By Tian Yuan
Editor’s Note: In chapter 22 of Revelation, the Lord Jesus prophesies a few times, “I come quickly.” It’s certain that every brother and sister who sincerely believes in the Lord hopes to be able to receive the returned Lord Jesus and dine with Him at the wedding banquet. So, what should we do to be ready to receive the returned Lord? Read the following to discover the answer.
- Will the Lord’s Return Be Revealed to the Pastors and Elders?
- Will God Reveal Himself to Man When He Comes to Work?
- The Path to Joyously Receiving the Lord’s Return in the Last Days
Will the Lord’s Return Be Revealed to the Pastors and Elders?
In recent years, disasters all over the world have been growing ever more serious, many signs and omens have appeared in close succession, and the prophecies predicting the Lord’s return have essentially all been fulfilled. Many brothers and sisters who sincerely believe in the Lord feel that He may very well have already returned. But, where does He appear? Many who yearn for and seek the truth have begun to search for God’s footsteps. Yet there are some brothers and sisters who say, “The pastors and elders have believed in the Lord for many years, are familiar with the Bible, have forsaken, expended, labored, and worked for the Lord, have suffered much, and paid a high price. When the Lord returns, He will certainly first reveal Himself to them, but the Lord hasn’t yet revealed Himself to them, so how could He possibly have returned? The pastors and elders haven’t told us to seek and investigate, so all we have to do is stay in our churches and wait for the Lord’s revelation. When the time comes, we will certainly be able to receive the returned Lord.”
Brothers and sisters, we may think that because the pastors and elders have believed in the Lord for a long time, are familiar with the Bible, and have worked and suffered much for the Lord, He will reveal Himself to them when He comes, but does that view have any basis in the Lord’s words? Does it fit with the facts of God’s work? Brothers and sisters who are familiar with the Bible know that neither Jehovah nor the Lord Jesus said such words, and that God has never given a revelation to anyone because of believing in God for any length of time, frequently reading the Bible, or suffering the work. Just as when the Lord Jesus appeared and worked, the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of Judaism had believed in God for generations, knew the Scriptures by heart, had served God in the temple for years, and had traveled to the far corners of the earth to spread Jehovah’s gospel. To other people, they seemed to be the most qualified to receive God’s revelations, but did the Lord Jesus reveal Himself to them? No! From the time He officially began to speak and work to after His death, resurrection, and ascension to heaven, He never once revealed Himself to any among the leaders of Judaism. From this, we can see that our belief that the Lord will reveal Himself to those who are familiar with the Bible and labor and work for Him doesn’t accord with the truth at all, nor does it accord with the facts of God’s work. It is purely based on the notions and imaginings of man.
Will God Reveal Himself to Man When He Comes to Work?
Perhaps some brothers and sisters may ask, “If our view that ‘the Lord will first reveal Himself to the pastors and elders’ is incorrect, then what kind of people will the Lord reveal Himself to when He returns?”
Actually, the Lord will not reveal Himself to anyone, which is a fact we can see from God’s past work. When the Lord Jesus appeared and worked, not one of His disciples such as Peter, Matthew, James, John, Nathanael, or even the Samaritan woman decided to follow the Lord Jesus after He revealed Himself to them. They heard the Lord Jesus’ sermons, saw His miraculous works and deeds, decided to humbly seek, and afterward from His words and works determined that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah to come. Peter was only able to say, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16) after following the Lord Jesus for a time, seeing the authority and power in His words and works, seeing that all the Lord has and is is something no person can possess, and then receiving the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Only then was he able to recognize the Lord Jesus as Christ.
The Judaic religious leaders, however, all believed that because of their years of service to Jehovah, in terms of time believing in God, the amount of suffering endured, and the price they had paid, they were the most qualified to receive the Lord’s revelation, but the Lord Jesus never revealed Himself to them, and instead expressed words to preach the way of repentance. The Judaic religious leaders saw that His words and work had authority and power, but they did not seek or investigate. Instead, thanks to their arrogant natures, they stubbornly kept to their own notions and imaginings, wildly condemned and judged the Lord’s words and work for exceeding the Bible’s Old Testament, and based on that fact, they denied that the Lord Jesus was God Himself. In addition to their natures of hating and loathing the truth, when they saw that ever more believers in Judaism were listening to the Lord Jesus’ sermons and following Him, to protect their own status and livelihoods, they frenziedly resisted Him, fabricated all kinds of rumors to libel and blaspheme Him, and finally colluded with the Roman government to have Him crucified, thereby offending God’s disposition, for which they were cursed and punished by God.
