Tieling City, Liaoning Province
I was once a co-worker in the Seventh-day Adventist Church, and I accepted the Lord Jesus in 1990. In 2001, our church heard a lot of unfavorable publicity about Almighty God’s work in the last days, such as, “The ‘Eastern Lightning’ is ‘heresy,’ something deceiving people. They always preach and have meetings in a sneaky way….” On the strength of such words, I vehemently resisted and blasphemed Almighty God’s work of the last days in the church, hindered the brothers and sisters from contacting the preachers of the “Eastern Lightning,” and reviled, unfavorable slandered, and drove away them many times.
I thought, “If their God is the true God and their way is the true way, they should preach publicly in a big way. Who will not believe in the true God? Since they preach in secret for fear of being discovered by others, they cannot be doing anything good. As the saying goes, ‘Anything good won’t be hidden from others, and anything hidden from others cannot be good.’ And if they really beat and disable those who refuse to accept their belief, and also commit adultery, this further shows that they are heresy and a mafia.” So, I warned the brothers and sisters to “keep at a respectable distance” from the people of the “Eastern Lightning.”
Just like that, I became ever more hostile to the “Eastern Lightning.” I felt disgusted with its followers at the sight of them, and regarded them all as indecent people. Just when I was wildly resisting the “Eastern Lightning” in the church, I heard unexpectedly that my wife had joined it. At first, I didn’t believe that at all, but then I thought, “There are no waves without wind, and human heart is unsearchable. I shouldn’t be so sure about my own judgment.” From then on, I began to spy on my wife. I also often told her the unfavorable publicity I had collected, yet I found that she showed no surprise at it but just wore a plain expression, and sometimes she felt great hatred for it. As I was telling her that, she even asked me from time to time, “Have you seen such things with your own eyes? Since you haven’t, you shouldn’t take them as something true, much less believe them to be true.” Although I felt something was not right about her attitude and response, I couldn’t prove that she had accepted the “Eastern Lightning.” So, I began to question her closely, try to persuade her, and quarrel with her, and I even coerced and threatened her, “If you have really believed in the ‘Eastern Lightning,’ I will divorce you!” My wife’s response left me at a loss whether to cry or to laugh. “If you don’t want to live with me anymore, I can’t help it.” During that time, I never stopped spying on her. One day when she was out, I happened to find a book of the “Eastern Lightning” in her bag. My heart went completely cold, and I collapsed like a deflated balloon. I knelt down and prayed, “O Lord! May you deliver my wife from filthiness and evil.” At that time, my heart was like the troubled sea, unable to calm down anymore, for I remembered the “warning” of the brothers and sisters: If your wife has converted to the “Eastern Lightning,” be sure not to be like Adam who followed Eve! After my wife came back, I, simmering with anger, asked her all about the book of the “Eastern Lightning” in her bag. She said that someone had left it for her to read. To sound her out, I said I would burn it. She got anxious, saying, “Why should you burn what belongs to another? We can just return it if we won’t read it.” Her great nervousness made me sure that she had believed in the “Eastern Lightning.” From then on, I was no longer gentle to her like before. I flared up easily and always mocked and dug at her with innuendoes, and I even restricted her from going out.
My evil deeds finally incurred God’s discipline. Early one morning, I returned home and opened the door, but when I was about to enter the room, I suddenly fainted to the ground. After I woke up, I felt cold and feeble and found that I skinned my shoulder and face. It took me quite a while to crawl into the room. I never had such a symptom before. Later, I went to the hospital for examination, and the results showed that my blood pressure, heart, and brain were all normal. Yet I didn’t give that matter much thought or ponder why it happened.
One day in November 2003, my wife went out. She left me a note, which said, “Don’t spend money looking for me. I want to have some peace and quiet outside and do what I should do. I’ll be back when I feel like it. Be a good believer in God at home.” While I was looking at the note and the familiar handwriting, the words she said a couple of days ago rang in my ears: “For the sake of my belief, I don’t seek to have good food or fine clothes. I only desire to believe in God properly, and to satisfy God in my life.” I couldn’t help asking myself, “Could such an ardent lover of the Lord do filthy things to bring shame to His name? No! Absolutely not!” My wife’s leaving shocked my heart greatly. Her devotion deeply touched me. “What power made her so determined? What exactly is the ‘Eastern Lightning’?” I wondered. In order to solve these puzzles and find my wife, I decided to have a talk with those believers in Almighty God and find out about things I didn’t understand.
