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By Jiangjing, China
As Christians, none of us are strangers to trials.says, “And I will bring the third part through the fire, and will refine them as silver is refined, and will try them as gold is tried: they shall call on my name, and I will hear them: I will say, It is my people: and they shall say, Jehovah is my God” (Zechariah 13:9). It also says in the Bible, “My brothers, count it all joy when you fall into divers temptations” (James 1:2). From this, we can see that God wants to give refinement and trials to His chosen people and, through this, to perfect our faith and our love for God, to resolve our corrupt dispositions or the taints in our belief, to remedy our wrong views and to enable us to be purified. We can therefore encounter all kinds of environments that are at odds with our own notions. Examples of these environments may include sometimes encountering the refinement of illness, and sometimes our families may encounter misfortune, such as the suffering of a relative or our homes being burgled; sometimes we may encounter difficulties in our jobs or things in our lives that are not as we would wish. All these examples are, without a doubt, trials to us. So what approach should we take to the trials God sets for us? And when trials befall us, what is God’s will?
Over my recent contemplations on the Bible, I have been inspired by the experiences of Job and Abraham when trials befell them, and I’d like to share this with everyone.
First, we have to mention a person in the Bible who goes by the name of Job. When fiery trials befell Job, all his cattle and sheep and camels were stolen and burned by robbers, his servants were killed, his children were crushed in the collapse of his house, and he was covered in boils. This succession of what we would call calamities befell Job. And what approach did Job take to it all? First of all, he did not blame God, and he did not employ any human means to take back his wealth from the robbers. Instead, he was able to quieten himself before God and he believed that we human beings receive our blessings from God. But in just the same way, we also suffer calamity, so no matter how at odds with his notions a situation was that befell him, he continued to praise the holy name of God, and he said, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah” (Job 1:21).
Job bore a strong and resounding witness for God, and he passed smoothly through God’s trials. What followed these trials were increased blessings from God: Job’s wealth and cattle were increased twofold, each one of his children were outstandingly beautiful, and God allowed Job to live for another 140 years, and so he lived until he was 210.
By experiencing such painful trials, Job endured suffering that we ordinary people could never have endured. His faith was also raised to a new height and he stood witness for God before Satan, thus causing Satan to be so utterly shamed and defeated that it never dared to tempt Job again. Thereafter, Job was free, and he lived entirely in the presence of God. Moreover, an even greater blessing which Job received after he had undergone these trials was that God appeared to him within a whirlwind, and God spoke with him, thus enabling Job to enter into a closer. Just as Job said, “I have heard of you by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees you” (Job 42:5). Job had been hearing about God all his life, and now his understanding of God had been heightened to the actual existence of God. He became more certain than ever that everything he had encountered was under the sovereignty of God and his understanding of God became much more practical—this was a blessing greater than any material reward.
Here, I’d like to talk about a second person from the Bible, being Abraham, the father of faith. Brothers and sisters all know that, when Abraham was 100 years old, God gave him a son, and Abraham loved Isaac dearly. But one day, God’s trial befell Abraham, and God said, “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of” (Genesis 22:2). Think about it: This kind of trial would be hard for anyone to endure, so much so that some people would fight against God and be filled with misconceptions. Yet what approach did Abraham take? Although he felt great distress and pain, he obeyed God, and he did not try to argue with Him or lay down any conditions. Just when he had taken Isaac to the mountain alone and had raised the knife ready to kill him, God sent an angel to stay Abraham’s hand, and the trial was thus ended. Furthermore, God swore an oath and bestowed great blessings on Abraham. God said, “That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is on the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed my voice” (Genesis 22:17-18).
I also read the passage in another book, “To man, God does much that is incomprehensible and even incredible. When God wishes to orchestrate someone, this orchestration is often at odds with man’s conceptions, and incomprehensible to him, yet it is precisely this dissonance and incomprehensibility that are God’s trial and test of man. Abraham, meanwhile, was able to demonstrate the obedience to God within himself, which was the most fundamental condition of his being able to satisfy God’s requirement. Only then, when Abraham was able to obey God’s requirement, when he offered Isaac, did God truly feel reassurance and approval toward mankind—toward Abraham, whom He had chosen. Only then was God sure that this person whom He had chosen was an indispensable leader who could undertake His promise and His subsequent management plan” (“God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II”).
