Pastor Shu-fang Ho's personal experience
On June 20, 1934, (Wednesday) after visiting with the church members, I came home at sunset. I felt tired all of a sudden and, immediately after supper, I went to bed. It was about half past seven. I slept about half an hour and while my eyes were yet closed, I felt that a great light was shining all around me. I thought it might be because my wife was carrying a light into my bedroom, as she often did. But, as my eyes opened, I saw a blinding light, much like a very bright Coleman lamp, approaching close to me. Immediately, I called out to my wife in the next room: "Very great light! Very great light!" Scarcely had I uttered the words, when I beheld a handsome young man wearing a white one-piece robe. His hands hung by his side and a smile was upon his face. Again I called out: "Angel! Angel!" When my wife heard this, she dared not enter the room but said, "Get up and light the lamp! Get up and light the lamp!" But at the sight of the angel, I was so frightened that my limbs felt soft and sore and I could not move.
When my wife finally came into the room after some delay, she saw neither the light nor the angel, and inquired about them. I told her what had just happened. After straightening my bedding and fixing my mosquito net, she returned to her own room.
Soon I was asleep again. As I slept, I was walking with the angel in a dream as though I were walking with Pastor R.E. Thompson, a missionary of the China Inland Mission, as I had done some eight or nine years ago.
The angel then asked me when I was saved. I said, "It was the day when I made up my mind to believe in Jesus as my Savior." The angel replied, "That is right." He asked again how many years it had been since I was saved. I replied that it was thirty-four years, counting the beginning and current years. The angel said, "No, it is thirty-two years." He asked whether I could remember everything during these years. I said, "No, I cannot."
Then the angel brought me before a great mirror. There was nothing to be seen in it at first. But soon, I saw a young man wearing a pigtail standing on top of a low wall preaching, with about twenty persons listening. It resembled a sound movie. I asked who this young man could be. The angel answered, "Was it not you?" I thought of myself as a man over fifty, but this apparently was a young man wearing a pigtail, and how could he be I? The Angel said, "Was it not you, thirty years ago?" Then I recollected that thirty years prior, I was standing on the wall of an herb store at P¡an-day, witnessing for the Lord.
From this point on, all the good deeds done within these thirty-two years were shown, such as praying with tears for those Christians who had fallen away, praying for the sick, assisting the church work, traveling and preaching at different places, such as Ling-kuen, Lou-ch¡-iao, and Wu-yan. Also, I was shown taking a boat from Shang-shu. The boatman slipped, hurting himself badly. I helped to stop the flow of blood as I bandaged him with my new handkerchief. Even certain details were shown, such as yielding my seat to elderly persons, or letting others have my umbrella. Also shown was one occasion in a poor woman's house, when I injected saline solution for the sake of a cholera patient, and I was infected with bedbugs. Whereupon, I unbuttoned my shirt and waited until morning.
The rehearsal of these details was continued to a happening on the Monday preceding the visitation of the angels, when I handed ten cents to the candy store-keeper in my village, Hsin-cheng, to hire a beggar passing by to bury a dog dead on the street in order to avoid unsanitary consequences. Every movement was there.
After watching these things, the angel took a great book form the mirror and put it on the left side of a new scale, with pans about a foot wide. He placed a red precious stone as a weight on the right, for a precise balance. He then handed me this stone as my reward. It measured about eight by six inches and was one inch thick, engraved with four characters, which read, "The First Precious Stone". It was very brilliant and lovely, and I was overjoyed with this possession.
Soon the angel asked me whether all that I had done had been good. I said there also were wrong things. He again place me before the same mirror, which revealed that after I first believed in the Lord I still had gambled twice. Also I was shown to be watching plays in an idol temple, quarreling with my mother at Hsi-kuo, once striking my wife, reviling members of the church at Pe-men, speaking arrogantly, hitting a rickshaw boy in Shanghai, opposing those who were above me, being lazy in my work, showing favoritism to certain transgressors, and neglecting the sick. Every movement and sound was seen and heard. Much as I did not want to see them I could not help it.
After I had seen them, the angel again took a great book from the mirror. He put his book on the right side of the scales, and the other book on the left. Then he added the red precious stone to the right. The right side went down. When the angel changed the red precious stone to a blue one, the balance was again restored. He then gave the blue precious stone to me as my reward. This blue stone was not only smaller but also dimmer in luster and was engraved the four characters, that read "The Seventh Precious Stone".
