Linyi City, Shandong Province
“The darkness covers the earth; the devils are extremely ferocious. God does His work with difficulty; He suffers all kinds of humiliations. Men are corrupted too deeply, and they have become the hostile force. What Jesus encountered has reoccurred today. They believe in God but do not know God, crucifying God again; ferocious and vicious they are, even more evil than in those days. …” Whenever singing this hymn, I’m in floods of tears, unable to express my regret, and I only prayed in my heart, “O Almighty God! This is me! This is me! I’m really unworthy of Your salvation and love.”
I was formerly a mid-level leader in the Hua Xuehe sect. One day in August, 1998, a brother told me in haste, “God’s work has changed. All denominations are to be reunited into one, and the reaping work has begun. Come to the meeting quickly.” At his words, my nerves were on edge. I immediately rode the bicycle to the meeting place. There I heard the preacher say, “God has done a new and higher work. The Bible is about the past work of God, and now God has become flesh and brought new words. The work in last days is to accomplish everything through God’s word…” When I heard that the Bible should be put aside, my heart shut. “The Bible is the foundation for my belief in God. How can I believe without the Bible? This is apostasy. They are deceivers! We can’t listen to them. I must call the co-workers to discuss how to guard against the preachers of the Reaping Way, to ensure that no one in our church be deceived. Only this is loyalty to Teacher Hua.” The more I thought, the more my head ached, and the more I felt bad and restless. I couldn’t bear it anymore, and so I made an excuse and left. After coming back, I immediately sent for all the co-workers to discuss an important matter. Soon afterward, they arrived. “Now there are people preaching a false way. Do be careful!” I said to them, “As the saying goes, a devoted man never serves two masters. Now some believers have forsaken Teacher Hua and followed a false Christ. They are less than a dog! A good dog is faithful to its master, and it would rather starve to death at its master’s door than steal food at another house. The one we believe in today is Teacher Hua. He has given us grace. If we betray our benefactor, are we still a person with a conscience? Such ones are lower than a dog!” The co-workers all agreed with what I said. I was very glad about it, thinking, “Well! I know better than you!” Just at that time, the senior leaders came to seal off the church. They said, “The ‘Eastern Lightning’ is ‘the way of a queen.’ It’s false, from a false Christ who deceives people. We mustn’t accept it.” Then they read us this scripture: “For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.” And they said, “They swindle people out of things and money…” At their words, I became more hostile to the “Eastern Lightning.”
After that, every day there were people coming to preach Almighty God’s gospel of the last days to me, and sometimes even several came in a day. This bothered me so much that I had no appetite for food and couldn’t work with peace of mind. To avoid them, I hid myself in the room and locked the door from the inside, thinking, “I won’t open the door even if you call me! Don’t try to draw me in. Your deception and tricks won’t work with me!” I did hide myself from them for a few days in the beginning, but I couldn’t lock the door and hide in the room every day. One day, when I had just opened the door, two brothers came in. They said they were thirsty and asked me for water. With that, one brother took a bowl and got some water from the jar. When I saw that he was the one who had formerly been in our church but later followed Almighty God, my anger blazed up. I strode to him and grabbed the bowl from his hand and threw it to the floor, swearing, “You are a Judas selling the Lord for profit. I will never be an apostate like you. Don’t come again. I’ll firmly stick to the way of Teacher Hua even if it means death.” Seeing me so crazy, he shed tears and said to me, “Won’t you really regret it?” Then he left, drying his eyes. At that time, I rejoiced in it, as I thought that I had vented anger for Teacher Hua.
One day, while I was visiting a church, a sister told me that Sister X was having fellowship with the believers in Almighty God. I got very angry at that and found the sister. I hurled abuse at her as soon as I saw her, “Do you want to be a latter-day Judas? You are really a jelly-fish, having no backbone! A poor coward!” Seeing me so furious, the sister hastened to say, “I do it just this once. I want to discern whether our way is the way of life.” Knowing that she doubted the way of Teacher Hua, I pointed my finger at her at once and said, “From now on, you are isolated. You can’t go to the church anymore.” Then, I asked a co-worker to immediately tell the brothers and sisters in all churches to reject her. I also had someone watch her, forbidding her to contact anyone in the churches.
