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11-18-2015 05:21 AM
aron
Re: Oil and the Holy Spirit

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewManLiving View Post
As far as WL he is not the originator of most of what he said including the kingdom truths. This light as you well know came from the writings of Govett, Pember, Lang and others. At the very least I suggest to anyone who is serious about the subject to do their own research. I suggest Lang's Firstborn Sons for a real eye-opener.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wikipedia
Lang once said,

"No man should write a book until he is 40. He needs to prove his theories in practice before publishing."

Most of Lang's books were published after he was 50 years old.
I guess WN skipped that chapter, eh? Or maybe he was so smart that, as WL said, he could take parts from each author, which pleased him, and build his own hermeneutic. And while the sources of WN's theology were arguably cutting-edge stuff 150 years ago, they're far from it today. So while we don't dismiss them out of hand, they're neither definitive nor foundational.

As NML says, "Do your own research". Our reading shows a sin unto death, and sin not unto death. (1 John 5:16-18) One is probably "gross sin" of the flesh - i.e. fornication, theft, drunkenness, and the other is being soulish: barren, petty, small-minded, and lazy. Both are sins... but where's the proverbial line between "unto death" and "not unto death"? Not always clear: people can get clouded, and deceived. Experience can blind as much as clarify, as biases and pre-dispositions become reinforced, and entrenched, and hardened. The Pharisees spent all day staring at scripture, discussing and debating, but still didn't recognize the incarnate Word speaking to them.

In the LC, with its "inner life subterfuge", as John Myer put it, terms like “revelation” and “vision,” "life,” and "view," ended up taking on a kind of Fu-Manchu aura of mystery, which consequently swamped peoples' ability to discern what scripture actually meant. Subjectivity then ruled, especially the subjectivity of top leadership. So whatever Max Bro wanted was "according to the vision" and was "life". How could anyone figure out what the Bible actually said, in such an environment?

If WL could hide the ongoing sins of one of his sons (PL), and "shoot the messengers" who exposed the goings-on in LSM offices, then anyone could be deceived. A Christian might simultaneously put out a book like "Spiritual Man" and still be ensnared by gross sin, even a sin "unto death". And while we wouldn't dismiss WN's version of 'purgatory', it was developed so long ago with so few sources, mainly British Brethren cited by NML above, that it's crude and unsatisfactory.
11-17-2015 09:48 AM
aron
Exodus 25, verse 6

Re: my previous post (#9):

In Exodus 25:6 there is "oil for light" and "oil for anointing". Later (e.g. Leviticus) we see verses where anointing oil is put on priests, and in Luke 4:18 it talks of the Spirit of God being on Jesus, anointing Him to preach the gospel etc. And Acts 10:38 has Peter saying "...how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power" etc.

But is the oil of Matthew 25 "oil for light" or "oil for anointing"? Seems the former. Why did Exodus distinguish the two? Obviously they are different.

And Genesis 31:13 does say that Jacob anointed the pillar with oil. But the parable of the virgins in Matthew 25 has oil for light. In Revelation 1 through 3 the seven spirits/angels ascending and descending to the seven churches are "burning before the throne" Angels are stars, and they are burning. They are before the throne (Rev 8:2, cf Luke 1:19). Seven lamps are also burning before the throne. Angels are ascending and descending (i.e. heaven to earth, and earth to heaven). See my previous comments re: Jesus' promise in John 1:51. He doesn't mention the Holy Spirit, but angels.

And in Matthew 25:31 Jesus said, "When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne."

Matthew 16:27 "For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father's glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what they have done."

2 Thess 1:7 "...and give relief to you who are troubled, and to us as well. This will happen when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven in blazing fire with his powerful angels."

No mention of the Holy Spirit here, but the fiery angels. "He makes His angels spirits, His ministers a flaming fire". ~Heb 1:7; Psa 104:4

All of which tells me that our neat, simple formulas of theological construction founder when they're exposed to the complexities of scriptural text. So my theology is this: I'm a sinner. I believe into and confess the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. May God have mercy on me, and on all who hear this word. Amen.
11-17-2015 09:23 AM
aron
Re: Oil and the Holy Spirit

Quote:
Originally Posted by NerdyKnitter View Post
Hello, all! You can call me NerdyKnitter I have been reading posts here for a while now and have found them to be very helpful in my transition out of the Local Church -- so thank you!!
Welcome NK and thanks for posting. Fresh voices are valuable. Probably after several years posting here, mine is not so 'fresh'. (Insert weird-looking smilie face here).

