THE WHOLE WORLD EXCEPT OUR SPIRIT LYING IN THE EVIL ONE
First John also tells us that the whole world lies in the evil one (5:19). The world includes the events, things, and people of the world. In God’s eyes the whole world, that is, all human beings, all human societies, and all things, are under the hand of Satan. The only exception is our regenerated spirit. We should not think that the unbelievers are under the authority of Satan and that we are not. We cannot speak in such a general way. It is possible that our mind is still under Satan’s authority and that only our regenerated spirit is not. Actually, it is very possible that even our reading of the Word and our prayer are under Satan’s authority, because they may come not out of our regenerated spirit but out of our mind, emotion, and preference. I hope that we would be under a finer, deeper light. Only one thing in the whole universe and on the whole earth does not have Satan’s footprints on it—our regenerated spirit. Aside from our regenerated spirit, all the other parts of our being are under the hand of Satan.
Let us consider again the illustrations given earlier. For example, let us consider the day the Lord Jesus went to the little house in Bethany and sat down to fellowship with His disciples. At that very moment, the high priest in Jerusalem was offering sacrifices and burning incense. Where was God at that time? He was in the house in Bethany, not in the temple in Jerusalem. Then how should we consider the worship in the temple? Was it merely something religious? Actually, the high priest’s service, the burning of the incense, and the worship in the temple were under the hand of the evil one. Therefore, although the Jews were worshipping God and learning the Scriptures in their synagogues, in Revelation chapters two and three the Lord Jesus called the Jews “a synagogue of Satan” (2:9; 3:9). The Jewish synagogues had become synagogues of Satan. The synagogue not only became something religious but even became the synagogue of Satan, because although that was where the Jews worshipped God, studied the Scriptures, and served God, God was not there. God was in another place—Bethany. Where is today’s Bethany? Today’s Bethany is right within our spirit. If we would consider this matter from such a perspective and angle, we would immediately realize that any worship or service that is without the Lord Spirit is of the devil. This is a solemn matter!
We must ask ourselves whether the Lord is in our prayer, our reading of the Bible, and our bread-breaking meeting. If we are not in the spirit and no one else is in the spirit, then the Lord is not in these things, and all these things are still under Satan’s hand. Not only our dancing, going to nightclubs, and playing mah-jongg are under Satan’s hand, but even our reading of the Word, our prayer, and our going to meetings can be under Satan’s hand unless they are done in the spirit. This is because the only thing in the whole universe that does not have Satan in it is our regenerated spirit. Unless we are in our spirit, whatever we do is under Satan’s hand.
Where is God today? He is right in our spirit. We must see that our spirit is God’s Holy of Holies. The three parts of our being—our spirit, our soul, and our body—correspond exactly to the three parts of the tabernacle. Our spirit is the Holy of Holies, and God’s habitation in the heavens is also the Holy of Holies. According to Hebrews, these two realms are connected. God’s habitation, the place where God dwells, is the Holy of Holies. Today our spirit is also the Holy of Holies. Our spirit as the Holy of Holies is connected and joined to the Holy of Holies in the heavens. If this were not so, we would not be able to enter the Holy of Holies and touch the throne of grace for timely help, as mentioned in Hebrews 4:16. If God’s Holy of Holies were only in the heavens and not in our spirit, we would have no way to behold the Lord every day. However, our spirit today is the Holy of Holies.
Furthermore, the totality of all our spirits is the church. The church is not in a physical building. The church is in our spirit. The church is God’s Holy of Holies because the church is the aggregate of the regenerated spirits of all the saints.
Therefore, when we pray, read the Word, worship, and serve, we must be in our spirit and in the church, because the church is the aggregate of our spirits. Sometimes we are not in the spirit, yet we come together to worship. At such a time, we must realize that our worship is not the worship in the church. If we are in such a situation, we are no longer inside the Holy of Holies but outside. Only our regenerated spirit as the Holy of Holies is not under the authority of Satan. Besides our regenerated spirit, everything else in the universe and on this globe has been defiled by Satan.
(Living in the Spirit, Chapter 5, by Witness Lee)