On March 25, 2017, Elder Hsieh, a veteran worker who
started his full-time ministry in 1955, delivered an insightful and stirring
message on the future of the True Jesus Church during a Sabbath service at the Centennial
Commemoration and World Delegates’ Conference held by the Taiwan General
Assembly. Below is an excerpt.
conversion in 1947, I have heard the declaration “the True Jesus Church shall
prosper” repeated by many workers of the preceding generations. Do we continue
to hold this same belief?
Let us consider
this topic from three perspectives: the criteria of the true church; the gospel
preached by the True Jesus Church; and the gospel to be preached to Israel.
OF THE TRUE CHURCH
First, let us
review the three biblical requirements that define the true church.
with the Spirit of Christ
And He put all things under
[Christ’s] feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which
is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all. (Eph 1:22–23)
The church is
Christ’s body, and His Spirit fills the church. Thus, the first requirement of
the true church is that she must be filled with the Spirit of Christ. The
abidance of His Spirit testifies that the church belongs to Christ.
But you are not
in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now
if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His. (Rom 8:9)
One who does not
have the Spirit of Christ does not belong to Him. This is true for both
individual members as well as the church as a whole.
Proclaims the Words of Christ
requirement is that the church must proclaim the words of Christ. Her beliefs
and her teachings must be in full accordance with the teachings of the Bible.
She must correctly explain the word of God.
Knowing that the
imparted truth might be lost over time, the Lord Jesus commanded His disciples,
before His ascension, to: “[teach] them to observe all things that I have
commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age” (Mt
28:20). The truth taught by the Lord Jesus had to be passed down from
generation to generation; only then would He abide with the church until the
end of time.
live according to the words of Jesus as recorded in the Bible. Such fidelity to
God’s word characterizes the teachings of the true church. We must never equate
our own opinions to biblical principles. Nor should we accept teachings that
are based solely on human rationale. This is the attitude that the True Jesus
Church has held from her establishment. If the teachings of Jesus are altered,
the Holy Spirit will leave the church.
Over the last
year or so, I have undertaken doctrinal comparisons of the True Jesus Church
and other Christian denominations. I find that the
beliefs of the True Jesus Church are more aligned to early Christian theology
than to today’s wider Christianity. Clearly, over time, biblical exegesis has
evolved and been twisted to the extent that the Christian world today generally
does not abide by Jesus’ words. They embellish and re-interpret the Bible’s
teachings to suit their own agendas. Many changes occurred after the fourth
century, when Emperor Constantine I decriminalized Catholicism and made it the
official religion of the Roman Empire. After the sixteenth-century Reformation,
the range of Christian beliefs multiplied and deviated even further from the
Bible as the number of denominations increased.
There is only
one Jesus Christ and one Bible. If every church is observing the Scriptures
faithfully—without alteration or additions—why are there so many different
denominations? The interpretation of the Bible must have changed significantly
for this to happen.
Manifests the Power of Christ
requirement of the body of Christ is that she must manifest the power of
And the whole multitude sought
to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all. (Lk 6:19)
Jesus was full
of power. Those who were sick needed only to touch Him, and they would be
healed by His power. But since Jesus has ascended to heaven, how can we touch
His body today?
The church is
the body of Christ. A century ago, the True Jesus Church was established through
the power of the Holy Spirit. Within the church, we have seen His power
manifested in signs and miracles. Many from different parts of the world have
come to believe through experiencing miracles in the True Jesus Church. When
these believers are filled with the Holy Spirit, after hearing and believing
the true gospel, they willingly forsake their former beliefs and religions to
join the true church. God’s power is in the True Jesus Church.
Some believers in
developed countries lament that there are fewer miracles in the True Jesus
Church today compared to yesteryear. But let us not overlook the different
contexts. Many of our early believers did not have the advantages we now enjoy.
