Shenyang City, Liaoning Province
My name is Guo Yumei. I was formerly an area leader of the Church of Truth, in charge of over 150 churches of several cities and regions around Shenyang City, in which there were over 300 co-workers and over 10,000 believers. Over the years, I had been rushing about among the churches, doing the work of administering, shepherding, watering, training, communicating, and so on.
In about 1994 and 1995, I heard the chief leader of Shenyang church mention “Eastern Lightning.” He told us that it was a “heresy,” a “cult,” and that it had now intruded into the house churches to snatch the lambs. He also warned me to keep a lookout for it. In 1996, several senior co-workers of No.3 area church in Shenyang Area accepted “Eastern Lightning.” After learning this great event, the chief leader immediately called an emergency meeting of the area leaders to arrange the work of resisting “Eastern Lightning.” At the meeting, he said, “‘Eastern Lightning’ claims that the Lord Jesus has been incarnated the second time and has come to China. They do not believe in the name of Jesus, nor preach the salvation of the cross, nor read the Bible. They read another book, which they call the ‘little scroll.’ You must not read this ‘little scroll.’ … Now, they have come to besiege our churches. Each area leader must guard the gate of the church properly and must not allow the Lord’s sheep to be taken captive by ‘Eastern Lightning.’” As I had always looked up to the chief leader, I had never doubted his words and always acted on whatever he said. His speech, which was “full of burden and eagerness to protect the church,” made me feel doubly “encouraged,” and I unconsciously developed a great hatred toward “Eastern Lightning.” I resolved to be dead set against “Eastern Lightning” and to fight it to the end for protecting the flock of the Lord and defending the truth.
Immediately afterward, I summoned a meeting of co-workers, in which I seriously conveyed the chief leader’s words to every co-worker in detail. I said, “‘Eastern Lightning’ is a cult. They are false because they have departed from the center of the salvation and denied the Bible. They do not believe in the name of Jesus but believe in another god, and they say that Jesus has returned. All nonsense! Now ‘Eastern Lightning’ is extremely aggressive. They are frenziedly attacking the churches and they specially snatch the believers in Jesus. The co-workers in particular must be alert lest you be captured by them.” Afterward, whenever I arrived at a church, I wantonly preached about how to guard against “Eastern Lightning.” In order to prevent the brothers and sisters from “being deceived,” I deliberately made up some bloodcurdling words to frighten them, such as, “‘Eastern Lightning’ is a Mafia-like illegal organization. Once you join it, you cannot withdraw easily. If you do not obey them, they will torture you and beat you until you are crippled. You may even walk in healthy yet be carried out disabled….”; “‘Eastern Lightning’ has compiled and printed many books. Those are not books at all. They are clearly poisons. Once you read their book, you will die. It’s a viper, pestilence. From now on, whoever gets the ‘little scroll’ must destroy it!” I also gave an order to the brothers and sisters and threatened them by saying, “Nobody should receive outsiders or strangers from now on. He who receives the believers in ‘Eastern Lightning’ privately will be cursed!” Meanwhile, I also called the key co-workers together to discuss how to resist “Eastern Lightning,” and I told them to mobilize all the believers in the churches to take action and “supervise” each other, so as to prevent the people of “Eastern Lightning” sneaking into the churches. Later, I got a booklet called Guard Strictly Against “Eastern Lightning,” so I personally arranged for over 1,000 copies to be printed and distributed to the churches of each area and all the co-workers of my area. I told them to read it first and then preach to the believers according to what the booklet said, so that every believer could hate “Eastern Lightning” and be dead set against it. Just like that, we made thorough preparations at all levels of our churches, and the defensive work in all aspects had been done to the limit.
