Fushun City, Liaoning Province
In 1991, I believed in the Lord Jesus in the Seven-day Adventist Church. The church was greatly revived in the first couple of years. The number of the believers gradually increased, and at peak time, it reached several thousand. As a co-worker of the church, I busied myself working for the Lord every day, waiting for the Lord’s advent.
After the year 2000, I found the situation of the church began to deteriorate. The brothers and sisters lost their love and faith gradually. Not only I was weak and feeble, unable to give nourishing messages, but other preachers also repeated the same messages. The believers were tired of those preachings and attended the meetings reluctantly. Later, some simply arrived at ten o’clock though the meeting started at eight, and many dozed during the preaching. At the same time, more and more evil things occurred in the church. Some preachers went back to the world because of this. Some preachers and leaders even committed adultery and squandered the church money, and their expenditures couldn’t match the record in the account book. To scramble for power and profit, the leaders used many means to exclude each other, attack each other, and form cliques. The believers weren’t sincere to each other anymore, and they all guarded against each other and watched each other to prevent themselves from suffering loss. How could this be a church redeemed by the Lord Jesus’ precious blood? I didn’t understand why the church fell into such a state and why it was more and more tiring to believe in the Lord. I prayed to the Lord again and again, “O Lord! May You purify our church and illuminate the brothers and sisters. May You revive it and bestow on us faith and power to follow You…” However, no matter how I prayed, the church wasn’t recovered.
Then, a series of disasters happened on the Sabbaths: A preacher was hit by a car on his way back from preaching and was bedridden ever since; a preacher’s husband died in a car accident; the son of an elderly sister was killed, and so on. It should be that “if a person believes in the Lord, his whole household will be blessed,” and “the Sabbath should be the day for God to bestow blessings.” But now we had disasters on the Sabbaths instead. All this showed that we had really lost God’s care and keeping. I didn’t understand why God hid His face from us. Meanwhile, the brothers and sisters of the “Eastern Lightning” continuously came to our church and the believers’ homes to preach the gospel of the last days. We never treated them kindly, but just abused them or beat them. However, they never got angry or lost heart, but kept running around and exhorting us patiently with a smile. Even the bitter cold, scorching heat, or heavy rain or snow couldn’t hinder their steps. I remember that in one year they came to preach the gospel to us as usual even on the “first day of the Spring Festival.” Indeed, holidays and weathers never stopped them. By contrast, the brothers and sisters in our church were already at home celebrating the festival. Looking around the empty church, I was lost in thought, “How nice it would be if we could be like them!” I was really impressed by their faith and love. I often pondered, “We all say that they have gone astray and have believed in an evil spirit. However, the peace, goodness, meekness, kindness, joy, and patience they live out are all from God! They are all the fruit of the Spirit! But none of what we did to them, cursing, condemning, beating, or calling the police, is in accordance with the Bible’s teaching! Aren’t we the great whore if we are joined with the government?” I sank into a great confusion.
