Never Again Will I Delimit God’s Gender
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
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.
a. The original text reads “as for.”
Would the Lord Return as Male or Female?
At a meeting one day, I spoke out about my confusion, “The Lord Jesus incarnated as a man, so I think the Lord will absolutely return as a man. But you say that the Lord has incarnated as a woman. I cannot entirely accept this. Can you fellowship with me about this?” Brother Lu said, “Brother, you think that since the Lord Jesus incarnated as a man, He will definitely return as a man, but have you ever thought whether or not this view accords with the facts, and whether or not it has a basis in God’s words? Could it be that God can only incarnate as a man? If we don’t seek to understand this issue, it will be very easy for us to delimit and resist God. Let’s first see what the Bible and God’s words say. It is recorded in Genesis chapter 1 verse 1–2: ‘In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved on the face of the waters.’ The word of Almighty God says, ‘Each stage of work done by God has its own practical significance. Back then, when Jesus came, He was male, but when God comes this time, He is female. From this, you can see that God created both male and female for the sake of His work, and with Him there is no distinction of gender. When His Spirit comes, He can take on any kind of flesh at will and that flesh can represent Him. Whether male or female, it can represent God as long as it is His incarnate flesh. If Jesus had appeared as a female when He came, in other words, if an infant girl, and not a boy, had been conceived by the Holy Spirit, that stage of work would have been completed all the same. If such had been the case, then the present stage of work would have to be completed by a male instead, but the work would be completed all the same. The work done in either stage is equally significant; neither stage of work is repeated nor conflicts with the other’ (‘The Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of the Incarnation’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘The incarnate God is in essence genderless. God made both man and woman, and He does not differentiate between the genders’ (‘The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh).”
Brother Lu fellowshiped: “We all know that God is Spirit, invisible and intangible, people can neither see it nor feel it, and there is no distinction of gender. God incarnates as a male or female in accordance with the needs of His work. Regardless of the flesh that God incarnate wears, male or female, as long as it is the incarnate flesh of God’s Spirit, it is God Himself. God’s essence is eternally unchanging. The Lord Jesus incarnated as a male and accomplished the work to redeem mankind. If the Lord Jesus had incarnated as a female, He would still have been able to do the work of redemption. That is to say, no matter if God’s incarnate flesh is a male or female, its essence is God Himself, and it is always done to complete the work of saving mankind. Deuteronomy chapter 4 verses 15–17 say: ‘Take you therefore good heed to yourselves; for you saw no manner of similitude on the day that Jehovah spoke to you in Horeb out of the middle of the fire: Lest you corrupt yourselves, and make you a graven image, the similitude of any figure, the likeness of male or female, The likeness of any beast that is on the earth, the likeness of any winged fowl that flies in the air.’ We can see in these verses of Scripture that when Jehovah spoke to the people on Mount Horeb, they could not see His form, for God would not allow people to delimit Him as one form or another. God’s wisdom is something we human beings can’t fathom. We are merely tiny little creations, so how can we fathom God’s work? If we conclude that God can only incarnate as a male based on our own notions and imaginings, aren’t we opposing and blaspheming God?”
After hearing this, I finally understood: God is inherently a Spirit and there can be no differentiation of gender with God. God can incarnate as a man, and He can also incarnate as a woman—it is all due to the needs of His work. If I conclude that God’s gender is male based on my own notions and imaginings, then that is certainly not in accordance with God’s will! At that moment, my notion that “God’s incarnate flesh must be a male” slowly began to disintegrate, but I still didn’t understand why God would adopt the form of a woman to perform His work.
