9. A Confession
Jiyuan City, Henan Province
I—a great sinner guilty beyond forgiveness!
Before God I have committed monstrous sins. I resisted the Almighty God’s end-time work by every possible means all along. I even condemned and blasphemed God’s flesh, burned up the book of the Almighty God’s word, and beat, abused, and insulted the brothers and sisters many times who preached God’s new work. However, the Almighty God, who is full of mercy and love, did not put me to death but stretched out his hand of salvation and gave me the opportunity to be saved. Today, facing God’s grace of salvation, I am in floods of tears and overwhelmed with sorrow and regret….
I am Yang Xiaohui, formerly a co-worker of the Praise Church. In 1996, when I was studying in Wen County, the leader told us, “Now false christs and deceivers run rampant. A cult called ‘the Eastern Lightning’ is preaching everywhere that God has returned in the flesh as a female. They deny the Bible and say that God has done the new work and spoken the new word, and that new word is the opened little scroll. They also say that only the little scroll can sanctify man. What they preach victimizes people deeply. Once you listen to their preaching or read their book, you will be deceived. At some place, the whole church which consists of seventy to eighty believers has been deceived into joining them. Moreover, they pay special attention to deceiving leaders. They can receive 500 yuan whenever they convert one person. If you want to back out after accepting what they preach, they will cut off your ears, gouge out your eyes, or beat you up with sticks. So, everyone must guard the gate of our church carefully. Don’t receive anyone who is not sent by our church.” At these words, I was so frightened that my hair stood on end. I felt that “the Eastern Lightning” was too terrible, and at the same time, I had resistance in my heart: “It’s nonsense that the little scroll can sanctify man. If one does not hold on to the Bible, he cannot become holy even if he eats the little scroll!” From then on, I had an irreconcilable hatred for “the Eastern Lightning” and began my evil deeds of resisting God.
Right after I returned home from my study, I went to seal the churches everywhere. I told everyone not to receive anyone who was not sent by our churches, lest they be deceived by “the Eastern Lightning.” We also made it a rule to pray in shifts around the clock specially for cursing “the Eastern Lightning” and asking God to hinder the work of “the Lightning” and to strike down those “evildoers.” But after we prayed and cursed for a period of time, to my great surprise, “the Eastern Lightning” not only did not fail but became more prosperous. Our churches, however, gradually lost the working of the Holy Spirit. The believers in our churches had envy and strife and formed factions among themselves, and they chatted and dozed off in the meetings. The leaders intrigued against one another; some started a new group, and some even simply returned to the boundless world. Seeing such a condition of the churches, I felt bitterly disappointed. Later, I fasted and prayed with several co-workers, asking God to move us to achieve the oneness of the churches, and to restore the brothers’ and sisters’ faith. But no matter how hard we prayed and pleaded with weeping and tears, it was to no avail. Our churches became more and more chaotic and had lost the working of the Holy Spirit completely and also lost peace and joy. Once, the brothers and sisters left for home after a revival meeting. On their way it rained heavily, and some of them were washed away by the flood unexpectedly. That was really perplexing. From then on, the churches became more and more desolate. Fewer and fewer people attended meetings, while more and more people accepted the Almighty God. And my hatred toward “the Eastern Lightning” grew deeper and deeper.
During the Spring Festival in 1998, a relative of mine came to my home. In our chat, we started to talk about the condition of the churches. Seeing me worried, she advised me, “Don’t worry or lose heart. Seek and pray in everything, and God will certainly guide you. Everything is under God’s control. If God does not work, man’s hardest efforts will be in vain.” Seeing me silent, she continued, “I hear that now God has done a new work and no longer performs signs and wonders. In the Old Testament Age of the Law, God issued the laws so that people became conscious of sin. In the New Testament Age of the Grace, Jesus did the redemptive work and asked people to repent and confess their sins so that they could be justified through faith. ‘The dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them’ prophesied in Revelation refers to the Age of the Kingdom. It is the work of breaking the seven seals and opening the scroll and is also what the Holy Spirit says to the churches. In the end time, God, through his word, does the work of conquering and perfecting people, that is, the work of removing the root of sin. Now is the time to reap the harvest, so God does the third stage of the work. …” The more I listened, the more I felt there was something wrong. My intuition told me that this was “the Eastern Lightning.” I immediately questioned her: “What you believe in is ‘the Eastern Lightning,’ isn’t it? That is a deceitful heresy, a cult. I will never believe in it. If you believe in a cult and also want to deceive me, I tell you, it’s no go! You’d better give up this intent. Otherwise, get out of my house right now!”
