—A Repentance Before the Coffin
Shangqiu City, Henan Province
I turned my face outward and saw that my coffin and shroud were there ready-made. When the moment I slipped my breath came, I would be put into them. Despair and loneliness welled up in me all at once. “I’m done! I’m done! I’m only in my forties. I’m very unwilling to die like this!” I looked out the window to the blue sky, tears wetting my pillow… Just at the moment I was at my last gasp and was dying, Almighty God stretched out His loving hands to me and conquered me by His powerful and authoritative words, so that I was revived in mind and body and gained a new life. Facing God’s great grace, I bitterly hated myself for grievous disobedience and great resistance. Thousands of words couldn’t express my great indebtedness to God. Thank Almighty God for giving me this opportunity to tell my personal experience of how I resisted God, suffered God’s punishment, and received God’s salvation. I hope all brothers and sisters will learn a lesson from it and not follow my footsteps…
I was once a shepherding worker of the “Justification by Faith Church.” As early as March of 1996, the upper leader told me, “Now there is a heresy called the ‘Eastern Lightning.’ It preaches that the Lord has already returned on the white cloud and expressed millions of words and believers should no longer read the Bible. It’s a mafia, which has guns, cannons, and torture instruments. And its members even commit adultery…” Hearing this, I thought to myself, “A believer in God must read the Bible. If a belief is beyond the Bible, it must be a heresy! I will never believe in this evil way in any case!” From then on, I began to be extremely hostile to the believers in Almighty God. I wildly spread the leader’s words and sealed off every church I went, saying, “In future, no one shall have contact with the people of the ‘Eastern Lightning,’ or the consequences will be disastrous! …” The brothers and sisters were very frightened after hearing my words. They dared not have contact with the believers in Almighty God, so the spreading of God’s gospel of the last days was greatly hindered in our area.
One day in early February 1999, I was invited by my neighbor to listen to a message at his home. There, a brother talked about the inside truth of God’s work in the Age of Law and in the Age of Grace. I felt his preaching very good. But when he said that God had done a new work in the last days and we should read God’s utterance of the last days and no longer read the Bible, I suddenly remembered what the leader said. I was shocked. “Isn’t it that I’m listening to the message of the ‘Eastern Lightning’?” Thinking of this, I shuddered all over and hastened to leave. Soon, another brother came to preach God’s gospel of the last days to me and asked me to listen to the tape of God’s word. I got furious and said fiercely, “I will never accept your way! Go away!” As I was saying this, I pushed him out of the door. I claimed cockily in the church, “In future, if anyone comes to preach the ‘Eastern Lightning’ to you, come and call me. Let me deal with them!” During that period, I disturbed away five brothers and sisters who had accepted Almighty God’s work. And I also swore before the Lord, “I will never have anyone else in my church snatched away by the believers in Almighty God.” After that, I resisted God more rampantly. I boarded in the church and ran around sealing off the churches. I spread the rumors and fallacies to deceive the believers and also said with reason, “You know little about the Bible and have no discernment, so you will be fooled and deceived unknowingly. We can look at Paul’s word in the Bible. He said, ‘… if any man preach any other gospel to you than that you have received, let him be accursed.’ (Galatians 1:9) The ‘Eastern Lightning’ says that we should no longer read the Bible. It’s precisely a heresy! Will you listen to Paul or them?” All the believers declared themselves, “We will listen to Paul, and never accept the ‘Eastern Lightning!’” Just like this, I firmly controlled the brothers and sisters under my power. In any church I went, no one accepted the new work. When I saw the “fruit of my hard work,” I smiled proudly and then sealed off the churches more recklessly. At that time, I didn’t know that I had long offended God’s disposition but thought that I was a faithful servant of the Lord.
