78 I Bowed My Head Before the Truth—The True Experience of a Son of Disobedience
Zhaodong City, Heilongjiang Province
I am Liang Yanli, living in Zhaodong City. I was formerly a leading preaching co-worker in the Pentecostal Church and was also one of the sons of disobedience who desperately resisted Almighty God’s work of the last days.
In July 1990, because my heart was deeply hurt by my husband’s having an affair, I began to believe in the Lord. Half a year later, I began to preach. Especially after I was baptized on August 9, 1991, my faith and love became greater and greater. I loved the Bible so much that I could not bear to part with it, and invariably memorized five verses every day. Whenever I thought of John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” I was greatly encouraged. One year later, I quit my job and served God full time, responsible for shepherding the churches in my area. I attended various conferences and trainings. I often received overseas pastors and domestic brothers and sisters. And I also often fellowshipped and communicated with the co-workers from Wenzhou City in Zhejiang Province, Henan Province, Anhui Province, and so on. From 1997 on, what I fellowshipped about most with the co-workers of various places was how to resist “the Eastern Lightning.” And I preached in the churches, saying, “‘The Eastern Lightning’ is a heresy and a cult. They say that the Bible is outdated and the little scroll is to be read, and say that God has come. If you don’t accept, they will cut off your nose or ears, gouge out your eyes, or break your legs. They can get quite a lot of money if they convert one person. They are purely apostates. So we must hold on to the Bible. Only holding on to the Bible is keeping the true way. We cannot read any other book but the Bible. We shall never fellowship with anyone whose belief is different from ours.” From then, I began to resist the work of Almighty God and did that for as long as five years. As I look back now, my heart breaks and I only wish that I hadn’t done those things. Here, I write out how I resisted Almighty God, hoping that brothers and sisters can take warning from it and will not follow the same disastrous road as mine.
In the fall of 1997, Almighty God’s end-time work was preached to our churches. At that time, the churches in the whole northeast were in chaos. In each church, there were people accepting Almighty God’s new work. Facing such a situation, I spared no effort to seal the churches with several other co-workers and told all the brothers and sisters to fast and pray for the Lord to stop people of “the Eastern Lightning” stealing the Lord’s sheep from our churches. From dawn to night, I went to the homes of the brothers and sisters who had accepted Almighty God to “save” them. I tried to persuade them to deny “the Eastern Lightning” and told them that “the Eastern Lightning” was a heresy and a cult. But regardless of how hard I persuaded them, it was to no avail. Exasperated and at my wits’ end, I condemned and blasphemed Almighty God’s work and attacked and slandered them wherever I met them. In the end, I expelled them from the churches. But what puzzled me was that no matter how I treated them, they always presented a smiling face and never got angry. I thought, “Does the book really contain a magic drug that whoever reads it will change and not be angry?” Later, a sister wanted to come to my home to preach Almighty God’s work to me, yet I said, “Don’t come. If you do, I’ll drive you out. I’d rather die than accept it.” At the end of October 1997, a preaching sister of Wuzhan meeting group (which had over 40 people) accepted God’s new work of the last days, and then over 20 people in that church accepted it too with her. After I heard that, my chest puffed out with anger. I hurried there and fasted and prayed for them. And I went to “save” them from house to house for seven days. I said in tears, “‘The Eastern Lightning’ is a false christ, a deceiver. They preach nonsense, saying that the Lord has come. You are deceived because you don’t know the Bible and have no discernment. That way is absolutely a false way. Turn back quickly and ask the Lord to forgive your sins.” But no matter how I persuaded them, they had no intention of turning back, but on the contrary, they advised me to accept it. I became furious and said resentfully, “I’d rather go to hell or the lake of fire than accept it.” In the end, seeing that none of them turned back, I expelled them all from the church and informed the other meeting groups that no one was allowed to have any contact with them. I left Wuzhan in hatred, grief, and disappointment. From then on, I intensified my efforts to seal the churches and even assigned some people specially to watch over the churches. If anyone was found to have contacted people of “the Eastern Lightning,” he would be relieved of his duty and stopped from taking communion.
