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Old 12-05-2019, 08:50 PM   #1
JJ
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Default Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

Witness Lee's Life Study of Revelation misses the mark on what "the first love" of the church in Ephesus was that they had forsaken. For reference here is a link to the verses that include the message sent to the church in Ephesus from the Lord.

https://biblehub.com/bsb/revelation/2.htm

If you read Witness Lee's Life Study on this section of scripture he says the love the Ephesians had forsaken is “love toward the Lord”.

While that seems to make sense, it is actually incomplete. Why do I say this? Because we have a record (in Paul's epistle to the Ephesians) that documents what their first love was. So, I checked every use of the word "love" in Ephesians (see links and verses below) to see whether their first love was their love for the Lord.

https://biblehub.com/ephesians/1-6.htm

https://biblehub.com/ephesians/1-15.htm


https://biblehub.com/ephesians/2-4.htm

3:17b-19 (Berean Study Bible)

"Then you, being rooted and grounded in love, will have power, together with all the saints, to comprehend the length and width and height and depth of His love, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.


https://biblehub.com/ephesians/4-2.htm


https://biblehub.com/ephesians/4-15.htm

https://biblehub.com/ephesians/4-16.htm

5:1-2 Be imitators of God, therefore, as beloved children, and walk in love, just as Christ loved us and gave Himself up for us as a fragrant sacrificial offering to God.

6:23-24

Peace to the brothers and love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. Grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with an undying love.



So, Paul’s epistle to the Ephesians uses love as being toward the Lord, and also “toward all the saints", says they were rooted and grounded in love so that they would together apprehend the height, depth, and breadth and know the knowledge surpassing love of Christ, and exhorted them to walk in love.

Husbands are also exhorted to love their wives even as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.

It seems then that the Ephesians’ first love is more than just “love for the Lord”. It also includes walking in it, realizing its vast dimensions together with the saints, knowing it, loving all the saints, bearing with one another in love, speaking truth in love to one another, and even loving spouses as Christ.
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Old 12-06-2019, 11:52 AM   #2
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Default Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

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It seems then that the Ephesians’ first love is more than just “love for the Lord”. It also includes walking in it, realizing its vast dimensions together with the saints, knowing it, loving all the saints, bearing with one another in love, speaking truth in love to one another, and even loving spouses as Christ.
Great observation. The greatest commandment is to love the Father God with all our heart and soul and strength, and the second is like the first, to love your neighbour as yourself.

Those both are arguably the "first love". In the LC we got "we just love Jesus"... I saw teen-age girls burst into tears because they loved the Lord. Sounds good, right? But "we just love Jesus" became "Christ and the Church". So we love the Church, now. Right away you can see where this is going. The so-called minister has gotten the Church to look away from her (supposed) first love and to look at herself. Now "The Church loves the Church" and is dependent upon the so-called minister to reveal the Church (herself!!) to her. She becomes a vain harlot staring in the mirror. "I sit a Queen and lack nothing". No love.

But Jesus showed the way to love God: love your neighbor. "When I was sick you visited me" … "Lord, when did we visit you?"... "When you visited these the least of my brothers"... in other words, the neighbor that Jesus put you next to! If you really love Jesus you will love your neighbor!!

Instead we got "love the Church" which meant "closely following the ministry" and despising our neighbor who couldn't be "one with the brothers" etc.

JJ,

I think you are spot-on with your observation. Thanks for pointing it out.
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Old 12-06-2019, 01:55 PM   #3
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

Honestly he lost me in that book when he said that the army from the east will be on horseback because it would be hard to shoot bombs at them.
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Old 12-06-2019, 04:58 PM   #4
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

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Great observation. The greatest commandment is to love the Father God with all our heart and soul and strength, and the second is like the first, to love your neighbour as yourself.

Those both are arguably the "first love". In the LC we got "we just love Jesus"... I saw teen-age girls burst into tears because they loved the Lord. Sounds good, right? But "we just love Jesus" became "Christ and the Church". So we love the Church, now. Right away you can see where this is going. The so-called minister has gotten the Church to look away from her (supposed) first love and to look at herself. Now "The Church loves the Church" and is dependent upon the so-called minister to reveal the Church (herself!!) to her. She becomes a vain harlot staring in the mirror. "I sit a Queen and lack nothing". No love.

But Jesus showed the way to love God: love your neighbor. "When I was sick you visited me" … "Lord, when did we visit you?"... "When you visited these the least of my brothers"... in other words, the neighbor that Jesus put you next to! If you really love Jesus you will love your neighbor!!

Instead we got "love the Church" which meant "closely following the ministry" and despising our neighbor who couldn't be "one with the brothers" etc.

JJ,

I think you are spot-on with your observation. Thanks for pointing it out.
Gaylord Enns book “Love Revolution” is what caused me to review what the Ephesians first love was and recognize I learned incorrectly from Lee.

