For today’s gathering, let’s first read a piece of God’s word “Beholding the Appearance of God in His Judgment and Chastisement.”
“Like hundreds of millions of other followers of the Lord Jesus Christ, we abide by the laws and commandments of the Bible, enjoy the abundant grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and gather together, pray, praise, and serve in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ—and all this we do under the care and protection of the Lord. We are often weak, and often strong. We believe that all of our actions are in accordance with the teachings of the Lord. It goes without saying, then, that we also believe ourselves to walk the path of obedience to the will of the Father in heaven. We long for the return of the Lord Jesus, for the glorious arrival of the Lord Jesus, for the end of our life on earth, for the appearance of the kingdom, and for everything as it was foretold in the Book of Revelation: The Lord arrives, and brings disaster, and rewards the good and punishes the wicked, and takes all those who follow Him and welcome His return into the air to meet Him. Every time we think of this, we can’t help but be overcome with emotion. We are thankful that we were born in the last days and are lucky enough to witness the coming of the Lord. Though we have suffered persecution, it is in return for ‘a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory’; what a blessing that is! All of this longing and the grace bestowed by the Lord make us often sober unto prayer, and bring us together more often. Maybe next year, maybe tomorrow, or maybe even sooner when man does not expect it, the Lord shall suddenly arrive, and shall appear among a group of people who have been attentively waiting for Him. We are all contending with each other, none wanting to fall behind, in order to be the first group to behold the appearance of the Lord, to become one of those who shall be raptured. We have given everything, regardless of the cost, for the coming of this day. Some have given up their jobs, some have abandoned their families, some have renounced marriage, and some have even donated all of their savings. What selfless devotion! Such sincerity and loyalty must be beyond even the saints of ages past! As the Lord bestows grace upon whomever He wishes, and has mercy on whomever He wishes, our devotion and spending, we believe, have already been beheld by His eyes. So, too, have our heartfelt prayers already reached His ears, and we trust that the Lord will reward us for our devotion. Moreover, God was graceful toward us before He created the world, and none shall take away God’s blessings and promises to us. We are all planning for the future, and take it for granted that our devotion and spending are bargaining chips or stock for our rapture into the air to meet the Lord. What’s more, without the slightest hesitation, we place ourselves on the future throne, presiding over all nations and all peoples, or ruling as kings. All this we take as a given, as something to be expected.
We disdain all those who are against the Lord Jesus; in the end, they will all be annihilated. Who told them not to believe that the Lord Jesus is the Savior? Of course, there are times when we learn from the Lord Jesus and are compassionate toward the world, for they do not understand, and we should be tolerant and forgiving of them. Everything that we do is in accordance with the words of the Bible, for everything that does not conform to the Bible is heresy, and an evil cult. Such belief is deeply embedded in each of our minds. Our Lord is in the Bible, and if we do not depart from the Bible we shall not depart from the Lord; if we abide by this principle, then we shall be saved. We spur each other on, and support each other, and every time we gather together we hope that everything we say and do is in accordance with the will of the Lord, and can be accepted by the Lord. Despite the severe hostility of our environment, our hearts are filled with joy. When we think of the blessings that are within such easy reach, is there nothing we cannot forsake? Is there nothing we cannot bear to part with? All of this is implicit, and all of this is looked upon by the eyes of God. We, the handful of the needy who have been lifted from the dunghill, are the same as all ordinary followers of the Lord Jesus: We dream of rapture, and of being blessed, and of ruling all the nations. Our corruption is laid bare in the eyes of God, and our desires and greed are condemned in the eyes of God. Yet all of this happens so unremarkably, so logically, and none of us wonder whether our longing is right, much less do any of us doubt the accuracy of all that we hold to. Who can know God’s will? We do not know to seek, or explore, or even concern ourselves with the path that we walk. For we only care about whether we can be raptured, whether we can be blessed, whether there is a place for us in the kingdom of heaven, and whether we shall have a share of the water of the river of life and the fruit of the tree of life. Do we not believe in the Lord, and are we not followers of the Lord, for the sake of gaining these things? Our sins have been forgiven, we have repented, we have drunk the bitter cup of wine, and we have put the cross upon our back. Who can say that the price we have paid will not be accepted by the Lord? Who can say that we have not prepared enough oil? We don’t want to be those foolish virgins, or one of those who are forsaken. Moreover, we pray often, and ask the Lord to keep us from being deceived by false Christs, for it is said in the Bible that ‘Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect’ (Matthew 24:23-24). We have all committed these verses of the Bible to memory, we know them back to front, and we see them as precious treasure, as life, and as the credentials for our rapture and salvation….
