One day, in a study meeting, I had a debate with several brothers and sisters because of our different opinions about the Lord’s appearance. I believed that the Lord would appear on the Mount of Olives in Israel when He returned, for the Bible says: “And his feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east” (Zechariah 14:4). Israel was the birthplace of God’s work, so the Lord would still descend in Israel when He returned in the last days. As long as we paid close attention to any signs in Israel, we would surely be able to welcome the Lord’s appearance. While a sister raised a query, “Now all sorts of disasters have frequently occurred, and the prophecies of the Lord’s return have already been fulfilled. If the Lord really appears in Israel when He returns, we should have welcomed Him early on. However, we still haven’t met the Lord though we have earnestly expected His return for many years. I feel perhaps the Lord has appeared elsewhere.” At her words, I was just about to refute her, when a brother butted in, “I agree with her. As Matthew 24:27 says, ‘For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of be.’ I wonder whether it means the Lord’s return is like lightning, coming from the East to the West. If this is true, then it’s very possible that the Lord will first appear in some country in the East!” Other people also played along, “Their words make sense!” “Yes! No wonder we haven’t met the Lord’s return, regardless of how we have focused on Israel. …” At that moment, the brothers and sisters were still discussing about this matter, but I no longer had the heart to participate in it.
That night, the sky was darkly clouded, and I lay awake tossing and turning. When I recalled the words the brothers and sisters said during the day, I fell into confusion. Both prophecies speak of the place where the Lord will appear: One is on the Mount of Olives in Israel, and the other in the East. Why is that? Where on earth will the Lord appear? And how should we welcome the Lord’s appearance? Pondering over these problems, I felt very puzzled …
Several days later, one of my friends came to visit me. When I poured out my confusion to him, he fellowshiped, “The wisdom of God soars higher than the heavens, and God’s thoughts are far higher than our human’s thoughts. How can we freely define where God will appear based on the words in the Bible? In the beginning, when the came to do His work, didn’t the Pharisees define the Lord Jesus’ new work in accordance with God’s previous work just because they didn’t know the work of the Holy Spirit, and obstinately adhered to the rules and letters of the Old Testament? The Bible records, ‘At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and his disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat. But when the Pharisees saw it, they said to him, Behold, your disciples do that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath day. But he said to them, Have you not read what David did, when he was an hungered, and they that were with him; How he entered into the house of God, and did eat the show bread, which was not lawful for him to eat, neither for them which were with him, but only for the priests? Or have you not read in the law, how that on the sabbath days the priests in the temple profane the sabbath, and are blameless? But I say to you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day’ (Matthew 12:1-8). From these verses it can be seen that when the Lord Jesus came to do His work, He didn’t work within the temple according to the law of that time, but worked outside of it with His disciples on the Sabbath, and His disciples even plucked the ears of corn to eat. When the Pharisees accused them of not keeping the Sabbath, the Lord Jesus didn’t rebuke His disciples for not observing the Old Testament; on the contrary, He refuted the Pharisees with the fact that David ate the show bread in the temple when he got hungry. Here, the Lord Jesus also clearly told us ‘That in this place is one greater than the temple,’ ‘For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.’ From Jesus’ work and His words, we can see that the Lord Jesus wants us to know God is the Master of all things, and He is the God of all creation. He is not restricted by geography, by space, or by people, events, or things. The work brought by Him completely exceeded the Old Testament, exceeded the old laws and rules, and even more exceeded people’s thinking. Those disciples and other people who put aside their own conceptions to follow the Lord Jesus gained the Lord’s blessings and grace; while the Pharisees who lived under the laws and rules of the Old Testament didn’t give up their old notions, delimited God within the words in the Bible, and eventually became the ones of eternal guilt defying God, and were thus eliminated by God’s work. Likewise, if we believe that God’s return will most certainly be on the Mount of Olives in Israel, aren’t we keeping obstinately to the rules and letters of the Bible, defining and resisting God by our notions?”
His words suddenly opened up my minds: Right. At that time the Pharisees adhered to the Old Testament, defined the Lord’s work, and became those who served God yet resisted Him, and eventually suffered God’s punishment. So if I define that the Lord’s return will surely be on the Mount of Olives in Israel, am I not committing the same mistake as the Pharisees? Looking back, since the prophecies of the Lord’s return have already been fulfilled, why have I not witnessed His appearance? Maybe I’m really wrong. I shouldn’t define God’s appearance this way. If I really miss the Lord’s return, then the result … I didn’t dare to think further. Afterward, my friend left me a book before leaving, and said that the words in the book unraveled all mysteries we had never known before, and could relieve all confusion about belief in God.
After he left, I opened up the book, and a passage of words caught my eye: “The appearance of God cannot be reconciled with the conceptions of man, much less can God appear at the behest of man. God makes His own choices and has His own plans when He does His work; moreover, He has His own objectives, and His own methods. It is not necessary for Him to discuss the work He does with man or to seek the advice of man, much less notify each and every person of His work. This is the disposition of God and, moreover, should be recognized by everyone. If you desire to witness the appearance of God, if you wish to follow the footprints of God, then you must first transcend your own conceptions. You must not demand that God do this or that, much less should you place Him within your own confines and limit Him to your own conceptions. Instead, you should ask how you should seek the footprints of God, how you should accept the appearance of God, and how you should submit to the new work of God; that is what should be done by man. Since man is not the truth, and is not possessed of the truth, man should seek, accept, and obey” (“The Appearance of God Has Brought a New Age”). As I contemplated this passage, I understood it a little better: God is the Creator, and we are created beings. No matter where God reveals Himself, where He chooses to work, or in what manner He does His work, all of this is up to God Himself, not us humans. God has His precise plans, and no one can fathom them or has any right to interfere, which is determined by God’s disposition. So if we want to seek the true appearance of God, we must put aside all of our imaginations and notions, maintain a heart of yearning for and seeking the truth, and submit to God’s work and His words. Then we can behold God’s appearance. As the Bible says: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).