When our first love includes both loving the Lord and love for all the saints there is a correlation to Jesus’ own commandment “Love one another”.
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Old 12-08-2019, 10:06 AM   #5
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

And don't forget that while there are specific commands concerning love for the saints, there is also the generic "neighbor" that includes everyone else. This is often understood to mean love the saints first and then the rest. And that might be somewhat true. But if you are to love all "neighbors" in the same way that you love yourself, then the difference would seem to be more academic than real.
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Old 12-08-2019, 01:58 PM   #6
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

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And don't forget that while there are specific commands concerning love for the saints, there is also the generic "neighbor" that includes everyone else. This is often understood to mean love the saints first and then the rest. And that might be somewhat true. But if you are to love all "neighbors" in the same way that you love yourself, then the difference would seem to be more academic than real.
The faith was called the "way", and one of the prime directives of the way was to love others. Jesus repeatedly taught to give to those who would not repay, and the heavenly reward would be great. He told Zechaias that he was near the kingdom of heaven, when Zechaias informed him that he'd given away half his goods to the poor.

Love does not seek it's own things, but the things of others. Who is the other? That selfsame neighbour who can't pay you back. Love is not calculating, it doesn't plan, it doesn't hold back. It gives.

I daresay all of this was expected of the flock in Ephesus. Love is not merely feeling, but action consistently done, even without reciprocity. We love God because God first loved us, but we love others even if they don't love us back. All of this is foundational for the way. Yes, calling on the Lord is included, but it is minuscule compared to love. Pray-reading is included, but it's nothing without love. Singing hymns of praise is involved, but without love it is empty sound.
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Old 12-08-2019, 06:56 PM   #7
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

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When our first love includes both loving the Lord and love for all the saints there is a correlation to Jesus’ own commandment “Love one another”.
I repeat that love is not a feeling but an action of stretching out of one's selfish needs and giving of oneself and one's possessions, done even where there's no reciprocation. This is God's economy which is in faith.

Luke 6:32-36 If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.

Luke 8:3 Joanna the wife of Chuza, the manager of Herod's household; Susanna; and many others. These women were helping to support them out of their own means.

Acts 4:32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.

Acts 2:44 All the believers were together and had everything in common.

This is God's economy (stewardship/administration/plan) which is in faith (cf 1 Timothy 1:4)

Luke 14:13,14 But when you host a banquet, invite the poor, the crippled, the lame and the blind, and you will be blessed. Since they cannot repay you, you will be repaid at the resurrection of the righteous.

This is God's economy which is in faith

Proverbs 22:9 A generous man will be blessed, for he shares his food with the poor.

Luke 19:8 But Zacchaeus stood up and said to the Lord, "Look, Lord! Here and now I give half of my possessions to the poor, and if I have cheated anybody out of anything, I will pay back four times the amount."

Matthew 6:3,4 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

This is God's economy which is in faith

Matthew 6:19-21 Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

2 Corinthians 8:15 as it is written: "The one who gathered much did not have too much, and the one who gathered little did not have too little."

This is God's economy which is in faith.

Matthew 6:28-34 And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Galatians 2:10 All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I had been eager to do all along.

This is God's economy which is in faith.

I believe that Paul told Timothy to remain in Ephesus to charge certain ones to teach God's economy. Witness Lee said that this was to exercise one's spirit via pray-reading to take in God as spirit and become transformed into God. But the text doesn't say that, it merely says to charge them to teach God's economy. I believe the supporting text of the NT which I've referenced above suggests something quite different from what Lee taught.

And to go back to "love", the "God's economy" of Lee was self-oriented affair: I take in God, and then I become God in life and nature (but not the Godhead). But love is a reaching out of oneself, to the "other", i.e. one's neighbour, even when that person can't reciprocate in a mutually-beneficial material transaction. This then becomes faith in action, the exercise of which produces a result: "Your reward will be great in heaven".
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Old 12-10-2019, 12:56 PM   #8
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

Good and challenging verses and comments, aron.

I’d add the whole chapter 3 of 1 John has similar thoughts re love.

https://biblehub.com/bsb/1_john/3.htm

The whole point of checking what the Lord Jesus meant with His message to the assembly in Ephesus by “you have forsaken your first love” is so we don’t repeat their mistake. The first part is understanding what “your first love” is, the second part is heading “repent and do the first works” if indeed we too have left our first love for the Lord and all of the saints and don’t act to help our neighbor in distress.
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Old 12-12-2019, 04:07 PM   #9
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

What about the idea that the Lee/LSM/LC view of the Revelation "letters" has an overriding error — that there is no statement defining Philadelphia as "getting it right" and no exhortation to leave the other 6 churches and go join with Philadelphia?

And related questions:

Why was there only 1 out of 7 that rose Lee's understanding of perfection, yet had only a little strength and still needed to overcome?

Was this legitimately indicative of a 6/7ths failure rate?

Or, alternately, is Lee simply missing the point?
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Old 12-12-2019, 10:21 PM   #10
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

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What about the idea that the Lee/LSM/LC view of the Revelation "letters" has an overriding error — that there is no statement defining Philadelphia as "getting it right" and no exhortation to leave the other 6 churches and go join with Philadelphia?

