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Gospel Reader

Never Again Will I Delimit God’s Gender

38

By Xinming, United States

In September 2015, I came to the US to study. Before I had even been in the US a month, a sister preached to me the Lord Jesus’ gospel and, being curious about western religions, I went to church and began attending meetings every Sunday. After I started believing in the Lord, I began to study how to become a true Christian, and I gradually withdrew from the life of drinking and reveling with my fellow classmates in bars. Instead, I would read the Bible in my dorm and attend meetings on weekends, and my heart felt filled with peace and joy.

The Words of the Pastor Were Planted Deep in My Heart

One evening, I saw that a deacon from my church had posted a notice in our WeChat group: “Everyone must beware of Eastern Lightning. If you come across anyone suspicious, you must report them to the church!” I thought to myself, “I will cause myself a lot of trouble if I go astray in my belief in the Lord. I must be careful. But what kind of church is Eastern Lightning exactly?” Out of curiosity, I searched for Eastern Lightning online, and read many views given by pastors and elders from many different denominations condemning Eastern Lightning. I saw a religious website that says: “Eastern Lightning testifies that the Lord Jesus has returned, and that in the last days He has incarnated to appear and work, and as a female. This is not possible!” Then I thought to myself, “The Lord Jesus incarnated as a man, and in the last days when He returns, He must also be a man. And yet Eastern Lightning testifies that God incarnate of the last days is a woman. How could this be possible? I must definitely be careful and guard against them, and I must absolutely not have any contact with them.” Then, I thought of the pastors and elders who knew the Bible well, and who had mature statures. I felt that I should go to church often to attend meetings and listen to pastors and elders’ preaching since I was of small stature and there were many things I could not discern. In this way, I would not go astray.

My Church Was Desolate, I Felt Lost and Helpless

Never Again Will I Delimit God’s Gender

I gradually found that the sermons of the pastors were always the same old stuff, always talking about biblical knowledge and theological theory, without any new light whatsoever. My brothers’ and sisters’ spiritual life as well as my own was not being supplied at all by listening to their sermons, and we had no idea how to practice to be in accordance with the Lord’s teachings when things happened to us. In addition, I realized that many believers did not go to church to attend meetings in order to worship God, but instead they each had their own individual aims. Some exploited connections to sell their products, some were looking for business partners, and some came to find a husband or wife. One brother actually tried to peddle his family’s wares to me at a meeting. In order to attract Christians back to the church to worship, some pastors and elders organized an event named the “Food Blessing Fellowship.” They said it was to share the Lord’s love, but in reality, it was just everyone eating, drinking and being merry. They also organized a singles mixer, which was basically a blind date event. What I found even more inconceivable was that, in order to encourage young believers to attend meetings, the church promised to give each person who persistently attended meetings till the year’s end an iPhone. Seeing that my church was in total chaos, so depraved, and was engaging in more and more wicked actions, I was at a loss to express how I felt. I thought: “By doing these things, aren’t the pastors and elders making the church just like society? Is this how the church worships the Lord, by using all manner of physical pleasures to attract people into the church? It is just like the temple in the Bible that became a den of thieves—the Lord is simply not present!” I felt very distressed, confused, and helpless. I didn’t know why my church had become like this.

I wanted to go out and find a church with the Holy Spirit’s work, but because I was worried that I would go astray, I went online and found some sermons by prestigious pastors, and I bought many spiritual books. But even after I’d watched these sermons and read these books, my spirit still felt parched. I couldn’t feel the peace and joy that come from the Lord, and I felt very distressed. I didn’t know how I was to follow the path of belief in God that lay ahead of me. And so, I chose to fast in order to obtain the Lord’s guidance and to be in the Lord’s presence.

