One day in 1999, after the meeting had ended, the pastor said to me, “Su Jie, here is a letter for you.” As soon as I saw it, I knew that it came from the church I established in Shandong. I took the letter and on the way home, I thought as I walked: This letter is so thick, could it be that they have encountered some difficulties? …
When I got home, I couldn’t wait to open the letter and saw that it said: “Sister Su, peace be with you in the Lord! I am writing to tell you some great news: The Lord Jesus our Savior whom we yearn for day and night has returned. He has already returned to the flesh in China and has done a step of work of judging and cleansing people through His words; He has ended the Age of Grace and started the Age of Kingdom…. I hope you can accept God’s new work and keep up with God’s footsteps. Whatever you do, do not miss God’s last days’ salvation.” Reading up to here, I felt surprised: They hadn’t actually encountered any difficulties but believed in Eastern Lightning! I was eager to know who wrote this letter and turned to the last page. I learned that the letter was written by Brother Meng and at the end of the letter were all the signatures of all the brothers and sisters of the church. After finishing reading the letter I was dumbfounded. I stared at it blankly for a while before I recovered and thought to myself: Eastern Lightning testifies that the Lord has returned and has stolen many good sheep and leading sheep from various denominations. I did not expect Brother Meng from Shandong church to believe in Eastern Lightning too. The brothers and sisters of this church had all been stolen by Eastern Lightning. What could be done? When I thought about this, I felt even more anxious. But it was too far to travel to Shandong and I was tied up with my work here. For the time being I could not go. Helpless, I could only cry and pray to the Lord: “Lord! These brothers and sisters have believed in You for a short time and their foundation is not yet stable. Please guard over them….”
Later, I searched through the Bible and put pen to paper to write the first letter back to them. In the letter I said: “Brothers and sisters, in Jesus Christ, I advise you to be wary. Paul said: ‘I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ to another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel to you than that you have received, let him be accursed’ (Gal 1:6-9). Brothers and sisters, I only just managed to bring you before the Lord. Why did you betray the Lord so quickly? Your stature is too small to be able to listen to other ways! You must listen to me because what I spread to you is the true way. Only the Lord Jesus Christ is our Savior. You must hold on to His way forever….” Only after I finished writing and looked at the eight-page letter did I feel at ease and thought to myself: I wrote all that I should write, checked all of the scriptures that I should check and wrote all the words of advice and encouragement that I should. I believe that after they read this, they will certainly reply to me and acknowledge their mistake.
Two weeks later, I received a reply which said: “… Sister Su, we cannot not speak of all that we have seen and heard because Almighty God whom we believe in is the returned Lord Jesus. We are keeping the truth and moving forward and have not betrayed the Lord, but are following in the Lord’s footsteps. ‘I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ to another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ ’ (Gal 1:6-7). There is a background to these words that Paul spoke. We just need to study the Bible and we can know that ‘another gospel’ that Paul spoke of then referred to the Pharisees asking people to keep to Jehovah’s laws, not the people of the last days spreading the gospel of the kingdom which witnesses the Lord returning to the flesh and doing His work of judgment starting with God’s family. When Paul wrote this letter to the Galatian churches, there was no one at all who preached the gospel of God’s kingdom. Therefore, the ‘another gospel’ that Paul spoke of does not refer to the Lord returning and doing His judgment work of the last days starting with God’s family. This step of judgment work that the Lord has come again to do fulfills the prophecies of the Book of Revelation: ‘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’ (Rev 14:6-7). Here ‘everlasting gospel’ refers to the gospel of the kingdom. Moreover, this last salvation was long ago revealed by the Holy Spirit to the disciples of the Lord Jesus. As Peter said: ‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God’ (1Pe 4:17). ‘Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time’ (1Pe 1:5). Sister Su, isn’t the return of the Lord what we believers yearn for? Now the Lord has indeed returned, we must be humble and seek. We must not be like the Pharisees in their treatment of the Lord Jesus, God’s first incarnation and blindly use knowledge of the Bible and notions and imagination to determine God’s new work, condemn and resist the Lord because of the Lord Jesus not obeying the law and crucify the Lord. The Pharisees just believed in Jehovah God, but they did not accept the incarnation of Jehovah God—the Lord Jesus’ work, and ultimately they were condemned and cursed by the Lord. Isn’t this bloody lesson worthy of our reflection? The Lord Jesus is our Savior and no one can deny it. But if we only accept the Lord Jesus yet do not accept the return of the Lord, are we not the same as the Pharisees? Have we not then become people who believe in God yet resist God? Furthermore, Sister Su, we cannot listen to what you say because you preached the Lord’s gospel to us. We believe in God. Peter and the other apostles once said, ‘We ought to obey God rather than men’ (Act 5:29). We can listen to man even less regarding dealing with the coming of the Lord. We have already determined that the word of Almighty God is the voice of God. We hope that you can look into it too.”
