By Gan Wei
My co-worker Wang Shaojun has just moved into his new home. After settling in, he called a few of us co-workers there to have a gathering. On the appointed day, we got his home one after another. Wang Shaojun’s cousin Zhang Xiangming, who is also a Christian and has believed in the Lord for many years, was also present. We were all glad to meet together. However, the moment we took out our Bibles and were about to fellowship, we heard police sirens outside. Everyone was a bit shaken.
Wang Shaojun looked out of the window through a crack in the curtains, and then turned around, saying to us: “Don’t worry. It’s a police car passing by the gate. Just take it easy. This is a new housing development. Many of the apartments in this building are vacant, only a few monitors have been installed, and the security guards haven’t started work yet. So it’s safe for the moment.”
Zhang Xiangming frowned and let out a sigh and said: “We are always fearful when at gatherings. The atheistic Chinese Communist government’s persecution of us believers from home churches is getting worse and worse.”
I was severely depressed then, saying, “That’s right! Now more and more Christians have been arrested and persecuted. What’s more, not a few of the churches of Three-Self Church have been forcibly dismantled. It seems that as long as the CCP has not collapsed, we Christians won’t have good days to live. How I long for the Lord to return quickly! We will no longer need to suffer this when He returns.”
Chen Mo said with a worried face, “Definitely. We all have been looking forward to the Lord’s arrival during these years. Who wants to be persecuted by the CCP? I thought the Lord would return in 2000. However, so many years have passed and we still haven’t seen the Lord return. What is really going on here?” Brother Chen voiced our mind and what he said was exactly what we all felt anxious and confused about.
At this time, Wang Shaojun’s wife, Wang Xuemei, put a kettle of boiled water on the tea table and said, “Recently I’ve been pondering this matter. We have been watching the clouds in the sky and waiting for the Lord to come. However, we haven’t welcomed Him yet. What do you think we should do if we wait this way all the time but still can’t greet the Lord?”
Wang Shaojun walked from the window to the sofa and sat down, saying, “Mm. This is really a problem. Oh! Theonce said, ‘For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened’ (Matthew 7:8). Shall we go out to find where there’s some news of the Lord’s coming? ”
I agreed and said, “Brother Wang’s proposal is quite good. Our church has become more and more desolate, and the believers all follow the trends of the world gradually. I don’t think we can force ourselves to continue waiting like this. This is not the way. I remember that the Lord Jesus once said, ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6). This shows that when the Lord returns, there will be someone who spreads it. So I also suggest that we should go out and look.”
Zhang Xiangming nodded in agreement and said, “Oh, right, these last few years, haven’t the people frombeen bearing witness that the Lord Jesus has returned?”
Wang Xuemei added, “Mm, that’s right. There’s only Eastern Lightning testifying that the Lord Jesus has returned. Shall we examine it? If the Lord has really returned, we must not miss out.”
Chi Shouxin, however, had a suspicious look on his face. As he flipped through thehe said, “Sister Wang, this is impossible. It is said in Matthew 24:29-30, ‘Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light, and the stars shall fall from heaven, and the powers of the heavens shall be shaken: And then shall appear the sign of in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory’ (Matthew 24:29-30). The scriptures clearly say that the Lord will return by descending with the clouds and this will cause a big commotion. But have we seen this big commotion? And have we seen the Lord descend upon the clouds?” We all shook our heads.
Then Chi Shouxin continued, “Since we haven’t seen all of this, how could it be said that the Lord has come? The Lord is faithful and His words will not be unfulfilled. So, we will wait for Him to descend on a cloud and rapture us into the kingdom of heaven. That certainly cannot fail.”
I pondered for a while and then said to others, “I have heard of Eastern Lightning as well. They are indeed witnessing the Lord has returned. However, they testify that the Lord has been incarnated as the Son of man to do the work of judgment. This does not conform to the prophecy in the Bible that the Lord will descend on a cloud. But the appearance of Eastern Lightning has shaken up the entire religious world and the Church wields great influence. In mainland China, many true believers of the Lord in various religious denominations and sects have turned to Eastern Lightning. So I am just thinking whether Eastern Lightning really is the Lord’s appearance and work. If it is, which prophecy of the Lord Jesus has been fulfilled by this? Why is it that this is not in line with the Lord’s prophecy that He will descend on a cloud? I believe that there’s a mystery in this. Shall we communicate together on the issue today?”
Wang Xuemei agreed, “Yes, these past few years, Eastern Lightning has developed so quickly. It is not a simple matter; it is worth discussing.”
Hearing her words, Chi Shouxin immediately said, “It’s true that Eastern Lightning has developed very quickly and wields great influence, but if the Lord really had returned, He should have descended with great glory on clouds, heaven and earth would have shaken, and the sun and the moon would have stopped shining. However, none of these scenes has appeared yet. Then how can we say the Lord Jesus has already returned?”
At this time, Zhang Xiangming had a drink of water and then put down his cup, sincerely saying, “I also thought so before. But recently, I discovered we all have made a common mistake on the subject of welcoming the Lord.”
The second he said this, we all looked toward him, and I felt so amazed that I hurriedly asked, “Oh, what is it?”
He said seriously, “We have been waiting for the Lord’s return only based on the prophecy that He will descend on a cloud, but we ignored other prophecies about His return. This is a most serious mistake. In fact, there’re many other prophecies about the Lord’s coming in the Bible. For instance, Revelation 16:15, ‘Behold, I come as a thief.’ Matthew 25:6, ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him.’ And Revelation 3:20, ‘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.’ These prophecies mention that the Lord will come ‘as a thief,’ He will ‘stand at the door, and knock,’ and so on. Doesn’t this show that apart from openly descending upon the clouds, the Lord’s return also involves descending secretly?”
