Brother Wang has believed in the Lord for over twenty years, during which he has always suffered, labored, and sacrificed for the Lord. He was once arrested and sentenced to eight years in prison by the Chinese Communist government because of preaching the Lord’s, yet he has never made complaints about this. He believes he is the one who is most loyal to the Lord, and that the Lord will certainly tell him of His return first.
One day, his wife Sister Wu told him, “There are some people who are preaching that thehas returned. Now the disasters are becoming more and more intense, and the prophecies of the Lord’s arrival have basically come true. Maybe we should go to seek together.” Brother Wang smiled disapprovingly and shook his hands, saying, “No need to seek. I have believed in the Lord for over half my life. I’ve always worked hard and have been on constant lookout for His . If the Lord had really returned, how could I not know? When the Lord comes back, He will first reveal it to me.”
Hearing this, Sister Wu felt something was wrong, but she didn’t know how to refute it.
One day, Brother Li, a friend of Brother Wang, paid him a visit. After finishing discussing some work, Brother Li asked, “Brother Wang, have you ever heard someone bearing witness to the return of the Lord Jesus?”
“Yeah, I have,” Brother Wang replied. “But we have received no revelation from the Lord, so how could the Lord have returned? You know, we are the ones who toil and expend for the Lord. When He comes back, we will certainly be the first ones to know.”
Brother Li said, “Brother Wang, I have a different opinion on this matter. If we treat our hard work and sacrificing as a kind of capital, and so conclude that the Lord must give us revelations and let us be the first to know once He has returned, is this thought really in line with? I think it does not conform to the fact of God’s work.”
On hearing Brother Li’s words, Brother Wang showed a surprised look, and a thought came to him: “It’s impossible that I am wrong.” Just when he was about to refute Brother Li, he thought: “Brother Li is a thoughtful and insightful person who pursues the truth and often has unique insights about the scriptures. Now that he has spoken such words, he must have his reason. Why not listen more?”
Brother Li went on to fellowship, “Let’s look back on the Jewish Pharisees: At that time, they compassed land and sea spreading God’s gospel, and labored and sacrificed for God. But did the Lord Jesus ever show revelation to them when He came?”
Sister Wu said, “No, He didn’t.” Brother Li nodded and continued, “That’s right. When the Lord Jesus came, He did not give any revelation to the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees, who had strong knowledge of theand spent their whole lives serving God. At that time, they had the same notions and imagination, seeing their labor and sacrifice for Jehovah God as something to be capitalized upon. They assumed that they would receive revelation and be the first ones to know once the Messiah arrived. But in reality, they had no idea of when the Messiah arrived. And when someone testified that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah to come, because of their own notion that God would first reveal to them when He arrived, they did not have any intention to seek and investigate the Lord Jesus’ work. Wouldn’t you say this is the case?”
Brother Wang kept silent. Sister Wu thought for a while, and then said, “Brother Li, I think what you said makes sense.”
Brother Li continued, “As for those disciples who followed the Lord Jesus, did any one of them follow the Lord Jesus because they received revelation from Him? No, none of them. Although Peter received God’s revelation and recognized that the Lord Jesus was, the , it was only after he had followed the Lord Jesus and heard His preaching for a period of time, had seen a lot of work done by Him, and had some knowledge of Him in his heart. Only then did he receive a revelation from the Holy Spirit and recognize the Lord Jesus’ true identity. Clearly, Peter did not receive any revelation before following the Lord Jesus. This is a fact. The reason people followed the Lord Jesus and recognized that He is the promised Messiah is entirely because they had heard His words and preaching, gained the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and discovered that His word is the truth and the voice of God. It is not because they had received the Lord’s revelation in advance that they recognized and followed Him. From this we can know that God speaks to search for His sheep. God’s sheep are able to hear God’s voice. Just as the Lord Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me’ (John 10:27). And in Revelation God said many times, ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ From these words we can know that in welcoming the Lord’s return and following His footsteps, receiving God’s revelation is not important, the key is whether or not we listen out for the voice of God.”
At that moment, Brother Wang thought: “Right. When the Lord Jesus came, He showed no revelation to those chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees who were familiar with the Bible and had served God all the year round. Instead, He selected those among the common people who were able to recognize His voice. People, like Peter, John and Jacob, followed the Lord because they had obtained the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit and recognized His words are the truth and God’s voice from His words and preaching. None of them first received the Lord Jesus’ revelation before following Him.”
Seeing her husband being deep in thought, Sister Wu said, “It’s true! When the Lord Jesus arrived, He did not give any revelation to those Pharisees who had labored for the Lord. Those disciples believed in Him not because they had received His revelation, but because they heard God’s voice from His words and recognized that the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah.”
Brother Li took a sip of water and said, “The Lord Jesus has long ago 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). If the Lord gave man revelations, then why would He say that God’s sheep hear His voice? Isn’t it contradictory? Actually, from these two passages of Scripture we can see God’s wisdom, fairness and righteousness. God determines whether one is of Him based on whether one can recognize His voice. It’s not that those who toil and work for the Lord have the qualification to receive God’s revelations while those common believers have no opportunity to know the Lord and follow the footsteps of the Lamb. On the contrary, only those who are able to recognize God’s voice and follow Him, be they servants of the Lord or just common believers, are God’s sheep. They are the ones who seek with a humble heart and are the blessed. So, in investigating the true way, receiving revelation is not important; the key is whether or not we can recognize God’s voice from His words and His appearance from His work. Those who truly, love the truth and thirst for God’s appearance are capable of recognizing God’s voice through His words, and thus can follow God’s footsteps and welcome the Lord. If people just wait to receive God’s revelation, then it is hard to say whether they are lovers of the truth and God’s sheep who know God’s voice. Therefore, those who listen to the Lord’s words, recognize that His words are the truth, and then accept and submit to His appearance and work, are the ones truly raptured before God, while those who only wait for God’s revelation, but refuse to investigate what the Holy Spirit says to all churches, will be eliminated and cast aside by God’s work.”
Sister Wu said excitedly, “Thank the Lord! Brother Li, your fellowship today makes me understand: Only those who are able to recognize the Lord’s voice are wise virgins and can welcome the Lord’s return. Those who merely await the Lord’s revelation but pay no attention to hearing God’s voice are foolish virgins and unable to welcome the Lord’s second coming. What you’ve communed today is very practical and is fruitful for me.” Seeing her husband not saying a word, she could not help but say, “Brother Li’s fellowship is so clear. Why did you keep silent all along? You really can’t hold to your own view anymore. The Lord Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:3). So we should be humble and pay attention to hearing God’s voice. Only thus can we welcome the Lord.”
Actually, Brother Wang had also understood it. He thought: “What Brother Li said is quite reasonable. But right now it is hard for me to let go of the viewpoint that I have been holding.”
Consequently, Brother Wang said, “Brother Li, what you said makes sense. But I need to think it over. It is getting dark. Why don’t we stay overnight and continue our fellowship tomorrow?”
Brother Li agreed to it with pleasure.