Uncovering the Mystery of “Judgment”
By En Hui, Malaysia
My name is En Hui and I’m 46 years old. I live in Malaysia, and I have been a believer in the Lord for 27 years. In October 2015, I moved to another city to take up a job. My new colleagues were all big fans of Facebook, which they used for chatting, finding new friends, and posting images. Seeing that I didn’t have a Facebook account they set one up for me, and I gradually learned how to go online and use it. Sometimes I would see the postings of some brothers and sisters in the Lord and I’d share them and “like” them. Sometimes I’d post things that praised the Lord or share the Lord’s grace with some of my good friends. Every day I felt that there was fulfillment in my life.
One day in February 2016 when I was browsing one of my good friend’s Facebook page I saw this posting: “We discussed the issue of judgment today in our group. We all said different things but, for the most part, agreed what it means. Someone said: ‘I don’t understand and I don’t dare say any old nonsense because it’s something that God will do in the future and we shouldn’t try and blindly guess.’ Someone else said: ‘Psalm 75:2 says “When I shall receive the congregation I will judge uprightly.” Everything that every single person does is being recorded by God, so when the Lord Jesus returns to judge all humans He will reveal our deeds to all as though playing a movie. So we should always be righteous and never do evil in order to avoid God’s judgment of being cast into hell.’ Someone else said: ‘It says in the Bible: “And I saw a great white throne, and him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works” (Rev 20:11–12). From the text we can see that when the Lord Jesus returns in the last days He will set up a giant desk in the sky and will sit behind it. He will then unroll a scroll on it, and, with all of mankind kneeling on the ground, call out the name of every individual and judge each of them one-by-one according to the deeds they have done. Good people will be taken up to the kingdom of heaven by the Lord, while the wicked will be cast into hell.’”
After reading the posting I sat in my chair, and in my mind there formed a sketchy image of the Lord Jesus judging people: The Lord sitting on a throne, people kneeling in front of the desk and coming clean on all their sins in order for God to judge, and the Lord sending each one of them to heaven or to hell according to their deeds. I thought about how I’d been a loyal follower of the Lord for over 20 years and had tried my best to carry out His instructions. I believed that the Lord would see my piety and take me up to heaven…. But as I was thinking all this I suddenly had an idea: Now that I knew how to use the Internet why didn’t I do a search for “judgment” and see what came up? I opened up a browser and typed in the word and I can’t remember which link I clicked on but to my surprise this sentence popped up: “God’s Chastisement and Judgment Is the Light of Man’s Salvation.” This sentence piqued my interest immediately, and so I went to the web site to read more. As the web page loaded I heard the pleasing and thought-provoking hymn “God’s Chastisement and Judgment Is the Light of Man’s Salvation.” It was sung: “In his life, if man wishes to be cleansed and achieve changes in his disposition, if he wishes to live out a life of meaning, and fulfill his duty as a creature, then he must accept God’s chastisement and judgment, and must not allow God’s discipline and God’s smiting to depart from him, so he can free himself from the manipulation and influence of Satan and live in the light of God. Know that God’s chastisement and judgment is the light, and the light of man’s salvation, and that there is no better blessing, grace or protection for man.”