From this passage, we can see that God arranges environments in order to try us. From the outside, it may appear as though these trials are at odds with our notions and are hard for us to understand, so much so that we feel pain and torment in these environments, yet these trials brim with the painstaking efforts of God. Just like when Abraham stood firm in his testimony during his trial, God saw Abraham’s sincerity, and not only did God not take his son, but He also blessed Abraham so that his descendants would be as numerous as the grains of sand on a beach or the stars in the sky. Behind this, the will of God reached a deeper level, for God chose Abraham to become the leading figure of His work of management for mankind. God purposed to perform His work of management for mankind through the descendants of Abraham, and He would manifest through these people His deeds, His wisdom, His authority and His power. Eventually, God’s work in the Age of Law and Age of Grace was primarily done in Israel. Israel was the testing ground and the birthland for God’s work of salvation on earth.
From this, we can see the greatness of the blessings which Abraham received. We can say that his ability to become the father of many nations, as well as his descendants being blessed by God, are related to God’s trial that befell him in those early days.
It is not hard for us to see from the trials which befell Abraham and Job that every trial we encounter contains God’s good will; not only can they enable us to gainbut, even more importantly, they allow our spiritual lives to grow in leaps and bounds, we gain more knowledge of God, and we can follow the path of belief in God more sturdily and with more stability. Although the trials which befell Abraham and Job are not ones that we ordinary people would experience, as we do not have their stature and neither are we qualified to endure such trials, yet we can still encounter all kinds of different trials in our lives, both big and small. I have seen a sister suffer the torment of illness and her life hung in the balance, and yet she remained full of and wished to place her life and death in God’s hands. Regardless of whether her illness got better or not, she was still willing to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements. In the end, she witnessed God’s deeds and her illness miraculously got better. During this process, the sister’s faith in God increased, and she came to have a more practical appreciation for God’s almightiness and sovereignty. When everything is going smoothly in the careers of some brothers and sisters, they thank God for His blessings. But when their businesses go through a rocky patch and money gets short in their families, the complaints in their hearts come forth, and they blame God for not blessing them. But afterward, through the revelations of God’s words, they realize that their belief in God is just making deals with God, and that they regard God as a cornucopia. They come to understand the wrong motives behind their belief in God, and so they correct their wrong views on belief, and they take their correct place as created beings. When people experience with the correct motive, not only do their lives progress, but their businesses also pick up again. … When brothers and sisters encounter these trials, their flesh suffers much to differing degrees, but from these trials they obtain something even more precious: They understand more and more about God’s will to save man, their knowledge of God becomes more real and they gain more truths. Therefore, it may be said that trials are another kind of blessing from God for us Christians, and they are the path that must be traversed in order for our lives to grow and for us to obtain God’s praise.
Since trials are so beneficial to each and every Christian, what reason do we have to complain when trials and tribulations befall us? Don’t you agree, my friends?
By Zhang Yan Now is the end of the last days when the prophecies of the Lord Jesus’ return have all come true, and we expect to be taken into God’s kingdom and obtain eternal life more eagerly, because the Lord Jesus once said, “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God stays on him” (John 3:36). All these years we have been repenting our sins, preaching the gospel, and bearing fruits, just as the Lord Jesus asked. Thus, we all feel ourselves most approved by God, and that as long as we hold on to the Lord Jesus’ way, we will surely obtain eternal life. Then, is the opinion, after all, in accordance with God’s will? Regarding this question, let’s think back on what the Lord Jesus did in the Age of Grace.At that time, the Lord Jesus incarnate came among us mankind and brought forth the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, saying, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). From the Lord’s word, we clearly know that what He brought man was the way of confession and repentance. And, in addition to these teachings, He also gave all his mercy and love to His followers, bestowed sufficient grace upon man, healed the sick, cast out demons, raised the dead…, until eventually He was nailed to the cross for redeeming mankind, thus completing the work of redemption. However, in spite of having received forgiveness of sins from the Lord, we man still live in the vicious cycle of committing and confessing sins. We can still express these corrupt dispositions anywhere and anytime, such as greed, selfishness, arrogance, deceit, and so on, so that we commit sins at any time and any place. For instance, when we labor hard for the Lord for years, we feel we have the