By Tian Yuan
It was a sunny day. Peach blossoms of March covered the hills, and their sweet perfume was pleasing.
Co–worker Xu came back from the peach grove with a hoe. When he had just arrived at his front door, he saw brother Enming, and then they walked into co–worker Xu’s house, and got to chatting while sitting on the sofa in the living room.
Enming said, “Brother Xu, today I went to visit Elder Wu. I said to him that now many people were preaching that thehad returned, and that we should go out to seek and investigate. But Elder Wu said that was impossible, and that he had labored, worked, and expended for the Lord all his life, so if the Lord Jesus had returned He must have first given revelation to him. Thus, he didn’t let us go out to seek and investigate, and also told me that we needed only await the revelation of the Lord in the church. What do you think of Elder Wu’s viewpoint on welcoming the Lord’s coming?”
Co–worker Xu said, “Elder Wu has also mentioned these things many times to me. My way of thinking is about the same as Elder Wu’s. Pastors and elders have believed in the Lord for half a lifetime, are also proficient in the Bible, suffer and do work for the Lord, and spend and sacrifice for Him. So, I think that if the Lord Jesus really has returned in the last days, He should have first given revelation to them.”
Enming said thoughtfully, “Brother Xu, I used to hold the same view, but after having sought and fellowshiped with several co–workers from church in another region for a couple of days recently, I think this kind of view is wrong.”
Co–worker Xu said, “Wrong? Since we started to believe in the Lord, have we not always held this belief? Tell me, what’s wrong here?”
Enming said, “You say pastors and elders have believed in God for longer, know the Bible well, and work and suffer a lot, so when the Lord returns in the last days He will enlighten them. Does this kind of viewpoint have basis in the Lord’s words? No. Since it’s not based on the Lord’s word, this indicates that it is our notion and imagination. Let’s recall the late period during the Age of Law. The Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees thought that they had believed in God for generations, were proficient in the Bible, were always serving God in the temple, compassed land and sea spreading the way of God, and toiled, worked, cast away and spent for God, so when the Messiah came He must first give revelation to them. However, when the Lord Jesus, the Messiah, came to do His work, He did not enlighten any of them! In fact, even when the Lord Jesus’ word and work caused a sensation in the Jewish land and they heard the words of the Lord Jesus and saw Him perform miracles, they didn’t have any intention of seeking or investigating, and didn’t recognize the Lord as the Messiah, as if they were blind and their heart was waxed gross. As a result, they refused to accept the Lord Jesus’ words and work. As such, simply because people can work for the Lord, know the Bible well, labor, and expend, then will the Lord enlighten them when He returns?”
As he thought about this, Co–worker Xu said, “He won’t. The Lord never said that when He returns in the last days He will enlighten those who believe in Him for a long time, are proficient in the Bible and labor for Him. It is sufficient to see this point from what the Lord Jesus did to the Pharisees. It seems that the viewpoint we hold that when the Lord returns He will first give revelation to pastors and elders, who work and suffer a lot, and know the Bible well, doesn’t accord with the fact of God’s work. So, which people do you think the Lord will enlighten when He returns in the last days?”
Enming said, “I think if we want to know the answer, we’d better investigate the fact of God’s previous work. Think back to the original followers of the Lord Jesus. How did they welcome the Lord? Did they first receive God’s revelation before following Him? No, none of them. At that time, when the Lord Jesus had started preaching on earth theof the kingdom of heaven, Peter, Matthew, James, John, and others—they each were busy with their own lives, such as fishing, collecting tax, and so on. Not until the Lord Jesus had called on them Himself did they follow Him. When they first started following the Lord, none of them recognized that the Lord Jesus was God Himself. Even though Peter recognized the Lord Jesus was , that was after he had been following the Lord for some time, and he saw from His words and work that what the Lord Jesus has and is was something that no human being could possess. Only then did he obtain the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and was able to recognize that the Lord Jesus is Christ, the Son of the living God. And there were also Nathanael, the Samaritan woman and others, who didn’t follow the Lord because they had been given revelation, but after hearing the words of the Lord Jesus, recognized that He was the Messiah, and then followed Him and gained His salvation.”
Co–worker Xu smiled and nodded, saying, “Yes. What you say is the truth. The disciples who followed the Lord Jesus at that time didn’t do so because they had received a revelation; they were only able to recognize that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah from His words after hearing the Lord’s voice. Why didn’t I understand this before? In fact, our following the Lord at first wasn’t because we had been given dreams or revelations, but we followed the Lord after other people had preached about His gospel to us. Later, through reading the Bible, attending meetings, contemplating the Lord Jesus’ words, and under His guidance experiencing some things and events that God arranged around us, we recognized the Lord Jesus is the true God.”
Enming said, “Thank the Lord! It’s wonderful that you’re able to have this kind of understanding. Now we understand that in the end of the Age of Law, people who welcomed the Messiah did so because they had heard the Lord Jesus’ words and seen His work. Actually, regarding how people in the last days should welcome the Lord Jesus’ return, the Lord has already told us.”
Co–worker Xu was surprised and said, “Enming, is this true? Hurry and fellowship about it!”
Enming opened up the Bible and said, “Alright! In John 16:12–13, it says, ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.’ And Revelation 3:20 says, ‘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.’ Matthew 25:6, ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him.’ John 10:27, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.’ And in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, it is prophesied many times that: ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ And so on. The Lord’s words are so clear. When He returns in the last days He will certainly speak and utter His words, and entirely open up the truths and mysteries that we have never heard of before. The Lord will knock on the door when He returns in the last days through speaking to people. If anyone who hears that there are people preaching that the Lord has returned to work and speak words doesn’t seek or examine, but blindly sits around waiting for God’s revelation, then they are the foolish virgins who will not welcome the return of the Lord. By contrast, the wise virgins, when hearing someone shout out ‘The Lord has returned,’ will go forth to seek and investigate, and recognize the Lord’s voice in His words; they will keep pace with the Lord’s footsteps as the disciples did, welcome Him, and feast with Him. So, the crucial point about whether we can welcome the Lord’s return is whether we can recognize His voice.”
Co–worker Xu was suddenly enlightened, and he patted his thigh and said, “What you say today is very enlightening and has the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. I really haven’t understood the real meaning of these verses before. Now I finally understand that if we want to welcome the Lord’s return, the key is to focus on listening to the voice of the Lord. But I’ve been awaiting the Lord’s revelation. I have really been too blind!”
Enming said, “Right! Brother Xu, if we hear someone testifying that the Lord has returned, this is the Lord knocking at our door. We should seek it with humility, and listen to whether or not their sermons have light and have the work of the Holy Spirit, and whether or not what they preach contains the truth, can supply the life of man, and can show man a new path to practice. If their fellowships contain the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, then this proves that the gospel they preach comes from God; if what they say is of no benefit to us and doesn’t come from the Holy Spirit, then we can refuse to follow them. What do you think?”
Co–worker Xu said, “Yes, what you say is right! Enming, right now there are some people who are saying that the Lord Jesus has returned. It can’t do any harm to us to go out to hear whether it is the voice of the Lord. If it is the Lord’s voice, then we’ll accept and follow. This way, aren’t we meeting the returned Lord?”
Enming said, “Thank the Lord. I was hoping you would say that. I’ve come today in order to invite you to go investigate the true way with me.”
Co–worker Xu and Enming laughed and smiled. Their laughter floated outside through the window, and mingled with the chirp of the little birds on the branches—creating a joyful atmosphere.