I Found the Reason for My Church’s Desolation

Thanks be to God that He heard my prayers and, on the third day of fasting, I made the acquaintance of several brothers and sisters. As we talked, I told them of the situation in my church and of my current spiritual condition, and Brother Lu said, “These phenomena you mention are widespread problems throughout the religious world. Have we ever wondered why the religious world has become like this? Think back to the Age of Law when the temple had the glory of Jehovah God. At that time, if believers committed a sin, they would be disciplined or punished by Jehovah God. For example, when Uzziah went into the temple to burn incense on the altar, the priest told him to leave. But Uzziah became angry at the priest, and immediately he was stricken on the brow with leprosy. By the time the Age of Law was at its end, the temple that had been filled with God’s glory had become a place of trade, and a den of thieves where money was exchanged without anyone being disciplined by the Holy Spirit. Why was this so? In fact, one of the reasons was because the Jewish leaders who served God in the temple did not possess God-fearing hearts. They forsook God’s commandments, only clinging to the traditions of man that had been passed down through the generations. They didn’t abide by Jehovah God’s law and strayed wholly from God’s way, and thus they were detested, rejected, and cursed by God. Another reason was because God had incarnated in the form of the Lord Jesus to do the work of redemption of the Age of Grace. Accordingly, the Holy Spirit’s work changed, and the Holy Spirit began to uphold the Lord Jesus’ work, and no longer worked in the temple. Only those who accepted the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption had the work of the Holy Spirit and could enjoy being watered and supplied by the Lord’s words, and they came to have a new path of practice. Those who still stayed in the temple and who rejected and opposed the work of the Lord Jesus because they clung to the Scriptures, however, lost the work of the Holy Spirit and were eliminated by God’s new work, thus falling into darkness and desolation. Now, the last days are already here, the religious world has become desolate, and more and more wicked deeds are being committed. This is exactly what happened to the temple at the end of the Age of Law that lost the work of the Holy Spirit. This is mainly because most of the pastors and elders in the religious world don’t keep the Lord’s commandments and don’t practice the Lord’s words. They don’t bear witness to the Lord or exalt the Lord at all, nor do they lead the believers to understand the Lord’s words, will and requirements. They only focus on expounding biblical knowledge to show themselves off, to make believers idolize them and look up to them, and to bring people before themselves. Although the pastors and elders know full well that the church has become desolate and without the Lord’s presence, they don’t seek the Lord’s will or lead the believers to search for the footsteps of the Holy Spirit’s work. Instead, they organize events like singles mixers, dinner parties, or trips and outings, leading believers onto the worldly path and straying wholly from the Lord’s way. All they care about is maintaining their positions and livelihood, paying no attention to brothers’ and sister’ spiritual life at all. The churches have become a place for religious activities, they have long lost the work of the Holy Spirit and they are detested, rejected, and eliminated by God. Another reason is that God is performing a new work in the last days, and the work of the Holy Spirit has now shifted. The Lord Jesus said, ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come’ (John 16:12–13). And it says in 1 Peter 4:17, ‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.’ The Lord Jesus has returned in the last days to express the truth and to perform the work of judgment beginning with the house of God. He expresses His words to save and change people, allowing us to break free from the bonds of sin and receive God’s full salvation. Only if we accept God’s work of judgment in the last days can we obtain the work of the Holy Spirit and enjoy the provision and watering of the living water of life….” When I heard the brother say that the Lord Jesus had returned, I was dumbfounded and surprised. But after careful contemplation, I felt that his fellowship had a biblical basis, and that it was also in line with the Lord’s words. He had clearly explained the reason why the church was now without the work of the Holy Spirit—the church was indeed exactly like the temple was at the end of the Age of Law! I thought: “Could it be that the Lord really has returned and is performing the work of judgment?” I felt a little confused, but after some consideration, I decided to continue to have meetings and fellowship with Brother Lu.