“Don’t condemn it blindly. It won’t be too late to draw a conclusion after you listen!” she said composedly.
“You are simply a fool. The Bible never mentions the three-stage work. As long as we believe in Jesus, confess and repent of our sins, we will be saved. When Jesus comes again, he will transform our fleshly bodies into spiritual bodies in the twinkling of an eye. We will be caught up in the air to meet the Lord and will enter into the glory together with the Lord. Is there any need for the third stage of the work? That’s simple nonsense!” I shouted at her angrily.
“Your thought is too supernatural and wonderful. Can man go to heaven without becoming truly holy?” she said slowly after a deep sigh.
As she spoke those words, my leader’s “advice” suddenly occurred to me: “Do not receive the people of ‘the Eastern Lightning’ or listen to their preaching.” Then I did not want to talk about anything more with her. Fearing that she would continue bothering me, I stood up and said, “If you come to preach ‘the Lightning,’ go away right now. We are not on the same path now. You believe in your three-stage work, and I still believe in my Lord Jesus.”
“You don’t understand, so don’t rush to condemn it. Please have a listen and see whether it is the truth and whether it is God’s work. If you don’t believe after listening, I won’t force you,” she said more genially, seeming not to mind my attitude.
“Ah! You still ask me to listen?” I shouted at her angrily as if I had eaten gunpowder. “How can you be so brazen-faced? I have said that I don’t believe, and I mean it! I will never be deceived by you or go to hell with you. In no way will I be fooled by you. Don’t think that you can preach this deceitful way to me and then get money. Stop your beautiful dream of making money! In my place, humph! You are not allowed to preach to anyone in my church. If you do, I won’t be so easy on you!” So saying, I drove her out of the door by pushing and pulling. A load was eventually taken off my mind. I thought to myself, “From now on, I have to strictly guard the churches, lest the brothers and sisters be ‘deceived.’”
After a few days, she came again with her face radiating happiness. And she smiled at me, gentle and kind. As soon as I saw her, I flew into a rage and started shouting abuse: “How come you devil come again? Is it because your ‘prince of the devils’ is unhappy with you or because you haven’t got money? I tell you seriously, in the future, the Christ I believe in will judge the ‘false christ’ you believe in, as well as you small satan. When it’s time, Jesus will surely cast you down to deepest hell and throw you into the lake of fire and brimstone where you will have a great ‘enjoyment’! At that time, nothing can be changed even if your eyes are blinded by tears and your bowels broken by regret! That’s just your outcome, because Jesus is righteous. And we will feast our eyes on it in heaven!”
“Ay, your today is my yesterday. Because men have all been corrupted by satan too deeply, everyone will act like this before knowing the facts. Will you please listen to the testimony? You haven’t seen the truth that God has expressed at present, so you don’t know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s working, what God wants to do in the end time, and what kind of people can enter into the kingdom. If you don’t know these but only wait to go to heaven, you will regret one day.” She said with sadness instead of being offended by my words.
“I am a co-worker, and I preach everywhere. How can you say that I don’t know how the Holy Spirit works and what kind of people can go to heaven? That’s simply ridiculous! A person like you? Humph! You’re illiterate and look so silly. Can you know the working of the Holy Spirit? You really don’t know how high the sky is and how thick the earth is!” As I thought of this, I said fiercely, “It is you who should regret, not me. And it is you who should be punished by Jesus. You yourself have been deceived and you even try to deceive others. The Lord will not let you off easily. If you continue running around like this, what awaits you is the eternal punishment, and the lake of fire is your destination!”
