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Old 11-16-2015, 05:18 PM   #1
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Default 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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