For thousands of years, the living have passed away, taking their longings and dreams with them, and no one truly knows whether they have gone to the kingdom of heaven. The dead return, and they have forgotten all the stories that once occurred, and still follow the teachings and the ways of the forefathers. And so, as the years pass and the days go by, no one knows whether our Lord Jesus, our God, truly accepts all that we do. We simply look forward to an outcome and speculate about all that will happen. Yet God has kept His silence throughout, and has never appeared to us, or spoken to us. And so we willfully judge God’s will and disposition according to the Bible and the signs. We have become accustomed to the silence of God; we have become accustomed to measuring the rights and wrongs of our behavior using our own way of thinking; we have become accustomed to using our knowledge, conceptions, and moral ethics to replace God’s demands of us; we have become accustomed to enjoying the grace of God; we have become accustomed to God providing assistance whenever we need it; we have become accustomed to holding out our hands to God for all things, and to ordering God about; we have also become accustomed to following doctrine, not paying attention to how the Holy Spirit leads us; moreover, we have become accustomed to days in which we are our own master. We believe in a God such as this, whom we have never met. Questions such as what His disposition is like, what His possessions and being are, what His image is like, whether or not we will know Him when He comes, and so on—none of these are important. What’s important is that He is in our hearts, that we all await Him, and that we are able to imagine what He is like. We appreciate our faith, and treasure our spirituality. We consider everything as dung, and tread all things underfoot. Because we are the followers of the glorious Lord, no matter how long and arduous the journey, no matter what hardships and dangers befall us, nothing can halt our footsteps as we follow the Lord. ‘A pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeded out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. On either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bore twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and his servants shall serve him: And they shall see his face; and his name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever’ (Revelation 22:1-5). Every time we sing these words, our hearts brim with surpassing joy and satisfaction, and tears flow from our eyes. Thanks be to the Lord for choosing us, thanks be to the Lord for His grace. He has given us a hundredfold now in this time, has given us eternal life in the world to come, and if He asked us to die now, we would do so without the slightest complaint. Lord! Please come soon! Do not delay a minute longer, for we desperately yearn for You, and have forsaken everything for You.
God is silent, and has never appeared to us, yet His work has never stopped. He looks upon all lands, and commands all things, and beholds all the words and deeds of man. His management is conducted in steps and according to His plan. It proceeds silently, without dramatic effect, yet His footsteps advance ever closer to mankind, and His judgment seat is deployed in the universe at the speed of lightning, immediately followed by the descent of His throne among us. What a majestic scene that is, what a stately and solemn tableau. Like a dove, and like a roaring lion, the Spirit arrives among us all. He is wise, He is righteous and majestic, He quietly arrives among us possessed of authority and filled with love and compassion. No one is aware of His arrival, no one welcomes His arrival, and, moreover, no one knows all that He will do. Man’s life remains unchanged; his heart is no different, and the days go by as usual. God lives among us like an ordinary person, as a most insignificant follower and an ordinary believer. He has His own pursuits, His own goals, and, moreover, He has divinity not possessed by ordinary men. No one has noticed the existence of His divinity, and no one has perceived the difference between His substance and that of man. We live together with Him, unconstrained and unafraid, for we see Him as nothing more than an insignificant believer. He watches our every move, and all of our thoughts and ideas are laid bare before Him. No one takes an interest in His existence, no one has any imagination of His function, and, moreover, no one has any suspicion about who He is. We merely continue our pursuits, as if He has nothing to do with us….