15. Almighty God Has Given Me a Second Life
Tangshan City, Hebei Province
For years, life has been continuing in this world through generation after generation. Everyone live a life in their respective roles, smooth or rough, poor or rich. No matter what kind of life they live, very few have found the real life. Before the age of 28, I had lived my life as most people do.
On a very common day, I was chosen by God from among the vast sea of people. It was then that I came to know the source of all things, the source of man’s life, and the two different destinations for man, heaven or hell, and I also knew that God, because of mankind’s sin, was incarnated personally and laid down His life for them through His crucifixion, thereby bringing them grace, peace, and joy. This was the first turning point in my life. From then on, I began to preach the gospel and build up the church, and healed the sick and cast out demons in the Lord’s name; I also attended service and studied the Bible. All that almost became my entire life, and I no longer felt empty. The church gradually revived because of God’s favor. The brothers and sisters loved one another and shared everything together. They helped anyone in the church who needed help. As the number in the church increased, the church selected co-workers at different levels, and I became the most senior leader. Everything in the church must be approved by me, and the brothers and sisters also submitted to whatever I said. Later, some puzzling things happened in the church. The sick could not be healed, and the demon-possessed could not be released. The brothers and sisters asked me the reason, and I said, “It is because you lack faith in prayers. You should fast when necessary.” Actually, I myself didn’t know the reason either. Later, such things happened more often. And what’s more, I obviously felt that I had nothing to say in preaching. My sermon was becoming dry as dust, and I was often incoherent with lack of words. The co-workers in the church often raised such question, “What should we preach in the meetings?” I answered them, “I don’t know either. Just read the Bible if you really have no idea what to preach.” But this was only a temporary remedy. Because there was no supply of the living water, the number in the church, which could be maintained in the beginning, began to drop later. Faced with this, I burned with anxiety but did not know why it happened. I could do nothing but pray to God, “Lord, You know best what is happening in our church. In the past, whatever we asked in Your name, You granted it to us, and we often witnessed the signs and wonders. Now, we do the same, calling on Your name, reading the Bible, and praying to You, but why does it not work today? We pray but receive no answer; we preach the gospel but gain no fruit; the number of the believers is decreasing; and some co-workers even want to return to the world to find another way out. Lord! Why so? Please help us!” Later, to recover the love of the brothers and sisters, I asked all in the church to pray in shifts around the clock and to fast on the 21st day every month. I wanted to revive the church by doing so, but I didn’t expect that after practicing for some time, all the brothers and sisters said, “We have no desire to eat in ordinary days, but on the fasting days we feel extremely hungry and can’t hold on.” Having no choice, I came before the Lord again, “O Lord! Please help us! If it goes on like this, we will all be finished! I really don’t know what to do…” Yet the church was still in such condition.
At the end of 1997, a leader from Henan Province said at a meeting, “I tell you one thing. Now a sect, the ‘Eastern Lightning,’ preaches that the Lord has already come, and that He is in China, and is a female. They are very aggressive. They preach especially among the churches of Jesus. You must be wary of them…” From then on, how to resist the “Eastern Lightning” became a necessary topic of our every meeting. And we constantly heard that people from such and such a church had joined the “Eastern Lightning.” We even heard that many key co-workers who had believed in the Lord for years and pursued eagerly had joined it too. I thought to myself: Now the church is in a slump and the number of the believers is on the decline. I must keep a close watch on the church and prevent the brothers and sisters from being deceived. As such, I blindly believed what the leader said without any investigation and began to seal off the church. I told the believers, “You mustn’t receive any strangers, much less the believers in Jesus. Even if they are your relatives, you shall not bring them to the church without my permission. Everyone, whoever he is, must comply. He who disobeys will be expelled!” I also said, “This is all for your good, because your spiritual life is immature and you are lack of discernment. We do so to keep you from being deceived.” I have ever seen anyone of the “Eastern Lightning.” However, in order to prevent these “sheep” from falling into others’ hands and preserve my position, I fabricated rumors to incite people to resist the “Eastern Lightning.” Just as Matthew 23:13 says, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in.” I, like the “evil tenant,” resisted God but was unaware of it. In 1998, the condition of the church was even worse. The co-workers not only had nothing fresh to preach, but they came into conflicts with each other. They judged one another and tried to exclude one another. What worried me most was that opening the Bible, I didn’t know what to preach. The brothers and sisters received no supply of the living water from the meetings, so they would rather rest at home. The whole church came to a dead end. At that time, my only hope was that Jesus could come to take us sooner. It never occurred to me whether God would want a person like me or not. I only wanted to extricate myself from these difficulties as soon as possible.
