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Gospel Reader

Catholic Beliefs: I Have Welcomed the Lord’s Return

55

By Amy, USA

“Meeting with the Lord is the greatest hope of all believers. By the grace of the Lord, I have welcomed the Lord’s return and I am full of gratitude to Him….” It’s nighttime, and the clear moonlight spills into the room through the window. Under the soft light of her lamp, Amy is quickly typing out her experience of welcoming the Lord’s return. Thinking of God’s love and salvation for her, Amy stands up and softly walks to the window and gazes out at the full moon, reminiscing on the past …

Desolation of the Church, Weakness and Confusion

Amy didn’t believe in the Lord until after she came to the United States for work. The first few years after gaining her faith, no matter how tired she was from work, every Sunday Amy would go to mass without fail and listen earnestly to the priests’ sermons. She felt the Lord’s love with her heart, and she and her church friends helped and supported each other, just like a family. But as time passed, Amy gradually discovered that the sermons were full of platitudes and over and over, it was the same biblical knowledge and theology with no new illumination. She had been a Catholic for a number of years, and aside from upholding some religious rules and ceremonies, she had no understanding of what the Lord’s will was or how to follow His word. She wasn’t receiving any sustenance for her spiritual life at all. When there was something she didn’t understand she didn’t dare consult with the priest because she had discovered that the only people they thought highly of and wanted to speak with were the ones who donated the most money or had status. The priests didn’t pay any attention to regular parishioners like her, much less answer questions for them. What was even more discouraging for Amy was that a priest actually had conflict with an old parishioner over a disagreement and even scolded him right in front of other parishioners. From then on that person stopped going to church. Amy saw that although the priests seemed godly from the outside, were always talking about spiritual principles, and often taught others to be humble and patient and follow the way of the Lord, in their actual lives their actions were entirely different. They were very hypocritical. She also discovered that the church was just like the world—the relationships between parishioners were based on their own benefit. They were really enthusiastic about using their connections to promote their products and do business, but otherwise, they were generally on guard with each other and really cold. She couldn’t feel the slightest bit of love. As she saw more and more of lawless aspects in the church, cold water was dumped over Amy’s initial enthusiasm and it gradually cooled.

Over time, Amy lost interest in going to church and when she did go, would sometimes become drowsy just like the others. This state of affairs did not change—Amy was very upset, feeling helpless and lost. She prayed to the Lord many times but received no response. She felt confused: Why had the church become just like the world? Why can’t we feel that the Lord is with us?

Desolation of the Church, Weakness and Confusion

Resolving Her Confusion and Welcoming the Lord’s Return

One day in December 2017, Amy ran into her classmate Susan in a park, who had also been a believer for many years. While chatting, Amy mentioned her feelings of confusion and Susan said she had had the same experience. It wasn’t resolved until she had heard a friend’s sermon, then she invited Amy to join her for a service. Amy happily agreed.

Although it was a cold December, it was a bright, sunny day and the sun felt warm. Susan brought Amy to her friend’s house for a sermon. The preacher was Brother Li—he knew the Bible very well and his fellowship was really illuminating. Amy felt her heart brighten. She then spoke out about the confusion that had been pent up inside of her heart for so long: “Why is it that the priests and the leaders have nothing to preach about, my brothers and sisters are lacking faith, and I can’t seem to gain any sustenance in my life? What’s the real reason behind the church being so desolate?”

