All manner of disasters have occurred in recent years, the four blood moons have long since appeared, and the prophecies concerning the Lord’s return have now basically been fulfilled. How then are we to greet the Lord? The Lord Jesus says, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). “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” (Revelation 3:20). In Revelation, it is prophesied many times, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2, 3). These prophecies tell us that the Lord will speak to the churches when He returns in the last days, and through His utterances He will knock upon the doors of our hearts, seeking His sheep. If we want to greet the Lord’s return, therefore, we must be the wise virgins and learn how to hear God’s voice, for only by doing that will we be able to attend the feast of the Lamb.
The signs of the last days have appeared. How can we welcome the Lord before the disasters?
At this point, some brothers and sisters may think of The Church of Almighty God. They may think about the fact that, in recent years, only The Church of Almighty God has been publicly testifying online that the Lord has returned, that He has appeared and is performing His work, that He has expressed new utterances, that He is currently performing the work of judging and purifying man, and that many people from all religions and denominations have turned to Almighty God after hearing His words. But there are many brothers and sisters now who do not know how to discern the voice of God; this problem is real, and it is the key to us being able to greet the Lord when He comes. Below, we will fellowship on how we can discern the voice of God.
It is not actually difficult to be able to recognize God’s voice; all you need to do is use your heart and you will know. For example, though we may not have a thorough understanding of the Lord’s words, as soon as we hear them, we know them to be the truth, we feel their authority and power, and in our hearts we know without a doubt that these words could not have been said by any normal human being. Only the God who created all things in heaven and on earth could possess such authority and power, and anyone with heart and spirit will be able to feel this and believe it. For example, the Lord Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). “I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believes in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25). And “Why I say to you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matthew 12:31–32). When we hear the Lord’s words, we feel incredibly moved, we feel their authority and power, and we are then sure that these words are the truth. Furthermore, the Lord’s words of warning to mankind are imbued with the majestic, wrathful disposition of God that tolerates no offense, and we know that no human being could possibly say such words.
Let’s read another passage, and we’ll understand more about how we can discern the voice of God. God’s words say, “[T]he authority and identity of God are clearly revealed in the wording of God’s utterances. For example, when God says ‘My covenant is with you, and you shall … have I made you … I will make you…,’ phrases such as ‘you shall’ and ‘I will,’ whose wording bears the affirmation of God’s identity and authority, are, in one respect, an indication of the Creator’s faithfulness; in another respect, they are special words used by God, who possesses the identity of the Creator—as well as being part of conventional vocabulary. … [T]here is power, majesty, and authority in the words of God. Such might and authority, and the inevitability of the accomplishment of fact, are unattainable by any created or non-created being, and unsurpassable by any created or non-created being. Only the Creator can converse with mankind with such a tone and intonation, and facts have proven that His promises are not empty words, or idle boasts, but are the expression of unique authority that is unsurpassable by any person, event, or thing.”
We can see from this passage that God’s utterances are spoken in the identity of the Creator to all mankind. His manner of speaking, His wording, and His tone all demonstrate the unique identity and substance of God Himself, and these words are the direct expressions of the Spirit of God. Though we may not know God or understand the truth, if we listen with our hearts, we will feel the authority and power of God’s words, and we will then be sure that only God can speak as the Creator in such a way. For example, in the time of the Old Testament, God said to Abraham: “As for Me, behold, My covenant is with you, and you shall be a father of many nations. Neither shall your name any more be called Abram, but your name shall be Abraham; for a father of many nations have I made you. And I will make you exceeding fruitful, and I will make nations of you, and kings shall come out of you” (Genesis 17:4–6). In God’s words of blessing to Abraham we are able to perceive the authority in God’s words; no created being would dare to arbitrarily make such promises. We should not, therefore, consider discerning the voice of God as something difficult. It doesn’t matter whether we are educated or have caliber, much less does it depend on how much theological theory or biblical knowledge we have. The crux lies with whether or not we love the truth, and as long as we have heart and spirit, then we will be capable of perception and judgment, just as the Lord Jesus said: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). Only those who do not love the truth and who are without heart and spirit are unable to recognize God’s voice. Take the Pharisees at the time of Jesus, for example. They could hear the authority and power in the words the Lord Jesus spoke, yet still they did not believe Him to be the Messiah, and they judged Him and said He spoke blasphemy. They were the absurd and reckless foolish virgins, who did not understand spiritual matters.
