What Should We Do in the Face of Famine in the Church Prophesied in the Bible?

What Should We Do in the Face of Famine in the Church Prophesied in the Bible?

By Qiulin A gust of autumn wind blew through, sweeping up the fallen leaves in the yard. Sitting by the window, I frowned and pondered over these verses, “Behold, the days come … that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah” (Amos 8:11), and “And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered” (Amos 4:7). It can be seen from these verses that God will cause famine to befall the religious world when His followers all deviate from His way and no longer obey His words. That is to say, the desolation of the church is ordained by God, but what is God’s intention behind that? And what inspiration can we people of the last days gain? With this in mind, I came before the Lord, prayed and sought to Him. After I consulted the Bible and some spiritual books, the riddle in my heart was finally solved. From the biblical records of what the temple was like at the end of the Age of Law, I gained some enlightenment. At that time the temple had lost God’s leadership, where the chief priests and Pharisees who served God lost the heart that revered God and offered lame and blind livestock as sacrifices to God. Though they had violated the laws and commandments of Jehovah God, they received no discipline or punishment. Besides, they didn’t follow the way of God, and often deceived the common people for the sake of their own interests and even devoured widows’ property. They only focused on talking about the literal doctrines of the Bible and theological theories instead of leading the people to follow the way of God and obey the laws and commandments. As a result, they turned the temple into a “den of thieves.” Just as it is recorded in the Bible, “And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said to them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves” (Matthew 21:12–13). From these verses, we can see that, the temple at that time had turned into a place where livestock and poultry were bought and sold and money was exchanged, no longer a place for worshiping God. When the Lord Jesus came to do new work, He preached the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, asked people to confess their sins and repent, and performed many miracles and wonders, such as allowing the blind to see, the lame to walk, and lepers to be healed. At that time, the Holy Spirit turned to defend His work, which resulted in the gradual desolation of the temple. God’s intention in doing so was for people to see that He had done new work outside the temple and thus to leave the temple to follow the Lord Jesus’ work and gain His redemption. The Pharisees, however, were so arrogant that they didn’t seek and accept the Lord Jesus’ work but held onto their own conceptions and even fabricated all kinds of rumors to resist and condemn Him in order to protect their status and livelihood. They doggedly stayed within the temple bereft of the work of the Holy Spirit and in the end missed the salvation of the Lord Jesus. This reminded me of the present situation of our church. Externally, we often attend meetings where we listen to sermons, read the Bible and sing hymns to praise the Lord, but when we return home, we have no interest in reading the Bible or praying, losing our previous enthusiasm. The faith and love of the brothers and sisters in general are growing cold and weak, and our spirits are withered and dark; we gain no light when reading the Bible and have nothing to say while praying to the Lord; we only treat God’s words as rules to abide by, but don’t understand His will or have any knowledge of Him; we just focus on the superficial good deeds, yet fail to practice God’s words when encountering things. Moreover, many of us are following the trends of the world and coveting worldly enjoyment, unable to extricate ourselves. In the church there appear more and more iniquitous actions like struggling in jealousy, fighting over fame and profit, attacking and excluding each other, and forming small groups; the pastors and elders only talk about biblical knowledge and theological theory, unable to say something fresh and bright to supply our lives. In order to change this situation, they tried many methods such as holding Bible study classes, prayer meetings, and scripture recitation competitions, and arranging for the brothers and sisters to pray for the church by turns, which temporarily excited our enthusiasm, but afterward we were still passive and weak. … Given the present situation of our church—most of the pious Christians are dark and withered in spirit and no longer feel the Lord’s presence—it seems as if we have been abandoned by the Lord. I then recalled when we first believed in the Lord. At that time, the brothers and sisters were full of faith, each burning like fire. Even when we suffered persecution and tribulations, we never became negative or weak, but still persisted in attending meetings and preaching the gospel to bear witness to the Lord’s name—it was totally different from the desolation of the church now. The Bible says, “The church … is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all” (Ephesians 1:23). But obviously our church now is nothing…

