Once there was a warrior who asked an old man about the difference between heaven and hell. The old man didn’t answer him directly, but said that he was ugly and stupid. Feeling insulted, the warrior drew his sword and cut at the old man. Unexpectedly, the old man stopped him by saying one word “the gate of hell is opened now.” Coming to the old man’s sense, the warrior immediately tossed his sword to the ground and apologized to the old man.
It is just a fable. Of course, we know whether we will go to heaven or hell is decided by God, not any man. Yet this fable can still give us some enlightenment: Many times we are like the warrior; when hearing something offensive to our ears or encountering something unpleasant, we will burst into anger and “draw our swords,” exposing our natural self or nature immoderately. Or we will remain indifferent and go our own ways in spite of others’ well-intentioned reminders and warnings. In the end, we will bring lots of pain and even tragedy upon ourselves. However, if we can treat them with composure, reflect on ourselves, and then choose the right path, we will probably achieve different results.
Think back to the two evil cities recorded in the Bible—Sodom and Nineveh: At that time, people of the two cities had no place for God in their heart. They acted dissolutely, indulged in eating, drinking, and merry-making, and became licentious by nature. Their evil and corruption had already reached a degree detestable to both man and God. All of them were those God wanted to destroy. But because of their different attitudes toward God’s warnings, they had different fates and outcomes. The people of Sodom openly competed with God, and even went to Lot’s house to arrest and harm God’s messengers. Their obstinate opposition to God aggravated His disposition and ultimately led them to be forever destroyed by the fire coming down from heaven. In contrast, when hearing the news spread by Jonah that God would destroy them in 40 days, the Ninevites, from the king to the common man, immediately wore sackcloth and ashes, confessed and repented their sins before God, and abandoned their various wicked things in their hands which defied God. Their change of mind and reverence for God won them His mercy and tolerance. Eventually God decided not to destroy them, and thus all the people of Nineveh were spared from the catastrophe because of their sincere confession and repentance before Him. From the different outcomes of Sodom and Nineveh, we can see that when facing God’s warnings and His work, whether we can obtain God’s mercy and salvation depends on whether we have a heart of fearing God and have a true repentance for our sins.
The other day, I saw a passage of words from a spiritual book: “God used His attitude to tell people the following: It is not that God does not tolerate people, or He does not want to show mercy to them; it is that they rarely truly repent toward God, and it is rare that people truly turn away from their evil ways and abandon the violence in their hands. … man’s evil conduct incurs God’s wrath, whereas God’s mercy and tolerance are bestowed upon those who listen to God and truly repent before Him, upon those who can turn away from their evil ways and abandon the violence in their hands. God’s attitude was very clearly revealed in His treatment of the Ninevites: God’s mercy and tolerance are not at all difficult to obtain; He requires one’s true repentance. As long as people turn away from their evil ways and abandon the violence in their hands, God will change His heart and change His attitude toward them.”
For several thousand years, God has paid an immeasurable price for saving us—the mankind corrupted by Satan. He has always hoped that we can soon confess and repent before Him, pay attention to practicing and experiencing His words, and pursue to know Him, fear Him, and obey Him, so as to live under His care and mercy. Especially today in the last days, God will completely purify and save mankind when He comes again, and meanwhile, Satan and all the wicked people will be destroyed by Him. So at this moment, whether we will be able to be cleansed and enter the kingdom of heaven or end up being cursed by God and going to hell hinges on how we choose our path.
Revelation clearly records that God will return in the last days to completely purify man so as to make a group of overcomers and bring them into His kingdom. The Lord Jesus said: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8). During God’s work of judging and purifying man, whether or not we will be able to return to God and gain His salvation of the last days depends on what path we choose and how we treat God’s work. We are all people that have been corrupted deeply by Satan, and if we long for the truth and can seek the truth, we will have the opportunity to be brought to His throne by the returned Lord Jesus and be saved into the kingdom of heaven. But if we stubbornly and foolishly cling to our conceptions and imaginations, we’ll never receive the enlightenment and guidance of the Lord, and eventually we’ll be abandoned and eliminated by God’s new and fast work, and lose the precious opportunity of receiving God’s purification and salvation and being brought into the kingdom of heaven.
Revelation 14:4 says, “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes.” Now is the critical time for the brothers and sisters in every denomination and sect who truly believe in the Lord to welcome the Lord’s return and keep pace with the work of the Holy Spirit. Nevertheless, some people are hindered by such conceptions and illusions as “The Jesus who does not descend upon a white cloud is not the returned Lord Jesus,” “God will first appear to the religious leaders when He returns in the last days,” “It is impossible that God will do any other work outside of the Bible,” and so on. They avoid and even refuse it without carefully seeking or investigating when others preach to them the news that the Lord has returned and done His work. Contrarily, there are lots of brothers and sisters who are paying close attention to the news of the Lord’s return on many denominations’ websites and social platforms for life communication. They hold a heart of longing for and seeking the truth and do not hesitate to move forward for fear of being deceived. They are constantly focusing on such issues as where there is the work of the Holy Spirit, which church is preaching and testifying the truth regarding the Lord’s return, which words can reveal the visions of God’s six-thousand-year management plan of saving mankind, which words can fellowship clearly about the truth of how God will work in the last days to purify man and rapture the believers into the kingdom of heaven, who can reveal the mysteries of the little scroll prophesied in Revelation, and so on. These are the key issues that people should seek and investigate when seeking for God’s appearance and work in the last days, which have caused more concern and discussion among most of the Internet friends in the Lord. Even though some are unable to thoroughly understand these issues, they pray and seek the Lord, and seek communication with those who often fellowship and testify the truth concerning the Lord’s second coming, not missing any opportunity of searching for God’s voice, so that they will follow His footprints and be taken before His throne to be saved.
Therefore, when God bestows the truth, way, and life upon us freely, shall we follow His footprints and pursue to be saved, or shall we stubbornly cling to our notions and imaginations and thus miss His salvation? Going to heaven or going to hell depends on our choice!
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Their lost, confused, afraid, anxious, yearning and numb hearts found comfort. They were no longer doubtful or disappointed because they felt that now there was hope and something to rely on. The Son of man standing in front of them would be behind them for eternity, He would be their strong tower, their refuge for all time.