28. I Held Fast to the Bible and Became a Pharisee of the Present Age
Shangqiu City, Henan Province
In May 2002, I accepted the gospel of the last days of Almighty God. When I went to preach to the brothers and sisters of my former denomination with guilt, they said to me, “In the past, you didn’t allow us to have contact with the believers in Almighty God, and said that they would gouge out people’s eyes and cut off their noses and commit adultery. But now you yourself have followed them. You are an apostate. How can you have the face to come to preach to us? …” When I heard those words, my thoughts returned to the past…
I began to believe in Jesus in 1989. In November 1992, I became the leader of the eight churches of the “Justification by Faith Church.” Later, the leader of the upper level said to me, “Only the God we believe in is the true God and the living God. All other denominations are heresies and cults. Never have contact with them, much less pray together with them. Otherwise, the evil spirit will come upon you. Then you will lose control of yourself.” Since then, I obeyed the leader’s “teaching” carefully and didn’t have contract with anyone of other denominations, fearing that I might “go astray.”
In 1995, more than ten people had brought me the books of God’s word, such as The Word of That Spirit and Walking in the Light. I just skimmed over a part of the content of the book The Word of That Spirit carelessly, and then said angrily, “The words in this book are all curses. God is gentle and good and kind. How could He possibly curse people in such a way?” And after those words, I remembered what the leader said, so I returned the books to them and said stiffly, “Our belief is different. It’s unnecessary for us to fellowship!” Afterward, I lost no time in telling this matter to the leader above. He said, “They are the ‘Eastern Lightning’ followers. They are very powerful. They believe in a heresy and a female Christ. You must guard against them strictly and prevent them from stealing the sheep from us…” Since then, guarding against the “Eastern Lightning” followers almost became all that I did in believing in God. Each time we had a meeting, I would say, “The ‘Eastern Lightning’ followers are coming to steal the sheep. They want to take us to death. Never have contact with them or talk to them. Otherwise, they will keep pestering you.”
One day in October 1998, I was just watering the field when a brother of my denomination greeted me from afar. He said, “Brother, let me help you.” I knew that he had already accepted Almighty God, so I said angrily, “No need. If you are here, I’ll leave!” With the word, I threw the water pipe to the ground and left without turning round… In a period of time afterward, more people came to preach the gospel to me, and every time I said to them sarcastically, “Fellowshipping with you is like playing a lute to a cow. Go to preach to those unbelievers if you are capable.” Just like that, I always made the brothers and sisters embarrassed. Nevertheless, they still came to preach to me continuously.
One day in 2001, my wife’s sister-in-law came to preach to me. I said sneeringly, “You are most ignorant and have the least knowledge of the Bible, and you have never travelled far. And you come to preach to me? I think you are all the blind leading the blind. You can come here when you have confessed and repented and converted to our belief. Otherwise, don’t come again!”
Although I watched every church “conscientiously,” there were still many brothers and sisters accepting Almighty God’s work of the last days. Then the upper leaders intensified their efforts to seal off the churches and distributed many materials that resisted Almighty God. I was particularly struck by the words in one of the materials, “The ‘Eastern Lightning’ followers infiltrate different denominations and sects to draw the workers in the name of shepherding the church. After they win their trust, they will take them to the remote, thickly forested mountains and force them to believe. If they refuse, they will beat them or even cut off their noses or gouge out their eyes or force them to have sexual relationship with them…” At that time, without making any discernment, I completely believed those words and hated the “Eastern Lightning” followers to the core on that account. I took the materials to the churches under my supervision and preached, “Don’t receive anyone who comes to preach to you as long as they are believers in Almighty God, much less listen to them, even if they are your parents!” I remembered that a relative of mine (who sold soy sauce) often came to preach to me at that time. But I said to him through gritted teeth, “If you come again, I’ll smash your soy sauce buckets! …” Afterward, I told the matter to the brothers and sisters in the churches and asked them to treat the “Eastern Lightning” followers as I did. I also ordered the leaders of every church to watch the believers closely and not let them have contact with the believers in Almighty God, lest they be dragged away.