However, although I rushed about tirelessly, although we tried every means to do the defensive work, still many believers accepted “Eastern Lightning” and the condition of the churches increasingly deteriorated. The co-workers could not work together with one mind, and they raised envy and strife and scrambled for power and influence among themselves. It became very common for the believers to return to the world, be possessed by demons, and become weak, and the churches became desolate and dismal. Although outwardly I continued running around and preaching, inwardly I felt empty and had nothing to preach. I repented yet never mended my ways, and I felt more and more depressed in my spirit. I lived all day long in the condition of committing sins in the day and confessing them at night. In the face of all this, I was perplexed despite much thought and felt very distressed. “Why is it so? What mistakes have we made? I have been so dutiful and faithful to the Lord, but why are our churches so weak yet ‘Eastern Lightning’ more and more prosperous?” I just could not figure it out.
While I was at a loss what to do, the grace of Almighty God’s salvation came upon me. In July 2001, thanks to God’s wonderful manipulation, two key co-workers and I were brought to Hebei Province to listen to a fellowship. The preaching brother fellowshipped from the birth of the Bible and the fall of mankind to the salvation of God, and from the intention of God in the Age of the Law to the work of God in the Age of the Grace. His fellowship was so good, and I had never heard such a fresh and clear fellowship during so many years of my believing in the Lord. However, when the brother said that Christ had come the second time, I suddenly realized that they were of “Eastern Lightning”! Immediately, I became nervous and began to be alert. I prayed in my heart, “O Lord! Do keep us and give us discernment. Don’t let us be taken captive by ‘Eastern Lightning.’ …” After the prayer, I questioned the brother right in the face, “You say God has come. Where is he? Why haven’t I seen him? You have departed from the Bible. You are not qualified to fellowship with me. …” I became more and more angry as I spoke. Yet the brother said to me gently, “Sister, let’s study the Bible together.” I refused stiffly and also disturbed the two co-workers listening to the fellowship. Seeing that, the brothers and sisters all prayed for me in bitter tears, yet I was not moved by their sincerity at all. Later, when the brother fellowshipped, I simply turned my head aside and did not listen to him. I cast a disdainful glance, curled up my lips, or gave a snort now and then, and sometimes I deliberately asked some tricky questions to create difficulties for them or said something annoying to dig at them. Once, when a sister read God’s word to me, I cut her off rudely: “Shut up! Read it silently if you like. Don’t let me hear it. I don’t want to listen!” However, no matter how unreasonable I was or what malicious words I said to them, the brothers and sisters did not get angry with me but still treated me sincerely and looked after us meticulously. Yet I was arrogant and self-right and was as stubborn as the King Pharaoh of those days and simply did not appreciate their kindness. In the end, the brother said to me earnestly with tears in his eyes, “Sister, perhaps you have heard a lot of adverse publicity about this stage of God’s work, yet they are not the facts you have seen with your own eyes but only rumors. We don’t want to defend ourselves. Facts are more powerful than words. Today, we just want to preach God’s new work to you. If you feel it is right and would like to accept it after listening, we will be happy for you. If you don’t think it is right, we will not force you.”