Then, Brother Lu continued to fellowship: “Whether or not God incarnates as a male or female, it’s all for the sake of man’s salvation, for the sake of His management work, and it has extraordinary significance. In the last days, God has come incarnate to express the truth and to reveal this mystery. Let’s read another passage of Almighty God’s words and then we will understand. God’s words say: ‘If God came into the flesh only as a male, people would define Him as male, as the God of men, and would never believe Him to be the God of women. Men would then hold that God is of the same gender as men, that God is the head of men—but what then of women? This is unfair; is it not preferential treatment? If this were the case, then all those whom God saved would be men like Him, and not one woman would be saved. When God created mankind, He created Adam and He created Eve. He did not only create Adam, but made both male and female in His image. God is not only the God of men—He is also the God of women’ (‘The Vision of God’s Work (3)’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From God’s words we can see that the Lord Jesus came to work in the form of a man, and if God returned still in the form of a man, we would forever conclude that God is a male, and think that God is the God of men, not the God of women. God knows our true circumstance as corrupt humanity, so in the last days, God has now come to work in the form of a woman to strongly counter our notions. At the same time, He also changes our erroneous understanding of God, removing our notions that delimit God, and letting us know that God is the God of the entire human race. God not only saves men but also women. In God’s eyes, men and women are equal. God took on a different gender the two times He has incarnated, and by doing this God has accomplished the entirety of His work in the flesh, and He has also demonstrated His almightiness, wisdom, wondrousness, and righteousness. God incarnating as a female in the last days is so very meaningful!”
When I heard the brother’s fellowship, I felt very much in agreement, and I thought: “It turns out that God incarnating as a woman in the last days has profound significance. God incarnating twice does indeed show His wisdom, righteousness, and wondrousness.” The notions instilled in me before by pastors and elders had left a strong impression on me, and so I had clung to those notions and believed that, because the Lord Jesus had been a man, the returned Lord could not possibly be a woman, and I simply didn’t pay attention to investigating God’s work and words in the last days, but instead I delimited God by relying on my notions and imaginings. I really had been so ignorant, and that made me prone to committing the same mistakes of resisting the Lord Jesus as the Pharisees had. God is the Creator and we are but created beings. God has the right to decide what work He wants to do, and the form He chooses to incarnate in. How was I qualified in any way to delimit God’s work? As a created being, I knew then that I should seek, obey, and humbly accept.
I See Through to the Essence of the Pastors and Elders
The brother’s fellowship helped me a lot. I also felt that Almighty God was very likely to be the returned Lord Jesus. But once I thought of how the pastors and preachers had often told us to guard against heresy, I began to have doubts again. I thought to myself, “Why do the pastors and elders all resist and condemn the work of Almighty God? They all know the Bible well and they all work for the Lord, so it’s safer to heed the pastors’ words. If I go astray in my belief, would I not then be betraying the Lord?” But then I thought, “If the Lord really has returned but I don’t accept Him, then I will lose my chance to be raptured up into heaven.” I then prayed to the Lord asking for Him to guide and lead me.
I then went onto YouTube and watched many videos of sermons by famous pastors and I found that everything they preached was either theological theory, which couldn’t at all supply my spiritual needs, or accusations and slanders against Eastern Lightning that had no factual evidence. I felt very disappointed. Then I carefully pondered the words of God which brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God had read for me, and I felt that the words of Almighty God contained the truth. I took up Almighty God’s words and began to read, and the more I read, the more I felt that the words had authority, power, and majesty, and were not words that we humans could have spoken. In my heart, I became certain that these words were indeed the utterances of the Holy Spirit. Almighty God’s words uncovered many truths and mysteries in the Bible, such as the mysteries of God’s name, the significance of the incarnation, what kinds of people can enter the heavenly kingdom, the path to the heavenly kingdom, and so on. They dispelled much of my confusion and allowed me to enjoy being supplied and watered by God’s living water of life. My faith in and love for God was restored, and my spirit was filled with enjoyment. I became certain that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus—God really has returned in the flesh! Afterward, I watched gospel movies and dance and song videos produced by The Church of Almighty God. They all spread and testify to God’s last days’ work, and more and more true believers in God are hearing God’s voice and are turning back to God one after another. This allowed me to see that anything that comes from God must flourish!