Resolving Her Confusion and Welcoming the Lord’s Return

Brother Li smiled and said: “Sister, the issue you’ve brought up is really important. It’s directly related to whether or not we’re able to keep up with the Holy Spirit’s work and welcome the Lord’s return. We all know that we’re in the late stages of the last days, and there are more and more unlawful deeds happening within religion. Priests and leaders are not following the Lord’s commandments or putting His words into practice. They just perform religious ceremonies and uphold what was passed on from those before. They’ve turned churches into venues for performing religious ceremonies and have taken their responsibilities and duties as their own tools for gaining status and making a living. On the outside they appear godly, patient, and humble, but in essence they are hypocrites. The priests and leaders within the religion frequently disseminate biblical knowledge and theology—their goal is to show off. They don’t exalt or bear witness to the Lord at all. They don’t bear witness to the Lord’s words and His requirements for mankind, but have entirely strayed from His path and just bring their parishioners before them. The religious world has come under the rule of people, of Pharisees. God is disgusted by it and has eliminated it. This is one reason that the religious world has become desolate. Another reason is that the work of the Holy Spirit has shifted. The Lord has already returned and has done a new stage of work in the last days. God has incarnated Himself and come to the earth to express truths and thoroughly save us, humans corrupted by Satan. Just as the Bible says: ‘For the time is, that judgment should begin at the house of God’ (1 Peter 4:17). ‘And if any man hear my words, and keep them not, I do not judge him: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that despiseth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (John 12:47–48). These Bible verses say that when the Lord returns He will do the work of judgment and purify our corrupt satanic dispositions, saving us from the bonds of sin so that we may gain salvation and purification, and enter the kingdom of heaven.”

Amy was very excited to hear this, and thought: “Is this true? Has the Lord Jesus really returned?” She listened even more intently to Brother Li’s fellowship, afraid of missing a single word.

Brother Li then continued to share his fellowship: “Now Jesus incarnated again, Almighty God, has already come to the earth and has expressed all the truths we need to gain salvation; He has done the work of judgment beginning with the house of God to purify all those who accept His work of the last days. The work of the Holy Spirit, accordingly, shifted to those who have accepted God’s work of the last days. Those who have accepted God’s work of judgment in the last days have gained the Holy Spirit’s work and have been caught up to God and attend the Lamb’s feast, being watered and sustained by the waters of life. Those who are stuck in places of religion and have refused to accept God’s work of the last days have fallen into darkness and desolation, losing God’s salvation of the last days. This is why the religious world has become desolate today. It’s just like the later stages of the Age of Law recorded in the Old Testament of the Bible—the temple that had once been full of God’s glory became desolate, just becoming a place of commerce. It became a den of thieves. This was brought about for two reasons. One was that the religious leaders who served God within the temple forsook God’s commandments and violated His law. They just upheld their religious heritage but did not follow God’s words. They did not remotely have hearts of reverence for God and strayed from God’s path, thus suffering His curses and punishment. The other reason was that the Lord Jesus was doing a stage of new work outside of the temple. He ushered in the Age of Grace and ended the Age of Law; the Holy Spirit’s work had already shifted to the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption. This is why those who accepted the Lord Jesus’ work then accordingly had the work of the Holy Spirit, while those who stayed within the temple and resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus’ work were naturally discarded and eliminated from the Holy Spirit’s work.”

After listening to Brother Li’s fellowship, Amy said: “The church has become a place for business and there is no work of the Holy Spirit. It’s exactly the same situation as the temple at the end of the Age of Law! Now I understand that it’s because the priests have turned churches into places for religious ceremonies. They don’t lead people to follow God’s words, but they lead their parishioners to themselves instead. This has brought about God’s disgust, and it’s also because now that God has done new work, we have not kept up with His footsteps.”

Brother Li nodded and said: “Almighty God’s words explain all of this clearly. Let’s read what He says!” He then turned on his computer and read a couple passages from Almighty God’s words: “God will accomplish this fact: He will make all people throughout the universe come before Him, and worship the God on earth, and His work in other places will cease, and people will be forced to seek the true way. It will be like Joseph: Everyone came to him for food, and bowed down to him, for he had things to eat. In order to avoid famine people will be forced to seek the true way. The entire religious community is suffering severe famine, and only the God of today is the wellspring of living water, possessed of the ever-flowing wellspring provided for the enjoyment of man, and people will come and depend on Him” (“The Millennial Kingdom Has Arrived” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “All of God’s work in the entire universe has focused on this group of people. He has devoted all His efforts to you and sacrificed all for you; He has reclaimed and given to you all the work of the Spirit throughout the universe. That is why I say, you are the fortunate. Moreover, He has shifted His glory from Israel, His chosen people, to you, in order to make the purpose of His plan fully manifest through you group of people. Therefore, you are those who will receive the inheritance of God, and even more the heirs of God’s glory” (“Is the Work of God So Simple as Man Imagines?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).

