By Muyi, South Korea
“God’s love overflowing is freely given to man, God’s love is around him. Man, innocent and pure, without a care to tie him down, lives in bliss in the eyes of God. … If you are a person of conscience and with humanity, you will feel warm, being cared for and loved, you will feel blessed with happiness” (“How Important God’s Love for Man Is” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). Every time I start to sing this hymn of the word of God, it’s hard to keep down the emotions stirring inside me. That is because I was once far astray from God and went against Him. I was like a lost sheep, unable to find the road home, and it was God’s steadfast love that led me to return home. In what follows, I wish to share my experience of returning to God’s house with both those brothers and sisters who are part of the Lord as well as those friends who have not yet turned to God.
Because my mother and father were always fighting, I was living my life in fear every day. I felt that I had no purpose in my life, but I was also afraid of dying. I didn’t know why people were born and die, but I also intangibly felt there was a pair of hands pulling the strings of my life.
After I graduated from high school, my mother began to believe in the Lord Jesus at the urging of a neighbor, and I followed her into the church. From that time on, I knew that God is the Lord of all created beings, and that to redeem mankind from sin, the incarnate God Himself was crucified on the cross to become a sin offering for man. How great is God’s love for man! With the inspiration of the love of the Lord, I resolved to believe in the Lord in earnest and to recompense the Lord for His love. Because of this, I had direction and purpose. After that, I frequently attended gatherings, read the Scriptures, and gave praise to the Lord. I began to become happy. Especially when I saw in the Bible that it said that in the last days the Lord would come again upon a cloud and welcome us into the kingdom of heaven, my heart was filled even more with hope. On top of that, the pastor often explained the scripture to us at gatherings: “You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). I was even more convinced that the Lord Jesus would descend upon a white cloud to welcome us into the heavenly home!
In 2005 I met a Korean boyfriend and followed him to Korea. Because of the language barrier, I never found a church of Chinese expatriates, so my spirit grew weaker. Without knowing it, I grew distant from God. Once we got married, there was no way we could continue living together because the cultural difference was too great, so we got divorced after not too long. The setback in my marriage was a great shock to me spiritually, which was quite painful. On top of being in a foreign land without any friends or family, I felt even more all alone. All I could do was pray silently to God and relate my internal suffering to Him. I sought for God to guide me to a Chinese church and return to the house of God.
A year later I found a religious service for Chinese in a Presbyterian church, and at the time I was extremely happy. Finally, I was able once again to give praise to God in church. But what disappointed me was that whenever we held a gathering the pastor would just read passages of scriptures to us and explain a little to us about the literal meaning. It was totally devoid of any light or anything to enjoy. It didn’t supply anything at all for our lives, and the gatherings just started to be a way of going through the motions. There were people whispering to each other at gatherings, some people playing games on their cell phones, some sleeping, some looking for girlfriends or boyfriends, and there were even some people putting their arms around each other. I thought: “The church is a temple, a place to revere God. We come here, but come without hearts that are reverent to God, and God has to be looking upon us with contempt! Wouldn’t the Lord abandon a place as sordid as this?” But the pastors and preachers acted like they didn’t notice at all and paid no attention.
Living in this huge dyeing vat of evil that is the world, I gradually began to become immoral, and would often go out drinking with friends in my free time, never seeing so much as the shadow of anyone who believed in God. However, whenever my heart grew especially distant from the Lord, the words of God would appear in my mind: “When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, he walks through dry places, seeking rest, and finds none. Then he said, I will return into my house from where I came out; and when he is come, he finds it empty, swept, and garnished. Then goes he, and takes with himself seven other spirits more wicked than himself, and they enter in and dwell there: and the last state of that man is worse than the first” (Matthew 12:43–45). The Lord’s words restrained and guarded me, and stopped me from daring to get too far away from God or doing anything too extreme, out of fear that I would anger the Lord and meet with God’s anger. I was afraid to be abandoned by the Lord and to fall into the hands of the unclean spirit.
