124. Before the Truth, I Finally Confessed Myself to Be an Evil Servant
Fushun City, Liaoning Province
My name is Zhang Wenbiao. In the fall of 1994, I believed in Jesus in the Slain Church. Soon I was appointed as a leader in charge of shepherding and sustaining one hundred and fifty believers of ten churches.
One day in the winter of 1995, the senior leader called us leaders in different areas together. At the meeting, he said, “Now there arose a sect called the ‘Eastern Lightning.’ They say that God came into the flesh again. They’ve departed from the Bible. It’s purely a heresy, from a false Christ. There’s an evil spirit in their book. If you read it, you will be captivated…” I believed these words to be true and began to hate the people of the “Eastern Lightning.” I made up my mind: I will be a faithful servant of the Lord, and will protect the flock and prevent any of them from being snatched away by the “Eastern Lightning.” After I came back, I spread the senior leader’s words in the churches, “The ‘Eastern Lightning’ is a ‘heresy,’ a ‘cult,’ and a ‘mafia.’ They are deceiving people everywhere. Once you join them, you can’t withdraw. If you want to withdraw, they will kidnap your family and break your legs or gouge out your eyes. Everyone must be careful not to be deceived by them.” I also made some rules as a precaution in the churches: Every church worker must guard the church carefully and ensure that no one receives strangers or fellowships with them about belief in God. Whoever has contacted the people of the “Eastern Lightning” must confess his sin and curse the “Eastern Lightning” before all the believers. All this made the brothers and sisters nervous, and they were all afraid of being deceived by the “Eastern Lightning.”
One day in the fall of 1998, a relative came to my home with several brothers. When I knew they came to preach Almighty God’s new work of the last days, I roared at them, “You are all deceivers. What you preach is a heresy from a ‘false Christ.’ I won’t believe in it! You go at once. Don’t come again…” I rudely pushed them out of the door and drove them away.
One day, I went to a church to hold a meeting for the co-workers under my charge. After lunch, a sister and two brothers came in. They said they wanted to fellowship with us about Almighty God’s new work. Upon hearing this, I got angry, and said, “We won’t hear your fellowship! You yourselves have been deceived; you want to deceive us?” One brother said sincerely, “Brother, don’t say that. None of us can bear the sin of blaspheming God!” I pointed my finger at the brother and abused him, “What a cheek! Don’t call me brother! You fear, but I don’t! …” Then I spoke many words of blasphemy and condemnation without scruple, and I told the host to drive them away. But she was unwilling to do so because she was acquainted with them. And some co-workers said that they wanted to hear their fellowship. Seeing that, I flew into a rage and pointed at the co-workers, saying, “I’ll see who will dare to listen to their fellowship! Get up and leave here now…” The co-workers could not but leave the host home.
Once, my wife went to another denomination to preach the gospel. When she came back, she took two sisters with her. At first I thought they came just to seek, so I didn’t guard against them. In the evening, my wife said to me, “The two sisters said that the Lord came into the flesh again to do a new work. Shall we seek?” At this, I broke into a fury. I pointed at the sisters and asked harshly, “Are you from the ‘Lightning?’” One sister said softly, “Don’t get angry, brother. We just want to preach God’s gospel of the last days to you. We mean no harm.” Then I turned to my wife and demanded, “Have you accepted the ‘Eastern Lightning?’” She didn’t answer. I knew at once she did. Instantly all those horrible rumors came flooding back to me. Looking at my deceived wife, I quivered with anger. I pulled her to me and threw two punches on her chest. While beating her, I abused, “Jesus is the true God, but you betrayed Him and took the foe for your father. Today I won’t stop beating you unless you turn back…” The sisters came up to shield my wife with their bodies. I became more angry, thinking, “Were it not for you, my wife wouldn’t be deceived. It’s all your fault!” Like a madman, I turned to them and gave them several slaps. The two sisters were stunned, and then they three held each other, weeping bitterly. But I didn’t let them go and began to dig at them and speak many words of blasphemy and condemnation. I didn’t stop until my wife yielded and turned back at a little past two in the next morning.
One morning in December 2002, when I was leading the ox out of the courtyard, I saw an elderly woman aged over seventy standing outside the gate. She was covered with frost all over, like a snowman. It seemed that she had walked a long way. I quickly let her into the room. When I learned that she came to preach the “Eastern Lightning” to me, I didn’t allow her to speak anything more and drove her out. Watching her walk away in tears, I felt a little pity, but then I thought, “This is what she gets for believing in the ‘Eastern Lightning.’”
