Christís Speaking to the Local Churches in Revelation

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

The following passage from Witness Lee’s Life-Study of Revelation focuses on the Lord’s speaking to the church in Sardis:

In 3:1 the Lord says, “These things says He Who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars.” The seven Spirits of God are for the church to be living intensely, and the seven stars are for her to be shining intensely. To the church in Ephesus, Christ is the One who holds the seven stars and walks in the midst of the seven lampstands. The initial church needed the care of Christ, and her leaders needed His keeping grace. To the church in Smyrna, He is the One who became dead and lived again. The suffering church needed the resurrection life of Christ. To the church in Pergamos, Christ is the One who has the sharp two-edged sword. The degraded, worldly church needed His judging and slaying word. To the church in Thyatira, He is the One who has eyes like flaming fire and feet like shining brass. The apostate church needed His searching and judging. Now to the church in Sardis, He is the One who has the seven Spirits of God and the seven stars. The dead reformed church needs the sevenfold intensified Spirit of God and the shining leaders….
In verse 4 the Lord says, “But you have a few names in Sardis who have not defiled their garments.” Garments in the Bible signify what we are in our walk and living. To defile the garments means particularly to stain them with deadness. Death is more defiling before God than sin (Lev. 11:24-25; Num. 6:6, 7, 9). In this verse, the defilement denotes anything of the death nature. The defilement in Sardis was not the defilement of sin; it was the defilement of death. Death is dirtier than sin. According to the Old Testament, if anyone sinned, he could be forgiven simply by offering the sin offering (Lev. 4:27-31). However, anyone who touched the dead body of a man had to wait seven days before he could be cleansed (Num. 19:11, 16). This indicates that the defilement of death is more serious than that of sin. Christians today have no consciousness of death. If you go to Las Vegas to gamble in a casino, you will sense that you have sinned. But if you came to a meeting in a dead way, you may not sense the seriousness of it. But in the eyes of God, this death situation is more serious than gambling in a Las Vegas casino. Although Christians condemn sin, they do not condemn deadness. People sit in the meetings like corpses and they see nothing wrong with it. I do not like to be near anything dead. One day, my mother died. Although we all loved her, none of us dared to stay near her dead body overnight. If your dear wife would dirty herself while doing something for you, you would love her more than ever before. But if she were to die, you would not want to be near her dead body. The Lord hates death….
If you read the context of Revelation 2 and 3, you will see that every time the Lord gives a promise in these seven epistles, strictly speaking it refers to the coming kingdom. It never refers to eternity, to our eternal destiny. Rather, it refers to our future in the coming kingdom. This is the basic and governing principle in understanding all the promises in these seven epistles. In verse 4 the Lord promises that the living ones, those who have not defiled their garments, will walk with Him in white. When will this be? In the wedding day of Christ which will last for a thousand years. To walk with the Lord in white means to walk with Him during these thousand years. In principle, this must also be applied to our walk with the Lord today.
In verse 5 the Lord says, “He who overcomes, he shall be clothed in white garments, and I will by no means erase his name out of the book of life, and I will confess his name before My Father and before His angels.” To overcome here means to overcome the deadness of the Protestant churches, that is, to overcome dead Protestantism. The whole of verse 5 is the Lord’s promise to the overcomers. It will be fulfilled in the millennial kingdom after He comes back.


















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