TRIMMING AND INFILLING
What is the nature of this priestly speaking? In the Old Testament there was the lampstand in the tabernacle. Every morning these lamps were trimmed by having their charred wicks snuffed (Exo. 30:7). In addition, they were kept supplied with oil (27:20). To trim is to cut off the charred ends which would no longer burn brightly; to add oil is to supply what is needed. In Revelation 2 and 3 our High Priest was trimming the seven lampstands. He was cutting away those things which were not needed and which frustrated the shining. At the same time He was supplying the oil which was needed and which would make the lampstands burn brightly. The seven lampstands were receiving His trimming and His infilling.
Of all the things He trimmed away, to me the most striking is the synagogue of Satan (Rev. 2:9). Are you familiar with this term? That the Lord speaks of Judaism in such a way indicates that by the time of the church age, Judaism had become satanic. If you are a Jewish believer, subconsciously you may still be for Judaism. When you hear that it has become satanic, you may want to protest. Nonetheless, this is the word of our heavenly High Priest. In fact, He uses the term a second time in 3:9.
A synagogue is the symbol of Judaism, just as a building with a steeple is a symbol of Christianity. In any present-day town, whether here or in other countries, if we see a building with a steeple and a bell, we recognize it as a symbol of Christianity; if we see a synagogue, we know it is a symbol of Judaism. During the church dispensation this symbol of Judaism became the synagogue of Satan. It is utilized by him in rebellion against God’s New Testament economy.
I surely love the Jews because they are God’s chosen people. Yet to speak the truth I must say that today Judaism is in rebellion against God. Who sentenced the Son of God to death? It was not Pilate; nor was it Herod. Judaism must take the responsibility. The high priest and then the other Jews called for His death (John 18:13-14; 19:14-15; Matt. 27:20).
What can we learn from this? Our old religious concepts are against God’s economy and need to be trimmed away. These concepts are black, charred, and dark. They are one of the things which hinder the shining of the local churches. Thus, we need our High Priest to step in and trim them away.
Another thing which chars the wick is worldliness. This our heavenly High Priest cannot tolerate. Pergamos (Rev. 2:12-17) speaks of the marriage of the church with the world. The Lord again steps in to trim the wick. You who live in New York are surely living in a worldly city. Apart from the church, I certainly would not like to live here. We heard a brother from Texas give a testimony that when he got on the subway, he said, “Lord, take me back to Texas. It’s not so worldly there.” The truth is, Texas has its own worldliness. We may think that those who live in the countryside are spared from worldliness, but this is not the case. The country has its worldliness too. All this worldliness, symbolized by Pergamos, must be trimmed away.
When the Lord comes to the church in Thyatira, He condemns them for tolerating the woman Jezebel (Rev. 2:20). Who is this evil woman He calls Jezebel? It is the Roman Catholic Church. She “calls herself a prophetess, and she teaches and leads My slaves astray to commit fornication and to eat idol sacrifices.” The Catholic Church is full of evil. The woman Jezebel is in the church. All that she represents must be trimmed away.
(The Mending Ministry of John, Chapter 14, by Witness Lee)