For example, before Taiwan established its national health insurance system,
seeing the doctor was expensive for our impoverished members. So they sought
healing from the all-powerful Physician, the Lord Jesus. In His grace and
mercy, He heeded their supplications, so signs and miracles abounded. Now, we
turn to medical doctors instead of our Lord Jesus Christ for healing.
It is not
contradictory to the truth to seek medical help from a doctor; after all, Jesus
Himself said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who
are sick” (Mk 2:17b). However, there are some believers who choose not to see a
doctor when they are sick. They believe that Jesus’ power to heal surpasses any
earthly doctor. In fact, in seemingly hopeless situations where medicine cannot
heal or may even harm, Jesus is the only answer. Such willingness to rely on
Jesus is a gift; it cannot be forced upon a person. Seeing a doctor does not
automatically signal a lack of faith. But we should also acknowledge that the
Lord Jesus still performs miracles—big and small—in the true church today.
Christ’s power through miracles is one factor that proves a church is Christ’s
body. But this cannot be taken in isolation—it is only one of three
interconnected and interdependent factors that together distinguish the true
church. The True Jesus Church not only has miracles, but also the presence of
the Holy Spirit, as proven by her believers’ speaking in tongues in prayer
(Acts 2), and faithfulness towards the gospel of Christ. And it is this gospel of
the kingdom that must be preached.
PREACHING THE GOSPEL TO THE ENDS
OF THE EARTH
And this gospel of the kingdom
will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the
end will come. (Mt 24:14)
biblical prophecy, we can see that the end is drawing near. Before the end
comes, the gospel of the kingdom will be preached throughout the world.
The Gospel will Spread Rapidly
As the end of
days approaches, the gospel will be spread more quickly.
Then I saw another angel flying
in the midst of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to those who
dwell on the earth—to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people— saying with a
loud voice, “Fear God and give glory to Him, for the hour of His judgment has
come; and worship Him who made heaven and earth, the sea and springs of water.”
In a vision,
John saw an angel preaching the everlasting gospel. An angel is a messenger of
God, so this angel refers to the servants of God who preach the
gospel—preachers, elders, deacons, brothers and sisters. The Holy Spirit is
upon the church, and we are the messengers sent by the Holy Spirit. The angel’s
flight through the air indicates the rapid speed at which the gospel is
Today, the reach
of the internet is worldwide. Hence the True Jesus Church has put in much
effort to develop the internet ministry. This allows us to share the gospel
online so that those who visit our websites can come to understand our
doctrines. In fact, quite a few truth-seekers have contacted our church through
the internet. If the church can become even more active in this ministry, she
will indeed be like an angel flying through the air, quickly spreading the
gospel throughout the world “to every nation, tribe, tongue, and people” (Rev
Why does the
gospel have to be preached with such urgency? Because “the hour of His judgment
has come.” At the age of eighty-nine, I may not live to see the day that the
gospel reaches every corner of the world, but I have every conviction that the
True Jesus Church will prosper and fulfill this commission.
The Gospel of the Kingdom Preached
by the True Jesus Church
suggest that the gospel has already reached the whole world, as the Bible has
been translated into more than a hundred languages and Christianity can be
found in the remotest places. But that is not what the Bible means.
Jesus said that
the gospel of the kingdom is the gospel that leads man to heaven (Mt 24:14).
Only the pure and unadulterated gospel that the True Jesus Church preaches can
lead man to heaven. The evidence of this is the abidance of the Holy Spirit
with the church.
In Him you also trusted, after
you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having
believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise. (Eph 1:13)
Members of the
True Jesus Church have received the promised Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking
in tongues. This seal of the Holy Spirit testifies that the church believes and
preaches the gospel of truth and salvation—the gospel of the kingdom of heaven.
Importantly, the Lord Jesus has entrusted the work of global evangelism to us
in the True Jesus Church. We must recognize and take up this noble and sacred
THE GOSPEL WILL BE PREACHED TO
For I do not desire, brethren,
that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your
own opinion, that blindness in part has happened to Israel until the fullness
of the Gentiles has come in. And so all
Israel will be saved, as it is written:
“The Deliverer will come out of
And He will turn away
ungodliness from Jacob.” (Rom 11:25–26)
This is a
profound prophecy: not only will the gospel be preached to the ends of the
earth, it will also reach the whole of Israel. As Paul writes, this was a mystery
to the believers at the time. But just as an open box hides no secret, the
revealed mystery cannot be denied.