And related questions:

Why was there only 1 out of 7 that rose Lee's understanding of perfection, yet had only a little strength and still needed to overcome?

Was this legitimately indicative of a 6/7ths failure rate?

Or, alternately, is Lee simply missing the point?
Good point and questions OBW.

Here is a link to the verses regarding the church in Philadelphia:

https://biblehub.com/bsb/revelation/3.htm (see verses 7-13).

Lee obviously took verses 8-10 and the lack of “I have this against you....” as the Lord’s approval of Philadelphia.

You are right that there is still a call for overcomers out of Philadelphia and there is no call for those in other cities to come to Philadelphia.

We may also want to discuss Lee’s equating each church as being symbolic of consecutive church ages:

Ephesus = early church led by “the church fathers”
Smyrna = the church persecuted by Roman government
Pergamos = the early Roman Catholic Church
Thyatira = the later Roman Catholic Church
Sardis = the reformed church (today’s denominations)
Philadelphia = The early Brethren then “the recovery”
Laodicea = today’s Brethren

And, did Lee take this teaching from the Brethren and adapt it?
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Old 12-13-2019, 06:06 AM   #11
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

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We may also want to discuss Lee’s equating each church as being symbolic of consecutive church ages:

Ephesus = early church led by “the church fathers”
Smyrna = the church persecuted by Roman government
Pergamos = the early Roman Catholic Church
Thyatira = the later Roman Catholic Church
Sardis = the reformed church (today’s denominations)
Philadelphia = The early Brethren then “the recovery”
Laodicea = today’s Brethren

And, did Lee take this teaching from the Brethren and adapt it?
Yes, of course!

But reading Brethren history one is forced to question how anyone could connect them with "Philadelphia." If you want "Philadelphia" in prophetic church history, then take a look at the Moravians under Zinzendorf. The Brethren emphasized truth and light over love and life, the Moravians emphasized love, prayer, and the gospel over everything else.

Personally I no longer ascribe to this sequential and prophetic view of church history. These seven churches existed during John's later life, and geographically they were not randomly selected. One could take a day trip starting in Ephesus and pass thru all of these towns in order. I suggest that aspects of each church have been applicable over the entire course of church history. "He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit is speaking . . ."

According to Nee's and Lee's interpretations of Revelations chapters 2-3, we are supposed to believe that the condition of the apostolic church (Ephesus), the suffering persecuted church (Smyrna), and the worldly church (Pergamos) can no longer exist on earth today.
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Old 12-13-2019, 08:11 AM   #12
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

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We may also want to discuss Lee’s equating each church as being symbolic of consecutive church ages
I would never say that certain of the churches do not better represent the collective situation at certain times. But it is not so complete a comparison to declare that the first three take us up through a sequence for the first 300 years or so then end, then the next 4 come successively but stay for the rest of history.

For example, anyone who says there is no real persecution of the church in this day and age (and in all ages) has their head in the sand. Yet no matter how much we feel put upon in the US, there is no real persecution happening here. But there is much persecution in parts of the Middle East and Asia that ranges up to fairly severe. So any claim that the first churches are really some now-distant point in time is soundly debunked.

So the more meaningful thing to learn from the 7 churches is not how they align with periods in history, but how they are relevant today. And in varying degrees how even all can be present in a single assembly.
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Old 12-13-2019, 08:13 PM   #13
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

Good points Ohio and OBW.

Since leaving TLR I learned the seven churches were on a well traveled Roman road and mail route https://basictraining18.wordpress.co...in-revelation/.

I believe Lee did include the Moravian Brethren as being the start of Philadelphia and lumped the later Brethren in with them.
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Old 12-13-2019, 08:34 PM   #14
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I note that the origins of the Moravian Brethren actually dates to roughly 70 years before Martin Luther nailed his 96 these to the door, therefore predates the Protestantism attributed to Sardis in the "history sequence" analysis of the 7 letters. So what would Lee do? (WWWLD)

I guess he would exclude the portion of the Moravian Brethren's history that predates Luther so it would stay in order.
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Old 12-14-2019, 08:26 AM   #15
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

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I note that the origins of the Moravian Brethren actually dates to roughly 70 years before Martin Luther nailed his 96 these to the door, therefore predates the Protestantism attributed to Sardis in the "history sequence" analysis of the 7 letters. So what would Lee do? (WWWLD)

I guess he would exclude the portion of the Moravian Brethren's history that predates Luther so it would stay in order.
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Old 12-14-2019, 10:53 AM   #16
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

It seems contrary and conflicting to me for Lee to both say the seven churches are symbolic of the stages of church history we have been discussing and also in his 1976 Life Study commentary on Revelation 1:11 https://biblehub.com/revelation/1-11.htm also say “only those who are in the local churches are rightly positioned with the right angle and the proper perspective to see the visions in this book” (in Chapter 7, Section 3 of On-Line Life Study). It seems contrary and conflicting to me for Lee to both say the seven churches are symbolic of the stages of church history we have been discussing and also in his 1976 Life Study commentary on Revelation 1:11 https://biblehub.com/revelation/1-11.htm also say “only those who are in the local churches are rightly positioned with the right angle and the proper perspective to see the visions in this book” (in Chapter 7, Section 3 of On-Line Life Study).