After the hymn finished I pondered over the lyrics, which I found to be quite moving. I began to think: “Is God’s chastisement and judgment really the light of our salvation? Is it mankind’s greatest protection and grace? How are we to understand this? For people to be purified and live meaningful lives does that mean they have to accept God’s chastisement and judgment?” I pondered over the words in the hymn, and many questions circled around my brain. I also thought: “If God were to judge man, wouldn’t man be condemned? And how come judgment becomes a light of salvation?” I was curious and a little bit excited because I had never heard any of this expressed before. Even though the judgment being talked about in the hymn was not how I understood judgment to be, I still faintly felt that judgment seemed to have deep significance and was related to a person’s future and fate. I checked where the hymn had originated and discovered that it was from The Church of Almighty God, and so I went to The Church of Almighty God’s web site. I discovered that the web site had a fresh and attractive home page and the content was rich and varied, with listening material, reading material, songs, discussions and lots of other stuff. I thought to myself: “How come no one ever told me about this web site? Something so good, but no one knew about it so that they could share it with me?” I clicked on the link labeled “books” and as I was scrolling down the list I saw this book Testimonies of Experiences in Entry Into Life. I clicked on it and saw that they were mostly testimonies about the issue of God’s judgment, for example “God’s judgment and chastisement saved me,” “God’s judgment and chastisement was a great salvation for me,” “I saw God’s love in His judgment and chastisement,” “God’s judgment and chastisement awoke my sinful spirit,” “God’s judgment and chastisement put me on the right path.” Because it was almost time for me to go to work I only had time to look briefly at a few of these testimonies. The authors all described how their corrupt dispositions were transformed and also talked about their deficiencies, corruption, mistaken views in believing in God, etc., and how these were changed through the words of judgment of Almighty God. This made me even more curious about “God’s Chastisement and Judgment Is the Light of Man’s Salvation.” Could it be that judgment wasn’t about being condemned? That it wasn’t about determining each person’s ending? I started to get agitated because I knew I had to get to the bottom of what “God’s Chastisement and Judgment Is the Light of Man’s Salvation” was talking about. I came to the conclusion that Testimonies of Experiences in Entry Into Life was probably a book that was extremely useful in helping people to believe in God, and that I should take a good look at it. But time was running short, so I turned off my computer and went to work.
That night, as I was tossing around in my bed unable to sleep, images of The Church of Almighty God’s web site kept on popping into my brain. I especially couldn’t get my head around the sentence “God’s Chastisement and Judgment Is the Light of Man’s Salvation,” and I really wanted to know what the “judgment” in the sentence referred to.
On getting up the next day I opened up The Church of Almighty God’s web site and started searching for anything to do with the word “judgment.” I saw an article titled “Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” and in it I read these words: “The ‘judgment’ in the words previously spoken—judgment will begin at the house of God—refers to the judgment God passes today on those who come before His throne in the last days. Perhaps there are those who believe in such supernatural imaginings as that, when the last days have arrived, God will erect a big table in the heavens, upon which a white tablecloth will be spread, and then, sitting upon a great throne with all men kneeling on the ground, He will reveal the sins of each man and thereby determine whether they are to ascend to heaven or be sent down to the lake of fire and brimstone. No matter what the imaginings of man, the substance of God’s work cannot be altered. The imaginings of man are nothing but the constructs of man’s thoughts and come from the brain of man, summed up and pieced together from what man has seen and heard. Therefore I say, however brilliant the images conceived, they are still no more than a drawing and are not able to substitute for the plan of God’s work. After all, man has been corrupted by Satan, so how can he then fathom the thoughts of God? Man conceives the work of judgment by God to be particularly fantastic. He believes that since it is God Himself doing the work of judgment, then it must be of the most tremendous scale and incomprehensible to mortals, and it must resound through the heavens and shake the earth; otherwise how could it be the work of judgment by God? He believes that, as this is the work of judgment, then God must be particularly imposing and majestic as He works, and those being judged must be howling with tears and on their knees begging for mercy. Such a scene must be a grand spectacular and be deeply rousing…. Everyone imagines God’s work of judgment to be preternaturally wonderful. Do you know, however, that God began the work of judgment among men long ago and all this while you have been nestled in peaceful oblivion? That, the time that you think God’s work of judgment is officially beginning, it is already time for God to make heaven and earth anew? At that time, perhaps you will have only just understood the meaning of life, but the merciless work of punishment of God shall bring you, still deep in sleep, into hell. Only then will you suddenly realize that God’s work of judgment has already concluded.” I was really surprised to read these words. These are words that reveal people’s innermost thoughts about God’s work of judgment of the last days, and their views, so accurately. The ideas expressed seem so real and practical. Could it be that the idea of a judgment in heaven that I’d been holding on to was just my imaginings? This passage shows that people all imagine the work of God’s judgment to be mysterious and supernatural. It also indicates that the work of judgment has already begun long ago and will soon conclude, and it also exhorts people to hurry and seek the manifestations of God. When I thought that these might be the words of God I became agitated again and I had a strong urge to immediately understand the meaning of God’s judgment. But there was just too much content on The Church of Almighty God’s web site and at the time I didn’t know where to start looking. So I decided to seek out the members of The Church of Almighty God and see if they could help me understand things.
