The Resurrection of Lazarus

The Resurrection of Lazarus Proved 2 Aspects of God’s Essence

Each of our brothers and sisters who believes in the Lord Jesus knows that the Lord Jesus did the work of redeeming humanity in the Age of Grace. He not only bestowed compassion and tolerance upon us, teaching us to be tolerant and patient and to repent and confess, but also manifested many miracles, such as, letting the blind see and the lame walk, healing the lepers, feeding five thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish, raising Lazarus to life, and so on. None of these miracles doesn’t show forth the authority of God. But when I read chapter 11, verses 43-44 of the Gospel of John, “And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them, Loose him, and let him go.” After reading this passage of scripture, I thought that at that time Lazarus had already been dead for four days, and maybe his body had started to smell, but just one word from the Lord Jesus raised him from the dead. What are the intentions of God behind this matter? This question puzzled me for a long time. It was not until once I read some words in a book that the doubt in my heart was resolved. 1、The Resurrection of Lazarus Proved That the Lord Jesus Was the Incarnate God Himself The book says, “The Lord Jesus doing something like this was extremely significant in that age. Because God had become flesh, people could only see His physical appearance, His practical side, and His insignificant side. Even if some people saw and understood some of His character or some strengths that He appeared to have, no one knew where the Lord Jesus came from, who His essence truly was, and what more He really could do. All of this was unknown to mankind. Too many people wanted proof of this thing, and to know the truth. Could God do something to prove His own identity? For God, this was a breeze—it was a piece of cake. He could do something anywhere, anytime to prove His identity and essence, but God did things with a plan, and in steps. He didn’t do things indiscriminately; He looked for the right time, and the right opportunity to do something most meaningful for mankind to see. This proved His authority and His identity. So then, could the resurrection of Lazarus prove the Lord Jesus’ identity? Let’s look at this passage of scripture: ‘And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth.’ When the Lord Jesus did this, He said just one thing: ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ Lazarus then came out from his tomb—this was accomplished because of a single line uttered by the Lord” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III”). Through this passage of words I saw that when the Lord Jesus worked and appeared to man two thousand years ago, nobody knew who He was. Many people were filled with a curiosity and doubt toward Him. The disciples that followed Him didn’t recognize the identity of Him either. Some of them called Him teacher; some also said He was the greatest of prophets. From these facts, I saw that no more than a few people knew His true identity in that age. In order to prove His identity to mankind, the Lord Jesus used the miracle of bringing the dead back to life to reveal His authority and power to make man know that He is God Himself. From this miracle He performed, I saw that He neither observed any rituals nor set up an altar to pray to the God in heaven before He spoke. He only said loudly, “Lazarus, come forth.” Then Lazarus who had been dead for four days came out of the tomb. As soon as God says one sentence, the matter is finished. The prophets in ages past also performed a lot of miracles, but the miracle of bringing the dead back to life could not even have been performed by any prophets. This miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead has proved the identity of the Lord Jesus—the incarnate God, for only God seizes the key to Hades. The time when we are born or die is only determined by God. Evil spirits and Satan, including servants from Hades, are all unable to command mankind’s life and death. It is only God Himself who can perform this miracle. The Lord Jesus performed the miracle of raising Lazarus from the dead, which lets us recognize that His identity is God Himself and achieve a completely new awareness of His true identity and all that He has and is, and finally we are able to truly believe in and follow Him. This miracle the Lord Jesus performed is extremely meaningful. 2、The Resurrection of Lazarus—the Manifestation of God’s Authority The book says, “When the Lord Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead, He used one line: ‘Lazarus, come forth.’ He said nothing aside from this—what do these words represent? They represent that God can accomplish anything through speaking, including resurrecting a dead man. When God created all things, when He created the world, He did so with words. He used spoken commands, words with authority, and just like that all things were created. It was accomplished like that. This single line spoken by the Lord Jesus was just like the words spoken by God when He created the heavens and earth and all things; it equally held the authority of God, the ability of the Creator. All things were formed and stood fast because of words from God’s mouth, and just the same, Lazarus walked out from his tomb because of the words from the Lord Jesus’ mouth. This was the authority of God, demonstrated and realized…