I was very angry and very unconvinced when reading what was written in the letter and hurriedly took the Bible Guide out and flipped to the introduction to the Galatians. I looked closely and was so surprised: This really was true! The “another gospel” that Paul spoke of really referred to the Pharisees making people keep to Jehovah’s law and did not refer to the Lord’s work of judgment starting with God’s family upon His return. How had I never noticed that there was this background to this verse for so many years? No wonder they were unconvinced. But thinking about it another way, even if what I said was wrong, that cannot prove that what they preach is the return of the Lord. I read the letter again from start to finish and the more I read it, the angrier I got. I did not expect that they would dare to strike me and dare to say I was a Pharisee. I hate the Pharisees the most. How could I resist the Lord like the Pharisees? I’ve worked hard for so many years, working day and night for the believers. How could you not know? The more I thought about it, the more uncomfortable I felt and I thought: “No, how can I be refuted by these few new believers? How many times have I read the Bible? I don’t believe that I cannot win you over!”
So I put pen to paper and wrote a second letter back to them and said: “Brothers and sisters, may peace be with you in the Lord’s grace! I felt extremely upset to read the letter you sent. I’m not asking you to listen to me. You really do not understand my intention. I am afraid of you leaving the way of the Lord Jesus. Because the Lord Jesus said: ‘Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect’ (Mat 24:23-24). Paul also said: ‘Now we beseech you, brothers, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together to him, That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means’ (2Ts 2:1-3). Dear brothers and sisters, I advise you in the name of the Lord Jesus that there will be dangerous days ahead, and that you should not believe all those who preach of the Lord’s coming. We must be especially careful and bear the Lord’s words in mind, lest we take the wrong path and displease the Lord!”
Two weeks later they sent me another letter, which said: “Sister Su, there is nothing wrong with the scriptures you found for us, but we must be clear about the true meaning of the Lord Jesus saying these words and not misunderstand the Lord’s intentions. The Lord Jesus clearly told us that false Christs would appear when the Lord comes in the last days and that false Christs pass themselves off using the Lord’s name and show miracles to deceive people. By saying this, the Lord is telling us to distinguish, but that’s not to say that all those who preach of the Lord’s coming are all false. If, as you say, all those who preach of the coming of the Lord are false and we must guard against them and reject them, then isn’t it very easy for us to shut out the Lord Jesus who has returned to flesh? Because the Lord said He will come again. Obviously, such views are clearly not in line with the Lord’s intentions. With regards how to distinguish between the true Christ and false Christs, we have transcribed a passage of the words of Almighty God for you and hope that you will take a good look. Almighty God said: ‘If, during the present day, there is to emerge a person who is able to display signs and wonders, and can cast out demons, and heal the sick, and perform many miracles, and if this person claims that they are Jesus who has come, then this would be the counterfeit of evil spirits, and their imitation of Jesus. Remember this! God does not repeat the same work. Jesus’ stage of work has already been completed, and God will never again undertake that stage of work’ (‘Knowing God’s Work Today’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s work is real. Every step of His work is based on the needs of corrupt mankind, to redeem and save people. Thus, God’s work cannot be fixed and unchangeable. God’s work is often new, not old and never repeated. Just as the work that God did in the Age of Law and the Age of Grace was two steps and different work, when the last days come, God has already done one step of work of judging and cleansing people through His words based on mankind’s needs. This is a step of work of thoroughly purifying and saving people. It is newer, higher and more realistic than previous work. We can see the truths that God utters from every step of God’s work and can see the wisdom, authority and power of God’s work. But false Christs are possessed by evil spirits and do not possess the essence of God. They have no truths at all and so false Christs cannot express truths. Nor can they express God’s almightiness, wisdom and God’s disposition. It can be seen that false Christs cannot do God’s work at all. False Christs can only imitate the work that the Lord Jesus has already done, healing the sick, casting out demons and showing some ordinary miracles to pretend to be Christ in order to deceive people. Sister, we should receive the words of the Lord purely, and we cannot misinterpret the Lord’s meaning, let alone refrain from doing something for fear of a possible risk because false Christs appear in the last days and not even study the work of the Lord’s return….”