I used the chat room on The Church of Almighty God’s web site to leave a message telling them that I was interested in learning more about “judgment.” Someone answered me very quickly, and introduced two sisters from The Church of Almighty God who interacted with me: Liu Hui and Li Mei. In my exchanges with them, I discovered that these two sisters were open and honest and very straightforward, which made me willing to have heart-to-heart chats with them. I said to them: “I really think that The Church of Almighty God’s web sites are very good. There are all sorts of spiritual books, hymns of praise, music videos, gospel movies, recitations of God’s words, etc. There really is a lot of content, but I just don’t understand what is meant by God’s judgment. I just read ‘Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth’ which seems to say that God’s work of judgment has already begun and that the idea of judgment in heaven is just a product of human imagination. This is quite different from my usual understanding of judgment. Are you able to share your knowledge of this topic with me?”
Sister Li Hui replied: “Praise God! Let’s seek and fellowship together! I used to think in the same way as you in believing that God’s work of judgment of the last days was done in heaven. But after reading Almighty God’s words and fellowshiping with the brothers and sisters I came to realize that this really was just my own imaginings. Whether God’s work of judgment is done in heaven or on earth is clearly stated in some of the prophecies in the Bible. For example, Revelation 14:6–7 say: ‘And I saw another angel fly in the middle of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come: and worship him that made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and the fountains of waters.’ In Psalms 96:13 it says: ‘For he comes, for he comes to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness, and the people with his truth.’ In John 9:39 it says: ‘For judgment I am come into this world, that they which see not might see.’ In these biblical verses it mentions ‘having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth’ ‘for he comes to judge the earth’ and ‘For judgment I am come into this world.’ From this we can see that in the last days, God must come in person to the world of human beings, and He will come to do the work of judgment and judge all peoples and all nations. In addition, from reading the Bible we know that before God created mankind He created everything else on earth so that a suitable living environment would be ready for us. God then created mankind and arranged for mankind to live on earth, not in heaven. So how is it possible for us to go to heaven? Corrupt mankind has no choice but to accept God’s judgment here on earth. And in the Book of Revelation it is recorded that on the island of Patmos John saw a great white throne in the sky. In fact, this was just a vision of John’s, but some people have interpreted this to literally mean that when God returns during the last days He will judge people in the sky. This is typical of human’s notions, imaginings, and misinterpretation of prophecies, and is not a reality of God’s work.”
I was stunned by what I heard: I’d read all of the biblical verses that the sisters were sharing with me, so how come I’d never noticed the real meaning of those words? Yes! God had created mankind to live on earth, so how could it be possible for us to go to heaven? My faith really was full of vagueness and ignorance!
Sister Li Mei then fellowshiped this with me: “In the last days God not only incarnates Himself to do the work of judgment on earth but His work already started a long time ago and will soon conclude. God’s work of judgment isn’t done in heaven, like people imagine, and isn’t a case of condemning people as they believe. In fact, before God’s work of judgment concludes, every person who comes before God’s throne is someone who is to be judged, tried, and cleansed by God’s words. All those people who accept God’s judgment and are purified will be taken by God into the kingdom. But for those who refuse the judgment of God’s words, because their sinful nature won’t have been cleansed by God’s judgment they will continue to live among sins and commit sins, they will lie, cheat people, rebel against God and resist God. Because of their sins they will be annihilated in hell, which is a true manifestation of God’s righteous disposition. We who have believed in the Lord during these years have deeply realized that we have received redemption of our sins for believing, but the problem of our sinful nature hasn’t been resolved. We follow the Lord, yet at the same time we often go against the Lord’s instructions and instead give free rein to our fleshly desires and commit sins, such as lying, cheating people, engaging in backstabbing, and trying our best to win fame and fortune. We thirst after empty vanities and chase after the evil trends of the material world. And so on. We misunderstand God, especially when we encounter trials, accidents, and disasters, and then complain about God and even betray Him. We could say that we are living in a constant situation of committing sins and confessing them but never shaking off the shackles of our sinful nature. In the Bible it says: ‘And holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’ (Heb 12:14). How can people who are as corrupt as we are enter God’s kingdom? Almighty God has said: ‘A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. And so you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance’ (‘Concerning Appellations and Identity’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). So during the last days, God is implementing His plan and is carrying out a stage of judging, chastising, and cleansing of people according to corrupt mankind’s needs. The purpose is to thoroughly save us from Satan’s domain and remove the shackles of our sinful nature so that we can be purified and saved. From this we can see that God’s work of judgment of the last days is all about cleansing and salvation. It’s not about condemning us, as people imagine.”