The brother’s sincere words woke me up. “Ah, yes. I indeed cannot find flaws in their fellowship, and their behavior is not the same as what the rumors spread.” Thinking of that, I cried out to the Lord in my heart: “O Lord! Is what happens these days out of your arrangement? Have you really returned? Please inspire and guide me so that I can understand.” After the prayer, I felt much calmer. So, I decided to continue listening to his fellowship so as to find out whether it was true or false, right or wrong. The brother said, “God’s work is contrary to man’s notions or imaginations, for God’s thoughts are higher than man’s thoughts and God’s wisdom is unfathomable to any man. Now, God’s work has changed, and he has stopped all the work of his Spirit in the entire universe and has done it on those who have kept up with his footsteps.” “On what basis do you say that?” I exclaimed, unconvinced. The brother said patiently, “Sister, look at the condition of the present churches, and you will know it. Churches of today have long since lost their former atmosphere: The faith and love of the believers have faded away; they envy, quarrel with, and intrigue against each other; the preachers have nothing to preach; and the co-workers scramble for power and influence among themselves. All churches are desolate. This is the exact fulfillment of what Amos 4:6-8 says: ‘And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have you not returned to me, said the LORD. And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. So two or three cities wandered to one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have you not returned to me, said the LORD.’ And 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 these verses, we can see that without the working of the Holy Spirit, we can only have ‘cleanness of teeth,’ be ‘want of bread,’ and ‘rained not withered,’ and are unable to supply the need of the brothers and sisters. Why is it so? This is because the working of the Holy Spirit has changed, yet people have not sought and failed to keep up with it. It is just as when Jesus began to do the work, the temple became desolate and turned into a den of robbers. Those who truly believed in God came out of the temple and followed Jesus, so they received the working of the Holy Spirit and had a new way to go; whereas the Pharisees did not know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s working, and they still kept the law of Jehovah in the temple. Yet without God’s working, men could in no way keep it. They could only sacrifice the sheep and cattle with a defect. Aren’t the churches of today as desolate as the temple of that time? Almighty God has done a new work. Those who have kept up with it will receive the working of the Holy Spirit and have the way to go, yet those who have not will dry up and lose their enthusiasm, unable to keep the commandments though they want to. They only commit and confess sins repeatedly and have no ways to extricate themselves. …” Hearing that, I pondered to myself, “Yes. This is exactly the condition of our churches. Has God’s work really changed?” Then, the brother fellowshipped about many truths concerning the three stages of the work and the disposition God expresses, his name, his working place, the way of his working, and so on in each stage of the work. And he also looked up the scriptures for us (Zechariah 9:14, 10:1; Psalms 18:14, 97:4; Luke 17:24; Revelation 4:5). Then I knew that “lightning” actually referred to God Godself. I was very surprised. “Though I have preached for so many years, I have not even noticed these verses.” I was somewhat touched. I couldn’t help asking, “Why do you depart from the Bible, then?” The brother smiled and said, “The work of the last days is the work of the word (cf. Psalms 50:3; Revelation 2:17), which has fulfilled the word in the Bible: ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Revelation 2:7). This book of God’s word is the little scroll prophesied in the Bible which only God Godself is able to open (Revelation 5:1-5).” As he spoke, he passed the book of God’s word to me. I accepted the book, turned to the table of contents, and saw at a glance “A Statement About the Bible (1).” I quickly turned to it, in which I read these words: “In the age of Jesus, he led the Jews and all his followers according to the work the Holy Spirit did in him at that time. He did not work according to the Bible but spoke according to his work. He did not care what the Bible said and did not look for paths in the Bible to lead his followers. From the time he began to work, he preached the way of repentance. Yet the word ‘repentance’ was not at all mentioned in the many prophecies of the Old Testament. He not only did not work according to the Bible, but he brought a newer way and did a newer work. He never preached by consulting the Bible. His miracles of healing the sick and driving out demons could be performed by no one in the Age of the Law. And his work, his teachings, and his authority had never been done by anyone in the Age of the Law. He just did his newer work though many people condemned him according to the Bible and they even crucified him according to the Old Testament. However, his work went beyond the Old Testament. Otherwise, how could people have crucified him? Wasn’t it because his teachings and his power of healing the sick and driving out demons were never recorded in the Old Testament? All the work he did was to bring a newer way, not to purposely ‘fight’ against the Bible or purposely abolish the Old Testament. He came only to perform his ministry, bringing the new work to those who thirsted for and sought him. He did not come to interpret the Old Testament or to uphold the work of the Old Testament, and he did not do the work to let the Age of the Law continue to develop, for in his working, he did not at all consider whether there were Biblical bases for it but only did the work he ought to do. So he did not interpret the prophecies in the Old Testament or work according to the words in the Old Testament Age of the Law. He did not care what the Old Testament said. He was not concerned whether it agreed with what he did. He did not care how others understood his work or how they condemned his work. He just kept doing the work he ought to do, though many people condemned him according to the prophecies of the prophets of the Old Testament. In man’s view, he did his work without any basis, and much of it did not agree with the records in the Bible. Weren’t those man’s erroneous views? Does God have to work according to regulations? Does God have to work according to the prophecies of the prophets? Is the Bible greater or is God greater? Why does God have to work according to the Bible? Does God Godself not have any right to go beyond the Bible? Could God not do another work apart from the Bible? Why did Jesus and his disciples not keep the Sabbath? If he was to practice according to the Sabbath and according to the commandments of the Old Testament, why did he not keep the Sabbath but practiced foot-washing, head-covering, bread-breaking, and wine-drinking after he came? Aren’t they the commandments that cannot be found in the Old Testament? If he was to practice according to the Old Testament, why did he break those regulations? You should know whether there was God first or the Bible first! Since he could be the Lord of the Sabbath, can he not be the Lord of the Bible?”
