By Fang Liang
One day, my wife said, “These days I, together with our daughter, went to my younger sister’s home to listen to the sermons, in which I think there is . I think what the preacher preached was really very enlightening. Especially when he was talking about which kind of people are able to welcome the return of the , I had a clear knowledge of that. Hey, honey, you and our son can express your views about what kind of people will welcome the Lord first and be raptured into when the Lord comes back?”
After hearing her words, I looked at my wife and our son as I said, “Of course it is those pastors and elders who understand the biblical knowledge that will accept first. They know very well, are familiar with the biblical knowledge, and shepherd the church and serve the Lord. Their spiritual life is big. So I think people like them are certain to welcome the Lord first when He comes back.”
My son hastened to say, “What my dad said is right. I agree to his point of view.”
My wife shook her head and said, “Father of our son, you often explain the Scripture to others. Which verse in the Bible records that understanding the biblical knowledge, one can know God and have the way to practice? I remember in John 7:45-48 it is recorded, ‘Then came the officers to the chief priests and Pharisees; and they said to them, Why have you not brought him? The officers answered, Never man spoke like this man. Then answered them the Pharisees, Are you also deceived? Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on him?’ However, when Jesus called His disciples, it says in the Bible, ‘And Jesus, walking by the sea of Galilee, saw two brothers, Simon called Peter, and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And he said to them, Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men. And they straightway left their nets, and followed him’ (Mat 4:18-20). We can see from these two scriptures: Those chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees were familiar with the Bible and knew the biblical knowledge. When God came to do His new work, they not only did not accept the new work, but frantically resisted, condemned and blocked the believers under their domain from accepting the Lord’s work. In the end, it was they who understood the biblical knowledge that nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross. While those who had little bit of biblical knowledge but truly yearned for the appearance of God, like Peter, Matthew and John left everything to follow the Lord and accepted His new work when they heard the calling of the Lord Jesus. They were the people who truly welcomed the Messiah. From these facts, we know though the religious leaders are familiar with the Bible, it doesn’t mean they know God and are able to meet the Lord. What I said is correct, isn’t it?”
Having heard her question, I felt pretty shamed. I often read and explained the verses, but I had never pursued and pondered the truth in them. My daughter looked at me and said, “What my mother said is right. Two thousand years ago, when the Lord Jesus did His work in Jew, according to the viewpoint of my father just now, those chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees who were familiar with the Bible, well versed in the law and piously served should have accepted the work of the Lord Jesus first. Yet the fact was just the opposite. After the religious leaders heard the Lord Jesus’ word and saw His deeds, not only did they not seek and accept, but instead they tried to find all kinds of accusations against the Lord Jesus and resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus’ work. The Lord Jesus preached and worked, and taught man by truths, but they disparaged Him in disturbing the people. The Lord Jesus said He Himself was sent by Father, and He is the truth, the way and the life; they, however, accused Him of blasphemy. The Lord Jesus healed and cast out demons for men; still they blasphemed Him, saying that He relied on Beelzebub, chief of the demons, to cast out demons. These chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees were all those who served God in the temple. Although they were constant readers of the Bible, they didn’t know the work of the Holy Spirit, nor did they accept the truth. Why did they not accept the Lord Jesus? Wasn’t it because they thought they had done extensive reading of the Bible, and had understood the biblical knowledge, and were rich people? Therefore, they were very arrogant and self-conceited, didn’t seek the truth, disdained others and God. Consequently, they lost the salvation of the Lord Jesus and received God’s curse. As the Lord Jesus revealed, ‘And whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted’ (Mat 23:12). On the contrary, those fishermen, tax collectors and the Samaritan woman didn’t have biblical knowledge, or social position, nor could they be thought much of by people. However, they attained God’s enlightenment and salvation for they sought humbly with a hunger and a thirst for righteousness. Just as the Lord Jesus said, ‘Blessed be you poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you that hunger now: for you shall be filled’ (Luk 6:20-21). ‘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’ (Rev 3:20). From the Lord’s word we see that if we desire to feast along with the Lord and to be raptured up into the kingdom of heaven, we shall have a heart that longs for and seeks the truth, and so shall we listen out for the voice of God. Only in this way will we be able to welcome the return of the Lord!”
Hearing their fellowship, I felt indeed disgraced and ashamed. It turned out that though preaching every day, I only preached words and doctrines, not understanding the truth! I once believed that reading and reciting the Bible by heart was understanding the Bible. It seemed that I was really self-righteous and haughty. This really fulfilled the Lord Jesus’ word, “And whoever shall exalt himself shall be abased; and he that shall humble himself shall be exalted” (Mat 23:12).
I thought for a moment and said with emotion, “What you fellowshiped is indeed the fact. Think back to the time when the Lord Jesus did His work two thousand years ago, in light of the amount of the biblical knowledge, nobody could know far more than the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees. Nevertheless, when the Lord Jesus was born, the Magi, herdsmen, Simeon and other persons were first enlightened. While the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees were arrogant and flaunted their seniority owing to their riches, becoming those who were blind and didn’t know God. I could not help but think of the verse, ‘Because you say, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and know not that you are wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked’ (Rev 3:17). God doesn’t pay attention to those arrogant and conceited people who profess to have the knowledge of the Bible and capability of seeing through everything, but rather enlightens and leads those who are humble and long for God’s appearance. They are willing to accept and submit to God after they get the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. Just as the Lord Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me’ (Jhn 10:27). On condition that we accept and obey humbly the Lord’s word, we are certain to gain the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit and receive the salvation of God.”
My wife, along with our daughter and son, said with one accord, “Thank the Lord! Amen!”
Our son said, “Your fellowship is endowed with the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment and illumination and is in keeping with the Lord’s word. In the past, I made too much of the pastors and elders, thinking that they read the Bible by heart and always explained the biblical knowledge to us, so they should have obtained the Lord’s inspiration first. Now I see my perspective is wrong and isn’t in conformity with the Lord’s will. Those who understand more of the biblical knowledge are in fact more arrogant and are to be that much less likely to accept God’s new work. Only if we seek the work of the Holy Spirit with a humble heart are we capable of obtaining the leading and guidance of the Holy Spirit, and only then can we follow God’s work!” All of my families were very happy. Thank the Lord for His mercy and concern. Subsequently, we continued our fellowship …
Dear brothers and sisters, If you have any understanding or enlightenment from God, welcome to share with us via the online chat window at the bottom of the website or send an email to [email protected]. We sincerely hope we’ll grow spiritually through sharing with each other.