The next day after my wife left, I went to a familiar sister who believed in Almighty God, hoping to find my wife through her. She arranged for me to attend a meeting to hear the testimony of Almighty God’s gospel of the last days. A brother fellowshiped with me. He was mild in tone and sincere in manner, which made a good first impression on me. I had laid down four principles in my heart for this fellowship beforehand: 1. I will listen carefully today and see what this way actually is, since I regarded it as false in the past fully based on the rumors. 2. I will share with them during the fellowship the light I have received from the Bible, for I believe that the way I have received is right. 3. I will observe their humanity to find out whether it is like what the negative publicity says about it. 4. I will obey all their arrangements in order to meet my wife. Since I had these four principles, our fellowship went on much more smoothly. The brother said, “Today, there are more than two thousand denominations and sects among the believers in Jesus all over the world, and each of them has its own founder and doctrines. The believers in each hold to the way they have received and firmly believe it to be absolutely right. But, there is only one truth. Which way is the right one, then? Could it be that only the way they hold is right while all the others are wrong? What exactly is the true way? How to differentiate the true way from false ways? If one is unclear about the truth concerning this, he will easily condemn the true way, the work of God Himself….” “Brother,” I interrupted, “the criterion for judging if a way one has received is the way of truth is whether it is in line with the Bible. If it is contrary to the Bible or apart from the Bible, it is not the way of truth.” The brother said, “Your view is worth discussing, for all the believers in the Lord hold such a view. But, is it correct? Is the Bible really the criterion of the true way? When the Lord Jesus came to do His work at that time, those Jews measured His work against the Old Testament. What was the result? They not only failed to recognize that His work was the true way, but instead, the more they did so, the more they denied and condemned Him. That was because the Lord Jesus didn’t work according to the Old Testament at all. Furthermore, in their eyes, His work had completely gone against and departed from it. The law of the Old Testament stipulated that people must worship Jehovah in the temple and keep the Sabbath, that they should demand an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth from the enemies, and so on. Yet after the Lord Jesus came, He did not work in the temple or keep the Sabbath but took His disciples and preached everywhere. He taught people to be humble and patient, love their enemies, forgive others seventy times seven…. All these were completely different from what was written in the Old Testament. So those Jews slandered the Lord Jesus, denied the true way, and finally nailed Him to the cross on the excuse that He did not keep the law and His teachings disagreed with the Law. This shows that it is not in accordance with the truth or tenable to judge if a way is the true way according to whether it is in line with the Bible. In fact, the Bible is only a record of the work God has done. It came into being after God did the work. Each new stage of God’s work is done beyond the Bible, and it couldn’t possibly be recorded in the Bible beforehand. However, it is done according to people’s realistic needs. If the people of that time sought and examined the Lord Jesus’ work and words, they would find that what He preached was the truth and His work was from God. Although it was different from that which was required by the law, it was what they needed urgently and the most practical provision of life. It was salvation for man and was the very work of God, the true way. Jesus’ disciples, like Peter, John, and the others, followed Him because they had determined from His words and work that what He brought was the true way. This shows that to measure whether a way is the true way or whether it is the work of God, we have to see whether it has the work of the Holy Spirit, whether it has the expression of the truth, whether it can supply man’s life, whether it can cause people’s humanity to become ever more normal and them to love God increasingly….” The brother’s fellowship, full of light, gave me great revelation. I seemed to feel a new breath coming into my heart. But when I thought of the negative publicity, I still had some doubts in my mind. So, I asked him, “The public says that you people commit adultery, and that you are a mafia and will cripple whoever refuses to join you. What do you say about it?” The brother opened the book of God’s word to “The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People,” and read, “4. Man has corrupt disposition and, moreover, he is possessed of emotions. As such, it is absolutely prohibited for two members of the opposite sex to work together when serving God. Any who are discovered doing so will be expelled, without exception—and no one is exempt.” (from The Word Appears in the Flesh) Then, he continued, “God is holy. He loathes the most those who commit filthy, sexual sin. What’s more, Almighty God has come to do the work of judging, chastising, and purifying people. We follow Almighty God to seek the transformation of our disposition, to pursue to gain the truth and life from God and be purified and live out the likeness of a real man. So who will knowingly do things loathsome to God to offend God and forfeit his life? Today in spite of bitter cold or extreme heat, the persecution from the world, and the rejection from their relatives and at the risk of being put into prison anytime, the brothers and sisters, who have left their families and given up their careers, testify to others about the coming of God and spread the news that God has new work just for the sake of satisfying God. What they are engaged in is the most just and greatest cause of mankind, and is commended by God. In Matthew 5:11-12, the Lord Jesus said: ‘Blessed are you, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.’ Actually, the reviling and slanderous words against us spoken by those on the outside are totally unfounded. If what they say about us were true, could the news media have let such things pass? Could the radios, TVs, and newspapers not all have tried to report them?” His words woke me up, and I realized that I had been too foolish to see through such a simple matter. I felt my face burning, and I was very uneasy. I then asked him, “If the One you believe in is the true God, why don’t you preach Him openly? If it is the work of God, why is it done in a secret and stealthy way?” The brother said, “People’s conception that the work of the true God should be carried out in an open rather than hidden way shows that they don’t know God’s work. In fact, the work of the true God is usually met with corrupt mankind’s persecution, resistance, and condemnation. So God does His work in a hidden way in order to carry it out smoothly. We may cast our minds back: In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus was hunted by King Herod right after He was born, and all Jerusalem was troubled (cf. Matthew 2). This shows that mankind does not know God, much less welcome God’s coming. So, God incarnate faces great temptations and risks whenever He carries out His work in the world. Later, when the Lord Jesus began to perform His ministry, He preached openly in various places and also engaged with the Pharisees. That was because the plan of God—the Lord Jesus’ work of being crucified to redeem mankind—had to be fulfilled through the Pharisees’ persecution of Him. But when necessary, the Lord Jesus also worked in a hidden way. For example
, after He healed a man with leprosy, He warned him not to tell this to anyone. After He restored the sight of two blind men, He told them to let no one know about that. After Peter recognized Him as the Christ, He warned His disciples not to tell anyone that He was the Christ (Matthew 8:4; 9:30; 16:13-20). From these biblical records we see that it is God’s wisdom to work in a hidden way, for God works in steps and according to His plan. The Lord Jesus did not make His identity known to the public beforehand, in order to better accomplish His work on earth and protect His plan of redeeming mankind from being disturbed. Here lay God’s thoughtful intention. Let us think about this. The Lord Jesus was even met with man’s resistance and persecution when He did His work in Judea, a country worshiping God. So how could it be possible that God is welcomed and allowed to exist when He comes as the incarnated Son of man and does His work in China, an atheistic country under a dictatorship? It is an obviously recognized fact that Almighty God’s gospel of the last days has been frenziedly persecuted and resisted by the Chinese government and the religious world since it began to spread in Mainland China. So, in order to avoid temptation, carry out His work smoothly, and better save people, God has chosen to work in secret during the period when He does the salvation work in China. This is God’s great wisdom! Almighty God’s word says: ‘… because this round of God’s work has God coming into flesh and being born in the dwelling place of the great red dragon, His coming to earth this time is accompanied even more so with extreme dangers. What He faces are knives and guns and clubs; what He faces is temptation; what He faces are crowds wearing murderous looks. He risks being killed at any moment.’ ‘Who can understand God’s eager will? It is no wonder that God is incarnated in an extremely hidden way. In such a dark society where devils are brutal and inhuman, how could the murderous king of devils allow the existence of the lovely, kind, and holy God? How could it clap its hands and cheer for God’s coming?’ ‘During the Age of Grace, Jesus preached openly throughout the land for the sake of His gospel. He engaged with the Pharisees for the sake of the crucifixion; if He had not engaged with the Pharisees and those in power had never known of Him, how could He have been condemned, and then betrayed and nailed to the cross? And so, He engaged with the Pharisees for the sake of the crucifixion. Today, He does His work in secret in order to avoid temptation. The work, significance, and setting of the two incarnations of God were all different, so how could the work He did be completely the same?’ ‘All of this work is carried out among you and opened up only to you; none of those unbelievers knows this, for the time has not yet come. These men are near to being made complete after enduring chastisements, but those on the outside know nothing of this. This work is much too hidden! To them, God become flesh is secretive, but to those in this stream, He can be considered to be open. Although in God all is open, all is clear and all is released, this is only true with those who believe in Him, and nothing is made known to those unbelievers. The work being carried out here now is strictly isolated to keep them from knowing. Should they become aware, all that awaits is condemnation and persecution. They will not believe. To work in the nation of the great red dragon, the most backward of places, is no easy task. If this work was to be made known, then it would be impossible to continue. This stage of work simply cannot progress in this place. How could they tolerate it if such work were carried out openly? Would this not bring even greater risk? … And if so, how then could My work continue to be carried out? The reason that signs and wonders are not manifested openly is for the sake of concealment. So My work can neither be seen, known or discovered by unbelievers. If this stage of work were to be done in the same manner as that of Jesus in the Age of Grace, it could not be so steady. So, the work to be concealed in this way is of benefit to you and to all work. When God’s work on earth comes to an end, that is, when this work in secret concludes, this stage of work will blow wide open. All will know that there are a group of overcomers in China; all will know that God become flesh is in China and that His work has come to an end.’ (from The Word Appears in the Flesh)” The brother continued, “God’s words have made so clear the meaning of God’s doing His work in secret, from which we have seen the wisdom of God’s work and how hard it is for God to do His work among the corrupt and disobedient people. Even though God’s work of the last days is done in such a secret way, it is still misunderstood, condemned, resisted, and rejected in various degrees by men. Many people even condemn and reject God because He does His work secretly rather than openly. Aren’t they foolish and unreasonable? Can the created beings fathom God’s wisdom? God does His work in secret in the last days not only in order to better carry it out but also to reveal people. Those true believers in God who can accept the truth do so no matter how incompatible God’s work is with their conceptions, so those of them who have heard the voice of God have all returned before the throne of Almighty God. Those who do not love the truth and who just wait for God’s public appearance are exposed by God’s work and eliminated. This is God’s wisdom. Now is the time when Almighty God does His work in secret. He is doing the work of separating the goats from the sheep, the tares from the wheat, classifying all the true believers and the false believers, the righteous and the wicked, according to kind, to finish His work of conquering and perfecting man, the last phase of His work of saving mankind.” Then, the brother read one more passage of Almighty God’s word to me: “And so I say that those who have ‘seen through’ God and His work are ineffectual, they are all arrogant and ignorant. Man should not define the work of God; moreover, man cannot define the work of God. In the eyes of God, man is smaller than an ant, so how can man fathom God’s work? Those who are constantly saying, ‘God does not work in this or that way’ or ‘God is like this or that’—are they not all arrogant?” (from The Word Appears in the Flesh) Almighty God’s words finally roused my long-benumbed heart. I saw that I was the very kind of arrogant and pretentious person who talked wildly. I had been so foolish and stubborn as to deny God’s work of the last days, so arrogant and ignorant that I had condemned and rejected God’s work because it was done in secret, and so evil as to restrict my wife’s freedom, watch her movements, and have suspicions and misunderstandings about her. I was grateful to Almighty God that His great love and salvation had come upon me. Because of my thought of wanting to find my wife and know the truth about the “Eastern Lightning,” He had enlightened me to know the true way, and so unexpectedly I accepted His salvation of the last days. Otherwise, I would have lost this only and golden opportunity of receiving salvation.
During the ten more days that followed, the brothers and sisters in the Church of Almighty God received me hospitably and sustained me with all their heart. They led me to read many pieces of God’s word. Through their fellowship, I came to know this: God’s purpose in becoming flesh in the last days is to conquer and perfect those who have been redeemed by Him but who are still living under Satan’s influence and bound by their sinful nature. Through the judgment and chastisement of His word, God will make such people know themselves, know God, and find the ways to forsake the flesh and practice the truth to have their life disposition transformed, and make them ones after His heart who have the truth and humanity, thereby completing the last stage of His six-thousand-year work of managing mankind. In my association with the brothers and sisters in the Church of Almighty God, I saw that whether in praying, fellowshiping, or associating with others, they were simple and open. They were practical, honest, sincere, and frank in word, and they behaved properly in their daily living and kept a clear distance from the opposite sex, never jesting or talking or acting indecently. Here I truly saw that God was leading this Church personally, there was indeed the work of the Holy Spirit in it, and it was full of vitality and vigor. Everything here was thriving, and I simply couldn’t find words to describe it all. I was greatly touched and deeply impressed!