Quote:
Originally Posted by NerdyKnitter View Post
[Re: Nee's 'purgatory'] - Pretty much the whole argument, as it was made to me, rested upon the idea that oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit (and that this symbolism applies in Matthew 25).
Outstanding question, actually, though one that might not get the treatment it deserves on this forum. I'm clearly not capable. Still, how much of our understandings of meanings of words is derived from "Brother Jones says 'X' means 'Y'", or "Convention holds that 'oil' signifies 'the Holy Spirit'"? Where did Bro J get this idea? Wherefrom did convention arise? Worth examining, and asking.

I'll give my own answer, with the caveat that I'm unlearned, and thus it is tentative, provisional, and subject to much pruning. I'll use one image as the basis of my discussion, here: the dream Jacob had, where he woke up and poured oil on the rock, and convention says it's a type of the Holy Spirit. But why? Jacob saw angels ascending and descending. He didn't see the Holy Spirit ascending and descending.

I do remember reading Lee's footnote on John 1:51. The vision of angels ascending and descending is merely passed off with "much traffic". Much traffic of what? Oil? Angels? Holy Spirit? All three? What?

I got into it on this forum, on the threads "Theodicy of the Holy Spirit" on the Apologetics section, and "The Holy Spirit" in the "Alternative Views" section. But my ideas were meant to be merely a sort of thinking aloud. Eventually I felt there was no benefit as far as sharpening my ideas, and possibly a detriment if escapees from Lee's orbit got frustrated, thinking, "Look at what happens when you leave the safety of the LC. You begin to see seven spirits before the throne in Revelation 1, not one spirit sevenfold". And so forth. I let it drop - not worth it. My posts were in

http://localchurchdiscussions.com/vB...ead.php?t=5165

and

http://localchurchdiscussions.com/vB...ead.php?t=5208

My main point was that we typically come to scripture with our theology ("X" means "Y") and superimpose it on our reading. And whatever text we can't reconcile with our theology and reading, we simply ignore. And if some unpleasant person insists on bringing up these unhelpful texts, we say that they are being obstinate, or troublemakers, defying conventional wisdom.

I do appreciate conventional wisdom. But I love it so much that I challenge it. Most of it remains firm, and I love it more. And what is exposed as lacking scriptural foundation I let it go as unimportant. Not essential. I allow it, because it is in the church, but I don't cling to it. It is theology, not scripture. Different animals entirely.
11-17-2015 08:20 AM
aron
Re: Oil and the Holy Spirit

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewManLiving View Post
We will all face the judgement seat of Christ. There is a reason why the apostle uses the term: “That you may have boldness in that day”. I hope we all can be like Peter, Paul and others. Forgetting or learning from the past and running the race. If not, I am convinced there will be more people on the “outside”, “weeping”
Yes, my posting here has been a kind of running. I allow my thoughts to be examined, and pruned, by others. And my posts here come into discussions in church groups during the week, and also my outside discussions (and readings) come into my posts here on the forum. It arguably is all a kind of running of the race.

And how has this been a help? And have I been advancing? I cannot say, but rather I let go and struggle forward.

BP says we who discuss Lee's foibles are destroyers of God's building. Bold and impudent, defying God's authority. We could say the same for BP, RK, EM and the rest; and that WN and WL defied pre-existant church authorities, and drew men (and women) after themselves. After the Communists displayed Nee's sins, how many followed him? Almost none. "All in Asia have abandoned me", said Paul. Was Nee today's Paul, abandoned and rejected by the flock, to be martyred in prison? Or was he a failed shepherd, who was rightly rejected by the flock for gross sin? The jury is out.

Therefore I don't judge anyone or myself. The race is on. Keep going. Keep trying. Have mercy on others and Jesus promised we'd find mercy as well. Keep going.
11-17-2015 08:09 AM
NewManLiving
Re: Oil and the Holy Spirit

Thank you for your response Aron. Your remarks concerning Peter are insightful. Here is another way to consider his experience:
Christ had informed His disciples that they would all “be offended”. This word Gk. Skandalizo, can also mean a falling away, or resulting in a fall. The words “fall away” in Luke 8:13 are the translation of aphistemi or apostasia from which comes apostasy. Peter’s decline can be seen, by his own experience
Peter would not accept Christ’s statements concerning what was about to happen: Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee; the other disciples responded the similarly. But unfortunately all the disciples ended up forsaking him ( Matt: 16: 33-35, 56)
In the garden the Lord told His disciples that He was exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry and watch with me, specifically not to enter into temptation. The Lord then rebuked them for falling asleep. ( Matt.26: 36-41). And of course, they entered into temptation
Consequently when Judas betrayed Jesus, Peter’s reaction was one of the flesh. His answer was the sword. Then all the disciples forsook him and fled. ( Matt. 26:56)
Peter then began to follow Christ “afar off” ( Matt. 26: 58). His closeness to the Lord along with James and John was now gone
The Lord was then led to the “Hall of Judgement”, it was at this point He turned and looked upon Peter. The word used here was far more serious than a glance. It was a lasting, penetrating look, under scrutiny. This caused Peter to wake up and remember his actions. “Peter then went out, and wept bitterly”.
So, the result of all this is that, Peter was on the “outside”, “weeping bitterly”. Fortunately for Peter He was recovered and Praise the Lord, died an honorable death.
We will all face the judgement seat of Christ. There is a reason why the apostle uses the term: “That you may have boldness in that day”. I hope we all can be like Peter, Paul and others. Forgetting or learning from the past and running the race. If not, I am convinced there will be more people on the “outside”, “weeping”
11-17-2015 06:27 AM
NewManLiving
Re: Oil and the Holy Spirit

