How Should Wise Virgins Discern the Lord’s Voice?
By Zhengdao, Germany
The Lord Jesus said: “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. Behold, I have told you before” (Mat 24:24–25). These Bible verses are what the pastors frequently talk to us about, and the pastors say: “At present, the prophecies of the Lord’s return in the last days have basically been fulfilled, so the day of the Lord’s return is fast approaching. As long as we hold on to the name of the Lord Jesus, keep on His path and keep vigilantly waiting, we will welcome Him. We should stay in our own church, and don’t listen to sermons outside, in case we are deceived by the false Christs.” Hearing this, I deeply thought: It’s very important guarding against false Christs. If I’m deceived, my life of believing in God will come to an end, and my several decades of faith in the Lord will be wasted.
Once, during the spiritual devotion, I saw these words in the Book of Revelation: “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” (Rev 3:20). “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Rev 2:7). I pondered these Bible verses: Judging from these words, the Lord Jesus will speak to all the churches when He returns in the last days. Only those who hear His voice and open the door will welcome Him. But if we do as pastors say, that is, in order to guard against false Christs, we keep on the principles of not listening, reading or coming into contact, can we welcome the Lord? Could it be that we guard against the true Christ and leave Him outside so that we will miss the chance of entering into the kingdom of heaven? I remained perplexed despite much thought.
One day, I came across Brother Li working together with me. When we talked about the Lord’s return during our small talk, Brother Li said: “We must have our own opinions on our faith in the Lord and ponder His words with our heart, and then we can have the knowledge and discernment; we must not blindly listen to or believe anyone, for it is the Lord who we believe in and follow, and we are supposed to keep on His words and follow His path. Therefore, regardless of who it’s said by, we must measure it according to the words of the Lord. If the words of pastors and elders are in line with the truth, we should listen. If not, we mustn’t do so, no matter how high their position. Reversely, if the words of an ordinary sister, brother or a child conform to the truth, even if he or she has no position, we should listen. These are the principles that should be followed by us believers in the Lord.
The words of Brother Li intrigued me and then I spoke about my perplexities: “Brother, what you said just now is right. It’s the Lord that we believe in, and the most important thing is that we are expected to listen to His words, so there is no doubt that such fellowship is in line with His will. In my heart there is such a question that I’m still confused about. Our pastors often tell us that in the last days false Christs will emerge, show signs and perform miracles to deceive people. The Bible says: ‘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’ (Mat 24:24), so the pastors often remind us not to go outside to listen to sermons in case we are deceived by false Christs. But I saw the prophecy in the Book of Revelation that when the Lord Jesus returns during the last days, He will speak to all the churches. He also has told us to open the door and welcome Him when we hear His voice. Now I get rather puzzled and worried that if I keep on blindly not listening or reading so that I should miss the opportunity to welcome the Lord, I’ll feel regret for my lifetime; if I go outside to investigate after hearing someone spread the work and utterance of the returned Lord, once I’m deceived by false Christs, won’t my several decades of years of faith in the Lord be in vain? Brother Li, what do you think of this matter?”
He said: “Brother, I think it’s the most accurate that we practice in accordance with the words of the Lord. Moreover, in my opinion, the Lord Jesus saying that there will be false Christs emerging in the last days means reminding us to be cautious about our treatment of the coming of the Lord lest we be deceived by false Christs. But it doesn’t mean letting us blindly guard against false Christs and ignore the investigation of the true God’s work and utterance. If we do according to the pastors’ words, how should we explain the parable of the wise virgins? The wise virgins refer to those who hear His voice, open the door and welcome Him, and then attend the feast with the bridegroom. Thinking more, we can find there is His will in the words of the Lord Jesus. Actually, the Lord has shown us the traits of false Christs through this word. He said: ‘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’ (Mat 24:24). What problem can this show? During the last days, if a person who can show great signs and perform miracles calls himself God or Christ, this can’t be done by God but by evil spirits. Here another point can be shown that the Lord certainly won’t do wonders and perform miracles when He returns.” I nodded, thinking in my mind: There is light and insight in the remarks of Brother Li.