There are two
parts to Paul’s statement. First, the number of Gentiles must be
fulfilled—i.e., God’s chosen Gentiles will first come into the true church.
Second, the house of Israel will then be saved.
The Number of Gentiles will be
Now when the
Gentiles heard [that salvation had been sent to them], they were glad and
glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal
life believed. (Acts 13:48)
When Paul and
Barnabas preached at Antioch, the Jews rejected the gospel because they were
hard-hearted. This opened the way for the Gentiles to receive salvation. From
this point onwards, Paul continued to preach the gospel to the Gentiles,
establishing churches in Europe and Asia Minor. Every Gentile who was
“appointed to eternal life” believed, meaning that none was left behind. This
will continue “until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in” (Rom 11:25). We
who are believers today have also been appointed on account of our faith in the
The House of Israel will be Saved
records that when the full number of Gentiles has been reached, the house of
Israel will be saved. This house of Israel is not the same Israel that existed
at the time of the apostles. Nor does it refer to the modern nation of Israel.
It refers to the remnant of Israel remaining after the great war (Rev 16:12–14;
20:1–10). When the time comes, only a remnant will be saved (Rom 9:27, 29).
reading of biblical prophecy suggests that, in the future, Israel will be
involved in a great war, where two-thirds of Israel will perish (Zech 13:7–9).
The prophecy speaks of a great conflict among the nations of the Middle East. The
small state of Israel is surrounded by much larger Arab nations, all of whom
have strong military forces and are developing advanced weapons programs.
will likely involve biological, nuclear and technologically advanced weapons.
This is how two-thirds will be killed. The remaining third, the surviving
remnant, will undergo great suffering and, through this difficult process, be
refined as silver and tested as gold (Zech 13:9).
By that time,
the True Jesus Church would have preached to every nation, including Israel.
During this tribulation, the gospel of Christ will be shared with them, and
they will believe with conviction that the Messiah for whom their forefathers
had waited is indeed Jesus Christ. They will understand that the “word of
truth, the gospel of…salvation” preached by the True Jesus Church enables
humankind to receive God’s promised Holy Spirit as the seal (Eph 1:13). Just
like at Pentecost, when a simple message led three thousand to be saved, the
Holy Spirit will descend mightily. Hearers will be filled with the Holy Spirit
and their sufferings will be healed. They will repent and be baptized for the
remission of sins. As God promised, “They will call on My name, and I will
answer them. I will say, ‘This is My people’; And each one will say, ‘The LORD
is my God’ ” (Zech 13:9).
of the house of Israel will be the outcome of our evangelism.
BUILDING THE WALLS OF THE TRUE
of our status as the true church must motivate us to preach the gospel of the
kingdom of heaven to all nations. However, besides evangelism, we must also
guard against complacency over the state of walls of the church. As Micah
In the day when your walls are
to be built,
In that day the decree shall go
far and wide. (Mic 7:11)
translation to the second line of this verse, offered in the footnotes of the
NKJV Holy Bible, is “the boundary shall be extended.” This
speaks of the nation of Israel expanding her territory. Her preparation for
this expansion is to build her walls. Both Israel and the true church are the
nation of God. This is why the Bible often uses Israel to represent the true
church. God’s command to Israel to rebuild the walls is also a reminder for us
in the true church.
The walls have
two functions: to separate the holy from the unholy; and to exercise control
over our own spirits.
Separate Holy from Unholy
He measured it on the four
sides; it had a wall all around, five hundred cubits long and five hundred
wide, to separate the holy areas from the common. (Ezek 42:20)
Ezekiel, in his
vision, saw a man measuring the temple’s walls with a measuring rod. Each wall
was five hundred rods in length. One rod is a cubit, equivalent to 1.5 feet.