Brother Li continued his fellowship: “I understood from Almighty God’s words that God has pulled back all of the Holy Spirit’s work throughout the entire universe and is now working in those who have accepted God’s work of the last days, in those God has pre-selected, who genuinely seek the true way. This is why the religious world has lost the work of the Holy Spirit and become desolate. Why did God cause that to happen? We can all see that after this desolation occurred, quite a few devout, genuine believers began to go around to different churches looking for one with the work of the Holy Spirit, looking for signs of God’s steps. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, some of them heard the news that God had already returned and began to look into Almighty God’s work of the last days. They heard God’s voice and were lifted up before His throne, and attended the Lamb’s feast. Just as God’s words say: ‘People will be forced to seek the true way.’ ‘All of God’s work in the entire universe has focused on this group of people. … Therefore, you are those who will receive the inheritance of God, and even more the heirs of God’s glory.’ This shows that this terrible desolation within the religious world contains God’s kind intentions within it. Through this, God is forcing those with genuine faith, who love the truth and long for God’s return, to leave the desolate religious world right away, seek God’s will, follow the footsteps of the Lamb, and return to stand before God’s throne. God’s love and salvation for us is within this. God is so kind-hearted! If we want to gain the work of the Holy Spirit and experience the living waters, we must free ourselves from the deception and constraints of religious leaders, and seek and investigate God’s work of the last days. Only by keeping up with God’s current work can the dark state of our souls be resolved. If we stubbornly cling to the religious churches we will always live in darkness and be eliminated through the Holy Spirit’s work!”

Only after hearing this did Amy understand that God’s will was behind the desolation in the religious world, and that the Lord was using that to have us more quickly seek the Holy Spirit’s new work and follow the footsteps of the Lord Jesus! In that moment she felt really moved, realizing that God had never cast us aside, but was using all sorts of ways to save us so that we could return to stand before His throne. Amy felt the Lord’s concern and care for us as well as His genuine responsibility and love for us. She couldn’t stop the tears welling up, blurring her vision.

Amy felt that even though she didn’t really have an understanding of Almighty God’s work of the last days, it was a way very worthy of investigation.

In the time that followed, through reading Almighty God’s words and listening to Brother Li’s fellowship, Amy came to understand truths such as the inside story of the Bible, the mysteries of God’s incarnation, God’s management plan of His three stages of work to save mankind, the significance of God changing His name for every new stage of work, how His work of judgment in the last days purifies, transforms, and perfects people, as well as mankind’s future outcome and destination. She understood many truths she had never understood before and felt great enjoyment within her spirit, verifying within her own heart that Almighty God’s words are the truth, contain authority and power, and that they are God’s voice and the Holy Spirit’s words to the churches. She determined that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned and the appearance of Christ of the last days!