Sister Liu Hui also fellowshiped this with me: “That’s right, Sister En Hui. Let’s think about it, if God’s work of judgment was to condemn and punish us then none of us who have been deeply corrupted by Satan would ever be saved or be able to enter God’s kingdom. If it were like that, what would be the point of God’s work of judgment? The words of Almighty God clearly state why during the last days God does the work of judgment and its significance for us. Let’s read two passages of Almighty God’s words together: ‘Man’s entire life is lived under the domain of Satan, and there is not a single person who can free themselves from the influence of Satan on their own. All live in a filthy world, in corruption and emptiness, without the slightest meaning or value; they live such carefree lives for the flesh, for lust, and for Satan. There is not the slightest value to their existence. Man is incapable of finding the truth that will free him from the influence of Satan. Even though man believes in God and reads the Bible, he does not understand how to free himself of the control of Satan’s influence. Throughout the ages, very few people have discovered this secret, very few have touched upon it. … If man is not cleansed, then he is of the filth; if he is not protected and cared for by God, then he is still a captive of Satan; if he is not judged and chastised, then he will have no means of escaping the oppression of the dark influence of Satan. The corrupt disposition that you show forth and the disobedient behavior that you live out are sufficient to prove that you are still living under the domain of Satan. If your mind and thoughts have not been cleansed, and your disposition has not been judged and chastised, then your entire being is still controlled by the domain of Satan, your mind is controlled by Satan, your thoughts are manipulated by Satan, and your entire being is controlled by the hands of Satan’ (‘The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt substance within his own self, and he will be able to change completely and become clean. Only in this way can man become worthy to return before the throne of God. All the work done this day is so that man can be made clean and be changed; through judgment and chastisement by the word, as well as through refinement, man can purge away his corruption and be made pure’ (‘The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). So how did we feel after reading God’s words? Looking at them from one angle, we felt that God’s words are extremely practical and describe our real-life situation very well. From another angle, we could see that if we wanted to be taken before God’s throne we would first have to pass through God’s judgment and cleansing to rid ourselves of the filth and corruption, and to escape from Satan’s dark influence. Only then will we be qualified to be taken by God into His kingdom. Without God’s work of judgment of the last days we wouldn’t be cleansed enough to become people who are after God’s heart and we certainly wouldn’t be able to enter God’s kingdom. We would just keep on committing sins and resisting God and would finally be annihilated by God in hell. Actually, from the real-life testimonies of the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God we can see that God’s judgment and chastisement is the light that saves people. All of us have been corrupted by Satan, but because we can come before Almighty God and receive the judgment and chastisement in God’s words, our life disposition gradually changes. We go from disobeying God and resisting God to acceptance and submission; we go from arrogance, self-righteousness and obeying no one to being willing to put aside our egos and submit to truths and what is right. In addition, all that is expressed in God’s judgment and chastisement is the truth, and it is also an expression of God’s righteous and holy disposition, so the more we experience God’s judgment and chastisement, the more we know God. And the more we know God, the more clearly we can see through people and events. Accordingly, our viewpoints and values change to varying degrees. We become more and more reverential and fearful of, and submissive to, God. This is the effect on us of Almighty God’s judgment and chastisement. If we don’t have the judgment of the light of truth in God’s words, we have to live in darkness, committing sins and confessing them every day, over and over again, never shaking off the shackles of sin. In such circumstances how could we ever be taken by God into His kingdom?”
