The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation

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  • The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation

    WATCHMAN NEE

    Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.

    New York

  • Copyright ©1980 Christian Fellowship Publishers, Inc.

    New York All Rights Reserved

    ISBN 0-935008-48-9

    Available from the Publishers at:

    11515 Allecingie Parkway Richmond, Virginia 23235

    PRINTED IN U.S.A.

  • TRANSLATOR’S PREFACE

    How absolutely vital it is for Christians to understand and to experience the prayer of Paul: “The God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him” (Eph. 1.17). It means life or death to our Christian life. There is no way of knowing God and His eternal will except through revelation. Neither is there any means of knowing Christ other than by the revelation of the Holy Spirit. Revelation alone imparts to us spiritual realities.

    In this new volume now available in English, Watchman Nee opens up this subject of the spirit of wisdom and revelation by explaining Paul’s famous prayer which he offered up on behalf of the Ephesian believers. How necessary it is, the author points out, for us to have the spirit of wisdom and revelation if we are to know God at all. He then proceeds to enlighten us as to some of the spiritual realities which must indeed come through revelation, such as Christ the Rock of the church, Christ the great “I Am,” the Christ in glory— together with the four ministers of the New Testament. The author concludes by exhorting the church to work with God in bringing in the kingdom of the heavens.

    As we are approaching the end of this age, we will come to see that those things which are to be shaken shall be removed and only those things which are not to be shaken shall remain. May we therefore seek for things unshakable which come through the spirit of wisdom and revelation.

  • CONTENTS

    1 The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation 7

    2 Christ: the Rock of the Church 33

    3 Christ: the Great “I AM” 51

    4 The Vision of the Glorious Christ 65

    5 Four New Testament Ministers 97

    6 The End of This Age and the Kingdom 121

  • This volume consists of messages delivered by the author over an extended period of anointed ministry of God’s word. Because of the relatedness of their content, they are now being translated and published in English as a single volume.

    Scripture quotations are from the American Standard Version of the Bible

    (1901), unless otherwise indicated.

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    Revelation For this cause I also, having heard of the faith in the

    Lord Jesus which is among you, and the love which ye show toward all the saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God

    of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a

    spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; having the eyes of your heart enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to that working of the strength of his might which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and made him to sit at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come: and he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all. (Eph. 1.15-23)

    A Prayer for Revelation

    As we begin to know God, His purpose ordained in eternity, and His work throughout the ages, we shall increasingly realize how many-sided, lofty, and special are the insights which God reveals to us in Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. We cannot fail to notice this one thing, that in this letter God causes Paul to record the fact that he prays two prayers: the one prayer as mentioned in chapter 1, and the other prayer that is mentioned in chapter 3. The first prayer is foundational whereas the second prayer is for building up. In the first chapter Paul’s prayer is for us to know our relationship with the Lord, while in the third chapter his prayer is for us to know our relationship with the church as well as that with the Lord. We will at present only concentrate on the prayer found in the first chapter of Ephesians.

  • 8 The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation

    Paul begins his prayer with these words: “that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give unto you a spirit of wisdom and revelation.” Why does he long for the Ephesian believers to have the spirit of wisdom and revelation? Quite simply, that they may know the following three things:

    (1) “The knowledge of him” (v.17)—This is knowing God himself.

    (2) “That ye may know what is the hope of his calling, what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints” (v.18)—This points to the eternal plan of God and its fulfillment. The gracious calling of God is a calling of us to be His sons, and these sons shall be His inheritance. The call of God was preordained before the foundation of the world, whereas the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints will be realized in the eternity to come. In eternity past God has a will, and in eternity to come He will have a possession. The putting together of these two facts reveals the eternal purpose and plan of God. So that what Paul wants us to know is God’s eternal plan.

    And (3) “What the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe” (v.19)—This statement shows us what power God will use today to achieve His purpose and to accomplish His plan. Hence it deals especially with our relationship to Him today and also our relationship to His purpose in eternity.

    These things we need to consider and to have revelation about before God. Let us take up each of these three matters more fully.

    Truly Know God

    We have seen that Paul asks God to grant us the spirit of wisdom and revelation that we may know several things. And the very first of these is “the knowledge of him”—that is to say, that we may know

  • The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation 9

    God. How marvelous that we may indeed know the God of the universe!

    When Paul passed through Athens he saw an altar with this inscription: “To An Unknown God” (Acts 17.23). In the minds of the Athenians at that time God was considered as being unknowable— that they could not know Him by the searching of their mind. Even with their many philosophies, they still could not understand Him. The Athenians had their imaginations and theories, but they had no way to know the one true God. Their situation was not any different from that of today with people who may say that there is a God yet who do not really know Him. On the verge of His departure from earth the Lord Jesus boldly declared these words: “This is life eternal, that they should know thee the only true God, and him whom thou didst send, even Jesus Christ” (John 17.3). Jesus shows us what eternal life is: simply put, eternal life is knowing God. Now the saints in Ephesus, as is made quite clear in the Scriptures, had already known God. No one could argue that they did not. They had actually known Him and already were in possession of eternal life. Yet we must note that Paul still prayed a prayer for them in which he asked God to give to them “a spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him.” From all this we may easily conclude that while the Athenians plainly did not know God at all, even so, Christians who have eternal life and who have thus already known God need nonetheless to know Him more.

    When we have believed in the Lord for several years—or even in the case of having just first believed in Him—we cannot say we do not know God, for we do know Him. Yet many times we find ourselves still needing the support of our mind or feeling to help us onward. We have a little knowledge of God, but in addition to such little knowledge we believe we need the help of many ideas; for without these ideas we feel as if our little knowledge of God is undependable and insufficient. With the result that we often require the assistance of these ideas to maintain our Christian life. Without

  • 10 The Spirit of Wisdom and Revelation

    such mental aids we find it hard to convince ourselves of the correctness in reason and doctrine for us to press on. And furthermore, many times we seek for warm, joyful or stirring feelings as additional help to our on-going walk with the Lord.

    The day may come, however, when God gives us the spirit of wisdom and revelation in revealing himself in a fresh, special, and deeper way to us, so that we may declare that we now truly know Him. At that time we will boldly assert: “I now understand and see clearly. I no longer need the help of either ideas or feelings. I now truly know God.”

    Perhaps some of you cannot fully comprehend what has just been said. Let us therefore illustrate this point with one or two examples. Once a Christian testified with the following words: “I have believed the Lord for 22 years. During the first two of those years I tried my best to believe. If I was asked whether I was saved, I was truly saved. None could say I was