16. I Was Saved by Almighty God During My Opposition to Him
Handan City, Hebei Province
I was formerly a worker of the Way of Life Church, and was often sent to various places to preach. Later, I strayed into the way of the Pharisees, the way of opposing God. It was Almighty God who awakened my heart and so I was saved.
When I worked as a sent one in Datong City, Shanxi Province, I remember, whichever church I went to, the brothers and sisters there would tell me that some people had come to preach that God had done a new work, and they had also given them a book entitled The Lightning Shining from the East. After hearing it, I hated those people with all my soul, and thought, “The last days have truly come, as false Christs have come to deceive people. I must be a good ‘steward,’ and never let the flock be deceived.” Then, I began to seal off the churches by saying these words in them: “Brothers and sisters, none of you shall receive strangers. If anyone disobeys, he shall be expelled from the church.” In a co-workers’ meeting, our leader told us, “The most serious problem we are facing now is that there are people coming to our churches everywhere to preach Almighty God. They are heretics, cultists, and mafiosi, and they beat and harm people. They have a poisonous book. Once you read it, you’ll lose control of your mind and be hooked by it.” At these words, my heart throbbed with fear, because I had learned that my parents had accepted Almighty God and read that book. The more I thought about that, the more I was frightened, and I felt my heart so heavy, as if a big stone lay on it. Because of the rumors and my imaginations, I had more hatred for the work of Almighty God and felt more disgusted with those who preached it. Every day, in my prayers I asked the Lord Jesus to curse them. When I preached in the churches, I said many blasphemies against Almighty God. At that time, I could never figure out why my parents also accepted Almighty God, because they had believed in Jesus for many years, read through the Bible many times, led churches, and preached to others. In anger, I picked up a pen and wrote a letter to them: “Dad and Mom, you have believed in Jesus and read the Bible for so many years in vain. …” In the letter, I quoted Bible verses out of context and without considering the backgrounds of the ages to persuade them to turn back, and I also wrote many words of “admonition.” But they did not appreciate my “kindness” at all. I was so annoyed with them that I didn’t go home for over a year, during which I opposed God’s work of the last days all the time. Whenever I learned that someone had come to our Church preach the work of the last days, I wished he would die so that the hatred in my heart might be relieved. Such hatred all resulted from the rumors and my imaginations. In fact, I had never witnessed what was rumored, and even many of the rumors were fabricated by me according to what I imagined. For example, the “Eastern Lightning” will give you whatever you ask for; they will give you money if you ask for it, they will find a mate for you if you do not have one, and so on. I just spread the rumors against my conscience like this.
Later, I was transferred back to Hebei Province to work. There I also often heard some people in the church talk about my parents’ conversion to Almighty God. So, whenever the church talked about the “Eastern Lightning,” I was red-faced and upset, and I felt disgraced before the brothers and sisters. As my letter was to no avail, I was very angry and decided to go home to persuade my parents personally. I thought, “After I get home, first I will burn up all the books my parents are reading. Secondly, I will fellowship about the Bible with them and bring them round. Thirdly, I will try to win back all those who were in the church near my home but who now follow Almighty God, so that they will return to the Lord Jesus.”
Filled with boiling anger, I set off home with one of my co-workers. We first went to the Way of Life Church in my hometown and asked the brothers and sisters about my family. They told me, “Your parents are quite zealous in following Almighty God. They go out every day…” At those words, I felt both happy and sad. I was happy because my parents hadn’t been harmed as I had imagined and I could still see them, and I was sad because they were so deeply deceived by those people, which, like a knife, pierced my heart. I thought then, “Anyway, that isn’t my parents’ fault; it is all caused by those believers in Almighty God!” Then the misunderstandings in my heart intensified my inner opposition to Almighty God as fuel was added to the flames. So I was more determined to burn up all the books concerning Almighty God in my home to appease the hatred in my heart.