My Notions Are Shaken—To Carry on Investigating Is to Be Wise

Brother Lu then gave us fellowship on the way in which the Lord Jesus has returned in the last days: “During the Age of Law, God used His Spirit to guide man’s life, and during the Age of Grace, He incarnated to perform His work to redeem mankind. In the last days, God has incarnated again as the Son of man to appear and work. This completely fulfills the prophecies of the Lord Jesus, ‘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’ (Luke 17:24–25). ‘For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son’ (John 5:22). When the ‘Son’ or the ‘Son of man’ is mentioned, it refers to God’s incarnation. God changed His form when He returned incarnate in the last days. No matter how God works, or what form He works in, it is always based on the needs of mankind and on the needs of God’s work, and it is all done to save mankind.” Hearing this, I couldn’t help but ponder, “Would God change His form when He returns? Could it be that Brother Lu is saying that the incarnated Christ is a woman? How could this be possible? Could it be that Brother Lu believes in Eastern Lightning?” At this moment, Brother Lu spoke again, “No matter what form God takes to perform His work, it is always connected to His management work. We must all seek with humble hearts. Even if it doesn’t fit with our own notions, we must first put aside our notions and seek the truth and we should not delimit God by relying on our own notions, lest we repeat the mistake of the Pharisees and resist God.” After hearing what he said, I felt very much in agreement, and I became less suspicious and guarded against Brother Lu. I thought, “Yes. Welcoming the Lord’s return is a big thing. I must not rely on my own notions or imaginings and treat it however I please, but instead I must keep an open mind and seek the truth.” Because the time had gotten very late, we ended the meeting.

After the meeting was over, I took the information Brother Lu had fellowshiped with me and conducted an online search, and I ended up clicking on The Church of Almighty God’s website—the Gospel of the Descent of Kingdom, and I saw the book The Word Appears in the Flesh. I felt uneasy and I thought, “So it turns out that Brother Lu is a believer in Eastern Lightning. Though everything he’d fellowshiped about was great and contained the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, The Church of Almighty God testifies that God has incarnated as a woman, and I still can’t entirely accept it. The Lord Jesus Christ was a man, so shouldn’t the returned Lord also be a man? How could He possibly be a woman?” Just then, I thought of a passage of God’s words that Brother Lu had read for me: “To study such a thing is not difficult, but requires each of us to know this truth: He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the substance of God, and He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He must do, and since God becomes flesh, He shall express what He is, and shall be able to bring the truth to man, bestow life upon man, and show man the way. Flesh that does not contain the substance of God is surely not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt. To investigate whether it is God’s incarnate flesh, man must determine this from the disposition He expresses and the words He speaks. Which is to say, whether or not it is God’s incarnate flesh, and whether or not it is the true way, must be judged from His substance. And so, in determining[a] whether it is the flesh of God incarnate, the key is to pay attention to His substance (His work, His words, His disposition, and many more), rather than external appearance” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). “That’s right,” I thought. “God is the truth, the way and the life. God’s incarnate flesh can definitely express the truth, show us the way to practice, and solve our practical problems and difficulties.” When the Lord Jesus came in the flesh to carry out His work, for example, He spread the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, taught people to love others as they love themselves, to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind, to forgive others seventy times seven times, to love their enemies, and so on. As long as people practiced according to the Lord’s teachings, they would have principles with issues they encountered, and their confusion and difficulties in life would also be resolved. Those disciples who followed the Lord Jesus, like Peter, John, Nathanael, and so on, followed the Lord Jesus only after hearing the Lord’s preaching and becoming certain that what He expressed was the truth. Therefore, to determine whether or not this person was God incarnate, what was most important was to see whether or not He could express the truth and express what God has and is, and whether or not He could provide for people’s lives and show people the way to practice, instead of only focusing on His outer appearance. Only this would be in accordance with the truth. It seemed that I shouldn’t blindly get my guard up and not take the initiative to seek and investigate. If I missed the opportunity to welcome the Lord’s return, I would be eliminated by the Lord like the foolish virgins. Afterward, I frequently prayed to the Lord and asked Him to guide and lead me. After seeking and contemplating for some time, I decided to continue having meetings with Brother Lu.

Footnotes:

a. The original text reads “as for.”

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