The Clever Samaritan Woman

I believe that many people must be familiar with the story about the woman of Samaria: When drawing water, the Samaritan woman ran into the Lord Jesus who asked water of her. She then recognized that He was the coming Messiah in prophecy during their dialogue. As a common woman, she neither had much knowledge of the Scriptures nor had been in touch with high-level people in the religious world, but she could recognize the voice of God. We cannot but marvel at this. Was it the special grace of the Lord Jesus? Or did she have a certain secret behind it? During the three and a half years when the Lord Jesus did His work on earth, plenty of people kept His company for a short time. At the same time, He also treated many people with grace. But, how many could really recognize that the Lord Jesus is the Messiah? And how did the woman of Samaria identify the Lord Jesus? It’s recorded in the Bible this way: “Jesus said to her, Go, call your husband, and come here. The woman answered and said, I have no husband. Jesus said to her, You have well said, I have no husband: For you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband: in that said you truly. The woman said to him, Sir, I perceive that you are a prophet. Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and you say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship. Jesus said to her, Woman, believe me, the hour comes, when you shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father. You worship you know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews. But the hour comes, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth. The woman said to him, I know that Messias comes, which is called Christ: when he is come, he will tell us all things. Jesus said to her, I that speak to you am he. … The woman then left her water pot, and went her way into the city, and said to the men, Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:16-26, 28-29). After the Lord Jesus told the woman of Samaria about the fact that she had had five husbands, she was shocked, for no one knew what she had done in the dark. For this reason, she believed He was not an ordinary man, and regarded Him as a prophet. After that, she talked about the confusion in her heart: Where should man worship God, in the mountain or in Jerusalem? And exactly how should man worship God? The Lord Jesus made her know that man should worship God neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, and clearly told her, “when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeks such to worship him.” Having heard these words, the Samaritan woman recognized that the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah in prophecy. This just fulfilled the words of the Lord Jesus: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Only God’s sheep can recognize God’s voice. As can be seen from the words of the woman of Samaria, the reason why she was able to identify the Lord Jesus was not merely because she took the prophecies as proof, but more importantly, because she was aware that God’s words have authority and power. When the Lord Jesus said she had had five husbands, she was clear that this could not be spoken by any man, for only God searched people’s hearts. Besides, God also can supply man’s spiritual needs. When people of that time were unclear about how to worship God, the Lord Jesus solved their confusion with just a word and pointed out the path of worshiping God for them. Therefore, the Samaritan woman immediately laid down her water pot, and went into the city to testify to the Lord. She was wise, for she listened to the Lord’s words with her heart and thereby recognized Him. We should also pay attention to hearing God’s words like the clever Samaritan woman. Only in this way can we welcome the Lord’s return, just as the Lord Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). After I’m done reading this passage, I understand a lot. For too long, I just obsessively look to the day, hoping that I will be raptured into the kingdom of heaven once the Lord comes again. Nevertheless, I have overlooked the most critical point—recognizing Lord’s voice like the clever woman of Samaria—on the subject of welcoming the Lord. Only in this way, we cannot be abandoned when the Lord comes again and keep pace with the Lamb’s footsteps.   Zhang Yiping

