46. How I Accepted Almighty God
Anshan City, Liaoning Province
In 1995, I was called in the Lord. Later, I was appointed as a deacon in the True Jesus Church and was responsible for preaching and teaching hymns.
In 1998, I heard some rumors about “Eastern Lightning,” and when we had meetings, the leader specifically spoke to us about those rumors. And he said, “They have political and economic purposes. They are against the country, and they grab money by illegal means. What’s more, the way they preach has departed from the Bible. It’s obviously a heresy….” To prevent the believers from accepting “Eastern Lightning,” the leader added one rule to the church rules: “No one should receive the people who preach ‘Eastern Lightning.’ The offender will be punished for a breach of the church rules.” I seemed to have received the Emperor’s order and began to wantonly spread the leader’s words in the church after I went back. I called on the believers to “strengthen the faith, stick to the true way, and defend together until the Lord comes.” And I repeatedly emphasized that “everyone must strictly obey the rule from above, and the leading sheep and deacons in particular should do it first and guard the Lord’s sheep properly so as to give a good account to the Lord when he comes.” But even so, I still felt insecure. So, I went to the churches constantly to investigate and get information lest the believers accept Almighty God.
Once, I heard several brothers and sisters in our church had accepted Almighty God, so I immediately went to the house of one of the brothers and exhorted him patiently and earnestly. Under my “sincere” exhortation, the brother finally turned back. Then I dragged back other believers in the same way. I was extremely happy at that time, thinking that I was guarding the sheep of the Lord and safeguarding the interests of the church, and this was a manifestation of being responsible for the church work.
One day in the winter of 1999, it was very cold. Two sisters came to me to preach the gospel of Almighty God. As I was just full of hatred for the people of “Eastern Lightning” “stealing sheep” everywhere and had nowhere to vent my anger, they voluntarily came to me; so, with arms akimbo, I shouted abuse at them angrily, “You shameless things, wolves in sheep’s clothing, if you dare to steal the sheep from my jurisdiction once again, I will break your legs! Get out now! If you are brazen-faced, do not blame me for being rude!” At that moment, I really wanted to give them a good beating. But when seeing that they had no intention of fighting back, I was embarrassed to do so.
One day in the summer of 2000, it was raining. Two other sisters came to my home to preach the gospel of Almighty God. Without allowing them to say much, I flared up and cursed, “You bitches, robbers, lackeys of the false christ…, I tell you, if you want to save your skin, leave at once!” I gave them a good scolding. Seeing them leave my home in tears, I was delighted to myself and thought that I had won.
I thought that since I treated them like that, surely they wouldn’t come anymore. But to my surprise, more and more people came to preach the gospel to me. At a rough calculation, over these years, nearly a hundred people had come to preach God’s end-time gospel to me, and among them a brother alone came more than twenty times. Whether it was in cold winter or in scorching summer, whether it was windy or rainy, they came persistently and never gave up. I found there was an invincible power in them, and this power breached our successive lines of defense. The believers in our church accepted Almighty God’s work continually, and after they had accepted it, no matter how we tried to “melt their hearts with love,” they refused to turn back. Finally, I was also attracted by this power.
One day in August 2002, the two sisters (formerly of our church) who had accepted Almighty God came again and brought a brother with them. This gave me quite a shock, for only a few days ago, they left in tears after being mocked, dug at, and disgraced by me, and before they left, I had warned them sternly and fiercely, “If you dare to come again, I will be too lazy if I don’t beat you!” But unexpectedly, only after a few days, they came again and greeted me smilingly, having neither hatred nor fear for me. I couldn’t help marveling at them and felt inferior. “They are so persevering! They do have more faith and love than me!” But even so, I still felt I would lose too much face if I listened to the fellowship of the people like them, for the two sisters were formerly ordinary believers and the brother was a well-known “compulsive gambler” in the villages around here, who was nicknamed “Lao Song” (which means always losing). So, I took the initiative and pointed at the brother and sneered, “Everyone knows you. Except for gambling, in what way are you better than me? The police have arrested, beaten, and fined you yet have not changed you. Today you even shamelessly come to preach the gospel to me. You have really overestimated your ability!” I thought if I disgraced him like this, he would leave embarrassedly. Yet to my surprise, instead of leaving, he said to me sincerely, “Brother, you’re right, but I’m not that person anymore. Now I have changed.” I sneered at him contemptuously, “Could a person like you change? It will really be a ‘miracle.’ It’s terrific of you not to flush when telling lies in broad daylight!” The two sisters aside confirmed his words, saying, “He has really changed after accepting Almighty God.” I said scornfully, “When he is free, he will resume it.” … Later, they left. But this time I had no feeling of victory. I thought, “This ‘Lao Song’ goes to the gambling house all the year round, and it is difficult for him to refrain from gambling for one day. If such a person has changed, it shows the way he believes in is really worth seeking and investigating.” To find out whether “Lao Song” had really changed, I took time to find his gambling friends and ask them about him, “How is Lao Song playing now?” They all talked at once: “He has believed in God and has long since not played it, not even during the Spring Festival. He has also given up smoking and drinking. He seems to have changed into another person. It is really strange. Could belief in God be so powerful?” At this, I was astonished at heart. “So he has really changed. This is really a miracle!” That night, I lost my sleep. I thought of the chaotic situation in our church: The love of the brothers and sisters had faded away; it became so common for the believers to give up their belief, return to the world to make money, smoke, drink, or play mahjong; and even the co-workers played mahjong with the unbelievers. Then I thought, “‘Lao Song’ has been released from his over-ten-year addiction to gambling once he believed in ‘Eastern Lightning.’ Who could have such ability if it were not for the working of the Holy Spirit? Has God’s work really progressed forward as the sister said? Is ‘Eastern Lightning’ the true God? But if it’s the work of the true God, it shouldn’t have political or economic purposes. And if it’s the work of the true God, why does it depart from the Bible?” I could not figure these out. I thought to myself, “If ‘Lao Song’ comes again, I’ll ask him what these are all about.”