I was so busy sealing off the churches that sometimes I even had no time to take meals, yet still, it was to no avail. By March 2002, only few people were left in the church. Seeing the desolate state, I was extremely distressed in my heart. But I didn’t know to examine myself or seek, but only hated the brothers and sisters for their ignorance and the “Eastern Lightning” followers for stealing our sheep.
One day in May 2002, a sister of our denomination told me that two brothers from out of town who preached the gospel came to her home, and she asked me to go to fellowship with them about the Bible. Then I went to her home with curiosity. In the first two days, I saw eye to eye with them. We fellowshipped from the Old Testament to the New Testament, and with many points that I didn’t understand, they could explain them very clearly, which made me sincerely convinced. On the third day, a brother asked me smilingly, “Brother, which one do you think is greater, God or the Bible?” I felt a little surprised, “Why does he ask this way?” And I answered, “Of course God is greater.” The brother said, “Since God is greater, God can do a new work outside the Bible without being restrained by it, right?” At those words, I immediately realized that they were believers in Almighty God. So I retorted quickly, “Jesus said in John 14:6: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by me.’ Salvation is found in no one else except Jesus, and all Scripture is inspired by God. This is the never-changing truth. You have departed from the Bible, and you are denying the truth. My belief is different from yours. It’s unnecessary for us to talk anymore.” With the word, I got up to leave. The two brothers smiled and asked me repeatedly to stay, “Brother, don’t be angry. Let’s sit down and have a good fellowship. Let’s see whether all scripture is inspired by God.” Hearing that, I clearly knew that they wanted to talk about the work of Almighty God. So I said more angrily, “The Bible is the testimony for God and is inspired by God. This is absolutely correct. All God’s words and work are recorded in the Bible. If one departs from the Bible, he is not believing in God. It is a heresy and a cult!” I was so furious at that time that I really wanted to beat them. However, no matter how angry I was, they remained calm, and said, “Brother, we are all believers in God. The Lord Jesus said that whoever hates his brother is a murderer. Why be angry? We can have a discussion together and learn from each other. What matters it?” Hearing those words, I felt a little embarrassed. So I continued to fellowship with them about the Bible with reluctance. The brother asked me to read Jesus’ genealogy recorded in Matthew 1:1-17 and Luke 3:23-38. After I read them, the brother said, “The gospels of Matthew and Luke both record Jesus’ genealogy. Could the genealogy be written at will? That was clearly Joseph’s genealogy, but they say that it was Jesus’ genealogy. We know that Jesus had nothing to do with Joseph at all. God is self-existing and ever-existing. How could He have a genealogy? God’s word says: ‘Perhaps someone thought that if God walked the earth, then He needed a family tree, and so inserted Jesus into the forty-second generation of Abraham’s descendants. What an absurd idea! How could God have a family tree when He came to earth? If He had a family tree, would that not make Him one of His own creations? God is not of the earth, He is the Lord of creation; though He is flesh, He is different from man in essence. How could you put Him into the same category as His creations? Abraham could not represent God; He was an object of Jehovah’s work at that time, just a loyal servant approved of by Jehovah, and one of the Israelite people. How, then, could Abraham be an ancestor of Jesus?’” I pondered over these words in my heart, “That’s right. The Lord Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, and He has nothing to do with Joseph. Is it too preposterous to create a genealogy for God incarnate? How can God be put into the same category as His creations?” Then they showed me Luke 20:41-44, “And he said to them, How say they that Christ is David’s son? And David himself said in the book of Psalms, The LORD said to my Lord, Sit you on my right hand, Till I make your enemies your footstool. David therefore calls him Lord, how is he then his son?” After I read it, the brother said, “The Lord Jesus refuted the view that Christ was the son of a man. This shows that such a view is wrong and preposterous and is abhorred by God. How can such an absurd idea be a revelation from God? Could God give such an erroneous and absurd revelation to man?” I agreed with what the brother said in my heart, but to save my face, outwardly I assumed an air of nonchalance. The two brothers saw that I was still not convinced, so they found the records about Judas’ death. In Matthew 27:5, it says, “And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.” In Acts 1:18, it says, “Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the middle, and all his bowels gushed out.” The brother asked, “These two verses record the same thing, yet there were two different ends. One says that he hanged himself. The other says that he burst asunder in the middle and died. What do you think all this is about?” I was stunned and had nothing to say. My previous anger was completely gone. Before the iron facts, I had to acknowledge that not all Scripture was inspired by God. “I have believed in God for so many years and I’m versed in the Bible. How come I didn’t know these?” At that time, my heart was filled with mixed feelings, and I simply couldn’t describe how I felt. “There are actually so many strange problems in the Bible that I adore. It’s really unbelievable. But they can’t be denied.”