Satan’s Disruptions, Sinking Into Doubts

Not long after, when Amy took her child over to her sister’s house to play, she asked her sister if she knew about Almighty God’s work of the last days. Her sister stared at her sensitively and said: “I’m telling you, don’t believe in Eastern Lightning.” She then told Amy about all sorts of rumors fabricated by the Chinese Communist Party government about The Church of Almighty God. After hearing that, she said very seriously: “No matter what it’s about, you shouldn’t talk about what you don’t understand. Don’t just parrot what others say. Is it right to blindly judge and condemn The Church of Almighty God without understanding it? As Christians we should have hearts of reverence for God and be able to hold our tongues.” Her sister wasn’t too happy to hear this and said with a stern face: “I’m just warning you. Go look online and see for yourself.” Seeing her serious face, Amy couldn’t help but wonder: “Is what my sister said really true? I have to get online to see.” When she did get online she saw a number of rumors that she hadn’t expected, including the May 28 Zhaoyuan City McDonald’s murder case. She was frightened, thinking: “Did the Zhaoyuan case really happen like the CCP says it did? Could believers in Eastern Lightning really do something like that? Is my belief really in the true way? What if my faith is wrong?” Amy felt a bit perplexed, but she then thought of all of Almighty God’s words that she had read herself which weren’t words that just anyone could come up with. They were certainly the truth and were God’s voice; they came from God. She then thought of the many things from her time of interacting with brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God. She had seen that everyone was very pious, that they were simple and honest. Whoever revealed corruption or did something wrong would open up about it in a gathering and dissect it according to God’s words to know themselves, accepting the judgment and chastisement of God’s words as well as being pruned and dealt with by their brothers and sisters. They had hearts of reverence for God. How could people like that commit murder? Amy was facing a serious battle in her heart then—she was afraid she had taken the wrong path but also afraid she would miss her chance of salvation through the Lord’s return. Amy then called Susan and told her that she wanted to talk to brothers and sisters in The Church of Almighty God to figure out the truth about the May 28 Zhaoyuan McDonald’s case.

Seeing Through the Deception and Redoubling Her Resolve

Seeing Through the Deception and Redoubling Her Resolve

In the gathering, brothers and sisters played two videos for Amy: “Jia Chunwang Ordered Siege on The Church of Almighty God. Project 807 Caused the Purported McDonald’s Murder?” by Mingjing Huopai, as well as “The Truth Exposed Behind the May 28 Zhaoyuan Case” put out by The Church of Almighty God. After watching these two videos, Amy gained some discernment on the rumors spread by the CCP. She saw that the Zhaoyuan case was nothing but a false case trumped up by the CCP to eradicate house churches and The Church of Almighty God, that it was absolutely not something done by the Church, and that the CCP was doing that just to frame them. Brother Li said in fellowship: “We all know that China is a dictatorship, that it is under one-party rule. The major media outlets in China are just mouthpieces for the CCP and their judges particularly have to deal with cases according to the CCP government’s desires. There is no autonomy. Do you really think that a case heard in a CCP court could be handled impartially? We’ve lived in this country all these years. I think we all know how many miscarriages of justice there have been by the CCP. When the Shandong Zhaoyuan case was heard in court, the criminal suspects in the case very clearly stated: ‘What the state cracks down on is the Almighty God of Zhao Weishan, not the “Almighty God” of ours.’ ‘I’ve never been involved or associated with The Church of Almighty God.’ They themselves said that they were not with The Church of Almighty God, that they had no ties to the Church. However, the CCP judge still disregarded their testimony and went against the facts, determining that the suspects were affiliated with The Church of Almighty God without any evidence. They were determined to put the blame on the Church. Isn’t that the CCP intentionally distorting the facts, framing and smearing The Church of Almighty God?

Hearing what this brother had to say, Amy thought back to the Zhaoyuan case and nodded in acknowledgement. She said: “That’s right! Anyone who has a basic grasp of the law knows that a judge must act according to the facts when determining a case, but this CCP judge just blatantly went contrary to the facts. This is truly suspicious. It’s no wonder that as soon as the Zhaoyuan trial was broadcasted so many netizens made posts pointing out all the suspect points in the case. It turned out the Zhaoyuan case was premeditated by the CCP government to oppress The Church of Almighty God.”