At Christmas in 2016, to raise the church’s spirit, the church got a group of talented artists to put on a show. There was a sister whom I had never seen before who sang to us a song in praise of God: “The scene painted in the Bible ‘God’s command to Adam’ is both touching and heartwarming. Although the picture contains only God and man, the relationship between the two is so intimate we start to feel wonder, wonder and admiration. God’s love overflowing is freely given to man, God’s love is around him. Man, innocent and pure, without a care to tie him down, lives in bliss in the eyes of God. God takes care of man, and man lives under His wings. All that man does, all his words and deeds, are bound up with God, can’t be apart. From the first moment God created the human race, God had them in His charge. What kind of charge is that? It’s for Him to protect man and to watch over man. He hopes for man to trust in, to trust in and obey His words. This was the first thing God expected of the human race. … Is there love in His heart? Isn’t there care and concern? God’s love and care is something that can be both felt and sensed. If you are a person of conscience and with humanity, you will feel warm, being cared for and loved, you will feel blessed with happiness. When you feel these things, how will you act towards God? Will you cleave to Him? Will reverential love, will reverential love not grow in your heart? Will your heart draw close to Him? From this we see, how important God’s love for man is. But even more important than this is that man can feel and comprehend God’s love” (“How Important God’s Love for Man Is” in Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs).
With each word of the hymn, my heart began to get more and more excited and my tears of emotion would not stop running. I felt I was in a beautiful picture accompanied by God, enjoying God’s love and all the things He bestowed upon creation. The air, light, and water alike were all brimming with God’s love! Enjoying everything that God has bestowed upon us but I had grown distant from God, and how saddened God must be by this. I especially felt that the words “If you are a person of conscience and with humanity, you will feel warm, being cared for and loved, you will feel blessed with happiness” were God calling out to my heart and spirit. In 2007, when my husband and I decided that we could no longer live together and I had no place to call home, God arranged a female emigrants’ safehouse for me. They provided food and housing for me there and found me a lawyer. They took care of the legal proceedings for me at no cost. When it was time for me to apply for naturalization, God moved a minister from the Presbyterian church to serve as my sponsor. Normally, Koreans won’t agree to vouch for someone, especially since I was a foreigner as well as the fact that I had only gone to that particular church three or four times. I knew this was all made possible through the hidden help of God. There was also the fact that foreigners applying for naturalization have to have 30,000,000 won in fixed assets, but I didn’t even have 3,000,000. The Immigration Office asked me to provide proof of employment to demonstrate that I was able to provide for myself, and they didn’t make it difficult for me at all…. God always produced miracles for me when I was most in need. This is God’s sovereignty! God’s love is vast and deep, but I was too rebellious. I had forgotten God and broken His heart. This hymn touched my spirit, and I determined to regain my faith and never again descend to the state of doing harm to God.
On February 19, 2017, because my head and eyes were in pain, I went to the hospital but they couldn’t treat what I had. Sister Li, who was in our church, introduced me to one of her friends who knew Chinese traditional medicine and said that the treatment takes a course of only one week to be effective. I went along with her to get treated. That day we met a brother named Jin, who was a friend of the one who knew Chinese medicine. I did not expect that I would meet a brother in the Lord, and I thought it must have been arranged by God. I got to talking about the Bible with Brother Jin. Brother Jin read to us the parable of the ten virgins from the Bible. He asked me, “Sister, are you looking forward to the Lord’s return?” I said, “Of course!” The brother said, “Then how will the Lord return?” I said without hesitation: “The scripture says He will descend on a cloud!” The brother said: “You know what? The Lord has already returned.” I was startled to hear that, and said: “Mark chapter 13 verse 32 says: ‘But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father.’ No one knows when the Lord will come. If you’re saying that the Lord has returned, how could you know?” Brother Jin didn’t give me a straight answer but found some passages in the Bible about the Lord’s return. Luke 12:40 says: “Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you think not.” Luke 17:24–26 says: “For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation. And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” Revelation 3:20 says: “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” John 10:27 says: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.”
Once he was done reading, Brother Jin said: “The Lord asks us to be awake and waiting because no one knows the day on which He will come. But according to what the prophecy says, when the Lord comes again it will be in the form of the Son of man. The ‘Son of man’ is God become man, which means the incarnate God. Even though we don’t know the exact time the Lord will come, we will know Him by God’s voice because the sheep of God hear God’s voice, and when they hear it, they follow Him….” I thought then about my pastor who had said that any testimony that said the Lord Jesus had returned in the flesh was false. I could no longer listen to what Brother Jin was saying, so I sent a text message to the pastor: “Someone is telling me that the Lord has returned incarnate. What kind of church do they belong to?” The pastor said, “They are from Eastern Lightning.” He wanted me to leave right away and not to have any contact with them again. He also wanted me never to read their books, and went on to send me some lectures on how to guard against heresy. I thought that whatever the pastor said must be correct. I decided not to listen to what they fellowshiped ever again and not to pay any attention to them.
