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 (Manna 50: Our Church)
The True Church Today
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The TrueChurch Today

FF ChongLondon, United Kingdom

The concept of church can be found in the Old Testament (OT) of the Bible. It was first designated for the people of God, as the Israelites congregated together for worship and especially when they were assembled for religious matters and in the hearing of the Law.1

In the New Testament (NT), the word “church” has multiple meanings. Its root derives from the Greek word “ekklesia”, which means “a called-out assembly”—a community devoted to Jesus and to the radical lifestyle expressed in God’s word.2

This new life embodied in the spirit-filled and committed community makes the members different from the rest of the world.3 It is sanctified by the Lord and refers to the believers themselves as opposed to a place of worship, as the English word “church” may suggest.

The first mention of the church can be found in Matthew 16:18: “And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church…” If we read this verse in the Greek text it will appear: “You are ‘Petros’, and on this ‘Petra’ I will build My church.” (Note: Petros is a fragment of the huge mass known as a stone.)

Therefore, it is Jesus on whom the church of God is founded.4 And the church here, as Jesus put it, is the one and only one. She is the body of Christ.

The Emergence of the TrueChurch

            Now it shall come to pass in the latter days
That the mountain of the LORD’s house
Shall be established on the top of the mountains,
And shall be exalted above the hills;
And all nations shall flow to it.
Many people shall come and say,
“Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD,
To the house of the God of Jacob;
He will teach us His ways,
And we shall walk in His paths.”
For out of Zion shall go forth the law,
And the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. (Isa 2:2-3; Mic 4:1-2)

Although the two most powerful prophets of the same era had long proclaimed this prophecy, the gravity of their message was not fully grasped because its fulfillment is to happen in the last days. An indisputable distinction was also made in the prophecy between the church of God (God’s mountain) and other churches (all the mountains and the hills).

Many generations after their time, the author of Hebrews revealed that this mountain of God was the church (Heb 12:22-23). Through this highest mountain, God would accomplish His many tasks—such as teaching, judging, rebuking and admonishing wrong doers.5

Some believe that the highest mountain refers to the apostolic church that is recorded in the Bible, and one compelling reason is that the church had the abiding presence of the Holy Spirit.

There are, however, two convincing proofs that suggest that this prophecy points not to the apostolic era but to another time period—the latter days prior to the return of Christ. In other words, God would re-establish His church towards the end of time, the time we are living in now, and this is the church that Isaiah’s and Micah’s prophecies pointed to.

First, the apostolic church was the only church against the pagan world at the time, but the prophecy highlights the comparison of the highest mountain with other mountains and hills. This makes the prophetic scenario more befitting the Christian world of today, where the true church has been established above all other denominations.

Second, ever since the death of the last apostle, history has witnessed the degeneration of the church. Secularism and heresies crept in and corrupted her, which led to the departure of the Holy Spirit. But the time would come that God’s church would be revived and exalted.

I am not suggesting that the Spirit had stopped working altogether after the apostles and before the emergence of the true church, for the translation and canonization of the Bible point clearly to the work of the Holy Spirit.6 But one thing for certain is that the Holy Spirit did not work in the way as when the apostles were alive.

Two Periods of Rain

In the Old Testament, the Lord promised that He would give His people the former and latter rains.7 These were prophecies regarding the two periods in which God will pour out His Holy Spirit upon believers.

The analogy of rain as the Spirit is taken from the climate of the land of Palestine, which is pretty stable year after year. There are two major rainy seasons in Palestine. The early rain comes in the autumn from November to January—this is the time for planting. The latter rain comes in the spring—between March and April and right before harvesting takes place.

The promise of the former rain was fulfilled when the Holy Spirit was poured out for the first time. This was the beginning of the apostolic church. But this period of former rain eventually ended with the prevalence of false teachings and the decline of the church. The outpouring of the Holy Spirit came to a stop.

Nevertheless, just as God promised in the Scriptures, He poured out the Holy Spirit once again upon believers in the early twentieth century and re-established His church, the True Jesus Church. Today, believers in the true church has received the promised Holy Spirit in the same way as the believers in the apostolic church. Therefore, we have now witnessed and experienced the coming of the latter rain.

