Film Review: Perilous Is the Road to the Heavenly Kingdom
After I watched this movie, it made me think of something to write. At the beginning of the movie, a winding road led to high mountains and lofty hills, and then the words “Perilous Is the Road to the Heavenly Kingdom” appeared among the mountains. What messages did it want to pass on? I went on watching it. I saw some classic lines said by the hero Zhong Xin, “Although perilous is the road to the heavenly kingdom, yet we must follow the Lord to walk on. As the Lord is with us, what shall we fear? The worst is to martyr for the Lord at the cost of our life. It is honoring the Lord, and we won’t live in vain.” “Can these hardships and dangers separate us from God’s love?” The director ingeniously conflated the allegorical picture of the beginning of the film and classic lines to convey a piece of important information: The path to the kingdom of heaven is full of peril, full of troubles. This fulfills the’ words, “Enter you in at the strait gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leads to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leads to life, and few there be that find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
In the film, a group of main co-workers chaired by the hero Zhong Xin found some clues to the fact that the pastors and elders openly betrayed the Lord’s teachings and repeatedly hindered believers from looking into the true way. Then they held a series of discussions and finally decided to investigate the Church of Almighty God, which bears witness that the Lord Jesus has returned. Everyone enjoys freedom of belief. Here, however, they didn’t have freedom, but suffered the limitations of their pastors and elders, and faced the persecution and arrest of the CCP and other difficulties. The plot was dramatic and thought provoking. The audiences were led by the true performances of the actors as if they experienced an arrest, and all got nervous at the escapes from dangers and the cliffhanging moments time after time. Although the actors were not quite skilled in their performances, yet we could feel that they used their hearts to act their parts.
Someone may ask, “Why did the film bear as a title Perilous Is the Road to the Heavenly Kingdom?” Just as its name implied, it meant that the path to the kingdom of heaven is full of hardships and dangers. Through this film, many people appreciated that the path to kingdom of heaven indeed isn’t that smooth. There are many obstructions on the path of entering the kingdom of heaven, such as the weaknesses of their spiritual life, interferences from the outside environment, the deceptions of the false Christs and antichrists, the persecution of the atheistic government, and so on. These all make Christians’ courses of entering the kingdom of heaven full of hardships and perils. It was the major information the film passed on to the audiences.
A plot in the film shows this point truly and objectively: After stopping Zhong Xin and other believers from inspecting the truth, the pastor asked two co-workers to watch their whereabouts. During the scene where Zhong Xin arranged the second meeting to investigate the truth, a witness had an unwitting act before entering room, that is, he looked back. At that time, there was no one behind him, but the co-worker followed on soon. This scene is of wonder and wisdom, and also displayed the true situation of Christians’ gathering for a meeting in China. The immersive theatrical experience and nervous atmosphere make the audiences feel like being personally on the scene. With the director making these arrangements, the film is all closely interconnected in the plot, without being slack.
After the people experienced the pursuit of the CCP police, the director arranged another scene—Zhong Xin and Yang Ming, who fled from the meeting place, met three sisters by chance in the mountain. From their dialogue, they expressed two different points of view toward pursuit. Two co-workers said in succession, “Believing in the true way is too dangerous. We’d better believe in God secretly at home. We will be serious in our belief when the CCP falls.” As they just had experienced the pursuit of the CCP, they said these words. So, it was hard for them to avoid their weakness in spirit, cowardice and negativity. Yet, the director’s intention is not to give an account of the plot simply, but to make more people rethink through their conversations: Will the fearful enter the kingdom of heaven? These two fearful co-workers expressed the voice of many fearful believers. In China, this kind of people takes a great part in believers in the Lord. Many people are waiting and seeing silently. One could even say that they all are eagerly looking forward to and waiting for the collapse of CCP. When it falls from power, they will accept the true way at once. Why is it that they clearly know the true way but dare not accept it? It is because they need to give up their lives for believing in the true God and walking the correct path in China, an atheist-ruled country. After escaping from the pursuit of the CCP, Zhong Xin said such a word, “The great red dragon exactly lies coiled on the path of entering the kingdom of heaven, so it is predestined that the path is full of hardships and dangers. It seems that our entering the heavenly kingdom may cost us our lives.” That is why the Lord Jesus told His disciples, “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28). The path to the kingdom of heaven is much too hard and dangerous, and there is a great deal of persecution and tribulations on the path.
Many people are puzzled: God is omnipotent. Why does He allow the atheistic government and the religious leaders to oppose, judge, condemn and hinder His work in this way? If God destroys these enemy forces, won’t Christians then not suffer much persecution?
Not until I had watched the film did I understand that there is both deep meaning and God’s will within that.
The Scripture says, “These are they which came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Therefore are they before the throne of God, and serve him day and night in his temple: and he that sits on the throne shall dwell among them. They shall hunger no more, neither thirst any more; neither shall the sun light on them, nor any heat. For the Lamb which is in the middle of the throne shall feed them, and shall lead them to living fountains of waters: and God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes” (Revelation 7:14-17).
For several thousand years, there have been hundreds of millions of people who accepted the redeeming gospel of the Lord Jesus. Each of them says he truly believes in God. However, what kind of standard do we use to measure his true belief? And how can it be revealed? At the first scene of co-workers meeting, the director arranged for four groups of people to discuss together, including those who were fearful, who sought bread to satisfy hunger, who followed the pastors and elders, and those who truly believed in God. These people all read the same Bible, as well as prayed in the name of the Lord Jesus, but which group of people can gain God’s approval? Which group of people can enter the kingdom of heaven in the end? The Lord said, “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). From these words, we can know not every believer in the Lord can enter into the kingdom of heaven, and be saved through grace. These groups of people are general among today’s religious world. It can be said that there are these groups of people in every church. How will these people get revealed? It will be by the great tribulation.
God does His work for the sake of gaining a band of overcomers that are of one heart and one mind with Him. These overcomers will emerge from the great tribulation which refers to a variety of obstacles and hindrances on the path of belief in God. The tribulations and trials can reveal men clearly. It is hard for the fearful to enter into the kingdom of heaven. If man doesn’t truly believe in God, then he will probably be revealed as a tare in different kinds of trials and tribulations. Among these tribulations, the persecution of the atheistic government and the deceptions of the religious leaders are the most difficult to overcome. If one can walk out of their tight encirclement, then surely he will be an overcomer who can receive God’s praise and His inheritance.
At this point, I finally understood the reason why the truth has been persecuted since ancient times. And I also knew God’s wisdom and almightiness and earnest intentions hidden in persecution and tribulations. This fulfills the Lord’s prophecy, “Theshall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth” (Matthew 13:41-42).