By Meng’en, Japan
My Dream of the Heavenly Kingdom
Since I was baptized and returned to the Lord in 1993, the pastor had often told us that as long as we believed in the, the Lord would give us His righteousness without asking for anything in return, and that we would be raptured into the kingdom of heaven when He came again. After that I had been expecting the Lord to come to rapture us soon. Later, I read these words in , “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). Then I pondered: How should I make efforts? Should I not take some practical action? For the sake of having a better chance to enter the heavenly kingdom, I must expend myself and work for the Lord based on acknowledging in my mouth and believing in Him in my heart.
Several years later, by the Lord’s grace, I was chosen to be a worker of the church. From that point onward, my sacrifices for the Lord had greatly increased in strength. Whichever meeting place needed to be supported I would get there immediately; whatever difficulty my brothers and sisters had, I would go give them support amid rains and storms, heat and cold, and sometimes I even put aside my own household affairs to help them. Every time I heard them praise my loyalty to the Lord, I was especially happy. I thought: Since I can win the admiration of my brothers and sisters, I must also be approved by the Lord. Because of my active labor and sacrifice for the Lord, I was especially blessed by Him—My son’s study, work, and marriage all were very satisfactory. This made me even more see that toiling for the Lord was not in vain.
How to Enter the Kingdom of Heaven
However, the only thing that troubled me was that though I had believed in the Lord and known that the Lord requested us to love others as ourselves, when my husband had a disagreement with me, I could still quarrel with him and even resent him in my heart. The Bible said, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer hasabiding in him” (1 John 3:15). I knew that my behaviors were not approved by the Lord, so I confessed my sins to Him every night. Yet when we encountered something afterward, we would still get into arguments. For this, I felt quite helpless and had no idea how I could practice the Lord’s teachings.
One time when studying the Bible, I read the following words of the Lord, “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). Then a question came into my mind: “The Lord said that only by doing the will of the heavenly Father can we enter the kingdom of heaven. That is to say, merely saying words of acknowledgment and believing in the Lord in our hearts doesn’t qualify us to enter the heavenly kingdom. Then what is doing the will of the heavenly Father?” Later, I sought from my co-workers on this issue, but their opinions were different. Since I found no answer, I thought of a compromise—working and spending to atone for my sins. Thereby, I attended the small group meetings more often and never missed a duty that I should fulfill.
In a blink, over twenty years passed by, and I had kept expending myself like this all along. Although I still committed sins, and couldn’t obey the way of the Lord, I believed that as long as I put all my efforts in working for the Lord, He would surely commemorate my good deeds and that when He came, I definitely could be brought into the kingdom of heaven.
Hearing the Gospel in a Foreign Land
In February, 2018, I came to Japan to visit my son. After a few days, a relative of mine said to me: “There is a brother surnamed Wu, who preaches very well. Would you like to listen to his sermons?” “Of course!” I agreed with joy. On that day, hearing that Brother Wu would fellowship with us about the Book of Revelation, I got enthusiastic. In China, what we often talked about was Paul or how to work and spread the gospel, which I was sick of hearing. I didn’t imagine that I could hear something new in Japan. In the meeting, Brother Wu talked about the little scroll prophesied in the Book of Revelation and said that it could only be opened by the returned God. Then he communicated about the words of the Holy Spirit to the churches, God’s sheep hearing the voice of God, and so on. The more I listened, the more I became interested in it, and I thought: “It turns out that there are so many mysteries in the Book of Revelation. In the past, I have heard so many boring sermons, but Brother Wu’s sermon today is truly fresh and I am finally quenched.”
At this moment, Brother Wu read me several verses of scripture, “And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). “But that you may know thathas power on earth to forgive sins” (Luke 5:24). “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47).
Brother Wu communed, “From these scriptures, we can see that what the Lord Jesus did is the work of forgiving sins and saving people from under the laws. Our knowledge of God’s work can only go as far as what God has performed. In the Age of Law, Jehovah God decreed laws, so men knew what sin is and what punishment they would receive when they committed sins; in the Age of Grace, because the Lord Jesus was crucified and did the work of redemption, we are capable of being absolved of our sins and coming before God. However, the Lord Jesus didn’t do the work of eliminating sins. This is why people in the Age of Grace still live in the state of committing sins and confessing sins. Just as Paul said, ‘For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me’ (Romans 7:18-20). Sister, is this not so?”
“Yes, it is.” I nodded. “My situation is just like this. I know that the Lord has taught us to love others as ourselves, yet I often can’t practice it.”
“Do you know why this is?” asked Brother Wu.
“Even the co-workers and pastors of my church don’t know the reason, not to speak of me,” I replied to him.
Brother Wu smiled and said, “The reason that we can’t help committing sins is because the work of redemption done by the Lord Jesus only absolved our sins, but the root of our committing sins still exists. It is recorded in 1 Peter 1:5, ‘Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.’ So in, the Lord will come again to express words to let us obtain of the last days, which is the work of judgment beginning with God’s house mentioned by Peter. Only when we receive God’s salvation of the last days, can we break free of the bondage of sins and be purified.”
After hearing Brother Wu’s fellowship, I was immediately clear: “The reason why I always live in the situation of committing sins and confessing is because there is the root of sins within me. It turns out that God will do another stage of work in the last days and that only by accepting God’s salvation of the last days, can we be cleansed.”
Meeting With the Lord But Not Knowing Him
Then, Brother Wu fellowshiped other aspects of the truth, such as the way of the Lord’s return, the mystery of the incarnation, and so on. I had never heard such a clear sermon and I felt very bright in my heart. In the end, Brother Wu said, “Actually, the Lord Jesus has returned and He is Almighty. God has begun to utter words since 1991 and has carried out the work of judgment beginning from God’s house, which has fulfilled the Lord’s words, ‘For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be’ (Matthew 24:27).”
At this point I was shocked: “It turns out that what they are spreading is Eastern Lightning. How can Eastern Lightning be the second coming of the Lord?” Then I thought of the negative propaganda about Eastern Lightning from the Chinese Communist Party and the religious world. For a moment, I couldn’t accept it, nor dared I believe that God had come and that He was Eastern Lightning condemned by the Chinese Communist Party.
Seeing that my expression changed, my relative asked me, “Having heard so much from Brother Wu, do you think there is truth to seek?”
“All Brother Wu fellowshiped is in accordance with the truth and I have nothing to refute,” I replied.
“The Lord’s return is a great thing,” my relative said. “Since it conforms to the truth, then we should listen. What do you think?”
I said nothing and thought: “My relative’s words make sense. Brother Wu’s fellowship is enlightening and what he said is in line with the Bible, not at all like how the rumors portrayed it to be. No matter what, I should listen more first before making a decision.
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