Since God has chosen to work in such a mysterious way, our aim is not to question, “If people did not receive the Holy Spirit between the periods of former and latter rains, how did they get to heaven during the 1600 years from the apostles until now?” Rather, our focus should be on how we can participate in the harvesting work during the latter season of rain at the emergence of the highest mountain.

The rainy seasons are visible signs of God’s work; especially in the establishment of the church in both periods.

            I will make the lame a remnant,
And the outcast a strong nation;
So the LORD will reign over them in Mount Zion
From now on, even forever. (Mic 4:7)

The second half of this prophecy is not talking about the church in heaven but the church on earth, where the Lord will summon the lame and the remnant together. And the end-time true church shall reign with the Lord on earth with the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit until He comes again.

The End-TimeTrueChurch from the East

Both the OT and NT Scriptures record prophecies regarding the emergence of the latter true church. The close association between “God working from the east and Zion” has been an important idea in the Bible (Ps 50:1-2).

The OT Prophecies

            And behold, the glory of the God of Israel came from the way of the east. His voice was like the sound of many waters; and the earth shone with His glory. (Ezek 43:2)8

The True Jesus Church was first established in China, which is situated east of the land of Israel. She has the seal of the living God, which is the Holy Spirit—the voice of many waters (Isa 42:2ff; Rev 7:2). And the Holy Spirit confirms that she comes from God in accordance to biblical prophecies.

            Surely these shall come from afar;
Look! Those from the north and the west,
And these from the land of Sinim. (Isa 49:12)

This is one of the commonly used verses to support the emergence of the true church from the east. To explain this prophecy, there are two fundamental questions to be answered: Who are the people from afar? And is the church implied in the prophecy?

The first section of Isaiah 49 provides the details of the coming and the works of the Lord Jesus. In particular, He is to be the light to the world (v. 6b), and He is to perform the work of redemption (v. 7-9). He will ease and smooth the way for men to come to Him (v. 11). Those who are gathered by Him will enjoy His abundant mercy:

            They shall neither hunger nor thirst,
Neither heat nor sun shall strike them;
For He who has mercy on them will lead them,
Even by the springs of water He will guide them. (Isa 49:10)

“People from afar” are represented by the coastlands (Isa 49:1). In verse 12 of the same chapter, they can be taken to mean the people of two different time periods and who came from two different locations in history. This explanation is in accordance with the disclosed plan of God regarding the emergence of His church in the apostolic times and ours.

The first are “those from the north and the west.” (We should also bear in mind that the Bible land, Israel, is always referred to as the centre of the four corners.) The book of Acts clearly depicts how the church progressed from Jerusalem and Judea northward to Caesarea and Antioch. From Antioch, which was the springboard for the gentile mission, the gospel was preached westward to the end of the world, which was Spain at the time.

Second is the reference to the land of Sinim, which is a location that has no correlation with the land of Israel. This land of Sinim was the name given to the land of the Ching Dynasty in China.9

The Arabians and other Asiatics called China Sin, or Tchin; the Chinese had no special name for themselves, but either adopted that of a reigning dynasty or some high sounding titles.10

There would be God-chosen ones in this land, and the prophecy transpired when the Holy Spirit established the True Jesus Church in China in 1917.

By these two groups of people, both the apostolic church and the True Jesus Church, God shall bring comfort and mercy to His people and to the afflicted—those who come to believe in Jesus. This is the work God designed to be accomplished according to His own time (Isa 49:8).

The NT Prophecies

            For as the lightning comes from the east and flashes to the west, so also will the coming of the Son of Man be. (Mt 24:27)

Luke provides a similar account but does not indicate the direction of the flashing lightning (Lk 17:34). This prophecy is part of the answer given to the second of the three questions raised by the disciples in the Matthew account, concerning the sign of Jesus’ coming (Mt 24:3).

It has two pointers. First, it is intended to guard against believing anyone from anywhere who purports to be Christ in the time of great deception (Mt 24:26), which is one of the events in the days of the great tribulation. The deception can be so serious that even the elect would become victims of its snares (Mt 24:24-25). Second, it is a similitude used to denote the pace and unpredictability of the time of His coming (Mt 24:27).

