By Chen Wei
My name is Chen Wei and I am sixty-five years old. After my marriage, my wife and I became believers in the. At that time, the preacher said to us, “When the seven bowls pour out seven plagues in the last days as prophesied in Revelation, we believers, who have accepted the salvation of the Lord Jesus, will be brought into the air by the Lord Jesus descending with clouds and enjoy the feast with Him for seven years, and avoid the disasters on earth. After the seven-year great disasters end, we will be taken up into the kingdom of heaven and enjoy the rich and happy life in heaven forever. So we should listen to the Lord’s words, act according to the requirements in the , and prepare more oil when waiting for the Lord’s return. Just like the Lord Jesus told us: ‘I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also’ (John 14:2-3). According to the biblical prophecies, the Lord will receive us before 2000.” After hearing the preacher’s words, my wife and I abandoned the pursuit of wealth and reputation and turned to zealously pursue the Lord’s words and spend for Him. At that time, my family was so poor that it was an extravagant wish for us to have a warm blanket in winter. However, at the thought that we would have a nice life when the Lord came to rapture us into the kingdom of heaven, I felt it was worthwhile enduring some hardships. At that time, I recited scriptures every day, busying myself in spreading the and building churches. Owing to my years of enthusiastic pursuit, I became an elder in charge of a district of the Praise Church and shepherded hundreds of believers. Whenever I preached about the heavenly vision described in Revelation on the lectern, I was excited and happy. After hearing my preach, the brothers and sisters were also utterly thrilled, itching for the Lord to arrive on a cloud to take us into the kingdom of heaven the next day.
However, the Lord Jesus hadn’t come in 2000, which made me feel greatly disappointed. I thought: What is going on? Why has the Lord still not come? What should I say to the brothers and sisters? Then I came before the Lord and prayed to Him, “O Lord, where are You? When will You come to bring us to the heavenly home? Now the brothers and sisters are all weak and our faith and love grow cold. What should I do?” Once in a co-workers meeting, I poured out my confusion to the pastor and he said, “God is love. He wants every person to, and does not want anyone to perish. But there are still many people not coming before Him, including many of our relatives. It is out of His tolerance for mankind that the Lord hasn’t come.” After hearing the pastor’s words, I had no choice but continue to wait. However, one year after another, the Lord Jesus had still not come in 2011. I thought: Why has the Lord Jesus still not come to raise us up into the heavenly kingdom? Since the Lord’s word is faithful, then could it be that we have made a mistake?
So I began to search within the Bible for the time when the Lord Jesus would come to take us. One day, I read these words in Psalms: “What man is he that fears the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth” (Psalms 25:12-13). And Psalms 37:9, 11, 22, 29, and 34 all mention “inherit the earth.” Besides, in Matthew 5:5, the Lord Jesus said: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Pondering these verses, I thought: These verses all mention that God promises us the life on earth. How is this? I felt confused and continued to search in the Bible. Then I saw these verses: “After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9-10). “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:3-4). Reading these verses, I thought: It seems that the place prepared by God for us is on earth and that God will become King on earth, dwelling with us for all eternity. So, does this mean that God will be incarnated as just like the Lord Jesus to speak and work and lead us to live on earth forever? But then I thought of the Lord Jesus words: “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2-3). These verses seem to tell us that the place prepared by the Lord for us is in heaven. What is this all about? I have been longing to enter into the heavenly kingdom and gain since believing in the Lord, but now I am confused: Is the place God prepares for us in heaven or on earth? Who can clearly explain this? Then I brought these questions to the Lord in every day, asking Him to lead me to understand the meaning of these verses.
In order to figure out whether the place God prepares for us is in heaven or on the earth, I began to seek. One day when I met Deacon Zhou, I poured out my confusion to him; unexpectedly, he questioned my view that the Lord would come to take us up into the kingdom of heaven. He said, “I think that belief in the Lord is solely for gaining peace and joy. It is unrealistic for us, who weigh over fifty kilos, to be taken up into the kingdom of heaven by the Lord.” I said to him, “I don’t agree with you. God is almighty. At that time, when the Lord promised Peter, Peter then could walk on the water. So we should have faith in the Lord. Since the Lord has promised us that He will take us into the kingdom of heaven, we should have faith in the fulfillment of His promise.” He said, “Is there anyone in the flesh taken into the kingdom of heaven in the accounts of the Old and New Testaments? The Bible holds mysteries and many of them have puzzled me for years. Even you yourself can’t figure out the question whether we will be taken into the heaven or remain on earth when the Lord comes, can you?” My hope for being taken into the kingdom of heaven by the Lord was quenched by his words. But when calming down, I found that what he said was pretty much the case. Though I had preached sermons to brothers and sisters for many years, I didn’t truly understand the Lord’s intention or the words in the Bible; even though I told brothers and sisters that the Lord will take us into the kingdom of heaven, actually I was not sure about that, nor did I know whether the kingdom of heaven was in heaven or on earth.