Seeking What “the Book” in Revelation Refers to

By Wu Ming Wu Ming has been a sincere Christian for many years. She likes reading the Bible very much, and is especially curious about Revelation, eager to know what those prophecies in it mean. Once when she saw a passage in Revelation, “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals” (Revelation 5:1), she thought, “What does the book here refer to? Does it refer to the Bible? Is the content of the book recorded in the Bible or outside of it?” At that moment, she remembered a passage in Daniel, “But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased” (Daniel 12:4). She thought to herself: It seems that in the last days many people will seek and examine this hidden and sealed book to understand more truths and God’s will. But then she also thought: Since the Bible has already been open to the world, and true believers can understand the truth and God’s will through reading it, why do people still have to seek in the last days? So, this sealed book predicted in Revelation may not be a reference to the Bible! However, during so many years of following the Lord, I’ve found that no matter who preached, in their sermons the book was always considered as the Bible. What explanation is actually right? She dimly felt that the book must refer to something else. Afterward, she came to an experienced old pastor who had been preaching for over thirty years to seek the answer. The pastor said to her thoughtfully, “This book records about the vision John saw on the island of Patmos, and it prophesies what God will accomplish in the last days. It can only be opened by Him who sits upon the throne. By now we still don’t know the content of the book, that means we have to wait.” She thought the pastor’s words made sense and was helpful to her, though he didn’t know more details about the book either. After that, Wu Ming increasingly longed to know the mysteries of the book. She believed that as long as she relied on the Lord and sought constantly, one day she would be able to understand what the book actually refers to. Some days passed and Wu Ming’s cousin came to see her. Her cousin was a preacher who had served the Lord for many years, and over these years, she had worked hard for the Lord and established many churches. Besides, her cousin was also the one that introduced me to the belief in the Lord in the beginning. Seeing her cousin, Wu Ming was only too delighted. In their conversation, she brought up her puzzlement about the book, hoping to get some new knowledge from her cousin. She was told, “In the past, I had always thought that the book referred to the Bible, but after studying the chapters of the Bible carefully and communicating with the shepherds of some churches, I found that the book in Revelation actually referred to something else.” Then her cousin took out the Bible, turned to Revelation 5:1, and read, “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals.” Then she continued to say, “We can see from this prediction that the ‘book’ is in the hand of Him sitting on the throne. When we mention Him who sits on the throne, without doubt, we refer to God Himself, because man doesn’t have the qualification to sit on the throne. It says here the book is in the hand of Him who sits on the throne. To put it another way, the book is mastered by God and contains the hidden truth and mystery. But every one of us believers in the Lord has a Bible in our hands, and can read it freely. Even non-believers can also have access to reading it. So, how can it be said to have been sealed with seven seals? Let’s take a look at Revelation 5:2-4, ‘And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon. And I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon.’ We know that John wrote Revelation around 90 A.D. At that time, the Four Gospels, Acts, and letters to churches had already been finished. If the book refers to the Bible, then why did John cry because no one was worthy to open the book? In fact, Revelation records the vision John saw on the island of Patmos. The prophecies in it are about the things that hadn’t yet been accomplished by the Lord at that time, or we can say, the work God would do later. Just as Revelation says, ‘The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to show to his servants things which must shortly come to pass …’ (Revelation 1:1). ‘… things which must shortly come to pass’ mentioned here means the things which is about to be accomplished soon but hasn’t been fulfilled yet. From this point we are sure that ‘the book’ absolutely doesn’t refer to the Bible, but refers to God’s new work to be done beyond the Bible. We know that Revelation is a book of prophecy about the Lord Jesus’ return, and is all about the things that will take place when the Lord Jesus returns. And ‘the seven vials’ and ‘the seven plagues,’ which are prophesied in it, refer to the great disasters that are going to be sent down by the Lord when He…

What Does “Midnight” in the Lord’s Prophecy Refer To?

