121. I Heard God’s Voice While living in Sins
Haicheng City, Liaoning Province
My name is Yang Zhiying. In 1991, I, together with my husband, were called and turned to the Lord. Before long, I became a co-worker in the Tambourines Playing and Dancing Church. Whenever I attended the large meeting of the co-workers, the sight of the gathering of over a hundred people filled me with elation, and I felt very honored and proud to be a follower of God in this life. I resolved to consecrate my whole life to the Lord. I shepherded and sustained the church throughout the years regardless of wind or rain. And I believed that as I toiled and worked so faithfully for the Lord, there must be a crown of righteousness laid up for me at the time of the Lord’s coming. But little did I imagine that when the Lord came, I shut the door on Him and became an evil servant that resists God.
In 1999, in a co-workers’ meeting, our leader said, “Now there are a band of believers of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ preaching that the Lord has come. They preach it especially to the co-workers and believers who pursue the Lord actively, and they don’t observe the boundaries between men and women. Moreover, whoever joins them will not be able to withdraw. If he tries to, they will gouge out his eyes, cut off his nose, or break his legs…. We must keep an eye on the sheep entrusted to us by the Lord; if any sheep is taken away, we won’t be able to give an account to the Lord. …” And he especially told me, “Sister Yang, you’ve got to keep a good watch over the flock for the Lord.” I replied loudly, “No sheep will be lost as long as I live!” After I got home, I went to every place to seal off the church. I passed on the leader’s words to the brothers and sisters and warned them seriously, “Besides the name of Jesus, there is no other name by which we must be saved. So, we must hold on to the name of the Lord no matter when. To protect ourselves, the best way is to receive no strangers. We should also not receive any of our relatives who believes in the Lord but preaches someone else other than Jesus even if he is our sibling.” Usually, when I came across any of our church members, I always reminded him, “Be watchful. Don’t be taken in.”
One day in July 2000, I was chopping firewood outside my gate when I saw from a distance a relative of mine who had accepted Almighty God walking toward my home with a sister. At that moment, my heart skipped a beat, and I hastily warned myself: Never be swayed by emotion. So, when they came up to me, I refused to fellowship with them, not sparing their feelings at all. I did not even let them in or give them a sip of water, but urged them to go away. As they pleaded with me to listen to their fellowship instead of leaving, I thought out an idea. I hurried to a sister who was my neighbor and said to her, “Two followers of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ have come to my home. Please do me a favor. Come to my home after a while, and call for me to go and buy fertilizer with you, and say that we won’t get it if late.” In this way, I got away from them. Then, I secretly led several sisters in our church up the hill to pray to curse them and ask the Lord to drive them away. Later, I showed off my act of sacrificing ties of blood to righteousness for the sake of the Lord before other co-workers. From then on, I resisted more fiercely. I swore that I would not only guard my home properly but also prevent the followers of the “Eastern Lightning” from entering into other believers’ homes.
One day in March 2001, a brother who believed in Almighty God came to the house of his relative (a sister in our church) to preach the gospel of the last days to her. Her husband asked him to stay for a meal. After I learned of that, I rebuked the sister, “Don’t be soft-hearted. Be sure to follow the church’s instructions. Don’t give him food if he comes again. …” The sister obeyed me. When that brother came again, she ruthlessly drove him out. However, after I “worked” that time, my uterus began to bleed without any cause and my belly hurt unbearably, which tormented me so much that I became dizzy and felt weak in my limbs. I went to the hospital for an examination, but the doctor could not find the cause and only prescribed me some medicine to stop the bleeding. Although I got somewhat better after taking it, the bleeding did not fully stop, and I still had no strength to do any work. At that time, I did not realize that I was disciplined for resisting God, but mistakenly believed that the Lord was testing my faith. So, I began to frenziedly resist the “Eastern Lightning” again before I got well. Not only did I warn the brothers and sisters to be on full alert against the “Eastern Lightning,” but I also made my rounds of the meeting places and didn’t let go of any outside preacher.