Troubles came one after another. In July, 1999, my body began to swell. Sometimes it got so serious that I couldn’t stand up after I squatted down. The brothers and sisters fasted and prayed for me, but it didn’t get any better. Later, I went to the hospital for an examination. The doctor told me that a tumor about the size of an egg was in my womb. I was greatly shocked at this. I swallowed my tears and returned home. On the way home, I thought back to the things that had happened in our church: The gospel preaching is ineffective; the attendance gradually drops off; the brothers and sisters are passive and indifferent, and no love is found among them; the co-workers act in envy and strife, and some of them even want to return to the world; the flock is in misery with no supply of grass and living water. I myself have nothing new to provide the brothers and sisters, and now, such illness comes upon me. I was seized with feebleness, both physically and spiritually. Facing the fact that there was no way out for the church and me, I felt very distressed. But what troubled me most was that I didn’t know why these problems happened, much less know how to solve them. At that point, a sense of loneliness ran through me, and I felt helpless and far distant from God, tears flowing down my cheeks. I cried out to God, “Lord! I miss You very much. Only You know my miseries, and only You are my help. But I don’t know where You are now. Lord, where are You? Have You really left me? How can I meet You again? How can I return to the days You were with me? O Lord, I’m almost dying in spirit now. Please appear to me. Please save me! …” I didn’t know how long I prayed and wept bitter tears before God that day.
Almighty God says: “When the waters swallow men whole, I save them from the stagnant waters and give them a chance to have life anew. When men lose their confidence to live, I pull them up from the brink of death, granting them the courage to live, that they take Me as the foundation of their existence. When men disobey Me, I cause them to know Me in their disobedience. In light of humanity’s old nature and in light of My mercy, rather than putting humans to death, I allow them to repent and make a fresh start. When men suffer famine, I wrest them from death so long as they have one breath left….” (from “The Fourteenth Utterance” of God’s Utterance to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh) That’s right! God is love. God is the truth, the way, and the life. Man’s end is God’s beginning. God does not give up anyone whom He has bought at a high price, much less want to see any lamb left with no supply of grass, water, or way to go.
On October 8, 1999, God stretched out His saving hand to me again and pulled me back from the brink of death. That was the second turning point in my life. Almighty God gave me a second life on that day and I could never forget it.
That day, I met two brothers thanks to God’s arrangement. As believers in God, we naturally centered our topic on the church. I told them about the desolation of our church, my illness, and my spiritual weakness. One brother said, “Now the churches are all in such condition. To free the church from the desolation, we should find out the cause of it.” At this, I was very glad. I thought to myself, “I don’t care who they are. If they can help us revive the church, I will listen to them.” But I actually didn’t have much hope on them. They asked me, “Why does man believe in God?” “To go to heaven, to gain eternal life.” I answered. “Should man believe in God if there is no heaven?” they went on. “If so, who will believe?” I replied. Then a brother said, “As a created being, it is only right and proper to serve the Creator. A human being should believe in God and love God, and his faith in God should not be for the purpose of going to heaven.” These few short words pierced into my heart like a knife. I had never heard such words during my years of belief in God, even less had I found anyone pursue in this way. I kept nodding my head, in agreement with every word they said. Frankly speaking, I had met many senior leaders, co-workers of other denominations, and even overseas brothers and sisters, but none of them had talked about such simple yet incisive question. At that time, I seemed to see hope and light. Then, the brother continued, “Man is incapable of freeing the church from the desolation. Do you know how the book of Malachi describes the condition of the holy temple before the coming of Jesus? Malachi 1:8 says, ‘And if you offer the blind for sacrifice, is it not evil? and if you offer the lame and sick, is it not evil? …’ The Israelites under the law lost their fear for God, and they sacrificed blind, crippled, and diseased animals on the altar. This goes to show that the temple was desolate at that time. Matthew 21:12-13 says, ‘And Jesus went into the temple of God, and cast out all them that sold and bought in the temple, and overthrew the tables of the moneychangers, and the seats of them that sold doves, And said to them, It is written, My house shall be called the house of prayer; but you have made it a den of thieves.’ Just consider this: If the temple hadn’t been in desolation and men had had the way to go, who would have gone outside the temple to follow the Savior Jesus? As the Age of Grace came, the Holy Spirit began to uphold the work of Jesus Christ instead of the work of the Age of Law. Whoever followed Jesus Christ and entered the Age of Grace had the way to go and could receive the supply of life. Those who failed to follow Him was left in desolation and ended up being eliminated by God’s work. Each time God does His work, He will discard many people who cannot keep pace with His work. Some people under the law would rather die in the temple and not ‘betray’ Jehovah than follow Jesus, yet they did not know that Jehovah and Jesus were one God. Because it was a different age, God took a different name and did a different work; however, God’s substance remained unchanged. All those who resisted Jesus at that time thought they were most ‘faithful’ to Jehovah, but they didn’t know they had resisted the latest work of God. The cause of the desolation of the church today is the same as it was. It is also because God has new work and wants to bring people to another different age that He no longer upholds His former work, and thus the church becomes desolate.” So saying, he picked up the book of God’s word and read: “After the work of Jehovah, Jesus became flesh to do His work amongst man. His work was not carried out in isolation, but built upon the work of Jehovah. It was work for a new age after God had concluded the Age of Law. Similarly, after the work of Jesus ended, God still continued His work for the next age, because the entire management of God is always progressing forward. When the old age passes, it will be replaced by a new age, and once the old work has been completed, a new work will continue the management of God. This incarnation is God’s second incarnation following the completion of Jesus’ work. Of course, this incarnation does not occur independently, but is the third stage of work after the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. Each new stage of God’s work always brings a new beginning and a new age. So too are there corresponding changes in the disposition of God, in His way of working, in the location of His work, and in His name. No wonder, then, that it is difficult for man to accept the work of God in the new age. But regardless of how He is opposed by man, God is always doing His work, and is always leading the whole of mankind forward. When Jesus came into the world of man, He brought the Age of Grace and ended the Age of Law. During the last days, God once more became flesh, and when He became flesh this time, the Age of Grace ended and the Age of Kingdom began. All those who accept the second incarnation of God will be led into the Age of Kingdom, and be able to personally accept the guidance of God.” (from “Preface” to The Word Appears in the Flesh) Then he said, “This stage of God’s work has been carried out dramatically for many years. God is no longer the Jehovah of the Age of Law nor the Jesus of the Age of Grace, but the lion of the tribe of Juda, the Almighty God who is laden with authority. Only when people follow Almighty God and enter into the Age of Kingdom can they receive rich supply, because wherever God is, there is the truth, the way, and the life, and wherever God is, there is a living church life. If people cannot keep pace with God’s latest work, they will naturally have no way to go. This is just as the Bible says: ‘…not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.’ Our church was just like yours in the past, but now we have found the spring of living water—Almighty God. The brothers and sisters are all guided by Almighty God and pursue to satisfy God and love God. They are no longer passive, indifferent, or slack as before!” Hearing what the brother was saying, I felt much more clear. The brother then read me another passage of God’s word: “Only when I pass into the new heaven and earth shall I reveal the other part of My glory first in the land of Canaan, allowing a glimmer of light to shine in the whole earth as dark as night, so that the whole earth will come to it. Let all men across the earth come to draw from the power of the light, allowing My glory to increase and appear anew to all nations. Let all men realize that I have long ago come to the earth and long ago brought My glory from Israel to the East; for My glory shines from the East, where it was brought over from the Age of Grace to this day. But it was from Israel that I departed and from there arrived in the East. Only when the light of the East gradually turns white will the darkness across the earth begin to turn to light, and only then will men find that I have long ago gone from Israel and am rising anew in the East. I cannot still be ‘born’ in Israel after I have ‘descended’ to Israel and then left from Israel, for My work leads all of the universe and the lightning flashes from the East to the West. This is the reason I have descended in the East and brought Canaan to the people of the East. I wish to bring people from all the earth to the land of Canaan, hence I continue to utter My voice in the land of Canaan to control the entire universe. At this time, there is not light in all the earth apart from Canaan, and all men are imperiled by hunger and cold.” (from “The Seven Thunders Peal—Prophesying That the Kingdom Gospel Shall Spread Throughout the Universe” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) After hearing these words, I came to realize why the church became desolate and why I could not find God. “Actually, God has already taken the light to the land of Canaan—the Church of Almighty God. God’s work has