Jinzhou City, Liaoning Province
I was formerly a leader of the True Jesus Church. After I believed in the Lord through grace in 1996, I studied the Bible assiduously and preached in the church. Not long afterward, I was promoted to an important position where I was responsible for shepherding a church of over 1,000 believers. While serving the Lord, I was earnestly expecting the second coming of the Savior Jesus, expecting him to take us back to the heavenly home sooner. But I had never thought that when the Lord really returned, I actually became an arch-criminal resisting God.
At a co-worker meeting in 1997, the elder said to us, “Now there arise a band of people preaching ‘Eastern Lightning.’ They say that God has come and has done a new work. They are very brutal. If they preach to you yet you do not accept, they will cut off your nose, gouge out your eyes, break your legs, or even take your life. They are purely ‘heretics,’ ‘cultists.’ They are of an ‘underworld organization.’ You must tell the brothers and sisters never to come into contact with them. Once you come into contact with them, you will be trapped; once you are trapped, you cannot get out.” I had always believed the elder’s words without any doubt, and this time was no exception. So I immediately passed his words on to the brothers and sisters in the church, and I warned them, “Without my permission, no one is allowed to receive any outsider, even if he is your relative. We must firmly believe in the elder’s words: Only the True Jesus Church is the holy mountain of God, and all sects and denominations will be reunited into our denomination.” The brothers and sisters all believed those to be true, and they all acted on whatever I said. Even so, I still felt insecure. So I went to other parts of the country to find some materials that slandered “Eastern Lightning” and spread the information exaggeratedly and wantonly among the brothers and sisters. And I warned the co-workers again and again, “We must protect the flock properly and must not allow ‘Eastern Lightning’ to intrude into our church. This is to be faithful to the Lord and to defend the true way. We must treat it as our first priority.” Just like that, we closed the whole church at all levels to outsiders to a watertight extent and kept the brothers and sisters completely under our control. Although the believers in Almighty God came one after another to preach the gospel to our church, they were driven away and shut out by us one by one. I rejoiced in my heart at this, thinking that this was definitely acceptable to the Lord. However, just when I was very pleased with myself, God’s discipline came upon me.
One day in January 2000, when I was at a co-worker’s home discussing how to prevent “Eastern Lightning” “stealing the sheep” from our church, I suddenly felt my fingers go numb, my head swim, and my vision dim, and that I couldn’t sit or stand steadily. The brother hurriedly sent me to the hospital. After the examination, the doctor said that I had got cerebral thrombosis which was caused by acute high blood pressure and that my life was in danger. Hearing that, I was very surprised. “How could I suddenly get this disease?” Not knowing what to do, I prayed vehemently to the Lord, asking him to heal me. But no matter how hard I cried out, I didn’t get any better, and taking medicines didn’t help either. I didn’t realize then that I was disciplined by God for having resisted him, so I still persisted in my mistaken ways and did evil to resist Almighty God. Gradually, I found my relationship with God became more and more distant. I had no moving in prayer, did not know what to say when preaching, and felt particularly depressed in spirit. Besides, the condition of the church got worse and worse: The co-workers scrambled for fame and profit among themselves, passed judgment on each other, and were apparently of one accord but divided in heart. Many preachers were so weak that they could not pick themselves up. Among the brothers and sisters, those who had once been sick and were healed later and those who had once been possessed by demons and were released later suffered a relapse; healing the sick and driving out demons in the name of the Lord were of no avail. The believers’ faith and love faded away; of them, some no longer attended meetings, some went to run businesses, some gave up their belief in God, and some accepted “Eastern Lightning.” The number of believers in the church of over one thousand gradually decreased to only about one hundred. In the face of such a condition in the church and my own illness, I fell into a very weak state and had no strength to carry on anymore. I prayed to the Lord in bitter tears, “Lord! How come the church has become like this? The church is your body, and the brothers and sisters are all whom you have bought back with your precious blood. Why don’t you care about them anymore? Lord! Where are you exactly? Please come back among us and revive your church! I really don’t know how to walk my future path now. Please guide me!”
