4 Ways to Know Whether It’s God’s Voice
Dear Sister Muzhen,
Peace to you in the Lord! I’m very glad to receive your letter. In the letter, you mentioned that the Lord’s coming is near, so in order to be a wise virgin waiting for and welcoming the Lord’s return, you intentionally read the Bible and pray more, and work more for the Lord. But it doesn’t make you feel keen in spirit, or make your faith and love increase. You wonder whether you are a wise virgin by pursuing like this and are eager to know how to practice to welcome the coming of the Lord. Sister Muzhen, your question is very important for us Christians, because each and every one of us wants to be a wise virgin to welcome the Lord’s return, and finally attend the feast of the kingdom of heaven together with Him. None of us want to be a foolish virgin forsaken by the Lord. But, how should one practice to be a wise virgin? Regarding this issue, I’ll talk about my understanding. I hope it can be beneficial to you!
The Lord Jesus once said: “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened to ten virgins, which took their lamps, and went forth to meet the bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: But the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps” (Matthew 25:1–4). From this verse, we see that when waiting for the Lord’s return, the wise virgins actively took oil in their vessels. Because of that, they weren’t forsaken by the Lord and finally went to the feast of the kingdom heaven along with the Lord. Usually, after reading this scripture, brothers and sisters will think according to their imagination that as long as we often read the Bible, watch and pray, are faithful to the way of the Lord, labor for the Lord, and spread the gospel more, we are preparing oil and we are the wise virgins in doing so. And then when the Lord comes, we’ll feast along with Him. Yet, is the way the Lord approves the wise virgins the same as what we have thought? Let us look back to the Age of Law, before the Lord Jesus came to work, the scribes and Pharisees were longing for the coming Messiah. They not only knew the Bible well, but also clung to the laws and commandments, often prayed to the Lord God and even traveled over land and sea to spread the work of God. If it is as we imagined, the Pharisees practicing like this was preparing oil and they were most qualified to meet the Messiah and receive God’s salvation with what they put out. However, what was the fact? When the Lord Jesus came to work, the Pharisees didn’t recognize that the Lord Jesus was the coming Messiah, but instead, they kept the name of the Messiah and resisted and rejected the Lord Jesus’ work; in the end, they crucified the Lord Jesus and were cursed and punished. From the fact that the Pharisees resisted God and were punished, we can see that it hardly qualifies to be a wise virgin simply by reading the Bible more, watching and praying, holding on to the Lord’s way and working more for the Lord.
Then who are the wise virgins? Let’s have a look at how the Jews and the disciples of the Lord Jesus recognized Him and were approved by Him. We all know that the Bible records the story of a Samaritan woman. When she heard the Lord Jesus say: “For you have had five husbands; and he whom you now have is not your husband: in that said you truly” (John 4:18), she said to the crowd: “Come, see a man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?” (John 4:29). From these verses, we can see that the Samaritan woman realized from the Lord Jesus’ words that He is Christ, for she knew only God can watch over everything, know man’s innermost secrets, and can speak out all the things that she ever did. No one except God has such authority and power. So, when the Lord Jesus spoke to her about her husbands, she at once recognized He is Christ. From her experience, it can be seen that her wisdom was that she could recognize God’s voice and that once she heard God’s voice, she could accept the truth, and thus gained the salvation of the Lord Jesus. Besides, we can see from the Bible that people, like Peter and Nathanael, also recognized the Lord from His words and thus followed Him.
Through these facts, we can understand that the most critical point to be a wise virgin is to be able to discern the voice of God. Proverbs 9:10 says: “The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.” Obviously, to be wise virgins to welcome the Lord’s return, it isn’t enough for us only to pay attention to reading the Bible, praying, and working more for the Lord. In Revelation 3:20, God says: “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.” It shows that when God comes again in the last days, He will continue to speak. So it’s absolutely vital to recognize the Lord’s voice. Only those who can recognize God’s voice and take it upon themselves to welcome His arrival are wise virgins, and can attend the feast of the kingdom of heaven together with the Lord. However, those who can’t recognize God’s voice like the Pharisees, and even hate and reject God instead of accepting Him when they hear His voice, are doomed to be forsaken by the Lord.
Now, you must be eager to know: How can we recognize the voice of God? Once, I read a passage in a fellowship about it in a book. I’ll share several principles with you below on how to discern the voice of God.
1. The words expressed by God are the truth. They can be man’s life, supply their needs and give man a path to follow.
The Lord: “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me” (Jhn 14:6). And John 1:1–4 says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. … In him was life; and the life was the light of men.” From the scriptures, we can surely say that God Himself is the truth, the way and the life. So the words expressed by God are the truth. It can supply man according to their actual needs so that they have a path to walk and can receive provision of life. Look back to the Age of Law: After man was corrupted by Satan, they simply had no idea how to lead a life, and didn’t even know how to worship God. Then, Jehovah God issued laws and commandments to guide the Israelites to live on earth according to their state at the time. These laws and commandments are words of truth and the most practical life supply. During the later period of the Age of Law, man had become even more deeply corrupted. Man failed to keep the law and often sinned. If this continued, man would perish under the law. At that time, the Lord Jesus came, and brought man not only the sin offering, but also the new ways to practice. He instructed man to confess their sins and repent before the Him, to be tolerant, patient, and forgive man, and to love others as ourselves, and so on. The utterance of the Lord Jesus was what men in the Age of Grace most urgently needed and was men’s life supply. In the last days, how will God guide us through speaking? Hebrews 9:28 says: “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.” 1 Peter 4:17 says, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” and Psalms 96:13 says, “Before the LORD: for he comes, for he comes to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth” And thus, in the last days, God will come to utter His voice, and He won’t do the redemption work again. Instead, He will judge, purify, and save man out of the bondage of sin through the word of truth. We believe those wise virgins who are watching and waiting for the bridegroom’s voice will receive some revelations from it.
