What do we learn from ‘doubting’ Thomas?

The Bible records, “And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the middle, and said, Peace be to you. Then said He to Thomas, Reach here your finger, and behold My hands; and reach here your hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said to Him, My LORD and my God. Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed” (John 20:26–29).

doubting Thomas

God’s words say, “Before the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross, Thomas always doubted that He was Christ, and was incapable of belief. His faith in God was established only on the basis of what he could see with his own eyes, what he could touch with his own hands. The Lord Jesus had a good understanding of the faith of this type of person. They only believed in God in heaven, and did not believe at all in the One sent by God, or the Christ in the flesh, and nor would they accept Him. In order for Thomas to acknowledge and believe in the existence of the Lord Jesus and that He truly was God incarnate, He allowed Thomas to reach out his hand and touch His rib. Was Thomas’ doubting any different before and after the Lord Jesus’ resurrection? He was always doubting, and except by the Lord Jesus’ spiritual body personally appearing to him and allowing him to touch the nail marks on His body, there was no way that anyone could resolve his doubts and make him let go of them. So, from the time the Lord Jesus allowed Thomas to touch His rib and let him really feel the existence of the nail marks, Thomas’ doubt disappeared, and he truly knew that the Lord Jesus had been resurrected, and he acknowledged and believed that the Lord Jesus was the true Christ and God incarnate. Although at this time Thomas no longer doubted, he had lost forever the chance to meet with Christ. He had lost forever the chance to be together with Him, to follow Him, to know Him. He had lost the chance for Christ to perfect him. The Lord Jesus’ appearance and His words provided a conclusion and a verdict on the faith of those who were full of doubts. He used His actual words and actions to tell the doubters, to tell those who only believed in God in heaven but did not believe in Christ: God did not commend their belief, nor did He commend them for following Him while doubting Him. The day when they fully believed in God and Christ could only be the day that God completed His great work. Of course, that day was also the day that a verdict was made upon their doubt. Their attitude toward Christ determined their fate, and their stubborn doubt meant that their faith bore them no fruit, and their hardness meant that their hopes were in vain. Because their belief in God in heaven was fed on illusions, and their doubt toward Christ was actually their true attitude toward God, even though they touched the nail marks on the Lord Jesus’ body, their faith was still useless and their outcome could only be described as drawing water with a bamboo basket—all in vain. … The Lord Jesus also wanted to use the case of Thomas as a warning for future people: Although you can neither see nor touch the Lord Jesus in your faith in Him, you are blessed because of your true faith, and you can see the Lord Jesus because of your true faith, and this kind of person is blessed.

We can see from these words that Thomas’ doubt does not merely mean that he did not believe that the Lord Jesus had resurrected, but it also means that he had always doubted and remained uncertain about the Lord all the while following Him. Although he had heard the words of the Lord Jesus with his own ears and also witnessed some of the Lord Jesus’ deeds, he did not know the Lord’s essence as well as God’s authority and power from them. He did not believe at all that the Lord Jesus was Christ, the incarnate God, but only believed in a God up in heaven. His faith in God was established upon a foundation of what he could see with his own eyes, what he could touch with his own hands. He was believing in the God of his own notions, rather than the practical God. God is almighty and He scrutinizes the depths of people’s hearts; He had a grasp on Thomas’ doubt. That was why when the Lord appeared to Thomas after the resurrection, He allowed him to touch the nail wounds in His hands and His side so that Thomas could see that He had resurrected and that He was indeed Christ, the incarnate God. After Thomas’ touching His nail marks, the Lord Jesus said to him: “Because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” This was telling the people like Thomas that God does not praise Thomas’ belief nor acknowledge them as His followers, and that if they carry on that way, they will end up being abandoned and eliminated by God.