It’s true that he who is unjust is doomed to destruction. In November 2001, I was sick suddenly. At first, I thought I caught a cold, but unexpectedly, it got worse and worse. I went to many big or small hospitals for treatment, but it was of no avail. In the end, the doctor diagnosed that I had myocardial anoxia. So I prayed to the Lord earnestly and asked Him to cure me. However, after I was injected with intravenous drips and took much medicine for half a month, it not only didn’t get better but became worse and worse. Facing this, the doctor shook his head with resignation and didn’t want to exert his “care and effort” on me. I had to return home and waited for the day of my death. After returning from the hospital, I felt it difficult to breathe. I often had my head tilt back against the wall with my neck propped up. I was suffocated so much that I often wheezed, with my mouth and eyes wide open, beating my breast with my hands and kicking my legs. On several occasions, I suffered so much that I even fainted. After only a month, I was reduced to a skeleton. I lay in bed, unable to rise. In great sorrow, I cried out to the Lord, “O Lord! Am I not faithful enough to You? Didn’t I shepherd the brothers and sisters well? … O Lord! Now I’m one who is unwelcome and whom the doctor refused to cure. I really cannot bear it! …” I was deeply grieved and sobbed at that time. I turned my face outward and saw that my coffin and shroud were there ready-made. Despair and loneliness welled up in me all at once, and my tears wet my pillow. Just at that moment, a voice suddenly rang in my ears, “God can give you strength!” I was spurred all at once, surprised and delighted, as if seeing the great light in the darkness. It gave me a gleam of hope of survival. “Can it be that God hasn’t left me?” A surge of strength within encouraged me to rise, but my body couldn’t move.
The next day, my younger brother (who had accepted the new work and had tried to preach to me many times) came to see me. I gasped to him, “Brother, I’m unwilling to die like this! You know, I have lived and treated others according to my conscience. I have believed in the Lord for more than twenty years, faithful in running around the churches and shepherding the flock, but today I have such an end!” The more I said, the more I felt grieved. “Who … who did … I offend?” “Brother, you didn’t offend any man but God! The main dispositions God expresses in the last days are not mercy and lovingkindness, but righteousness, majesty, wrath, and curse, which are like the lion’s. Whoever offends Him will die! Just think. These years, God has sent so many people to preach His new work to you. However, you not only didn’t accept it but hindered so many brothers and sisters from accepting the true way. How many lives you have ruined! Isn’t such an end God’s punishment to you? God’s intention, however, is still to save people to the utmost. If you turn from your evil way and accept God’s salvation of the last days, God may forgive you and you may be recovered!” His words woke me up from a dream! I was nervous and frightened. “Is the ‘Eastern Lightning’ really the true way? Is such punishment really the result of my resistance against Almighty God? Otherwise, I, who faithfully defended the church and took care of the flock, should have been approved by the Lord. How come I have such an end?” At that moment, God enlightened me to remember the scriptures, “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been his counselor?” (Romans 11:33-34) “Right! God is wonderful and unfathomable. How could I, a small man, restrict him at will? How could I be his counselor?” Then I remembered the voice I had heard the day before, “Only God can give you strength!” I was awakened, tears rolling down my cheeks. I asked my brother in a broken voice, “Do I … I still have an opportunity to believe … believe in Almighty God?” He took out the book of God’s word and read these words to me: “ Regardless of how man may have opposed God in the past, when man comes to understand the purpose of God’s work and dedicates his efforts to satisfying God, his former sins shall be wiped away clean by God. As long as man seeks the truth…, God will not keep in mind what he has done. …” (from “All Who Do Not Know God Are Those Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) “When men disobey Me, I cause them to know Me in their disobedience. In light of humanity’s old nature and in light of My mercy, rather than putting humans to death, I allow them to repent and make a fresh start. When men suffer famine, I wrest them from death so long as they have one breath left, preventing them from falling prey to Satan’s trickery.” (from “The Fourteenth Utterance” of God’s Utterance to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Listening to the words of God silently, I truly saw God’s kind and merciful heart. “God really loves man to the