A “Messenger Pigeon” Brings Critical News
By Su Jie, China
One day in 1999 after a gathering had wrapped up, the pastor approached me and said, “Su Jie, here’s a letter for you.” As soon as I saw it, I knew that it had come from a church I had established in Shandong. I took the letter and on the way home, I wondered as I walked along, “This letter is so thick, could it be that they’ve encountered some difficulties?”
I couldn’t wait to open the letter after getting home and in it I read: “Sister Su, peace be with you in the Lord! I am writing to tell you some incredible news: The Lord Jesus our Savior whom we’ve yearned for day and night has returned. He has already returned to the flesh and is doing the stage of work of judging and cleansing people through His words in China; He has ended the Age of Grace and started the Age of Kingdom. … I hope you accept God’s new work and keep pace with God’s footsteps. Whatever you do, do not miss this chance at God’sof the last days.” Once I read up to that point I felt a sense of shock: They hadn’t actually encountered any difficulties, but believed in ! I was eager to know who wrote this letter, so I quickly turned to the last page. It turned out that Brother Meng had been the one to write it, and the signatures of all the other brothers and sisters of the church were at the end, too. After reading through the whole letter I was dumbfounded. I stared at it blankly for a while before I recovered and thought to myself: “Eastern Lightning testifies that the Lord has returned, and they’ve stolen away lots of good sheep and head sheep from a number of denominations. I never thought that Brother Meng from the Shandong church would believe in Eastern Lightning too. All the brothers and sisters of this church have been stolen by Eastern Lightning—what can be done?” When this thought occurred to me I felt an even greater sense of urgency, but it was too far to travel to Shandong and I was tied up with my work here. I couldn’t go right then. Helpless, I could only cry and pray to the Lord: “Lord! These brothers and sisters haven’t believed in You for very long and they don’t have a stable foundation yet. Please watch over them.…”
After that, I combed through the Bible and put pen to paper to write the first letter back to them. In the letter I said: “Brothers and sisters, in Jesus Christ, I respectfully advise you to be wary. Paul said: ‘I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ to another: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel to you than that you have received, let him be accursed’ (Galatians 1:6–9). Brothers and sisters, bringing you before the Lord was no easy task; how could you betray the Lord so quickly? Your stature is too small—don’t just cavalierly listen to other ways! You must listen to me because what I shared with you is the true way. Only the Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior. You must uphold this forever….” Only after I finished writing and looked at the eight-page letter did I feel at ease. I thought to myself: I wrote all that I should write, consulted all of the scriptures that I should consult, and wrote all the words of advice and encouragement that I should. I believe that after they read this, they will certainly respond and acknowledge their mistake.
Two weeks later, I received this response: “Sister Su, we cannot not speak of all that we have seen and heard becausewhom we believe in is the returned Lord Jesus. We are upholding the true way and moving forward; we have not remotely betrayed the Lord, but are following the Lord’s footsteps. You mentioned these words from Paul: ‘I marvel that you are so soon removed from Him that called you into the grace of Christ to another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ’ (Galatians 1:6–7). There is a background to what Paul said. We just need to study the Bible to know that ‘another gospel’ that Paul spoke of then referred to the Pharisees asking people to keep to Jehovah’s law; it didn’t refer to people of the last days spreading the gospel of the kingdom, bearing witness that the Lord has returned in the flesh and is doing His work of judgment starting with the house of God. When Paul wrote this letter to the Galatian churches, no one at all was preaching God’s kingdom gospel. Therefore, the ‘another gospel’ that Paul spoke of does not refer to the Lord returning and doing His judgment work of the last days beginning with the house of God. This stage of judgment work that the Lord has now returned to carry out fulfills this prophecy in the Book of Revelation: ‘And I saw another angel fly in the middle of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come’ (Revelation 14:6–7). Here ‘everlasting gospel’ refers to the gospel of the kingdom. Moreover, this final salvation was long ago revealed by to the disciples of the Lord Jesus. As Peter said: ‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God’ (1 Peter 4:17). ‘Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time’ (1 Peter 1:5). Sister Su, isn’t the return of the Lord what we as believers yearn for? Now the Lord has indeed returned; we must be humble seekers. We absolutely cannot be like the Pharisees in their treatment of the Lord Jesus, God’s first incarnation, blindly using knowledge of the Bible and their notions and imaginations to delimit God’s new work, condemning and resisting the Lord because of the Lord Jesus not obeying the law, and then crucifying the Lord. The Pharisees only believed in Jehovah God but did not accept the incarnation of Jehovah God—the Lord Jesus’ work—and ultimately they were condemned and cursed by the Lord. Isn’t this bloody lesson worthy of our reflection? No one can deny that the Lord Jesus is our Savior. But if we only accept the Lord Jesus yet do not accept the return of the Lord, are we not the same as the Pharisees? Have we not then become people who yet resist Him? Furthermore, Sister Su, we can’t do as you say just because you preached the Lord’s gospel to us. What we believe in is God. Peter and the other apostles once said, ‘We ought to rather than men’ (Acts 5:29). And in matters regarding the coming of the Lord we particularly can’t just listen to other human beings. We have already determined that the word of Almighty God is the voice of God. We hope that you look into it too.”
While reading the letter I was incensed, and not the least bit convinced. I pounced on my biblical reference book and paged to the introduction to the Book of Galatians. I read carefully and was so surprised: This really was true! The “another gospel” that Paul spoke of really referred to the Pharisees getting people to adhere to Jehovah’s law; sure enough, it didn’t refer to the Lord’s work of judgment starting with the house of God upon His return. All those years, how was it that I had never noticed that this was the context of that verse? No wonder they were unconvinced. But then another line of thinking occurred to me: Even if what I said was wrong, that still can’t prove that the Lord has returned, as they preach. I read the letter again from start to finish and the more I read it, the angrier I got. I thought, “I never expected that after being gone for such a short time, they would have the audacity to take such a high tone with me and even dare … dare to call me a Pharisee. I hate the Pharisees more than anyone. How could I possibly resist the Lord the way the Pharisees did? I’ve worked so hard for so many years, toiling day and night for believers. How could they not know that?” The more I thought about it the more upset I felt and I thought: “No, how can I be out-argued by a handful of believers who are still wet behind the ears? I’ve read the Bible so many times—there’s no way I can’t win this debate.”
So, I once again whipped out my pen and wrote a second letter back to them, saying: “Brothers and sisters, may peace be with you in the Lord! Reading your letter was very upsetting for me. I’m not asking you to do as I say—you’ve really misunderstood my intention. I am afraid of you departing from the way of the Lord Jesus because the Lord Jesus said: ‘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). Paul also said: ‘Now we beseech you, brothers, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together to Him, That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means’ (2 Thessalonians 2:1–3). Dear brothers and sisters, I advise you in the name of the Lord Jesus that there will be dangerous days ahead in the last days, and that you must not believe anyone who preaches of the Lord’s coming. We have to be extremely careful and bear the Lord’s words in mind, lest we take the wrong path and displease the Lord!”
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