I Have Come Home (Part 1)
By Chu Keen Pong, Malaysia
God’s Wonderful Orchestration and Guidance
I have believed in the Lord for more than ten years and served in the church for two years, then left the church to go abroad for work. I have been to many places including Singapore and have earned a lot of money, but in this existence in modern society, where the strong prey on the weak, and where people compete with and scheme against each other, where each person tries to outdo the other in treachery, I have faced innumerable complex interpersonal relations and was always on my guard against others. They were also on their guard against me, and this gave me the feeling the whole time in the depths of my heart that I couldn’t find any stable ground to stand on. This way of life made me feel exhausted in body and spirit. The only thing that offered me any consolation was the diary I carried with me in which I kept some pages of scriptures I had excerpted. Sometimes I would read them and they would fill in the emptiness in my spirit. Even though I hadn’t gone to a church gathering in many years, since last year I just had one thing in mind: to find a church in which I could serve the Lord in earnest. After that, I took advantage of some free time to go to large and small churches in Malaysia but I always went there happy and left feeling discouraged. I always felt I was lacking something inside, but I could never figure out exactly what it was. In this contradictory state, I went to another extreme, just playing video games online and watching movies, sometimes playing all night or watching one movie after another. My work and sleep schedule were a mess. When I first started doing this I was somewhat conscious that the Lord was displeased with me, but I gradually became numb. It was just at that time that I lost my cell phone. At the time, I complained inwardly about it. My cell phone was lost, and with it a lot of data was gone, and I had no way to log in to Facebook…. On the surface, this was a bad thing, but I never expected that it would be a turning point for my life. It was just like the Chinese proverb, “An old man loses his horse, but who knows what good fortune will come?”
At the beginning of 2017, I bought a new cell phone. One day in late February, after logging into Facebook, I accidentally clicked on the timeline of an English-language profile and saw the posts that contained verses of Scripture. I also saw that the posts contained some verses that were not from the Bible, yet these words encouraged me a lot and my heart was attracted to these words. In the following several days, I paid close attention to this Facebook account, and even spent some time looking up terms. Finally, I finished reading the post on the account that I was interested in. After I had read it all, I knew that the main content of this post was an explanation of the passage of Scripture in which the Lord Jesus says: “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Mat 7:21). After reading it, I felt that this was quite a unique explanation, and that it was full of inspiration and light. Because I hadn’t yet added that person as a friend, I wasn’t able to see more posts on their timeline. What I was able to see on their timeline, however, was that this Facebook friend was from South Korea and was a sister named Susan. I sent her a friend request, but she might not have been online at the time and didn’t immediately accept my request. After two days, I added another Chinese-speaking friend named Qi Fei. She was also a Christian from South Korea. After hearing her talk about some of her experiences in believing in God, I thought her sharing was good. I had no idea that Susan was a friend of Sister Qi Fei’s, and we then added each other as friends. By reading their Facebook posts and through our occasional chats, I felt that they understood a lot about believing in God.
After a while of talking about the Bible with them as well as discussing some of the things that were going on in our lives, I thought that they had a special way of helping me fix some of the worries in my life and that there was a lot of reason and insight in what they said. From my own experience, they were different from other people. I felt more inwardly stable and tranquil through being in contact with them, and even though I didn’t know them very well, their simplicity and honesty made me start to think of them as intimate friends without realizing it. I wanted to share my feelings with them. Gradually, I started to make some changes in how I lived my life.
A Question Is Answered
About a week later, on the evening of March 11, I got on Facebook and saw Susan was online. I first chatted with her about some work-related things, then I told her about my desire to find a church to serve and said that I wanted to hear her suggestions about it. Sister Susan said that everything is arranged and ruled by God, and that I should pray frequently to God and seek His guidance. Everything has a time appointed by God, and we should all learn to wait and be obedient. After that, she spoke about the current situation in many of the churches: The preachers have nothing to preach, some churches don’t have anyone attending gatherings, and even if there are a lot of people going to a gathering, they are all just talking about how to make money, promoting businesses to each other, and other things that have nothing to do with believing in God. She said that these things are actually demonstrations that the church no longer has the work of the Holy Spirit and that it has gone desolate. After hearing her say all this, I had the same impression. Before, when I had been serving the church, co-workers there were scrambling for fame and wealth, fighting and scheming with each other, slandering each other, and trying to seize some area of control. There were even cases of them being promiscuous. Seeing these scenes one after the other, I felt depressed and indignant. At the time, I asked the priest and some co-workers what I should think of all these things, but they couldn’t explain it. Never would I have thought that this problem that had been vexing me for so long would be solved by Sister Susan. In my heart, I felt a happiness that I couldn’t express.
Biblical Prophecies of the Lord’s Return
We also explored the topic of all the various disasters and wars that were happening at the time, and judging by the signs of disasters all around and of imminent wars, the biblical omens of the Lord’s second coming were basically all fulfilled, and the Lord would soon come. That reminded me of a believer I had met at noon online who said that the Lord had returned in 1991, about which I was very doubtful. I couldn’t help asking Susan about this. Susan asked me what I thought about it, and I said: “There’s no way. When the Lord returns He will descend upon a cloud and will be seen by everyone. But we haven’t seen the Lord descending on a cloud, so how could anyone think the Lord has already returned?”