“It’s not man who can condemn, but God.” With that, she changed the subject and said, “Can you tell me what the fruit of the Holy Spirit is?”
“Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control,” I said angrily.
“Well recited. But hatred, anger, envy, and strife are all from the desires of the flesh. The believers in Jesus should not have these, right? In James, it says: ‘faith without deeds is dead,’” she said immediately, with a smile.
Unwilling to be outdone, I said in a shameful rage, “You even rebuke me. I won’t fall for your trick. Don’t waste your breath or your efforts! From now on, you are not my relative, and you are not allowed to come to my home again. If you come, I will break your legs and report you to the police!” As I said that, I pushed her outward. While pushing, I shouted, “Come and look, everyone! This deceiver is really shameless. She has believed in a cult and also wants to deceive me!” My shout drew several onlookers. Hearing it, a person said, “How can you do so? Since she doesn’t believe, let her be! Why pester her? You really make a fool of yourself. If you don’t leave, we will call the police to arrest you!” Yet another said, “Well, don’t do that. Let her go. You are both believers in God. Is it necessary? She does so maybe because she thinks hers is right.” At that moment, I laughed to myself: “Now, you find yourself on the spot. I’ll see what you will say.” However, she said as if nothing had happened, “Nothing, nothing. I just passed by and had a casual chat with her. I’m not a deceiver at all.” So saying, she left.
Looking at her receding figure, I thought proudly, “Well, today I put you on the spot and humiliate you in the street. I’ll see how you can have the face to come in the future.” I gloated somewhat, feeling that I had “gotten rid of the evildoer” this time.
I never expected that two days later she came again as if nothing had happened. On that day, it happened that I was alone at home with the door bolted. Hearing someone knocking at the door, I looked through the crack of the door. “Oh, her again? How can there be so shameless a person in the world?” As if I had got an electric shock, I turned around and entered the room without looking back. I thought to myself, “If you don’t leave, you can stay outside guarding the door! I’ll see how long you can stay.” Two hours passed, and I could no longer stay in the room. So I went out to see whether she had left. This time she did leave, but a parcel was left at my door. I opened it and saw a letter and a book called The Truth That Must Be Equipped. “Perhaps this is the ‘little scroll’ they preach about. I absolutely can’t read it lest I be deceived.” As I thought of this, I said to myself, “May the disaster go with the person who brought this book! The One I believe in is the Lord who bestows blessings and is not….” As I said that, I lighted the book and was delighted to myself: “Curses will come upon the person who brought the book.”
Surprisingly, early next morning, she braved the cold and came again, travel-stained. At that time, I was sweeping the floor. When I looked up and saw it was her again, I became so furious that I almost blacked out. I shouted abuse at her: “You are simply shameless!” Then, I put the broom up and wanted to beat her, but she stood still and said smilingly, “Go ahead! As long as you believe in the Almighty God, it is worth it even if I am beaten to death. As long as Jesus allows you to beat me, just go ahead!” I was dumbfounded and put down the broom in spite of myself. She took the chance to say, “Have you read the letter and the book I gave you? Actually, there is no harm in taking a look. If you feel that one ten thousandth of the words in the book is God’s work after you read it, please continue to seek. God will inspire and guide you. If you don’t think it is God’s word or God’s work, just return it to me. I won’t force…”
Before she finished her words, I said angrily, “The book has been burned by me. You can’t get it back. I burned it lest you take it to deceive others!” Disappointment showed in her sincere eyes, and she said sorrowfully, “You really shouldn’t do that! May God have mercy on you!” After saying that, she left sadly with her head hanging down.
