Zaozhuang City, Shandong Province
In December, 1989, I believed in Jesus because of my wife’s illness. After I was called, I began to read the Bible every day and couldn’t tear myself away from it, and the Bible became my spiritual anchor. I regarded the Bible as God, and without it, I would feel as if I had lost my life. Because of my belief in God, I was once arrested by the government and educated in the study classes held by it, and I was also once sentenced to three years of hard labor. Having gone through these hardships, I felt that my foundation had been laid on the rock and that I was a man faithful to the Lord. All the sisters and brothers for miles around looked up to me very much and considered me as a first-rate preacher and even more a man gained by God. At that time I was already carried away by fame and position and got a swelled head.
In August, 2000, a co-worker in our church told me, “The ‘Eastern Lightning’ is a heresy, a cult, and its followers preach that God has done a new work in the last days. They specially deceive and trap the ignorant people. If anyone joins in it, they will give him money or a wife according to his preference. If he quits, they will cut him into eight pieces.” At this, I was quite taken aback and felt that it wasn’t a small thing, so I immediately went to ask a leader above me. He told me, “Don’t have contact with the followers of the ‘Eastern Lightning,’ much less receive them. They have an evil spirit working on them. You don’t know how fierce they are! You must guard the church in your charge well. In the last days, there will surely be false Christs and false prophets coming out to deceive people. You must be careful not to be fooled by them.” After hearing the leader’s words, I, as if receiving an imperial edict, preached them wantonly in the church, “The ‘Eastern Lightning’ is a heresy, a cult, and is ‘Falun Gong’ in a disguised form! They say that God has come. That’s impossible. We must never believe their words or fall into their trap.” In order to “guard well” the lambs of the Lord, every evening I made the rounds of all meeting places by bicycle to inspect them. I told the brothers and sisters sternly, “If I know that anyone receives the people of the ‘Eastern Lightning,’ I will drive him out when he comes again to have the meeting. I will spare nobody’s feelings, including my parents. If the people of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ have the cheek to come again, you just sic your dogs on them or throw water on them. If they still don’t leave, strike them. It’s not too much to do so, for we are defending the truth and saving our life.” Because of my slanders and threats, some brothers and sisters became so frightened that they shut themselves in their houses and didn’t dare to go out for meetings, others shunned the people of the “Eastern Lightning” like the plague when meeting them, and still others shouted abuse at them or even struck them violently… My older sister had believed in it for a month. After I learned of that, I tried desperately to disturb her until she gave it up.
From February 2001 to June 2002, during these nearly one and a half years, those who preached God’s gospel of the last days came to preach to me about more than 200 times, but I drove them all away by speaking mocking or ironic words to them or insulting them. I remember that one day in September, 2001, my wife’s older sister came to my house to preach God’s gospel of the last days to me. I said to her cruelly, “You’re utterly deceived. Who do you think you are? Even the senior leaders don’t know whether God has come or not; can you know it? Can God appear to a person like you? You yourself have been deceived, and you even come to entrap others. I advise you to put your sword into the sheath right away and turn from your evil ways. Otherwise, you will sink deeper and deeper, and no one will be able to save you.” She said evenly, “God reveals Himself to babies and hides Himself from the wise and intelligent. God chooses the humble and forsakes the proud, the conceited, and the arrogant. Today in your eyes, I am neither a preacher nor a leader, much less have I ever been in jail or imprisoned like you. But God’s love has come upon me, and I have been uplifted by God and known that God has done a new work on earth…” Before she finished her words, I was already angry beyond all control. I pointed my finger at her and roared, “I don’t need you to teach me. From now on, we will break off relations and contact with you. You go your way, and I’ll go mine.” With that, I pushed and pulled her out of my house. One day in December, 2001, a brother came to my home. When I saw him, I knew that he was a preacher of the “Eastern Lightning.” He tried hard to persuade me, but not only did I refuse to listen to him, but I took up his bicycle in angry desperation and fiercely threw it against the wall. Then I got a basin of water that I had washed my face with and threw the water on him without the least hesitation. The brother was wet like a drenched chicken all at once. Even so, my anger still didn’t subside. I picked up a stone from the ground and struck his bicycle with all my might. While striking it, I reviled him and said, “What are you? You come here every day. You are simply a son of hell…” The brother was shivering with cold in the chilly wind. With tears in his eyes, he raised his broken bicycle sadly, and said to me while leaving, “Brother, this is indeed the work of the true God. Please quiet your heart and have a seeking. Don’t miss the opportunity and shut the door against God’s salvation.” I said stubbornly, “You should drop such an idea forever! Even if you come ten thousand more times, it will be no use. I’ll never talk with you, and I’ll see how you’ll preach.” After he left, I felt very elated and thought that I had won another battle and borne another testimony for the Lord.
