What Attitude Do We Hold Toward Prophecies of Jesus’ Return?
By Song Ping, Spain
Every Christian wants to welcome the Lord’s return and be raptured into the heavenly kingdom; I’m not an exception. I paid special attention to the prophecies about the Lord’s return. As long as I heard who could interpret the biblical prophecies, I would hurry to listen. But as I gradually received many interpretations of prophecies, I became increasingly confused about them, because they were all explained according to their literal meaning and different people had different explanations of them.
Take interpreting prophecies about the Lord’s return for example. Some people said the Lord would descend on the Mount of Olives, some said in the air, some said upon a cloud, some said He would come in the daytime, some said at night, some said He would come like a thief, and so forth. Though all these interpretations were based on the Bible, yet no matter what I was told about, I still didn’t know how the Lord would return. Then how should I treat the biblical prophecies in accordance with the Lord’s will? And in what way could I welcome the Lord? They were the confusion in my mind.
Thank the Lord for leading me to meet a brother in the Lord on the internet. I could find much common ground with him, and his fellowship was very helpful and beneficial to me. So I poured out my confusion to him. He said, “Actually, the prophecies in the Bible are things God declared to us that He would accomplish in the future. You see, important events involving the work of God are usually prophesied in the Bible, and those concerning the Lord’s return are especially more. But we should understand that prophecies only foretell us of events to come and require us to be watchful, and to carefully seek and investigate the word and work of God, lest we miss the Lord’s return and be abandoned and eliminated by God’s work. This is the only result the prophecies can reach.”
Let’s look back to the time when the Lord Jesus came to work. The Israelites under the law all longed for the coming Messiah to save them according to the prophecies in the Old Testament. Their longing for Messiah is just the same as our expectation for the Lord’s return. Particularly, the Jewish chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees, they read the Old Testament every day and also studied the prophecies. But they were filled with conceptions and imaginings toward Messiah so that they defined Messiah within the literal words of the prophecies in the Bible, within their own conceptions and imaginings. They saw what were prophesied in the Bible, ‘For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on his shoulder’ (Isaiah 9:6). ‘But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, though you be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall he come forth to me that is to be ruler in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting’ (Micah 5:2). According to the literal words of the prophecies in the Bible, the Pharisees were full of conceptions and imaginings and inference when it came to the arrival of Messiah. They determined that the Lord would definitely be named Messiah and would certainly be born into a wealthy family. And further, He would be like David and become the King of Israel, leading them to break away from the rule of the Roman government. Most Israelites probably thought this way. But God didn’t accomplish these prophecies according to their conceptions and imaginings: The Lord Jesus was born into a carpenter’s family. He didn’t become the King of Israel as the Jews had imagined, nor was He named Messiah. Therefore, the Pharisees tried to find all kinds of accusations against Him and condemned and blasphemed Him. Even though at that time the Lord Jesus expressed many truths and performed many miracles, fully demonstrating God’s authority and power, the Pharisees didn’t care how profound the Lord Jesus’ words were, or how great His authority was. As long as it didn’t conform to their conceptions and imaginings, they would frantically condemn and resist the Lord Jesus. Because of their nature that hated the truth and resisted God, they ultimately crucified the Lord Jesus alive, who expressed truths and performed redemption work. As a result, they committed a heinous crime. Let’s think: What mistake did the Pharisees make in awaiting the coming Messiah? Why did they suffer God’s curse and punishment? This is really thought-provoking! How about those disciples and believers who followed the Lord Jesus, such as Peter, Jacob, John, Samaritan woman, and so on? They didn’t measure the Lord based on the literal meaning of the biblical prophecies, but through the work and word of the Lord Jesus, they recognized that the Lord Jesus was Christ, and was the Messiah prophesied to come. So they followed Him and received His salvation. This shows us that the biblical prophecies just serve as corroboration in awaiting the Lord’s return. They allow us to know that God will come again to do His work in the last days. And they remind us how we should treat the appearance and work of God in the last days so as not to be forsaken.”
The brother’s communication was very enlightening, which made me suddenly see the light. I understood how to treat the biblical prophecies correctly and I knew the only result the prophecies could reach. It turned out that the prophecies are only meant to tell us that the Lord still has work to do when He comes back, and that we should seek and investigate God’s work attentively. If we define the Lord’s return based on the literal meaning of the prophecies, then aren’t we resisting and condemning the Lord Jesus like the Pharisees? If we treat the prophecies like them, aren’t we believing in God yet resisting God? This is really perilous. But I still had a question: Since the prophecies only serve as corroboration, then what should be our basis of welcoming the Lord? And how shall we do to welcome the Lord’s return?
Then the brother fellowshiped with me, “To welcome the Lord, the best way is to directly investigate the Lord’s word and work when He returns, to ascertain whether it is the voice of God and whether it contains the expression of the truth. That is the most important course of action. The Lord Jesus had long since pointed out to us the accurate way of welcoming the Lord’s return. He said, ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6). ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Revelation 3:22). ‘My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me’ (John 10:27). ‘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). It can be seen that in welcoming the Lord’s return, we should focus on listening to God’s voice like the wise virgins. As long as we hear someone testify to the Lord’s return, we should actively go out to seek and investigate. When we recognize God’s voice and welcome the bridegroom, it means that we have been raptured before the throne of God and have attended the wedding feast of the Lamb. Those who rely on their own conceptions and imaginings rather than seeking the work of the Holy Spirit, and who blindly hold on to the literal words of biblical prophecies but don’t focus on God’s voice, they are just the foolish virgins revealed by God’s word and work, and are precisely the objects abandoned and eliminated by God. So we shouldn’t interpret the biblical prophecies according to our own conceptions and imaginings, or else we will easily misinterpret the prophecies and hereby condemn the Lord’s return. Only with a heart of seeking and obeying the truth can we receive God’s enlightenment and guidance, understand the true meaning of prophecies, and can we welcome the Lord’s return and attend the feast with the Lord.”
The brother’s fellowship benefited me so much. I understood not only how to treat the prophecies in conformity with the Lord’s will but also the correct way of welcoming the Lord’s return. It turned out that welcoming the Lord’s return means focusing on God’s voice and seeking the work of the Holy Spirit. Finally, the brother sent me a passage of God’s word: “since we are searching for the footprints of God, we must search for God’s will, for the words of God, for the utterances of God — for where there are the new words of God, there is the voice of God, and where there are the footsteps of God, there are the deeds of God. Where there is the expression of God, there is the appearance of God, and where there is the appearance of God, there exists the truth, the way, and the life. While seeking the footprints of God, you ignored the words that ‘God is the truth, the way, and the life.’ So when many people receive the truth, they do not believe that they have found the footprints of God and much less acknowledge the appearance of God. What a serious error that is!” After I finished reading this passage of words, I further understood the practicable way of welcoming the Lord’s return. The Lord Jesus ever said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jhn 14:6). The Lord will come to express the truth and the words of the Holy Spirit to the churches. If we find the truth and what the Holy Spirit says to the churches, won’t we find the footprints of God and welcome the Lord’s return? Thank the Lord! It is the Lord’s guidance that has made me understand the way of welcoming the Lord’s return.
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