Resolving Persistent Concerns
By Max, USA
I was born in the USA in 1994 and my mom and dad were both Chinese. My mother was a typical successful career woman and was very independent and capable. I loved my mom very much. When I started second grade, my parents brought me back to China so I could learn Chinese, and I also began to learn about the Lord Jesus at that time. I remember it was one day in 2004, I got out of class and went home to discover that we had a guest. My mom introduced him as a pastor who had come from America. I was really happy, because I knew that my mom had already believed in the Lord Jesus for a while. On that same day, this American pastor told me some stories about the Lord Jesus. Shortly after, I was led to the bathroom, and without even waiting for my response, the pastor dunked my head into the bath with a splash. In an instant I was again pulled out of the water by the pastor. I just heard my mom and the pastor saying to me at the same time: “Welcome to the embrace of the Lord Jesus. We are all the lost sheep.” Just like that, I became a believer in the Lord in a way that was unfathomable. After that, I went to the church every week to attend services, to hear the pastor tell stories from the Bible, and to read the scriptures. I was always happy, and was very steadfast in my heart, feeling that the Lord Jesus was truly good.
In 2008, I came to America to study, and my dad went with me to accompany me. The whole time I was there I kept going to the church to take part in gatherings. In 2012, when I graduated from high school I returned to China to visit my mom. When I was about to leave, my father talked to me in a heartfelt and meaningful way. He told me that my mom back in our home country had begun to believe in something called “Eastern Lightning,” and hoped that after I went back I would talk to my mom about it and get her to give up her belief in Eastern Lightning. As someone who was about to begin university, I of course could not just hear my father’s side of the story. So, after that, I got online and searched a little for information about Eastern Lightning, wanting to really understand it a little bit. As a result, I found some remarks spread by the Chinese Communist Party and the religious pastors and elders accusing and slandering Eastern Lightning. I was a little worried about my mom while I was preparing to go back to China and see my mother’s recent situation. After I got back, I saw that everything was normal, and she hadn’t changed at all in her love and care for me. She had especially grown in her faith in God, and had become even more pious than before. I set aside my worries about my mom.
In that short time that I had returned to China, my mother sure enough mentioned Eastern Lightning to me. She said: “The Lord Jesus has already returned, and has done a stage of the work of judgment starting with the house of God….” From what my mother said, I understood that God incarnated in the last days in the physical form of a female to come do the work. When I heard that I stared blankly, because this was completely the opposite of what I had heard when I was abroad about believing in the Lord Jesus. When the pastor preached, he always said that Jehovah is the Holy Father and the Lord Jesus is the Holy Son, and since it is said They are father and son, They are both male in gender. Furthermore, all the portraits of the Lord Jesus that were hanging in the church and the images of the Lord Jesus on the cross are all male, so in my notion I thought that when God became incarnate it would be as a male. But my mom had said that God incarnated as a female in the last days, and this completely went beyond my knowledge of the Lord Jesus, so in my heart I could not accept it. I said to my mom: “The Lord Jesus is male, so when the Lord returns how could He be female?” My mom fellowshiped to me: “God’s essence is Spirit, and God is not differentiated by gender. He only incarnates for the sake of people’s salvation, and only then does He select a gender….” But since the point of view that had been inculcated in me by the pastor had already had a strong impression, given that it was the first thing that I was exposed to, I just wouldn’t listen to anything my mom said, no matter what it was.
After a few days, my mom suggested that she wanted to take me to participate in a gathering, and even though I didn’t want to, I still felt like I should go with her out of respect for my mother. I remember at the time there was an aunt who said: “Now it is the period of the last days, and the Lord Jesus has already returned in the flesh among humans to deliver the truth and do the work of judgment beginning from His house. Today, the churches of the Age of Grace already are without the work of the Holy Spirit, and are universally in a state of desolation….” But because the door to my heart was already sealed, I was determined that the Lord Jesus was male, and that when the Lord returns He would definitely be in male form. So I didn’t pay any attention to what the aunt said. Until the time that I left China, I still was confused: How could the Lord Jesus be female when He returns? I was afraid that my mom had taken the wrong path and could only pray for her. I said: “Lord Jesus! I ask that You protect my mother and not let her go astray, but lead her to return to Your embrace….”
