Donghai County, Jiangsu Province
I was formerly a believer in the “Three-Self Church,” and I had followed Jesus for over twenty years. Like other brothers and sisters, I had also been awaiting the day when I would be raptured and meet God in the air. But later, everything I did was against this wish. Thinking back to that now, I really regret very much…
One day in the winter of 1996, Brother Zhao of our sect came to my home in a hurry and said to me, “Brother, someone told me that God has come to China and done a new work. What do you think about it?” At that, I flew into a rage and roared, “Nonsense! Jesus said, ‘But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.’ They are so bold as to dare to speak such a word by their own will. That is purely a false Christ! Don’t listen to them. Believe in the Bible, and that won’t be wrong.” Brother Zhao said then, “Right! I think so too. But there is a great dispute about that in the meeting places in the south district and believers there are at a loss what to do. Could you go there with me to give a message? We should keep them from going astray.” At the time, I, angry and worried, agreed without the least hesitation.
On the evening of the third day, three of us, Brother Zhao and I and another brother, hurried to a meeting place. I preached recklessly on the pulpit, “Now the followers of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ say that the Lord Jesus has been incarnated the second time and come to China to do His work. This is a deceitful lie. Never believe it. I have asked many pastors and elders about that, and they all said that they didn’t know it. So can the followers of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ know it? Do you think my words are reasonable?” The brothers and sisters answered with one voice, “Yes!” At that time I was very pleased with myself: Though I didn’t say much, it produces an immediate effect. A brother declared himself right away, “We mustn’t listen to the message of the ‘Eastern Lightning.’ We must stand firm on our most holy faith…” As the result of my preaching, the meeting was filled with an atmosphere of “fighting for justice”… I felt that I was so capable of working! But little did I expect that my such faithful devotion would be repaid with disasters one after another…
In February, 1997, my father died of illness, and my mother got hemiplegia. And I myself got arthritis and chronic gastritis. Though I spent more than 800 yuan on the treatment, instead of being healed, they became worse and worse. Immediately following that, a donkey kicked me and injured my left arm, and my eldest son had a traffic accident and broke his right shin, and his medical treatment cost us over 4,000 yuan… The series of disasters swept away my past “assurance.” I couldn’t withstand anymore, much less did I have any energy to ask about church affairs. However, I still didn’t wake up but considered that Job’s trial had come upon me.
Though I was so foolish, Almighty God didn’t forsake me. On January 8, 1998, two sisters came to my home and said to me, “Brother, shall we go and listen to the messages given by a co-worker of Nanjing Theological College? We heard that he gives wonderful messages, and they are of great benefit to us preachers. Will you go?” Without thinking much then, I answered, “Tomorrow I’ll be there on time.”
The next day the sisters took me to a brother’s home. As soon as I went in, several brothers and sisters greeted me politely. Then they asked me about the situation of my church of that time. As they were humble and spoke kindly, my caution against them gradually disappeared. A brother asked me, “Brother, do you know why the churches are desolate now?” I said, “I’m thinking about that, but I haven’t found the cause.” The brother said, “The churches are desolate because God has done a new work now on the basis of the work of the Age of Grace. Although Jesus redeemed man and cleansed man of his sins with His precious blood, man’s sinful nature is still within him. So God does a stage of new work in the last days—the work of removing the root of sin. Now God has come to the world and is doing His work on a group of people who are willing to accept His new work. So all the brothers and sisters who have accepted Almighty God have a better and better condition, while in various denominations and sects there is already no working of God and so they become desolate. This is similar to the time of Jesus. When Jesus came at that time, He didn’t work in the temple, so the temple became a ‘den of thieves.’” Although his words sounded perfectly clear to me, as I was sure that they were the followers of the “Eastern Lightning,” I stopped him before he finished his words. “Aren’t you saying that the Lord has come? That’s impossible. The Lord Jesus said that of the day when He comes, the Father alone knows, and even He Himself does not know. Moreover, none of our pastors, elders, or believers here knew it, so how could you know it? You said that God has done a third stage of work. Is it recorded in the Bible? I will never believe it! Because God never changes, both now and forever!” The brother said with a smile, “The Lord Jesus said, ‘But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.’ This word is absolutely true. But it means that no one knows on which day or at which moment the Lord will come, not the angels in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father (the Spirit). It does not mean that when the Lord has come, no one will know that He has come. That is to say, since God comes to the earth to do His work, certainly there will be people who know it. If when God comes to the earth to do His work, no one knew that, then what would be the point of His doing it? And whom would His work be aimed at? If He came not to save man, then why should He endure the humiliation to come to the world? Jesus said, ‘Seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.’ If you don’t seek, how can you know that? When Jesus was born in the manger at that time, weren’t there also shepherds telling the good news? Matthew 25:6 says, ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him.’ This shows that after God comes, there will be a ‘cry’ made and people coming to preach the gospel of God. Today, aren’t there many brothers and sisters preaching the gospel of the last days to us? It’s simply that we are not willing to accept this fact. Furthermore, this time God does the work through incarnation in a hidden way, and He comes to steal the ‘treasures,’ so only those who truly believe in Him can know it, and only those who truly seek Him can gain Him. If we don’t have a seeking heart, how can we gain Him?” Having said this, the brother picked up the book of Almighty God’s word and read these words: “At that time when Jesus worked in Judea, He did so openly, but now, I work and speak among you in secret. The unbelievers are completely unaware of it. My work among you is isolated from others. These words, these chastisements and judgments, are known only to all of you and no other. All of this work is carried out among you and opened up only to you; none of those unbelievers knows this, for the time has not yet come. These men are near to being made complete after enduring chastisements, but those on the outside know nothing of this. This work is much too hidden! To them, God become flesh is secretive, but to those in this stream, He can be considered to be open. Although in God all is open, all is clear and all is released, this is only true with those who believe in Him…. When God’s work on earth comes to an end, that is, when this work in secret concludes, this stage of work will blow wide open. All will know that there are a group of overcomers in China; all will know that God become flesh is in China and that His work has come to an end.” After reading God’s words, the brother said to me, “From God’s words we can know that God has come among us today and has brought a new work. We didn’t know it because we failed to keep up with God’s present work and didn’t know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work. However, we cannot say that God has not yet come because we ourselves haven’t kept up with His work. Brother, as long as we have a seeking heart, God will surely appear to us and not hide from us. If we don’t seek but just wait for the day of God’s appearing to men publicly, I’m afraid that it will be too late to seek then. Almighty God says, ‘… when you see Jesus descend from the heaven upon a white cloud with your own eyes, this will be the public appearance of the Sun of righteousness. Perhaps that will be a time of great excitement for you, yet you should know that the time when you witness Jesus descend from the heaven is also the time when you go down to hell to be punished. It will herald the end of God’s management plan, and will be when God rewards the good and punishes the wicked. For the judgment of God will have ended before man sees signs, when there is only the expression of truth.’” After hearing the brother’s fellowship and thinking about the words of Almighty God, I wavered, and my attitude became much softened. I thought, “Right! If the Lord has really come but I fail to follow Him, won’t it be too great a pity? Won’t I regret to death? Besides, what the brother has fellowshipped about is indeed reasonable and agrees with the Bible, and I have never heard about it before. Why don’t I seek more before I make a conclusion?”
Seeing that my attitude changed for the better, the brother selected some words of God to solve my notions. God says: “Have you followed the work of Jesus and His words? How faithful are you to Jesus? The greatest book of prophecy of Isaiah in the Old Testament never mentioned that a child named ‘Jesus’ would be born in the age of the New Testament, merely that a male infant would be born by the name of Emmanuel. Why did he not specify the name ‘Jesus’? Nowhere in the Old Testament does this name appear, so why then do you still believe in Jesus? Surely you did not have to see Jesus with your own eyes before you came to believe in Him? Or did you begin to believe upon receiving a revelation? Would God really show you such grace? And bestow upon you such a great blessing? On what basis did you believe in Jesus? Why then do you not believe that He has become flesh this day? Why do you say that the absence of a revelation to you from God proves that He has not become flesh? Must God tell man prior to commencing His work? Must He first receive the approval of man? Isaiah only proclaimed that a male infant would be born in a manger but never prophesied that Mary would give birth to Jesus. Why then did you believe in Jesus whom Mary gave birth to? … 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. …” “There are those who say that God is immutable. That is correct, but it refers to the immutability of God’s disposition and substance. Changes in His name and work do not prove that His substance has altered; in other words, God will always be God, and this will never change. If you say that the work of God always stays the same, then would He be able to finish His six-thousand-year management plan? You merely know that God is forever unchanging, but do you know that God is always new and never old? If the work of God never changed, then could He have brought mankind to today? If God is immutable, then why is it that He has already done the work of two ages?” I was utterly convinced by God’s words. I realized this: In the past, I thought that since the words “the third stage of work” are not recorded in the Bible, God won’t do this stage of work; if God did it, it would have been recorded in the Bible, otherwise it isn’t the work done by God. Didn’t I circumscribe God within the Bible by holding such a view? What Almighty God says is right. If my notion were right, then by what did I believe in Jesus? Was Jesus’ work recorded in the Old Testament? Then why could I believe in Jesus? The Bible says that the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. Isn’t it a terrible thing for me to cling to the letter like this? Thank God that He has enlightened me and made me wake up. Thank God that He has given me this opportunity so that I have understood these truths. By then, my eyes were already full of tears. “O God! Your words have opened my heart and brightened my eyes. Examining myself according to Your words, I see that I was ignorant, absurd, and ridiculous. O God! I circumscribed You within my notions and letters, and I thought that You would forever be called Jesus and forever be crucified for mankind because You are ever unchanging. But today You tell me that being ever unchanging means that Your substance and Your disposition are unchanging, but not that Your work is unchanging. O God! I’m clear now. I’m grateful for Your salvation. I really need the third stage of Your work. I’m willing to accept it and keep up with Your footsteps!”
Dear brothers and sisters, what is written above is the course of how I changed from resisting God’s new work to accepting it. I hope that you can learn lessons from my experience and drop your notions and seek. As long as you have a thirsty and seeking heart, I believe that God will surely enlighten you, and you will surely receive this greatest blessing and receive this eternal salvation!
a. The original text does not have “People think so”.