Then the brother continued, “The Age of Grace has ended, and God has been incarnated and done a new work.” Hearing that, I flew into a temper again. “I only acknowledge that the Lord will come with clouds, for it is said in 1 Thessalonian 4:16-17, ‘For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air…’ If the Lord has really come, why haven’t I heard the shout?” The other brother said, “The ‘shout’ refers to the voice of preaching God’s work of the last days. The brothers and sisters come to your house to preach, and isn’t their voice the ‘shout’? The ‘voice of the archangel’ refers to the voice of the leaders of various denominations and sects of sealing off the churches, telling you not to have contact with the ‘Eastern Lightning’ followers, not to listen to their message, and so on. The ‘trump of God’ refers to the personal utterance of the Christ of the last days, the words that the Holy Spirit says to the churches, which all who have ears should hear. Brother, please consider this carefully: Is it really true that you haven’t heard these voices?” I thought about it carefully and considered that what they said was reasonable. And the resistance in my heart gradually disappeared. Regarding whether the Lord will come in a spiritual body or in a flesh, the brother read Matthew 24:27, which says, ‘For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’ and Luke 17:24-25, which says, ‘For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.’ These two portions of scriptures both say that ‘the Son of man’ comes, so He will surely come through incarnation, not in a spiritual body.” I thought, “It’s right. If God came not through incarnation, how could He suffer many things and be rejected by this generation?” Later, I asked again, “The Bible says that ‘that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God.’ Why do you say that the flesh is saved?” The brother said, “‘that flesh and blood’ refers to man corrupted by Satan. We all are the offspring of the corrupted Adam and Eve and are the corrupted ‘flesh and blood,’ so we must undergo God’s work of removing sin during the last days to have our corrupted flesh transformed into a holy body before we can inherit the kingdom of God.” Hearing that, I received revelation and at the same time felt very remorseful, “Why didn’t I listen to their exposition first in the past but have kept holding to the Bible until today? I’m really blind and ignorant to the extreme.”