Sister Zhao shared in fellowship: “Everyone who understands the CCP’s history knows that every time they violently suppress a religious belief, a movement for democracy or to defend people’s rights, or an ethnic minority protest, the first thing they do is create a false case, then they incite public commentary and stir up the people, and after that they adopt bloody suppression methods. These are their regular tricks. Just like the Tiananmen movement that everyone is familiar with—it started out as an anti-corruption, democratic movement by students, but the CCP dispatched some unknown people to pretend to be students, to infiltrate their ranks. They beat people, smashed things, looted shops, started fires, and pushed over the military vehicles just to create chaos. Then they held the students responsible for those crimes and said that their movement was a counterrevolutionary riot, which was to find a basis in public opinion for the suppression of those students. After that, the CCP adopted bloody suppression tactics against them, resulting in thousands of students being shot dead and crushed by tanks, at the very least. This is how the Tiananmen Square incident, shocking China and the rest of the world, was created. This is also the case with the CCP’s suppression of protests and marches by the people in Tibet and Xinjiang. First they incite some people to fabricate a false case, and then use that to discredit and smear a certain group. In the end they suppress them with violence. These are the despicable tactics always used by the CCP to eradicate dissenters. It is clear from this that the Shandong Zhaoyuan case is the CCP creating a basis for a public outcry in order to brutally suppress and persecute The Church of Almighty God, and that it is yet another of its enormous sins of persecuting religious beliefs.”

Brother Li continued on, saying: “So why is it that the CCP suppresses and oppresses The Church of Almighty God this way? It’s because Almighty God incarnate has appeared and done work and uttered millions of words—The Word Appears in the Flesh. Those from all denominations that love the truth and aspire to the light, after reading Almighty God’s words, determined that they are all the truth, that they have power and authority, and that Almighty God is the appearance of Christ of the last days and the Lord Jesus returned. They accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days in a steady stream. Particularly in recent years, Almighty God’s gospel of the kingdom has expanded to other countries and regions, one after another, setting up new branches of the Church. More and more people are spreading and bearing witness to Almighty God’s words. The rapid development of The Church of Almighty God aroused panic within the CCP—what they most fear is Christians bearing witness to God’s appearance and work. They’re afraid that the truth will be disseminated. They most fear that the Chinese people will accept God and after understanding the truth through Almighty God’s words, will see into the CCP’s demonic essence and fully reject it, leading to its ruin and demise. This is why the CCP government madly suppresses and persecutes The Church of Almighty God. They have not only fabricated all sorts of rumors to frame and slander the Church, but many times have issued confidential documents to mobilize a large number of armed police and soldiers, madly suppressing, arresting, and persecuting Christians with the Church from all over the country. The Shandong Zhaoyuan case is just one classic example of the CCP’s false charges. They meticulously planted that Zhaoyuan case on The Church of Almighty God with the aim of creating a basis for a public outcry against the Church so they could ‘reasonably’ suppress and eliminate it. It was also to hoodwink the people and incite their hatred to deny Almighty God and refuse to accept His salvation, always remaining under the CCP’s rule so that a zone of atheism is established in China where they can maintain power and control the people forever, or even realize their wild ambition to dominate the entire world. The CCP goes against the heavens, runs counter to right principles, and is an enemy of God as well as hostile to the truth and to justice. However, God’s wisdom is carried out upon Satan’s trickery, and through this mad resistance by the CCP, its ugly face has been exposed to the light so that we can have discernment on its evil and reactionary essence, clearly seeing that the CCP is a demon of Satan that resists God and hates the truth!”

Susan said: “It’s true. Their concealing and deception can’t last long. Dark clouds can’t hide the sun! Lies will always be lies and they cannot become truth. The CCP has been fabricating lies all these years and it has become more and more notorious, far and wide. Cases tried in CCP courts aren’t remotely credible. Anyone with a head on their shoulders can see through their intrigues.”