Who would have known that on the afternoon of the 20th, Brother Jin and his sister would come to the place where I was getting treatment and tell me so much about the work of the Lord’s return. However, because that morning I had just received news of my mother’s passing, as well as having some doubts about what they were saying, I just couldn’t listen to anything they said. This went on for three days, and it seemed like Brother Jin never gave up spreading the gospel to me. But because of my inward turmoil, I told him to get lost. I said, “Let it go. If you keep talking to me, then if you don’t go, I will!” Brother Jin saw that I really wasn’t listening and had no choice but to leave. I thought he wouldn’t be back around. I didn’t expect that the next day Brother Jin would bring someone named Brother Cheng along with him and continue to preach the gospel to me. I thought to myself: “How could he still not be finished?” To save face, it was better for me just to deal with it, but I didn’t take the initiative to talk with them. Although I didn’t care too much, Brother Cheng kept patiently talking to me. He said: “The Lord has already come incarnate into the world to do the work of judgment and chastisement.” He also read to me a passage of God’s word: “It is My hope that the brothers and sisters who seek the appearance of God will not repeat the tragedy of history. You must not become the Pharisees of modern times and nail God to the cross again. You should carefully consider how to welcome the return of God, and should have a clear mind of how to be someone who submits to the truth. This is the responsibility of everyone who is waiting for Jesus to return with the clouds. We should rub our spiritual eyes, and not fall prey to the words full of flights of fancy. We should think about the practical work of God, and should take a look at the real side of God. Do not get carried away or lose yourselves in daydreams, always looking forward to the day that the Lord Jesus suddenly descends among you on a cloud to take you who have never known Him or seen Him, and do not know how to do His will. It is better to think upon practical matters!” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). Even though I hadn’t heard much of the word of God, I took note of the patience and kindness he had in speaking with me, and that he didn’t mind going to all the trouble. I thought, “The people in our church are weak. Their faith and love have grown cold. Why is it that the faith and love of people who believe in Eastern Lightning is so great? What power is it that supports them in persevering with their efforts in spreading the gospel to me? If it weren’t for the work of the Holy Spirit, it’s impossible for this to be done through reliance on human strength alone!”
In this period, there was another brother named Yang who also investigated Almighty God’s work in the last days together with me. I had always had a careless and absent-minded attitude, but Brother Yang was earnest in his studies. Brother Yang said that he had rejected the gospel of Almighty God when people had preached it to him before but that hearing it again today must be an opportunity granted by God! He wanted to investigate it. Brother Yang saw that I was only interested in listening to the pastor’s words and not investigating with an open mind. He found a passage for me, which was Matthew 5:3–6: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. … Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.” Reading the word of the Lord, I wondered: Why is it that I can’t seek tranquilly in the presence of the Lord? If the Lord were really to return by some chance, and I did not listen to Him or investigate it, would I not be left behind? I should also learn some humility, and I must not blindly come to conclusions based on my own imagination. Just when I had decided to settle my heart to investigate it sincerely, a missionary of the church gave me a call out of the blue and asked me if I were still with the people from The Church of Almighty God. I said that yes, the missionary again reminded me to cease contact with them. The missionary’s words dispelled the thought that I had just been wanting to investigate. I thought, “The pastor and missionary have a much better understanding of the Bible than I do, and none of them acknowledges that the Lord has returned. I had too little understanding of the Bible and had no ability to discriminate for myself, so I had better just listen to what the pastor and missionary were saying.” When I hung up the phone, I said to Brother Cheng: “If Brother Yang wants to investigate, then you two go on speaking. I don’t want to hear it.” Just like that, I had once again stiffly rejected the salvation of God.
