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Gospel Reader

How I Nearly Became a Foolish Virgin

184

Li Fang, China

In the fall of 2002, Sister Zhao from my denomination, the Church of Truth, brought her niece, Sister Wang, to my home to tell me some great news that the Lord has come back. After a few days of reading the words of Almighty God and listening to the sister’s detailed fellowship, I understood that from the creation of the world until now God has performed three stages of work in order to save mankind. Other truths that I also came to know were God’s adoption of a different name during each stage of the work, the significance of God’s name for each age, and the mystery of God’s incarnation, etc. These truths really allowed me to open my eyes wide and see my fill. I said to myself: “It all sounds crystal clear, and Almighty God very probably is the returned Lord Jesus so I’d better make sure I grasp this chance and read more of Almighty God’s words.” Before leaving, Sister Wang left some books of God’s words for me. Whenever I had time during the day, I read God’s words. The more I read the more I loved reading them and the more I felt that they were the words of God. After three days I became anxious. I thought: “My son, who is also a believer, and many brothers and sisters in our church still don’t know this great news about the return of the Lord. I’d better hurry up and tell them.”

How I Nearly Became a Foolish Virgin

The next day early in the morning I went to my son’s home. I said happily to him: “This is such a great book. You should read it as soon as possible.” My son glanced at me and asked: “What book? You seem pretty delighted. Just put it down there and I’ll take a look at it when I have time.” I thought that as all believers were looking forward to the Lord’s return my son would be happy to learn that the Lord has already returned.

I would never in a million years have imagined, however, that three days later my son would show up at my home in the company of six religious figures. One of them was Pastor Xia from my denomination, and the others were pastors and preachers from my son’s denomination. I was a bit stunned to see them, as I couldn’t figure out what was up and why so many people had come to see me. A pastor surnamed Li looked closely at me for a moment and with a look of concern on his face he said: “Auntie, we’re all believers in the Lord, one big family. Your son tells me that someone has given you a book, but you really shouldn’t read it. Now it’s the last days, and the Lord Jesus said: ‘Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect’ (Mat 24:23-24). We believe that these words of the Lord Jesus mean that anyone who says that the Lord has returned is a fraudster who we must guard against and refuse to listen to. Right now in the whole religious world there is only Eastern Lightning that is publicly bearing witness to the Lord’s return, so, whatever you do, don’t have anything to do with them. Don’t read any of Eastern Lightning’s books either. Their way is different from our faith, so don’t listen to them. You don’t understand the Bible very well, and you have small stature, so you’re easily deceived. We’ve been preaching for many years and we understand the Bible well. We’ve travelled all over China and we’ve seen a lot and our life is bigger. We’ve come today specially to rescue you, so you’ve got to believe us and not try to have it your own way.” When I heard this I thought to myself: “This pastor seems to be concerned about me and what he said isn’t wrong. I’m old and not very well educated, and I don’t understand the Bible that well. I certainly can’t discern as well as they do.” At this point Pastor Xia said: “I’m a pastor, and the Lord has given me His flock to manage. So it’s my responsibility to make sure that you don’t stray from the true way. If I don’t look after the Lord’s flock I won’t be able to settle my account with the Lord. Sister, don’t run around to other groups like this. If you get stolen from us by Eastern Lightning then all these years that you’ve believed in the Lord will be wasted!” Looking at their tense faces and hearing the serious tone in which they were talking to me made me feel a bit frightened. I thought: “That’s right. If I start believing wrongly then won’t all those years of faith be wasted?” But then I thought: “The words in that book seemed so good, so right. These pastors and preachers haven’t read the words of Almighty God, so how could they say that it isn’t a true way?” So I said to them: “The way you put it makes it seem like that really is the case but what I heard from them completely matches the words of the Lord in the Bible!” When they heard me say that they all started talking at once, saying so many things to scare me that I became dizzy and confused and experienced a lot of emotional turmoil. I sat there like an idiot, unable to say a single thing. Then they wanted me to pray with them and utter some curses, but I didn’t go along with it so they started to terrorize me again. Finally, my son said: “Let me deal with this matter of my mom’s.” Then he took the two hymn books named “Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs” and the cassette tapes of hymns as well as a book of God’s words named “Judgment Beginning With the House of God” from the cupboard and gave them to the pastor to take away.

After they left I was so upset that I couldn’t even eat my dinner, so I came before the Lord and prayed: “Lord Jesus, is what those pastors said true or not? It seems like they’re really concerned for my life. If I don’t listen to them, will I put my faith in the wrong place? Oh Lord, if You really have returned as Almighty God and I don’t accept You then wouldn’t I be closing the door on You? Wouldn’t I just be like one of the foolish virgins? Oh Lord, through reading the words of Almighty God these last few days I feel that I’ve gained a lot of spiritual supply. I’ve truly and honestly felt this, but could I be wrong? Now that they’ve taken away my books and my cassette tapes of hymns I feel really sad. Please show me the way as I don’t know what to do….” After praying I suddenly remembered that Sister Wang had given me another book of Almighty God’s words and I hid it deep inside the cupboard. When I realized that I still had this book I felt a little bit better. But then I thought about what those pastors had said, and I was still at a loss about what to do. Should I read that book or not? That night, I hardly slept at all, my mind in turmoil. Again and again I prayed to God in tears …