Not long afterward, Sister Gao, a co-worker assigned to preach on Sundays, who had served with me, also accepted Almighty God’s new work. She had preached how to guard against “the Eastern Lightning” every day under my influence, but today she became the first to accept “the Eastern Lightning” among the co-workers. I was so angry that I went to question her, “Why do you believe in heresy?” “It’s not a heresy. I’ve read God’s word for seven days. It’s the true way. You’d better read it too!” “Even if you can talk the dead back into life, I won’t read it,” I said angrily. Later, she went to Shandong Province and brought many brothers and sisters there (about 100 people) into “the Eastern Lightning.” Hearing that, I hated “the Eastern Lightning” more deeply, so much so that I could not eat or sleep well and was even in no mood to look after my child, and my eyes turned red with worry. The more I thought about it, the angrier I became. So I went to Sister Gao’s home again and roared at her, with clinched teeth, “Why did you do that? Do you even want those who are ignorant of the truth to go to hell with you? Are you human or not? Do you know the Bible or not?”
In September, I heard that Brother Qiu and his wife also accepted “the Eastern Lightning.” So I hurried to their home with four other co-workers. When we arrived there, they were listening to a song tape and were so engrossed in it that they did not even notice us entering the room. Seeing that, I grabbed the song tape swiftly and hid it in my bosom, intending to take it as the proof of their accepting “the Eastern Lightning.” Before they said anything, I yelled angrily, “What lousy songs, utterly terrifying cries and tunes of wailing over the dead at the tombs. Are you believers in God? Have you totally forgotten so much grace the Lord has given you? You are not human, really ungrateful and conscienceless. You not only have joined the cult yourselves but also draw others in.” At that time, my hatred of “the Eastern Lightning” was uncontrollable, and I did not know what to say to vent my rankling hatred. Then, I questioned the brother closely, “When will the people of ‘the Eastern Lightning’ come?” The brother said, “On Wednesday.” I thought, “If I catch them, I must rip them in half and tear them limb from limb.” I tried to catch them for several days, but failed. I was so angry that I said to the couple, “The way you have accepted is the way of satan, the devil. Tell me, how much money have they given you?” They said, “We are given eternal life and the truth, not money.” Later, we tried every possible means, tough and soft, to persuade them, but they still refused to turn back.
Having no other choice, I carried the publicity material on resisting “the Eastern Lightning” and talked a whole lot about it at the county co-worker meetings, on Sunday services, and at the township co-worker meetings. I deceived and frightened the brothers and sisters with the lies in the material for the purpose that they could give up seeking the true way. Then I allied myself with other denominations to resist “the Eastern Lightning.” To throw the people of “the Eastern Lightning” out of Zhaodong City, I even chased them by taxi everywhere in the city, for I felt the bicycle was too slow. At that time, I regarded this as defending the true way and protecting the flock and thought that it was worthwhile even if I was to lay down my life.