I returned to work after a week of treatment. Due to my mother’s passing, my heart was full of sorrow and anguish and I could not stop thinking about her. Every day when I came home from work, I would look at a picture of my mother and speak with her. One day I suddenly remembered that I was a believer in God and that whenever I was going through a period of difficulty and weakness I could always tell these things to God. After that, whenever I encountered hardships I would come into the presence of the Lord and pray, asking the Lord to console me. But no matter how I prayed, I never felt moved within. Sometimes I would fall asleep while praying. I was living in anxiety every day so severe, even to the point that any sound I heard behind me caused me unspeakable terror. In that fear and helplessness, I prayed earnestly to the Lord: “Lord! My heart is full of darkness and I am trembling with fear. Could I have made a mistake somewhere? Lord! The past few days, people have been telling me that You have returned as Almighty God. Lord! If You really have returned and really are the Almighty God they told me about, I ask You to set up a time and prepare appropriate circumstances for Brother Yang to call me or send me a text message. When they come back, no matter what they say, I want to have a heart that accepts Your new work and words obediently and eagerly. If it is not Your work, and if the message they are preaching to me is false and deceptive, then please block their way and not let them come back ever again.”
Amazingly, after I prayed like this, God fulfilled exactly what I had prayed about. Brother Yang actually did call me, and I told him about everything that had been going on the last few days. Brother Yang said that my heart had been darkened because I had rejected God’s work in the last days and gone against Him. He hoped that I would continue to investigate, and this time I did not decline to.
Soon afterward, Brother Yang sent me a gospel movie. There was a line of dialogue in this movie that woke me up: “Since we believe in God we should listen to God, not people.” That’s right! It is God that I believe in, and God’s word I should listen to! But during that time when Brother Jin and Brother Cheng were telling me of God’s work in the last days, I kept asking the pastor about it. I complied with what the pastor and missionary said and did not want to investigate the new work of Almighty God or listen to God’s word. I believed in God but did not pray to or seek from God, instead blindly trusting the words of the pastor and missionary. How stupid could I have been? The Bible says: “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). I believed in the Lord but did not obey Him. Instead, I obeyed people, so had I not become someone who believes in and follows men? Isn’t this resisting and betraying the Lord? If Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned, and I went against and resisted Him like this, not accepting Almighty God, would I not be a blind fool? Would I not be shutting God out? With this in mind, I deeply repented in my heart and tears welled up in my eyes.
I again came into the presence of the Lord and prayed: “Lord Jesus Christ! Someone preached the gospel saying that You have already returned incarnate, and that You are Almighty God, Christ of the last days. I don’t dare to be certain of this, but I am willing to come into Your presence to seek for You to inspire me to be able to recognize Your voice. If You really have returned and are Almighty God, I want to repent to You and accept Your work and salvation. I ask You to lead me into Your presence.” After praying, I had a kind of joy and consolation that I could not put into words. It was something I had not felt in a long time, and I knew that the Lord had heard my prayers, that it was the Lord comforting me, and that it was proof given to me by God. I wanted to go right away to The Church of Almighty God but thought about how I had “committed an offense” against the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God. How could I dare to go to church?
Right in the middle of this dilemma, Brother Yang called me to ask if I had time and said that he hoped that I could continue to investigate the work of Almighty God in the last days. I told him about my misgivings. Brother Yang said: “No problem, we believers in God are all one family, and brothers and sisters in The Church of Almighty God won’t care about it.” When I heard Brother Yang’s words, I knew that this was God being understanding of my immature stature. The next day I went to The Church of Almighty God with Brother Yang.