After hearing Brother Zhang’s words, I felt somewhat astonished and blurted out, “Descending secretly?” Then I hurriedly opened the Bible and looked up the scriptures he had just mentioned. I saw that these scriptures indeed mentioned the Lord’s coming. Pondering them, I thought: Could it be that the Lord has really returned in secret? We all discussed it, and then looked at Zhang Xiangming expectantly.
Zhang Xiangming nodded his head affirmatively and said, “Yeah. If it was how we imagine it that descending on clouds was the only way in which the Lord returns, then how could the prophecies that He will come secretly be fulfilled? Let’s think about this. When the Lord descends on clouds, there will appear many great signs: The sun and the moon shall stop shining, the stars shall fall from heaven, and heaven and earth will shake. It must be earth-shaking, and all of us will surely see and know it. Then how can these words ‘as a thief’ and ‘stand at the door, and knock’ be fulfilled? Besides, when the Lord descends on the clouds, all people will be able to see Him. Then is there any need for someone to bear witness and say ‘Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’?”
Chen Mo agreed, “That’s right. If the Lord were to return only by openly descending with the clouds, then those prophecies that He will descend in secret would not be able to come true.” At this time, Chi Shouxin sitting aside frowned and looked at the scriptures, murmuring, “Why is it that I didn’t notice these scriptures? Could it be that there is really another way in which the Lord comes?”
There was a brief silence. Then Zhang Xiangming continued, “Besides, there are many places in the Bible that prophesy that the Lord will return in the last days to accomplish some work. For instance: He will perform the work of judgment beginning at the house of God. He will open the book and loose the seven seals. He will also do the work of separating all according to their kind, such as reaping and winnowing, as well as separating sheep and goats, the wheat and tares, and the good and evil servants. If the Lord returns by descending on clouds in great glory for all to see, then all people must prostrate on the ground and believe and follow Him. Who would dare to resist Him? That way, how could He separate the sheep and goats, and the good and evil servants? And how could He do the work of reaping and winnowing?”
Wang Shaojun, who was listening attentively, said somewhat emotionally, “Mm. Xiangming, I felt your fellowship is quite full of light. Over the years, we have been holding onto the prophecy that the Lord will descend on a cloud, waiting for Him to return, but we ignored the prophecies that He will come in secret. This is really a most serious mistake.”
Chen Mo said in agreement, “Yes, I have never thought about these questions. There’re indeed many prophecies in the Bible about the Lord’s return. If we only take one or two passages of the scriptures as our foundation and determine that when the Lord comes again He will descend on clouds, but do not look at the other prophecies, this is really a bit arbitrary.”
After hearing these words, I also said approvingly, “Brother Zhang’s fellowship today is truly full of light. It seems that I took the Lord’s return to be too simple. In the Bible there’re so many prophecies about His return, but without even trying to figure them out with my heart, I defined the way of the Lord’s coming. I can only blame myself that I didn’t put in effort on the Lord’s word, but instead blindly listened to the pastors and elders, only holding on to the prophecy that the Lord will descend on a cloud. So foolish I am!” At that time, Chi Shouxin was on the side bowing his head in silence.
Wang Xuemei looked at Zhang Xiangming and gladly said, “Xiangming, I haven’t seen you for half a year. How do you know so much?”
Zhang Xiangming looked at everyone and said gently, “Actually, it was after I contacted with a veteran preacher that I gained these understandings. The preacher also fellowshiped to me: Nowadays only Eastern Lightning bears witness that the Lord has already been incarnated in the flesh as the Son of man to appear and work, that He is Almighty God,in the last days. And since Almighty God appeared and worked, He has suffered brutal pursuit and persecution from the CCP government. There’re even some people who publicly attack, condemn and blaspheme Almighty God on the internet. This completely fulfills the Lord’s prophecy, ‘But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation’ (Luke 17:25). If, based on our imagination, the Lord openly descended upon the clouds and appeared with great glory, who would dare to resist and reject Him?”
I said thoughtfully, “Mm, what you’re saying is in accord with the truth.”
Zhang Xiangming looked at me and said sincerely, “Thank God. Recently I have been investigating Almighty God’s work of the last days. If I had not investigated it, if I had not read the words that Almighty God expresses, I could not have understood these prophecies. Almighty God has come, expressed all the truths that purify and save mankind, and carried out the work of judgment in the last days. God’s sheep hear the voice of God. The wise virgins of various sects and denominations have heard that Almighty God’s words are the truths and the voice of God, so they have all turned toward Almighty God. This means being raised in rapture. After being raptured before God’s throne, through experiencing judgment and chastisement before the seat of Christ, they will be first cleansed, and be made complete into overcomers, namely the firstfruits. This fulfills the prophecies in the Book of Revelation: ‘These are they which were not defiled with women; for they are virgins. These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb’(Revelation 14:4). After God finishes making these people into overcomers at His secret arrival, His great work is accomplished. Then He will descend openly with clouds to manifest Himself to all nations and all peoples. At that time, the big commotion that we just mentioned will appear. This fulfills the prophecy in Revelation 1:7, ‘Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him’ (Revelation 1:7). This is the scene of the Lord descending openly on clouds. All people will see Him, and even those who resist and condemn Almighty God will see God descend publicly on clouds. So that’s how the scene of ‘all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him’ will appear.”
I said emotionally, “Thanks be to God. After hearing all this, I have eventually understood how the prophecies of the Lord’s return are fulfilled. It turns out that the Lord first comes as a thief and descends in secret, and in the end He will descend with the clouds to appear publicly before all people.”
Everyone was excited and gladly said, “Thank God for His guidance. Today we have gained so much….”