Here, in Luke 13:29, is a thrilling prophecy from the lips of the Lord Jesus. He is speaking about a coming day after His return to this earth when He will take up His earthly millennial reign. In that day there will be representatives from the nations in the Kingdom, perhaps they are the fruit of the witness of the Jewish believers in the tribulation period, but we can see that there is a tremendous harvest of people who are gathered together unto Him. Although these verses in Luke and in Matthew 24:30-31 refer to a coming day, they can be applied to the very days in which we are living.
Even though it seems that many people in the Western World today are turning their backs on the Bible and its message of salvation, there are possibly millions in other parts of the world who are eagerly accepting the gospel message. This is true in countries such as China and Korea. At the outset of this article we must admit that it is almost impossible to arrive at accurate numbers of the people who have accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior; at best we are estimating.
In China there are thousands of “house churches,” gatherings large and small meeting in apartments, farm homes, warehouses, and offices. Some of these groups have hundreds of people while many are small groups of ten people and more. Many of these groups are charismatic in that they emphasize bodily healing and speaking in tongues. Their meetings tend to go on for two or more hours; they are often led by women. It is very interesting to listen to the testimonies of these people as they relate their experience which often consists of deliverance from sickness, poverty, or danger. Many of the folk speak of a relative, a parent, or a grandparent who was a faithful believer in the past. It is very difficult to discern the reality of the conversion story of these people. However, they have a great interest in the Bible, they love to sing the old hymns of the faith, they love to have fellowship with other believers, and they deeply appreciate any help they are given from the Scriptures. Simple explanations of the Passover, the parables, the miracles, or biographies of Bible characters fascinate them. They are not ashamed to be known as Christians and they try to evangelize their relatives, friends, and colleagues.
Alongside these house churches, there is the official “Three Self Church.” This organization is the government sanctioned Protestant church in China. Within this organization, there are doubtless genuine believers, but there are also many who only have an outward form of Christianity. Some of the leaders are modernistic in their views; they have little time or patience with the spread of the gospel of Christ. The government of China would like all Christians to be gathered under one banner. It would be much easier for the authorities to control. The house church groups are very wary of any government interference in their affairs and therefore refuse to register their groups with government departments.
When we think of evangelism in China, we must not forget that there are many earnest Christians of Chinese descent living in the West. These people are seeking to spread the gospel over the Internet, through home visits, and through distribution of Christian literature. God is working and souls are being reached with the gospel. These activities are not being reported in the news media but we can have confidence that God is leading and guiding His children. He will protect and use His own as they bring in the harvest.
We have a word of encouragement for believers in the “homelands;” reach out to newcomers in your neighborhood. The Chinese, Korean, or South Asian boys and girls in your Sunday schools, and their parents, could be saved and become missionaries to their people back home. The Lord of the harvest said, “They shall come …” and coming they are.