After reading these words, I pondered, “These words are full of authority and power and are not what a human being can speak. The truth in them is unknown to man, and man cannot speak it at all. I have believed in the Lord for over twenty years, yet I have never pondered the issue ‘whether there was God first or the Bible first.’ Then, isn’t it too ridiculous for me to arbitrarily limit God to the letters of the Bible and ignorantly and rashly condemn God’s new work as a cult, a heresy?” That night, I lost my sleep. I kept thinking to myself, “Our chief leader says that ‘Eastern Lightning’ is a ‘heresy,’ a ‘cult,’ an underworld organization, and that its people commit adultery. However, these ‘Eastern Lightning’ preachers I have come into contact with are not like what my chief leader has said at all. They are all very decent and polite and they speak and act properly. I refused to accept what they preached and disturbed them unreasonably, yet they never minded it and still persuaded me with patience and treated me with sincerity. Besides, the words in the book are so sincere and practical that I have received much revelation and had great enjoyment in my spirit.” Thinking of that, I was greatly moved in my spirit and could hardly wait to verify whether it was God’s work or not. The next day, I began to read the book of God’s word and finished these pieces at one sitting: “A Statement About the Bible (1),” “A Statement About the Bible (2),” “A Statement About the Bible (3),” “A Statement About the Bible (4),” and “The ‘Savior’ Has Already Returned on the ‘White Cloud’” Indeed, no reading, no knowing. Only after I read them did I find that these words were so right and so good. There were never any words of a book which could point out so sharply things hidden in the depths of man’s heart as these words. I kept smacking my thigh and nodding my head as I read it. Thank God for opening the door of my heart that had been closed for many years. Then and there, I finally concluded: “Yes, this is the true way. I accept it!”
I changed from not listening, not reading, and not believing to believing, acknowledging, and accepting. It was absolutely God’s word that conquered me. By reading God’s word, I understood that the people of “Eastern Lightning” did not deny the Bible, and that I had had notions because I did not know the substance of the Bible or God’s new work. God’s word has revealed that the Bible is merely the actual record of the two stages of the work God did in the Age of the Law and in the Age of the Grace. Now is the Age of the Kingdom of the end time, and Christ has come again and brought new utterance and word. He has unlocked all the mysteries in the Bible, removed the veil of secrecy from the Bible, and restored the true features of the Bible, so that men will no longer exalt the Bible and overshadow God. Since God existed first and then the Bible, it is impossible for God to do his work in each age according to the Bible, nor should man confine God within the Bible. I had believed that “any belief apart from the Bible is a heresy” and “any belief apart from the Bible is not belief in the Lord,” but now I realized such a viewpoint was so absurd. Only then did I realize that the one I had believed in was not God but the “Bible,” and that the position of the “Bible” had even exceeded that of God in my heart. The “Bible” had become the idol in my heart and become the hindrance and obstruction to my accepting God’s newest work, so that I not only had not accepted or believed in Christ’s coming again but also readily believed the rumors and spread and fabricated the rumors, acting as the Pharisee of the new age and becoming the scum who believed in God yet did not know God and still resisted God. Almighty God’s word brought me out of the prejudice that “any belief apart from the Bible is a heresy” and made me realize that the way Almighty God had brought was the true way.
