THE STRENGTHENING BY THE PROPHET
But sometimes these two are not sufficiently strong. Then there is the need of the support and strengthening by the prophets. It is not the teaching that is required, but the ministry of the real prophet. Haggai came to strengthen Zerubbabel, the governor, and Joshua, the high priest. He did not come to replace the priesthood or the kingship, but to strengthen these two ministries. The prophet only strengthens; he does not replace.
For the building up of the churches, we do need the ministry of the priesthood and the ministry of the kingship. But sometimes we need the strengthening from the prophet. The prophet should not replace these two ministries, but strengthen them. Listen to what Haggai said; “Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, saith the Lord; and be strong, O Joshua, son of Josedech, the high priest; and be strong, all ye people of the land, saith the Lord, and work: for I am with you, saith the Lord of hosts” (Hag. 2:4). Haggai did not build the house for them. He did not take over their position. He simply strengthened and supported them.
Why is it necessary to point out all these things? It is simply due to the background of Christianity. Many times in the churches, those who can speak take over the position of the priesthood and the kingship to build up the church themselves. This is wrong. Regardless of how strong their ministry is in speaking, they should not replace the others and occupy their position. All they should do is strengthen and help others.
Ephesians 4:12 tells us very clearly that the gifted persons such as the apostles and prophets do not build the church directly. “For the perfecting of the saints unto the work of ministry, unto the building up of the Body of Christ.” They do the work of perfecting the saints; then the saints build up the Body directly. The gifted persons should not replace the saints; they should only perfect them so that they themselves can build up the Body.
Brothers and sisters, we all must experience the ministry of the priesthood and the kingship so that we all can rise up to build the house of God directly. The prophets never built the temple in the recovery directly. It was the people, under the two ministries of the priesthood and the kingship, who built the temple. The church will never be built up by any preacher or teacher. The churches must be built up by the saints. “O Zerubbabel, be strong! O Joshua, be strong!” It was the people who built the house directly, not the prophets. Today all the brothers and sisters in the churches are the builders. What we need are not simply the teachings and doctrines, but the strengthening under the ministry of the priesthood and the kingship for the building.
We all have the wrong concept. If by the mercy of the Lord I could help you abandon it, I will have done a good work. What is this wrong concept? We all still think that it is the great speakers and teachers who build up the church. But this is absolutely wrong! Unless the church is built up by the saints, it will never be built up! If we were to ask the people in today’s Christianity, “Who builds up the church?” immediately they would answer, “Our pastor, with the help of the assistant pastor and music director.” I am afraid that this concept is still within many of us subconsciously. Why is your church not so strong? I fear that you will say, “Our church is weak because we do not have very good elders and we are lacking good speakers.” But the church cannot be built up directly by the gifted persons. The church is to be built up by all the local saints, including you. Do not say that your church is weak because the elders are weak. You must say that it is weak because you are weak! If you are not weak and everybody else is not weak, your church will be very strong. It is the saints who build up the church directly.
(The Recovery of God's House and God's City, Chapter 4, by Witness Lee)