On June 2, 2002, I went to a village to have a meeting, and there I met a brother who preached the “Eastern Lightning.” He shook my hand warmly, and I got a surprise and thought, “Isn’t it said that once one shakes hands with the people of the ‘Eastern Lightning,’ he will feel he receives electrical jolts? Why didn’t I have such a feeling?” This reaction within me made me sit down and begin to fellowship with him. He fellowshipped about the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. Although his fellowship sounded well-grounded and reasoned and I admired him secretly, I still kept on my guard within. He seemed to have read my thoughts, and he asked me, “Now it is widely rumored in the religious world that after one joins the ‘Eastern Lightning,’ if he wants to come out, his nose will be cut off, and his eyes will be gouged out. Have you ever seen anyone who came out of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ has lost nose or eyes?” His question woke me up. “That is true! I really have never seen such a person. If such things had really happened, wouldn’t the news media have already exposed them? My older sister was dragged out by me, but I have never seen any part of her body hurt or any revenge taken on her for that. So, those words are actually lies.” Then I looked at the brother in front of me: He was decent, gentle, humble, kind, and friendly, and he didn’t look like a bad person in any way, but instead was like my own brother whom I hadn’t seen for years. So, I asked boldly, “You say that God has done a new work, His name is no longer Jesus but Almighty God, and He is even a female. Could God’s work be new or old? Could God’s name be changed casually? Could His gender be changed?” The brother said, “God’s six-thousand-year management plan of saving mankind includes three stages of work: the work of the Age of Law, the work of the Age of Grace, and the work of the Age of Kingdom. The work He does in different ages is different, so His names are also different. Why did the Pharisees at that time crucify Jesus? In the piece of His word ‘When You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus Will Be When God Has Made Anew Heaven and Earth’ God tells us, ‘They opposed Jesus because they did not know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s working, because they did not know the way of truth spoken by Jesus, and, furthermore, because they did not understand the Messiah. And since they had never seen the Messiah, and had never been in the company of the Messiah, they made the mistake of paying empty tribute to the name of the Messiah while opposing the substance of the Messiah by any means.’ We have seen that the reason why those foolish and ignorant Pharisees denied Jesus as God was that Jesus wasn’t called Messiah, the name recorded in the Scriptures, and His work didn’t correspond with what was recorded in the Scriptures either. In their eyes, no matter how high Jesus’ preaching was and how great His authority was and even though He could heal the sick and drive out demons or show signs and perform miracles, as long as He was not called Messiah, He was not Christ. So they unscrupulously resisted, slandered, and blasphemed Jesus, and in the end they crucified Him. God is always new and never old, and He never repeats His work. In the last days, God has been incarnated again and come among men, and He has opened a new age and done a new work. If we condemn His work as a heresy, a cult, won’t we be the same as the Pharisees at that time? Won’t we make the mistake of holding on to the name of Jesus emptily but resisting the substance of Jesus unscrupulously?” To help me understand this better, the brother found a passage of God’s word and read it to me: “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?” God’s words made me somewhat enlightened. Then the brother turned to the piece of God’s word “The ‘Savior’ Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’” in which God says: “‘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.” Every word of God made a great impact on my heart. At the time, I remembered that Revelation 4:8 says, “Holy, holy, holy, LORD God Almighty, which was, and is, and is to come,” and Revelation 11:17 says, “We give you thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which are, and were, and are to come; because you have taken to you your great power, and have reigned.” I thought: These two verses have told us the name that God will take when He does the work of the last days. But I was really so obtuse and numb in spirit that I didn’t understand it even though it is said so plainly. At that moment, for the first time I felt that I was so small, pitiful, blind, and ignorant.
Then, the brother read another two passages of God’s word to me. God says: “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.” “If God was only incarnated as a male, people would define Him as male, as the God of men, and would never believe Him to be the God of women. Then, men would believe that God is of the same gender as men, that God is the head of men—and what of women? This is unfair; is it not preferential treatment? If this were the case, then all those whom God saved would be men like Him, and there would be no salvation for women. When God created mankind, He created Adam and He created Eve. He did not create only Adam, but made both male and female in His image. God is not only the God of men, He is also the God of women.” When I heard this, I became enlightened at once and knew that God is almighty, and He can be incarnated as a male or a female, because “God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:27) “I had a notion about God’s being incarnated as a female before. Wasn’t that my imagination? Didn’t I circumscribe God forever as a male with such an imagination? I was really as blind as a bat and extremely foolish.” At that point, I was fully clear that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus in the last days. Thinking of my former deeds, I was full of remorse and fear in my heart. I asked the brother in tears, “I have done so many things of resisting Almighty God, will God still want me?” The brother said, “God is not narrow-minded like man. He desires all men to be saved and not one to perish. In the past, you did many things that offended God’s disposition because you were ignorant. Now as long as you can turn back from your wrong way, accept the word and work of Almighty God, pursue the truth, pursue to be transformed in your disposition, and pursue to love God and satisfy God, God’s heart will be greatly comforted. God will not abandon anyone who loves Him.” After his fellowship, I felt a mixture of happiness and sadness, tears of remorse running down my face. “During so many years of my believing in the Lord, I have borne disgrace and a heavy burden and suffered imprisonment just for the sake of being faithful to the Lord and expecting His second coming. However, the Savior has already returned on the cloud, but I didn’t know Him and made the mistake of holding on to the name of Jesus emptily but resisting the substance of Jesus unscrupulously. I really hate myself for being blind, and even more hate myself that I was arrogant and self-right and had no discernment, and I looked up to men and believed the rumors while believing in God, and I spoke loosely in the church and blindly condemned and resisted Almighty God, so that the lives of so many brothers and sisters were ruined in my hands. According to the evil I have done, even if I am struck down by God now, I should say that God is righteous. However, God didn’t treat me according to my doings, but tried by every possible means to save me through the brothers and sisters. I am really unworthy to receive such great love of God. O God! I am really too indebted to You, and I will repay You with all my life.”
In this way, I became certain about God’s work of the last days. Looking back, I really feel too ashamed to show my face. For the sake of my fame and position, I called God’s sheep my sheep, and in order to keep the brothers and sisters under my control, I wantonly slandered and blasphemed Almighty God in the church and hindered them from accepting God’s gospel of the last days, yet I claimed that I was defending the truth and protecting their lives. Now I realize that it was purely being against God and ruining the lives of the brothers and sisters. I sincerely hope that the brothers and sisters who haven’t accepted Almighty God will be free from Satan’s deception and flee from the lies of the wicked servants soon. God says: “Almighty God, the Watcher, will embrace your arrival any time. He is watching by your side, waiting for you to turn back. …”
a. The original text does not have “People think so”.