Thank you for your response. My answer only attempted to encourage thoughtfulness. The whole idea is to ask "yourself" these questions before the Lord. With that said, your answer concerning the possibility of who the servant might be is to me, completely illogical. Like I said it all has to make sense to the person who is asking the question. Quite frankly, I do not believe that your own response makes any sense to yourself. You are a pretty smart guy. I have read your posts.
As far as WL he is not the originator of most of what he said including the kingdom truths. This light as you well know came from the writings of Govett, Pember, Lang and others. At the very least I suggest to anyone who is serious about the subject to do their own research. I suggest Lang's Firstborn Sons for a real eye-opener.

Anyway, along the same lines as your final remarks; pursue peace with all men and sanctification, without which no one will see the Lord.

Your brother John
11-17-2015 06:01 AM
aron
Re: Oil and the Holy Spirit

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewManLiving View Post
My friend there are so many verses that indicate at the very least some type of loss...
Not for argument, but rather for mutual discussion (Local Church Discussions) and consideration: we are dealing with at least two phenomena here, if not more. One is "loss" vs. "gain". Another is the passage of time. Didn't Peter both suffer loss, in time, and yet in his writings retain some hope for a rich entrance? Didn't we see Peter go into darkness, weeping, and still be restored? So how much of these parables are for this age, versus another? Just thinking aloud here. There may be no sure answer.

Lee convinced us of his and Nee's "summer school" for those who failed. This became a kind of hold over the minds of the LC believers. Gotta go to those meetings, pray-read and participate in gospel outreach, or you may end up in outer darkness. But maybe blindly and unquestioningly following a man's confidence games is outer darkness. I don't know. Just thinking aloud here. Trying to discuss. Which may not be a pretty process.
11-17-2015 05:54 AM
aron
Re: Oil and the Holy Spirit

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW View Post
The problem with the question is not that it is wrong, but that it cuts off the consideration. Have you or anyone else tried to think beyond the question once it is there? I honestly believe that this was among Lee's tricks of reining-in our thoughts. He made anything but his premise unthinkable. Beyond question. But is it really so?
Excellent point. The expositor framed the discussion. Instead, the exposition of meaning should find its rest within the larger discussion, whose bounds far exceed it.

Lee put out books, and books, and books. But everything in those books fit in a very narrow meaning, which of course was whatever was convenient to the subject at hand. The Brethren with their types, and then Nee who read "all the classics", both fell prey to the notion that they had exhausted the word of Scripture, and looking beyond their considerations was vain. It was not. Rather, it ultimately became shoe-horning Scripture into very narrow exegeses, and forbidding any to look beyond. "You neither enter in, nor permit others to enter"...
11-17-2015 05:29 AM
OBW
Re: Oil and the Holy Spirit

Quote:
Originally Posted by NewManLiving View Post
What about the parables concerning the wicked servant. How can an unbeliever be a servant?
The problem is with approaches like this. No matter what is ultimately the meaning of the particular parable, there is nothing about being a wicked servant that is answered by "how can . . . ?".

The problem with the question is not that it is wrong, but that it cuts off the consideration. Have you or anyone else tried to think beyond the question once it is there? I honestly believe that this was among Lee's tricks of reining-in our thoughts. He made anything but his premise unthinkable. Beyond question. But is it really so? Is there not a view in which those who disobey (like sinners do) are not servants?

The evil servant would appear to have everyone fooled until the end. But is the fact that the parable uses the idea of a master and servants, even possibly making mention of the servants of others simply evidence that the other masters are the world or Satan? Or is it just a context in which to take a look at a particular characteristic or two of someone who works for someone else.

Where do the characteristics of master and servant fit the purpose of the parable and where are they extraneous to the intent of the parable? I do not claim to know. But I am pretty sure that trying to figure out what every observation within the story could mean or how it could be applied is not what is intended there.