Early the next day my son came to take me to my former church meeting. I was very much undecided, but my son dragged me down to the meeting place and even told a preacher that I’d nearly been stolen by Eastern Lightning and he asked her to do her best to persuade me to stay. In an instant, the preacher and all of the brothers and sisters surrounded me. The preacher took hold of my hand, and in a gentle voice said: “Auntie, whatever you do, don’t listen to anyone else preaching. If you start believing wrongly, when the Lord comes to rapture the congregations then you’ll be left behind, won’t you? You have small stature, so if anyone gives you any kind of book to read it would be better for you to ask us first. Let us check on it for you….” The brothers and sisters were also all very keen to persuade me to stay, and I was moved to tears by their “love.” When they saw how moved I was they made their point once more: “If anyone from Eastern Lightning comes to visit you again, don’t let them in. Don’t have anything to do with them!” I nodded in agreement.

It was only a few days later that Sister Wang came to see me again. I told her: “The pastor read this passage from the Bible to me: ‘Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect’ (Mat 24:23-24). In the last days false Christs shall appear and anyone who says that the Lord has returned is a fraudster. I don’t understand the Bible, and my stature is small, so I’m easily misled. I don’t dare to listen to any other messages, so I’m not going to let you in. Don’t come again.” With great sincerity Sister Wang said: “The Lord Jesus said this to ensure that we would guard against false Christs during the last days but He didn’t intend for us to also turn our backs on Christ. If there are false Christs it’s because the real Christ has already appeared, because without the real Christ the imposters have nothing to imitate. Those words of the Lord Jesus tell us that we have to learn to discern; they aren’t saying that we should refuse to listen to the gospel of the Lord’s return just because false Christs will appear during the last days. Otherwise, how will we be able to welcome the Lord’s return? Actually, the Lord Jesus has already clearly described the characteristics of false Christs. The main ones include manifesting signs, performing miracles, healing the sick and exorcising demons, and copying the work that the Lord Jesus had already done in order to deceive people. So during the last days anyone who impersonates the Lord Jesus to preach the way of repentance and who can manifest a few simple signs or heal the sick and exorcise demons is a false Christ. Almighty God, who is the Lord Jesus returned in the flesh in the last days, doesn’t repeat the work that the Lord Jesus had already done but does new work on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption. Almighty God has ended the Age of Grace and has opened the Age of Kingdom by expressing truths to do a stage of work of judging and cleansing mankind. Almighty God will thoroughly save all those people who have been redeemed but still live in sin by removing the shackles of their sinful nature and taking them away from Satan’s dark influence. Mankind will thus be taken to their wonderful final destination. Only God Himself can do this work; none of the false Christs can.” Although what the sister was saying seemed reasonable, the things that the pastors had told me were still swirling around in my head. My mind was agitated and unable to focus and I didn’t want to hear any more of her fellowship. So I told her that I had something to do next door, which was a lie, in order to get away from her. Sister Wang came back to my home many times after that but I always avoided her. My neighbor told me: “She doesn’t look like a bad person so what are you afraid of?” In my heart I knew that Sister Wang was a good person, but as I was of small stature I was afraid of getting my faith wrong.

After I returned to the meeting of my former church I heard the preachers still saying things in the sermon that they’d said before. They always talked about how to guard against Eastern Lightning, or donating to the church, or they repeated a lot of boring old stuff about how much they had worked and suffered for the Lord and how much God’s grace they had obtained…. They could not even say a little bit of something fresh and bright. I quickly grew fed up of listening to them, and started to doze off. On another occasion, a brother from another church came to give a sermon, but it was more of the same stuff about how he’d walked across mountains to do the Lord’s work and how much he’d suffered, how many people he’d converted through spreading the gospel and how many churches he’d set up. He used the sermon to blow his own trumpet. Listening to him made me feel very uncomfortable, and I came to the opinion that he wasn’t bearing witness for the Lord but just bearing witness for himself. On another day, I’d just arrived at the meeting place when one of the sisters said to me: “Today we’ve got a 20-something female theology student giving the sermon.” I was very happy to hear that and told myself that I was going to pay special attention because she would definitely give a better sermon than our preachers did. But the student started her sermon with how to guard against Eastern Lightning, and then went on to talk about how she’d given up her regular studies at the age of 16 to enter the seminary to study theology, how she’d worked and suffered outdoors in spite of the rain, how many places she’d been to…. The more I heard, the more fed up I got. I thought to myself: “This is all just old wine in new bottles! Why do they keep on trotting out the same old boring stuff? None of this has got anything to do with their experience or knowledge of the Lord’s words, nor is it leading us in following the Lord’s way or practicing and entering into His words.” I’d already been back at the meetings for over a month but I hadn’t gained anything from them. The more I listened to these messages, the drier I felt in my spirit, and I thought that I would die of spiritual thirst if I carried on believing like this. The more I thought about it, the more upset I got.

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