In 1989, I believed in the Lordwith my wife. At that time, I was in my 30s and willingly spent and sacrificed for the Lord. Our pastor and elder thought I was a promising young man, so they thought highly of me. Before long, I became a good preacher and often preached the with the pastor here and there, contacting many church leaders.
As I worked with the pastor, I often heard him say, “When the Lord comes back He will give revelations to those who work hard for Him and personally reveal to pastors and elders, for they are very familiar with theand always work hard for Him.” These words were deeply rooted in my heart and I thought: If one wants to welcome the Lord’s return and receive His revelations, he must be a person who works hard for Him. Only such people can be approved by the Lord and gain His revelations. For this, I worked more diligently, spending and sacrificing for the Lord, and often did charity, donate. I preached the Lord’s gospel everywhere, and built more than ten churches in less than one year. Seeing the fruit of my hard work, I felt very flattered inside, thinking: When the Lord returns, He will surely give me a revelation …
One day, on my way home after a meeting, my co-worker Brother Zhang asked me, “Brother Wang, we have been waiting for the Lord’s return for these years. Now all the prophecies of the Lord’s return have basically been fulfilled. Why hasn’t the Lord come to receive us?” Hearing these words, I said confusedly, “Indeed, we watch and, wait for the Lord’s revelations every day, deeply fearing to miss the opportunity to by the Lord. Yet so many years have passed, we still haven’t received the Lord’s revelations. I really don’t know when the Lord will come back and receive us.” At this time, Brother Zhang said to me seriously, “Brother Wang, all these years we have been waiting for the Lord’s revelations and considering that when the Lord returns He will surely give revelations to us. The Lord is faithful. Since He has promised that He will come back, He will not delay. Now the prophecies of the Lord’s return have been already fulfilled. So, have you ever thought that the Lord may have returned but does not give revelations to us as we have imagined?” “It’s impossible.” Upon hearing his words I interrupted him immediately, “All these years I fast, watch, and pray without any interruption. It’s impossible that the Lord won’t give a revelation to me when He comes back.”
Brother Zhang said to me sincerely, “Please calm down and listen to me, Brother Wang. The Lord’s return is a great matter; we must take it seriously. Let’s think carefully; pastors and elders tell us to wait for the Lord’s revelations, but the Lord didn’t say He would give us revelations when He came back. The Lord, ‘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). ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Revelation 2:7). These verses tell us that the Lord will speak words when He appears in , and also tell us to pay attention to listening to His voice rather than receiving revelations. If the Lord would give revelations to man, then why did He say that His sheep hear His voice? Isn’t this a contradiction? Think again. When God comes, do you really think He’ll definitely give revelations to all those who have done extensive reading of the Bible and worked hard for Him? At that time, when the came, He didn’t show revelations to the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees who were constant readers of the Bible and had served God their whole lives. In our conceptions, those people served God for many years, worked hard for Him, and were familiar with the Bible, so they were best qualified to receive God’s revelations. However, God didn’t give any revelations to them. On the contrary, the Lord Jesus chose those who longed for and sought the truth, such as Peter, John, Matthew, Philip, and so on. Did any one of them receive the Lord’s revelations first before they followed the Lord Jesus? No one. The fact was that all of them heard the voice of the Lord and recognized from the Lord’s words and work that He was the Messiah who had been prophesied to come and thus followed Him. From this we can see that only those who humbly seek and long for the truth can receive God’s enlightenment and see His appearance, or else man will easily become an opponent of God. Through all the ages, the believers in God are as many as the stars in the sky, but those who can receive God’s direct revelations are few in number. When the Lord Jesus was born, God just revealed to the Magi, the shepherds and Simeon, but most followers of the Lord didn’t receive God’s revelations. The Lord Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is . … Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. … Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God’ (Matthew 5:3, 6, 8). As believers in the Lord, we should be as the Lord Jesus asked, listening for God’s voice. Brother Wang, in the matter of welcoming the Lord’s return, we must seek and investigate carefully; only in this way can we hear the Lord’s voice and see His appearance. If we just blindly wait for the revelations from the Lord, but do not seek and investigate actively, then we will really become foolish virgins abandoned by Him. …”
