In view of Rev. 2: 5 must we conclude that if an assembly ceases to exist it must be due to unfaithfulness in some direction or another, or are there other causes not involving any blame?
It does not necessarily imply that, because an assembly ceases to exist in any place, the lampstand has been judicially removed by the Lord. I suppose that North Africa is a sphere which is a solemn demonstration of the fact of judicial removal of lampstands and a place being left in darkness save for a few sundry luminaries (Phil. 2: 15) shining here and there. But there may be other causes. Old age should never be the cause, for the Lord will add young converts to an assembly which properly functions. The tendency for the population to move toward the periphery of a town, however, leaving the centre for commercial use, is often a responsible factor. There is no point of shining round empty factories and warehouses. Again, through local conditions and the judicial blinding of Gospel-rejecting people there may be very rare, if any, additions to the assembly resulting in its cessation with the passing away of the few remaining saints. No doubt all of us should beware, seeing that the surest cause of removal is the so-easy way of leaving one’s first love to the Lord.
Editors’ Note. – In many cases where believers have prayerfully continued to tend a dwindling light the Lord has honoured their faith by granting a reviving.