2. God’s Words Are the Truth and Can Show Us the Way
The Lord Jesus says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). God’s words say, “Not just anyone can possess the way of life, nor can every single person easily obtain it. That is because life can only come from God, which is to say, only God Himself possesses the substance of life, and only God Himself has the way of life. And so only God is the source of life, and the ever-flowing wellspring of living water of life.” We can see from these words that if we want to be sure about God’s voice, we can use our own judgment to determine whether these words possess the truth and whether they can show us the way, for besides God, no other is capable of expressing the truth. What’s more, each and every utterance God makes is aimed at our actual needs; He does not just randomly speak some passages and then call it quits. All of God’s words have meaning. They can resolve our practical problems, show us the way and, by practicing in accordance with God’s words, we can gain life and live out a true human likeness. In the Age of Law, God used Moses to proclaim the laws and commandments, so that man would know what sin was and how to live a normal life. If God hadn’t done this, then people would have been killing each other like wild savages. Toward the end of the Age of Law, people were no longer able to keep the laws and were in danger of being sentenced to death by them. God therefore expressed the way of repentance in accordance with man’s needs; He required that people confess and repent, that they learn to love God, to love others as they love themselves, to love their enemies, and to be tolerant and patient, and so on. For example, the Lord Jesus says, “Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself” (Matthew 22:37–39). These words showed the people of that time a new path to follow. By practicing in accordance with the Lord Jesus’ words, our outward behavior changed somewhat, and we became somewhat loving and patient. What is undeniable, however, is that we now live in a near-constant state of sin, and how we can rid ourselves of the shackles of sin is a matter that vexes us greatly—this is our real difficulty. The Lord Jesus prophesied, “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). And 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.” We can see from these verses of Scripture that when the Lord returns, He will express new words to lead us into all truths. There will be more, higher truths than there were during the Age of Grace, they will all be truths we have never before understood, and they will be able to save us from sin and enable us to win eternal life. If someone simply repeated some words previously spoken by the Lord Jesus, then that would certainly not be the voice of God. That would be an evil spirit or a false Christ imitating God’s utterances. And so, when we hear someone testifying that the Lord has come and is expressing new words, we can use our own judgment to determine whether these words have any new light, whether they can show us the way to rid ourselves of sin, and whether they can enable us to live out proper humanity. This is the second principle of discerning the voice of God.
3. God’s Words Can Expose the Corruption in Mankind
There is one more principle to distinguishing the voice of God, which is to look and see whether these words are able to reveal the corrupt essence of man. As we all know, God scrutinizes our innermost hearts and minds; His understanding penetrates every part of us, and He sees through to the very essence of our nature. Just as the Bible says, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in His sight: but all things are naked and opened to the eyes of Him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:12–13). We can see from this that all things in the world are naked and open before God. Even the most deeply hidden thoughts in our minds, even things we never knew were there, God can scrutinize them all and bring them all to light. For example, the Lord Jesus exposed the Pharisees when He said, “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. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:27–28). From this biblical record, we can see that the Pharisees were utter hypocrites who prayed to God standing in the streets at crossroads in the streets, who deliberately made themselves look ugly while fasting, who made sure people saw them when they gave alms, and who secretly embezzled widows’ property. In no way did they exalt God or bear witness to God; they led believers to cling to some useless rules and brought everyone before themselves. The common Jewish folk of that time were unable to see what the Pharisees were truly like and were deceived by their apparent good deeds. They believed the Pharisees to be pious and God-serving men, and they had blind faith in and worshiped the Pharisees. The Lord Jesus, however, was able to see through to the innermost hearts of the Pharisees, and He exposed their hypocritical essence, thus allowing the believers to have discernment.
Similarly, when the Lord returns in the last days, He also will expose our corrupt essence. Let’s take a look at these prophecies in the Book of Revelation: “And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shines in its strength” (Revelation 1:16). And the Lord Jesus prophesied, “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 12:48). 1 Peter 4:17 says, “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” These prophecies tell us that when the Lord returns in the last days, He will express words to perform the work of judgment and will use His word to reveal all our sins, like a two-edged sword. He will thereby cause us to reflect on ourselves, feel remorse for our actions and behavior, and achieve true repentance and change. As God’s words say: “He despises the filth. You may not even be able to detect anything filthy in your words and deeds, but He can, and He points them out to you. Those old things of yours—your lack of cultivation, insight, and sense, and your backward ways of living—have now been brought into the light by today’s revelations; only by God coming to earth to work thus do people behold His holiness and righteous disposition. He judges and chastises you, causing you to gain understanding; sometimes, your demonic nature is manifested, and He points it out to you. He knows man’s essence like the back of His hand.” In order to tell whether these words are the utterances of the second coming of the Lord, therefore, we must look at whether they are able to expose our innermost thoughts and corrupt essence, and whether they can enable us to achieve self-reflection, self-knowledge, and true repentance. If they are words in which God reveals and judges the corrupt essence of man, then when we read them, we will feel distressed, we will be convinced in heart and by word, and we will then be able to feel God’s righteous disposition that tolerates no offense. If what we are hearing are just a corrupt human being saying a few reproachful words, then we will not have these feelings.
Having fellowshiped to this point, I trust that you will all now have a path to follow to be able to recognize the voice of God. How then can we be certain that the words expressed by Almighty God are the voice of God? It’s actually not difficult. The majority of the words expressed by Almighty God are recorded in the book, The Word Appears in the Flesh. If we use our hearts to read several chapters of this book, we will see for ourselves whether these words possess authority, whether they can show us the way to rid ourselves of sin, and whether they expose our corrupt essence, and then we will naturally be able to discern this issue clearly. If we are able to recognize the voice of God and accept and submit to God’s work of the last days, then we will be the wise virgins and will be able to greet the Lord when He returns.
Regarding His second coming, the Lord Jesus prophesied: “But of that day and hour knows no man,” and how should we understand the verse? When the Lord has come back to work, is it possible for anyone to know that?