That night, I lay awake tossing and turning, and thought to myself: What Brother Zhang said sounds reasonable. Among us believers, some came to believe in the Lord because of illness, some believe because of family misfortunes, some because of marriage setbacks, some others didn’t wholly believe until they received some grace and peace, and so on. None of us began to believe in the Lord after receiving a revelation. We accepted the Lord Jesus’because of others’ fellowship and testimony, and the accounts of the Bible. In the past, those Pharisees heard the Lord Jesus’ words and saw His deeds, but instead of seeking and investigating, they tried to find all kinds of accusations against the Lord Jesus and condemned Him, and moreover, they instigated people to resist Him. In the end, they joined forces with the Roman government to nail Him to the cross. Clearly, knowing the scriptures doesn’t represent being qualified to receive the Lord’s revelations, much less represent knowing the Lord. Jehovah God said, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways…. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9). God’s wisdom is unfathomable to man. Yet I delineated that the Lord will give revelations to pastors and elders first when He returns; isn’t this too arrogant, too self-righteous, and too unreasonable? Thus, it’s too prone for me to resist God. If I keep waiting for the Lord’s revelations and don’t believe until I see Him, then things would be like what the Lord Jesus said to Thomas, “because you have seen me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:29). If so, won’t I become the same as Thomas? Aren’t such people in trouble? The more I thought about it, the more scared I was, and I thought I must make it clear. The Lord’s return is a great matter. If I miss the opportunity to be raptured by the Lord, wouldn’t my believing have been in vain? Brother Zhang’s words were full of the enlightenment from the , I must go to seek more from him …
Early next morning I hurriedly went to ask Brother Zhang, “Brother Zhang, I thought about what you said yesterday for a whole night. I feel your fellowship was very reasonable. In regard to the Lord’s return, I should have a seeking heart, but not hold my own imaginations and notions. So I want to seek fellowship with you about how to welcome the Lord’s return.”
Brother Zhang lit up and said, “Thank God! Brother Wang, as long as we have a humble and seeking heart, the Lord will give mercy to and enlighten us. Just as the Lord said, ‘And I say to you, Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you. For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened’ (Luke 11:9–10). To be honest with you, recently I got a book, some content in which says about how to treat the Lord’s return. Those words benefit and edify me very much as if opening a window in my heart. How about I read some passages of words to you?”
“OK! It’s too good to have such a book. I also want to read it carefully.” I said happily.
He quickly opened the book and read: “The greatest book of prophecy of Isaiah in the Old Testament never mentioned that a child namedwould be born in the age of the New Testament, merely that a male infant would be born by the name of Emmanuel. Why did he not specify the name Jesus? Nowhere in the Old Testament does this name appear, so why then do you still believe in Jesus? Surely you did not see Jesus with your own eyes before you came to believe in Him? Or did you begin to believe upon receiving a revelation? Would God really show you such grace? And bestow upon you such a great blessing? On what basis did you believe in Jesus? … Must God tell man prior to commencing His work? Must He first receive the approval of man? Isaiah only proclaimed that a male infant would be born in a manger but never prophesied that Mary would give birth to Jesus. Why then did you believe in Jesus whom Mary gave birth to? Surely your belief is not one of uncertainty and confusion!” (“How Can Man Who Has Defined God in His Conceptions Receive the Revelations of God?”).
“The appearance of God cannot be reconciled with the conceptions of man, much less can God appear at the behest of man. God makes His own choices and has His own plans when He does His work; moreover, He has His own objectives, and His own methods. It is not necessary for Him to discuss the work He does with man or to seek the advice of man, much less notify each and every person of His work. This is the disposition of God and, moreover, should be recognized by everyone. If you desire to witness the appearance of God, if you wish to follow the footprints of God, then you must first transcend your own conceptions. You must not demand that God do this or that, much less should you place Him within your own confines and limit Him to your own conceptions. Instead, you should ask how you should seek the footprints of God, how you should accept the appearance of God, and how you should submit to the new work of God; that is what should be done by man” (“The Appearance of God Has Brought a New Age”).