Just when I was at a loss how to revive the desolate church and felt greatly puzzled about the “Eastern Lightning,” my husband brought the gospel back home. One day in June 2002, he came back with a book of Almighty God’s word. He said to me, “For three years, we have been running around holding big or small revival meetings and trying many other ways to revive the church. But instead of being revived, the church lost God’s keeping and became more and more desolate. The Scripture says, ‘Except the LORD build the house, they labor in vain that build it: except the LORD keep the city, the watchman wakes but in vain.’ (Psalms 127:1) The fact shows that the Holy Spirit has stopped working in our church. In the beginning, there was Jehovah’s glory in the temple. But when Jesus began to work, the temple lost God’s care and keeping and became a den of thieves. That was because the Holy Spirit’s work had moved forward and God had done a new work. When the new work starts to prosper, the old work becomes desolate. Now our church is desolate because God has done a new work. As we refused to accept it and even slandered and attacked it after hearing the message, our church is in such a mess today. Before, we didn’t understand why the brothers and sisters of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ have so much faith and love and give up everything to preach the gospel of the last days. Now I know the reason. It’s because after they accept Almighty God’s new work, they have kept pace with the Holy Spirit’s work and have the work of the Holy Spirit. Their power comes from God—Almighty God! This is a true picture of Amos 4:7: ‘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.’ The ‘rain’ here refers to the Holy Spirit, and the ‘city’ refers to the church. They are now in the city where it rains, but we are in the city where it doesn’t. Isn’t it true? …” What he said accorded with the Bible and the actual situation of the church. And from his words, I understood why God hid His face from us. But then I thought, “If the ‘Eastern Lightning’ is the true way, why do they break others’ legs when they don’t accept their way?” So I asked, “According to what you said, the ‘Eastern Lightning’ is the true way. But in Guard Against the Eastern Lightning it says that if one doesn’t accept their way, they will break his arms or legs. How do you explain that?” “Those are all rumors!” said my husband angrily, “We didn’t see the fact either, but haven’t we also said many groundless words to frighten the brothers and sisters?” His words reminded me. Yes, I did spread the words in the booklets, such as “they will beat you to death if you want to drop out after accepting their way.” So I was rendered speechless. He continued, “Before, we held fast to the Bible and took the Bible as God. We thought that God couldn’t do anything beyond the Bible. Does God have to consult us, men less than an ant, when doing things? Is God greater or the Bible? Are we believing in God or the Bible?” “Right! I’m believing in God. If God has done a new work, I must follow Him.” But when I picked up the book of Almighty God’s word, I suddenly remembered what was said in the adverse materials, “That book is long-winded, full of words of rebuke; they couldn’t be God’s words at all.” So I hesitated again. “I shouldn’t believe it easily, lest I be deceived.”
Several days later, I met several brothers who preached Almighty God at a sister’s home. During the fellowship, I openly put forward my view that “God shouldn’t say words of rebuke and shouldn’t be long-winded.” One brother opened the Bible and read Matthew 16:23 and 23:33, and then said to me, “In Matthew 16:23, Jesus said that Peter was Satan, and in Matthew 23:33, He called the Pharisees vipers. Aren’t those words of rebuke? Can we say that Jesus is not the Lord then? Do you know why Jesus spoke in that way?” I was tongue-tied. I thought to myself, “I have believed in the Lord for so many years, but I have never thought about this.” The brother continued, “These stern words of the Lord Jesus were directed at man’s satanic poison of resisting and disobeying God within him. Satan wanted to make use of Peter’s fleshly emotion for Jesus to hinder Jesus from going to the cross and thus ruin God’s plan. But Peter didn’t know it. So the Lord Jesus directly exposed Satan’s scheme, so that Peter could know about it. The Pharisees held on to the law and resisted Jesus’ work. And they tested Jesus by sending people to question Him in an oblique way, attempting to get a handle against Him. They acted one way in public and another in private. Didn’t it show that they were crooked and crafty? So, Jesus said that they were vipers, which was exactly their substance. The reason why we have this notion is that we know too little of God’s disposition. We know that God is love and mercy and is gentle and patient. But we shouldn’t forget that God’s disposition also includes majesty, wrath, righteousness, holiness, and hatred for all evils. God is not only the living water, but also a consuming fire that purifies man. So, we shouldn’t understand God’s words literally, but should know their deep meaning!” Then the brother opened the book of God’s word and asked me to read these words: “Today it is different from before. Today when He saves you, it is the last days to divide people into their kinds, and He does not save you by means of mercy and lovingkindness but saves mankind more thoroughly by chastisement and judgment. So, all that you receive is chastisement and judgment and merciless smiting. But you should know that there is not the slightest punishment in such merciless smiting. No matter how stern My words are, what comes to you is only a few words devoid of human kindness in your eyes. No matter how great My anger is, what comes to you is still words of teaching, and I do not have any intention to hurt you nor have the intention to put you to death. Aren’t all these facts?” “Although the words I speak are stern, they all are salvation to people, because I only speak words but do not punish people’s flesh. These words cause all people to live in the light, know the existence of the light, realize the preciousness of the light, and even more know that these words are of great benefit to man and know that God is salvation. Although I have spoken many words of chastisement and judgment, no facts have come to you. I have come just to do the work, just to speak. Although My words are stern, I speak them to judge your corruption and disobedience. My purpose in doing so is still to save people from Satan’s domain, that is, to save people with the word, not to hurt people with the word. I speak stern words for achieving the results of the work. Only if I do the work this way can people know themselves and break away from their disobedient disposition. The greatest significance of the work of the word is to enable people to practice the truth on the precondition of understanding the truth, so that they can be transformed in their disposition and can know themselves and God’s work.”
