By Zhang Shun
Zongpan: In 2016, I was watching and waiting. In 2017, I was nearly raptured! In 2018, the Lord will bring me into the kingdom of heaven when He returns! …
Chuanyin: You are reciting catchphrases there.
Zongpan: What do you mean to recite catchphrases? Look, the disasters of the world are getting bigger and bigger. The prophecies of the advent of the Lord have basically been fulfilled. If I’m still not worried, can I be raised up?
Chuanyin: What use is there in worrying? Do you know how people are raptured? Furthermore, there are so many denominations, and which one will be raptured first?
Zongpan: In fact, I have already thought about this question carefully. I consider that our Local Church should be the first to be raptured.
Chuanyin: Why? Why should your Church be raptured first?
Zongpan: Because I think our Church is orthodox, and we love the Lord most. Another major reason is that I’m in the Local Church!
Chuanyin: So, your Church will be raptured first, but what about other denominations?
Zongpan: The Lord is almighty. At most all of the churches will be raptured together at that time. LOL. Hey! Hearing what you say, I recall something. So many people believe in the. In the entire religious world there are more than two thousand sects altogether. And many brothers and sisters feel the sect they are in is the most orthodox and most approved by the Lord. I don’t understand: says, “There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all” (Ephesians 4:4-6). We all believe in the Lord Jesus, read the same Bible, and pray in the Lord’s name, but why are we divided or split up so finely?
Chuanyin: Most of brothers and sisters are really confused about this question you see. Actually, at the end of the Age of Law, before the Lord Jesus came to work, the religious world was in chaos and a multitude of sects formed in the Judaism. There were the Pharisees who claimed that they were the strictest sect. They focused on abiding by all kinds of ceremonies and prohibitions, such as, not eating at the same table with sinners, washing hands before having meals, and so on. In addition, there were the Sadducees, the Zealots and so on. They held onto their own separate theories. Such as the Bible says, “For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both” (Acts 23:8).
Zongpan: Yes. It really is.
Chuanyin: Before the Lord Jesus came, each denomination in Judea disputed with each other. They all said that their faith was right and refused to give in to and obey each other. However, when the Lord Jesus appeared to perform the work of redemption, yet they formed a partnership to resist and condemn the Lord Jesus. In the end, they colluded with the Roman government to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross, committed a heinous crime, and were thus punished and cursed by God.
Zongpan: Yes, they had read the Bible for years in vain, for they didn’t have any knowledge of the Lord!
Chuanyin: Right, the Lord Jesus rebuked the Pharisees, “Why do you also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3). “This people draws near to me with their mouth, and honors me with their lips; but their heart is far from me. But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men” (Matthew 15:8-9). The Lord’s words are very clear. On the surface, the Pharisees and the Sadducees were people who believed in and worshipped God, but they observed human traditions and violated God’s commandments. Nominally, they believed in God, but in fact they engaged in religious rituals and upheld rules, and no one obeyed God’s word sincerely. They believed in God but never exalted or bore witness to God. To make people look up to and worship them, they took every opportunity to show off, bear witness to themselves, and did everything before men. To make people think that they were pious, they enlarged their garments’ borders and wrote verses on them. When they donated to charity, they made sure that other people saw them do it. They on purpose prayed in the synagogue and at the crossroads, and purposely had a sad expression on their faces when they prayed and so on. Lacking discernment, people were deceived by their appearance, and then followed them. Their hidden motive was for their own status and livelihoods. They brought people before them, turned God into a mere figurehead, and then turned the church into religious organizations with people as leaders. Their substance was that of an antichrist who fought with God over man. Therefore, the Lord Jesus exhorted His disciples, “Take heed and beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees” (Matthew 16:6).
Zongpan: Yes, what you say makes sense. I have never heard such fellowship.
Chuanyin: The appearance and work of the Lord Jesus broke man’s various conceptions, rules and doctrines, brought people a new path for practice. Only in this way can people thoroughly break away from the law’s restrictions and man’s tradition and rules, obtaining the Lord’s salvation. At that time, following the Lord Jesus was truly believing in and following God, while those Jewish people who were deceived by the Pharisees still lived under the bonds of the law, were controlled and confused by the religious leaders, and believed in a vague God.
Zongpan: From what you say, I understand how every religious organization formed in Judaism at the end of the Age of Law. It turned out that the Jewish leaders each, in order to protect their status and livelihoods, caged and controlled some believers and then the religious organizations with people as leaders gradually formed. Nowadays, there are thousands of sects throughout the religious world, and how do they form? Don’t they read the same Bible?