That leaves us with uncertain meaning at some level. But a decent warning at another. Whether there actually is a kind of purgatory or this is just about those who go through the motions but do not really believe is unclear. But the warning to actually believe and act as if you do is clear. It should affect how we behave among our neighbors. Those where we live and work. Those sharing the street, the shopping aisles. Those that look like us and those that do not. Those that love us and those that would love to kill us.
11-16-2015 09:30 PM
NewManLiving
Re: Oil and the Holy Spirit

Allegorical interpretation of the Bible has been around a lot longer than WN or WL and oil is generally accepted to mean the Holy Spirit. However, it's not just the parable that you are referring to that you need to consider. There are so many other verses that warn us, including the Lord's own word to the seven churches. It would be impossible to mention them all here. But just a few:

Paul speaks to the Corinthians and the Galatians concerning unrighteousness and defines what that unrighteousness is. In the context of these verses and also by his own word he is undoubtedly speaking to believers, those already saved. He is quite clear in telling us that those practicing such behavior will not enter the kingdom. So you have to ask yourself then where do they go? Well we are not clear. But we are clear that they do Not enter the Kingdom. That's good enough for me.
Peter also speaks concerning an abundant entrance into the kingdom and its converse. The book of Hebrews has succinct warnings for those who turn back and encourages us to run with endurance, so that we can enter into His rest. What is the opposite of rest? Run for what??? Why was Paul running? The Lord warns us in Revelation that some names might be blotted out of the book of life. I recall a bible study a few months back in my Baptist fellowship. We were covering Revelation and a brother who's turn it was to read the next verse had to read this particular one. I was impressed by what he said. "I have been a Christian for many years and everytime I read this verse I get very uncomfortable. I could never figure out what it means but always felt it was a warning" The Lord goes on to tell us that the overcomer will reign with Him in His Kingdom. To him that overcomes... What happens if you do not overcome?

What about the parables concerning the wicked servant. How can an unbeliever be a servant? My friend there are so many verses that indicate at the very least some type of loss. We are explicitly warned that the whole experience of Israel is for our example. How many fell in the wilderness because of unbelief. How many actually entered into His rest - only a couple. There are so many more like it it baffles me to come across people who still think that all these verses pertain to an unbeliever. We are saved by grace for sure and one way or another we will be eternally with Him. But there is reward and there is loss. Before you write everything off including some type of disipline in the next age, you need to clarify quite a few more verses than just that one.
11-16-2015 05:18 PM
NerdyKnitter
Oil and the Holy Spirit

Hello, all! You can call me NerdyKnitter I have been reading posts here for a while now and have found them to be very helpful in my transition out of the Local Church -- so thank you!! If I may ask for your help, I have a matter that I have been wresting with since I started to settle into the Local Church about a year and a half ago. It comes down to whether or not we can allegorize Scripture (as Witness Lee does), or if we should only take as symbols what the Bible expressly says are symbols, or if there is another option between these extremes.

I should mention that I started to leave the Local Church last December and attended what I think was my last meeting about four months ago. For me, the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back was Watchman Nee's doctrine of purgatory (sorry, I don't know what else to call it, and, although Local Church members refuse to admit it, that's pretty much what it is). The way I was introduced to this idea was through the parable of the 10 virgins in Matthew 25. Since oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit, and at some point all of the virgins had oil in their lamps (despite the fact that half of them run out of oil even though one does not "run out of" the Holy Spirit), all of the virgins must have been saved. Thus, those that do not make it into the wedding feast go to purgatory until the end of the Millennial Kingdom. Pretty much the whole argument, as it was made to me, rested upon the idea that oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit (and that this symbolism applies in Matthew 25).

Since I left the Local Church, I have been quite comfortable in thinking that the only symbols in the Bible are those which it says are symbols. But, last week, I picked up a copy of Be Holy by Warren Wiersbe (which is sort of a commentary on Leviticus). Sure enough, when we arrived at Leviticus 2 and the grain offering (which must be offered with oil), this same thought that oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit appeared. Unfortunately, Wiersbe provided no explanation or reference for his claim and I have not seen any of Watchman Nee or Witness Lee's sources.

So, with all that said, my question is this: is oil a symbol for the Holy Spirit? If so, how do we know? Furthermore, am I rejecting a good idea simply because Witness Lee and Watchman Nee misapplied it? If you believe that the Bible contains symbols other than what it says are symbols: how do we know for sure that something is a symbol and what it represents? How can we tell if we have gone too far? Is there a boundary other than contradicting clear passages of Scripture?

This is sort of a complicated question, and I've been a little long winded about it. If you've made it to the end of this post, thank you!! I have mentioned this to other people, but it's hard to explain my tendency to overreact to an idea simply because it connects with something that Witness Lee taught. So, once again, thank you for your help and understanding!

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