One day in November 2002, “Lao Song” really came. Overjoyed, I warmly invited him to sit down and spoke to him politely, expecting to get the truth from him. I asked him directly, “You are snatching people everywhere. What on earth do you do that for?” He replied, “We are not snatching people. We are preaching the gospel and saving people, and we are trying to accomplish God’s commission. We don’t mean any harm. We do so purely because of the encouragement of God’s love and the urgent calling from God.” As he said that, he opened the book of God’s word and read these words: “Do you know the heavy task on your shoulders, your commission, and your responsibility? Do you have a sense of historic mission? How will you do to be the master of the next age? Do you have a strong sense of being the master? … How many people will there be for you to shepherd? Won’t your task be very heavy? They are poor, pitiful, blind, and at a loss, wailing in darkness: Where is the way? How they yearn for the light to suddenly come down like a falling star to dispel the forces of darkness that have oppressed them for so many years! Who knows that they have been expecting that earnestly and longing for that day and night? … Have you ever thought how grieved and worried God’s heart is? How could he bear to see the innocent mankind he created with his own hands suffering such torment? After all, mankind are the victims who have been poisoned. Although they have survived today, who knows that they have long been poisoned by the evil one? Have you forgotten that you are one of the victims? Are you not willing to, out of your love for God, endeavor to rescue all these survivors? Are you not willing to exert all your strength to repay God who loves man as his own flesh and blood?”
Then, the brother gave me a detailed fellowship about God’s three-stage work of saving man. I was sincerely convinced after hearing that, but at the thought that I hadn’t found out why our leader said “they have political and economic purposes,” I asked him again directly, “Why are you against the country? Why do you grab money by illegal means?” The brother opened the book of God’s word and let me read these words: “God does not take part in human politics, but he is in control of the destiny of every nation or race, in control of the world, and in control of the entire universe.” I was impressed by these words, feeling that they were with authority and power. Then I read on. God says: “When God does his work, he does not build up anything or launch any movement but performs his ministry. Each time when he is incarnated, his purpose is only to complete a stage of the work and open a new age.” “God starts the work of each age personally. But you should know that no matter how God does the work, his purpose is not to launch a movement, have conferences with you, or establish any organization for you, but only to do the work he ought to do. When he does the work, he won’t be restricted by anyone. He just does it in whatever way he likes. No matter how people look at his work and how they know it, he just does his work. … Now, you should understand what work God incarnate does!” After I read these words, the brother said, “God’s family stipulates that ‘no one in the church should take part in any political activity. If anyone participates in the activity against the government of the country, he will be expelled from the church.’ God’s family also stipulates that ‘no one in the church can call on others to donate by preaching the way of donation, nor should anyone require others to donate for any reason. … It is absolutely not allowed to call on people to donate,’ and that ‘people who want to donate money can only donate after having prayed several times and being able to donate willingly and never regret it. The church absolutely cannot accept the money that is not donated willingly.’ It is also stipulated in the church money management system that ‘all the money and the material things that believers in God offer to God belong to God solely, and no church or individual should own them.’ What’s more, the work God does this time is to judge men, purify them, and thoroughly save them with the word, so that they can get rid of their corrupt satanic nature and manifest God and glorify God on earth. All of the work done by the church of Almighty God is to cooperate with God’s work of saving men. From these you can see that the church of Almighty God is not against the country at all, nor does it grab money by illegal means. If you say that we snatch people for these purposes, then I want to ask Brother: ‘Where is your evidence?’” His question made me feel doubly ashamed: How could I have any evidence? Through reading God’s word and listening to the brother’s fellowship, I knew that those rumors were all fabrications and slanders. What I believed before was only hearsay, slanders and irresponsible blasphemous words made out of thin air. Only then was my anxious heart relieved.