For example the letter to the church in Sardis according to Lee represents churches such as Lutheran, Methodist, Mennonite (denominations) who today don’t call themselves “the church in....” so could they not see the Jesus described as walking among seven lamp stands with seven stars in His hands nor read, understand, and respond to the messenger or Angel with Sardis’ letter and the Spirit’s speaking to the churches even though it was intended for them?
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Old 12-14-2019, 12:41 PM   #17
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

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It seems contrary and conflicting to me for Lee to both say the seven churches are symbolic of the stages of church history we have been discussing and also in his 1976 Life Study commentary on Revelation 1:11 https://biblehub.com/revelation/1-11.htm also say “only those who are in the local churches are rightly positioned with the right angle and the proper perspective to see the visions in this book” . . .
Never thought of it that way, but it does make Lee seem really foolish (or it makes God/John really foolish). And for me, I will go with the former, not the latter.

If only "Philadelphia" has the eyes and ears to see and hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches, then why write to the others? Why bother wasting the ink? Philadelphia (according to Lee) is too smart to fall into the errors that are written about in the other letters, thereby making 6 of the letters a waste of time, ink, and brainpower to read (unless you are needing something more thump your chest about).
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Old 12-14-2019, 01:07 PM   #18
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

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Never thought of it that way, but it does make Lee seem really foolish (or it makes God/John really foolish). And for me, I will go with the former, not the latter.
Anyone says that in all Christianity they alone are rightly positioned to see something, they're probably not rightly positioned. If you get my drift.

Quote:
Originally Posted by OBW
If only "Philadelphia" has the eyes and ears to see and hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches, then why write to the others? Why bother wasting the ink? Philadelphia (according to Lee) is too smart to fall into the errors that are written about in the other letters, thereby making 6 of the letters a waste of time, ink, and brainpower to read (unless you are needing something more thump your chest about).
Reminds me of an old joke:

Fred: "Hey Joe, didya hear about the apostle John out there on Patmos, what he said about us? He said to repent - that we were entertaining Jezebel here! He said something about the deep teachings of Satan among us!"
Joe: "Nah, don't worry. He's writing about a church in a future age, some centuries from now. We're fine."
Fred: "Whew! I was worried about it for a minute".
Joe: "Yeah, the real meaning will be hidden for a long time until God raises up the Final Ministry of the Age"
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Old 12-14-2019, 02:04 PM   #19
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

OBW and Aron.... exactly what I was trying to get at.

John’s opening in Revelation 1 https://biblehub.com/blb/revelation/1.htm
would be a waste of time for members of 6 of the 7 churches (they would be in the wrong position and angle, and have the wrong perspective).

Instead John says the right position is “bondservant”, the right angle is “blessed is anyone who reads and keeps the words in it”, and the right perspective is “grace and peace to you from Him who is and was and is coming and from Jesus Christ His faithful witness who loves us and has released us from our sins”
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Old 12-14-2019, 05:01 PM   #20
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Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

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I note that the origins of the Moravian Brethren actually dates to roughly 70 years before Martin Luther nailed his 96 these to the door, therefore predates the Protestantism attributed to Sardis in the "history sequence" analysis of the 7 letters. So what would Lee do? (WWWLD)

I guess he would exclude the portion of the Moravian Brethren's history that predates Luther so it would stay in order.
Your study of church history is wanting at best.

The early Moravian (Today's Czech Republic) church was there with John Huss (Jan Hus) in the 15th Century prior to Martin Luther in the early 16th Century. In fact Luther had an incredible epiphany concerning Huss. While he was searching for salvation in the scriptures, Luther as a Catholic priest was well aware of Huss's heresy and martyrdom years prior in Moravia. Following his salvation, Luther then realized that he too "was a Hussite," and assumed that he too would be martyred for his new faith.

Then two centuries later, long after the Protestants began to fight one another over doctrines, Count Zinzendorff used his land and wealth to create Hernhut, a community for persecuted Christians throughout N.E. Europe. Under his leadership these diverse Christians, with different backgrounds, cultures, languages, and teachings, set them all aside in order to love, as Christ loved them.

This was an incredible example of "Philadelphia." They became the first modern church to establish missionaries. They also held a 100 year long prayer meeting.
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Old 12-15-2019, 06:21 AM   #21
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I love reading about Huss, the Moravian saints, and that period before Luther! There are some ties between them and the ancient Christian groups, which lived in the mountains, that Broadbent presents in his awesome book, The Pilgrim Church. We could have some wonderful discussions around that period of time in the church!
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Old 12-15-2019, 08:17 AM   #22
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I love reading about Huss, the Moravian saints, and that period before Luther! There are some ties between them and the ancient Christian groups, which lived in the mountains, that Broadbent presents in his awesome book, The Pilgrim Church. We could have some wonderful discussions around that period of time in the church!
The "ties" with the Waldensians, Albigensians, and others were entirely of the Spirit. Broadbent researched many of these. Their stories were often "reverse-engineered" historically, in other words the records of the oppressive Catholics were re-written to reflect the truth. For example, those whom the Catholic Church would label as "obstinate heretics disrespecting the virgin" were simply genuine believers who refused to worship marble Mary.