The Ethiopian Eunuch Accepting the Gospel – Reflection on Act 8:26-38

Seeing this picture, I can’t help but think of a record in the Bible, “And the angel of the Lord spoke to Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south to the way that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza, which is desert. And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship, Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet. Then the Spirit said to Philip, Go near, and join yourself to this chariot. And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understand you what you read? And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth: In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth. And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray you, of whom speaks the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached to him Jesus. And as they went on their way, they came to a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what does hinder me to be baptized? And Philip said, If you believe with all your heart, you may. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him” (Act 8:26-38). These verses record the process of the Ethiopian eunuch accepting the gospel of the Lord Jesus. We all know that he was of high status and of honorable reputation at the time, and moreover, he was a religious Christian. While he was on the way home after performing his worship at Jerusalem, he met Philip. When Philip asked him whether he understood the verses he had read, he was not full of himself because of his own status or his Bible knowledge, nor was he self-conceited; instead, he let go of his status and position, seeking from Philip humbly. When Philip preached the work of the Lord Jesus to him, he didn’t hold on to his notions in resisting and condemning it. Rather, he, maintaining a heart of pure obedience, accepted the Lord Jesus’ work. From this, we can see that regarding how to believe in God, the Ethiopian eunuch yearned for the truth, and in order to understand the truth, he was willing to humble himself. Ultimately, he gained the salvation of the Lord Jesus because he had an attitude that sought for the truth. Think back to those Pharisees who followed the laws at that time. Even though they knew the Bible backward and forward, and had traveled over land and sea to spread the laws of Jehovah, nevertheless when it came to the new work done by the Lord Jesus, they intentionally closed themselves, stubbornly clung to their notions and imaginations and didn’t search for the truth at all. To protect their status and livelihood, they did their absolute utmost to oppose and condemn the work of the Lord Jesus. Eventually, they colluded with the Roman government to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross, which caused them to be cursed and punished by God. In this, we see that as man prepares for the coming of the Lord, different attitudes bring about different ends. Now the last days have arrived. The Lord Jesus has promised that He will come again. Besides, it is prophesied in Revelation, “And I saw another angel fly in the middle of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people” (Rev 14:6). This shows us that when the Lord comes again, the everlasting gospel will be preached to people on earth. Therefore, we must be awake and waiting. If someone spreads and testifies to the work and words of the Lord Jesus at His return, we should emulate the Ethiopian eunuch and be the ones who seek the truth humbly. Only in this way can we obtain the salvation of the last days and feast with the Lord. Just as the Bible prophesies, “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” (Rev 3:20). “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Mat 5:6). “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 5:3). No matter how high or low our status is, or how long we have believed in God, as long as we let go of our religious conceptions and are willing to seek the truth humbly, we can receive God’s enlightenment and leading, follow His footsteps and gain His salvation in the last days.   » Read more on our Bible Study Topics page, or click on the related articles below: • What Are the Lord’s Intentions Behind the Parable of the Shepherd Seeking the Lost Sheep? • What Should We Do When We Face Trials? Learn From the Story of Job • Daily Reading: The Samaritan Woman’s Wisdom

Lord Jesus and disciple peter

Why Did the Lord Jesus Approve of Peter’s Faith?

By Zhang Jin In Matthew 16:18-19 the Lord Jesus said: “And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Whenever I read these two verses, I would think: Why did the Lord Jesus give Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven? Since the Lord Jesus bestowed upon Peter such great authority, it means that the Lord Jesus approved of Peter’s faith and that Peter was a person after God’s heart. But I couldn’t understand why the Lord commended Peter since he had denied knowing the Lord three times before His crucifixion. I was very perplexed. One day, I opened the Bible, and turned to Matthew 16, trying to find from the context the prerequisite and background for the Lord Jesus’ giving Peter the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 16:13-19 records: “When Jesus came into the coasts of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, saying, Whom do men say that I the Son of man am?And they said, Some say that you are John the Baptist: some, Elias; and others, Jeremias, or one of the prophets. He 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. And I say also to you, That you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give to you the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatever you shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatever you shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” I read these verses repeatedly and pondered them carefully: Did the Lord Jesus approve of Peter because, of His disciples, only Peter recognized He was the Christ? Why did the Lord Jesus say that Peter was blessed and give him the keys of the kingdom of heaven after he answered Him by saying, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”? But I still could not figure out why the Lord approved of Peter’s faith, and didn’t know how I should pursue to receive the Lord’s approval of my faith. I asked all the preachers I knew these questions, but no one could give me a satisfying answer. I was very disappointed: Why do none of them know the answer? How then can they lead the believers onto the path of being approved by God? I felt that the prospects of my faith in God were bleak, thinking: If only I could see the Lord Jesus and ask Him about that. … Later, I finally found the reason that Peter gained God’s approval from a book, which says: “Why is it said that Peter is a fruit? Because he has something of worth, or something worth perfecting, he has a resolution to seek truth and has a firm will; he has reason, is willing to suffer hardship, and he rejoices in truth in his heart, and when he encounters something he will not let it go. These are all strong points.” “After a period of experience, Peter saw in Jesus many of the deeds of God, saw the loveliness of God, and saw much of God’s being in Jesus. So too did he see that the words of Jesus could not have been spoken by man, and that the work Jesus did could not have been done by man. In Jesus’ words and actions, furthermore, Peter saw much of the wisdom of God, and much divine work. During his experiences, he did not merely come to know himself, but also focused on observing the actions of Jesus, from which he discovered many new things; namely, that there were many expressions of the practical God in the work that God did through Jesus, and that Jesus’ words, actions, the ways He shepherded the churches and the work He carried out differed from any ordinary man. Thus, from Jesus he learned many lessons that he was supposed to learn, and by the time Jesus was about to be nailed to the cross, he had gained some knowledge of Jesus—a knowledge which was the basis of his lifelong loyalty to Jesus, and of his crucifixion upside down for the sake of Jesus.” “Though there were three times when Peter denied knowing Christ, and though he tempted the Lord Jesus, such slight human weakness bore no relation to his nature, and did not affect his future pursuit, and cannot sufficiently prove that his temptation was an act of antichrist. Normal human weakness is something shared by all people in the world—do you expect Peter to be any different? … Though the many years of painful experiences of Peter are not recorded in the Bible, this does not prove that Peter did not have real experiences, or that Peter was not made perfect. How can the work of God be fully fathomed by man?” “Peter was made perfect through experiencing dealing and refinement. He said, ‘I must satisfy God’s desire at all times. In all that I do I only seek to satisfy God’s desire, and whether I am chastised, or judged, still I am happy to do so.’ Peter gave his all to God, and his work, words, and entire life were all for the sake of loving God. … What Peter cared about was the true love within his heart, and that which was practical and could be achieved. He did not care about whether he would receive a reward, but about…