However, what puzzled me was that the more desperately I guarded the churches against the “heresy,” the more crises there appeared in the churches. Misfortunes arose one after another: In August 1999, when the baptism was performed, many believers were arrested and taken to the police station. In August 2000, when the baptism was performed, four key co-workers and I were arrested by the police and held in detention for seven days. Those things made my heart unable to stay calm anymore, and I began to reflect on all the things that had happened to our churches all these years: The church money was all confiscated by the police, and the co-workers, for fear of being arrested, went their separate ways to hide themselves. The churches were in chaos. Besides, my spiritual seniors Sister Gao and Sister Wu, who had taken me to various places to preach and spread the gospel, had been loyal and devoted to guarding the flock against “the Eastern Lightning” (though they were separated from our church later). But now, Sister Gao got cerebellum atrophy and rectum cancer and died painfully in the hospital. Sister Wu, who had worked for the Lord for ten years, got cancer (stomach cancer) too and lost all her hair. She spent quite a lot of money on the treatment in the hospital, yet still did not escape death. And another preaching co-worker, Sister Li, died from gas poisoning. In 1998 in particular, at a big meeting attended by about two hundred key co-workers from various places, a co-worker was possessed by a demon. The preacher, a well-known senior co-worker from the south, led us all to pray with one heart and one mind, yet the demon did not leave. Later, the demon-possessed co-worker was taken to a host home, and three or four people fasted and prayed for her in turn, yet the demon still didn’t leave. In the end, her husband took her home and invited a sorcerer to have a dance in a trance, and then she was released. Thus, a believer in Jesus turned to the worship of the devil. … As I turned those things over and over in my mind, I felt that they were inconceivable and my heart was almost broken. I came before the Lord and cried out in tears, “Lord! What’s this all about? The church is what you bought with your precious blood. Why do you not care about it anymore? Lord! I’m so distressed. I don’t know what to do to retrieve all this. O Lord! Please return to the church. These are the brothers and sisters you have bought with your precious blood. Lord, I really cannot do anything more. The more I guard the flock, the faster they scatter, and the more I resist ‘the Eastern Lightning,’ the more chaotic the church becomes. Please make a way out for me quickly!” But no matter how hard I prayed to the Lord, the church was still like a heap of loose sand. The preaching co-workers gave up preaching for fear of being arrested, fewer and fewer people came to the meetings, and I felt that I had nothing to preach and nothing to say in prayer. In the face of such situations, I, a numb person, still did not realize that I had resisted the true God. I confusedly fell into agony, suffering torment. At that time, my faith had all gone, and my will that “even if no one believes in the Lord, I will believe in him; even if no one loves the Lord, I will love him” had disappeared like a fleeting cloud and become a mirage. Gradually, I became depraved. I watched TV and videos all day long, and even learned to play mahjong and cards. I idled about, savoring the pleasures of sin, and had lost all my strength to love the Lord. In despair, I was struggling and crying out in the depths of my heart, “O Lord Jesus, where are you? I’m dying. Lord! Please save me … I am dying…”
When I was struggling in the depths of distress, the brothers and sisters in Wenzhou City called me on March 24, 2002 and invited me to go there for a spiritual retreat. I felt very grateful, thinking in my heart, “I must take this opportunity to make myself strong again.” So, on March 28, I went down south to Wenzhou. I had not seen the brothers and sisters there for two years. They had even greater faith and love than before. They received me warmly, comforted me, and asked me questions with concern, treating me as a family member. Their genuine love warmed my cold heart. I thought, “This trip will not be in vain. My zeal will surely be stirred up by the brothers and sisters.”
The next day, they took me to a host home, and the genuine reception given by the sister touched me deeply. There I met four brothers who came from four different provinces and four different denominations. At that time, I wondered how the people of different denominations could have served together. And I couldn’t help feeling nervous: Hope they are not heretics or cultists. I saw that each of them had a bag in his hand. Their bags reminded me of what was written in the material on resisting “the Eastern Lightning”: “They have guns, cameras, and ropes.” Then I became even more nervous. “Could they be of ‘the Eastern Lightning’?” I immediately prayed in my heart, “O Lord, since it is you who have brought me here, please keep me and give me the spirit of discernment.” After the prayer, my heart became a little calmer. Then I observed them carefully, but in no way did they look like people of an underworld. They spoke with propriety, behaved in a sober and natural manner, and were not like those described in the material. They took out Bibles, notebooks, and pens out of their bags, and then began to fellowship with me. One day, a brother asked me, “Sister, how is your condition now?” His question touched me to the quick. Fighting back my tears, I said, “I’m unfaithful. I’m a sinner. The churches have broken up under my leading, and many brothers and sisters have been captured by ‘the Eastern Lightning.’ I couldn’t stop them. I have lost my faith and cannot keep it up.” Then, I told them about the series of things that had happened to our churches. I could hardly refrain from tears when I spoke. Seeing that, the brother immediately comforted me, saying, “Sister, don’t be too sad. God will not abandon us. The end of man is the beginning of God. Actually, now, not only the churches in your area have become desolate, but the churches all over the world are in such a condition in different degrees. Just as Amos 8:11 says: ‘Behold, the days come, said the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.’ From this verse we can see that the desolation of the churches in the last days is in God’s hand and is predestined by God. In the face of such a desolate condition, those who have a true knowledge will humble themselves to seek because the churches wouldn’t be in such a condition if there were the working of the Holy Spirit in them. So, these people will search for God’s footsteps. God says: ‘Seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.’ When they follow God’s new work, they will regain the working of the Holy Spirit and recover their first faith and love. For these people, the desolation is temporary. This is just as the land of Canaan became desolate because God wanted to work in Egypt. God raised up Joseph who was after God’s heart in Egypt. Jacob didn’t take great pride in the ‘pleasant land.’ He promptly dropped himself, humbled himself to seek, and sent his sons to Egypt, which was once cursed by God, to buy food. As a result, he followed God’s footsteps and regained God’s blessings, so that the twelve tribes of Israel could grow. Facing the desolation of the churches, another kind of people who are arrogant, stubborn, and conservative believe that God’s work is unchanging and never progresses, so they only stick to the work that God has done and know nothing about God’s present work. These people are then left far behind by the stream of the Holy Spirit and fall into the eternal desolation. This is just as at the end of the Age of the Law, the temple was desolate and became a den of robbers where money was exchanged and cattle, sheep, and doves were bought and sold. That was because the work of the Holy Spirit had progressed forward. God no longer worked in the temple but was incarnated and did the work of the Age of the Grace outside the temple. Just think about this: If Jehovah had still been working in the temple, would he have allowed those people to commit evil deeds in the temple? Wouldn’t he have long since struck them down? However, those priests, elders, teachers of the law, and Pharisees didn’t wake up in the slightest after seeing all these things. They still served in the temple in a foolish way according to the regulations that were left behind from the law and at the same time desperately resisted Jesus’ work of the new age. In the end, they not only didn’t restore the temple to its former condition but were condemned by the Lord to seven woes. Similarly, churches become desolate today also because God has done a new work. He has taken back all the work of the Spirit from the entire universe and has given it to those who follow his new work. At this time, those who follow God’s footsteps have regained the working of the Holy Spirit and entered into the town that has ‘rain.’ Only those who disobey and resist like the Pharisees still stay in the town that has no ‘rain’ and dry up. The ‘rain’ refers to the work of the Holy Spirit. This has exactly fulfilled what Amos 4:6-7 says: ‘And I also have given you cleanness of teeth in all your cities, and want of bread in all your places: yet have you not returned to me, said the LORD. And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered.’” After hearing his fellowship, I became more and more brightened inside. “I have heard many messages from domestic and foreign preachers, but never heard such a clear fellowship as today’s which can supply my spiritual needs so much.” As I thought of this, I hastily asked the brother, “Then, what should I do now? How can I follow the footsteps of the Lamb?” The brother took out a book and said, “This is the personal utterance of God who has returned and is also the new work that God does, the work of judging and purifying man with the word. This has fulfilled what is said in the book of Revelation: ‘He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ Sister, read through this book, and you will understand everything.” When I saw the book, I got a nasty shock. Actually, they were people of “the Eastern Lightning.” Immediately, those bloodcurdling words in the publicity material on resisting “the Eastern Lightning” flooded into my mind: “Underworld, having guns…” At this time, my heart flew into my mouth, throbbing violently. I kept crying out to God in my heart, “Lord! Do keep me. I’ve believed in you for so many years. I’m really afraid of being deceived and departing