During my stay with the brothers who preached the gospel, I saw that their living out wasn’t like what was described in those materials at all, which said, “They use sinister and malicious means to force you to accept their way, and if you refuse to accept, they will lay murderous hands on you,” and so on. It was really that “Words are but wind, but seeing is believing!” I thought back to the scenes in these past days: No matter how arrogant, self-right, or unreasonable I was, they tolerated me with great love and patience; sometimes my manner was very stiff, and I was very impolite to them, but they never minded it and still fellowshipped with me calmly. With such living out and humanity, how could they be the people described in those materials? I began to doubt those materials. Then, I quieted my heart and continued to fellowship with them. As a result, I understood the mystery of God’s six-thousand-year management plan, and understood that God’s work today is the third stage of work after the work of the Age of Law and the work of the Age of Grace, and that not all Scripture is inspired by God and the Bible is only a historical book. Just as God’s word says: “The Bible is not entirely a record of God’s own utterance; rather, it is just an account of the first two stages of God’s work. Part of it consists of the words of the prophets, and part of it documents the experiences and knowledge of people who were used by God down through the ages. Unavoidably, the writers’ own opinions and knowledge are mixed in their experiences. Many books in it are colored by human notions, prejudices, and erroneous understandings, and though naturally most of the words were enlightened and illuminated by the Holy Spirit and represent correct understandings, they cannot be considered entirely accurate expressions of the truth. The writers’ opinions on certain subjects merely reflect their own experiential knowledge or the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.” “What is recorded in the Bible are the affairs of ancient Israel, the things that the chosen people of Israel did, the things that Jehovah did. And so later the Holy Spirit didn’t disapprove of this. Even though some of them were put into the Bible, and some omitted, the Holy Spirit did not commend it, but did not condemn it either. The Bible consists purely of the history of Israel, the history of God’s work, and the people, events, and things it describes are for the most part real people, real events, and real things, not foreshadowings of things to come—except the prophecies of Isaiah and Daniel, of course, or the visions of John. The Israelites then were a very cultured and knowledgeable people, with a highly developed ancient civilization, and so what they wrote surpasses the words of people today. It is not astonishing that they were able to write these books, for Jehovah performed much work among them and they saw so much.” After reading God’s words, I even more hated myself: I had treated the Bible as God, considering that believing in God was believing in the Bible, and circumscribed God within the Bible, not allowing God to work outside the Bible, and even resisted the work of the true God with the epistles of the apostles. I am really ignorant and deserve to die!
God’s word is just like a navigation light which shines with boundless radiance. The more I read it, the more I felt enlightened. Then I read these words of God: “Each stage of work done by God has a real significance. When Jesus arrived, He was male, and this time He is female. From this, you can see that God created both male and female for His work and with Him there is no distinction of gender. When His Spirit arrives, He can take on any flesh at will and the flesh represents Him. Be it male or female, both represent God as long as it is His incarnate flesh.” From them I understood that God comes to earth mainly to do the work to save man, not to show man what His flesh is like. He can be a male or a female, and He can accomplish His work in either way. I really hated myself for circumscribing God’s gender according to my mind and even more hated myself for being so arrogant and self-right that I resisted God’s work and sealed off the church blindly without seeking even though I didn’t have the true knowledge of it, and thus played the role of an antichrist and became a Pharisee of the present age. However, although I was so disobedient, God didn’t abandon me but spared no efforts to save me. I indeed saw God’s boundless love for man.
After I took part in the church life, I saw that the brothers and sisters all spoke and behaved with decency and propriety and were simple and open when fellowshipping the truth and knowing themselves. Moreover, it is clearly stipulated in the fourth decree of the Ten Administrative Decrees, “Man has corrupt disposition and even more has emotion. So, in the service in coordination, two people of different sexes are forbidden to coordinate alone. If discovered, they shall be expelled, no matter who they are.” Seeing God’s words and these facts, I realized that it was purely a lie and slander that those materials say that believers in Almighty God commit adultery.
Not long after I followed Almighty God, I preached the gospel to two brothers of my former denomination, but they only believed for a few days and dropped out because of their uncertainty about God’s work. At that time, the brothers and sisters fellowshipped with me, “You should continue to preach to them. God’s intention is to save every man to the utmost. God expects that all those who truly love Him can come before Him. They drop out because they don’t know about God’s work.” I saw that when the brothers and sisters preached to those two brothers patiently again, they neither were beaten nor had their eyes gouged out or their noses cut off. That proved once again that what was said in those materials distributed by our leaders above, such as “gouge out your eyes,” and “cut off your nose,” was nothing but smears and slanders. At that time, I even more hated myself for looking up to the leaders too much before, always thinking that all that they said was true and right. Only then did I know that it was because I had no discernment and believed rumors easily that I blindly condemned God’s work of the last days and acted as a messenger of Satan. Such deeds of mine really harmed others and me. If Almighty God didn’t save me today, I wouldn’t even know why if I were punished by God to death. I thank Almighty God that He brings me, a great evil man who resisted and disobeyed Him, before Him by His wonderful and wise work. O God! In the rest of my time I will care for Your will and perform my duty to repay Your love!