Almighty God’s word says: “Perhaps, having heard the way of truth and read the word of life, you believe that only one in 10,000 of these words are in line with your convictions and the Bible, and then you should continue to seek in that 10,000th of these words. I still advise you to be humble, to not be over-confident, and to not exalt yourself too highly. With your heart holding such meager reverence for God, you will gain greater light. If you carefully examine and repeatedly contemplate these words, you shall understand whether or not they are the truth, and whether or not they are life. … Think about it! Do not be rash and impetuous, and do not treat belief in God as a game. Think for the sake of your destination, for the sake of your prospects, for the sake of your life, and do not play around with yourself. Can you accept these words?” (from The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words pricked my heart. I thought, “In the past few years, I didn’t even have one ten thousandth of desire to seek to know God’s work of the last days, but just condemned and resisted it blindly. I didn’t at all have a humble heart or any fear of God, but understood the work of God in my own way and treated it rashly and recklessly. How self-right I was! My arrogance has almost ruined my life. I regret bitterly.”
Dear brothers and sisters, now I have followed Almighty God and experienced His work of the last days for more than a year. I have just tasted a little of the reality of His work, a little of the reality of His word judging, chastising, and purifying man, and a little of the reality of His word transforming man’s life disposition. I’d like to tell brothers and sisters in all sincerity: The Lord Jesus did the work of redemption to pave the way for God to fully purify and save mankind in the last days. Without the Lord Jesus’ redemption, man would not have been qualified to pray to God, and his sins would not have been forgiven. Without Almighty God’s work of judgment by the word done in the last days, those who have been forgiven of their sins could not be freed from the bondage and control of sin, from Satan’s corrupt disposition, or Satan’s dark influence. Such people cannot enter the kingdom of God. People have to accept and obey Almighty God’s judgment in the last days and gain the truth so that they can be freed from the bondage and control of sin and gain the transformation of their life disposition. Only such ones are qualified to enter the kingdom of God. This is determined by God’s righteous disposition and holy substance. I hate myself for being totally devoid of sense prior to coming to Almighty God. If at that time I had just had the thought that “in case it is God’s work,” I would have had a listen to and taken a look at it, and I wouldn’t have resisted it for such a long time. From my experiences, I have known that belief in God is not a game. For us people living in the final period of the last days, how should we cautiously choose the right way we should go when God’s new work comes upon us? This is the important matter that involves our destination, future, and life and death. It also concerns whether we can follow the footsteps of the Lamb and keep in step with the times and whether we can succeed in believing in God. We humans have no truth or the faculty of accepting the truth. Even a little desire to thirst for or seek the truth will give the Holy Spirit the opportunity to work in us so that we will receive the salvation and the true way from God. Dear brothers and sisters, when we read God’s words or listen to the fellowship about them, we should remember this: Even if only one in 10,000 of these words are in line with our convictions and the Bible, we should “continue to seek in that 10,000th of these words.” God will surely enlighten us. This is a truth and also a path through which we know God’s work of the last days. For Almighty God’s word says: “It is My hope that the brothers and sisters who seek the appearance of God will not repeat the tragedy of history. You must not become the Pharisees of modern times and nail God to the cross again. You should carefully consider how to welcome the return of God, and should have a clear mind of how to be someone who submits to the truth. This is the responsibility of everyone who is waiting for Jesus to return with the clouds.” “The return of Jesus is a great salvation for those who are capable of accepting the truth, but for those who are unable to accept the truth it is a sign of condemnation. You should choose your own path, and should not blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and reject the truth. You should not be an ignorant and arrogant person, but someone who obeys the guidance of the Holy Spirit and longs for and seeks the truth; only in this way will you benefit.” (from The Word Appears in the Flesh)