Why Did God Command Abraham to Sacrifice Isaac?

It is recorded in the Bible, “And he said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him” (Gen 22:2-3). “And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar on the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son” (Gen 22:9-10). Whenever reading this part of the scriptures, I really admire Abraham within my heart for what he did: When God commanded him to offer his son, who was born when he was 100 years old, as a burnt offering to Him, Abraham did not argue with or complain about God, but did willingly without condition. From it we can see that Abraham listened and submitted to God, in whom he had sincere faith, and his unconditional obedience is worthwhile to emulate. However, the matter that God commanded Abraham to offer Isaac was incomprehensible to me all the while. When Abraham was at the age of 100, he was given a son by God unconditionally, but why did God ask him to offer Isaac after the boy grew up? How inconceivable! When God ordered Abraham to sacrifice his son to Him, what on earth was His will? I didn’t understand it until I read one passage of His words. God’s words say, “To man, God does much that is incomprehensible and even incredible. When God wishes to orchestrate someone, this orchestration is often at odds with man’s conceptions, and incomprehensible to him, yet it is precisely this dissonance and incomprehensibility that are God’s trial and test of man. Abraham, meanwhile, was able to demonstrate the obedience to God within himself, which was the most fundamental condition of his being able to satisfy God’s requirement. Only then, when Abraham was able to obey God’s requirement, when he offered Isaac, did God truly feel reassurance and approval toward mankind—toward Abraham, whom He had chosen. Only then was God sure that this person whom He had chosen was an indispensable leader who could undertake His promise and His subsequent management plan. Though it was but a trial and a test, God felt gratified, He felt man’s love for Him, and He felt comforted by man as never before. At the moment that Abraham lifted up his knife to slay Isaac, did God stop him? God did not let Abraham offer Isaac, for God simply had no intention of taking Isaac’s life. Thus, God stopped Abraham just in time. For God, Abraham’s obedience had already passed the test, what he did was sufficient, and God had already seen the outcome of what He intended to do. Was this outcome satisfactory to God? It can be said that this outcome was satisfactory to God, that it was what God wanted, and was what God had longed to see. Is this true? Although, in different contexts, God uses different ways of testing each person, in Abraham God saw what He wanted, He saw that Abraham’s heart was true, and that his obedience was unconditional, and it was precisely this ‘unconditional’ that God desired.” From God’s words, I learned that God commissioned Abraham, so He had demanded that Abraham should offer up his most beloved son to Him; God subjected him to this trial so as to see whether he was a man truly obedient to Him. Abraham took his son to the place of sacrifice, heaped the wood in order, and then bound his son. The instant he, bearing pain to give up what he loved, lifted up the knife, God stopped him from taking Isaac’s life in time. God’s heart was comforted by his action, from which God saw his true heart and sincerity at that moment, and which was the most satisfactory result God expected to see. At the time when God commanded Abraham to sacrifice Isaac, Abraham didn’t know why God gave this command, but he neither argued with nor complained about Him, simply truly submitting to Him. God saw that Abraham could offer his only son to Him, and then what else couldn’t he sacrifice? God was satisfied when gaining Abraham’s true heart. On account of his true heart and obedience, he received God’s commendation and blessings. Jehovah God said, “for because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son: That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is on the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice” (Gen 22:16-18). Reading these verses, I sincerely feel that God is practical in His deeds and He will never grant blessings to man out of thin air, since His actions are always principled. Even if He wanted to bless Abraham, he should withstand His test first, because He only blesses man when He sees his true heart. I also perceive that God will not bestow His blessings upon man easily. It seemed that God stripped man and brought suffering upon him, but in fact there were His real love and His expectation toward mankind hidden behind it. Thinking about us in real lives, we can find that God has been arranging various people, matters, and things around us to perfect and change us. Though what we experience are not…

Bible,God,David

Why Did God Say That David Was After His Will?