At this, I became every sorry, regretting those wrong things in my life which had reduced my reward. I wept bitterly. Whereupon the angel said that the tears of those who have been washed with the blood of the Lord can erase the sins of which they repent. The angel continued, "I shall weigh matters once again for you." He then put the books in the balance as before but added a yellow precious stone to the right, and it balanced. He then gave this stone to me as my reward. Upon examining it, I saw that It was engraved with the four characters, that read "The Fourth Precious Stone", and its size and brightness exceeded those of the blue one. My heart was somewhat consoled. I asked the angel again, "Where were my sins before I was saved?" The angel said that the Lord had taken them from me. I also asked, "Did I do nothing good at all before being saved?" The angel said, "When you were yet a sinner, all your good works, no matter how great they might be, were covered by sins, and the Lord doesn't remember them."
(In the light of this, I consider that when the Lord comes for the judgment of Christians' works, He will know all the facts and will not need to depend upon our confessions. He needs only to show the books and to mirror our lives for us to watch and to hear ourselves. We then cannot escape or hide the facts. Truly the judgment of the Almighty is just and mysterious beyond our knowledge. I, therefore, would admonish everyone to repent and weep for his sins and not to neglect frequent self-examination.)
The angel again brought me to a church with apparently a hundred present. They worshipped in a very orderly, sincere, and attentive manner. But, after the service, as many as four to five hundred persons were observed going to the dinning hall for lunch. I inquired, "Where were all these people when the service was going on?" The angel said, "They were all present." I said, "But the number now far exceeds those attending the service." The angel replied, "The worship of God is a spiritual thing; eating, a physical. Those who did not worship God in spirit could not be seen spiritually."
After lunch they sat around in small groups. As I observed the true state of their spiritual life, I perceived that some were healthy, and some thin and weak. Some looked better than their physical appearance, some worse. Not a few were blind and near-sighted. The angel then asked me to administer medication. I thought within myself that I had a little salve for inflamed eyes, but for those who were blind or near-sighted, I was quite indeed unable to do anything. Then suddenly I saw a medicine chest upon the pulpit. Pointing to the chest, the angel said to me, "There are all kinds of medicine there by which they one and all can be cured." I also saw one crippled, another whose nose was rotten, and another naked.
(I consider that his was to show me that there were only about a hundred persons in my church who worshipped God in spirit. Those who were healthy were those whose everyday life exhibited good works. Those who were thin and weak were those who did not. The near-sighted were those who cared for the things of the world more than the things of God. The blind were those who had believed for many years but still did not understand clearly the plan of salvation. The crippled had been lazy in attending meetings, The rotten-nosed was proud and self-contended. The naked one had committed adultery. After the incident of the angelic visitation, I inquired into the life of the members of my church, and realized that this spiritual interpretation was indeed the truth.)
The angel again took me to a place where there was a group of people. They all appeared to be much afflicted through their distressed looks, as though their hearts were burning with fire. The angel told me that they were being refined in fire. I asked where the fire was, and he said, "It is invisible fire." I asked if they were believers, and he said, "Why not?" Upon which I became very depressed, thinking that, though believers, they yet had to suffer in fire, for, by mistake, I took it as Eternal Fire. The angel then produced a piece of refined gold. It looked like a rough stone, one side thicker than the other, gold-yellowish in color, and very brilliant. He asked me what it was. I said, "It is refined gold." He then asked how it came to be thus. I said, it was refined from fire. Then he said, "Now you know." (He meant that believers were made precious by being refined in the fire of trials.)
Later, I was made to see the works of my fellow Christian workers in the Shui-an district. Everyone looked as if he was building a house. Some of the buildings were big and beautiful, some small, but nice. Some were small and ugly. Some built on high places and some low. Their works were seen to be different. I also was made to see as if salaries were being issued to the pastors. The angel explained to me, "The worker deserves his wages (Luke 10:7). But it also is the duty of those who receive their wages, to work."
(I considered Mr. Hsing-chen Roan, an honest and faithful Christian man in my church, helping in the church work with all his heart. He was well-spoken of, both in and outside the church. But he had been confined to bed for over a year, suffering greatly from a brain tumor. I had been wondering why this man should have such a disease and also why, in this case, God did not grant our prayer of intercession for him. But now I perceived that his suffering actually was a good thing for him.)
Although the works of Christian workers appeared to be similar to human eyes, they really were different. Now, regarding the things portrayed in the mirror, I was shown in detail every work done for the church when I was an assistant to the pastor. But, since my being a pastor, none of my church work was shown. After thinking it over again and remembering what the angel had said, I realized that as an assistant, I was not paid. But, as a pastor, I drew a salary and it had become, therefore, my duty to do this work. But the true evaluation of these works of Christian workers is seen in 1 Corinthians 3:10-15.