From then on, booklets and letters were continually brought to my home, and I burned them all without mercy. Also I kept praying to Jesus to curse the people of “the Eastern Lightning” and to stop their footsteps. However, many humiliations, many curses and abuses, and many destructions did not hinder their firm steps. In the dewy mornings, they had ever come; at the pitch-dark nights, they had ever come; at the scorching noons, they had ever come; in the cold winters, they had ever come; in the hot summers, they had ever come…. They tried all means to persuade me and waited silently, yet my heart was still as hard as before, never moved by them. Not only so, but I studied the Bible harder, dreaming of fighting against “the Eastern Lightning” to the end. I spent two years in the war without the smoke of gunpowder, during which I always considered myself to be guarding the house for the Lord and performing my duty faithfully. But somehow the Lord did not bestow peace and joy upon me according to my “faithfulness”; on the contrary, I felt darker and darker in spirit. Even worse, at night I was often woken up by nightmares and always heard a voice saying: “You fool, wake up!” I thought that it was probably because I was not “faithful” enough to the Lord, so I studied the Bible even harder, trying to find from it something that could wake me up. One day, I read Matthew 7:18-20: “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.” After I read these words, her image flashed into my mind. I thought to myself, “Judging from her speech and behavior…. Could it be that what she preaches is the true way? Why is the fruit she bears that of the Holy Spirit? She has gentleness, humility, and patience, and she has lived up to ‘forgiving others seventy times seven.’ I, however, have expressed anger, self-rightness, self-conceit, and jealousy. Aren’t all these from the desires of the flesh?” At that moment, I felt surprised, bewildered, and upset. Then I turned to 1 Corinthians 6:1-8: “If any of you has a dispute with another, dare he take it before the ungodly for judgment…. But instead, one brother goes to law against another—and this in front of unbelievers! The very fact that you have lawsuits among you means you have been completely defeated already. … Instead, you yourselves cheat and do wrong, and you do this to your brothers.” Having read this, I could not help examining myself: Compared with theirs, my words and actions are really contrary to the Lord’s teachings. The Lord asks us to love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. How about me? I insult, abuse, and even beat them. Could this be what the Lord teaches me to do? I blindly condemn what they preach without reading, listening, or seeking. How could this be what a believer in God should do? It is simply satan’s expression. I felt unpeaceful. “What should I do? Should I believe in what they preach? No! If I am really deceived, I will be finished. And I have publicly said in the churches that no one is allowed to receive them or listen to their preaching.” I found myself in a dilemma. Having no choice, I told this thought to one of my co-workers. She advised me, “Haven’t you said that ‘the Eastern Lightning’ is deceitful and cannot be accepted? Don’t let your mind wander. Pray to the Lord earnestly and ask him to help you get rid of this thought.” I tried praying as she told me for several days, but this thought could not be wiped from my mind and it kept troubling me. I tried hard to figure out why but in vain, so I came before God again and prayed, “O Lord, please help me and lead me in the way I should go. Please give me the gift of distinguishing between spirits and give me intelligence and wisdom as well.” To my surprise, I felt extremely assured after I had such a prayer. I then made a decision: I will personally go into the “tiger’s den” to bring the whole thing to light and see whether ‘the Eastern Lightning’ is the true way and whether it is God’s work.