Brother Li continued: “In fact, as long as we master the principles of differentiating false Christs, we won’t be afraid of being deceived. What’s more, we can penetrate false Christs’ deception and see through their inherent nature of deceiving and swallowing people.” Then he read me a passage of God’s words: “If, during the present day, there is to emerge a person who is able to display signs and wonders, and can cast out demons, and heal the sick, and perform many miracles, and if this person claims that they are Jesus who has come, then this would be the counterfeit of evil spirits, and their imitation of Jesus. Remember this! God does not repeat the same work. Jesus’ stage of work has already been completed, and God will never again undertake that stage of work. … If, during the last days, God still displayed signs and wonders, and still cast out demons and healed the sick — if He did exactly the same as Jesus — then God would be repeating the same work, and the work of Jesus would have no significance or value. Thus, God carries out one stage of work in every age. Once each stage of His work has been completed, it is soon imitated by evil spirits, and after Satan begins to follow on the heels of God, God changes to a different method; once God has completed a stage of His work, it is imitated by evil spirits. You must be clear about these things” (“Knowing God’s Work Today”).
And then he began to fellowship: “We can see from this passage that God never repeats the same work. Every time He comes, He will usher in a new age, end an old age and replace the means of working. But false Christs can only imitate the work that God has done, for they are unable to do a new and improved work, much less are they able to complete an old age and usher in a new age. Let’s think more: At that time, through crucifixion the Lord Jesus had redeemed us from condemnation by law, been an eternal sin offering, and taken on our sin, so we mankind would no longer be condemned and punished because of failing to abide by the laws. There is no point in doing His previous work when the Lord Jesus returns. God is the source of the truth, and He never clings to the old but does His work in accordance with our demands and deficiencies. However, after God finishes His work, evil spirits and false Christs can only imitate God’s work to deceive people and can provide no supply whatsoever to us. Furthermore, false Christs can just display some simple and limited things regarded as supernatural by people. They are incapable of imitating grand miracles like the Lord Jesus calming the wind and waves, feeding the five thousand with five loaves and two fish, and bringing Lazarus back from the dead.”
Thanks for the Lord’s guidance. From Brother Li’s fellowship I understood the way to distinguish between the true Christ and false Christs. Meanwhile, I also realized that the Lord we believe in is of great authority and power, that Satan and evil spirits are all under the control of God, and that we should have confidence in the Lord and not refuse to contact the brothers and sisters beyond our own church for being afraid of being deceived by false Christs.
I asked Brother Li once again: “The Lord won’t show wonders and perform miracles when He returns, and then what will He do?”
He remarked: “Let’s first read two Bible verses, John 16:12–13, which say: ‘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.’ And it is mentioned many times in the Book of Revelation 2 and 3: ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ We can see from these verses that the Lord has told us exactly that He will express the truth and speak to all the churches when He returns. And why will He still speak? We can know from the verses that there are many other words He hasn’t told us yet. On one hand, at that time what He did was the work of redemption of mankind. He was mainly nailed to the cross as an eternal sin offering so that He could take mankind back from the hand of Satan and make us mankind survive. On the other hand, at that time man’s stature was limited, even though the words were spoken to them, they couldn’t understand and accept them. Just as when the parents talk to their infants about marriage and business, the infants are unable to understand. Until the time when the children get old enough to experience these things, their parents will tell them these things, and then they can understand. Similarly, we have to first undergo the Lord Jesus’s work of redemption, pray to Him, admit sins and repent, standardize our behavior, and no longer deliberately commit sins. In this case, our sins are forgiven and then we can survive. However, concerning the work of God bestowing more plentiful truth upon mankind and thoroughly saving mankind, we have to wait for the Lord to return to do it.”
Having heard Brother Li’s fellowship like this, I experienced a sudden revelation, and this issue that had confused me for a long time was finally resolved. I said to Brother Li: “Now I’ve got it. The Lord will no longer repeat the same work showing wonders and performing miracles when He returns. He has predicted that He will do the work of words. As long as we understand this, we won’t be deceived. I truly thank God for His enlightenment today. I will no longer keep on not listening, reading or investigating, and I must wait and seek with humility. Only this way can what I do conform to the will of the Lord. Thank the Lord! I hadn’t obtained such new light for a long time. All the glory be to the Lord.” Both Brother Li and I smiled happily.
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