Brothers and sisters’ fellowship in the letter is well-founded, but I have absolutely no intention of seeking and trying to figure it out. I only care about whether or not they accept the scriptures I found for them and whether they have turned back to the Lord. Looking back on these two debates by letter, it did not persuade them at all. On the contrary, I let them refute me until I had completely lost face. I hurriedly prayed to the Lord and then took the Bible and all of my spiritual books and put them on the bed. I kept looking through them, wanting to find a basis for refuting them. At this time, there was no other voice in the room, just the sound of me turning the pages of the book. Without me noticing, night came and I had still not found anything. I was so tired that I sighed deeply and thought: It’s really not easy to reply to this letter. I could only pick up the pen and write: “Brothers and sisters, reading your letter made me feel that you are no longer those cute little lambs. You do not even listen to my words and insist on leaving the Lord’s way. And you even refute me so. I think that what you do will sadden the Lord. I am very sad too. May the Lord Jesus move you and may this letter enable you to turn back soon. Amen!”
Two weeks later, I received their reply again, but to my disappointment, they did not turn back because of my love and encouragement. On the contrary, they severely and categorically said: “Sister Su, you preached the Lord’s gospel to us, that is true, but we should thank the Lord for this because it was God who got us, these separated sheep, back through you. You were just a servant caring for the flock. The Lord Jesus is our true shepherd. As the Lord Jesus said: ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine’ (Jhn 10:14). The Lord entrusts sheep to every person who works for the Lord. People’s responsibility is just to look after them and when the Lord returns they should return the flock to Him. Sister Su, we all know the parable of the ‘evil gardener’ which the Lord spoke of in the Bible. In order to forcibly occupy the estate, those evil gardeners hit the servants who came to collect the fruit and when the master sent his son, they killed the son to occupy the estate. When the master returns, how would he deal with these evil gardeners? We must not be evil servants. Now the Lord has already come back, we should hand the Lord’s sheep over to the Lord. This is the sense that we should have.”
This letter really surprised me. I thought to myself: How can they understand so much in an instant? It had only been two years since I had returned to Shandong to establish the church. When I left they were still in a “baby” state. I did not expect them to accept Eastern Lightning in only a few months and for their words to be so powerful, for them to find Bible chapters to refute me that were just right and for them to refute me in a way that left me speechless. At this moment I was bitterly disappointed and felt that these brothers and sisters had become obsessed with following Eastern Lightning and that they did not intend to turn back at all. I knew that I was unable to persuade them to return. I felt completely weak and feeble and reluctantly sent them a fourth letter, in which I said: “Suit yourselves. According to biblical records, since ancient times, that which stems from God must prosper and that which stems from man must be defeated. … do not write to me again either. I hope that you can keep your confidence and love in Jesus Christ.”
Since I rejected God’s last days’ work that the brothers and sisters of Shandong church preached to me, my spirit had become darker and weaker and my condition had deteriorated. Even though I often fasted and prayed and reflected on how I had sinned against the Lord, I could never grasp the Lord’s intentions and I felt like the Lord was not with me. During this period of time, pastors and elders set me up in order to vie for the dedication fund and pushed me out of the church. I was particularly miserable and didn’t know where to go. I often went to the river and sang “Lord, You Are My Closest Friend” whilst crying. I hoped that the Lord would come back soon and save me from my woes.
