By Yang Yang
The kingdom of heaven is the, a holy kingdom, and a place which we believers in God have often dreamed of entering into. Since the was incarnated and brought forth the of the kingdom of heaven, all of us believers have been expecting throughout the past two thousand years to be raptured alive into the kingdom of heaven by the Lord upon His return. Many times I wondered: When the Lord comes again, will I be able to be taken into the kingdom of heaven by Him? What’s the standard for entering into it?
One day, when Sister Yang, an earnest believer in the Lord, dropped in on me, I asked her the question. With a smile, she replied, “I also often thought about it, and it occurred to me the Lord Jesus’ words in Matthew 18:3, ‘Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.’ This is obviously the Lord’s requirement for entry into the kingdom of heaven. All that He asked of us was to become as little children. What then did the Lord mean by ‘as little children’? He was requiring us to be honest people. God is faithful, and honest people are the ones He likes as well as the ones He intends to save. That’s why only the honest shall enter into the kingdom of heaven. An honest person is straightforward in speaking and acting. Simple and innocent like a child, he never disguises himself before God or other people, nor does he deceive them. Take, for example, Abraham, Job, and Peter. Regardless of how God worked and tested them, and what He demanded of them, they never doubted or complained to Him, nor did they misunderstand Him; rather, they truly obeyed and loved Him, and were willing to suffer losses to their personal interests in order to satisfy God. Such men are ‘as little children’ and are the likeness of true men. They are also the honest people that will enter into the kingdom of heaven.” I nodded.
Then she went on, “Now, let us look at what these three people had done before they were approved by God. Do you remember how Abraham conducted himself when Jehovah God asked him to offer Isaac? He did not suspect God or reason with Him no matter how he had suffered; instead, he obeyed Him absolutely, and offered Isaac to Him at the appointed place when that time came. God saw the sincerity, simplicity, and obedience of Abraham, so not only did He not take Isaac’s life, but blessed Abraham with descendants as numerous as the stars in heaven and the sands of the sea. Next let’s look at Job. When he lost his livestock all over the mountains and all of his property and children, instead of losing, he firmly believed that what had happened to him was all from God’s sovereignty and arrangements. Thus he said, “the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.” As God approved Job’s true faith in Him, He bestowed more blessings upon him and made him die full of days. And as to Peter, during his time following the Lord Jesus, he focused on listening to and practicing the Lord’s words, using them to make strict demands on himself, and seeking the transformation of his life disposition. Even in food, clothing, and shelter, he ceased to be his own master. He just accepted, obeyed, and earnestly tried to figure out and practice whatever the Lord Jesus said. Eventually, Peter received the Lord Jesus’ approval due to his obedience and true love for Him; thus the Lord gave him the keys of the kingdom of heaven. By this we can see that the most outstanding characteristic of these men, who were commended by God, is that they could completely submit to everything from God without ever having any conceptions about what He did. They are the people of the kingdom of heaven who are blessed by God.
It made me think about myself: Over the past twenty years of my belief in the Lord, had I become as a little child as the Lord required? I am really ashamed to think of it! When my preaching bore no fruit, I doubted whether it was because God loathed me and thus did not bless me. When my family fell sick and were hospitalized while I was out spending and supporting brothers and sisters, although I did not say it out loud, at heart I complained the Lord and questioned why He did not watch over and keep them. At times, when my views met with opposition in our discussions about some issues during co-worker meetings, I then took it that the Lord did not like me, fearing that I would never be allowed to preach again. Still more, in recent years upon noticing that I had no moving in my prayers, no light in preaching, and felt dark in my spirit, I began to wonder if I had unknowingly offended the Lord and was consequently being forsaken by Him. Only later did I come to realize that while believing in God, I was actually full of misunderstanding, suspicions, and complaining toward Him. Afterward, when again I pondered over the Lord’s word, ‘Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven,’ I began to see clearly that I did not have true faith in the Lord, much less any obedience to Him. Believing in God with the intent to gain blessings, never ever shall I enter into the kingdom of heaven. By this time, I had gained some knowledge of which kind of people God likes and commends, and which kind of people can enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
At hearing what she fellowshiped, I felt her understanding was full of enlightenment, which I had never understood from reading the. It also helped me realize that I had not yet become as a little child. At this moment in time, I got so anxious that I asked her, “In light of our pursuit like this, how can we be raptured when the Lord comes? What are we supposed to do to be men like Abraham, Job, and Peter?”
Then she replied, “The Lord once promised that He would come and take us. Nowadays, all manner of signs show that the prophecies of the Lord’s return have been fulfilled. It is said many times in Revelation, ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches,’ which proves that the Lord will speak again when He comes back. And the Lord Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:3). ‘Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God’ (Matthew 5:8). So we should be men who simply obey God without conditions or doubt, and never define God’s work. Wherever the word of the returned Lord is testified, we should seek it humbly so as to follow the Lamb wherever He goes. Only this is being as little children, that is, being the likeness of an honest man. And only in this way can we follow the footsteps of the Lamb and have the opportunity to be raptured by the Lord into the kingdom of heaven. On the contrary, if we are full of conceptions and resistance and use our imagined notions to delimit God’s work, then we will be forsaken by the Lord and left outside the kingdom of heaven.”
After I heard this, I felt brighter in my heart. In welcoming the Lord’s return, I am willing to be a person who has pure obedience, and be a little child in God’s eyes. My dear brothers and sisters, what about you?