Shortly after believing in the Lord, I read the Book of Matthew 25:6, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him.” I believed that the Lord would return at midnight when we were asleep. Every night, I woke up on time to pray. Even sometimes, I got up several times in the dead of night. I thought it would keep me from missing the chance to be raptured into the kingdom of heaven. Moreover, I often asked brothers and sisters in the church to follow me. If someone heard the Lord’s return, he should tell one another, so that everyone could welcome the Lord and be taken up to His kingdom.
This summer, my grandson who went to college, came back home. He accepted the Lord’s gospel since his childhood and often read the Bible. I read this verse with him and asked him to pray at midnight. But he said to me, “Grandpa, the Lord said, ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Mat 25:6). You mean that the ‘midnight’ refers to the time we fall asleep, I disagree with you on this matter. Since I was a child, I have often been told that God’s considerations for mankind are very thoughtful when He created the heavens and earth and all things. He established the laws of human life so that we work at day and rest at night. After a busy day, we should take care of ourselves at night to keep healthy. Once we break the rule and don’t rest at night, then we’ll be under the weather. Even more, we’ll die in the long run. If we welcome the Lord at midnight every night, we can’t take a good rest, then don’t we violate the laws of human life? I don’t think what you did is after the Lord’s will. What’s more, this verse is a prophecy. Now that it’s a prophecy, we shouldn’t be free to explain but be cautious. Just as the Bible said, “Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost” (2 Peter 1: 20-21). So, it’s not proper to explain the prophecy of the Lord’s return according to our imaginations or its literal meaning. And it’s recorded in the Bible, “… for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life” (2 Corinthians 3:6). Because of the time zone difference around the world, it’s noon in America but midnight in China, and vice versa. So if the “midnight” of the prophecy refers to the time when we fall asleep, then at which country’s midnight will the Lord return? Apparently, our understanding of midnight is just imagination not the real meaning of the prophecy. Don’t you think so?”
His well-founded words were in line with the Bible, and I just drew a complete blank. Am I wrong? But some believers understand it in this way. Other churches even arrange for believers to keep watch in shifts at night, and frequently guard and pray. I wondered what the “midnight” spoken by the Lord refers to and how to wait for His return.
One day, a brother, who pursued more actively in the church, said to me, “I didn’t figure out this issue in the past. But later some brothers and sisters’ fellowship made me understand a little. The significance of ‘midnight’ that the Lord spoke of refers to the time when Satan’s madness reaches its peak and the world is darkest and evilest, not the midnight in our real life. Look at the modern world, isn’t it in the dark of the night? There’re blood and fights among people and among nations all around. Thinking back, the people in Noah’s day were promiscuous, evil, slaughtering each other and becoming depraved to a certain degree. Finally they aggravated God’s disposition. Today, the people’s corruption is far more serious than those of Noah’s. Then look upon the religious world: Although we read the same Bible and believe in one God, what we preach is loving and tolerating each other and living as one, yet today, over 2,000 denominations have come into being among the people who believe in the Lord, and they each hold their own doctrine: ‘east, west, south, north and center; we are the most authentic,’ and condemn other sects as heresy, as a cult. There are jealousy, conflict, attack, judge and discrimination within each sect, which causes each sect to divide into small groups. As a result, even if there are only several believers in a little church, they still fight each other. Even more, many followers are attracted by this world and tired of spiritual devotions, showing no interest in the Lord’s word and commission. They have long ago lost their initial spirit of faith and love and their fervor has just vanished. The number of believers is getting smaller. When attending the meetings, they just go by procedures. They always doze off or gossip, having no enjoyment in the slightest. Many believers can’t feel joyful as before but tired. Some often cry, ‘O the Lord! Where’s the way? How shall we walk our future path?’ Such situation completely fulfills the prophecy in Timothy 3:1-4: ‘This know also, that in the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves, covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, Without natural affection, truce breakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, Traitors, heady, high minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God’ (2 Timothy 3:1-4). Obviously, the current religious world is in darkness. In other words, this is the very time of midnight the Bible refers to.” Hearing this, I felt my heart brighten and finally understood what the “midnight” refers to. It was foolish of me to explain this verse just according to its literal meaning. This is obviously inconsistent with the Lord’s intention.
It’s already the last days now. The prophecies of the Bible have been basically fulfilled. Has the Lord returned? I prayed to Him time after time, fearing that though I believed in the Lord all my life, I might miss the golden opportunity when the Lord comes. Later, through studying the Bible, I read the Lord’s word, “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” (Revelation 3:20). And God has mentioned several times in Revelation, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” From these prophecies I understand that the Lord will say to the churches when He comes again. So, we ought to be wise virgins and listen carefully to His voice. No matter who testifies of the Lord’s return, we shall seek and investigate. Only in this way, can we listen to the Lord’s voice. Only then will we be those who watch and wait for His return, and who go to the wedding feast of the Lamb and are taken before God’s throne. Knowing these, I found the way to welcome the Lord’s return. I make up my mind to heed His voice and seek His footsteps. The Lord once said, “For every one that asks receives; and he that seeks finds; and to him that knocks it shall be opened” (Matthew 7:8). Believe that the Lord will guide me to find Him. Thank God! Amen!
By Liu Shuan