Who Was Watchman Nee? of the Little Flock
Short Biographical Sketch of Watchman Nee
Watchman Nee (born Nov. 4, 1903) has done the most accurate, comprehensive work to date on partial rapture in 1) King and the Kingdom of Heaven, 2) "Come, Lord Jesus", and 3) Aids to Revelation. He is the only Christian that I know of that had a real photographic memory, literally able to recall any verse. Nee was a gift to the church, having such gifts for service. He was considered a genius (extreme IQ close to 200), read over 3000 Christian books, was known for his deep understanding of church history and wrote the equivalent of about 70 books, though, he only ever published two books that I am aware of. The other published books were the love of the truth in Christians who preserved what he wrote in magazines, private writings and spoken transcripts. He never evangelized. I find that amazing.
You might wonder, "Why so much Watchman Nee on your site?" It is because what Nee is saying matches my conscience moved by Holy Spirit intuitively that concurs with the Word. Consistently, I seek for an answer on a particular question I have in my heart, reading book after book, article after article, and pray upon the answer in the Scriptures, or even ask someone, and yet I come short all too often just as these other sources do. This has been my experience. Then I find out what Watchman Nee said about the matter, and like a miracle, the answer I had been seeking is revealed in his explanation (Kaung's, Kinnear's, Sure Foundation, and Smith's translations only). I am left with nothing but peace in that answer, for I know at that point I have reached the truth, exactly what the Word was trying to tell me; then, the Word becomes even clearer and easier to read. It is an unmatchable experience. The impression that I have of Nee is that he intentionally does not get into a long diatribe of thought and analysis puffing up the mind fruitlessly, but seeks explanation that is spiritual, exacting, and useful. Some may like to analyze and analyze for the mind's sake, but Nee seems to consider the spirit first so as to have a renewed mind also.
I believe W. Nee had the highest IQ of any Christian that ever lived (there is no other that I know of who was higher, accurate and truer in the Word who was mere man; do you know any other?) and definitely the deepest working of the Holy Spirit according to his writings. I come to this conclusion by way of reading what he writes and comparing his thoughts to the efficacy of other writers for our spirit. Why should this efficacy not also be true for others in the Word? There is really no comparison. It is by way of comparison that this conclusion is derived and effectiveness in the truth reached, conveying in a way that is so well pleasing to the Lord. Having such a mind receiving the mind of Christ is the quality of a really good teacher. Though I have read many others, I find mistakes all too easily in their thoughts.
When reading Nee our spirit is released for it is a deep working of the Holy Spirit in words. I have read C.S. Lewis but it is just mental analysis, and it is the same with most others. This may be stimulating to the mind, but it does not help our spirit. What the spirit receives is then communicated to and is understood in the mind to be remembered. I have considered the possibility I am just the type of person that is so attracted to such writings. I do not believe this is the real reason. Why should we settle for and waste time reading that which is less effective? The Bible is perfect so let us read the Bible! If someone writes the best writings on a subject, let us read those writings too! Why should we read that which is not as effective when we can read that which is more effective?
The last 20 years of his life Nee was martyred through imprisonment which is even worse than death. Nee could have accomplished a great many things in the world. His ability could have been used to amass great wealth, but he chose selflessness even allowing himself to go into poverty for the sake of the kingdom of God. All of this in addition to his ongoing sickness brought him close to death several times. His love for Christ was immense as you can really sense this in his writings and was more accurate with the Scriptures than anyone I know, like a precision expert. He seems to be able to find and fit the Scriptures together in the best way possible better than any other writer, and explain in ways that touches the very depth of our spirit. I recommend reading The Spiritual Man (only book he published of size) first (white cover only), deeply and completely before embarking on his other writings so that you have a real working of the dividing of your spirit, soul and body (Heb. 4.12, 1 Thess. 5.23) in your walk-the starting point and foundation in the Word after new birth. Don't wait 10 years. Begin now.
Some have the impression the writings of Nee come from other people taking notes, but this is not the case at all, for as we read in Against the Tide by Angus Kinnear, "Watchman Nee personally wrote and published only one book [not books], but he left an almost complete record of his sermons, lectures, and conference addresses which were published in the several magazines he edited." [p. ix, Foreward, by Leslie T. Lyall].