By Wu Meng One summer evening, the weather was sweltering. People sat at the benches in the park to enjoy the cool air under the trees. Lisa was strolling in the park alone, she raised her head and looked up at the sky for a while, and then looked down to think, with a face full of worry. Suddenly, she found two people standing in front of her, so she stopped. With her head raising slowly, she saw clearly that it was Leader Mu and Sister Yuan of the church who were greeting her. Lisa immediately got a little flurried and her heart started thumping, because last time she promised Leader Mu to attend the co-worker training meeting, but actually she was too busy with her work to show up. She had been absent from their co-worker meetings recently due to being occupied by other affairs. She was surprised to meet them there that night. In order to conceal her nervousness, Lisa hurried to say, “Oh, it’s so stifling that I came out.” Leader Mu said concernedly, “Thank the Lord! Though we didn’t see you in meetings, yet we meet you here today. It is really the Lord’s preparation. Lisa, have you been very busy with your family life recently? Previously you were the most passionate and active one in our church!” Before Lisa reacted, Sister Yuan said immediately, “Sister, we are supposed to attend meetings more. It is said in the Bible, ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6). Without watching and waiting, don’t you fear that the Lord will desert you when He returns suddenly at midnight to bring us into the kingdom of heaven?” Hearing her words, Lisa was weaker in her heart and thought, “These years, the pastors have often said that the Lord will come at midnight, and let us pray watchfully at every moment, sleep fully dressed at night, and not sleep too soundly. I have been doing according to his words. However, not only have I not welcomed the Lord but I grow ever more distant from Him and my spirit is darker and darker. Sometimes I got up to pray at midnight and then dozed off unknowingly. And when I woke up it was already light. So I’m afraid that if I continue like this, I will be abandoned and eliminated if the Lord returns at midnight.” Lisa sighed and said with a sense of loss, “Actually, I have been obeying the Lord’s teachings these years, getting up to pray watchfully at midnight every night . Nevertheless, now I am hazy about whether doing like this is the Lord’s will or not. If it is His will, why is it that I am getting further and further away from the Lord, with no peace and safety in my heart and spirit and even unable to sense the Lord’s presence in my prayers?” Hearing her words, Leader Mu gave a bitter smile and said, “Before, we all understood the Lord’s prophecy ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ to mean that as long as we kept awake and prayed watchfully at midnight, we would meet the Lord when He came at midnight, but in fact, I found that there is mystery in the prophecy through seeking fellowship with the sisters from other denominations recently.” Lisa found it refreshing to hear that, and she said, “Is there a mystery!” At this moment, Sister Yuan hastily said, “What mystery is there? The Lord Jesus’ words are so clear. He will return at midnight, those who pray watchfully will be raptured, while those who are falling asleep will be deserted. How could this possibly be wrong?” Leader Mu said, “Let’s sit on the bench and talk.” After sitting on the bench, Leader Mu continued, “Thank the Lord! Before, my understanding of this verse was the same as yours. I thought that the ‘midnight’ the Lord Jesus said referred to the depth of night. I followed what I understood, and even more taught the brothers and sisters to obey it. Afterward, I found this seemed not to be after the Lord’s will, but I couldn’t explain properly what the true meaning of this verse is. Worrying about misleading the brothers and sisters, I searched everywhere for spiritual books to read, prayed to the Lord frequently, and pondered what the ‘midnight’ the Lord said there refers to. I didn’t understand that it refers to the darkest and evilest period until a sister communicated with me. Isn’t that the situation now? The whole world being dark and evil, we human beings all stray from God, do not worship God, lose blessings from God, and live completely under Satan’s influence of darkness. Countries go to war against each other, flames of war raging across the land, people fight each other fiercely and kill one another, the entire world is full of fights, bloodiness, and slaughter, all of mankind is living in darkness and pain. Every person cries that society is dark and man’s hearts are wicked. Even the religious circles are no exception: Coworkers attack, judge, and reject each other, turning the lecterns into their combat arenas and making the churches become society and full of jealousy and strife. Additionally, there is no love among preachers and believers, much less forbearance and patience. Attracted by evil trends of the world, many believers in our church tire themselves out chasing after money, fame, fortune, position, and material enjoyments, living helplessly in sin. As 2 Timothy 3:1-4 says, ‘This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.’ Thus it…

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