One day in June 2000, thanks to God’s wonderful arrangement and preparation, I met two brothers by chance at my cousin’s home when I visited her with my mother. So we had a fellowship. During the fellowship, I found what they talked about was what I had never heard before. They fellowshipped about the inside story of God’s work in the Age of the Law and that in the Age of the Grace according to the Bible, which really broadened my horizons and made me receive great supply in spirit. Later, when they fellowshipped that in the end time God had been incarnated the second time and had done a new work, my head “buzzed.” “I’m finished! Aren’t they of ‘Eastern Lightning’?” I immediately stood up, called my cousin aside, and said to her nervously, “Do you know what they are preaching? They are of ‘Eastern Lightning,’ an underworld organization. They go everywhere to deceive people. Why don’t you discern them before you receive them? We can’t listen anymore!” But my cousin said to me, “Brother, those words you heard are all lies fabricated by the people with ulterior motives. You have also heard their fellowship. Have you found anything wrong with it? Besides, how can you tell whether it’s right or wrong if you don’t hear them out?” Hearing her words, I thought to myself, “I’m here at my cousin’s home anyway. They can do nothing to me if I don’t accept it after listening. Besides, even if what they preach is false, I can gain some discernment from it.” So, I continued to listen to their fellowship as if nothing had happened. The brother fellowshipped about God’s work of selecting, judging, purifying, and reuniting all into one in the last days and also looked up many relevant verses. Outwardly I echoed what he said, but inwardly I had another plan. “No matter how nice your words are and how reasonable your preaching is, I will not accept it.” Later, when they read God’s words to me, I purposely interrupted and found faults with them. The brother said to me earnestly with tears in his eyes, “Brother! I once also led a church of more than one thousand people like you, and I had also resisted God’s new work greatly. Later, it was God’s love that led me into his presence. The facts that I had seen with my own eyes woke me up and made me know that what I had heard before were all rumors and slanders. It was just as when Jesus did the work, some people said that it was by the prince of demons that he drove out demons, yet no matter how ‘authoritative’ the rumors were, and no matter how many people believed them, the rumors still collapsed by themselves and the work of God’s redeeming mankind succeeded in the end. So, if today we don’t quiet our heart to seek and investigate but blindly believe the rumors, we will very easily make the same mistake as the Pharisees made at that time, condemning and resisting the returned Lord Jesus, and thus miss the opportunity to be saved.”
The brother’s words touched me deeply. That night, I tossed about in bed, unable to fall asleep. Thinking back to my contact with them these days, I didn’t think I had seen any sign that they were of an underworld organization. No matter how rude I was to them, they did not get angry with me but always fellowshipped with me patiently, and their fellowship was also in conformity with the Bible. They looked sober and decent when they spoke and acted, they talked honestly, and their living out of humanity was better than all of ours. Their love and sincerity were what we did not have. “Has God really come? Is what they preach the true way? But the elder’s words couldn’t be false. What’s all this about? …” In a dilemma, I fell into a fitful sleep. In the dream, I suddenly heard someone say to me, “Matthew 25:6 says, ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him.’” As soon as the voice died away, I woke up. I sat up with a start. When I thought back, God inspired me, “‘At midnight’ refers to the time when churches are in the most desolate and darkest state. At this time, if someone tells you that God has come, you should come out to meet him.” I pondered, “Isn’t our church in the desolate and dark state now? And someone has just told me that God has come. Isn’t this that God wants me to come out of myself and accept his new work?” Thinking of this, I was so excited that I immediately knelt down before God and prayed, “O God! You love me so much. I’m willing to grasp this opportunity you give me. I can’t lose you. I’m willing to drop myself. Please inspire me again so that I can understand your intention.” After the prayer, I felt very secure and joyful in my heart. The next day, I got up early. When I told them about my experience, they were all so excited that they shed tears. Then, I opened my heart and fellowshipped with them about the condition of our church and my own state. The brother said, “Now not only the churches in your area have become desolate; the churches in the entire universe are in this condition in different degrees. As Amos 8:11 says, ‘Behold, the days come, said the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.’ From this verse, we see that the desolation of the churches in the last days is predestined by God, just as the two periods of desolation recorded in the Bible are predestined by God: One is the desolation of the land of Canaan, and the other is the desolation of the temple in the Age of the Law. The land of Canaan became desolate because God raised up Joseph in Egypt. Jacob didn’t take pride in having the promised land but humbled himself to seek, so his whole family had sufficient food and grew prosperous in Egypt. At the end of the Age of the Law the temple was desolate and became a den of robbers where people exchanged money and bought and sold cattle, sheep, and doves, because God had been incarnated and had done a new work outside the temple. Those teachers of the law and Pharisees who kept the law of Jehovah and refused to seek but condemned Jesus’ new work by the law of Jehovah eventually became the arch-criminals who nailed the Lord Jesus onto the cross. Jacob succeeded because he did not stick to the old work of God but sought when the famine came. He did not care whether the Holy Spirit’s working was in conformity with the old work, where God worked, or on whom God worked, but only cared whether he could gain the working of the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees failed because they stuck to the old work of Jehovah and limited