By Shuxun, Italy David was a king who was greatly venerated and supported by the Israelites. At the mention of David, many of his brave deeds come to my mind: He killed the giant Goliath by slinging a stone at him; he bravely went out to battle and won every battle; he praised Jehovah God with the psaltery and harp. … But I also remember his blemish—killing Uriah and taking his wife Bathsheba by force. How should we view David? What about him is worth us emulating? David’s Repentance After David killed Uriah and took Bathsheba by force, God’s righteous disposition came upon him. The Bible records God’s attitude toward David, “Now therefore the sword shall never depart from your house; because you have despised me, and have taken the wife of Uriah the Hittite to be your wife” (2 Samuel 12:10). In the face of God’s punishment for him, David was willing to accept it and submit to God, and furthermore he urgently prayed and repented before God, asking God to give him mercy. He prayed to Jehovah God, “Return, O Jehovah, deliver my soul: oh save me for your mercies’ sake. … all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears” (Psalms 6:4-6). David felt deep remorse for the error he had committed. Every day he confessed his sin and repented before God, and prayed and fasted. The words “all the night make I my bed to swim; I water my couch with my tears” reflected his degree of remorse. From this we can see his true repentance. The Bible also records, “Now king David was old and stricken in years; and they covered him with clothes, but he got no heat. Why his servants said to him, Let there be sought for my lord the king a young virgin: and let her stand before the king, and let her cherish him, and let her lie in your bosom, that my lord the king may get heat. So they sought for a fair damsel throughout all the coasts of Israel, and found Abishag a Shunammite, and brought her to the king. And the damsel was very fair, and cherished the king, and ministered to him: but the king knew her not” (1 Kings 1:1-4). From the verses, we can see that when King David was old, he couldn’t get warm while sleeping, and then his servants brought a very beautiful young girl to his bed to join him under the quilt and keep him warm. But King David didn’t move near her. It is clear from the fact that David’s transgression offended God’s disposition, but after understanding this he could thoroughly repent and change, and so in his whole life he only committed adultery once. We must say that according to his identity and position, it could not have been easy for him to do so. This precisely proves that his faith in God was real and that he had a heart of revering God. And he didn’t dare to despise God’s words again and didn’t want to dishonor God’s name again. It is because of his true repentance before God that he won God’s mercy and tolerance toward him, and God no longer remembered his transgression. However, seeing that God approved David, many of us do not understand it and have a prejudice against him, for we think that David once committed adultery, and took another’s wife by force and killed her husband. It must be said that we don’t know David’s nature and substance. Although David committed adultery, yet after repenting, he didn’t seize other women again, and he remained unmoved even when a beautiful young girl lay in his bosom. Therefore, we can see that David thoroughly repented in this aspect. As far as his substance is concerned, David was a good person. It can be said that from ancient times up till the present, there’s been no king in the world better than David on this point. Compared with David, I feel ashamed. David only committed this error once, and he could thoroughly repent and didn’t commit it again all his life. Yet as for ourselves, we pray to the Lord and repent with our lips when we commit sins. But when we encounter the similar environments again, we still cannot help but sin and disobey God, living in the cycle of committing and confessing sins. It shows that our repentance only stops at words, and we do not have a heart of fearing God and do not use our actual living out to prove our repentance as David did. So, David’s true repentance is indeed what we should emulate. David Built the Temple The Bible says, “Furthermore David the king said to all the congregation, … and the work is great: for the palace is not for man, but for Jehovah God. Now I have prepared with all my might for the house of my God the gold for things to be made of gold, and the silver for things of silver, and the brass for things of brass, the iron for things of iron, and wood for things of wood; onyx stones, and stones to be set, glistering stones, and of divers colors, and all manner of precious stones, and marble stones in abundance. Moreover, because I have set my affection to the house of my God, I have of my own proper good, of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the holy house. … Why David blessed Jehovah before all the congregation: and David said, Blessed be you, Jehovah God of Israel our father, for ever and ever” (1 Chronicles 29:1-10). David showed the most consideration for God’s will, and his wish during his lifetime was to build a temple for Jehovah God. When he saw that after people were corrupted by Satan, they often committed sins,…

