By Ma Liang
Zhao Ziming closed theand said, “My fellow co-workers, thanks for the Lord’s guidance. We’ll end here for today’s Bible study meeting. Does anyone still have any questions?”
“Brother Zhao,” said Co-worker Wu. “Recently I’ve been bothered by an issue, so I want to discuss it with everyone.”
“What’s it?” said Brother Zhao.
Co-worker Wu continued, “A few days ago, I read several items of news referring to the events of the churches encountering terrorist attacks on the Internet. There was a church being captured and bombed by the terrorist group when the believers were performing their worship there, who were all slaughtered in the end. After reading these, I felt confused in my heart: The churches are places where Christians worship the Lord. Then why were they not cared for and protected by the Lord, but instead subject to such calamities?”
Hearing the words of Co-worker Wu, some co-workers who were about to leave all sat down again. Then Brother Zhang said, “I’ve seen similar reports as well. Now we all know that the last days have already come. I wonder if it is the Lord sending messages to us through these things.”
Brother Hu An recklessly said, “Today in this world, people are getting worse and worse, the disasters across the world also become more and more severe, and even the churches are attacked now. These show that the last days have already come and that the Lord will soon return. As long as we uphold the Lord’s name, pray and gather together more often, vigilantly wait, and exercise patience until the end, then we will certainly.”
Several co-workers were discussing aside, and their faces were full of confusion and unease.
After pondering for a while, Brother Mu Ming said, “The issue brought up by Brother Wu surely embodies the Lord’s intentions. It is not a simple matter that the churches encounter calamities. I think it is the Lord’s warning to us, and we can’t ignore it. We need to pay attention to praying and seeking the Lord’s will. The Lord said, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you’ (Matthew 7:7). So long as we truly seek, the Lord will surely lead us.”
Hearing this, other co-workers all nodded their agreement in succession.
“Brother Mu, what is your understanding of these things?” Brother Zhao asked.
Mu Ming said, “I once heard about things like the churches being demolished or bombed, too. At first, I also did not understand why such things could happen to churches. Later, by praying to seek the Lord’s intentions and studying the Bible, I found that such calamities coming upon the churches have something in common with the destruction of Israel and the demolition of the temple.”
“Really?” several co-workers simultaneously asked. “Brother Mu, what do they have in common? Please tell us!”
Mu Ming continued, “We all know that in the beginning, God performed work in Israel, and that the Israelites worshiped God in the temple. However, in the later period of the Age of Law, the Israelites got more and more depraved and committed more and more sins, so that the temple became a den of thieves, a place for exchanging money and trading, and it was not the place to worship God anymore. When the Israelites could no longer abide by the laws and faced the danger of being put to death by laws, in order to save them from the danger of death, God granted the Israelites a promise that a Messiah would come and perform the sin offering for man. However, when the, the Messiah that the Israelites had been yearning for, came to work, the majority of the Israelites didn’t seek or investigate it; when the Lord Jesus preached in the temple, the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees condemned and opposed Him by the law, driving Him out of the temple. So it is written in the Bible, ‘And Jesus went out, and departed from the temple: and his disciples came to him for to show him the buildings of the temple. And Jesus said to them, See you not all these things? truly I say to you, There shall not be left here one stone on another, that shall not be thrown down’ (Matthew 24:1-2). The Israelites not only did not receive the Lord Jesus’ work but even opposed and condemned Him. Their actions provoked God’s disposition, so they were punished and cursed by God. In around AD 70, the great Roman army captured Jerusalem, and then the Israel was destroyed and the temple was demolished. Today, it is the late period of the last days and the prophecies of the Lord’s return in the Bible have basically come true. People become more and more evil and depraved, and disasters across the world are getting bigger and bigger. The Lord Jesus said, ‘But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of be’ (Matthew 24:37). ‘For nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be earthquakes in divers places, and there shall be famines and troubles: these are the beginnings of sorrows’ (Mark 13:8). From these we can see that it’s just the time that the Lord reappears and works. The Lord very possibly has descended and is working somewhere.”
At this point, Brother Zhao was inspired within, saying, “Brother Mu, your fellowship reminds me of the words of the Lord Jesus, ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6). ‘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). Today, there is a certain group of people testifying that the Lord Jesus has come back, and that He has expressed the truth to do the work of judgment in the last days. But many pastors and elders condemn, resist, and blaspheme what they are testifying, not allowing them to preach thein churches. Furthermore, they seal off the churches, asking the believers to reject and keep away from those who bear witness to the Lord’s return, and not to listen to, see, or contact what they witness. Whoever accepts the gospel will be expelled from the church. Despite these, there are still a lot of brothers and sisters who truly believe in the Lord and yearn for the appearance of the Lord receiving God’s work of the last days. Look at the condition of the religious world: Churches are getting more and more desolate; pastors’ and elders’ sermons are the same old platitudes, having no new light at all and couldn’t supply brothers and sisters; meetings are only for engaging in religious ceremonies, during which some brothers and sisters doze off, and some sell products. … Clearly, the churches have lost the work of the Holy Spirit as well as the care and protection of the Lord. I also remember the words in the Revelation, ‘Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues’ (Revelation 18:4). Now, there’re churches collapsing and being blown up all over the world, many believers are killed or injured, and various disasters constantly happen. These might be the Lord’s warning and reminding to us. I think we should not stay in the church anymore but should be the wise virgins and go out proactively to seek the church with the work of the Holy Spirit.”
Co-worker Wu nodded his approval, saying, “It’s true. The churches have already lost the Holy Spirit’s work and become marketplaces and the den of thieves like the temple two thousand years ago. They are no longer the places where Christians worship God and glorify God, but have turned into the places to worship people and make deals. So how can we have the Lord’s guidance and blessings? Is this not the Lord’s hint that we should find a way out? I think only by walking out of the religious places can we welcome the Lord’s return. Otherwise, we will only be plunged into difficulties and starved to death.
Through this discussion, Brother Zhang felt clear about the issue that puzzled him. He said, “Now from all kinds of signs, we can see that it’s very possible that the Lord has returned. So we should be the wise virgins and go out proactively to seek the church with the Holy Spirit’s work, seeing which church bears witness to the Lord’s return and investigating it carefully. Only by this can we welcome the Lord’s return and attend the feast of the Lamb.”
Several co-workers nodded their agreement. Mu Ming said, “Your words remind me of what my cousin said to me some time ago. He said that the Lord has come back and he also talked about some experiential testimonies of how his brothers and sisters were cared for and protected by God in disasters. Maybe I can bring him here to fellowship with us another day. What do you think of this?”
Zhao Ziming said excitedly, “Great! You can invite him to come tomorrow and then we can seek and investigate the Lord’s work of the last days together.”
On an optimistic note, the meeting ended.