After I accepted Almighty God’s new work, on my way back to Shenyang, I kept thinking to myself, “How should I preach the new work to the brothers and sisters after I go back? If I fellowship face to face with them, they must find it very hard to accept and will attack me. And the chief leader of the church will dismiss me, expel me, and reject me. Then I will lose too much.” Thinking of that, I wanted to give up my belief in Almighty God. However, as it was indeed the true God, the truth, and the true way, how could I give it up? I was at a loss what to do: On the one hand, I thought I should be responsible for the lives of those over ten thousand brothers and sisters God had committed to me; on the other hand, I did not want to lose my future, reputation, position, money, and fleshly enjoyments. Just then, I thought of a “wonderful idea.” “If I attend the meeting of the brothers and sisters who believe in Almighty God, maybe I can find some holes or flaws from it and get something against them, and then I can reject them justifiably. If only what they believe in is not the true way but the heresy. In that case, I can continue to be the area leader with an easy conscience and without losing anything. And I can also be free from such a dilemma and torment. But I can’t do it unless I have convincing evidence that they are cultists and heretics; otherwise, I dare not do it.” With such a crafty idea, I asked to attend their meeting. At that time, I didn’t know that satan was using man’s selfish desires to frenziedly attack and disturb God’s work, nor could I see clearly the war in the spiritual realm. I did not go to taste the church life of the kingdom with sincerity but with ulterior motives, only waiting to get something against it so as to achieve my sinister and mean ends.
At the meeting, I hid my face with a hymnbook and peeped from behind it at everyone from the kang to the ground and from left to right. I saw that those brothers and sisters were all dressed plainly and naturally and were graceful and decent when they spoke and acted. They respected each other and had a harmonious relationship with each other, feeling released and free, and even their eyes expressed kindness and friendliness. At the meeting, the brothers and sisters were all active and full of vitality. They expressed their true feelings when singing hymns, praising God, praying, and fellowshipping, and were all free from regulations and restraint. I had never seen such a scene before and could not help admiring them in my heart. “This is certainly a church keeping up with God’s newest work!” What even more impressed me and shocked me was its unity. I had often said such words as “all churches will be reunited into one” and “all denominations will be reunited into one.” Yet over the past over ten years they only remained as empty talks and imaginations and there was no reality. As to who would be reunited with whom or how they could be reunited into one, it was still unknown. However, the brothers and sisters here were of the Local Church, the Pentecostal Church, the Justification by Faith Church, the Three Grades of Servants Church, the Catholic Church, the True Jesus Church, and so on. Although they were of different denominations, they loved one another and got together joyously. Seeing such a large united team and such a pleasant scene and atmosphere of unity, I was sincerely convinced. No one could do such a massive project except the Christ returning in the flesh—Almighty God Godself. This exactly fulfilled the words in Isaiah 2:2-4: “And it shall come to pass in the last days, that the mountain of the LORD’s house shall be established in the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and all nations shall flow to it. And many people shall go and say, Come you, and let us go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the house of the God of Jacob; and he will teach us of his ways, and we will walk in his paths: for out of Zion shall go forth the law, and the word of the LORD from Jerusalem. And he shall judge among the nations, and shall rebuke many people: and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.”
