II. As the Loving High Priest
Christ is portrayed in Revelation 1:13 as wearing a long garment reaching to His feet. Here, Witness Lee gives the biblical significance of the word garment in the Bible as well as the interpretation of Christs priestly garment reaching all the way to the feet.
This book [Revelation] continues to tell us what kind of a Christ He is. He is a Christ who is so perfect: He is wearing a long garment down to His feet. Nothing is short or lacking; nothing is needed. He is perfect. The garment in the Bible always signifies what a person is and what he does. Christ wears a perfect garment, and we know that this is the perfect robe of the High Priest [Exo. 28:4, 31-35; Heb. 3:1; 4:15; 5:5-10; 8:1]. He is walking in the midst of the local churches as the High Priest. He brings the local churches into the priesthood. He is walking in our midst not as a general in the army, nor as a king, but as the High Priest in a perfect robe. (58)
Witness Lee also clarifies the sweet significance of Christs girding Himself about the breast:
It is indeed interesting to notice that as the High Priest, Christ does not gird His loins, but His breast. This means that His work has been accomplished. His work is past, but His concern and His love still remain. The girdle is not now upon His loins but upon His breast. His work is over, but His loving concern still abides for the local churches. His concern is a concern of lovethis is why He girds His breast. He has finished His work, but He is so concerned in love for all the local churches. (58-59)
Although in Revelation 1:14 Christ is depicted as having white hair, symbolizing His ancientness, according to Revelation 1:18 He declares that He is the living One. Witness Lee applies this principle to Christs Body as well: the older a local church is, the more living it should become.
This book also tells us that Christ is the ancient One, for His hair is exceedingly white. White hair, humanly speaking, always signifies oldness, but here it signifies that Christ is the ancient One. No one is as ancient as He. But this does not mean that He is old. He is ancient, yet He is so living. I am the living one (Rev. 1:18).
The older we are, the more living we must be. We, the older ones, must be more living. Christ is the most ancient One, yet He is the most living One. He is living for evermore. He is ancient and He is living.
I have known some local churches who were very living when they first began to meet, but after two or three years they became old. This is wrong. The older a church is, the more living it must be. The church must be as Christ, the Head. He is the oldest, the most ancient, yet He is the most living. I hope that as the church in Los Angeles grows older, it will also become more and more living.
The local churches should not be dead. This is why the Lord Jesus spoke in the way He did to the church in Sardis. He told them that He was the one who has the seven Spirits; therefore, they should not be so dead. There was nothing wrong with the church in Sardis, except that she was dead. She had a name that she was living, but in fact she was dead. This is wrong. In Sardis was a dead, local church; yet Christ is so living. This means that she had lost her contact with the living Christ. (59)
In this passage Witness Lee highlights the significance of Christs role as the loving High Priest and as the ancient yet living One. Christ as the loving High Priest is girded about the breast signifying His loving concern for the local churches. And as the ancient and living One, Christ is the pattern for all His believers in the local churches, that they would be as living as He is.
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