After I reached home with my co-worker, without saying anything, I immediately began to ransack the rooms for the book The Lightning Shining from the East, but I failed to find it. In angry frustration, I discussed with my co-worker what to do next. We decided to fellowship with my father first (my mother was not at home then). But before we spoke, my father asked a question: “What is God’s name?” Without hesitation, I answered, “Need you ask? It is written in Acts 4:12: ‘Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’ So God’s name is, of course, Jesus Christ.” My father asked another question: “Then, in Exodus 3:15 God said: ‘The LORD God … is my name for ever, and this is my memorial to all generations.’ And, in Hosea 13:4, God also said, ‘Yet I am the LORD your God from the land of Egypt, and you shall know no god but me: for there is no savior beside me.’ How do you explain this?” This question left me at a loss for words, as I had never thought of such a question. But I said, “I don’t care about God’s name. Anyway, it’s wrong to depart from the Bible!” Following that, my father asked me many more questions, none of which I had ever considered. “How could he have so many ‘strange’ questions?” I thought. And so we two began to argue with him unreasonably. In the argument, I felt myself so powerless and indebted to the Lord Jesus. Even so, I resolutely held fast the way of life I had kept, and was determined not to forsake the true way. I believed that my father had been “entrapped” too deeply and was beyond salvation. “Let them die! Let them go to hell! I can do nothing more but to keep myself from abandoning the true way,” I thought. So I decided that my co-worker should go back first and I would wait for my mother to come back, and after seeing her, I would leave. Thanks to God’s wonderful arrangement, I stayed.
A few days later, my mother came back from performing her duty, but she would not hear of my leaving. She invited many brothers and sisters to our house to fellowship with me about the work of Almighty God during the last days, but because the rumors and my imaginations fully occupied my mind, I couldn’t take it in. I was indifferent to what they fellowshipped about, and did not make any response like a wood. However, they still patiently fellowshipped with me about the work of Almighty God in detail. They read me a passage of His word: “Some say that the name of God does not change, so why then did the name of Jehovah become Jesus? It was prophesied of the coming of the Messiah, so why then did a man by the name of Jesus come? Why did the name of God change? Was not such work carried out long ago? Cannot God this day do a new work? The work of yesterday can be altered, and the work of ‘Jesus’ can follow on from that of ‘Jehovah.’ Cannot then the work of ‘Jesus’ be succeeded by another work? If the name of ‘Jehovah’ can be changed to ‘Jesus,’ then cannot the name of ‘Jesus’ also be changed? This is not unusual, and people think so[a] only due to their simple-mindedness. God will always be God. Regardless of the changes to His work and His name, His disposition and wisdom remain forever unchanged. If you believe that God can only be called by the name of Jesus, then you know too little. Do you dare assert that Jesus is forever the name of God, that God will forever and always go by the name of Jesus, and that this will never change? Dare you assert with certainty it is the name of ‘Jesus’ that concluded the Age of Law and also concludes the final age? Who can say that the grace of ‘Jesus’ can conclude the age?” Hearing these words, I suddenly became clear about the answer to the question my father had asked. “Yes, since the name of Jehovah could be changed to Jesus, the name of Jesus can also be changed to Almighty God. Is this really God’s word?” A battle started in my heart. I said nothing to my parents that day. At night, after they went to sleep, I knelt before the Lord Jesus and prayed in tears, “O Lord! What shall I do? I am confused. Which way shall I take? Please guide me quickly! …” But on the following day, I remembered the “resolution” I had made before I came home, and I thought to myself, “I mustn’t be deceived by them.” So, I pondered how to leave my home. I thought, “Although I was born of my mother, we are not members of one family in spirit, and it is time for us to part.” So I secretly packed up all my belongings, for I thought that from then on the church would be my home and the brothers and sisters would be my family members. In the evening, I told my mother I was leaving tomorrow. At that, she said to me in tears, “Why do you believe in God? And why do you serve God? For what have you forsaken everything? Why can’t you seek, listen, and read before you make a decision? Are you willing to die ignorant like this? Think about it! …”
The series of questions of my mother touched my heart. At night, I tossed about in bed, and asked myself, “Why do I believe in God? Why do I serve God? Have I truly served God to His will? Revelation 14:4 says, ‘These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes.’ Am I a person who follows the Lamb? Others say that God has done a new work. Is this hearsay or a fact? My leader said that the book The Lightning Shining from the East contains poison, but why haven’t my parents been poisoned to death? He also said that those from the ‘Eastern Lightning’ strike and abuse people, but aren’t both of my parents safe and sound? And aren’t those people of our village who follow Almighty God also safe and well? Were what my leader spoke about things he had witnessed or hearsay? The believers in the churches I have visited become ever fewer, and the churches become desolate. What is this all about? The signs (the occurence of pestilences, wars, earthquakes, and so on) prophesied by Jesus in the Bible concerning His second coming have all appeared. Could it be that the Lord Jesus has really returned? Or perhaps, I should seek before I leave.” That night, God worked in me greatly to enlighten me. The next morning, after I got up, I picked up the book of Almighty God’s word in spite of myself. “Is this the book that our church condemned and I wanted to burn up?” I sniffed at it to see if it contained poison, but I smelled nothing. When I opened the book, I saw “Preface,” which says: “Though many people believe in God, few understand what faith in God means, and what they must do to be after God’s heart. This is because, though people are familiar with the word ‘God’ and phrases such as ‘the work of God,’ they do not know God, much less do they know His work. No wonder, then, that all those who do not know God are possessed of a muddled belief. People do not take belief in God seriously because believing in God is too unfamiliar, too strange for them. In this way, they are far from the demands of God. In other words, if people do not know God, do not know His work, then they are not fit for God’s use, much less can they fulfill the desire of God. ‘Belief in God’ means believing that there is a God; this is the simplest concept of ‘faith in God.’ What’s more, believing that there is a God is not the same as truly believing in God; rather, it is a kind of simple faith with strong religious overtones. True ‘faith in God’ means experiencing the words and work of God based on a belief that God holds sovereignty over all things. So you shall be freed of your corrupt disposition, shall fulfill the desire of God, and shall come to know God. Only through such a journey can you be said to believe in God. Yet people often see belief in God as something very simple and frivolous. The belief of such people is meaningless and shall never gain the approval of God, because they tread the wrong path. Today, there are still those who believe in God in letters, in hollow doctrines. They are unaware that their belief in God has no substance, and that they are unable to gain the approval of God, and they still pray for peace and sufficient grace from God. We should stop and ask ourselves: Could believing in God really be the easiest thing on earth? Does believing in God mean nothing more than receiving much grace from God? Can people who believe in God but do not know Him, and believe in God yet oppose Him, really fulfill the desire of God?” Upon reading this passage, I knew what true faith in God means. The words of Almighty God make it so clear! Then I turned to “Those Who Believe in God Should Submit to Him,” and read on. Almighty God says: “Just why does one believe in God? Most people are confused about this question. They have two entirely different viewpoints regarding the practical God and the God in heaven. This shows that when man believes in God, it is not to submit to God, but to seek a particular benefit, or to escape from disaster. Only then does man show a little bit of submission. Such submission is based on certain conditions, with one’s own future as a prerequisite, and is not self-motivated. What is the root cause of your believing? If it is solely for your future or fate, then it is best that you do not believe; such ‘belief’ is just fooling oneself, nothing more than a way of self-comfort and self-appreciation. If your belief in God is not built upon the foundation of submission to God, you will eventually be punished for your resistance to God.” “If you cannot accept the new light that comes from God, do not understand or seek what God does today, and you suspect, judge, or research and analyze it, then such people do not have a submissive heart. When the present light comes forth, yet you still treasure yesterday’s and resist the new work, then you are a purely absurd person, someone who deliberately resists God. The key to submission to God is the capacity to receive the newest light, accept it and put into practice; that is true submission. If one does not have such will to thirst for God, one cannot attain submission to God in his heart; instead one will resist God due to his satisfaction with his current status. One cannot submit to God because one is preoccupied by what one originally has, which has molded various conceptions within, leading to different imaginations of God. These have become images of God in human mind. Therefore, one believes in one’s own conceptions, one’s own imagined standard. If you measure the God who performs actual work today with your own imaginary God, then your faith comes from Satan; such faith is colored by your personal preference, and God does not want such faith. One who believes in God in this manner will not receive commendation from God, no matter how senior he is, how much he has spent, even if he has exerted his entire life to do God’s work, to the point of martyrdom. God only gives him a little grace for his temporary enjoyment.” These words are so clear! So, my service in the past is loathed by God! The more I read it, the more I was absorbed in it, as if a thirsty person had found a stream. Following that, I read “Concerning the Bible (1)”, “Concerning the Bible (2)”, “Concerning the Bible (3)”, and “Concerning the Bible (4).” After I finished reading them, I was stunned. Almighty God says: “Many people believe that if they understand the Bible and can interpret it, then they have found the true way. But is it really that simple? No one knows the truth about the Bible. It is merely a historical record of God’s work, and a testimony to the first two stages of God’s work, and you cannot understand the purpose of God’s work from it. Everyone who has read the Bible knows that it is an account of the work God did during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. The Old Testament of the Bible records the history of Israel and shows how Jehovah did His work from the creation of the world to the end of the Age of Law. The New Testament records Jesus’ work on earth, which is in the Four Gospels, as well as the work of Paul. Are these not all historical records? Anything that happened in the past is history today, no matter how true, how real; and history cannot address the present. For God does not look back! So if you understand only the Bible but not the work that God plans to do now, if you believe in God but do not seek out the work of the Holy Spirit, then you do not know what it means to seek after God.” “You cannot merely understand the Bible and history but not understand what the Holy Spirit is doing today! If you have a stellar grasp of ‘history’ but no understanding of the Holy Spirit’s work today, won’t you be silly? People ask you, ‘What is God doing right now? What should you enter now? Where do you stand in your pursuit of life? Do you know God’s will?’ You have no answer to these questions. ‘So what do you know, then?’” The Bible is only a lock. It was not until that day that I found the key—the word of Almighty God—to open it. The word of Almighty God not only solved many puzzles in my heart, but also resolved many difficulties in my service. At last I came to understand that the word of Almighty God is the truth! I was grateful to Almighty God for enlightening and illuminating me to recognize Him. Holding the book of His word in my hands, I felt that I was really unworthy to read it, and that I only deserved death, for I had opposed Him too seriously. But He didn’t mind my past and still gave me opportunity. I had nothing to say but just wanted to fulfill my duty as a created being and preach the gospel of the Age of Kingdom to those who were still awaiting the return of Jesus, so as to repay God for His grace of salvation. When I faced the choice between life and death, it was the word of Almighty God that saved me and led me to the bright way.