That meeting had an extraordinary effect on me. To me, it was a distinguished, unprecedented, and special meeting. It was a meeting I had never expected, a meeting I intended to get something against but failed, and a meeting I had wanted to yet had no reason to give up and leave and would never leave now. “The Lord Jesus has indeed returned! Almighty God is precisely Jehovah, Jesus, the Messiah, and the Almighty who was, and who is, and who is to come. This moment has finally arrived. The Great Return is in China!” This fact shocked my stubborn, numb, and resistant heart and also exposed my ugliness and baseness. I could not help thinking of what Paul said after he was enlightened: “…sinners—of whom I am the worst. But for that very reason I was shown mercy….” Before the fact, I felt I was so ugly. I was unbearably ashamed. I also realized that God’s work was unfathomable to any man, and that it only showed man’s ignorance and arrogance that he drew conclusions about God’s work. After that meeting, I lay awake all night, and what concerned me most was how to bring all the brothers and sisters in my church before Almighty God, so as to satisfy God’s heart’s desire and repay my past indebtedness to God and to the brothers and sisters.
However, when I, full of joy, tried to tell the co-workers the good news that God had already come, they were all angry with me and rebuked me as if they were at a public meeting held to denounce me. They did not listen to my fellowship at all. Then there followed various rumors: “Guo Yumei went mad”; “She divorced her husband”; “Her kneecaps were dug out”; “She was imprisoned”; “She died. Her body was not found”; “Her daughter also went mad.” … These rumors made me feel more grieved than ever. At the same time, I also greatly loathed and abhorred those groundless rumors of slandering the church of Almighty God and felt guilty and self-reproachful for my former conduct of fabricating lies to entrap the brothers and sisters. It was all because of the slanders of us rumor-makers that the brothers and sisters did not accept God’s new work. My feelings of remorse were beyond expression. I could no longer control myself but fell down before Almighty God: “O Almighty God! I am sinful and evil to the uttermost. Because your coming is contrary to my imaginations, I have resisted, blasphemed, condemned, and slandered you for seven years. I am a satan’s accomplice through and through and a wicked servant true to the name. If you hadn’t saved me in time, I don’t know how much longer I would have continued to resist you. When the great light of your word struck me down, because I could not give up my reputation, position, and money, I wanted to reject you and betray you and even wished that you would not be the returned true God. Your work has exposed my baseness and ugliness and has revealed that I am not one pursuing the life and the truth. What I paid attention to were my own position, face, and glory before others. For the sake of these, I could go to any lengths to keep the brothers and sisters under my control. For the sake of these base things, I could give up the truth and leave you. I am really a person deserving to be cursed. O Almighty God! Thank you for the grace of your salvation. From now on, I am willing to give up my fleshly future, destiny, position, and enjoyments and follow you forever!”
Brothers and sisters of the Church of Truth and all the other denominations, thanks to Almighty God’s great uplifting and tolerance, I could accept Almighty God’s work of the last days. It is Almighty God who has given me an opportunity to start a new life. From it, I have tasted God’s infinite love for man and seen God’s almightiness and wisdom. Under the judgment and enlightenment of Almighty God’s word, I feel regret and self-reproach for my ugly conduct of resisting and betraying God, and feel worried about the souls of the brothers and sisters who were once shepherded by me but have not accepted Almighty God’s new work until now. Here, I sincerely hope that the brothers and sisters will not believe the rumors anymore and will not believe those groundless slanders anymore. God’s work in China is about to be concluded, and the work of spreading the gospel throughout the entire universe will soon start. Time is becoming less. Brothers and sisters, regardless of how many imaginations and how much resistance we have had about God’s work of the last days, I hope that today you can drop those imaginations and notions and come to seek and investigate God’s new work of the last days. Almighty God says: “This is because God’s wisdom is higher than the heavens and God’s thoughts are higher than man’s thoughts, and God’s work is done beyond the scope of man’s thinking and notion. The more impossible a thing is, the more there is the truth to seek in it. The more unimaginable a thing is according to man’s notion, the more there is God’s will in it.” “God’s work is advancing with mighty force like surging waves. No one can hold him back, and no one can stop his steps. Only those who listen to his word attentively and seek and thirst after him can follow his footsteps and receive his promises. Except for them, all will suffer overwhelming disasters and deserved punishments.”