In the preface to the Spiritual Man, Nee wrote, "I deeply sense only one class of people will understand this book....obviously only those who find a need will be able to appreciate this book. Others will look upon this book as inappropriate and idealize them or criticize them. The deeper the truth the easier it is to become theoretical...I have not written with the thoughts of courting men's approval. This opposition I consider of no account. These teachings of these pages reveal the experiences of my weaknesses." Why do you think Nee's writings are so effective? He was very conscientious.
John Wesley one of the most famous Christians (Arminian Methodist) that ever lived had a massive following of 150,000 during his days and ministered twice as many years as Watchman Nee (OSAS Arminian), yet Nee's following reached double the size in half the ministry time (i.e. before his imprisonment).
A word of caution! Others have come along and tried to build on what Nee wrote for their own purposes, having done so falsely, legalistically, and actually changed his words and meaning, by publishing books to that end said to be from Nee. They are not. It is recommended that you only buy the books that have the white covers, and then you won't run the risk of reading any faulty imitations and outright alterations that are of no benefit to anyone. We may trust Stephen Kaung (CFP) for his sincere, truthful, and accurate translation, and to a lesser extent, Angus Kinnear (CLC).
The outline below is given pertaining to a small section of King and the Kingdom of Heaven entitled Rapture for the benefit of knowing God's way for the consummation of this age. As you scan Christian writers throughout the centuries, you will find none more accurate than was Watchman Nee. First, they must be partial rapture believers, but then they must also be able to explain partial rapture as precisely as does Nee. This is what sets Nee apart in addition to his teaching abiding in the 5 points of osas arminian, our being tripartite, gap restoration and Biblical locality.
Pre-Tribulation Rapture-the first school-is way too over assuming. It must be tempered with the Post-Tribulation Rapture view in order to reflect God's full working in the Day of the Lord, not only as an encouragement and warning to the last generation, but for everyone from all generations. God reveals His deeper purpose in this full working. Therefore, let us receive the blessing of His holy motivation within our spirit, that comes with knowing the true sequence of end-time events. Knowing the sequence of events will constantly draw us closer to God to be prayerful, ready, watchful and keep the word of His patience. If we are truly ready to be received to the throne, we may have the realistic and continuous hope of being kept from the Hour of trial (the time of testing), that Hour which is to come upon the whole world (Rev. 3.10, Luke 21.36).
We may be accounted worthy not only to escape these things which are to come upon the whole world, but also to receive the reward of reigning with Christ with an "iron rod" for a thousand years (the millennial kingdom) if we, through the redemptive design, overcome sin, natural (self), and supernatural to be able to abide in the works God has set for us so we can no longer be hurt by the second death. Christ will use at least a thousand years as promised to achieve His aim for the New City) but He needs not more. The millennial reigning is for those designated as the first resurrection (Rev. 20.4-7) who return with Christ-the holy myriads (Jude 14,15). It is also called the time of recompense to reward the overcomer believers.
Concurrently during the millennium, non-overcoming Christians will be chastened, disciplined, and schooled to be made ready for the New City. If we though saved do not overcome while in the body, God will have us overcome through “outer darkness” which is outside the light of the reward of reigning during the millennium. Outer is in relation to the air and darkness is also the condition of the world at Christ's return. We receive substitutory death from Christ and experimentally, co-death ("identification") with him: (1) bearing our cross in daily experience (power over sin), and (2) daily taking up our cross (forsaking legitimate rights to the world). Out of death, we receive life: (1) alive with Christ, (2) Christ lives in me, and (3) live for Christ. This is victorious life! Baptism is burial and resurrection with or without water. What is not contained and cannot be held down by death is raised up in resurrection life.
God will show His loving-kindness unto a thousand generations (Ex. 20.6 mg.) which leaves at least 700 more generations in the New City after the OT age, church age, Great Tribulation, millennium and the last rebellion. Very few people see this aspect of Scripture, so I briefly mention it here because Nee holds this same view (see Revelation 21 notes in "Come, Lord Jesus").
Revelation is the only book of the Bible that opens with a provision of the direct blessing in verse 3: "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time [is] at hand". If not all Christians do this, let us not be as the majority for there is something very special to this blessing.