By Fan Si
Editor’s Notes: Most Christians maintain that, as pastors and elders have believed in the Lord for many years and have worked very hard for Him, the Lord will first give revelation to them when He returns, and that as long as they follow pastors and elders, they will be able to welcome the Lord. Christian Su Xing, however, recalled that in Revelation 3:20 the Lord taught us to listen for His voice, and that only those who hear His voice and recognize Him are able to meet with Him. So how exactly should we welcome the Lord?
One day, Su Xing was studying the Bible with Sister Zhao, Co-worker Liu and some others. Near the end of the meeting, Su Xing asked Co-worker Liu, “Brother Liu, we are now in the last days, and the prophecies about the Lord’s return have basically all been fulfilled. Will we be able to know it when the Lord returns? Could it be possible that we will fail to welcome the Lord? Please fellowship with us!” Co-worker Liu said firmly, “Sister Su, there is no need to worry about these things. The pastors and elders have believed in the Lord for many years, they are well-versed in the Bible and understand it, and they have suffered a lot for the Lord, so when the Lord comes back, He will definitely give revelation to them first. As long as we follow the pastors and elders in believing in the Lord and do not depart from the Lord’s way, we will surely receive the Lord’s return then.” Having said this, Co-worker Liu looked at Su Xing, who furrowed her brow. Apparently, she was still perplexed, yet she didn’t say anything, and the other co-workers all nodded their heads.
As she was walking home, Su Xing thought: “Thetaught us: ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me’ (Revelation 3:20). These words said by the Lord are aimed at each of us who follow Him, in which the Lord told us that He will knock at the door of each and every of us when He returns. He didn’t say that He will only knock at the pastors’ and elders’ door or give revelation only to them. Here, the Lord taught us that we should carefully listen to His voice, and that those who welcome Him after hearing His voice are able to meet with Him. I feel this is the only way for us to welcome the Lord. However, the brothers and sisters all believe that, because the pastors and elders have believed in God for many years, know the Bible well, and have suffered and worked the most of all, the Lord will surely give them revelation first when He comes. They think as long as they follow the pastors and elders, they will be able to welcome the Lord. This viewpoint seems reasonable too. O Lord! What should I do? …”
A few days later, Su Xing paid a visit to Zhao Tingting’s house. They had just sat down and chatted for a little while when Zhang Yong, Tingting’s husband, came back from a trip to hear sermons. Upon seeing Zhang Yong, Su Xing immediately greeted him, and he nodded in response as he walked to them. “Brother Zhang, I’m so glad you came back,” Su Xing said anxiously. “There is one thing I don’t understand. Can you share fellowship with me?”
“Of course,” said Zhang Yong. “Tell me about it.” Su Xing then spoke to him about what had been perplexing her over the past few days.
Putting down his bag, Zhang Yong sat down and said, “This is a really important question which relates to the important matter of whether or not we are able to welcome the Lord’s coming. In fact, I also used to think that the Lord will first give revelation to those who have served Him for many years. But on this last trip I gained some new understanding of this issue through a fellowship with an old preacher.”
“Really?” Su Xing said surprisingly. “Then we must have a good fellowship today.”
Zhao Tingting said, “Yes. We’ve really yet to understand this issue. Tell us about it!”
Zhang Yong continued: “As we see it, pastors and elders have believed in the Lord for a long time, they are familiar with the Bible and have suffered a lot in preaching, so when the Lord returns, He will first give revelation to people like them. We believe that as long as we follow the pastors and elders in believing in the Lord, we will definitely be able to welcome the Lord. But this, in fact, is all just our notions and imaginings and doesn’t accord with the Lord’s will. Let’s think back to the end of the Age of Law when the Lord Jesus appeared and worked. Those priests, scribes and Pharisees were proficient in the Bible and had high status and prestige; they served God in the temple every day, and even traveled to the far corners of the earth to preach. According to our thoughts, the Lord would surely let them know first when He came, because they were the most qualified to know it first. But did the Lord Jesus show revelations to them?”
“No, He didn’t,” said Su Xing.
“That’s right,” Zhang Yong continued. “At that time the Lord Jesus didn’t give revelation to those priests, scribes and Pharisees who were proficient in the laws and who served in the temple all year round. In fact, when the Messiah—the Lord Jesus arrived, they absolutely had no idea about it. Even when some people bore witness to them that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah and they themselves had heard the truth expressed by the Lord and seen the miracles He performed, they still failed to recognize that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah and refused to accept His words and work without any intention of seeking or investigating. So tell me, will the Lord give revelation to someone just because he or she knows the Bible well and is able to work hard and expend for Him?”
Su Xing looked at Zhang Yong and said, “No, He won’t. The Pharisees’ story clearly demonstrates that the Lord does not necessarily give revelation to those who have served Him for many years.”
Zhao Tingting got up and poured Zhang Yong a cup of water, saying, “Yeah, I think so too.”
Zhang Yong nodded his head and continued, “Let’s then recall the disciples who followed the Lord Jesus. Which among them followed the Lord because they had been given revelation? Not one of them. Although Peter gained the enlightenment of God and knew the Lord Jesus to beand to be the Son of God, that only happened after he had followed the Lord Jesus for a time and had seen that the Lord’s words contained the truth and that His authority to perform miracles came from God. Only then did he receive a revelation from the Holy Spirit and recognize the Lord Jesus’ true identity. As it says in the Bible, ‘He [the Lord Jesus] said to them, But whom say you that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. And Jesus answered and said to him, Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but My Father which is in heaven’ (Matthew 16:15–17).