One day in the winter of 1999, it snowed heavily. While we co-workers were having a meeting, two brothers and three sisters who believed in Almighty God came in. At this sight, I said to the co-workers furiously, “Pull all of them out!” One brother said, “Sister, give me a chance please. Let’s have a talk.” I grew anxious, thinking, “What if the co-workers are deceived by them?” So I said to a co-worker, “Get a stick quickly and beat them out!” At that time, the other brother said in tears, “If you let us finish our words, you can beat me as you like. Is that okay?” “No way! Don’t spread your poisonous ideas here!” I refused fiercely. Then we dragged them all out of the room and locked the door on the inside. Two days later, a sister came and placed several hand-written copies of God’s word on my kitchen table. After I found them, I swore at her, “You’ve feigned well, but do nothing good. You’re not a good person! Get out at once!” Then I burned all the copies of God’s word. During that period, a great number of brothers and sisters came to preach Almighty God’s salvation to me, but I refused them all and wildly resisted and blasphemed God’s work.
One day in July, 2001, a co-worker came to me and said, “Now we are all thirsty and hungry in spirit without strength. The brothers and sisters are cold in faith and don’t attend the service, and most of the workers have gone to make money. It seems that we have no belief in God. Till when will we wait at home?” Her question stumped me. I faltered, “If there is any change to the teacher’s work, I will tell you!” She asked in reply, “What if I listen to you and my life is hindered? Can I gain life by obeying your words? You are only our leader.” Her words stunned me speechless again. She continued, “Do you remember that Daniel 12: 4 says, ‘But you, O Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased’? But we just keep waiting here. What can we get? Most of the people in our churches have gone to do business. What can we gain by just staying at home reading the Bible without meetings? The Bible says that without holiness, man can never enter into the kingdom of God. Without knowing God’s will or the way to be transformed, how can we become holy? Can we enter into God’s kingdom?” I asked her, “Then what should we do?” She said, “To enter into God’s kingdom, we have to seek, to search for God. Look at those who believe in Almighty God. Why do they have so great faith, perseverance, and zeal? Why don’t we seek what makes them do so? And we can also hear some of their messages.” Her words reminded me of those who preached the gospel to me: They kept preaching to me however I treated them. Why were they so zealous? For what did they do so? I fell into deep thought: “Isaiah 2:2 says, ‘and all nations shall flow to it.’ God will do the work of reuniting all denominations into one in the last days. Our leaders often said in the past that the year of 1998 would be the time of sanctification, and 1999 the time of reuniting, and all other denominations would turn to the way of Teacher Hua. However, now believers in our denomination are dwindling. Some go to believe in Almighty God; some return to the world to earn money. In contrast, the believers in Almighty God pursue zealously. Could it be that Almighty God is doing the work of reuniting all denominations into one?” Thinking of those, I said to the co-worker, “Let’s risk it once. If the gospel preachers of Almighty God come again, we might as well have a talk with them and discern their messages.” Thank Almighty God! Early the next morning, two sisters who believed in Almighty God came to my home. This time I let them in and said, “You’ve come to my home many times. You asked me to accept your way. How do you prove that what you preach is the true way? Let’s open our heart and make it clear today!” Then the sisters fellowshipped with me patiently about the three stages of work, including why God worked in the form of the Spirit in the Old Testament Age, why He gave the law, and why He took the name of Jehovah; why God became flesh in the New Testament Age, why He was called Jesus, and why He was crucified; what is incarnation, and what are the distinctions between the true Christ and false Christs. Only then did I realize that belief in God was not a small matter. What I understood within these several hours exceeded what I had understood in the past years. Despite this, I was still not completely certain of God’s new work. So, I said to the sisters, “Your fellowship is quite clear, but I still can’t fully accept it. You say that God has come and done the work of word, and His word will accomplish everything. Bring me the book first, and I’ll decide after reading it.” The next day, the sisters brought a book of God’s word and a book of hymns. Before we read God’s word, one sister sang this hymn first: “In this world, there is a vast sea of people; No one knows that God has become a man in the world. No one pays heed to Him, no one shows concern for Him; He is alone and lonesome; how desolate, how sorrowful! O God! O God! For whom You are suffering? Why do we always grieve