This prophecy is more relevant to us than the disciples in the apostolic time, for immediately after the tribulation of those days Jesus will come (Mt 24:29ff). To explain it in relation to the appearance of the end time true church, we have to focus on the first pointer.

It is a sign by which the disciples then, and all the more we today, know where Jesus is, so that we may not be deceived. After the resurrection of Jesus, He is no longer in the flesh. He promised His disciples, however, that He would come in the Spirit.11 If the Spirit lives in them, they would know where Jesus is (1 Jn 3:24). Using the “one body and one Spirit” principle, we know that the Spirit can only be present in the body of Christ, which is the church (Eph 2:20ff).

From what is stated, we steadfastly believe that the Spirit abides only with the true church that comes from the east and spreads the truth westward. This church is where Jesus can be found. This explanation is accurate and biblical.

Elder John, in a vision, saw an angel from the east holding the seal of the living God, whom He had given the authority to seal His servants (Rev 7:2-3). This angel represents the church based on three clear indicators in the book of Revelation.

1.       The angel ascends from the east, which is different from others in Revelation.

2.       When the angel spoke, he did so in a collective sense: “..till we have sealed…” (Rev 7:3). The church, the redeemed believers, is the agent by whom the Spirit is given to those who come to believe and obey (Acts 5:32).

3.       In the messages to the seven churches, the leaders of the church are addressed as the angel of the church.

This prophecy was given to strengthen the faith of the believers in the last days. This is more so to those who are still alive before the unfolding of the seventh seal, and right before the outpour of the complete wrath of God. They must recognize that only those who are sealed by God through His church are given protection (Rev 7:14). Therefore, the church that has the seal of God must fulfill the prophetic requirement of coming from the east.

All the truths that we preach are based on the truth. Moreover, we have clearly seen that the emergence of the end-time true church is based upon the foundation of the apostles and the prophets with Jesus being the cornerstone of this foundation.12

The Requirements of the TrueChurch

The TrueChurch and the Holy Spirit

The true church has the fullness of the Holy Spirit,13 and she emanates from Christ and embraces His fullness, which testifies to the divine presence in the church: “And by this we know that He abides in us, by the Spirit whom He has given us” (1 Jn 3:24). Without the Holy Spirit, the church does not belong to God.

It is the Holy Spirit that makes the church He abides with the Jerusalem from above (Gal 4:26). The children, whom she gives birth to, are children of promise (cf. Gal 3:29; 4:28). Therefore, God will send forth the Spirit into their hearts. The Holy Spirit distinguishes us from other churches, just as God made a distinction between Sarah and Hagar. Unlike Hagar who was a slave, Sarah, the lawful wife of Abraham, gave birth to a child of promise. Likewise, God has chosen the church to which He gives the Holy Spirit—the true church.

The Holy Spirit also affirms the authority of the church as one sent by God. After His resurrection, Jesus appeared to His disciples to send them out on their mission. He granted them the authority to remit sins, but before they did so they were firstly told to receive the Holy Spirit (Jn 20:22), who is a vital seal of divine sanction (Heb 2:3-4).

The true church is given the same sanction in order to perform her ministry mightily.

The TrueChurch Has the Complete Gospel

The church that has the presence of the Holy Spirit preaches the complete gospel. The Lord Jesus said, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth” (Jn 16:13). The term “all truth” is important. It is not just recognition of the baptism of John (Acts 18:25-26); it is the complete gospel that God has revealed in the Bible.

The Bible is the ultimate standard of Christian faith, and only when the church follows strictly to what the Bible teaches can she then “rightly handle the word of truth” (2 Tim 2:15). She cannot alter the message to suit the times or the audience, and the truth must not be prejudiced by human suppositions. As Paul exhorts members of the community of faith, they “can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Cor 13:8).

The church is built on the foundation of truth—the saving word of God. She is the pillar and ground of the truth. She is also the venue where the complete truth is available.