Many of these believing communities were hidden in the mountain enclaves, whether the Pyrenees or the Alps, for centuries until the Popes gathered armies to attack them, forcing compliance. Some took King David as their pattern and some took Jesus Himself. The former would form trained militias to resist papal mercenaries, protecting their woman and children. Some, however, refused to resist, as the Lamb of God before them, and knowing the inevitable, chose corporate suicide rather than being forced to watch their wives and daughters brutally raped before all were slaughtered.

In this regard Hitler's goons or ISIS soldiers were no worse than the Pope's. So how can we really think that the prophetic "Smyrrna" was ended with Constantine in 325AD?
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Old 12-15-2019, 10:34 AM   #23
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Thanks Ohio and STG for pointing out groups that contradict Lee’s version of church history.

I did some more “fact checking” on another statement Lee made in Chapter 7, Section 3 of Life Study of Revelation:

What is “The Testimony of Jesus”?

Witness Lee: “The churches, signified by the golden lamp stands are “the testimony of Jesus (1:2, 9) in the divine nature, shining in the dark night locally, yet collectively”

verses related to “the testimony of Jesus”

Rev 1:1-3 and 9 https://biblehub.com/blb/revelation/1.htm

Rev 6:9 https://biblehub.com/bsb/revelation/6.htm

Rev 12:11,17 https://biblehub.com/blb/revelation/12.htm

Rev 19:9-10 https://biblehub.com/blb/revelation/19.htm

Rev 20:4 https://biblehub.com/blb/revelation/20.htm

Rev 23:16 https://biblehub.com/blb/revelation/22.htm

Other references:
1 John 4:14 https://biblehub.com/1_john/4-14.htm (see cross references too)

https://biblehub.com/acts/4-33.htm


Based on these verses I would say John’s definition of the testimony of Jesus was:

the word of God that God had given Jesus to show him and his brothers concerning His son (Jesus, the resurrected one). They were to speak (and did) the word of God as His witnesses to men everywhere at whatever cost, even imprisonment and death.
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Old 12-15-2019, 12:28 PM   #24
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What is “The Testimony of Jesus”?

Based on these verses I would say John’s definition of the testimony of Jesus was: the word of God that God had given Jesus to show him and his brothers concerning His son (Jesus, the resurrected one). They were to speak (and did) the word of God as His witnesses to men everywhere at whatever cost, even imprisonment and death.
Agreed. We were seriously short of honest fellowship and study concerning many of Lee's assertions. Where is the verse that shows us that the testimony of Jesus is all the LC's in "proper" fellowship with a SoCal publishing house?

I remember in the aftermath of the "Max" chaos, during the Timothy Training, that WL also used 2 Tim 1.8 to convince us that the LC's were the testimony of Jesus and he was today's Paul, the prisoner of the Lord.

Because none of us knew the actual events surrounding Max, we believed his false narrative, and then WL's interpretation of scripture. That happened so often. Is that not always the case when forced to choose one man over another, when neither is Jesus our Lord?
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Old 12-15-2019, 07:14 PM   #25
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Agreed. We were seriously short of honest fellowship and study concerning many of Lee's assertions. Where is the verse that shows us that the testimony of Jesus is all the LC's in "proper" fellowship with a SoCal publishing house?

I remember in the aftermath of the "Max" chaos, during the Timothy Training, that WL also used 2 Tim 1.8 to convince us that the LC's were the testimony of Jesus and he was today's Paul, the prisoner of the Lord.

Because none of us knew the actual events surrounding Max, we believed his false narrative, and then WL's interpretation of scripture. That happened so often. Is that not always the case when forced to choose one man over another, when neither is Jesus our Lord?
We were entrapped in an institutional system with one supreme human leader who was (and still is) considered infallible and unquestionable, where the systems’ goal and design was (and still is) to entrap more people into the system plus insure the leaders’ continuity and enrichment. Ultimately it (Witness Lee’s local churches) were similar to the Roman Catholic Church and denominations having the same sort of systems in spouting part truths/part falsehood that don’t stand up to critical examination versus scripture.
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Old 12-15-2019, 07:31 PM   #26
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According to Witness Lee’s Life Study of Revelation commentary about the seven golden lampstands John saw (Revelation 1:12,20; 2:1) that were the seven churches: “not having any individual distinctions, differences are of a negative nature, not of a positive nature”.

I beg to differ (again). Here is a simple list of the positive differences between the seven churches according to the Lord’s own words about them (from Berean Literal Bible):

Ephesus: you are not able to tolerate evil ones. And you have tested those claiming to be apostles and are not, and you have found them false, and you have perseverance, and have endured for the sake of My name, and have not grown weary. But you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Smyrna: I know your tribulation and poverty—but you are rich

Pergamos: I know where you dwell, where the throne of Satan is; and you hold fast to 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.