from your way. You know my heart. Please guide me and help me in my time of need.” After the prayer, my heart calmed down a little bit. I thought to myself, “Anyhow, I have familiar sisters here, and I also have the Lord!” So I asked them, “Where did you get the book? How could it be God’s word? All God’s words are in the Bible. Anything departing from the Bible is not right.” Seeing that I had great resistance inside, they knelt down together to pray. They each prayed for me in tears, asking God to inspire me so that I could understand God’s will soon. Judging from their behavior, they were in no way faking. Then I thought back to the truth they had fellowshipped about these days, and my fear was reduced a lot. After the prayer, a brother said meekly, “Sister, we understand your feelings. We felt the same way when we didn’t understand at that time. We all once did our utmost to resist God’s new work. I even fabricated the material that slandered and attacked ‘the Eastern Lightning’ myself to threaten and frighten the brothers and sisters, not allowing them to accept ‘the Eastern Lightning.’ As a grievously sinful, stubborn, and self-right person, I wouldn’t have bowed my head and become convinced if it had not been for the true God’s wonderful work and his thrilling words with authority. Sister, man does not have the truth. Only God is the source of the truth. As for your question, let’s look at the truth concerning the inside of the Bible in God’s word, then you will know the answer to it.” As he spoke, he opened the book of God’s word and read these words: “The creation of the world was a work before there was mankind. But Genesis was a book written after there was mankind and was a book written by Moses in the Age of the Law. Take the things happening among you today for example. After they happen, if you record them for later generations to read, from their standpoint, what you record is only the things that happened in a past age and can only be read as history. What the Old Testament records is the works Jehovah did in Israel. What the New Testament records is the works Jesus did in the Age of the Grace.” “The Bible is a book of history. If in the Age of the Grace you ate and drank the Old Testament and practiced the requirements of the Old Testament age, Jesus would reject you and condemn you. If you applied the Old Testament to the work Jesus did, you were a Pharisee. If now you eat and drink and practice the New Testament and the Old Testament together, the God of today will condemn you, and you cannot follow the Holy Spirit’s work of today! If you eat the Old Testament and also the New Testament, you are one outside the stream of the Holy Spirit! In the age of Jesus, he led the Jews and all his followers according to the work the Holy Spirit did in him at that time. He did not work according to the Bible but spoke according to his work. He did not care what the Bible said and did not look for paths in the Bible to lead his followers. From the time he began to work, he preached the way of repentance. Yet the word ‘repentance’ was not at all mentioned in the many prophecies of the Old Testament. He not only did not work according to the Bible, but he brought a newer way and did a newer work. He never preached by consulting the Bible. His miracles of healing the sick and driving out demons could be performed by no one in the Age of the Law. And his work, his teachings, and his authority had never been done by anyone in the Age of the Law. He just did his newer work though many people condemned him according to the Bible and they even crucified him according to the Old Testament. However, his work went beyond the Old Testament. Otherwise, how could people have crucified him? Wasn’t it because his teachings and his power of healing the sick and driving out demons were never recorded in the Old Testament? All the work he did was to bring a newer way, not to purposely ‘fight’ against the Bible or purposely abolish the Old Testament. He came only to perform his ministry, bringing the new work to those who thirsted for and sought him. … In man’s view, he did his work without any basis, and much of it did not agree with the records in the Bible. Weren’t those man’s erroneous views? Does God have to work according to regulations? Does God have to work according to the prophecies of the prophets? Is the Bible greater or is God greater? Why does God have to work according to the Bible? Does God Godself not have any right to go beyond the Bible? Could God not do another work apart from the Bible? Why did Jesus and his disciples not keep the Sabbath? If he was to practice according to the Sabbath and according to the commandments of the Old Testament, why did he not keep the Sabbath but practiced foot-washing, head-covering, bread-breaking, and wine-drinking after he came? Aren’t they the commandments that cannot be found in the Old Testament? If he was to practice according to the Old Testament, why did he break those regulations? You should know whether there was God first or the Bible first! Since he could be the Lord of the Sabbath, can he not be the Lord of the Bible?” After reading God’s words, the brother continued, “From God’s words, we can know that it is not that the Bible existed first and then God did his work according to the Bible. Didn’t God create the world and guide Noah and Abraham also with his word before the Bible came into being? When God did his work, he was not limited by the Bible. Similarly, today when God wants to speak to the churches, he won’t be limited by the Bible either. The Bible is only the record of the work that God has done, whereas today’s word is God’s present work. Just as Psalms 50:3 says: ‘Our God shall come, and shall not keep silence.’ Therefore, we can in no way find in the Bible the word that God wants to speak when he comes again, that is, God’s present work and word of today; just as we can by no means find in the Old Testament the ‘Eight Beatitudes and Ten Statements’ that Jesus taught the people in the Age of the Grace. Sister, now is the end time. God’s work has entered into a new state. He has broken the seven seals, personally opened the little scroll prophesied in Revelation 5:1-5, and done the new work of judging and purifying man with the word. Although his work is contrary to man’s notions and is frenziedly resisted, no force of darkness can hinder the pace of God’s working. Most of the Israelites rejected Jesus two thousand years ago, but the work of Jesus redeeming mankind has still spread to the ends of the universe. Without the salvation of the cross of Jesus, men could not have come down from the cross. Without the work of God’s word today, those who have come down from the cross could never be purified. If men refuse God’s present work, they will only be trapped in the condition of committing sins in the day and confessing them at night, and dry up and die. So, the work of the word that God does in the last days is crucial to mankind. It has also fulfilled Daniel 12:9-10: ‘And he said, Go your way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. 10Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.’ Sister, in the face of God’s work of today, do you want to be a wise person like Jacob who humbled himself to seek and followed God’s footsteps, or become an evil person against God like the Pharisees who refused to accept God’s work?” After hearing God’s word and the brother’s fellowship, I, a disobedient and resistant, numb and obtuse person, finally bowed my head before the truth. Then, the brother read me another piece of God’s word “Knowing the Three Stages of Works Is the Way to Know God.” He read and fellowshipped with me, so that I came to understand that the three stages of works, that is, the work of the Age of the Law, the work of the Age of the Grace, and the work of the Age of the Kingdom, are the center of God’s managing mankind. The work of the Age of the Law was to lead people to live and make them conscious of their sins through issuing the law. The work of the Age of the Grace was to be crucified and bear man’s sins. The work of the Age of the Kingdom at the end time is to take away man’s sins with the word. The three stages of works complement each other, none of which is dispensable. They are done by one God. The purpose of God’s work is to completely defeat satan and save mankind. Through this piece of God’s word, I was more certain that “the Eastern Lightning” was the true way, and I better knew my poorness, pitifulness, and blindness. I had even circumscribed the real and living God to the Bible and said arrogantly that “I would rather die or go to hell than accept it.” Thinking back to my various kinds of evil deeds, I felt that I had no place to hide myself and had no face to see God. With tears streaming down my cheeks, I fell on my knees and held the book of God’s word in my arms. No words could express my indebtedness to God. It was this book that I had been resisting and condemning for five years. Now I woke up and realized that only this book was absolute truth and was God’s personal utterance. I really hated myself for being so blind and foolish and waking up too late. I hated myself for blindly condemning and hindering God’s work. I deserved to be torn to pieces. Even one hundred deaths could not expiate my sins. “O Almighty God, you have spared me and been patient with me in the extreme. I really don’t know how to requite your mercy. I only wish to spend the rest of my life repaying your love and do my utmost to bring back to your family those brothers and sisters who were hindered by me during the past five years and who haven’t returned before you until now, so as to comfort your heart a little.”
Dear brothers and sisters, the above is my true experience of how I changed from resisting Almighty God’s work to accepting it. I hope that you can take warning from me and will not condemn God’s work blindly without investigation. We are only little creatures in God’s hand and cannot fathom God’s deeds at all. Facing God’s new work, we can only drop ourselves and come to seek and investigate it. This is the reason that we should have and is also what a person with a heart of fearing God should do. If you drop yourself and seek humbly, surely God will guide you to know him and know his work. At that time, you will exclaim joyfully that actually Almighty God is the Savior Jesus whom we have been anxiously expecting, and you will find that how wide and long and high and deep his love is. If you can turn back with a sincere heart, he will not remember any of your past transgressions. Dear brothers and sisters, don’t hesitate anymore. Run quickly toward Almighty God who is, and who was, and who is to come!