capital to flaunt ourselves. Meanwhile, we all enjoy being in a lofty position to have others worship us, and always exalt and testify ourselves. Isn’t this the behavior of our arrogant nature? Such substance is exactly the substance of the Pharisees, with which we always talk big, try every means to be exalted and admired by others in sermons. Not only this, we also have treacherous nature. So, in order to secure our fame and status, we usually act one way in public and another in private, and unwittingly tell lies to deceive and blind man on sundry occasions so as to satisfy our personal desires. This proves that our sinful nature is still deeply rooted within us and thus we can still sin and resist God, that is, we have yet to achieve eternal life, since those who have eternal life are someone whose sins have been cleansed. God’s kingdom is holy, and only those who have been purified are worthy to enter His kingdom. How can we, who often sin, be qualified to enter it? The Lord Jesus never said that man could enter the kingdom of heaven with his sinful nature; while we often absurdly think that as long as we labor, sacrifice for the Lord, and keep the Lord’s name at all times, we will enter it and gain eternal life. However, never have we realized that only pursuing to be purified by the Lord and thereby being thoroughly cleansed is the precondition of being approved by the Lord and raptured into the kingdom of heaven. The Lord Jesus said clearly, “Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the Son stays ever” (John 8:34-35). He also demanded, “And said, Truly I say to you, Except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3). The Lord Jesus told us plainly that if we man don’t become as simple and honest as children, and don’t break away from sin to be purified, we won’t be able to enter the kingdom of heaven or obtain eternal life. Then, how will the Lord Jesus’ promise that we will have eternal life be accomplished since we still often commit sins now and have yet to obtain eternal life? When studying the Bible carefully, I read the words of the Lord Jesus, “And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:47-48). “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (John 16:12-13). Also, I saw some man’s words of enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation” (Hebrews 9:28). “Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1 Peter 1:5). From the above verses, we know that when the Lord Jesus was first incarnated to do the work of redemption, He took on all the sins of man as the sin offering and thereby redeemed man from the law, so that man would be no longer condemned or cursed by the law and had the qualification and opportunity to come before God to get close, pray, confess, and repent to Him. Nevertheless, we man haven’t gotten free from our sinful nature and can’t enter God’s kingdom yet. Therefore, in the last days the Lord Jesus will come again, express more truths, and do a stage of work of thoroughly judging, purifying, and saving man, in order to solve our sinful nature and have our corrupt disposition completely cleansed and transformed, through which we can obtain eternal life. The Lord Jesus once said, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand” (John 10:27-28). “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and he that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God stays on him” (John 3:36). We all know that what the Lord Jesus did during the Age of Grace was the redemptive work, and what He preached was the way of repentance. The Lord Jesus is Christ, God Himself, and eternal life. It’s just that only when He comes again, which is to say, the Spirit of truth comes, can the way of eternal life be given to man. Those wise virgins who can recognize the Lord’s voice will obtain it, just as the Lord Jesus said, “And I give to them eternal life; and they shall never perish.” Obviously, when He comes again, He will, still in the image of the incarnate Son of man, bestow life upon man through expressing the truth. God says, “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life.” Provided that we merely hold on to the Lord Jesus’ way of repentance yet don’t accept all the truths brought by the returned Lord, then we can’t be called believers in the Son, much less can we obtain eternal life. Instead, only when we believe in the incarnate Son of man in the last days, moreover, accept all the truths expressed by Him, and receive the judgment and purification of these truths to gain life, can our faith accord with the Lord Jesus’ word, and can the meaning of our belief in the Son be complete. Also, this is the only way for us to obtain eternal life and to be raptured into the kingdom of heaven in the last days. All the enlightenment, illumination, and glory be to God! Dear brothers and sisters, it’s now the last days, the prophecies concerning the Lord Jesus’ second coming have been basically fulfilled. It’s most important to us that we welcome the Lord’s coming and gain the way of Eternal Life. “Whoever believers in the Son has eternal life”—If you have original opinions on this truth or any questions, please feel free to contact us. Welcome to have a real-time chat with us via the online chat window at the bottom of the website or send an email to email@example.com to seek and explore the way of eternal life and welcome the Lord’s coming. We’re all ears to your experience and knowledge of belief in the Lord. Looking forward to exchanging our sharing. Extended reading: How to Break Free From Sin and Be Cleansed? Why Do I Still Sin If I Am Saved? How Can I Be Free From Sin?