One day in July, that brother who preached Almighty God came again to the sister’s home by bike from 25 kilometers away. It so happened that the sister had gone to work in her fields. On learning of that, I hurriedly sent someone to tell the sister not to go home, and I also ordered all the believers in the Lord in our village not to receive that brother. Having done all this, I led some brothers and sisters to pray to curse him and ask the Lord to drive him away. Not knowing what I had done behind his back, the brother was kept waiting for the sister in vain outside her gate from morning to evening, and finally he had no alternative but to leave. The sister was working hungry in the fields all day, and it was not until she learned of the brother’s departure that she went home.
After this matter, my condition suddenly worsened—I bled so heavily that I could not even feel my legs and I needed to be helped when going to the toilet or getting on the kang, and that I had no appetite for food no matter how delicious it was. I went to the big hospitals for examination, but the doctors could not find out the cause. Lying at home, I cried continually to the Lord for healing. Our senior leader called on the brothers and sisters to pray for me with one accord. But no matter how earnestly they beseeched the Lord, my condition continued to worsen. Even so, I still did not wake up to reality. Although I lay at home, unable to attend the meetings or make my rounds, I never forgot to resist and curse the “Eastern Lightning” and ask the Lord to keep the believers from being taken captive by it. When my co-workers, brothers, or sisters came to see me, I told them again and again to guard against the believers of the “Eastern Lightning” and never to bring them into our village. I also sent a message to the believers in the meeting places in other villages, saying, “I’m sick and can’t go to your place. You must be watchful lest any fox enter the vineyard.” However, the more I cursed and resisted the “Eastern Lightning,” the worse my condition got. Sometimes the blood flowed out like water. I suffered enough from the sickness and became increasingly feeble, thin and pallid. Eventually, I felt I might die, and I had no mind to take care of the church anymore, much less did I have any strength to resist the “Eastern Lightning.” At death’s door, I began to ponder, “The Lord is the great Physician. But why does He let me, His follower who has been faithfully watching over His flock, suffer this illness? Is it because He wants to refine my faith or because I have offended Him?” I thought it over and over but failed to realize the cause. In the end, I began to look back upon everything I had done. I found that it was after I resisted the “Eastern Lightning” that I got this illness, and that every time I did it again, my condition worsened. Then I felt afraid and prayed to God inwardly, “O God, if You heal me, I will never again resist the ‘Eastern Lightning’!” After such a prayer, I felt that I got much better.
On September 21, I, who had been seriously ill for over two months, suddenly wanted to go to my elder cousin’s home that was next to my backyard. This desire became ever stronger, and I could not lie in bed anymore. I tried to get up and walk (I had no strength to walk at all during that period). Surprisingly, I reached my cousin’s home without knowing it, and I did not feel tired at all. My cousin was very surprised to see me, and she asked, “You can walk! Are you well?” I said, “Not yet. I don’t know why I just want to come here.” Actually, that was wonderfully orchestrated by God. Just before I got there, her daughter had just arrived home from Shenyang with a sister. She was a church leader there. On hearing my voice, she hastily ran out and supported me, and that sister also came out to greet and support me. After they helped me get on the kang, the sister said, “Auntie, you’re not well. Lie down, please! We’re a family, so make yourself at home.” Her brief words warmed my heart, and I then lay on the kang. The sister sat beside me and asked after my health with deep concern. Her words of solicitude and consolation seemed like a warm current flowing through my body, and I felt much relief, so I sat up. When I first saw the sister, I felt inferior to her as she was from city; but after being with her for a while, I found her so friendly and considerate, and also simple, natural, and kind. So, I no longer had an uneasy feeling and began to fellowship with her freely. She asked me, “Auntie, do you know why the Pharisees were condemned by Jesus?” “Because they didn’t believe in Him,” I answered. “Then why didn’t they believe in Him?” she went on. I replied, “I’m