God’s work to the letters, the regulations, the temple, and their imaginations and notions, and they denied and refused to accept anything that did not conform to the letters, the regulations, or their imaginations and notions. Churches of today are desolate because God has done a new work on the basis of the work of the Age of the Grace, has brought the Age of the Kingdom, and has opened the little scroll (Revelation 5:1-5). He is judging and purifying people with what the Holy Spirit speaks to the churches so as to restore people to their original holiness and bring them into the Age of the Millennial Kingdom. So, at this critical time when the churches are desolate and the age is changing, we should learn from Jacob, humbling ourselves to seek, and keep up with the footsteps of the Lamb, keep up with the pace of the working of the Holy Spirit, accept God’s present work and word, and never follow in the footsteps of the Pharisees. Only in this way can we no longer be hungry or thirsty and be satisfied in our spirit.” Hearing the brother’s fellowship, I felt it was very reasonable and convincing. Yet I still couldn’t drop my elder’s statement that “All denominations will be reunited into the True Jesus Church.” So I opened my heart and fellowshipped with the brother about what was on my mind. The brother opened the book of God’s word and read these words, “The development of mankind, the change of society, and the progress of natural science cannot do without the arrangement of the Creator. These works cannot be done by the founder of any religion. The founder of a religion is only the leader of a religion, and he cannot represent God and does not represent the One who created the heavens and the earth and all things. The founder of a religion may be able to lead all the people in the entire religion, but he cannot lead all the created beings in the entire world. This is a fact known to all. The founder of a religion can only be a leader and cannot be on an equal footing with God (the Creator). All things are in the hand of the Creator, and in the end they will have to come under the hand of the Creator. Mankind was created by God, and whatever religion it is, it will have to come under God’s dominion. This is the sure trend. Only God is the supreme One among all things. Even the highest ruler among the created beings will have to come under his dominion. No matter how high a man’s position may be, he cannot bring mankind into the proper destination. No man can divide all things into their kinds. Jehovah himself created mankind, letting them be after their kinds, and in the end still he himself will do his own work, dividing all things into their kinds. Except God, no one can do this in his stead.” After hearing these words, I thoroughly understood and became certain that these words were truly God’s own utterance and were the irrefutable truth. In the past, I had obeyed the elder’s words as I obeyed God’s words and worshipped them as the truth. Only then did I know that the elder was only the leader of a religion and that he was only a little creature in God’s hand and could not represent God. Only God is the truth, the way, and the life and only God can save man. Only God can reunite all denominations into one and lead all created beings on earth, and apart from him, no one else can do this work. Our True Jesus Church can only become subject under God’s dominion, and all sects and denominations can only become subject under God’s dominion. They can never be reunited into our denomination or into any other denomination. Only then did I feel that I was so insignificant and ignorant that I was just like a frog in a well, living in my small world. I knew nothing yet regarded myself as right and shamelessly and irresponsibly condemned Almighty God’s work. How pitiable and contemptible I was! I hated myself for being so absurd, foolish, and stubborn. I believed in God yet did not seek the truth, did not know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s working, echoed what others said without discernment, and nailed the returned Lord Jesus onto the cross once again. When I thought that I had closed the church tightly to outsiders and bound the brothers and sisters with the doctrines of our denomination and the rumors so that numerous brothers and sisters had missed many opportunities to be saved and were suffering hunger and thirst in the famine, I felt I really deserved to be cut into bits, to go to hell, or to be put into the lake of fire. At that time, I felt so remorseful that my face was bathed in tears. I fell down before God and prayed, “O Almighty God! I’m an ignorant and blind person, who doesn’t know you, much less your new work. I was unwilling to seek the working of the Holy Spirit in the state of desolation, and even on the verge of death, I was unwilling to listen to your voice. I have resisted you so greatly that I am already unforgivable. O Almighty God! It’s because of your patience and tolerance that you have given me a new breath of life. I’m willing to offer up my all to you and exert all my effort for your gospel work, so as to repay your great love. …”
Since I accepted Almighty God’s new work, through reading God’s word, I have understood many things that I didn’t understand before and have tasted the sweetness of God’s word. My thirsty heart has received the nourishment of the living water of life, my life has been renewed and full of vitality, and I also soon recovered from my cerebral thrombosis. Moved by the Holy Spirit, I soon joined the gospel-preaching team. In the process of preaching the gospel, I have seen many wonderful deeds of Almighty God, tasted how hard it is for Almighty God to do the work, deeply felt that God has paid so much and suffered so much for saving each soul, and also tasted that only Almighty God truly values man’s life. Through these experiences, I have been more convinced that Almighty God is precisely the truth, the way, and the life and is precisely the last Christ. Only if we seek the newest word of Almighty God can we see God’s appearing. Only if we keep up with Almighty God’s footsteps can we see his deeds and be truly saved by God. Dear brothers and sisters, quickly see through satan’s schemes, reject the rumors, and come to seek God’s footsteps! Then you will surely see the light and see God’s appearing. Almighty God, the author and perfecter of our faith, is earnestly expecting your coming!