After clearly seeing the CCP’s sinister motives, Amy said indignantly: “The CCP government is so truly evil, so abominable. No despicable action is below them. They will certainly suffer God’s righteous punishment for being so hostile to Him! Ugh, thinking about it now, I’ve really been so foolish and ignorant. Lacking discernment, I was nearly taken in by Satan’s tricks!”

Sister Zhao went on to say: “In fact, returning to the original point, even if some individuals with The Church of Almighty God do break the law, what does that have to do with Almighty God’s appearance and work? Does that have any relation to the Church? If a Catholic commits a crime, does that have anything to do with Catholicism? Could we deny that the Catholic God is the true God just because of that? Just like when one of the Lord Jesus’ disciples, Judas, sold Him out, could we suspect that the Lord Jesus wasn’t the true God? No matter what crime a believer of a religion has committed or what kind of legal sanctions they’ve received, it has no relation to their church. This is a commonly accepted fact. If we want to investigate whether Almighty God’s work is the true way and whether He is the appearance of God, the crux is in being able to see if what He expresses is the truth, if it is God’s voice, if what He does is the work of saving mankind in the last days. Only this is most crucial. As long as we can determine that what Almighty God expresses is the truth, no matter what kind of lies and slander the CCP and religious circles create, Almighty God is still the true God. No one can deny this fact. Just like when the Lord Jesus appeared and worked, the leaders in the Jewish faith fabricated many lies about Him. However, His followers discovered that His words were the truth and recognized that He was the Messiah who was coming. They weren’t remotely impacted by the lies and resolutely followed the Lord. Just the same, if we are able to determine today that the words expressed by Almighty God are all the truth and that they are the voice of God, no matter how many May 28 Shandong Zhaoyuan cases are fabricated by the CCP, even if there are another one hundred or one thousand, it cannot obscure the fact that Almighty God is the true God. It’s evident from this that in investigating the true way we must uphold principles—to only hear God’s voice, seek the truth, and absolutely not listen to Satan’s lies and nonsense. Otherwise, we will lose God’s salvation!”

Catholic Beliefs: I Have Welcomed the Lord’s Return

After hearing Sister Zhao’s fellowship Amy said happily: “Today’s fellowship has been so wonderful. It has really parted the clouds and revealed clear skies! Now I know what is most key in investigating the true way, which is seeing if it contains the truth and if it is God’s voice. Only this is most fundamental, and we should not be subject to the impacts or disruption of those things that are totally unrelated to God’s work and the truths that He expresses. We particularly should not listen to Satan’s nonsense.”

Confirming the True God and Feeling God’s Grace

After undergoing that disruption from those lies, Amy gained some understanding and discernment regarding the CCP’s evil essence of resisting God and hating the truth. She saw through its sinister intentions in fabricating those lies and was no longer taken in by them. From then on, every time she had the chance, Amy would read God’s words, gather with her brothers and sisters, and have fellowship on the truth. She confirmed with certainty that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned. Amy later shared Almighty God’s gospel of the last days with her husband, and after hearing God’s words he recognized them as God’s voice. He also came into the house of God.

Seeing her own experience on her computer screen, a happy smile crept up on Amy’s face, and she typed out one addition: “Today, I, a lost sheep, have finally welcomed the Lord and returned to the house of God. I often join gatherings with my brothers and sisters, have fellowship on God’s words, spread the gospel and perform my duty. I’ve enjoyed a steadiness, peace of mind, and joy that my heart has never known. Thanks be to God!”

Editor’s Note: Meeting with the Lord is the greatest hope of all believers. After the protagonist Amy joyously welcomed the return of the Lord she was subjected to the confusion of the May 28 Zhaoyuan City McDonalds’ murder case concocted by the CCP. Fortunately, by seeking the truth she was able to see through the CCP’s lies. On our path of welcoming the Lord’s return which is full of lies and trickery, as long as we determine that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life, we will be able to overcome the deception of these lies and follow the footsteps of the Lord. I would like to recommend you the following gospel film, “Deadly Ignorance.

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