After returning to the USA, I continued going to attend services at church. But gradually I discovered that what the pastor preached was just the same old tune, specifically about giving contributions, and that believers couldn’t receive true shepherding. Many people were sleeping during the gatherings, and the people who attended them were becoming fewer and fewer. In 2014, the church that I went to had a major incident when the pastor embezzled the contributions and went and bought a house in another state, and our church went bankrupt and closed down. When I saw all of this, I felt extremely disappointed. Just at that time, a fellow student took me to their church to participate in their gatherings, and this church was much bigger than the one I had been at previously. Every Sunday when the pastor was preaching I could sit on the second level to listen, but I still saw many people sleeping, and sometimes I even fell asleep myself. The pastor often raised his voice intentionally to try to get the brothers and sisters to listen more attentively, but it didn’t have any effect whatsoever on the situation. It reminded me of my old church, where the pastor had taken the money for himself to buy a house, and the sermons could not provide for the spiritual needs of the brothers and sisters. Even though the brothers and sisters came to church they still slept, and now this church was just the same, but could it be that all churches were really desolate? I suddenly thought of when I went back to my home country in 2012, when my mom and that Aunt had said to me, God has now undertaken the work of the Age of Kingdom, and the Age of Grace has ended, God is no longer working in the churches of the Age of Grace, and only by catching up with God’s work of the Age of Kingdom can one obtain the work of the Holy Spirit. At the time, I asked myself for the first time: Could it be true that the Lord Jesus has returned?
In the blink of an eye the end of 2015 had come, and I found out that my mom had gone to San Francisco to visit my brother. I bought a plane ticket to go see my mom. My mom brought up Eastern Lightning to me a second time—the second coming of the Lord Jesus, and also made me watch many gospel movies of The Church of Almighty God as well as read the words of Almighty God. This time I was not conflicted as I had been before, because in these two years, I had seen too many sights of the desolation in the church. I confirmed from my heart the desolation of the religion that they talked about was indeed the case! I began to still my mind and listen to what my mom was fellowshiping. At the same time my mom targeted my notions, read the words of God that talked about the gender of God’s incarnation, which gave me a profound impression and which also explained away my confusion that I had held all along about the gender of the Lord’s second coming. 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. … If in this stage He did not become flesh in order personally to do work for man to witness, man would forever hold on to the notion that God is only male, not female” (“The Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of the Incarnation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “God’s wisdom, God’s wondrousness, God’s righteousness, and God’s majesty shall never change. His essence and what He has and is shall never change. As for His work, however, it is always progressing in a forward direction, always going deeper, for He is always new and never old. … 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). After reading the word of God, my mental preoccupation was resolved in an instant. I felt from my heart that these words were all correct. God first made Adam and Eve, and male and female were both made in the image of God Himself. They were originally equal, and God is not only the God of males, but also the God of females. So why, then, could His second coming not be in the form of a female? God’s essence is Spirit, so of course He may come among mankind in whatever physical form He chooses. Whether or not God incarnates as male or female, that is God’s freedom to do so. God has the authority to choose what gender He incarnates as, because God is the sovereign of all existence, and the Lord of creation. Does God have to be restricted by man in doing His work? What are we humans in the face of God? Are we not nothing more than dust? So how could we ever fathom God’s wisdom? I first thought that God could only incarnate as a male, but this is me making up rules for God. It also shows that I didn’t understand God in the slightest, and that I was too arrogant and without reason.
After reading more and more from the word of God, my notions about God incarnating as a female this time were completely dispelled. I was also able to accept that God has already returned to do a new work, but I still didn’t have a totally accurate picture of the work of Almighty God. Because of the negative propaganda resisting and accusing Almighty God that I had read previously, I still had some misgivings in my heart. I thought: I should really investigate this some more and see what kind of church The Church of Almighty God really is. At that, starting in February 2016, I formally attended online gatherings with the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God with an observant attitude. I prayed that I would be able to distinguish for myself between right and wrong and see clearly whether the negative propaganda about Almighty God was true or false, and asked God to guide me.
Through a short period of investigation, I discovered that every time at a gathering the brothers and sisters would all read the word of God, and fellowship the truth and God’s will. I saw that the contents of Almighty God’s word were things like requirements for people to live out normal humanity, requirements for people to be honest people, how to know God’s disposition, and how to seek the truth and attain God’s salvation. All these are our needs in spiritual life, and is very beneficial for us in living out the manner of a real person. I saw from what the brothers and sisters fellowshiped that they provided for and helped each other in their spiritual lives a lot. How a person is in his conduct and behavior can be seen merely from how he talks and the viewpoints he displays. In contact with the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God, I felt that they were not like what it said on the Internet, but that they really were honest, sincere and good people, and that in their actions and speech they had hearts full of reverence for God. I also felt that the work of the Holy Spirit was in this church, and that brothers and sisters had a lot of enthusiasm in seeking the truth. Each person had the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit in their fellowshiping the word of God and the personal knowledge and experience at gatherings. Every time I attended gatherings I could understand a bit of the truth, and gain some benefit, and this was something I never experienced at my original church. Facts speak louder than words, and those rumors collapsed in the light of the truth.