progressed forward, yet I fail to keep up with it and still stay where I am, crying to seek God. So, of course, I cannot find Him.” Having known the reason for all of this, I felt much more relaxed. It was then that I knew the real meaning of God’s word, “God is the truth, the way, and the life.” Where there is God, there is the way to go; where there is God, there is the supply of life. I was both guilty and joyful. I felt guilty because I was so blind and ignorant that I didn’t know God’s work and resisted it for so many years; I felt joyful because God didn’t condemn me according to what I had done but stretched out His saving hand to me time and time again. I was bathed in tears for all the day and the night. “O Almighty God! I truly thank You. According to what I have done, I don’t deserve to live in this world. You saved me and gave me a second life. I have no reason to ask anything from You, and even more, I’m not qualified to ask You to forgive the sins I have committed. I only ask You to give me an opportunity to expiate my sins so as to make up for my past transgressions. I’m willing to pay any price to cooperate with Your work and bring those lost lambs back to Your family, so that they will return to You and not live in the darkness any longer. O Almighty God! Please have mercy and compassion on those brothers and sisters who are blinded by deception. May Your Spirit move them to come to You as soon as possible!”
Since then, I have been following Almighty God and walking on the path toward the kingdom. I have been with God once again. Every day I am watered by God’s word and receive new light. With God’s personal guidance every day, I’m growing in life constantly. It is Almighty God who gives me a second life. Brothers and sisters, how is your church now? How is your spiritual state? Do you also desire to receive the spring of living water? Have you found it now? If not, please drop your imaginations and notions and come to investigate the word expressed by Him. Then you will know that Almighty God’s word is the truth, the way, and the life. As Almighty God says: “When you have finished reading this book, when you have experienced each step of the work of God incarnate in the Age of Kingdom, you will feel that the hopes of many years have finally been realized. You will feel that only now have you truly seen God face-to-face; only now have you gazed upon the face of God, heard the personal utterance of God, appreciated the wisdom of God’s work, and truly sensed how real and almighty God is. You will sense that you have gained many things that people of times past have never seen or possessed. At this time, you will clearly know what it is to believe in God, and what it is to be after God’s heart. Of course, if you cling to views of the past, and reject or deny the fact of the second incarnation of God, then you shall remain empty-handed and acquire nothing, and ultimately be guilty of opposing God. Those who obey the truth and submit to the work of God shall come under the name of the second incarnate God—the Almighty. They will be able to accept the personal guidance of God, and shall acquire more and higher truths and receive the real human life. They shall behold the vision that people of the past have never seen: ‘And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the middle of the seven candlesticks one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the breasts with a golden girdle. His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like to fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shines in its strength.’ (Revelation 1:12-16) This vision is the expression of God’s entire disposition, and such an expression of His entire disposition is also the expression of the work of God when He becomes flesh this time. In the torrents of chastisements and judgments, the Son of man expresses His inherent disposition through the speaking of words, allowing all those who accept His chastisement and judgment to see the true face of the Son of man, a face that is a faithful depiction of the face of the Son of man seen by John. (Of course, all this will be invisible to those who do not accept the work of God in the Age of Kingdom.) The true face of God cannot be fully articulated using the words of man, and so God used the expression of His inherent disposition to show His true face to man. Which is to say that all those who have experienced the inherent disposition of the Son of man have seen the true face of the Son of man, for God is too great and cannot be fully articulated using the words of man. Once man has experienced each step of God’s work in the Age of Kingdom, then he shall know the true meaning of John’s words when he spoke of the Son of man among the lampstands: ‘His head and his hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and his eyes were as a flame of fire; And his feet like to fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and his voice as the sound of many waters. And he had in his right hand seven stars: and out of his mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shines in its strength.’ At that time, you shall know beyond all doubt that this ordinary flesh that has spoken so many words is really the second incarnate God. And you shall truly sense how blessed you are, and feel yourself the most fortunate. Would you be unwilling to accept this blessing?” (from “Preface” to The Word Appears in the Flesh)