103. Yesterday’s Resistance, Today’s Remorse
Xinyi City, Jiangsu Province
I was formerly a leader’s assistant in the Justification by Faith Church. I had believed in Jesus for over twenty years and been trained in a theological seminary, so I was very much looked up to by the brothers and sisters in our churches. We were in charge of over thirty churches and had contact with the churches in Beijing, Guangdong, Shandong, Hubei, and other places. The churches had been very prosperous a few years before, but somehow they turned more and more desolate in recent years. The believers became fewer and fewer, and many of them were converted to “Eastern Lightning,” and even some leaders who had believed in God for many years were “deceived.” I had long since heard that those of “Eastern Lightning” were very aggressive and that they did nothing but steal “sheep” from churches. To protect the “sheep,” I racked my brains and took many precautions in our churches, but all in vain. Seeing that the number in our churches decreased, I felt more and more hatred for those who preached “Eastern Lightning.”
One morning in April 2002, I had just got back home from Guangzhou when a sister came to preach Almighty God’s end-time gospel to me. Instantly, I roared at her as if she were my enemy, “Don’t you find a wrong place to preach in? When I began to preach, you were still a baby. How many days have you believed in God that you even try to deceive me? You ambition is too wild. You are really devoid of self-knowledge. Son, drive her away. I have no time to talk nonsense with her.” So, my son pushed and shoved the sister out of my house. Then, I suddenly became alert. “Could the believers in our churches have been deceived by them during the days I was out? …” The more I thought about it, the more I got worried. The next day, I informed all the co-workers to have a meeting, in which I distributed to each of them a booklet called Guard Against the Heresy—Eastern Lightning. And I repeated the blasphemous and slanderous words against “Eastern Lightning” that I had often spread before, and even made up these rumors to frighten them: “Some time ago, a believer in Guangdong Province was deceived by those of ‘Eastern Lightning’ into listening to their message. When he felt it not in accordance with the Bible and tried to leave, they cut off his ear. A believer in Hubei Province was deceived into listening to their message, and his eye was gouged out because he refused to accept it. A believer in Shandong Province was deceived into listening to their message. Because he said no to it, they broke his leg…. From now on, never receive any stranger, let alone go out of our churches to listen to messages. Don’t read any book from ‘Eastern Lightning,’ not even a page of it. Whoever of any church finds any persons preaching ‘Eastern Lightning,’ drive them away. If they don’t leave, call the police to arrest them. We must not be soft on them! …”
One evening in September, while we were having a meeting, Sister Zhou, whom I knew quite well, came with two other sisters to preach God’s end-time gospel to me. At that time I wantonly blasphemed and slandered God’s new work and claimed before everyone, “It’s absolutely impossible for God to be incarnated again. Whoever preaches that God has been incarnated again is a deceiver, who believes in a false way.” With that I told the brothers and sisters to drive them out of our village. Then I thought, “Now I’ll see whether you have the guts to come again.” But unexpectedly, at dawn the next morning when I went to my fields to gather mulberry leaves, I found they three had already been waiting for me there. While they helped me gather mulberry leaves, they fellowshipped about God’s end-time work with me. Although they talked a lot about it, I did not listen to a word. As they perceived that I had shut the door of my heart and turned a deaf ear to their words, they kept coming to me with unflagging patience. In the end, I got so fed up with their “pestering” that I asked them, “What on earth do you do this for?” They said, “Brother, we mean no harm. You know it’s the end time now. God has returned in the flesh and done a new work. We only want to bring the last gospel to you, but we are poor in quality and can’t make it clear. So, we only beg you to go with us and listen to a message. After you listen to it, it’s up to you to decide whether or not you believe in it, and we won’t come to bother you anymore.” In order to get rid of their “pestering,” I hit upon a plan: I’ll go and pretend to listen to it lest they come to bother me again and again.
On the morning of October 18, I went to Xinyi City with Sister Zhou and the other sister. A brother of over thirty welcomed me warmly and then started to fellowship with me. At the beginning, I felt there was nothing wrong in what he fellowshipped about. But when he said God had been incarnated the second time and done a new work, I began to have an aversion to his fellowship. Yet I still pretended to listen very carefully. I nodded at whatever he said, but I had my own plan in my heart: “What if they harm me if I say that I won’t accept it? Now I just listen to him, but I will deny it after I get home.” When it was time for lunch, I tried to find an excuse to leave, but the sister of the host family repeatedly invited me to stay for lunch. For fear of being poisoned, I did not dare to take it. Sister Zhou seemed to have read my mind and said, “Brother, don’t be afraid. Just eat it. There is no poison in this meal. Some people say we put poison in meals; it is purely a rumor they fabricate and a false testimony they give to close the churches to outsiders.” After the meal, we three left that host family. When we got on the bus, I said to the two sisters, “Don’t bother me anymore from now on. I won’t accept the way you preach. How could God be incarnated the second time?” They were dumbfounded, and then asked me, “Didn’t you say just now that you had accepted it?” I replied proudly, “Humph! That was a trick I played on you. You said that you wouldn’t come to bother me again as long as I listened to a message.” At this time, they wept sadly….