From God’s words I understood that whether God’s words are gentle or stern, they are for saving men. No matter in what way God says them, they are the manifestation of God’s love. I also read these words of God: “Even today, your transgressions and disobediences are still too many to count. So, it is no wonder that I am always nagging before you. I do not want to be with you like this, but for the sake of your future and your destination, I will still nag once again here. I hope that you will understand and even more hope that you all can believe every word I speak, much more understand My deep meaning from My words.” After reading God’s motherly words, I was speechless. “God exhorts and persuades us earnestly and patiently for the purpose that we can have a better destination. But I was full of notions about God’s word and refused to listen to it and dared not read it. I really grieved God too much! Today, after hearing God’s words, I understand God’s thoughtful and kind intention in speaking this way and see that I am really disobedient and unworthy of God’s salvation.” God’s words removed my notions and made me certain that this is God’s voice of loving and saving man. I thanked Almighty God that He opened my heart so that I could accept His new work.
After my husband and I accepted Almighty God, the believers of our former denomination came to my home one after another to persuade us. One day, while my husband was outside preaching the gospel, more than ten of them came to my home and asked me where he had gone. I said, “He didn’t tell me.” Instantly, the room was in an uproar. “He’s finished. He has been kidnapped.” “They can do anything to him!” … An elderly sister plumped herself down on the floor and sobbed as she slapped her thigh, “My child! You must come back alive!” At that time, my elder sister came with several other sisters, her eyes red and swollen. Upon seeing me, she gnashed her teeth and raised her hand high to beat me. Someone held her, and then she cried aloud sadly, “Why don’t you believe in something else? Why do you believe in the ‘Eastern Lightning’?” Everyone in the room began to weep, and the room was filled with cries. “Probably the rumor that ‘her husband has been kidnapped’ will be spread everywhere from now. And many people will believe it to be true.” I thought to myself when I saw the scene. And I knew more clearly how the rumors were made up. At that time, I hated myself bitterly. “Because I had no discernment and followed others in spreading rumors and even made up rumors, the brothers and sisters who are ignorant of the fact have misunderstandings about Almighty God and would rather die than believe in Almighty God. I ruined their life. We fabricators of the rumors really should deserve to be cursed to death by God.” Thinking of this, I really wanted to slap myself hard. Tears of regret flowed down my face. “O Almighty God! I was so ignorant and blind. I followed others to condemn Your work and fabricated lies to slander Your coming. I hindered the brothers and sisters from accepting Your new work. I’m really guilty of the most heinous sin. Today, You didn’t condemn me according to what I did, but still gave me the opportunity to be saved. Your love for me is really so great! I will not disappoint Your grace of salvation. I will make up for my past indebtedness to You by what I do.”
Dear brothers and sisters and co-workers in the Lord, we are all expecting the Lord’s coming. Almighty God is exactly the returned Lord Jesus. Our hope has already been realized! Even though it does not accord with our imagination, it is the fact. Now the cry “the bridegroom comes” can be heard all over Mainland China. If you are a seeker of God, you should ponder it, investigate it, and accept it, and this is the best choice.