One day six months later, whilst I was cooking lunch, I heard my mother-in-law call my name outside my door. I answered the door and saw a slender young woman with delicate features behind my mother-in-law. My mother-in-law said: “This little sister has come to see you. She had an address but couldn’t find you, so went to the church. Hearing her say that she needed to urgently see you, I quickly brought her over.” I looked at this sister carefully and thought to myself: Why do I not appear to know her? The little sister saw me and quickly came to pull my hand and said excitedly: “So you are Sister Su. I found you after all!” I was dumbfounded by her actions and looked at her in surprise and asked: “Who are you? I don’t appear to have met you before?” The little sister excitedly said to me: “Sister, my surname is Wang. It was Brother Meng and Sister Zhao from Shandong who introduced you to me. Brother Meng and the others wrote a letter to The Church of Almighty God here and told us to think of a way to find you, no matter what. They entrusted us to preach God’s gospel of the kingdom to you because they are too busy and there really wasn’t time for them to come in person. I do not know how many people have passed on this letter, but it was passed on to us after many others. I came here to inquire many times. It wasn’t easy to find you …” Speaking up to here, the little sister sobbed and put the letter into my hands. I took the letter and saw that it said: “Sister Su believes in the Lord sincerely. Please, you have to find her and preach God’s gospel of the kingdom to her….” Reading these words warmed my heart and my tears could not stop flowing. My mother-in-law was moved and said: “It really is thanks to the Lord! This really is the love of the Lord!” Looking at the kind and sincere little sister, I thought back to the moving words in the letter and could feel the urgent intentions of the brothers and sisters to preach the gospel of the Lord’s return to me. My spiritual intuition told me that this love came from God. Because only God cherishes every soul in this way and cares about every person who truly believes in God. Therefore, I decided that this time I would seek and study the last days’ work of Almighty God. I could no longer refuse. I enthusiastically said to the little sister: “Sister, come and sit inside.” The little sister nodded happily, her eyes still shining with tears.
After eating, I called my co-worker Sister Zhang over too. My husband heard that we were going to fellowship and asked for time off work too. The little sister warmly asked: “Sister, in Brother Meng’s letter they said that they had written several letters to you, to preach God’s last days’ work to you but that you didn’t accept it. I wonder if you have any thoughts on this? Sister, if you have any difficulties, please come out with them and we will fellowship and seek together.” I said: “Since you have asked this question, I will open up and talk to you. In the past I was afraid of being taken in by false Christs that appear during the last days and so kept to ‘all those who preach of the Lord’s coming are all false’ and therefore I never studied Almighty God’s last days’ work. Later, I thought about what Brother Meng and the others said in their letter and felt it is justified. Because false Christs appear in the last days, we blindly reject the gospel of the Lord’s return. It really is a case of being put off easily by a slight risk. However, not being able to distinguish between the true Christ and false Christs really will not do when greeting the Lord’s return. You came today, so please give us fellowship on this aspect.” Sister Zhang, my husband and my mother-in-law also nodded their heads in agreement.
Then, the little sister read a passage of God’s words to us, where Almighty God said: “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 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. If man sees only His external appearance, and overlooks His substance, then that shows the ignorance and naivety of man” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). After reading God’s words, the little sister said in fellowship: “We can see from the word of Almighty God that when distinguishing between the true Christ and false Christs, the most important thing is to distinguish from the essence. That is, from their work, words and disposition. The Lord Jesus once said: ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life’ (Jhn 14:6). It is thus clear that since God becomes flesh, He can express the truth and do God’s own work, He can also express God’s own disposition and all that He has and is. Just as in the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus expressed many truths, expressed a disposition that is mainly mercy and love, and completed the work of redeeming the whole of mankind, from the Lord Jesus’ work, words and the disposition He expressed, we can be sure that Jesus Christ is the truth, the way, and the life and is God incarnate Himself. This lets us see that only the One who can express truths and do God’s last days’ judgment work is the manifestation of Christ of the last days. Now Almighty God has come and expressed all of the truths that purify and save man and has done the last days’ work of judging and chastising people. Almighty God’s words reveal the true situation, nature and essence of mankind being corrupted by Satan and tell people all aspects of the truth such as what salvation is, what changes to disposition are and what the path to changes to disposition is, as well as mankind’s future destination and what the ending will be for all kinds of people. Moreover, Almighty God has also revealed the mystery of God’s six-thousand-year management plan and the mystery of incarnation, and expressed God’s original disposition, essence, and everything that He has and is. Provided we diligently read God’s words, we will be able to see that the words spoken by Almighty God are the voice of the Holy Spirit, God’s way of judgment in the last days. Almighty God’s last days’ work has fulfilled the prophecies in the Bible, such as, ‘Judgment must begin at the house of God’ (1Pe 4:17). ‘The Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth’ (Jhn 16:13). And ‘He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (Jhn 12:48). The truths that Almighty God has expressed, the work of judging, chastising and purifying people that He has done and the mainly righteous disposition that Almighty God has expressed fully confirm that Christ is the truth, the way and the life and that Almighty God is the manifestation of Christ of the last days. But false Christs do not possess the essence of God. Most of them are possessed by evil spirits or are extremely arrogant, unreasonable demons and evil spirits that can neither express truths to supply people nor do judgment work to purify people. They can only deceive those foolish, ignorant, confused people who seek bread to satisfy hunger by showing them simple signs and wonders. Therefore, it is very easy for us to distinguish between the true Christ and false Christs by this one principle: ‘Christ is the truth, the way, and the life,’ which is completely in accordance with God’s intentions.”