Hearing these words, I was shocked very much and felt that the words of this book were very practical, with authority and power. I thought: I have read so many spiritual books these years, but never found that anyone can say such words. These words are indeed worth thinking deeply about. Think back to how I came to believe in the Lord: At the beginning, after my wife testified to me that theis the Savior, I read many records of His work from the and personally received some grace and blessings from the Lord; at last I truly believed that the Lord Jesus is God. I neither saw Him nor received any revelations. Yet, today, in regard to the Lord’s return, why do I have to receive a revelation first and then willingly welcome the Lord’s return? Am I not too foolish? God is the . It’s not necessary for Him to give revelations to man about His work in advance, nor could He possibly perform His work according to man’s imaginations and notions. I thought that the Lord would give revelations to those religious leaders, pastors and elders when He returned; wasn’t this defining God’s work? I thought about the Pharisees in the Age of Law. They believed that the Messiah must be born in the imperial palace and called Messiah. But God didn’t perform His work according to their imaginations and notions; the Lord was born in the family of carpenter Joseph and called Jesus. Because God’s work was not in line with their conceptions and imaginations, the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees collaborated with the Roman government to crucify the Lord Jesus, committing a heinous crime, becoming main culprits of resisting God and being cursed by God. If I define the Lord’s return relying on my imaginations and notions, and blindly wait for the Lord to give revelations to me, am I not repeating the tragedy of the Pharisees? Thus, even though I have followed the Lord for many years and suffered much, am I not still the person who resists and condemns God? At that time, I couldn’t help but think of the words of the Lord, “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into ; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21–23). I finally knew the true meaning of these words.
Then Brother Zhang fellowshiped, “As created beings, we should not ask God to give us revelations, but should obey His work; this is the sense we should possess. When it comes to the Lord’s return, wise people actively seek and investigate; instead, those who blindly wait for God’s revelations will ruin the opportunity toby the Lord and lose His salvation in . If we persist in waiting for revelations, isn’t this being too foolish? In these days, through reading this book I have a deep feeling, that is, God is righteous. Before God, all men are equal: He does not discriminate based upon status and seniority. As long as one longs for and seeks the truth, God enlightens him. In the past we often heard pastors and elders say that the Lord will give them revelations first when He comes back because they were most qualified to receive God’s revelations, and that if they didn’t receive revelations, it proved that the Lord didn’t come back. Now I finally understand that these are pure fallacies. God enlightens man through his practical seeking and investigation, allowing man to hear His voice and understand His words, so that man will return to Him. However, these pastors and elders think that they have done meritorious work and are familiar with the Bible to be qualified to gain God’s enlightenment; isn’t this too arrogant and conceited? The Lord , ‘For whoever exalts himself shall be abased; and he that humbles himself shall be exalted’ (Luke 14:11). God is pleased with one who seeks with a humble heart. Such people can receive His enlightenment and leadership while seeking. Just like Peter, when he heard about the Lord Jesus’ preaching and work, he sought with a humble and yearning heart, and eventually he followed the Lord Jesus and gained His salvation. In regard to welcoming the Lord’s return, the Lord Jesus once told us to be . He said, ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6). That is to say, when we hear someone witnesses that the Lord has returned, we should actively go to seek and investigate. Only in this way can we welcome the Lord’s return. This fulfills the words of the Revelation 3:20: ‘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.’ Brother Wang, do you think so?”
Brother Zhang’s words made my heart clear and also made me feel ashamed. I recalled that these years I kept the words of the pastors and elders, blindly waiting for the Lord’s revelations. I was clear that the prophecies of the Lord’s return have already been fulfilled and that the church has been desolate, without the work of the; I didn’t have a humble heart to search for the Holy Spirit’s work, but still clung to my own notions and stayed in my denomination waiting for the Lord’s revelations. Am I not a foolish virgin? Thinking of this, I said to Brother Zhang, “Thank the Lord for His mercy. Now I have understood my wrong view on waiting for the return of the Lord. Brother Zhang, what you have fellowshiped fits with the truth. From now on, I’m no longer wanting to wait for the Lord’s revelations according to my own notions, but rather I should be a wise virgin, actively seeking and investigating the news of the coming of the Lord.”