Chuanyin: We should seek the root cause of this. After being corrupted by Satan, we human have satanic nature which resists and betrays God. Everyone is arrogant, conceit, self-rightness and self-importance, and likes to be thought highly of and looked up to by others. As we have believed in God for a long time and studied much of the knowledge of the Bible, and had work experience, we are able to speak all kinds of spiritual theories and profound words and doctrines to deceive and win over others. Then sects appeared one by one. I saw a passage of words in a book which reveals so accurately. I copied them and you can read them, “Look at the leaders of every denomination and sect. They are all arrogant and self-right, and they interpret the Bible out of context and according to their own imagination. They all rely on gifts and erudition to do their work. If they were incapable of preaching anything, would those people follow them? They do, after all, possess some learning, and can speak a little of doctrine, or know how to win over others and how to use some artifices, through which they have brought people before themselves and have deceived them. Nominally, those people—but in reality they follow their leaders” (“Only the Pursuit of the Truth Is the True Belief in God”). Though the leaders of every denomination and sect see the same Bible, they all have their own separate doctrines and theories. Moreover, we all look up to lofty people and people who have gifts and are silver-tongued. Gradually, a religious group with people as leader appears and we have no place of God in our heart any more. Nominally, we believe in God, but in fact we submit to the words of the pastors and elders. Have you heard the story of blind men feeling an elephant?
Zongpan: Yes. It says that several blind men met an elephant. Someone touched its ear; someone touched its leg; someone touched its nose. Someone asked them what the elephant looked like. The man who touched ear said it was like a dustpan, the man who touched leg said it was like a pillar, and the man who touched nose said it was like a rope. They all said the elephant felt like what they have touched.
Chuanyin: Right, this story tells us that we believe in God but don’t know God, which is just like blind men feeling an elephant. Once we have one-sided knowledge of the Bible and gain some spiritual doctrines through our pondering, we feel we know God, and preach our own theological theories with great fanfare. Isn’t this like blind men feeling an elephant?
Zongpan: The blind men are so stupid. Hey, I see that those religious leaders are intelligent and capable, but why do they not know God after reading the Bible, and even separate into their own cliques, speak their own religious theories, causing a multitude of sects to form?
Chuanyin: For people, good brain, no matter how superior on the outside, is of no use as their spiritual eyes are still blind. Our corrupt natures are arrogant and self-righteous, and like status. If some people comprehend some doctrines from the Bible, they’ll treat them as family heirlooms to hold on to and always think their theory is the best. Then they speak of it to others everywhere and win over some people who worship them, set up for themselves and establish their own independent kingdom. Though they pray in the name of the Lord Jesus and read the Bible, in reality what they believe in is their own notions and imaginations; what they preach is the knowledge of the Bible and theological theory and not the enlightenment from the Holy Spirit. This can’t bring benefit to or make any contribution to believers’ life, so that they can’t obtain a slightest supply from them; instead, they have planted many preposterous knowledge of God, which is a serious barrier for us to believe in and seek to know God.
Zongpan: Oh, I understand. It turns out that these religious leaders don’t lead people to follow God but bring people before them and control people in their hands. They wave the flag of belief in God to establish their own independent kingdom. No wonder the religious world appears so many denominations and sects.
Chuanyin: Yes! Nominally, people follow God but actually they follow man. In doing this, aren’t these religious leaders blind guides? God’s wisdom surpasses all the heavens. All things are in God’s hands. God’s work has a plan and steps. God was incarnated and assumed the form of the Lord Jesus to open up the Age of Grace and end the Age of Law. The Lord Jesus prophesied He would come back in the last days. The Bible says, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it” (Isaiah 2:2).
Zongpan (interrupting): I understand. Only God’s appearance and work can end the mess of a multitude of sects existing in the last days, and make all dominations become one.
Chuanyin: Yes. God is the Beginning and the End. God is the Sower and also the Reaper. The Age of Grace has lasted for more than two thousand years, the Lord’s gospel has already been spread to all corners of the earth, and the prophecies of the Lord’s return have already been basically fulfilled. Now is exactly the period of the Lord’s appearance and work. We believers in God must open our eyes and our spirit must be sharp.
Zongpan: Oh? So what is “being sharp and keen in spirit”?
Chuanyin: The Lord Jesus said, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). “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” (Revelation 3:20). “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7). From the Lord’s words, we can know that He will utter words when He appears to perform work in the last days. We should be the wise virgins, pay attention to hearing, and actively go out to seek where there have “what the Spirit says to the churches,” see which church has the work of the Holy Spirit and has the expression of truth and then there is certainly God’s appearance and work within this church.
Zongpan: I seem to somewhat understand what you say. If we want to welcome the Lord Jesus’ return, we must focus on listening to. Just like when the Lord Jesus came to work, those who were thirsty for the truth heard God’s voice and then they followed His work and received the Lord’s salvation. Nowadays, only when we pay attention to hearing God’s voice and seeking the Holy Spirit’s work can we welcome the Lord’s and return before God. In this way, all denominations will finally become one. Just as the Lord Jesus said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). “And there shall be one fold, and one shepherd” (John 10:16).
Chuanyin: Look at you. You finally understand.
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