Your heart? Why does mankind always resist You? Why does the world always slander You? O God! O God! I’m willing to love You; although I fail to satisfy You, I will never leave You, under any circumstances. …” The sister sang the hymn from the heart with considerable feeling, and I was touched by her calls “O God! O God,” tears rolling down my face unconsciously. Then she sang another hymn “The Practical God Saves Men in Obscurity”: “God is incarnated this time to do His unfinished work, judge and end this age, save men from the sea of misery, thoroughly conquer them, and transform their life disposition. For mankind to break free from the afflicting and pitch-dark force and for the work on mankind, God has spent so many sleepless nights. He comes to the lowest place from the highest, and lives in hell on earth. Ah! He spends days with men. He never complains about the misery of the world nor is demanding of men, but endures great humiliation in doing His work. For all mankind to enjoy rest earlier, He comes to earth in humiliation, personally entering the tiger’s den to save mankind. So many times He faced the stars. So many times He worked day and night. He endures great sufferings and men’s attacking and ‘breaking.’ God comes to the filthy place and silently endures men’s tortures and oppression, yet He never opposes….” God’s salvation, God’s love, and God’s suffering for man deeply moved my hardened, numb, rebellious, resistant heart. Tears flowed down my cheeks and wet the towel. Then they read me this passage of God’s words: “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.” After that, one sister said to me with a smile, “We believers in God all want to gain life and not believe in God in vain. But first we should find the source of life. Does Teacher Hua we believe in today have the way of life? Is he the ever-gushing spring of life? Let’s consider what work he has actually done. Nothing less than the practices in the New Testament that the Lord Jesus brought. Did he carry out a new work? If he were the spring of living water of life, why couldn’t he have it flow out for man to enjoy but still held on to the old work? Jehovah did a new work and initiated the Age of Law. Jesus started the Age of Grace after the Age of Law, which was a new work too. But why couldn’t Teacher Hua open a new age after the Age of Grace? He only asked people to read the New Testament and adhere to some practices in it. He was simply repeating the work of Jesus, preaching about humility, patience, forbearance, driving out demons, and the cross… Can this prove that he was the spring of living-water? Moreover, when God works on earth in the flesh to save man, He, though living with man, is not a created being, but the Creator. So how could He possibly start a family and a career and have children? For example, when Jesus lived on earth, He only completed the work of redemption, serving as the sin offering for mankind. And after that, He was transfigured and returned to the spirit realm. He didn’t have a wife or children or start a career to live a man’s life. Today Almighty God tells us: ‘Some people say, however, that God incarnate can be said to possess normal humanity only if He has a wife, sons and daughters, a family. Without these things, they say, He is not a normal person. I ask you then, does God have a wife? Is it possible for God to have a husband? Can God have children? Are these not fallacies? … But if He had a wife and sons and daughters, then He would not have the normal humanity that God wanted in the God incarnate. If so, He would not be able to represent divinity in His work. …’” After hearing her fellowship, I thought, “After years of belief in Hua Yuehe, I have gained nothing but only know that there was a jumping spirit in me. God says that the incarnate God doesn’t have a wife or children, but Teacher Hua had children and was a corrupt man. So how could he be God?” At that time, I felt a little clearer within. Then we read these words of God: “The three stages of work are a record of the entire work of God, they are a record of God’s salvation of mankind, and they are not imaginary. If you truly wish to seek a knowledge of God’s entire disposition, then you must know the three stages of work carried out by God, and, what’s more, you must not omit any stages. This is the minimum that must be achieved by those who seek to know God. Man himself cannot come up with a true knowledge of God. It is not something that man himself can imagine, nor is it the consequence of the Holy Spirit’s especial favor of one person. Instead, it is a knowledge that comes after man has experienced the work of God, and is a knowledge of God that only comes after having experienced the facts of God’s work. Such a knowledge cannot be achieved on a whim, nor is it something that can be taught. It is wholly related to personal experience. God’s salvation of mankind is at the core of these three stages of work, yet within the work of salvation are included several methods of working and means by which God’s disposition is expressed. This is what is most difficult for man to