utmost!” A fire of my hope was ignited in my heart all at once. I wiped away my tears and continued to listen to God’s word. To solve my notion that “any belief that is beyond the Bible is a heresy,” my brother read another passage of God’s word: “The Bible is a history book. If during the Age of Grace you were to eat and drink the Old Testament, practicing the requirements of the Old Testament age, then Jesus would forsake you, condemn you. If you had tried to impose the Old Testament on Jesus’ work, you would have been called a Pharisee. And so today, if you eat and drink and practice the Old and New Testaments, then the God of today will condemn you; you cannot keep pace with the work of the Holy Spirit today. If you eat the Old and New Testaments, then you are one outside the stream of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus’ day, He led the Jews and all those who followed Him according to the work of the Holy Spirit in Him. He did not look to the Bible for evidence, but spoke as His work dictated. He did not concern Himself with what the Bible said, did not lead His followers down a path found in the Bible. From the very beginning, He preached the way of repentance, and the word ‘repentance’ was not mentioned at all in all the prophecies in the Old Testament. Not only did He not follow the Bible, He brought forth a new path and did a new work. He did not make reference to the Bible when He preached, and the miracles He worked—healing the sick, casting out demons—had never been performed by men during the Age of Law. No one in the Age of Law did the work He did, taught those lessons, had that authority. He simply did His new work, though many people condemned Him, even crucified Him, by using the Bible. His work went beyond the Old Testament; if that had not been the case, why would they have nailed Him to the cross? Was it not because His teachings, His power to cure the sick and cast out demons, had never been recorded in the Old Testament? The work of Jesus was to bring forth a new path; He did not deliberately set out to ‘wage war’ against the Bible or abolish the Old Testament, but simply performed His ministry, bringing the new work to those who thirsted for Him and sought Him out. He was not trying to explain the Old Testament or defend its work. Carrying on the Age of Law was not His goal, for He did not care in the least whether His work was grounded in the Bible, but simply did the job that He needed to do. So He did not attempt to explain the Old Testament prophecies, did not base His work on words spoken in the Old Testament Age of Law. He did not concern Himself with what the Old Testament said, whether it accorded with His own work, did not care how other people saw His work or condemned His work. He simply kept on doing the job He needed to do, though many people condemned Him, invoking the words of the Old Testament prophets. In people’s eyes His work was not based on a shred of evidence, and in many ways it ran counter to what was recorded in the Bible. Were they not grossly in the wrong? Must God’s work obey any rules? Does He need to follow the words of prophets? Which is greater, the Bible or God? Why must God’s work be in line with the Bible? Is it really not within His right to stand above the Bible? Can He not depart from it and do other work? Why did Jesus and His disciples not observe the Sabbath? If He was to observe the Sabbath, to practice the commandments of the Old Testament, then why, after His coming, did He not observe the Sabbath, but washed others’ feet and covered His head, broke bread and drank wine? Were these commandments mentioned in the Old Testament? If Jesus was to adhere to the Old Testament, why did He break these rules? You must know which came first, God, or the Bible? As He is the Lord of the Sabbath, can’t He also be the Lord of the Bible?” (from “Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) After hearing these words, I was more brightened in my heart. “In the past, I restricted God within the Bible and thought that belief in God shouldn’t be beyond the Bible and if it’s beyond the Bible, it must be a heresy. I didn’t know that God’s work always advances forward and the Bible is only the record of the first two stages of God’s work. In the last days, God brings a new work of judging and purifying man according to man’s need. How can this new and peculiar work be recorded in the Bible? No wonder that the Lord said, ‘Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And you will not come to me, that you might have life.’ (John 5:39-40)” God also enlightened me to associate these words with the Pharisees at that time. “They held fast to the Old Testament and crucified Jesus and in the end suffered God’s punishment and curses. Haven’t I crucified God again by holding fast to the Bible and frenziedly resisting God’s new work? Haven’t I acted as a Pharisee of the present age?”