I was again taken to a place to see a big pool wherein were a great number of people struggling. There was a cover to the pool made of long logs placed in a crosswise pattern. There were those who grasped the cover as they came up from the pool. But I saw two young men pushing those who came up, to a small pool at the right. I became perplexed. The angel then said, "It is necessary to go through the pool of the precious blood." The other two young men just mentioned said, "To go to the Mount of Olives one must go through the Mount of Calvary, not through the Mount Sinai, or the destination can not be reached."
(I consider that the great pool signified the world. The cover signified the Lord's cross, for there was a cross at each intersection. People in the pool signified people of the world in sin. There is salvation over their heads. If one lifted up his hand of faith, he was saved through the Lord's cross. The small pool was said to be the pool of the precious blood. If one has the Lord's precious blood, all his sins and unrighteousness are washed away. Mount of Olives was the place where the Lord ascended to heaven; Mount of Calvary was where the Lord suffered. Mt. Sinai was where Moses preached the Law. If we want to reach Mount of Olives, the ascent to heaven, we must go through Mount of Calvary, in reliance on the Lord's sufferings; not though Mt. Sinai, in reliance on the Law.)
Again I was taken to a great plain, much like the Pacific Ocean in a windless calm hour, exceedingly bright. There was a small river in front of me; downstream, to my left, it was fire; and upstream, on my right, water. Above the water was a bridge, level with the ground. The rails of both sides of the bridge were white. As I stood near the left rail, I saw on the other side of the river a great light, surrounded with children clothed in white. Also there were multitudes in white, dancing and making merry, singing Hallelujah and various other melodies. The magnificent beauty of the scene could not be compared with any of the glories of the world.
I asked, "From whence came so many children?" The angel said that they were all the children of believers. Also, I asked, "Where did those people with the white robes come from?" He replied, "They were bought with the blood of the Lord." I started to go to the other side of the bridge, but the two young men standing beside the bridge prevented me from doing so. I asked, "Why have a bridge on which you do not allow people to cross?" The angel said that there were men who have gone through before, and there will be men in the future. But, at present, he said, you are not allowed to pass through. Then I retreated to where I had been, enjoying the scene beyond the river with great admiration.
At this point, I awoke. Seeing many members of my church standing before my bed, I thought it was the Lord's day, and asked if it was not the time to start service. They said to me, "Today is not the Lord's day. Were you aware of the uproar we have been making concerning you?" I said, "No, I was not aware." This was about eight o'clock in the morning. Then my wife told me, "Knowing last night you saw an angel, I came to your room about four o'clock this morning and tried to awaken you but could not. I told your mother of this. Then both of us came and began to cry out frantically to you but still there was no response. However, you breathed as usual and your face, ruddy in color, was glowing. We asked Mr. Yang-fang Hsueh, a village physician, to come to see you and he could not detect any illness. As he thought it might be a coma, he tried with effort to arouse you, but still to no avail. Then we were very much alarmed and sent for Mr. Hou-chai Wang, a town physician at shui-an, to come to look at you. Also, we made a long distance call to ask our oldest son, Chi-mei Ho, to come home from the Methodist-Blythe Hospital in Wenzhou (where he was working)" and so on. I then took breakfast at about ten o'clock. After resting a few days to recover my physical strength, I continued in the Lord's work.
(As for the interpretation of this vision, I consider the other side of the river to be paradise. The highest place was God's throne. All the children of believers were around the throne, circulating freely and with great joy. About a year ago, a child of a Christian had died at the age of four. The father, Mr. Po-jan Wu, was very sad. He said it was not because of his boy's death but because of the perishing of his soul. I said his child must have been saved. But he said salvation is through faith and the child was only four and did not know faith. I said, "Although he did not know faith, but because of your faith he will be saved." This was based on the words Paul said to the jailer, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household." From what I saw, the believers' children were around the Lord's throne. They were even closer to the Lord and enjoyed a better portion than many believers.
In paradise there were
no others except those who had been bought by the precious blood of
the Lord. Even the saints and prophets of the Old Testament were
saved through the blood. The river in front of me must be the river
of death. A person who goes to paradise must go through the river of
death. Crossing the bridge meant ascending to heaven bodily. Those
who had passed before referred to Enoch and Elijah. There will be
those in the future, and this would refer to the believers who will
be caught up with the Lord in the air when He comes.)