The walls were long, thick and impenetrable. Their purpose was to separate the
holy areas from the common. That which is within the walls is holy, that which
is outside is common.
The height and
length of the walls illustrate the importance God places on holiness. The
message for us is clear: we must maintain our holiness and sanctify ourselves
from the world. There is even a distinction between ourselves and any
unbelieving family members—while they are still family, we are different. Some
values and activities which are acceptable in the world must be rejected
because they are anathema to our faith. We must vigilantly stay away from these
and remain sanctified.
Rule over our own Spirit
function of the wall is to teach us to rule over our own spirits.
Whoever has no rule over his
Is like a city broken down,
without walls. (Prov 25:28)
“[Having] no rule over his own spirit” implies the lack of spiritual
discipline. “A city broken down” needs to be rebuilt. A city without walls
needs to construct its walls; otherwise, this city is open to attack.
Spiritually speaking, our enemy is the devil, and the city we must protect is
our heart. “Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues
of life” (Prov 4:23). The Lord Jesus also said, “A good man out of the good
treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil
treasure brings forth evil things” (Mt 12:35). We must rule over our own hearts
if we want to step up our spiritual cultivation. If we do not bring our spirit
under control and spiritually cultivate ourselves, then we leave room for the
devil to tempt and deceive.
the True Jesus Church shall surely prosper, with the gospel reaching Israel in
God’s time. Meanwhile, we must embark on our own journey of building the walls
of the church, through living a life of holiness and persistent spiritual
Appendix: Appointed to Eternal Life
God appoints His
believers to the faith in two ways. The first is when a person is born into a
believing family; he or she has the opportunity to be baptized from young and
brought up in the faith. We cannot choose which family we are born into; it is
God who chooses.
tells us that we have been chosen to be children of God before the foundation
of the world. Humans experience time as past, present and future, but for God
there is only the eternal present. In the eternal past, before the heavens,
earth, and humankind existed, God had foreordained us as His chosen in Christ.
Great indeed is this grace of election which has been conferred on us from so
The second way
that God elects a believer is by giving him an opportunity to hear the gospel,
opening his heart to understand the mystery of the gospel and accept baptism.
In Acts 16, we
read that Paul and his companions went to the riverside in Philippi to pray on
the Sabbath. A group of Gentile women who worshipped the God of heaven was
there. Of all the women, the Bible only mentions one who believed in Paul’s
words: Lydia. This was because God opened her heart and allowed her to
understand the gospel. Lydia and her household were baptized, which was the
beginning of the church in Philippi, the first church in Europe.
In other words,
Lydia was foreordained because she not only had the faith to accept the gospel,
but she also had the opportunity to hear and understand it. Some people will
hear, but not understand. Some may never even have the opportunity to hear the
true gospel. Does that mean God is unfair? Not at all.
For as in Adam all die, even so in
Christ all shall be made alive. (1 Cor 15:22)
this verse, the entire human race, descended from Adam, is already dead from
birth. We are born spiritually dead from our mother’s womb—we do not have the
life of God in us. We are conceived in sin, i.e., original sin (Ps 51), and the
result of sin is death (Rom 5:12). But all shall be made alive in Christ. These
refer to the souls who have been pulled out of Adam and placed in Christ, being
born again through baptism. This is grace. Those who are not chosen simply
remain in their prior state.
One analogy of
this is if a wealthy philanthropist visits an orphanage to adopt some children.
He has enough money to adopt all the orphans, but only chooses one or two. To be
adopted is to receive a generous act of charity. But the orphans left behind
cannot argue that this is unjust—the philanthropist does not owe them anything.
He has the right to adopt whom he chooses.
In Adam, we were
once spiritually dead in sin. Now, by God’s grace, we have been chosen and
placed in Christ. Whether we were born into a Christian family or were
converted, God’s grace put us in these circumstances and gave us the faith and
opportunity to believe.