Then, I asked, “Why don’t you read the Bible while believing in God?” The brother answered calmly, “You ask this question because you don’t know Almighty God’s work and don’t understand the inside story of the Bible. Let’s first look at what Almighty God says.” He opened the book of God’s word and read these words: “Since there is a higher way, why study the low and outdated way? Since there is newer word and newer work, why still live in the old record of history? The new word can supply you, and this proves that it is a new work. The old record cannot satisfy you or meet your present need, and this proves that it is history and not the present work. The highest way is the newest work. When there is the new work, the previous way becomes history for people to recall no matter how high it is, and it becomes an old way no matter how valuable it is for reference. The old way is history though it is recorded in the ‘holy book.’ The new way is reality though there is not a page of record about it in the ‘holy book.’ This way can save you and transform you, because this is the work of the Holy Spirit.
… Today you do not need to read the Bible, because there is nothing new but only old things in it. The Bible is a book of history. If you eat and drink the Old Testament of the Bible in the Age of the Grace, and you practice what was required in the Old Testament age in the Age of the Grace, Jesus will reject and condemn you. If you measure the work done by Jesus according to the Old Testament, then you are a Pharisee. If today you eat and drink and practice the New Testament as well as the Old Testament, the God of today will condemn you, and you cannot keep up with the Holy Spirit’s working of today! As you eat the Old Testament as well as the New Testament, you are outside the stream of the Holy Spirit!”
“If you want to know the work of the Age of the Law or how the Israelites abided by the ways of Jehovah, you have to read the Old Testament of the Bible. If you want to know about the work of the Age of the Grace, you have to read the New Testament of the Bible. Then how can you know the work done in the end time? You have to accept God’s leading of today and enter into the work of today, because this is a new work and no one has ‘written’ it down in the Bible in advance. Today God is incarnated and has chosen some people in China. He does the work on these people, continuing his earthly work and continuing to work after the work of the Age of the Grace. The work of today is a path men of former times have never walked and is the way no one has seen. It is a work that has never been done before, that is, God’s newest work on earth. Therefore, the work that has never been done is not history, for now is now and it has not passed. No one knows that God has done a greater and newer work on earth outside Israel, which has gone beyond the area of Israel and gone beyond the prophecies of the prophets, and which is a new and amazing work beyond the prophecies and a newer work outside Israel, a work that man cannot discern or imagine. How could there be a clear record of such a work in the Bible? Who could write down beforehand the work of today without missing anything? Who could write down this unconventional and greater and wiser work in the old and musty book? The present work is not history. So, if you want to take the new path of today, you have to come out of the Bible and go beyond the books of prophecy or the books of history in the Bible. Only then can you walk the new path well and enter into the new realm and the new work. You have to understand why you are asked not to read the Bible today, why a new work is done outside the Bible, and why God does not find newer and more specific practices in the Bible but does a greater work outside the Bible. You should understand all these.” After that, he opened the Bible and read John 5:39-40: “You diligently study the Scriptures because you think that by them you possess eternal life. These are the Scriptures that testify about me, yet you refuse to come to me to have life.” Then, he continued, “The Scriptures are to testify for God. What do they testify about? They testify about the work that God has already done: The Old Testament testifies about God’s work of the law, and the New Testament testifies about God’s work of redemption. Before Jesus came to do the work, all the Jews read the Old Testament and kept the law. When Jesus did the work, the Jews rejected Jesus for the reason that he did not keep the law of the Old Testament nor do the work according to the Scriptures. And they also said that what Jesus did was not from God and was a heresy. They took the Scriptures as God, thinking that by the Scriptures they possessed life, and thus refused to come to Jesus to have life. So, Jesus called them blind men. However, those who accepted the work of Jesus received the supply of Jesus’ word of that time. Although they neither read the Scriptures nor acted according to the requirements of the Scriptures, they had been forgiven of their sins and received salvation, thereby coming out from under the law. After Jesus ascended to heaven, his disciples wrote the four Gospels to testify about the work of Jesus according to the work that Jesus had done. In the A.D. 300s, later generations compiled the four Gospels, the Epistles, and Revelation into one book, and thus the present New Testament of the Bible came into being. So, when we read the Bible today, we can only be clear about the work that God did before. Man is only able to understand what God has done. If God does not do the work, man cannot know in advance the work that God wants to do. Today, God has again done a new work. If one only reads the Bible but refuses to accept Almighty God’s word, he cannot receive Almighty