang, Honan)
Answer: I do not know whether he was Joseph or not. Verses 51 and 52 are a continuation of verse 50. It is just to show how the disciple fled for his life on that day and did not even care for the linen cloth!
THE SUBJECT ON THE MOUNT OF TRANSFIGURATION
Question: First Peter 3:19-20: "In which also He went and proclaimed to the spirits in prison, who had formerly disobeyed when the long-suffering of God waited in the days of Noah." Again 4:6 says, "For unto this end the gospel was announced also to those who are now dead, that they might be judged in the flesh according to men but live in the spirit according to God." Some have said that this was the subject Jesus discussed with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration? (Chuan, Hsuyiu)
Answer: The Lord Jesus did not discuss this subject with Moses and Elijah on the Mount of Transfiguration. Luke 9:31 says, "Who [Moses and Elijah] appeared in glory and spoke of His departure, which He was about to complete in Jerusalem." The thing which the Lord Jesus was about to complete through His death was redemption. The subject on the Mount of Transfiguration was the redemptive death of the Lord Jesus. Praise the Lord.
(Collected Works of Watchman Nee, The (Set 1) Vol. 07: The Christian (5), Chapter 17, by Watchman Nee)