The Practical Expression of the Church, by Witness Lee


Luke 21:24 has now been fully accomplished. But how can the Lord come back? If we read the entire New Testament, we will realize that there must be a group of people on this earth who have been regenerated, transformed, built up together, and prepared as His bride for Him to come back as the Bridegroom. The Lord is returning to judge the earth, but this is not His goal. The main purpose of the Lord’s return is for His bride (Rev. 19:7-9). To judge the earth is on the negative side, but to come for His bride is positive.

In 1936 someone declared that the time had come for the Lord to return. But we knew that that was wrong, because the bride was not prepared. Now more than thirty-one years (up to 1967) have passed, and Jerusalem has been returned to the people of Israel. I do believe that henceforth the Lord is going to do a quick work to prepare a group of people by transforming them and building them together to be prepared as His bride.

We should not expect that all the Christians will be revived. That will not occur. The Lord will work according to the principle of the overcomers. This means that the majority of God’s people will not prepare the way for His return. Only a remnant will go along with the Lord and by His mercy stand with Him to fight for His recovery. This is the principle whereby the Lord can do a quick work. If we must wait for the Lord to revive all the Christians, I do not know how long that would take. But it is easy for the Lord to raise up a small number of seeking ones here and there in all the earth. The Lord is going to raise up a small number to take the standing of the overcomers to go along with Him. These will be the representatives of His Body, and their standing will be sufficient to bring the Lord back.

Then the Lord will say, “Satan, look! You have done whatever you can to damage My church. Yet on this earth, here and there, a small number still stands with Me.” This will pave the way for the Lord to return, and this will give Him ground on which to stand. If the Lord were to come back today, there would be no ground on which He could stand on the earth. But if a small number of the Lord’s people were to be prepared, transformed, united, and built up as a local expression here and there, the Lord would have the ground He needs. He could say to Satan, “Satan, I do have a standing on this earth. The earth has rejected Me under your evil leadership, but now there is a group of people who will not go along with you. They have given Me the ground to stand on; so now I can return to regain the whole earth.”


I believe that this is the Lord’s burden today. As a seeker of Christ, we must realize that the world situation today is the real fulfillment of the Word of God. Not only the return of the city of Jerusalem but even the talks in the United Nations are part of the fulfillment. First Thessalonians 5:3 says, “When they say, Peace and security, then sudden destruction comes upon them, just as birth pangs to a woman with child; and they shall by no means escape.”

Do you know what they are talking about in the United Nations? It is nothing but peace and security. They talk continuously about peace and security. If you ask the politicians and statesmen why there is a United Nations, they will tell you that it is for peace and security. But the more they speak about peace and security, the more there is no peace and security. This kind of talk is also a sign of the Lord’s coming. If we look into the world’s history, there has never been such a period in which people on earth have spoken so much concerning peace and security. Have you realized that this is a sign of the Lord’s return? The more they talk about peace, the more they do not have peace. The more they talk about security, the more the security disappears.

I have been watching the world situation day by day for about fifty years. Every year there is more talk concerning peace and security, but there is no peace and security. Nineteen years after World War I, in 1937, the second war began in Manchuria. In 1945 World War II was terminated, but the problem has never been solved. By 1968 World War II had ended twenty-three years previously, but the problem is still here. The first war was over only for nineteen years, but the second war still is not over. Everyone talks about peace and security, but there is no peace and security.


The world is coming to an end, and the Lord is coming back. We are not children of darkness but children of light; so everything is clear to us. The people of the world are dreaming about peace and security, but it will never come. The Lord is coming back; so let us be wise and sober. Let the people of the world be foolish. While they are crying for peace and security, the Lord will return.

Brothers and sisters, how can we be prepared for the Lord’s coming? First Thessalonians 5:9-10 says, “God did not appoint us to wrath but to the obtaining of salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us in order that whether we watch or sleep, we may live together with Him.” This corresponds with all the ministry in the past years. We must learn to live with Him, to be one with Him by always turning to our spirit. To live with Christ means to be one with Him. Whatever we say, we must say together with Him. Wherever we go, we must go together with Him. We must simply be one with Him. In our home we must be one with Him. In school we must be one with Him. In our business we must be one with Him. We must live with Christ in our spirit. This is the proper way for us to be prepared.

If we will take this one step to live with Christ, we will immediately be turned. We will be turned to the heavenly way from the world. Jesus is near. Jerusalem has been returned, and the whole world is talking about peace and security. This is the strongest sign that this is the end of this age. The coming of the Lord Jesus is imminent. Therefore, we must be prepared by learning to live with Him, and we must be transformed and built up in a local expression of His Body so that we may be prepared as His bride for His return.

(The Practical Expression of the Church, Chapter 22, by Witness Lee)