I resisted Almighty God for eight years, during which numerous brothers and sisters came to my home to preach the gospel of the last days, regardless of whether it rained or shone and how rudely I treated them. All their sincere efforts were met with my cruel rebuff. I thought that my fast hold of the Lord’s name and His way and my faithful watch over the flock would be repaid with the Lord’s blessing to our church. However, things ran counter to my wish. The church didn’t revive but instead became more and more desolate. The co-workers intrigued against and undermined each other. The believers were slack and very weak. They were disinclined to attend meetings, and even if they came, they dozed off. The preachers had nothing new to preach, and some even returned to the world to earn money. The number of people in the church dropped from one hundred and fifty to fifty… My faith also became smaller, and I was unwilling to sustain the brothers and sisters anymore, but I had to do it. When I saw the people of the “Eastern Lightning” had such a great faith that they ran around preaching the gospel of the last days in all weathers, I couldn’t figure out why. In perplexity, I prayed to the Lord: “Lord! Why do the people of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ have such a great faith and love? Why is the ‘Eastern Lightning’ thriving? We believe in the true way, but why is our church becoming desolate? O Lord! What is this all about? May You revive our church…”
Just when I was in confusion, Almighty God’s salvation came upon me again. In early March of 2003, two sisters of the Slain Church in Jilin Province invited me to help them sustain the brothers and sisters in Tonghua City. There I met two brothers. In our fellowship, I found that they had a unique view about the Bible. They said, “The work of God’s saving man is developing all the time, and each stage of His work has its target. In the Old Testament Age of Law, God gave the Law through Moses. People received God’s blessings when they obeyed the Law, and were cursed by God when they broke the Law. Through the laws people were conscious of sin. God’s work continued to advance. Then Jesus was incarnated, and He ended the Age of Law and opened the Age of Grace. He did the work of crucifixion as mankind’s sin offering to forgive their sin. Those who kept up with His work received the truth from Him and the work of the Holy Spirit. The Pharisees who held to the laws, however, stubbornly refused the work of Jesus and still kept offering defective sacrifices in the desolate temple, and finally they were condemned by Jesus as guilty of ‘seven woes’ for resisting God. Today the churches are in desolation, for God has returned in the flesh and opened the Age of Kingdom. He has broken the seals and opened the scroll, and expressed many truths for the new age to do the work of purifying people. This stage of work is for removing people’s sins completely so that they can become holy and enter into the pleasant destination God has prepared for them…” These words immediately made me aware that they were from the “Eastern Lightning.” I was about to lose my temper, but I held it back. I thought of the desolation of our church and my weakness, and began to look at the two brothers: they were sober, decent, friendly, and sincere, and moreover their fellowship was reasonable. I said to myself, “I have resisted the ‘Eastern Lightning’ for eight years, but I know little about what they preach. And I’m puzzled why they have such great faith and love. So I might as well take this occasion to get to the bottom of it.” Then I calmed down and asked the brothers, “God has been incarnated once. Why is He incarnated again?” One brother said, “Let’s see what Almighty God says about it!” He opened the book of God’s word and read these words: “The first incarnation was to redeem man from sin through the flesh of Jesus, that is, He saved man from the cross, but the corrupt satanic disposition still remained within man. The second incarnation is no longer to serve as a sin offering but to fully save those who were redeemed from sin. This is done so that those forgiven can be delivered from their sins and be fully made clean, and attain a change in disposition, thereby breaking free of Satan’s influence of darkness and returning before the throne of God. Only in this way can man be fully sanctified.” “Man is a mortal being, is of flesh and blood, and God is the only One who can save man. In this way, God must become a flesh that possesses the same attributes as man in order to do His work, so that His work might achieve better effects. God became flesh to do His work precisely because man is of the flesh, and incapable of overcoming sin or divesting himself of the flesh.” “The work of God in the flesh … has accurate guidance of words, has clear will, and has clear required goals. And so man does not need to grope around, or employ his imagination, much less make guesses. This is the clarity of the work in the flesh, and its great difference from the work of the Spirit. The work of the Spirit is only suitable in a limited scope, and cannot replace the work of the flesh. The work of the flesh gives man far more exact and necessary goals and far more real, valuable knowledge than the work of the Spirit. The work that is of greatest value to corrupt man is that which provides accurate words, clear goals to pursue, and which can be seen and touched. Only realistic work and timely guidance are suited to man’s tastes, and only real work can save man from his corrupt and depraved disposition. This can only be achieved by the incarnate God; only the incarnate God can save man from his formerly corrupt and depraved disposition. Although the Spirit is the inherent substance of God, work such as this can only be done by His flesh. If the Spirit worked single-handedly, then it would not be possible for His work to be effective—this is a plain truth.” From God’s words, I understood this: Although man has been redeemed by Jesus, he remains in the bondage of corrupt dispositions and sins. So God has to return in the flesh and speak words to expose his corruption, judge his unrighteousness, and show him accurate ways of practice by which to enter, so as to save him completely from sins. The Spirit alone cannot do it effectively. We corrupt people badly need the salvation of God’s second incarnation!
