Christís Speaking to the Local Churches in Revelation


Additional Quotes about the Local Church by Witness Lee and Watchman Nee

In the following passage from the Life-Study of Revelation, Witness Lee comments on the Lord’s speaking to the church in Pergamos:

In verse 13 the Lord said of the church in Pergamos, “I know where you dwell, where Satan’s throne is.” Satan’s dwelling place is the world. Since the church has entered into union with the world and has become worldly herself, she now dwells where Satan dwells—in the world.
The church in Pergamos also dwells where Satan’s throne is. This also refers to the world. The world is not only Satan’s dwelling place, but also the sphere wherein he rules. Now the church is not only one with the world but even one with Satan. This is dreadful! The worldly Christianity of today is still in union with the world and is still being saturated with the thoughts, concepts, theories, and even the practices of Satan. We must see the seriousness of this.
The enemy, Satan, is subtle. His welcome is more serious than his persecution. Firstly, Satan stirs up persecution, and then, when this fails, he changes his tactics and welcomes us instead. We have seen this very thing in the past. Firstly, religion persecuted us, and then, changing its strategy, tried to lure us into compromising with it. This is Satan’s subtlety. If we are snared by it, we shall eventually become worldly and not only be in union with Satan, but also one with him….
In the first three epistles we see three churches—the desirable church, the persecuted church, and the worldly church. We certainly want to be a desirable church and a persecuted church, but we must refuse to be a worldly church. We must reject anything worldly. Be careful! After the enemy has persecuted you, his strategy may change. Instead of persecution, there might be a welcome. Do not regard this welcome as a good thing. Rather, you must fear being welcomed more than being stung by a scorpion. It is good for us to suffer persecution, opposition, and attack. But whenever people extend us a warm welcome, that is a most dangerous time. When you are attacked and are undergoing persecution, do not be discouraged, for that is a strong sign that you are on the right track and that you have not been distracted from following the Lord’s steps. But beware of a warm welcome. It is better to suffer persecution than to receive a warm welcome. The epistle to the church in Pergamos teaches us that we should not be in union with the world in any way, sense, or aspect. We must have nothing to do with the world….
In verse 13 the Lord says, “You hold fast My name, and you have not denied My faith, even in the days of Antipas, My witness, my faithful one, who was killed among you, where Satan dwells.” In Greek, the name Antipas means “against all.” This faithful witness of the Lord stood against all that the worldly church brought in and practiced. Hence, he became a martyr of the Lord. In Greek the word martyr is the same word as witness. As an anti-witness, Antipas bore an antitestimony, a testimony against anything that deviated from the testimony of Jesus. It must have been through this anti-testimony that in his day the church in Pergamos still held fast the Lord’s name and did not deny the proper Christian faith. Antipas took the lead to fight against the worldly church, pioneering the way for us to fight against the worldly church today. Whatever the worldly church was, had, and did, Antipas fought against….
In verse 13 the Lord says, “You hold fast My name.” The Lord’s name denotes His Person; the Person is the reality of the name. The church in Pergamos still held fast the name of the Lord, the reality of His Person. The deviating tendency of the worldly church is to give up the reality of the Lord’s Person. But in the Lord’s recovery we must fight against this, that the church may hold fast the Lord’s name, the reality of the Lord’s Person, for eternity.
The Lord also said, “You have not denied My faith.” The faith of the Lord denotes all that we must believe in of His Person and work. It is not the subjective faith within us of believing, but the objective faith of the things we believe in. Because the church entered into union with the world, she began to disregard the Lord’s name and to deny the proper Christian faith….
In verse 17 the Lord says, “To him who overcomes, to him I will give of the hidden manna, and I will give him a white stone, and on the stone a new name written, which no one knows but he who receives it.” To overcome here means specifically to overcome the church’s union with the world, the teaching of idolatry and fornication, and the teaching of hierarchy.
The Lord promises to give of the hidden manna to the overcomer. The promise to the first church concerned the eating of the tree of life, and the promise to this church concerns the eating of the hidden manna. The worldlier the church becomes, the greater is the need for some to stand up and testify and to maintain intimate fellowship with the Lord. These will be privileged to enjoy the Lord as the hidden manna. Manna is a type of Christ as the heavenly food enabling God’s people to go His way. A portion of that manna was preserved in a golden pot concealed in the ark (Exo. 16:32-34; Heb. 9:4). The open manna was for the enjoyment of the Lord’s people in a public way; the hidden manna, signifying the hidden Christ, is a special portion reserved for His overcoming seekers who overcome the degradation of the worldly church. While the church goes the way of the world, these overcomers come forward to abide in the presence of God in the Holy of Holies, where they enjoy the hidden Christ as a special portion for their daily supply. This promise is fulfilled today in the proper church life and will be fulfilled in full in the coming kingdom. If we seek the Lord, overcome the degradation of the worldly church, and enjoy a special portion of the Lord today, He, as the hidden manna, will be a reward to us in the coming kingdom. If we miss Him as our special portion today in the church life, we shall surely lose the enjoyment of Him as a reward in the coming kingdom.

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