After fellowshiping with sister Li and Liu it felt like a bright light had been turned on in my heart. What they said was true: The pastor, the elders, and the brothers and sisters in my church were all unable to extricate themselves from the bondage of sin. I myself also often committed sins in spite of myself, unable to implement the Lord’s words. Continuously living lives of committing sins and confessing them proves that we need God to return and do the work of judgment and cleansing. If I hadn’t looked into God’s work of the last days I would never have come to understand these truths. I’m so grateful for God’s leadership that allowed me to read the words of Almighty God and listen to the fellowshiping of the sisters. I also pondered over the written testimonies of the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God describing the dispositional transformations they achieved through the judgment in God’s words. Then I felt that I understood a bit more about God’s work of judgment of the last days. My own erroneous notions had disappeared and I now knew that God’s judgment and chastisement is essential for us to escape from sin and gain purification.
Then I asked the sisters: “So how does Almighty God do the work of judgment?” Liu Hui answered: “Praise God! You’ve asked a crucial question. Let’s read two more passages of Almighty God’s words and then we’ll have a clearer idea. Almighty God said: ‘In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with just a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes it over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth that man does not possess at all. Only methods of this kind are deemed judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt substance and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God’ (‘Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘Those who wish to gain life without relying on the truth spoken by Christ are the most ridiculous people on earth, and those who do not accept the way of life brought by Christ are lost in fantasy. And so I say that the people who do not accept Christ of the last days shall forever be despised by God. Christ is man’s gateway to the kingdom during the last days, which none may bypass. None may be perfected by God except through Christ. You believe in God, and so you must accept His words and obey His way. You must not just think of gaining blessings without receiving the truth, or accepting the provision of life. Christ comes during the last days so that all those who truly believe in Him may be provided with life. His work is for the sake of concluding the old age and entering the new one, and is the path that must be taken by all those who would enter the new age. If you are incapable of acknowledging Him, and instead condemn, blaspheme or even persecute Him, then you are bound to burn for eternity, and shall never enter the kingdom of God’ (‘Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From the words of Almighty God it can be seen that in the last days God has incarnated Himself in order to express all the truths that cleanse and save people, as is needed by mankind. This shows God’s righteous disposition, one that cannot be offended, toward mankind. Through His words, God reveals people’s nature and substance and the true state of their corruption. Only through accepting the words of judgment that Almighty God has expressed can we know our own arrogance, cunningness, selfishness, evil, etc., which are part of our satanic nature and corrupt dispositions. Only through accepting God’s judgment and chastisement can we know God’s righteous disposition and develop hearts that revere God and truly repent. Then we can attain transformation and cleansing of our corrupt disposition, which is the significance of God’s work of judgment and is also the only road to salvation. Sister En Hui, as long as we earnestly read as much of God’s word as we can, then the significance of God’s work of judgment of the last days will become clear to us and we’ll see that only Christ of the last days can give people eternal life.”
Praise the Lord! I gained an enormous amount from communicating with the sisters. Even though I’ve yet to experience God’s judgment and chastisement, through fellowshiping with them and from reading Testimonies of Experiences in Entry Into Life I felt that God’s judgment and chastisement really can change people. I felt I too really need a stage of God’s judgment and chastisement to transform and purify me so that I will qualify for being taken into the kingdom of heaven. At a later date, after a few more days of fellowshiping, I came to understand more about God’s work of judgment and the truth concerning God’s name. I also learned how to discern the real Christ from the fakes, and real churches from false ones. I learned truths about God’s incarnation, the difference between God’s work and human work, how Satan corrupts mankind, and how God saves us. And so on. I came to the firm conclusion that Almighty God really is the returned Lord Jesus, and with a happy heart I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. Praise God! After that I had an unquenchable thirst for reading the words of God. By living a church life, fellowshiping truths with the brothers and sisters, and accepting the watering and feeding of God’s words I felt that my spirit was gaining true sustenance. All I saw was like this prophecy in the Book of Revelation in the Bible: “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” (Rev 3:20). Today, not only have I seen this prophecy fulfilled but I’ve felt it being fulfilled on me personally. The words of Almighty God have knocked open my heart’s door and allowed me to hear the voice of God, know God’s work of judgment, and return before Him. Praise to God! All glory to Almighty God!