identify, and is difficult for man to understand. The separation of the ages, changes in God’s work, changes in the location of work, changes in the recipient of this work, and so on—these are all included in the three stages of work. In particular, the difference in the Holy Spirit’s way of working, as well as alterations in God’s disposition, image, name, identity, or other changes, are all part of the three stages of work. One stage of work can only represent one part, and is limited within a certain scope. It does not relate to the separation of the ages, or changes in God’s work, much less to the other aspects. This is a clearly obvious fact. The three stages of work are the entirety of God’s work in saving mankind. Man must know God’s work and God’s disposition in the work of salvation, and without this fact, your knowledge of God is but hollow words, nothing more than armchair pontification.” These words made me even clearer: No man can speak the words God speaks, and no man can do God’s work on His behalf. I believed in Hua Xuehe for several years, and I never heard about the three stages of work, and I didn’t know how God has saved mankind, the source of mankind’s corruptions, much less why God takes a name and changes His name, and the scope of the Spirit’s work and the mystery and significance of God’s incarnation. Today, I’ve tasted the sweetness of God’s words and feel that my deadened spirit is slowly awakening. Without Almighty God’s salvation and love, or the moistening of His word, I would simply be a dead person. It is Almighty God’s love that has melted my heart, awakened my spirit, and woken me up from a nightmare. I prostrated myself before Almighty God. After accepting Almighty God’s salvation, I read God’s word with eagerness every day. Once, I read these words: “Over the many years of work in Mainland China, God has paid much price on everyone…. Therefore, the more corrupt a place is, the more abnormal the relationship between people there is. People intrigue, plot, and kill against each other. It seems a fortress of demons where man eats man. In such a terrifying place where ghosts run amuck, how difficult it is for God to carry out His work.” I cried bitterly and realized this: “How many difficulties and hardships God has undergone in carrying out this stage of work! The way I take now is paved with God’s blood and tears. God has tasted all sufferings in the world and undergone all hardships, but I, totally unaware of that, stiffened my neck and crazily resisted and opposed God. However, although I did evil for so many years, God didn’t curse me or punish me according to my evil deeds, but instead bestowed such a great salvation upon me. Too much effort and care Almighty God has expended on me. Even if I devote all my life to God, it can never repay His love.” I was extremely remorseful and distressed, and for more than one month, I lived in pain and regret, spending days in tears, and I hated my blindness and rebellion even in dreams. Whenever I ate and drank God’s word and learned hymns, I was very much encouraged and touched. Every time I sang the Hymn No. 186 “God’s love,” Hymn No. 136 “The Practical God Saves Men in Obscurity,” and Hymn No. 210 “Who Cares for God’s Heart,” I had a good cry. I prayed to God many times, “O Almighty God! In the past, I sealed off the churches and prevented the brothers and sisters from coming before You to receive Your salvation. I have committed an unforgivable sin. If I can exchange my life for the brothers and sisters’, I’m willing to be punished by You or die. It’s me who has ruined them. I’m a sinner, an evildoer!” The sister who led me to eat and drink God’s word saw that I was too remorseful to extricate myself, and she fellowshipped with me about God’s words and God’s intention many times, and read me a passage of God’s fellowship, which says: “Some people spoke some unreasonable or offensive words when they weren’t clear or when they were deceived, restricted, controlled, or suppressed by others. Later, after accepting the true way, they regretted it very much, and did sufficient good deeds afterward, and were transformed and gained knowledge. Then their previous transgressions won’t be remembered.” From God’s words, I realized God’s great tolerance for me and felt that God was so lofty and God’s love was so great! At that time, a strength of love for God arose from my heart: I’m willing to give up my life to repay God’s love, offering my entire being and devoting all my energy; even if I have to climb a mountain of swords or cross a sea of flames, I will be faithful to God to the end. And I made a resolution before God: I will lose no time in leading the brothers and sisters to preach the gospel and bring those who are in darkness to God as early as possible to console His heart. At that time, I bore in mind God’s words in “Work and Entry (6)”: “… so that all of you will become God’s loyal servants who, like Job, would rather die than reject God and will endure every humiliation, and who, like Peter, will offer your whole beings to God and become the intimates gained by God in the last days.”