Bible,Jonah

Know God’s Disposition From Jonah Being Swallowed by Fish – Reflection on Jonah

One day when I was browsing through pictures of the Bible, my eyes were drawn to a picture of Jonah being swallowed by a great fish in the sea. Then I opened the Book of Jonah in the Bible and read the following verses, “Now the word of Jehovah came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it; for their wickedness is come up before me. But Jonah rose up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them to Tarshish from the presence of Jehovah. But Jehovah sent out a great wind into the sea, and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. … And they said every one to his fellow, Come, and let us cast lots, that we may know for whose cause this evil is on us. So they cast lots, and the lot fell on Jonah. … So they look up Jonah, and cast him forth into the sea: and the sea ceased from her raging. … Now Jehovah had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights” (Jonah 1:1-4, 7, 15, 17). “Then Jonah prayed to Jehovah his God out of the fish’s belly…. And Jehovah spoke to the fish, and it vomited out Jonah on the dry land” (Jonah 2:1, 10). “And the word of Jehovah came to Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the preaching that I bid you. So Jonah arose, and went to Nineveh, according to the word of Jehovah. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown” (Jonah 3:1-4). After reading these scriptures, I thought: Why did Jonah refuse the Jehovah’s commission? Why didn’t he listen to God? I was very puzzled about these questions. One day at a meeting, I mentioned my confusion about Jonah refusing Jehovah’s commission. Then a brother fellowshiped, “When Jehovah God spoke to Jonah and commanded him to go to Nineveh, that great city, to convey His words, Jonah didn’t want to go because the people of Nineveh were Gentiles, not worshiping Jehovah God, and even opposing Him. He thought God should directly destroy them, and there was no need to convey God’s word. So, Jonah didn’t do as Jehovah instructed. Then calamities befell Jonah due to his disobedience. When the word of Jehovah God came to Jonah the second time, he didn’t dare to refuse. But at that time, Jonah’s attitude was that God would definitely destroy them, so he thought there was no need to say much. Therefore, Jonah only conveyed one sentence, ‘Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.’ From the simple way Jonah conveyed God’s words, we can see that Jonah went to Nineveh not out of compassion for Ninevites but as a mere formality. If Jonah had conveyed God’s words to the Israelites, he would have definitely tried harder to save them because the Israelites believed in God and they were God’s chosen people. But he just conveyed God’s words to them as briefly as possible. From Jonah’s behavior, we can see that he did not fear God. He was not mindful of God’s intentions and did not understand God’s will of saving man, relying on his self-will to do what God had entrusted to him. Jonah did not know God would still give people a second chance to repent when He decided to emit His wrath and that He cannot bear to destroy the human beings He created with His own hands and He hopes that people will repent when they come face to face with their own corruption and rebellion. However, Jonah neither understood God’s will, nor did he comprehend God’s earnest intentions. Moreover, he did not know that there is mercy in God’s righteous disposition, so he defined God’s work. Then Jonah found a place to make himself a booth for shade and sat under it to watch with gratification as God destroyed Nineveh, that great city. Jonah thought Jehovah God would definitely destroy Nineveh, but unexpectedly, God changed His attitude toward them and averted His wrath due to their true repentance, bestowing compassion and tolerance upon them. It is evident that Jonah did not have a God-fearing heart and defined God according to his own notions and imagination. For a man who fears God, when he cannot understand something or God’s actions don’t conform to his conception, he will think: Everything God does is right and there are always principles to God’s actions; we men are stupid and ignorant, incapable of penetrating the spiritual realm, and we mortal beings cannot know God. He has no conceptions or misunderstandings about God, so he can keep in his heart an obedience to God when dealing with each of God’s actions. Therefore, he will shun evil and not judge and resist God.” After listening to the brother’s fellowship, I suddenly saw the light. It was because Jonah did not have a God-fearing heart that he refused God’s commission. He judged and defined God’s work and did what God entrusted based upon his own notions and imaginations. He thought that the Ninevites are Gentiles, not the Israelites, not God’s chosen people, and there was no point in informing them to repent. God should immediately destroy them. Therefore, he refused God’s commission, which resulted in his being swallowed by the fish, in whose belly he spent three days and nights. From Jonah’s attitude toward God’s commission we can see God’s tolerance for us humans. Even though Jonah rebelled against…

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