The brothers and sisters were happy to see that I had found my way back to the path. They formally bore witness to me that the Lord Jesus had returned to express the truth to do the work of judgment in the last days starting from the house of God. They also fellowshiped to me the meaning of the incarnate God’s work in the last days as well as the importance of the incarnation to mankind’s salvation. After that, I read in the word of God: “I tell you, those who believe in God because of the signs are surely the category that shall suffer destruction. Those who are incapable of accepting the words of Jesus who has returned to flesh are surely the progeny of hell, the descendants of the archangel, the category that shall be subjected to everlasting destruction. Many people may not care what I say, but I still want to tell every so-called saint who follows Jesus that, when you see Jesus descend from the heaven upon a white cloud with your own eyes, this will be the public appearance of the Sun of righteousness. Perhaps that will be a time of great excitement for you, yet you should know that the time when you witness Jesus descend from the heaven is also the time when you go down to hell to be punished. It will herald the end of God’s management plan, and will be when God rewards the good and punishes the wicked. For the judgment of God will have ended before man sees signs, when there is only the expression of truth. Those who accept the truth and do not seek signs, and thus have been purified, shall have returned before the throne of God and entered the Creator’s embrace. Only those who persist in the belief that ‘The Jesus who does not ride upon a white cloud is a false Christ’ shall be subjected to everlasting punishment, for they only believe in the Jesus who exhibits signs, but do not acknowledge the Jesus who proclaims severe judgment and releases the true way of life. And so it can only be that Jesus deals with them when He openly returns upon a white cloud. They are too stubborn, too confident in themselves, too arrogant. How could such degenerates be rewarded by Jesus? The return of Jesus is a great salvation for those who are capable of accepting the truth, but for those who are unable to accept the truth it is a sign of condemnation. You should choose your own path, and should not blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and reject the truth. You should not be an ignorant and arrogant person, but someone who obeys the guidance of the Holy Spirit and longs for and seeks the truth; only in this way will you benefit” (“When You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus Will Be When God Has Made Anew Heaven and Earth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After reading the word of God, I again carefully thought back on the truths that my brothers and sisters had fellowshiped to me and to which they had born witness. I understood that there are two ways in which the Lord would return in the last days, one being the hidden advent and the other being a return known to all. Now, the incarnate Almighty God’s work of judgment, beginning in the house of God, is indeed the work of the Lord’s hidden advent. Because the incarnate God has returned among mankind, His appearance is that of an ordinary person and no one is able to tell that He is God. No one knows His true identity, and this is kept secret from people. Only those who are able to distinguish the voice of God will know, accept, and follow Him. It is just as the Lord Jesus said: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (John 10:27). Those who do not recognize the voice of God will certainly treat the incarnate God as an ordinary person. They will deny, resist, and refuse to follow God, just like the Jewish Pharisees did in their time. They saw the Lord Jesus but did not know His identity, and they blindly accused the Lord. The present time is the stage of God’s hidden work of saving mankind. Almighty God expresses the word to judge, purify, and perfect people. Before the disasters, He will make a group of overcomers, and after perfecting them into a group of overcomers, the incarnate God’s work of the hidden advent will come to an end. When the disasters begin, God will reward the good and punish the evil, and He will make Himself known to all nations and peoples. At that time, the prophecy that the Lord shall come openly will be fulfilled, just as it says in the Bible: “And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory” (Matthew 24:30). “Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him” (Revelation 1:7). This is the reason why when the Lord descends upon a cloud all the kindreds of the earth shall wail. At this time, my heart was suddenly brightened, and I saw that the Lord’s work of the hidden advent is a great salvation for us. We can only attain cleansing and salvation if we accept the judgment of the word of God during the Lord’s hidden advent. If we do not accept God’s work of judgment now, then when He comes upon the clouds and makes Himself known to all we will have become those who resisted God. We will be weeping and gnashing our teeth, and then our repentance will come too late because Almighty God says: “The judgment of God will have ended before man sees signs, when there is only the expression of truth.”
Thanks be to Almighty God! The word of God unveiled all the mysteries and clearly elucidated the truth in all its aspects. It opened my eyes and convinced me thoroughly. In the following days, I regularly went to church to share the word of God in the last days together with the brothers and sisters. We heard hymns and watched music videos, videos of recitations of the word of God, and gospel films produced by the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God. I felt that I gained something new every time and my heart was happy beyond compare. Especially in the gospel movies, the brothers and sisters focused on fellowshiping all the questions with such detail and clarity. All the doubts and confusion I had in believing in God for so many years were able to be resolved little by little. I saw that The Church of Almighty God really did have the truth and the work of the Holy Spirit, and that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus! What made me even more excited was that on the third day of coming to the church, I saw the sister who had performed onstage the song of praise at Christmas in 2016. She had also accepted the work of Almighty God in the last days. It is thanks to God for guiding and inspiring us to catch up with the footsteps of the Lamb, reaching the good land of Canaan from the wilderness, returning to the house of God, and directly enjoying the abundance and supply of God’s words of life!
I reflected that it was because of a special kindness from God that I was able to return to the house of God. Given my rebellious nature, how could I have welcomed the Lord’s return without God’s leadership and guidance or the patience of the brothers and sisters in fellowshiping the word of God to me? God’s love for me truly is great. It is impossible to describe! I want only to sing my praise to God through hymns and to unswervingly follow Almighty God!