not clear about it. You tell me, please.” She said, “The Pharisees didn’t believe in Jesus, because they didn’t recognize that He was God incarnate, nor did they know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work. Jesus came and started God’s new work, but the Pharisees rigidly stuck to God’s old work and rejected Jesus. And they also deceived the Jews of that time by saying that Jesus drove out demons by Beelzebub, the prince of demons, and that what He did was not done by God. They had been longing for the Messiah, but when the Messiah came, they didn’t seek Him but stubbornly stuck to their notion: He who is not called the Messiah is not Christ. Eventually, they nailed Jesus to the cross, committing a heinous crime. …” While listening to her fellowship, I kept nodding, feeling it was very reasonable. Then, she fellowshiped about how to do the will of God, how to obey God, and many other truths. The more I listened, the more I got interested; the more I listened, the more I felt brightened inside. I had believed in the Lord for more than ten years, but never had I heard such a clear message, and even those visiting preachers from abroad were incapable of giving such a profound message. The sister knew so many things, yet she did not boast in the slightest or put on any airs. She asked me to pray more for the Holy Spirit to work among us so that we could understand more. Her fellowship and her humility, steadiness, gentleness, and warmth inspired my special admiration. After the sister finished fellowshiping about the three stages of God’s work, I was fully convinced. Through her fellowship, I came to understand God’s intention in creating man, and know that God’s purpose of saving mankind never changes, though the ways in which He works are constantly changing, and that God does each stage of His work according to man’s actual needs and in order to achieve a result. I also understood why the Lord is not called Jesus but Almighty God when He comes this time. For God says: “In each age and each stage of work, My name is not baseless, but holds representative significance: Each name represents one age. ‘Jehovah’ represents the Age of Law, and is the honorific for the God worshiped by the people of Israel. ‘Jesus’ represents the Age of Grace, and is the name of the God of all those who were redeemed during the Age of Grace. If man still longs for the arrival of Jesus the Savior during the last days, and still expects Him to arrive in the image He bore in Judea, then the entire six-thousand-year management plan would stop in the Age of Redemption, and would be incapable of progressing any further. The last days, furthermore, would never arrive, and the age would never be brought to an end. That is because Jesus the Savior is only for the redemption and salvation of mankind. I took the name of Jesus for the sake of all the sinners in the Age of Grace, and it is not the name by which I shall bring the whole of mankind to an end. Although Jehovah, Jesus, and the Messiah all represent My Spirit, these names only denote the different ages in My management plan, and do not represent Me in My entirety. The names by which people on earth call Me cannot articulate My entire disposition and all that I am. They are merely different names by which I am called during different ages. And so, when the final age—the age of the last days—arrives, My name shall change again. I shall not be called Jehovah, or Jesus, much less the Messiah, but shall be called the powerful Almighty God Himself, and under this name I shall bring the entire age to an end. I was once known as Jehovah. I was also called the Messiah, and people once called Me Jesus the Savior because they loved and respected Me. But today I am not the Jehovah or Jesus that people knew in times past—I am the God who has returned in the last days, the God who shall bring the age to an end. I am the God Himself that rises up at the ends of the earth, replete with My entire disposition, and full of authority, honor and glory.” (from The Word Appears in the Flesh) Through these words of God I came to know that God takes each of His names because of His work, that each stage of God’s work is not repeated, so His name in that stage of His work is different, and that each name represents one age, one stage of God’s work, and the part of God’s disposition He expresses in that age. … I listened to the sister’s fellowship until past ten at night, but I was still in high spirits, not at all like a person with a severe illness. I knew full well that it was because God’s power was supporting me, and that it was thanks to the special guidance of God that I was pulled out of my sins and brought to Almighty God.