At dawn on November 13, I prepared to go to Wangzhuang church to give a sermon. No sooner had I stepped out of the gate than I found the two sisters sitting in front of a stack of wheat straw. When they saw me, they said tearfully, “Brother, it’s really hard to get to see you. We came last night but found you had gone to bed, so we didn’t interrupt you. As we know you will go to the church today, we have been waiting for you here.” I said, “What brings you here again? I won’t accept the way you preach.” Sister Zhou said, “Brother, God wants all men to be saved and none to perish. For the sake of your life, I beg you to go with us and listen to a message again. OK?” Seeing much straw on their clothes and wheat husks in their hair, I knew that they must have been waiting for me here all night. At that moment, I was greatly touched and could not help thinking, “Could what they believe in be heresy? Could they be deceivers? I did not accept their way after listening to their message that day; aren’t I still safe and sound now?” Then, I recalled the scenes of their advising me earnestly and weeping sadly for me and their coming to preach to me time and again, when I felt suddenly enlightened. “During my twenty years of belief in God, I have also preached the gospel, but how come I don’t have such great faith and love as theirs? According to my experiences gained from years of believing in God, I can be sure that no one could have such love, faith, and perseverance if it were not for God’s great power and the working of the Holy Spirit.” So, I promised to make a further investigation.
Two days later, I arrived at the same place in Xinyi City on time. This time a brother of over forty would testify God’s new work to me. After he was introduced to me, I said point-blank, “Brother, don’t talk about the three stages of God’s work with me today. If you can find me in the Bible the evidence that God will be incarnated the second time, I will accept the way you preach. Otherwise, I will never believe it.” So, the brother searched out several verses and explained them to me one by one. He said, “Matthew 24:37 says: ‘But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’ The ‘Son of man’ refers to the incarnated God with normal humanity. Take Jesus for example. He was the incarnated God, he was God’s Spirit realized in the flesh, and he possessed both divinity and humanity, so he was called the ‘Son of man.’ If the Spirit came, he could not be called the ‘Son of man.’ Since the ‘Son of man’ will come again in the end time, it means God will come through being incarnated in the end time. Let’s also look at John 4:37: ‘And herein is that saying true, One sows, and another reaps.’ ‘One’ and ‘another’ here both refer to the incarnated ‘Son of man.’ Luke 17:24-25 says: ‘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.’ These two verses say that when the Son of man comes, he will first suffer many things and be rejected by men. We all know that the Spirit is great and supernatural and is not limited by time, place, or space, nor can he live with men. If God came as the Spirit this time, he could not suffer or be rejected by men. Only if God is incarnated with his authority and wrath hidden in the humble and common flesh and works among men practically can he suffer and be rejected by men. If he came with his original authority and wrath as the Spirit, men would be terrified and fall down at the sight of him. Then, who would dare to reject him? There are still other verses, such as Hebrews 1:6 and 9:28, Matthew 24:27 and 44, and so on. They all tell us that God will come again through being incarnated in the end time.” The brother’s patient fellowship enlightened me all of a sudden. “Actually, God has prophesied long ago that he will come through being incarnated in the end time.” Then, he opened the book of God’s word and asked me to read these words: “The incarnated God comes into the flesh completely because of the need of corrupt man, because of man’s need but not God’s need. All the price and sufferings are for the sake of mankind, not for God’s own benefit. With God, there is no such thing as gain or loss or reward. What he gains is not what he later reaps but what he should have originally. All that he does and all the price he pays for mankind are not for the purpose that he can receive more rewards, but are only for the sake of mankind. … To corrupt people, only exact words, clear goals to pursue, and visible and touchable works are the most valuable works. Only realistic works and timely guidance can fit people’s taste, and only practical works can save people from their corrupt and fallen disposition; these can only be fulfilled by the incarnated God. Only the incarnated God can save people from their corrupt and fallen old disposition. … God can save corrupt man from satan’s influence, but this work cannot be directly accomplished by God’s Spirit. Rather, it can only be done by the flesh God’s Spirit is clothed with, by the flesh God is incarnated in. This flesh is a man and is God, a man with a normal humanity and God with full divinity. So, although this flesh is not the Spirit of God and is greatly different from the Spirit, the One who saves man is still the incarnated God Godself, who is the Spirit and is a flesh. No matter how he is addressed, it is God Godself who saves mankind. This is because God’s Spirit and flesh are inseparable, and it is the work done by the flesh and is also the work done by the Spirit of God, which, however, is not done by him as the Spirit but as the flesh. A work that