Basically all the prophecies of Jesus’ return have been fulfilled. How can we get ready to welcome Jesus’ return? Here are 2 imperative ways: 1. Ready Our Spiritual Ears and Learn to Hear the Lord’s Voice …
Each genuine follower of the Lord Jesus is expecting Him to come back soon so that his wish for years could be realized. And he can receive the Lord’s promise and enjoy His blessings. Especially in the end-time, our heart of longing for the Second Coming of Jesus Christ becomes more eager. It is written in Acts 1:11, “this same Jesus … shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven.” And it says in John 14:3, “And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” Therefore, the brothers and sisters firmly believe that the Lord Jesus will come again. Then, in what manner will the Lord Jesus come? Will He really come on a cloud as we imagine? Will the prophecies be fulfilled in the same way as we think? In what manner should we welcome His return? This is a question that each of us who follow the Lord Jesus must consider seriously. If we are careless, we’ll probably lose His salvation. Referring to “prophecy,” we should first know this clearly: Prophecies are what will occur in the future. Before they come true, none of us knows what they really mean. In prophecies, there are God’s wonderfulness and wisdom as well as mysteries. Man can neither fathom nor understand how they will come true. Why can’t man fathom it? Because God’s thoughts shall always be higher than man’s thoughts. The gulf between heaven and earth is like that between the thoughts of God and man. Just as it is written in Romans 11:33-34, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been his counselor?” And it says in 2 Corinthians 3:6, “…for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.” So, the fulfillment of prophecies is not as simple as we imagine, much less will it occur according to the words of the Bible. Why do we say so? Let’s look back to how the prophecies about the Messiah’s coming were fulfilled. Then, we shall see that prophecies don’t come true according to the letters of the scriptures or man’s imagination. The Israelites at that time all expected the Messiah to come earlier. Especially in the later period of the Age of Law, their heart of longing was even more eager. However, when the Messiah did come, they did not recognize Him but resisted and forsook Him. Why was it so? It was clearly written in the Bible, “…a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son….” (Isaiah 7:14) But in their eyes, Marry had a husband. How could the prophecy that “a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son” be fulfilled on her? Although the Lord Jesus was actually born by virgin Marry, how many people believed this fact? Obviously, what people saw was discordant with the fact. Let us read another prophecy in Isaiah 9:6-7, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, on the throne of David, and on his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from now on even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.” According to this prophecy, the Israelites gave the rein to their lively imagination, thinking that the Messiah who would take power must be born in a palace. He must be majestic-looking and have an impressive appearance, and would lead them to overthrow the rule of the Roman government. What was the result then? When the prophecy came true, Jesus was not born in a palace, but in a manger. He was not majestic-looking like a king in their imagination but was a very common carpenter. He did not lead the army to overthrow the rule of the Roman government, but instead taught man to be tolerant and patient, love enemies, and forgive others until seventy times seven. None of these conformed to the imagination of the Israelites. From what is stated above, we see that man’s imagination completely contradicts the fulfillment of the prophecies. Pharisees eagerly looked forward to the coming of the Messiah, but at the same time forsook and resisted His coming. Why was that? Because they were full of the illusions about the coming of the Messiah. They were filled with imaginations and notions about the fulfillment of the prophecies. Therefore, when the prophecies came true in a way not conforming to their notions and imaginations, they resisted and condemned Jesus to the utmost. This fully showed their nature of stubbornness, arrogance, and not seeking the truth, which was the cause of their failure. Pharisees held onto the prophecies in the Old Testament, but they resisted the coming of the Messiah. Were the prophecies wrong? Certainly not. It was simply because they paid too much attention to the letters of the scriptures but neglected the substance of the fulfillment of the prophecies. These prophecies didn’t enable them to recognize and accept the Messiah. Instead, they became the cause of their resistance to the Messiah and the foundation for them to forsake Him. In the end, they nailed the merciful Lord Jesus onto the cross, committing a monstrous sin, which led to the destruction of their nation. Now it is already the end time. How should we deal with the prophecies about the Lord’s return? If the Lord returns in a way that is discordant with our expectation and imagination, how shall we face it? Shall we hold on to the letters of the scriptures and welcome the return of the Lord according to our imagination, or be a humble man who seeks the truth? Will we shut the door against the returned Lord Jesus like the Pharisees? Don’t we need to think it over? In fact, the Lord Jesus has already descended in a hidden way, the Spirit of truth has already come to the world. He is Almighty God who became flesh in the end time. Almighty God expressed millions of words. He has opened the Little Scroll and revealed all the mysteries of God’s six-thousand-year management plan to the whole mankind. It has been over twenty years since Almighty God embarked upon the end-time work in China. Every denomination and sect seem to have been cleared up. All those who truly believe in Godand thirst for the truth have come out of their denominations and sects to