One time at a gathering, I told my sister about rumors fabricated by the CCP and religious pastors and elders I had found online, and said that I did not understand that since The Church of Almighty God has the work of the Holy Spirit and is a church that came into being because of the appearance and work of God in the last days, why it faces the fanatical opposition and accusations of the CCP and of the pastors and elders in the religion. The sister fellowshiped this truth with me and said: “We have to see through the rumors online. This is how the CCP and religious pastors attack and criticize God’s work in the last days. They accuse The Church of Almighty God, and this is not a strange thing at all, because the true way has always faced persecution since ancient times. Satan has consistently been the enemy of God, and it fabricates and disseminates all kinds of lies to deceive and disturb us, and to make us shun and betray God, and thereby to attain the goal of controlling and possessing us. It is just like how Satan used lies in the beginning to mislead Eve into denying the word of God and betraying God. When the Lord Jesus came to work, the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees of Judaism relied on concocting all kinds of rumors to mislead the Jewish commoners. They slandered the Lord Jesus as being the son of a carpenter and spoke blasphemy that He cast out demons with the help of the demon king. They even collaborated with the Roman authorities in crucifying the Lord Jesus. After the Lord Jesus rose from the dead, they bribed the soldiers to make up lies that Jesus had not come back to life to stop the Jewish commoners from returning to God. In the last days, God incarnated again to do a stage of the work of judgment, to completely cleanse and save people. The gospel of God’s kingdom has already become known to everyone in mainland China, and today the work of Almighty God is being spread to all countries on earth. Under the guidance of the word of God, more and more people have gained discernment of the evil forces that come from Satan, and have clearly seen the demonic essence of the atheist CCP and religious leaders as the enemies of God. They are abandoning them in great numbers and beginning to return to God to seek the truth and take the right path of human life. Satan is not resigned to defeat, but is in its death throes vying with God for the chosen people of God. The satanic regime of the CCP has united with religion through Internet and traditional media to wantonly spread rumors and slander The Church of Almighty God, to mislead those foolish and ignorant people who cannot distinguish this. They attempt to block people from investigating the work of Almighty God and to disturb and obstruct the work of God. Just as it is said in the Bible: ‘And the whole world lies in wickedness’ (1 John 5:19). The Lord Jesus said: ‘And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that does evil hates the light, neither comes to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved’ (John 3:19–20). As for how to see through Satan’s trickery, and not be misled by Satan, Almighty God says: ‘When you have undergone experiences, you will be able to differentiate many things—you will be able to distinguish between good and evil, between righteousness and wickedness, between what is of flesh and blood and what is of the truth. You should be able to distinguish between all these things, and in so doing, no matter the circumstances, you will never be lost. Only this is your real stature. Knowing the work of God is no simple matter: You should have standards and an objective in your pursuit, you should know how to seek the true way, and how to measure whether or not it is the true way, and whether or not it is the work of God’ (‘Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). When we think of the environment in which the Lord Jesus was working, and then use the truth to consider God’s work of salvation in the last days, and all kinds of rumors and falsehoods disseminated by Satan to stop people from returning to God, it is not difficult to see Satan’s sinister motives. It is also easy to understand the reason why The Church of Almighty God receives the resistance, condemnation, and persecution of the Chinese government and religious circles.”
Having listened to what the sister fellowshiped, I had some discernment of Satan’s schemes. I also had some knowledge of Satan’s essence of resistance to God. Furthermore, I saw that one simply has to practically investigate and understand God’s work to distinguish all these rumors and separate the truth from the lies. If one blindly listens to only one side of the story and does not seek truth or investigate the facts, he will be deceived by the rumors spread by the CCP and religious leaders and miss his chance to be saved by God in the last days. At that time, I thanked Almighty God from my heart for enlightening and leading me to understand these truths, for making me completely sure that Almighty God is the second coming of the Lord Jesus, so that I could catch up with the footsteps of God and welcome the return of the Lord. Thanks be to God! Amen!