God’s words say, “Even more believe that whatever the new work of God, it must be substantiated by prophecies, and that in each stage of such work, all those who follow Him with a true heart must also be shown revelations, else that work could not be that of God. It is already no easy task for man to come to know God. Taken in addition to man’s absurd heart and his rebellious nature of self-importance and self-conceit, then it is all the more difficult for man to accept the new work of God. Man neither studies the new work of God with care nor accepts it with humility; rather, man adopts an attitude of contempt, waiting for the revelations and guidance of God. Is this not the behavior of a man who rebels against and opposes God? How can such men gain the approval of God?” (“How Can Man Who Has Defined God in His Conceptions Receive the Revelations of God?”).
God’s words expose our notions and imaginings, and God’s work cannot be limited by anyone. God works in any manner He wishes, so if we demand that God must reveal Himself to us, that He must obtain our agreement, isn’t this just excessive arrogance, self-importance, and irrationality? From God’s words and the facts of His work, we can see that God doesn’t make anyone believe in Him or follow Him by revealing Himself to them. God only expresses the truth to accomplish His work, and makes people come to know and follow Him through His words and work. Any who humbly seek, yearn for the truth, and listen for God’s voice can recognize it through His words and work, follow the footsteps of the Lamb, and gain God’s salvation. Those whose natures are arrogant and self-important, who do not love the truth, who have no fear of God in their hearts, and who simply wait for the Lord to reveal Himself to them, even if they hear God’s voice, will be unable to recognize it as such, and in the end, because they resist God’s work, will be abandoned and punished by God.
The Path to Joyously Receiving the Lord’s Return in the Last Days
In the last days, what should we do to receive the Lord and dine with Him at the wedding feast? First let’s look at several Bible verses which address this question.
“I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (John 16:12–13).
“My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).
“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).
“He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7).
God’s word states very clearly that in the last days, He will return to speak more words which will lead us to understand and gain all truth. In the last days, when the Lord returns, He will knock upon our doors through speaking. If we hear other preach of the Lord’s return, we should proactively seek and investigate, and after we recognize God’s voice, we will be able to accept and follow. Those who can do this are wise virgins, those who follow the Lord’s footsteps and dine with Him at the wedding feast. It’s obvious that the key to whether we are able to follow God’s footsteps and receive the Lord’s return is whether we are able to humbly seek the truth, be wise virgins, and listen for God’s voice.
So, how can we discern God’s voice? Hearing God’s voice requires sensing it with our spirit, or as the saying goes, “when the soul moves, the heart knows.” God’s word is the truth, it has authority and power, it could not be spoken by any person, and those with heart and spirit are absolutely able to sense these things. I trust that we’ve all had similar feelings and experiences as we read the words of Jehovah and the Lord Jesus. In every new era God begins, He comes to do a new stage work. Unlike prophets, who for specific purposes receive God’s revelations, spread a few volumes of His word, and then are finished, God speaks many words, expresses many truths, provides people with life, points out the paths of practice for the new era, reveals mysteries, and gives prophecies based on the needs of corrupt mankind. Also, God is the Lord of creation, He observes people’s hearts, He sees through to our corrupt natures, and He can expose the corruption hidden deep in our hearts. These are all the special characteristics of God’s word. Just as when the Lord Jesus came, He did the further work of redemption on the basis of the law, expressed the way of “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17), and taught us such things as how to confess our sins, repent, be tolerant, be patient, suffer, and bear a cross, and revealed God’s loving, merciful disposition. The Lord Jesus also revealed the mystery of the kingdom of heaven and the conditions for entering the kingdom of heaven, such as, “Not every one that said to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of My Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). He also exposed the nature and essence of the Pharisees by saying things such as “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (Matthew 23:13) and “You serpents, you generation of vipers, how can you escape the damnation of hell?” (Matthew 23:33). From the words expressed by the Lord Jesus we can see that all of the Lord’s words are the truth, that all come from God, and that none could be uttered by a member of corrupt mankind.
In the same way, if we wish to receive the returned Lord in the last days, we must listen with our hearts for God’s voice, see whether any particular words are the truth, whether they originate with God, whether they have authority and power, whether they reveal the corrupt dispositions hidden deep within people’s hearts, and whether they give us practical paths of practice and resolve our difficulties and confusion. We must believe that through humbly seeking, we are certain to recognize God’s voice, receive the returned Lord, and dine with Him at the wedding banquet. Just as the Lord’s words say, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27).
Thanks be to God for His guidance. May God be with us, allow us to hear the words spoken by the Holy Spirit to the churches, and joyously receive the Lord’s return! Amen!