accept Almighty God’s end-time work of judgment and chastisement. However, when Almighty God’s kingdom gospel is spreading on a grand scale in the religious world, few of the unbelievers are aware of it. This fulfills all the prophecies in the Bible that the Lord will come as a thief. The reason why this period is called the hidden advent is that during this period God only does work on those believers who await His coming. For those unbelievers, the work is hidden. It fulfills the prophecies in 1Peter 4:17 and Hebrews 9:28. The verses go like this, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” “So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation.” When the Lord Jesus comes back, some know it first, some know it later, and some don’t know. Some investigate and accept the gospel after hearing upon the Lord’s advent, while some condemn it hastily or ignore it. As Almighty God’s kingdom gospel continuously spreads, the prophesies gradually come true that the Lord will reap and winnow, separate the wheat from the tares, reunite all denominations into one, and so on when He comes again. Since the Lord has descended in a hidden way, then how to explain that the Lord will descend on a cloud? Almighty God says, “For several thousand years, man has longed to be able to witness the arrival of the Savior. Man has longed to behold Jesus the Savior on a white cloud as He descends, in person, among those who have pined and yearned for Him for thousands of years. Man has longed for the Savior to return and be reunited with the people, that is, for Jesus the Savior to come back to the people from whom He has been apart for thousands of years. And man hopes that He will once again carry out the work of redemption that He did among the Jews, will be compassionate and loving towards man, will forgive the sins of man, bear the sins of man, and even bear all of man’s transgressions and deliver man from sin. They long for Jesus the Savior to be the same as before—a Savior who is lovable, amiable and venerable, who is never wrathful towards man, and who never reproaches man. This Savior shall forgive and bear all of man’s sins, and even die upon the cross for man once more. Since Jesus departed, the disciples who followed Him, and all of the saints who were saved thanks to His name, have been desperately pining for Him and awaiting Him. All those who were saved by the grace of Jesus Christ during the Age of Grace have been longing for that joyful day during the last days, when Jesus the Savior arrives on a white cloud and appears to all men. Of course, this is also the collective wish of all those who accept the name of Jesus the Savior today. Throughout the universe, all those who know of the salvation of Jesus the Savior have been ‘desperately yearning for’ the sudden arrival of Jesus Christ, to ‘fulfill’ the words of Jesus when on earth: ‘I shall arrive just as I departed.’ Man believes that, following the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus went back to heaven upon a white cloud, and took His place at the Most High’s right hand. Similarly, man conceives that Jesus shall descend, again upon a white cloud (this cloud refers to the cloud that Jesus rode upon when He returned to heaven), among the mankind who has desperately yearned for Him for thousands of years, and that He shall bear the image and clothes of the Jews. After appearing to man, He shall bestow food upon them, and cause living water to gush forth for them, and shall live among man, full of grace and love, living and real. And so on. Yet Jesus the Savior did not do this; He did the opposite of what man conceived. He did not arrive among those who had yearned for His return, and did not appear to all men while riding upon the ‘white cloud.’ He has already arrived, but man does not know Him, and remains ignorant of His arrival. Man is only aimlessly awaiting Him, unaware that He has already descended upon a white cloud (the cloud which is His Spirit, His words, and His entire disposition and all that He is), and is now among a group of overcomers that He will make during the last days. How can man know that, although the Holy Savior Jesus is full of affection and love towards man, He would never do His work in the ‘temples’ inhabited by filth and impure spirits? Though man has been awaiting His arrival, how could He appear to those who eat the flesh of the unrighteous, drink the blood of the unrighteous, wear the clothes of the unrighteous, who believe in Him but do not know Him, and who constantly extort Him? Man knows only that Jesus the Savior is full of love and compassion, and is the sin offering filled with redemption. But man has no idea that He is also God Himself, who is brimming with righteousness, majesty, wrath, and judgment, and possessed of authority and full of dignity. And so even though man eagerly yearns for and craves the return of the Redeemer, and even ‘Heaven’ is moved by the prayers of man, Jesus the Savior does not appear to those who believe in Him but do not know Him.” God’s sheep listen to God’s voice. As long as you read Almighty God’s word, you will see that God has appeared!very Christian wants to know how the Bible prophecies about second coming of Jesus Christ are fulfilled, as well as the way in which the Lord will make His return, the work He will do when He returns and how to welcome His second coming, etc. Our Daily Devotionals aims to seek and prepare for the second coming of the Lord together with our brothers and sisters, and attain eternal life. The contents of our website are very rich, click here for more related articles: If you want to know more about the mysteries of the second coming of Jesus, learn more on our Mysteries of Second Coming page, or in the following content: How to Handle Biblical Prophecies to Welcome the Lord 7 Prophecies Have Fulfilled; Have You Welcomed the Return of the Lord Jesus? Reveal the Mystery of “the Coming of the Son of Man” From 4 Aspects
Christ is the flesh of God incarnate. Then how should we understand the divinity of Christ? Read this article to get the answer and understand the difference between Christ and the anointed one.