Listening to the sister’s fellowship, I couldn’t stop pondering: I have believed in the Lord for so many years but never heard this aspect before. Today Almighty God’s words spoke of distinguishing between the true Christ and false Christs so thoroughly, it seems as though the word of Almighty God really might be the voice of the Holy Spirit. Lord! I have always anxiously awaited Your return, but these last years I have just looked to guarding against false Christs and have hardly had any heart to seek. I have never studied You returning to do the last days’ judgment work as The Church of Almighty God has testified and I blindly resisted and condemned. Lord, did I really shut You out? Thinking of this, my heart quivered and I felt a little flustered and could no longer sit still, so I got up and went into the kitchen to pretend to pour a glass of water, trying to calm my emotions down a little. As I poured the water, I pondered: The little sister is very young, yet her fellowship of the truth is so real. The brothers and sisters of Shandong church also progressed so fast after accepting the work of Almighty God. Their acceptance of the Bible and knowledge of God’s work were much greater than mine. This way could make people understand the truth and make people have knowledge of God’s work. Is this not God’s work? Thinking of this, I felt both excited and remorseful. I recalled my circumstances when I wrote the letter to brothers and sisters in Shandong. With one stroke of the pen I taught the brothers and sisters a lesson in a frenzied tone and in my approach to the Lord’s return, not only did I not seek the truth and accept the brothers and sisters’ fellowship, but on the contrary I vigorously refuted and rejected it and considered myself the master of truth, making brothers and sisters all listen to me. I also thought that I was doing my utmost to defend the true way. I hadn’t considered that I was resisting God. So am I not a modern-day Pharisee? At this point, I felt like I had been soaked from head to foot by cold water and felt aching and weak all over. Both of my hands trembled uncontrollably and I kept replaying the scenes of me resisting God in my mind…. I could no longer control myself and wept uncontrollably. I hated myself for being too arrogant and too blind. After a while, I wiped my tears and carried the water into the room. The little sister looked at me and asked with concern: “Sister, can you accept our fellowship like this?” I sighed and reproachfully said: “After listening to Almighty God’s words and your fellowship just now, I feel that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. I have looked forward to the Lord’s return every day but did not expect that now the Lord has returned, I would actually act out the role of the Pharisees. I have really done great evil! I resisted God …” At this time, I was crying so much I could not speak.
Later, after a period of studying the word of Almighty God, Sister Zhang, my mother-in-law, my husband and I were completely settled on Almighty God being the returned Lord Jesus. I was so unusually excited that I excitedly sent brothers and sisters in Shandong a fifth letter: “Dear brothers and sisters! Thanks be to God that through your preaching to me God’s gospel of the kingdom many times, I have now accepted Almighty God’s last days’ work and have become a member of The Church of Almighty God. Although I accepted later than you, I do not want to be left behind and I am going to rouse myself to catch up….” At this moment, my heart seemed to have flown back to Shandong with the letter to be intimately united with my brothers and sisters there. Thanks be to God for His love!