“The Lord Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’ (John 10:27). And it is prophesied many times in the Book of Revelation, ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (See Revelation 2–3). God never says that only after people have received revelation from God in the last days can they believe in and follow Him. Instead, He has always had people follow Him by speaking His words. Therefore, in the last days, we shouldn’t welcome the Lord based on whether or not we have received a revelation from God, but should welcome Him by actively listening to God’s utterances to see whether it is the return of the Lord.”
Su Xing said, “You are right. Back then those disciples who followed the Lord didn’t believe in Him because they had received a revelation. Instead, they were only able to recognize that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah after hearing God’s voice in His words. I just remembered, out of us believers in the Lord, not one was enlightened by God prior to believing in Jesus. It was after we had heard the gospel of the Lord, seen from His words and work that He loved and had mercy on us, and enjoyed abundant grace He bestowed upon us that we became certain that the Lord is our God and have followed Him to this day. So, if we want to welcome the Lord in the last days, we must focus on listening to God’s voice!”
Zhang Yong said, “This is indeed the case. It’s really great that you can come to this understanding. At that time, the disciples who followed the Lord Jesus such as Peter, John, and Philip, didn’t follow the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees in their, nor did they welcome the Lord because the religious leaders had received revelation from God. Instead, it was when they heard the Lord Jesus’ call that they gave up everything and followed Him. Those chief priests, scribes and Pharisees, however, were stubborn, arrogant and flaunted their seniority. They held onto their own notions and imaginings and had no desire to seek the truth whatsoever; they did all that they could to resist, condemn and blaspheme the Lord Jesus, and even allied with the Roman government to crucify Him. People who treat God’s new work in this way are not only unable to receive the Lord’s revelations, but they will also be punished by God for their numerous evil acts. However, those Jewish people who followed the Pharisees couldn’t see through these things, and they didn’t know which people God likes and which He will save. In their views, the Pharisees had believed in God for a long time, knew the Bible very well, appeared very pious, and had suffered to spread the gospel, so they would receive revelation from God, and as long as they followed the Pharisees, they would be able to welcome the Messiah. In the end, however, not only did they not welcome the Messiah, but they even followed the Pharisees in doing evil and resisting God, ending up losing for eternity. These facts show us that in the matter of welcoming the Lord, we mustn’t just sit around waiting for the Lord’s revelation according to our notions, much less should we welcome the Lord only after the pastors and elders have received revelation, for then we will be apt to miss our chance to receive the coming of the Lord.
“The Lord Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’ (John 10:27). ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me’ (Revelation 3:20). From the Lord Jesus’ words we can see that, when the Lord comes in the last days, He will speak more words among men. God determines whether people are of God based upon whether they can recognize God’s voice—this is God’s fairness and righteousness. It’s not that those who toil and work for the Lord and who know the Bible well are qualified to receive God’s revelations, whereas ordinary believers do not have the opportunity to hear God’s voice, know God and follow God’s footsteps. On the contrary, all those who are able to recognize God’s voice and follow Him, be they people who serve God or just ordinary followers, are the blessed ones who are able to welcome the Lord. So, in studying the true way, receiving God’s revelation is not important. The key is whether we can know God from His words and work. Those who truly believe in God and thirst for God’s appearance are capable of understanding the truth and knowing God from God’s utterances, thus following the footsteps of God. If someone just waits to receive God’s revelation but doesn’t pay attention to hearing God’s voice or seek and investigate God’s work in the last days, it’s hard to say whether this person is God’s sheep. Therefore, those who are able to recognize God’s words in the last days as the truth and who accept and follow the appearance of the Lord are the wise virgins, whereas those who wait passively for God’s revelation but do not study the words the Holy Spirit speaks to all churches are the foolish virgins, and it’s very likely that they will be abandoned and eliminated by God and won’t be able to welcome the Lord. So, the key to welcoming the Lord’s return is being able to hear God’s voice rather than foolishly waiting for the revelation of God.”
Su Xing said, “Your fellowship is so right. In the matter of welcoming the Lord’s return in the last days, we mustn’t wait for God’s revelations, but should place importance on hearing theto determine whether or not it is the Lord’s return. Therefore, as long as we hear someone preach that the Lord has returned and is expressing words, it very probably is the Lord knocking at our door, and we should then go seek and investigate it. If it is not the return of the Lord, then we shouldn’t follow it. But if it is the appearance and work of the Lord, then it truly is an enormous and joyous occasion and we must immediately follow it. What do you think?”
Zhang Yong nodded and said, “Thanks be to the Lord. It’s certainly just as you say. In welcoming the Lord’s return, we should let go of the idea of ‘waiting for the pastors to receive revelation,’ be the wise virgins, open-mindedly seeks God’s appearance with a heart which thirsts for the truth, and pay close attention to listening to God’s voice. Only then can we obtain the Lord’sin the last days.”
Zhao Tingting smiled as she said, “It really is thanks to the Lord! Today not only have our notions been resolved, but we also came to know how to welcome the Lord’s return. Thanks be to the Lord!”
The sounds of praising the Lord floated from inside the room …
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