Holding the book of God’s word in hands, I couldn’t help shedding tears again. I really hated myself for being so arrogant and ignorant. “I believed in God but didn’t know God. I not only shut the door on God many times, but firmly controlled so many innocent souls under my power by unscrupulous means and drew away those brothers and sisters who had accepted the true way. I became Satan’s accomplice and confederate, a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and a leading demon who eats man’s flesh and drinks man’s blood under the banner of believing in God! According to my evil deeds, I really should deserve ten thousand deaths, and even death cannot atone for my crimes! Such punishment of God today is exactly God’s righteousness, and it’s what I should deserve! Even if I am cursed to die at once, it will be justified! This fulfills the words in Revelation 22:12, which says, ‘And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be.’” Thinking of this, I felt more grieved and sobbed wildly before God, “O Almighty God! Thank You for not treating me according to my evil deeds so that I, a great sinner, can listen to Your voice of salvation. This is really Your exceptional grace and uplifting. I’m ashamed to face the brothers and sisters who preached the gospel to me many times, and I have no face to come before You. Even if I am cut into pieces, it won’t atone for the monstrous crimes I have committed. O God! I don’t desire to survive but wish to love You as long as I live! …” During the next few days, I ate and drank God’s word thirstily. God’s word resolved all the questions I hadn’t understood before, and I felt more and more brightened in my heart. From God’s words, I realized that Paul said those words in Galatians 1:9 because the church of Galatia was disturbed by the preachers of the law, and they weren’t directed at the people of the last days. But I mistakenly matched them with God’s new work. I was really ignorant to the extreme!
God’s word is a sovereign remedy that cures all diseases. Not only my spiritual disease was cured, but my physical pain was also gradually relieved. On February 2, 2002, I could get out of the bed and walk around. After a week, I was miraculously recovered. Those unbelieving neighbors said in a surprised voice, “It’s really a miracle! It must be that the God you believe in has cured your disease!” I once again tasted that Almighty God saves man and doesn’t strike man! I fell down before God many times and prayed, “O God! It’s Your great love that pulled me, a goner, back from the brink of death and gave me a second life, so I have an opportunity to make a fresh start. Facing Your great and immeasurable love, I’m willing to devote all the rest of my life to cooperating with You actively in Your gospel work. Even if I may lay down my life, I will bring the brothers and sisters who are still groping in the darkness back to Your precious throne as early as possible, to repay Your great love and make up for my crimes!”
After I came to Almighty God’s family, in fellowship meetings, I saw the brothers and sisters sit orderly, the brothers on one side and the sisters on the other. They all behaved decently and spoke properly and by principles. Sometimes they sang hymns and praised God, and sometimes they held the book of God’s word in hands and fellowshipped about the truths, such as how to preach the gospel to save people, how to perform duty faithfully, how to pursue to have their disposition transformed to satisfy God, and so on. Later, I saw that in Article 4 of the Ten Administrative Decrees of Almighty God, it is stipulated: “Man has corrupt disposition and even more has emotion. So, in the service in coordination, two people of different sexes are forbidden to coordinate alone. If discovered, they shall be expelled, no matter who they are.” How can God, who is holy and jealous, tolerate the filthy ones staying in His church? As to the words that it was a mafia, it has torture instruments, guns, and cannons, and so on, they were all baseless lies made up from nothing! At that time, I was fully clear that all that the leaders spread about the “Eastern Lightning” was purely deceptive lies and was done by Satan, which was attack, blasphemy, and smear against the true way! I regretted more bitterly that I had blindly believed the leaders’ words for the lack of discernment and trapped so many brothers and sisters by spreading the lies. However, from it I saw more clearly the leaders’ sinister intention of preserving their own position by deceiving people through calling white black under the banner of defending the true way.
Dear brothers and sisters! What is written above is my real experience, the experience of a man resurrected from the dead. I hope it will be helpful to you in seeking and accepting the true way. And I wish you not to be like me who turned round only after suffering punishment! Here I testify with my life: Almighty God is the only true God! He is the returned Lord Jesus in the last days!