At this point, I can’t help but think that, with regard to the Lord’s return, many people are committing the same mistake as Thomas—only believing that they would personally see God’s spiritual body appearing on earth, instead of believing that God comes back in the flesh. For example, now The Church of Almighty God is testifying that the Lord Jesus has already returned in the flesh, but some people don’t believe it. They think that anyone who doesn’t come with clouds is not the Lord Jesus, because the Bible records, “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man 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 24:30). “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). However, we must know that concerning the Lord’s return, the Bible not only contains the prophecies stating that the Lord shall come with clouds, but it also contains prophecies stating that the Lord shall come secretly in the flesh. For instance, “Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes” (Matthew 24:44). “For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in His day. But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation” (Luke 17:24–25). “Behold, I come as a thief” (Revelation 16:15). “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). The “Son of man” mentioned here refers to a man who is born of man, and who has a normal humanity. If it referred to the “Spirit,” then it wouldn’t say the “Son of man.” Besides, the words “as a thief” and “at midnight” indicate that when the Lord comes, He will do so quietly, in secret. These prophecies allow us to know that when the Lord returns, He comes secretly in the flesh before the disaster, and openly shows Himself after it’s happened. In this way, all the prophecies of the Lord’s return will be fulfilled.

Back then, Thomas did not believe the prophecy that the Lord Jesus would resurrect from the dead; he had to see the Lord’s nail marks with his own eyes before he would believe. If today we refuse to believe the prophecies that say the Lord will come in secret and will only believe when we see the Lord appearing before our very eyes coming down on a cloud in spiritual form, would we not be making the same mistake that Thomas made? Then what will happen when we do really see the Lord coming on clouds? It is prophesied in Revelation, “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 says that when the Lord comes on clouds, all kindreds will wail. It is reasonable to think that people should rejoice when they see the Lord, so why will all kindreds wail? It is because, when the Lord returns in the last days, He first comes secretly in the flesh to express the truth, perform the work of judgment beginning with God’s house, and perfect a group of overcomers. Just as the Bible prophesies, “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). “He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). After God has made a group of overcomers, the work of the secret coming of God incarnate will be over. God will then begin to unleash the great disasters to reward the good and punish the wicked, and that is also the time when people’s ends will be determined. All who are made into overcomers before the disasters will come under God’s protection and will survive; those who wait blindly for the Lord to come on a cloud, who constantly refuse to accept God’s work in the last days, and who even condemn the incarnate God of the last days, will be utterly abandoned and eliminated by God. Therefore, when God appears openly to all nations and peoples after the disasters and they see that the Christ of the last days whom they have defied is indeed the Lord Jesus returned, then they will weep and gnash their teeth. At that point, it will be too late for regret.

So how can we avoid making the same mistake as Thomas, and what should we do to greet the Lord during the time He comes to work in secret? The Lord Jesus said, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). And it is prophesied in Revelation, “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). It can be seen that the key to welcoming the Lord’s return is that we should pay attention to listening for God’s voice and try to see whether He is the returned Lord, and we should not believe only after seeing with our own eyes. Nowadays, only The Church of Almighty God is openly testifying that the Lord Jesus has returned already as the incarnated Almighty God. He has expressed the truth and is performing the work of judgment beginning from the house of God, completely fulfilling the Lord Jesus’ prophecies. The words expressed by Almighty God are “what the Spirit says to the churches” as prophesied in Revelation, and they have long been publicly available online for the true believers in the Lord from all over the world to seek and investigate—this is the Lord knocking on the doors of all those who long for His appearance. Only by humbly seeking and acting according to the Lord’s words to hear God’s voice will we have the opportunity to welcome the Lord and gain God’s salvation of the last days.

Almighty God’s work of secretly coming to the earth to make the overcomers is nearing its end, and the great disasters are about to come. We should seize this rare chance that God has given us. I hope that we could learn lessons from doubting Thomas and will not miss out on welcoming the Lord’s return.

You may be interested in reading more on our Bible Devotions page about True Faith, or in the articles below.

Lessons on Doubting Thomas: Those Who Believe When They Have Not Seen Are True Believers

Believe in God by Faith, Not by Sight—A Commentary on 2 Corinthians 5:7

Significance of the Lord Jesus’ Appearance to Thomas

Are You Thomas or Peter?

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