In the past, I deeply admired the Way of Life Church, and I stayed there over seven years but didn’t gain any knowledge of God. After I accepted the work of Almighty God, I came to know that only God is the way of life, and one must accept Almighty God to receive the life supply. Almighty God says: “The way of life is not something that can be possessed by just anyone, nor is it easily obtainable by all. That is because life can only come from God, which is to say, only God Himself possesses the substance of life, there is no way of life without God Himself, and so only God is the source of life, and the ever-flowing wellspring of living water of life. From when He created the world, God has done much work involving the vitality of life, has done much work that brings life to man, and has paid a great price so that man might gain life, for God Himself is eternal life, and God Himself is the way by which man is resurrected.” “God Himself is life, and the truth, and His life and truth coexist. Those who are incapable of gaining the truth shall never gain life. Without the guidance, support, and provision of the truth, you shall only gain letters, doctrines, and, moreover, death. God’s life is ever-present, and His truth and life coexist. If you cannot find the source of truth, then you will not gain the nourishment of life; if you cannot gain the provision of life, then you will surely have no truth, and so apart from imaginations and conceptions, the entirety of your body shall be nothing but flesh, your stinking flesh. Know that the words of books do not count as life, the records of history cannot be feted as the truth, and the doctrines of the past cannot serve as an account of words presently spoken by God. Only that which is expressed by God when He comes to earth and lives among man is the truth, life, God’s will, and His current way of working.” “Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path through which man shall gain life, and the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. If you do not seek the way of life provided by Christ of the last days, then you shall never gain the approval of Jesus, and shall never be qualified to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven, for you are both a puppet and prisoner of history. Those who are controlled by regulations, by letters, and shackled by history will never be able to gain life, and will never be able to gain the perpetual way of life. That is because all they have is turbid water that has lain stagnant for thousands of years, instead of the water of life that flows from the throne. Those who are not supplied with the water of life will forever remain corpses, playthings of Satan, and sons of hell. How, then, can they behold God? If you only try to hold on to the past, only try to keep things as they are by standing still, and do not try to change the status quo and discard history, then will you not always be against God? The steps of God’s work are vast and mighty, like surging waves and rolling thunders—yet you sit and passively await destruction, sticking to your folly and doing nothing. In this way, how can you be considered someone who follows in the footsteps of the Lamb? How can you justify the God that you hold on to as a God who is always new and never old? And how can the words of your yellowed books carry you across the threshold of the new age? How can they lead you to seek the steps of God’s work? And how can they take you up to heaven? What you hold in your hands is the letters that can provide but temporary solace, not the truths that are capable of giving life. The scriptures you read are that which can only enrich your tongue, not words of wisdom that can help you know human life, much less the ways that can lead you to perfection. Does this discrepancy not give you cause for reflection? Does it not allow you to understand the mysteries contained within? Are you capable of delivering yourself to heaven to meet God on your own? Without the coming of God, can you take yourself into heaven to enjoy family happiness with God? Are you still dreaming now? I suggest, then, that you stop dreaming, and look at who is working now, at who is now carrying out the work of saving man during the last days. If you do not, you shall never gain the truth, and shall never gain life.” (from “Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh)
I was saved by Almighty God during my opposition to Him. If it had not been for His salvation, I would also be dry in spirit and have no way to go on, and would just fool myself and be a blind guide. I thank Almighty God for saving me so that I receive the supply of the living water from the throne. Glory and praise be to Almighty God, my Savior!
a. The original text does not have “People think so”.