Later, during a meeting with brothers and sisters, we read a passage of the words of God: “Those who read the Bible in grand churches recite the Bible every day, yet not one understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one is able to know God; moreover, not one is in accord with the heart of God. They are all worthless, vile men, each standing on high to teach God. Though they brandish the name of God, they willfully oppose Him. Though they label themselves believers of God, they are ones who eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such men are devils who devour the soul of man, demons who purposefully disturb those who try to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks that impede the path of those who seek God. Though they are of ‘robust flesh,’ how are their followers to know that they are antichrists who lead man in opposition to God? How are they to know that they are living devils who specially seek souls to devour?” (“All Who Do Not Know God Are Those Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
A sister fellowshiped with me, “Almighty God’s words have revealed the religious leaders’ essence of hatred for the truth. Though they are familiar with the Bible and can work hard for the Lord, they don’t know God or His work. They have no reverence for God whatsoever. They never teach believers to practice or experience the Lord’s words. They even make use of their work and preaching to exalt themselves and show themselves off, to make believers worship and look up to themselves, and to bring people before themselves. They are totally engaged in their own personal enterprise. In the last days, when Almighty God appears and works, believers who truly believe in the Lord and love the truth hear Almighty God’s utterances, and one by one they accept Almighty God’s work of the last days. Seeing so many believers turning to Almighty God, the pastors and elders are afraid of not being able to keep their positions and livelihoods, so they do their utmost to seal the church, spread fallacies and heresies to deceive believers and to stop them from investigating and accepting Almighty God’s work of the last days. They keep believers firmly under their domain, and they even make believers who don’t know the truth go along with them in their resistance to God. The pastors and elders are totally the obstacles and stumbling blocks that obstruct people from entering the heavenly kingdom. They will not stop until they pull people straight down to hell! Let’s think back to the time when the Lord Jesus came to work and preach. He performed many signs and wonders, such as feeding 5,000 people with five loaves of bread and two fish, making the lame walk and the blind see, raising the dead, and so forth. It caused a sensation in the Jewish land and the number of people who followed the Lord Jesus grew and grew. The chief priests, scribes and Pharisees saw that the Lord Jesus’ work and words had authority and power, but to protect their status and livelihoods, they did all they could to condemn, make up rumors about and frame the Lord Jesus, and in the end they even nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross. They offended God’s disposition and they suffered God’s punishment. It can be seen that the pastors and elders today resist and condemn Almighty God for the very same reason the Jewish Pharisees resisted the Lord Jesus. They are all people who are sick of the truth, hate the truth, and resist God. They are all hypocritical Pharisees and antichrists.”
From the sister’s fellowship I understood that, although the pastors and elders are familiar with the Bible and although they often work and preach, they don’t truly yearn for the Lord’s appearance. Conversely, they harbor an incredible hatred for the truth. In order to protect their positions and livelihoods, though they know perfectly well that Almighty God’s words are the truth, they don’t lead us to seek and investigate them. They even put about notions and fallacies to confuse us, to make us delimit and resist God along with them, and to refuse to investigate the true way. They are so insidious and malicious! They are the stumbling rocks that obstruct us from welcoming the Lord, the modern-day Pharisees, and the antichrists who devour our souls!
After investigating and seeking for some time, I understood from Almighty God’s words the significance of God incarnating as a woman in the last days, and also saw through to the pastors’ and elders’ God-resisting and antichrist essence. From my experience, I truly felt that if we don’t seek the truth in our belief in God, and instead become arrogant, treating God’s work based on our notions and imaginings, or we have no place for God in our hearts, blindly idolizing the pastors and elders and listening to their teachings, then it is very easy for us to make the mistake of resisting God, and thus we lose His salvation. Thanks be to God that I have had the opportunity to hear what the Holy Spirit says to the churches and to welcome the appearance of the Lord—this is all a special blessing from God and I thank God for saving me!