The next day, the sister had to go back to Shenyang, and I walked nearly 2 kilometers to see her off at the bus station. A few days later, she made a special trip to see me. When she left this time, I even walked to the bus station to see her off with my four-year-old grandson carried in my arms. Thank God! After I accepted Almighty God, I was getting better day by day without taking any medicine or receiving any injection. Recalling the scenes of my resisting God, I felt so bitterly regretful and heartbroken. I fell down and prayed, “O Almighty God! I, like a Pharisee, believed in You but did not know You and even resisted You. It was really Your exceptional uplifting and salvation of me that I could hear Your voice while living in my sins and come before You. O God! Thank You for overlooking and forgiving my sins. I am willing to consecrate the rest of my life to You even if I should be Your horse or ox. As long as I can do service for You, I am perfectly happy. O God! I am ready to cooperate with Your gospel work. However hard or difficult it may be, I am determined to bring to You the brothers and sisters who resist and reject You as I did yesterday, so as to comfort Your heart that has already been deeply grieved by me. …”
Afterward, I told my experience of being conquered by the words of Almighty God to the brothers and sisters in our church, and over twenty brothers and sisters in my village returned to Almighty God one after another. Three months later, the leader of our former church learned of that. He came and purposely called all of us together who had accepted Almighty God, and he gave the Church of Almighty God much adverse publicity, full of blasphemies and slanders, and he also tried to persuade us in “earnest.” However, those rumors and lies were ineffective before the truth and the facts. Through our three-month contact with the brothers and sisters of the Church of Almighty God, we had clearly seen that the “adulteries” and “violence” in the adverse publicity were all false charges and groundless slanders made by those with ulterior motives against the Church of Almighty God. We had seen with our own eyes that all those brothers and sisters in the Church of Almighty God were dignified and upright, sought the truth, and pursued life. Moreover, Almighty God says: “A family has its rules, and a country has its laws. How much more so God’s family! Doesn’t it even more have its strict standards? Doesn’t it even more have its administrative decrees? Man can act freely and casually, but God’s administrative decrees are not allowed to be ‘altered’ by anyone at will. God is a God who does not tolerate man’s offense, and God is a God who strikes man down. Doesn’t man know these?” (from The Word Appears in the Flesh) In The Ten Administrative Decrees That Must Be Obeyed by God’s Chosen People in the Age of Kingdom, the fourth item says: “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.” God’s words are so clear and understandable. Among those who truly want God, who dares to offend God to get himself killed? Through the facts, the brothers and sisters had discerned truth from falsehood and firmly believed that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, so who would still believe the rumors and thus abandon the true way and leave the true God? Seeing us so determined, the leader rejected us openly on the pulpit. He also wrote to all the churches I had visited, saying that I had been drawn away by the “Eastern Lightning” and telling them never to receive me again. He also told them a rumor started by him that when we had meetings, we drew curtains and engaged in lustful behavior…. Thus, my “name” became famous in the Tambourines Playing and Dancing Church. From then on, my relatives, my friends, and the believers who had looked up to me all avoided me, and when I went to preach the gospel to them, they all rejected me. Moreover, the leader said to my unbelieving son and daughter-in-law, “Your father and mother are believing in a false Christ. Those people are good to you now, but they will gouge out your eyes and ruin your family in the future….” My son and daughter-in-law were so frightened that they tried to stop us every day. The leader also told tales before my unbelieving elder brother. So he came to us the next day, trying to persuade us to give up our belief in God. Faced with the “love” of my ignorant loved ones and the rejection of the brothers and sisters, I became more firm in my faith to follow Almighty God to the end.
Dear brothers and sisters, the above are the fact of my resisting God because of believing the rumors and my experience of accepting Almighty God. I wish for you to learn a lesson from my experiences and not to tread in the steps of me who resisted God while believing in Him. May you break free from the bondage of the rumors soon and boldly seek and investigate the work of Almighty God. The work of God cannot possibly conform to man’s conceptions, and God’s wisdom is always higher than man’s. So God’s work is beyond man’s imagination, and moreover, it is unfathomable to man. Brothers and sisters, Almighty God is always longing for and expecting you to turn back. Let us together follow the steps of God’s work and stride into the new age!