The plan of God is such that the church reveals His manifold wisdom (Eph 3:10). She upholds all the essential teachings, not only the five biblical doctrines 14 but also the teachings on Jesus’ second coming, the grace of God, the Bible, the one true church and the Godhead.

By preaching the truth, the church enables those who believe to have fellowship in the kingdom of God. Those who wish to know the truth must draw close to the one and only true church.

The Church Is Accompanied by Miracles

The presence of miracles and wonders in the true church is to attest that she preaches the complete truth. The author of Hebrews testifies how the message “was confirmed to us by those who heard Him, God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will” (Heb 2:3-4).

When the imprisoned John the Baptist instructed his disciples to approach Jesus to confirm His messianic status, Jesus did not give him a direct answer. Instead, He pointed to the miracles He performed (Mt 11:2ff). Jesus’ indirect response indicates that the true church proclaiming the true message is given the authority to perform miracles, signs and wonders (Acts 2:22).

The Lord affirms the message preached by the True Jesus Church today, as He did to the disciples some two thousand years ago: “The Lord worked with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs” (Mk 16:20).

Evidence from the Prophets and the Apostles

These three crucial elements concerning the true church are firmly inhered in the prophecies of Isaiah and Micah: God shall teach those who are within His mountain.15 The presence of God on the mountain represents the abidance of the Holy Spirit in the church. This is in line with the teachings of Jesus: The Holy Spirit teaches us the truth (Jn 16:13). And these teachings are in harmony with the teachings of Paul to Timothy, who proclaimed the church as the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim 3:16b).

            They shall beat their swords into plowshares,
And their spears into pruning hooks;
Nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
Neither shall they learn war anymore. (Isa 2:4; Mic 4:3)

The change of attitude, from offensive violence to noticeable meekness amongst those who flood to the mountain of God, confirms the miraculous and transformational work of God in their lives.

In the NT, the Lord has appointed various offices and given gifts to the church to testify to the authenticity of the church:

            And God has appointed these in the church: first apostles, second prophets, third teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healing, helps, administration, varieties of tongues (1 Cor 12:28).

The primary objective of appointing apostles, prophets and teachers is, on the one hand, to preach the truth. On the other hand, it is to defend the truth that has been given to the church so that it can be imparted, as it has been first given, from one generation to another.

When the truth is upheld, miracles will follow (Mk 16:17) to testify to the truth preached (Mk 16:17). When the church starts to expand with the mighty presence of the Spirit, more gifts will be bestowed upon individuals at the Spirit’s discretion to build up the church (1 Cor 12:4-11).

Obviously, the three requirements cannot be separated when the uniqueness of the church is discussed. They must be presented as a complete unit to form the essentials of the true church. None can be taken in isolation of the others, if the true church is to be viewed the highest mountain in the circle of many mountains and hills.

1.        Deut 4:10; 9:10; 18:16; 31:30; Acts 7:38

2.        cf. Col 1:18; Eph 1:22

3.        1 Pet 2:9-12

4.        1 Cor 3:11; Eph 2:19-22

5.        1 Cor 5:12; cf. 6:4

6.        cf. Jn 5:17

7.        Joel 2:23, 28-31; Zech 10:1

8.        cf. Isa 24:15; Mt 24:27

9.        The book of Isaiah by Edward J. Young, 1993, Volume 3, pg 282

10.     The Bethany Parallel Commentary on the Old Testament, 1985, pg 1460, under the section of Jamieson and Fausset

11.     Jn 14:17, 23; 16:7

12.     There are many verses in the OT, which expound on the prophecies concerning the TrueChurch of the latter rain (Isa 49:12; Ezek 43:2; Amos 9:11). Jesus hinted in Matthew that the church would emerge from the east (24:27). Elder John was given the vision concerning the emergence of the true church on three separate occasions (Rev 6:1-2; 7:2-3; 19:11-16). Surely the white horse cannot be taken to mean the emergence of the apostolic church, as it was already in existence when the vision was received.

13.     Eph 1:22-23; 2:20ff

14.     Essential Biblical Doctrines, True Jesus Church, 2000

15.     Mic 4:2; Isa 2:3

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Publisher: True Jesus Church