Once, I attended a co-worker meeting in parish. When Pastor Li said about how to strengthen the defenses againston the lectern, because I was sick of hearing these same old things, I flicked through the Bible and saw a passage of words in Matthew 24:27: “For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” It suddenly occurred to me that whether “the lightning comes out of the east” refers to Eastern Lightning. If it does, then haven’t we made a mistake? Shall I express my doubt? If I do so, how will the pastors and elders think of me? But if Eastern Lightning is really the return of the Lord Jesus and the true way, we would commit a great sin for resisting the Son of man and God. I felt conflicted inside and thought for a while: Perhaps it is the Lord’s enlightenment and He is leading me to tell them. No matter how they will treat me, I can’t disobey the Lord’s will. I must tell them. Then I stood up, saying, “Brothers and sisters, could I have a few words? Just now, I saw a scripture: ‘For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be’ (Matthew 24:27). These words were said by the Lord Jesus Himself. When He told the disciples what would happen in the last days, He compared the descending of the Son of man to the eastern lightning. As we all know, ‘the Son of man’ refers to the incarnation of God. So I wonder if Eastern Lightning which has been resisted and condemned by us for many years is the descending of the Son of man, and the appearance of the Lord Jesus in the last days. If it is, then aren’t we resisting God? Besides, we all see that the Eastern Lightning followers have such a great strength to spread the gospel and testify to Almighty God. Who can achieve this without the faith and power given by the Holy Spirit? Should we think about this carefully? Recently, I saw these verses when studying the Bible: ‘After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven’ (Matthew 6:9-10). ‘The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever’ (Revelation 11:15). ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away’ (Revelation 21:3-4). From these verses, we can know that perhaps the Lord Jesus will come to earth. Since the Eastern Lightning followers testify that the Lord has become flesh again to speak and work on earth, maybe Eastern Lightning is the return of the Lord. I think we shouldn’t blindly condemn and oppose it anymore.” I had just finished my words, when the believers in the meeting all looked at me in wide-eyed and some of them pointed at me. My friendly brother pulled me by my clothes, as a hint that I’d better sit down. And then Leader Ding spoke seriously in a bureaucratic tone, “Brother Chen, what are you talking about? Aren’t you in direct opposition to us? The kingdom of heaven is definitely in heaven, and there is no need to investigate. It is not for you to tell us whether Eastern Lightning is the Lord’s return or not. You’d better reflect on yourself, and I hope that such thing won’t happen again.” At that time, people at the meeting all looked at me with a peculiar gaze as if I had broken the law. Though I wasn’t convinced, I didn’t retort. I thought: Why do they treat me as an enemy when I mention Eastern Lightning? The prophecies of the Lord’s return have basically been fulfilled now, so the Lord should have already returned. Since Eastern Lightning is preaching the descending of the Son of man, shouldn’t we seek and investigate it carefully? If it is really the return of the Lord and the true way, I should quickly accept and submit to it and follow the traces of God’s work in last days. At this thought, I said to myself: If someone preaches Eastern Lightning to me in the future, regardless of how other people are, I will investigate it carefully.
That day, I swallowed the criticism and didn’t express my opinion. When I had a chat with a pastor outside at lunchtime, he said, “We have been condemning Eastern Lightning for many years. However, the brothers and sisters of my hometown in Henan told me that Eastern Lightning does not preach to those who have moral problems and bad humanity.” His words reminded me of two parables said by the Lord Jesus. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away” (Matthew 13:47-48). “Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit” (Matthew 7:17). According to the Lord Jesus’ words, the fruits of the Holy Spirit’s work hold the truth, and the life. The Eastern Lightning followers act in accordance with the truth and principles and have fear of God, which is the result reached through the work of the Holy Spirit and is in line with the Lord Jesus’ parable. It can be further proved that the preaching of Eastern Lightning comes from God. The more I thought, the more I felt that Eastern Lightning is the Lord’s return. Since then, I paid more attention to studying prophecies and God’s word about the Lord’s return in the Bible, longing to fathom out how the Lord would do His work in the last days so as not to miss the chance of meeting the Lord and being brought into the kingdom of heaven.