Thyatira: I know your works, and your love and faith and service and perseverance; and your latter works are greater than the first.

Sardis: But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with Me in white, because they are worthy.

Philadelphia: you have little power, and yet you have kept My word and have not denied My name. You have kept the word of My patient endurance.

Laodicea: nothing
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:46 PM   #27
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We were entrapped in an institutional system with one supreme human leader who was (and still is) considered infallible and unquestionable, where the systems’ goal and design was (and still is) to entrap more people into the system plus insure the leaders’ continuity and enrichment. Ultimately it (Witness Lee’s local churches) were similar to the Roman Catholic Church and denominations having the same sort of systems in spouting part truths/part falsehood that don’t stand up to critical examination versus scripture.
This reminds me of a comment made about JNDarby, supposedly the MOTA preceding WN. It was said that Darby became a far worse pope than the one in Rome which he regularly condemned.
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Old 12-15-2019, 09:49 PM   #28
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According to Witness Lee’s Life Study of Revelation commentary about the seven golden lampstands John saw (Revelation 1:12,20; 2:1) that were the seven churches: “not having any individual distinctions, differences are of a negative nature, not of a positive nature”.

I beg to differ (again). Here is a simple list of the positive differences between the seven churches according to the Lord’s own words about them (from Berean Literal Bible):

Ephesus: you are not able to tolerate evil ones. And you have tested those claiming to be apostles and are not, and you have found them false, and you have perseverance, and have endured for the sake of My name, and have not grown weary. But you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Smyrna: I know your tribulation and poverty—but you are rich

Pergamos: I know where you dwell, where the throne of Satan is; and you hold fast to 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.

Thyatira: I know your works, and your love and faith and service and perseverance; and your latter works are greater than the first.

Sardis: But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with Me in white, because they are worthy.

Philadelphia: you have little power, and yet you have kept My word and have not denied My name. You have kept the word of My patient endurance.

Laodicea: nothing
It was the height of lunacy for us to believe that the differences between the 7 churches were merely negative, and not also positive, as you noted.
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Old 12-16-2019, 03:53 AM   #29
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Here is a simple list of the positive differences between the seven churches according to the Lord’s own words about them (from Berean Literal Bible):

Ephesus: you are not able to tolerate evil ones. And you have tested those claiming to be apostles and are not, and you have found them false, and you have perseverance, and have endured for the sake of My name, and have not grown weary. But you hate the works of the Nicolaitans, which I also hate.

Smyrna: I know your tribulation and poverty—but you are rich

Pergamos: I know where you dwell, where the throne of Satan is; and you hold fast to 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.

Thyatira: I know your works, and your love and faith and service and perseverance; and your latter works are greater than the first.

Sardis: But you have a few people in Sardis who have not soiled their garments, and they will walk with Me in white, because they are worthy.

Philadelphia: you have little power, and yet you have kept My word and have not denied My name. You have kept the word of My patient endurance.

Laodicea: nothing
The Irish Catholics have a place at the table. The Roman Catholics have a place, as do the French. The Greek Orthodox have a place at the table. And the Russian, Syrian, and Ethiopian Orthodox. The German Protestants, Dutch Reformed, Southern Baptists have a place, too, along with Jewish Messianists. (Not equating all these with the 7 churches above, but stretching to a larger, but related, point)

All of these can trace their lineage back to Jesus and the Twelve. As such they have a place at the banquet table. But those who insist on primacy at the table will be sent down lower - the Lord made this clear. With what you judge, you will be judged. And those who insist their church is unaffected by human culture, whilst others are Babylon, remain most infected. And so forth.

I say that Baptists, Orthodox, Messianics etc are opportunity for us to find and exercise the first love. Angry and disaffected atheists and anti-theists even more so.
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:59 AM   #30
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Your study of church history is wanting at best.

The early Moravian (Today's Czech Republic) church was there with . . .
I do not recall my source at the moment, but it indcated that while the moniker "Moravian Brethren" came to be later, the origins of the group was in the vicinity of 1447. That doesn't make that source entirely accurate. And it doesn't declare that the features that could be argued as being "Philadelphia" we seen that far back.

But even if we are to accept a later date, it is so close to the time of the start of the Protestant reformation that it is almost simultaneous, not so much sequential
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Old 12-16-2019, 10:52 AM   #31
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My point was not to be right, but to help us move beyond a layered-on (at best) view of the churches that would have been mostly meaningless until at least 1600 (when we could first begin to see it in hindsight). But the wealth of positives and negatives have been with us from the beginning. And they all remain today.

Nothing is new.

