To paint a picture, there must first be a parchment. Then before you even see the main theme, the artist must create a background or backdrop for the main subject (unless you're as good as Norman Rockwell!). Well, this subject, God knows needs quite a background in this case to be properly understood or the main subject will not be seen. So the Lord took His time creating a backdrop in my life. Please read and consider these events so that the picture can be created to you! Then, maybe God will remove the veils and you will not just understand but see spiritually that which the Lord desires for you to see.
In the book of Acts we read how Peter received a vision concerning a sheet out of heaven filled with unclean fish, birds and beasts and a voice from the heavens saying "rise, Peter, kill and eat." And it was repeated three times. At first Peter spoke concerning this vision but it seems he did not repeat it much thereafter and got weak concerning the truth. As a result we see in Galatians chapters 1 & 2 how Paul had to rebuke Peter publicly concerning the same reality to his face. On the other hand Paul received a vision on the road to Damascus, hearing a voice saying "Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?" The "Me" in that statement was more than the individual Christ. Whom had Paul been persecuting? The "Me" included not only the Head but those connected to Him which were part of Him as the members of His Body. This is something Paul never forgot and he spoke of it often and remained strong as a result of speaking this out. This was why Paul could unflinchingly declare before a king though he was in chains "Whereupon, king Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision" ... Wow! There are actually 3 accounts of Paul sharing this vision publicly! This is why I will all my life continue to open my mouth and say as the 12 first said "we cannot but speak of the things, which we have seen and heard."
It was about five or six years after the visit with my parents to Elden Street the sovereignty of God brought me into contact with these dear saints of God once more. This time "the local church" or "church life" as they call it was brought to me instead of I being brought to it. I was about 17.
I had known Son Rocstroe from his having visited the Foursquare Church where I was attending at the time. They called him a "church hopper" because he went everywhere and they said he'd never settle down. Then one day he came in contact with "the Church in Los Angeles." Now it was the same group I had seen at Elden Street except you have to remember that I lived in San Fernando Valley in the city (?sector of LA??) of Sepulveda and the closest meeting hall as they called it where part of the church met (for Los Angeles even though such a huge city could only have one church and there were 3 meeting halls at that time.) was the next to Sepulveda in a place called Panorama City.
Brother Son was Vietnamese. He had a stump instead of a hand on his right arm and a long scar across his right cheek where a bullet skimmed the right side of his the right side of his head during the Vietnam war. The bullet, barely sparing him from death, instead went on into his hand and exploded it off into oblivion. He was blessed of God's sovereign wisdom and mercy to even be alive!
When Son found the church in Los Angeles he first off became an opposer to it! So zealous for the Lord was he that he preached against this group. I mean let's face it, Witness Lee preached things no one in this country (c'mon let's admit the truth guys! No one IN THIS WORLD!!!) had ever heard of before such as actually preaching on the Seven Spirits of God from Revelation. Hey! I want to go on record and testify that I've experienced the Seven Spirits which are the seven eyes of the Lamb of God, which are the seven lamps before the throne searching and burning within the depths of my heart within in the real church life and its NOT JUST A DOCTRINE! In Son's case, as in the case of many others, he had investigated the group and found that many negative things had been written concerning them. Actually, over 200 pieces of literature had been written defaming Witness Lee and the Christians gathered as a result of his ministry. To some of us smart people it is obvious that the devil is nervous about a group of people when he raises up so much opposition that obviously ridiculous but alas! Others of us don't have a clue as to what's going on and then there are some like Son who eventually figure it out. Me 3! I fit somewhere in there.
Finally one day the wandering stopped! Son met the Lord Jesus in a way he never had before and joined with the brothers in the church in LA for good! He suddenly became as one on fire! Ever since they always called him a burning brother. He had a light no one could ever put out.
Well it was soon after this that Son came to my house. I was still living with my parents and I think I had already entered College (must have been 1975) and of course my dad had told me that I needed to go out during the summer and get a job. Well it wasn't that easy so I did not have one yet. While I was just standing there in my room one day Son walked in and started talking with me.
I had been impressed by the life of "Praying Hyde" ---- John Hyde, a missionary in India at the turn of the previous century, who had literally caused a downpour of revival in that country due to his prevailing prayers. He was called the man who never slept. Son saw I was impressed with a man's individual spirituality but then told me: "You can have all that and more. I have found the answer." Well, I wasn't going to easily believe that but he pointed out that there was a serious amount of spiritual wealth to be had by being in what he called "church-life." When he told me what had happened to him I realized it was the same group I had met at Elden Street. Soon the topic of conversation turned to the matter of employment and as a side item to the whole topic of conversation it just happened that these brothers at the church there were gardeners and needed help! Well! There you go! So as a result I visited a meeting for the second time in my life.
They had what they called "brothers house" where I stayed the night and worked with one of the brothers the next day. It was hard work and over that summer I probably worked with many of them but that's not the main point. I got to see their meetings and how different they were from the Pentecostal meetings I was used to. I was in a Foursquare church during that time and was going to L.I.F.E. Bible College to study for "the ministry" so to me these meetings were as strange to me as my kind of Foursquare meetings would have been to a Baptist. (See the previous chapter for a description of local church meetings) After the meeting that night at the brothers house I was very impressed by one thing: their love for the Lord Jesus. They sang and sang at the house after the meeting and for awhile the sisters came over to the brothers' house for singing and I was especially impressed that they would sing using words from the Song of Songs. The songs were so rich in content that I believe they were beyond what I even understood at that time.
Some of this was due to the Bible insight that Brother Witness Lee had which was so deep wide and high and solidly based on real experiences with the Lord Himself. There exists a fact on this earth that no one wants to admit but many brothers in Christ on this earth have been and still are envious of brother Witness (and have lots of different ways of manifesting that envy!!) because his revelation of the Jesus Christ and the Word of God which he had. I won't need to comment much about this. If you read and understand the rest of this book you will see plainly what I mean. He was gifted with rare insight to say the least. And God used it to finally start actually building His Body once again on this earth.
I liked their deep spirituality but did not know why they did not speak in tongues (at least where I could hear it) and lay hands on people to heal them, etc.) but their love for the Lord impressed me and their grasp of the Bible was beyond what I was learning in Bible School in many ways, but it was their way of meeting as loud as it was and with so many "amens!" and such that was so different to me that it disturbed me and I thought it strange so while I was by myself in one of the rooms at the brothers house that night before going to sleep and before any of them had come in I asked the Lord: "Lord, their way of meeting, what is this? I don't like it. What do You think?" and to my surprise He said: "I like it!" and that was all! But what did I do? I still continued on in the Foursquare denomination and after that? Well, the story gets worse for awhile.