Before long, I pretended to accept what they preached, and joined “the Eastern Lightning.” When I attended a meeting in their church, I was shocked at what I saw. It was completely different from what I had imagined that they were “promiscuous” and “filthy and dirty,” as different as heaven from earth. I saw that they behaved properly. They read God’s words and spoke out freely their knowledge of them based on their states. Furthermore, they focused on knowing their own corruptions and deficiencies and fellowshipped with one another about God’s intention and love for man. They sang and danced to praise God, each released and free. Seeing all these, I was delighted in my heart. “Is this their meeting? Isn’t this the scene we have desired and thirsted for a long time?” I could hardly believe my eyes. As I had more contact with them, my misunderstandings about and resistance against “the Eastern Lightning” gradually faded away. In order to preach God’s end-time work to the brothers and sisters, they braved hardships or tiredness and endured the rejections, slanders, and even beatings from the people of various sects and denominations. Sometimes, after they came back, they also felt passive and sad because of the weakness of their flesh, but because of God’s love and God’s anxious heart, they became strong again, neither discouraged nor disappointed. And they encouraged one another and fellowshipped about their mistakes and deficiencies with one another. Besides, they often came before God and prayed with weeping and tears for those who refused to accept the Almighty God, asking God to inspire them and not to punish them. They did so time and time again until they brought them before God. Actually, all the sufferings and humiliations they endured were to satisfy God and to carry out the will of God. I was moved somewhat by that, yet my craftiness made me still unable to believe them easily. I thought, “Who knows how they will treat a person who withdraws midway? Maybe they won’t be so ‘kind’!” So I carried out my second plan—withdrawing midway and finding out the truth of the matter.
The fact was utterly contrary to my expectation. As soon as I stopped attending their meeting, they came to my home one after another and asked me with deep concern, “Is it because you have a prejudice against someone? Or because what we fellowshipped about is too high for you to accept or understand? Or because there is any difficulty in your family? If you are not clear about the vision—the three-stage work, we can fellowship with you again. …” Their caring words made me not know what to do, but I was adamant. Again and again, they continued to visit me, fellowship with me patiently, read God’s word to me, and sincerely pray before God for me. They even took the trouble to fellowship about God’s work with me from first to last. … All of these were striking my numb spirit and softening my hardened heart. Finally, my last “line of defense” collapsed! I shed remorseful tears for their love without complaint or regret, for God’s kind intention in saving me, and for my extreme unworthiness. With my eyes bedimmed with tears, I felt that God was leading me and waiting for me. I could no longer control myself but fell face down to the ground and wept bitterly. I hated myself for being blind and foolish. I hated myself for being arrogant and disobedient. I hated myself for what I had said and done to resist and abuse God haughtily. I hated myself even more for my heartless evil deeds of frenziedly sealing the churches. “O God! How can I redeem the monstrous sins that I have committed? …”
Only then did I know that I was absolutely an embodiment of satan and the foremost of sinners who resisted God’s work. The one who should be cursed and put into deepest hell was not others but me. The lake of fire and brimstone should be my destination. As one who believed in God yet frenziedly resisted God, what virtue did I have that I received such an uplifting from God? God not only did not remember my transgressions or punish me, but gave me the opportunity to be saved. I deeply felt that I was extremely unworthy. The tolerance of the Almighty God was as boundless as the sea and sky. It was the Almighty God’s limitless and measureless love that had come upon me. For that, I would do my utmost to repay God’s love and let all the brothers and sisters who were living under satan’s authority and who were deceived and used by it, know the truth of the matter and know how great the salvation of the Almighty God was.
When I, full of enthusiasm and confidence, came to the homes of the brothers and sisters who had been very close to me and who had shared hardships with me, what I saw made me disgraced and grieved. On hearing that I came to preach the Almighty God, they shouted loudly, “You apostate! How can you have the face to come to preach? It’s you who told us not to listen at that time, but now you ask us to listen. Probably you are bribed to deceive us.” Then they pushed me out of the door without giving me a chance to explain. From then on, they even did not let me in.
From them, I see the me of yesterday, and I am extremely ashamed. Faced with their attitude, I do not complain because I deserve it; I do not feel discouraged because God’s love is encouraging me; I do not feel disappointed because I have seen God’s grace of salvation on me. I only sincerely call on those so-called “faithful” “servants” of Jesus and brothers and sisters to wake up quickly! Don’t accumulate the evidence of your sins for God’s judgment anymore. Don’t accumulate God’s wrath for your tomorrow anymore. This is because when that day comes, the great and awesome Almighty God will judge all nations and all peoples. No one can hinder it and no one can do it in his stead! At that time, nothing can be changed even if you are heartbroken with regret. Believe! Repent! Open the door!