And when someone thinks they have found something truly new, it should be very suspect. (And tends to hurl javelins at much of the "new" revelation of the past few centuries.)
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Old 12-16-2019, 11:38 AM   #32
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The Irish Catholics have a place at the table. The Roman Catholics have a place, as do the French. The Greek Orthodox have a place at the table. And the Russian, Syrian, and Ethiopian Orthodox. The German Protestants, Dutch Reformed, Southern Baptists have a place, too, along with Jewish Messianists. (Not equating all these with the 7 churches above, but stretching to a larger, but related, point)

All of these can trace their lineage back to Jesus and the Twelve. As such they have a place at the banquet table. But those who insist on primacy at the table will be sent down lower - the Lord made this clear. With what you judge, you will be judged. And those who insist their church is unaffected by human culture, whilst others are Babylon, remain most infected. And so forth.

I say that Baptists, Orthodox, Messianics etc are opportunity for us to find and exercise the first love. Angry and disaffected atheists and anti-theists even more so.
One could make the case that Nicolaitions are those who insist on primacy, having a doctrine that they are the strong (Nico) while others are the weak (lait) and the Lord says he hates that and such a teaching and practice is inconsistent with Romans 14:1 https://biblehub.com/romans/14-1.htm and so many other sections of scripture.

Blessed are those washing their robes, that their right will be to the tree of life, and they shall enter into the city by the gates.

And the Spirit and the bride say, “Come!” And the one hearing, let him say, “Come!” And the one thirsting let him come; the one desiring, let him take freely the water of life.
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Old 12-16-2019, 03:07 PM   #33
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I think that the popular (in this forum and in the LC) interpretation of Nicolaitans as just being about the sum of two greek words (some kind of strength overpowering everyone else) is too simplistic. There are other explanations for errors unrelated to the name that likely date back far enough to possibly have some hint at what was behind it.

And since no one is without some kind of hierarchy in the church, no matter how slight, then simply saying it is about hierarchies seems excessively simplistic. If the word ultimately translated as elder and even bishop means (in more descriptive terms) "overseer," then there is an aspect of hierarchy that does not have to include "lording it over." How do I say that? Because an overseer is someone who bears a responsibility to direct the church. And Paul suggested they should be "apt to teach." So they are often part of the source of teaching for the flock/assembly. This can all be done without lording it over. So just saying that there is "clergy" and "laity" is not, by itself, something evil.

Maybe this particular error (or class of error) was left vague because in a system (the church) that was supposed to have some amount of inner speaking from the Lord and Spirit, things should "bother" you when they are going wrong. Some should actually speak up and say "but Bro. Lee, this is not right." Of course, despite Lee making statements just like that at the time that he ousted Max, there was never a time when anyone would be allowed to actually make such a statement to him.

And maybe the general spiritual mayhem that Lee put on the LCs should have stood out as a modern form of Nicolatianism. Not saying there is some evidence that this is true. But shrinking it down to something as singular as "clergy-laity" while hiding it behind a curtain of a name (that had other historical significance) seems no more certain.
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:19 PM   #34
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Ohio,

Thanks for your thoughts on Nicolaitans. This term has been as source of much debate in Christendom and pressing a particular interpretation one way or the other isn’t worth arguing over for sure.

There does seem to be a kinship between Balaam’s error and Nicolaitanism in Revelation.

https://www.biblestudytools.com/comm...colaitans.html
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Old 12-16-2019, 09:35 PM   #35
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And with Witness Lee’s fixation on the golden lampstands themselves “gold signifies the divine nature” for example, did he miss the obvious: the lampstand’s main job is to hold up the light of Christ and shine it to fill a room with light so the priest can see and use the other things in the room (show bread table, incense altar, viels) can be clearly seen and used?
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Old 12-16-2019, 10:56 PM   #36
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That is what you get when you think the purpose of the Bible is to reveal hidden nuggets in every word without reference to any, or only a few, of the words around them.

I have come to call it the fortune cookie view of the Bible. All those pages and books are to bring us lots of little chopped-up fortune cookies to analyze one-by-one without reference to each other. It really started in earnest when they chopped it up into chapters and verses without any real reference to the sentences and paragraphs. Just roughly a similar number of syllables (or something like that).
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Old 12-17-2019, 05:42 AM   #37
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Ohio,

Thanks for your thoughts on Nicolaitans. This term has been as source of much debate in Christendom and pressing a particular interpretation one way or the other isn’t worth arguing over for sure.

There does seem to be a kinship between Balaam’s error and Nicolaitanism in Revelation.

https://www.biblestudytools.com/comm...colaitans.html
Does not LC history suggest that MOTA (minister of the age) teachings and practices are far closer to the admonitions of the Son of Man concerning the Nicolaitans, than the Recovery assertion that every Christian pastor (so-called clergy) is a Nicolaitan? You decide.

What's worse? Ministers speaking to their congregations 30 minutes a week following worship and communion, or these exalted book editors in Anaheim ruling over all the LC's? What could be more "Nicolaitan" than to blacklist cetain ministers, turn their saints one against the other, and then train dissidents in every church to file lawsuits to seize church property?

Can anything be more "Balaam-like" or "Nicolaitan" than that? By what authority did they ascribe? Scripture? Absolutely not! Their authority was the MOTA. WL, apparently from his grave, gave these Nicolaitan Blendeds the authority to rule over ministers, churches, and the saints.