2. God’s utterance is the expression of His disposition, with authority and power.
Brothers and sisters, we all know that at the beginning, God used words to create all things on earth. As soon as He speaks, His words become reality. Just as Psalms 33:9 says: “For he spoke, and it was done; he commanded, and it stood fast.” In the Old Testament age, God promised Abraham that his offspring would be as numerous as the stars of heaven, and as plentiful as the sand on the sea shore, and it has been accomplished. Everything spoken by God shall be fulfilled one after the other. This is the authority and power of God’s word. In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus said: “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (Jhn 4:14). “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whoever lives and believes in me shall never die. Believe you this?” (Jhn 11:25–26). “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Mat 23:15). The Lord Jesus’ word has authority and power. From His word, we can recognize it as the voice of God, and realize that His words can not only command and rule over all things but can bestow us life and truth, promises and blessings, and even more it can curse those who disobey Him and resist Him. From God’s words, we can see that God has love and mercy on those who believe in Him and love Him; as for those who disobey Him and resist Him, He is full of majesty and wrath. From His words of cursing the Pharisees, we see God’s righteous disposition is intolerant of offense by man. Every sentence of God contains within it His disposition and even more carries the unique authority of the Creator. All the words He says can never be spoken by man. In the last days, God will judge each man according to his deeds and shall bring this evil age to an end by the words filled with His righteous disposition. If we are only willing to accept the tender words full of love and mercy, which are in accordance with our conceptions, we will probably lose the opportunity of welcoming the Lord’s return.
3. The word expressed by God can reveal the mysteries in God’s management work.
The Lord Jesus said: “so shall it be in the end of this world. The Son of man shall send forth his angels, and they shall gather out of his kingdom all things that offend, and them which do iniquity; And shall cast them into a furnace of fire: there shall be wailing and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. Who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Mat 13:40–43). “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Mat 7:21). His words told us that God would send forth His angels to separate good from evil, classifying all men according to their kind, and that only those who do the will of God can enter into the kingdom of heaven. These words expressed by God are the mysteries of heaven and they are also the result ultimately to be achieved when God saves man and manages man. The reason why the Lord Jesus could uncover these mysteries is because He is God Himself; He is the Lord of the kingdom of heaven. Only God knows what kind of man can, that is, God’s utterance can reveal mysteries of His management work. And this is another characteristic to discern the voice of God. Also, the Lord Jesus said: “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” (Jhn 16:12–13). So, the truth the Lord will express when He comes again will absolutely not be limited to what we received before, for God will express all the truth that man needs to supply those who hunger and thirst for it and to make the whole management work of saving man known to all. The wise virgins can surely take this point as the primary characteristic to discern God’s voice.
4. God’s word can reveal man’s corruptions, mind and thoughts.
For example, the Lord Jesus said: “That which comes out of the man, that defiles the man. For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, Thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness: All these evil things come from within, and defile the man” (Mark 7:20–23). The Lord Jesus reveals man’s mind, thoughts and nature, so that we can recognize sins within our hearts. Since we men were created by God, though we don’t know our corruptions at all after we have been corrupted by Satan, God has a thorough understanding of us. So only God can reveal the root of our corruptions and the substance of our nature, which can’t be achieved by anyone. Just like the Pharisees at the time, in the Jews’ eyes, they are the ones who serve God piously. But the Lord Jesus could see through their hearts that hate the truth and love wickedness, and revealed them by saying: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like to white washed sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men's bones, and of all uncleanness” (Mat 23:27). The truth is the light. Any darkness and evil will be revealed in the light. I saw a passage of God’s word that says: “Just as the moon follows the sun in unending alternation, so the work of God never ceases, and is carried out upon you, upon me, upon others, and upon all those who follow the footprints of God and accept His judgment and chastisement.” In the last days, God expresses the truth to judge all our unrighteousness, and it will surely expose our satanic corrupt disposition—that we can’t know—to the light. If we don’t possess a heart that fears God or a heart to accept the truth like the wise virgins do, it’s hard for us to receive the salvation of God in the last days.
God’s voice is the utterance He speaks to mankind, and the expression of God’s disposition and being. The word of God has authority and power, which can’t be expressed by any corrupted mankind. God’s word is the truth and the way that can directly supply man’s life; God’s word can end the old age and open up a new age, and is even better at uncovering the mysteries of His management work; God’s word can reveal man’s corruption and save them so they can break free from evil. All these are the unique characteristics of His speech. If we master these principles to discern the voice of God, when hearing God’s voice, it’ll not be hard to know God.
Sister Muzhen, I hope the fellowship above will be helpful to you. May we all be wise virgins and seek with our hearts and listen for the Lord’s voice in order that we can welcome the Lord’s arrival soon and feast with Him. Thank God for bringing us such enlightenment and the truth. All the glory be to the Lord!
November 1, 2017
- Extended Reading:
- Is It Possible to Know When Jesus Is Coming Back to Work?