Susan responded, “Brother, you’re someone who is very well read in the Bible. If you examine the words of the Bible closely, I’m sure you will find your answer. Actually, there are many ways to talk about the prophecy of the Lord’s second coming. The prophecy, as it is described in the Bible, is mainly divided into two kinds: One is as you just described, prophesying that the Lord will descend on a cloud and be known to everyone, and all will be able to see Him. Another prophesies the Lord’s hidden advent, which only a certain group of people will be aware of. It is just as the Lord Jesus said: ‘Behold, I come as a thief’ (Rev 16:15). ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Mat 25:6). ‘As a thief’ and ‘at midnight there was a cry made’ mean it will be silent and motionless, unknown to anyone. The heavens will not sound and the earth will not shake, and it is not something apparent to all people. There is only a small group of people able to hear the Lord’s voice who can meet Him. This is the prophecy of the Lord’s hidden advent. If we cling only to the prophecy of the Lord descending openly on a cloud, and we neglect the prophecy of the hidden advent, then is that correct? This way, would we not mistake the voice of the Lord, and miss our opportunity to welcome the Lord and be raised up into the heavenly kingdom?”
I was stumped by Susan’s question. I read these two passages over and over again, and thought: “Could there be a contradiction in the Bible? No no no! How could it be? But in fact, the Bible did have two different prophecies about the manner of the Lord’s return! How could this be explained?” In my confusion, I let her go on fellowshiping. Susan said: “From the perspective of the Bible’s prophecies, there are two ways in which the second coming of the Lord may occur. One is the hidden advent, and one is an appearance that is made known. In the last days, God will become incarnate among the people as the Son of man, and on the outside Christ will appear just to be an ordinary, common man just as the Lord Jesus became incarnate. He will have normal humanity, and will eat, dress, live, and act just as an ordinary person. He will live among the people, and so this is considered ‘hidden’ from our perspective because no one will see that He is God, nor will anyone know His real identity. Once the Son of man begins to work and speak, the people who are able to hear God’s voice will see the expression of God’s disposition through the words and work of the Son of man. They will see God’s might and authority and will recognize that the Lord has come. This shall fulfill the Lord Jesus’ prophecy: ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me’ (Jhn 10:27). Those who are unable to distinguish the voice of God are sure to treat the incarnate God as an ordinary person based on His outer appearance. They will deny and reject, and even resist, accuse, and blaspheme against Christ of the last days. Just as when the Lord Jesus came to do His work, in appearance He was an ordinary and common Son of man. Therefore, most people denied, resisted, and accused Him, and only a small group of people recognized through His words and work that the Lord Jesus was the incarnate Christ. They recognized that He was God manifest and followed the Lord Jesus and they attained His salvation.” After hearing what the sister fellowshiped, I thought it made a lot of sense because all of it was true. It was exactly like this when the Lord Jesus came to perform His work. But when I thought about it again, it says in Revelation that when the Lord returns He will descend on a cloud and it will be made known to all, and the elders and preachers all preached this. With this in mind, I resolutely asked Susan: “The Lord Jesus Himself said that His second coming would be upon a cloud. How could it be an incarnation? How can you deny those words of the Bible?” Sister Susan said: “You just need to investigate the Bible clearly and you will discover that there are many places that clearly prophesy that the Lord will return incarnate.” In light of what Sister Susan said, I found some passages of Scripture and began to read: “Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you think not” (Luk 12:40). “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” (Luk 17:24–25).
After I finished reading the scriptural passages, Sister Susan said: “All these prophecies mention the ‘arrival of the Son of man.’ The ‘Son of man’ refers to a person born to a human and with normal humanity. If He manifested in a spiritual body, then He could not be referred to as the Son of man, just as Jehovah is the Spirit and cannot be called the Son of man. People have also seen angels, which are spiritual beings and so cannot be called the Son of man either. All who have a human form but who are spiritual beings cannot be called the Son of man. The incarnate Lord Jesus is called the Son of man and the Christ because He was the fleshly incarnation of God’s Spirit and the realization of the Spirit in the flesh. He became an ordinary, common man, and lived among mankind. The Lord Jesus was the Son of man and God’s incarnation, so when the Lord Jesus said He will return again as the Son of man, He meant that He will come again in a physical body as the Son of man, and not in spiritual form. Therefore, when the Lord Jesus said He will come again, He meant that He will return in the form of an incarnation. Furthermore, the Bible says: ‘But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.’ This further proves that when the Lord comes again it will be in the manner of the incarnation. Think about it: If the Lord appeared to us at His return in a spiritual body rather than the incarnation, He wouldn’t suffer as much, much less be rejected by this generation. Who would dare reject the Spirit of God? Who would be able to cause the Spirit to suffer? Therefore, isn’t it obvious whether the Lord will return incarnate or come in a spiritual body?”
I was astonished at reading the words “Son of man.” I had thought in the past about the question of the “Son of man,” but it had never been clear to me. What Sister Susan explained completely resolved all my doubts, and I was overwhelmed with emotion when I heard it. Because it had gotten late, we said goodbye and logged off. I was excited that night, and didn’t go to sleep until it was very late. I thought about how I had believed in the Lord for so many years, but had never heard anyone fellowship so well. I was stunned, and there was a kind of blissful clarity in my heart that I could not put into words.