God’s salvation, just as the Jews of those days could not receive the grace of Jesus’ salvation because they only kept the law but rejected Jesus’ word. Therefore, it is not that we do not read the Bible today, but it is because God has done a new work and spoken new words on the basis of his former work. Only when we keep up with God’s footsteps and accept Almighty God’s present word can we receive Almighty God’s salvation and be commended by God.” After hearing God’s words and the brother’s fellowship, I was enlightened and understood that the Bible is merely the record of the works that God had done. God does not work according to the Bible or work within the scope of the Bible, but he does a newer work on the basis of his former work. God’s work is always progressing forward and is never repeated! Only if one keeps up with God’s footsteps can he be saved and commended by God. Then, the brother read these words of God: “What the end-time Christ brings is life and the perpetual and eternal way of truth. Such truth is the pathway for people to receive life and the single pathway for them to know God and be commended by God. If you do not seek the way of life supplied by the end-time Christ, then you will never possibly receive Jesus’ commendation and will never be qualified to step into the gate of the kingdom of heaven, for you are a puppet of history and a prisoner of history. Those who are bound by regulations, letters, and the chains of history will never receive life and never receive the perpetual way of life, because what they receive is only the turbid water that has been observed for thousands of years, but not the water of life that flows out from the throne. Those who receive no supply of the water of life will forever be corpses, playthings of satan, and sons of hell. This being the case, can they see God? You only seek to abide by history and to remain in the same place and maintain the status quo but do not seek to change your present situation and discard history. Aren’t you one who is hostile to God forever? God’s work is advancing at a mighty pace, like surging waves and rolling thunders, but you are waiting for death without any move and waiting for a windfall. How can you be considered one who follows the footsteps of the Lamb? How can it show that the God you hold on to is the ever-new and never-old God?” The words of God made me see my own poverty and pitifulness. Over the years, I had been acting as a puppet of history and a prisoner of history, being confined in the regulations and the letters of the Bible and thus resisting God’s new work without being fully aware of it. Yet I boasted that I was safeguarding the way of the Lord, and thought that I had some stature as others had been deceived yet I were not. Only then did I feel how foolish and ignorant I was! So, I accepted God’s new work and kept the book of God’s word.
Later, in the course of my continually eating and drinking God’s word, I saw from God’s word God’s love for mankind and understood God’s motherly kind intention of saving man. I was often so touched by God’s word that I shed tears ceaselessly. The more I read God’s word, the more I enjoyed reading it; the more I read it, the more I became certain that this was God’s work and God’s word and that this word was the truth, the way, and the life. It was really because of God’s uplifting and favor and God’s great love coming upon me that I could come before Almighty God to listen to his word and receive the supply of his word of life. It was an once-in-a-lifetime thing that one could meet God after he came into the world, and it was so fortunate of me to have this opportunity!
However, when I recalled my past various ugly conducts and doings of frenziedly resisting God, endless guilt welled up in my heart, and I felt too ashamed to show my face, felt guilty, and felt bitterly regretful. I thought of those kind and amiable faces, those wistful and expectant eyes, and those receding figures in tears, and none of them did not prick my heart and make me feel extremely grieved. I fell down before God and prayed, “O God! According to my actions and deeds, I should be cursed, should go to hell, and should be put into the lake of fire and brimstone. However, you have spared me with your great love and given me an opportunity to repent. O God, your love is too great for me to repay. I will not seek to receive anything but only wish to sincerely mend my ways and start a new life and offer up my whole being to the spreading of your gospel.”
Before long, I was out preaching the gospel with the brother. Unexpectedly, what I encountered was exactly what I had done yesterday. As soon as we stepped into a brother’s house, he burst into a storm of abuse: “You are of ‘Eastern Lightning,’ traitors, flunkies….” As he abused, he picked up a stick to beat us. Seeing this, I even more tasted how hard it was for God to do his work and also more deeply experienced how much I had hurt those who had preached the gospel to me. Here, to those brothers and sisters who have preached the gospel to me, I want to say sincerely, “I am sorry! My lovely spiritual brothers and sisters, may God bless you!” And I also sincerely hope that the brothers and sisters of various sects and denominations who have rejected Almighty God because of being deceived by the rumors can return to God’s family sooner. May God have mercy on you! May you wake up! Now, the end of all things is near, there is not much time left, and time is life. In the very little time we have, I hope that brothers and sisters can take warning from me. Do not echo what others say anymore lest you fall into the mist of rumors and get lost. I even more hope that brothers and sisters can seek and investigate sooner and accept Almighty God—our only salvation!