needs to be done directly by the Spirit does not need to be done through being incarnated, and a work that needs to be done by the flesh cannot be done by the Spirit directly but can only be done through being incarnated. All this is the need of the work and the need of corrupt mankind. Of the three stages of works, only one stage was done by the Spirit directly, while the other two stages are done by the incarnated God, not done by the Spirit directly. The work of the law done by the Spirit had nothing to do with transforming man’s corrupt disposition or man’s knowing God. But the works of the Age of the Grace and of the Age of the Kingdom done by the flesh have to do with man’s corrupt disposition and man’s knowing God. The works done by the flesh are the important and crucial works in the work of salvation. So, corrupt mankind needs even more the salvation of the incarnated God and needs even more the direct work of the incarnated God. Mankind needs the shepherding, sustenance, watering, feeding, judgment, and chastisement of the incarnated God and needs more grace and greater redemption of the incarnated God. Only the God in the flesh can be man’s intimate friend, man’s shepherd, and man’s ever-present help. All this is the necessity of God’s being incarnated today and before.” As I read, tears blurred my eyes. From God’s words, I saw that the one I had rejected and resisted was none other than the Lord Jesus who had come the second time. And I also deeply realized this: God’s being incarnated to do work this time really embodies his great patience and love for man. He is incarnated because of the need of corrupt mankind and also because of his work of salvation. No matter whether God works as the Spirit or as the flesh, it is after all God Godself who comes to do work, and it is for better saving man. At that moment, I really hated myself for being so arrogant and ignorant that I confused right and wrong, good and evil, thus blindly condemning and blaspheming God’s new work without seeking or investigating it. “I am in no way like a believer in God. I am simply a Beelzebub resisting God! I do not know God’s work, but I arrogantly conclude that it is impossible for God to be incarnated again, and I say blasphemously that whoever preaches God has been incarnated again is a deceiver who believes in a false way. God’s work is wise and wonderful and is unfathomable to man, so how could I, a person less than the dust, fathom God’s work? Today, without God’s revelation and the brother’s fellowship, how could I, the pigheaded one, know that God has long since returned in the flesh and done a new work? If this time God did not do work through being incarnated but his Spirit did work directly, wouldn’t I, the arrogant and conceited person who blindly condemns and resists his work, have long since been struck down? How could I receive God’s forgiveness once again? To say nothing of receiving the salvation of God incarnate.” As I thought of this, I could not help weeping bitterly and falling down before God and prayed, “O Almighty God! I am really blind. I believe in you and expect your coming. However, when you come back today, I not only fail to recognize you, but I also become an antichrist who resists and blasphemes you, hindering many brothers and sisters from coming before you. I am guilty of the most heinous sin and really do not deserve to live. Yet, you have not treated me according to what I have done, but with great patience and measureless love, you have pardoned me so that I have had a chance to come before you. O God, I only want to cooperate with your work for the rest of my life so as to make amends for my sins.”
However, when I told this great good news to the brothers and sisters, they did not believe it, but on the contrary, they said that I had been deceived for lack of discernment. From then on they avoided me like the plague. Even the brother who was closest to me and had gotten along with me for over ten years did me the same way. When I preached the gospel to him, he pushed over my bike, tore my clothes, and said to me fiercely, “If you come again, I’ll sic my dog on you.” Gone completely was the brotherly feeling he had for me before. Then, I went to the home of another brother, who was an area leader there. In the past, he respected me very much and called me his spiritual senior. But when I testified God’s new work to him, he bawled at me angrily, “Shut up! Or I’ll beat you. Get out of here! …” Yesterday we were good brothers and sisters, but today they treated me as if I were their mortal enemy. Facing all this, I felt extremely remorseful and even more hated myself for my former disobedience and resistance. It was the consequence of my doing evil that they treated me like that. I really deserved to reap what I myself had sown. Seeing that they were deceived by those rumors and were still living in the darkness, I felt more indebted to God and ashamed before the brothers and sisters. So, I came before God and prayed, “O Almighty God! I was so blind and foolish as to lead them astray, so no matter how they beat and abuse me, I am willing to bear it. I only wish you would inspire and guide them….”
Here, I sincerely advise the brothers and sisters from all denominations: May you treat God’s end-time work carefully, give it a calm consideration, and seek and pray to God. Do not do anything rash! Never act like me, who blindly condemn and blaspheme God’s new work, “instruct” the brothers and sisters to resist the true God, and become a Pharisee of today, leaving an eternal regret behind.