Some here regularly assert that forced book sales, i.e. filthy lucre, drives these Blended Nicolaitans. I have always been convinced that the lust for power and vain-glory drives them. Of course money is needed to fuel them, and I remember a gathering in Taipei in May of 1987 where AY told LC leaders that, "all of the saints' offering is ours, not yours." That was not biblical stewardship. That was a money grab by the power hungry. Sounded awfully Nicolaitan.
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Old 12-20-2019, 08:02 PM   #38
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That is what you get when you think the purpose of the Bible is to reveal hidden nuggets in every word without reference to any, or only a few, of the words around them.

I have come to call it the fortune cookie view of the Bible. All those pages and books are to bring us lots of little chopped-up fortune cookies to analyze one-by-one without reference to each other. It really started in earnest when they chopped it up into chapters and verses without any real reference to the sentences and paragraphs. Just roughly a similar number of syllables (or something like that).
I love this term "fortune cookie view of the Bible", and certainly see Nee and Lee as having this view . I still tend to think of the Bible that way myself

Gene Edwards (seed sowers.com sells his books), a former local church brother, shares that view about the problem added chapters and verses presents to the reader. He freely admits that he has a reading disorder (Attention Deficit?) that makes it really hard for him to not be distracted by the chapters and verses. To make his point he published a Bible without added chapter and verses and suggests Christians read it to get a feel for what the original recipients of those writings would have been reading and how it makes truth hit home easier.

How about adding section headers, cross references, and footnotes to the equation.... quite an assault on the reader with attention deficit at a minimum!
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Old 12-20-2019, 08:18 PM   #39
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Does not LC history suggest that MOTA (minister of the age) teachings and practices are far closer to the admonitions of the Son of Man concerning the Nicolaitans, than the Recovery assertion that every Christian pastor (so-called clergy) is a Nicolaitan? You decide.

What's worse? Ministers speaking to their congregations 30 minutes a week following worship and communion, or these exalted book editors in Anaheim ruling over all the LC's? What could be more "Nicolaitan" than to blacklist cetain ministers, turn their saints one against the other, and then train dissidents in every church to file lawsuits to seize church property?

Can anything be more "Balaam-like" or "Nicolaitan" than that? By what authority did they ascribe? Scripture? Absolutely not! Their authority was the MOTA. WL, apparently from his grave, gave these Nicolaitan Blendeds the authority to rule over ministers, churches, and the saints.

Some here regularly assert that forced book sales, i.e. filthy lucre, drives these Blended Nicolaitans. I have always been convinced that the lust for power and vain-glory drives them. Of course money is needed to fuel them, and I remember a gathering in Taipei in May of 1987 where AY told LC leaders that, "all of the saints' offering is ours, not yours." That was not biblical stewardship. That was a money grab by the power hungry. Sounded awfully Nicolaitan.
When I review all biblical references to Nicolaitans and Balaam (see links below) preaching and practicing idol worship and sexual sins are part of the equation too.

Revelation 2:6
https://biblehub.com/revelation/2-6.htm
The church in Ephesus hated and the Lord hates the evil deeds of the Nicolaitans

Revelation 2:15
https://biblehub.com/revelation/2-15.htm

The Lord rebuked the church in Pergamum:
“You have there some holding the teaching of Balaam, who would teach Balak to cast a snare before the sons of Israel, to eat things sacrificed to idols, and to commit sexual immorality. So likewise you also have some holding the teaching of the Nicolaitans. Therefore repent! But if not, I am coming to you quickly, and I will make war against them with the sword of My mouth.

2 Peter 2 https://biblehub.com/blb/2_peter/2.htm
describes false prophets that preach and practice immortality for base gain and says “they have forsaken the straight way, they have gone astray, having followed in the way of Balaam son of Bosor, who loved the wage of unrighteousness. But he had reproof for his own transgression by a mute donkey; having spoken in a man’s voice, it restrained the madness of the prophet.” And it goes on to describe them and their fate.

Numbers 22-25 tells the story of Balaam
https://biblehub.com/bsb/numbers/22.htm
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Old 12-20-2019, 08:27 PM   #40
JJ
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Join Date: Jan 2016
Posts: 897
Default Re: Life Study of Revelation Misses Mark RE: "First Love"

Back to our discussion of what "you have forsaken your first love" means:

I wanted to add that we have another clue in the apostle Paul's last address to the elders he called when he wrote to Ephesus (Acts 20:17-26)https://biblehub.com/blb/acts/20.htm

"Recall the words of our Lord Jesus when he said "It is more blessed to give than to receive". Paul also made the point that he coveted no ones money and had served them without receiving their support

When I visited the site of ancient Ephesus in 2014 it was stunning to see that no remnant of the Christian church remains in that area. The sea moved a few miles away from the former busy sea port and erosion buried a lot of the city essentially terminating its commerce. So, the city died altogether. Today you can go see ruins that Roman Catholics claim are remnants of the apostle John and Mary (Jesus' mother)'s house and a baptistry. I wasnt' convinced they were genuine.

JJ
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And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John 1:14 NASB)
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