I continued to ask, “Since it is God’s work, why does it depart from the Bible?” The brother turned to a page and handed the book to me. I saw these words: “To understand God’s work in the Age of Law and how the Israelites followed Jehovah’s way, you must read the Old Testament. To understand His work in the Age of Grace, you must read the New Testament. How will you understand the work of the last days, then? You have to accept God’s guidance and enter into His work today, because this is the new work, which no one could ‘record’ beforehand in the Bible.” “In Jesus’ day, He led the Jews and all those who followed Him according to the work of the Holy Spirit in Him. He did not look to the Bible for evidence, but spoke as His work dictated. He did not concern Himself with what the Bible said, did not lead His followers down a path found in the Bible. From the very beginning, He preached the way of repentance, and the word ‘repentance’ was not mentioned at all in all the prophecies in the Old Testament. Not only did He not follow the Bible, He brought forth a new path and did a new work. … He was not trying to explain the Old Testament or defend its work. Carrying on the Age of Law was not His goal, for He did not care in the least whether His work was grounded in the Bible, but simply did the job that He needed to do. So He did not attempt to explain the Old Testament prophecies, did not base His work on words spoken in the Old Testament Age of Law. He did not concern Himself with what the Old Testament said, whether it accorded with His own work, did not care how other people saw His work or condemned His work. He simply kept on doing the job He needed to do, though many people condemned Him, invoking the words of the Old Testament prophets. In people’s eyes His work was not based on a shred of evidence, and in many ways it ran counter to what was recorded in the Bible. Were they not grossly in the wrong? Must God’s work obey any rules? Does He need to follow the words of prophets? Which is greater, the Bible or God? Why must God’s work be in line with the Bible? Is it really not within His right to stand above the Bible? Can He not depart from it and do other work? Why did Jesus and His disciples not observe the Sabbath? If He was to observe the Sabbath, to practice the commandments of the Old Testament, then why, after His coming, did He not observe the Sabbath, but washed others’ feet and covered His head, broke bread and drank wine? Were these commandments mentioned in the Old Testament? If Jesus was to adhere to the Old Testament, why did He break these rules? You must know which came first, God, or the Bible? As He is the Lord of the Sabbath, can’t He also be the Lord of the Bible?” God’s words showed me that God doesn’t do His work in a fixed way. He doesn’t speak or work according to the Bible, but according to His own management plan and the need of mankind of that time. He does different work in different ages, and of course, the words He speaks in those ages are also different. The Bible only records the work He did in the Age of Law and in the Age of Grace. The word expressed by God incarnate of the last days can’t possibly appear in the Bible by itself. So the word God speaks in the last days cannot possibly be recorded in the Bible. I used to think that “God’s work won’t go beyond the Bible.” That was absolutely wrong. How conservative and ignorant I was!
Then the brothers fellowshipped with me about several more pieces of God’s word. From God’s words, I knew God’s six-thousand-year management plan, the significance of God’s three stages of work, and the purpose of God’s managing mankind. After such investigation and fellowship, I accepted Almighty God’s new work. I also understood what “You’ll be captivated once you read their book” meant. “Actually, there isn’t any evil spirit in this book. Rather in it is the word of Almighty God Himself, which is the supply of life and the spring of living water that revives people’s faith and love. So who would not accept this work after he read the truths and meet the true God? My real experience and the facts I have witnessed show that what we preached against the ‘Eastern lightning’ are all rumors, which are malicious frame-ups and slanders against Almighty God. The rumors say, ‘The “Eastern Lightning” is a mafia, and once you join it, you can’t withdraw, and if you withdraw, they will break your legs or kidnap your family.’ But that was not true. I resisted Almighty God for years and dragged back my wife and some brothers and sisters, but I never saw any of them beaten, kidnapped, or even abused; on the contrary, I abused and beat the brothers and sisters who preached the gospel of the last days. I, a rebellious person, spread the rumors and fabricated lies out of nothing and attacked against the Almighty God’s work of the last days with malicious remarks in the name of guarding the flock for the Lord, so that the brothers and sisters in the church were in my full grip. Today the truth shows me that I am a Pharisee of the new age, the foremost of sinners who has hindered the brothers and sisters from entering the kingdom, and a typical evil servant.” Then I thought of the brothers and sisters in my hometown who were deceived by me. I couldn’t wait to tell the good news to them. The next day, I took the coach and left for home.
On the coach, I was lost in thoughts. I remembered my evil deeds of fiercely resisting Almighty God, and a feeling of hatred for myself and bitter regrets overwhelmed me. I thought of the elderly sister walking away in tears, the two sisters who were slapped by me as I tried to drag back my wife, and their friendly and expectant faces. I felt more regretful, tears welling up. I hated myself bitterly: “I was so ignorant that I became Satan’s accomplice and was so arrogant and stubborn that I became God’s enemy. If it were not for Almighty God’s great tolerance and mercy, I would still serve as a tool of Satan and would fall into the hell in the end.” I prayed to God silently, “Almighty God! So many times I condemned and blasphemed You, drove away the brothers and sisters who preached the gospel to me, and spread the lies to hinder the brothers and sisters from accepting Your new work. I’m an evil servant who is guilty of a heinous sin and deserves more than death. According to what I have done, I should be cut into pieces and cursed and thrown into the lake of fire and brimstone. But You didn’t treat me according to my sins and still gave me an opportunity to be saved. O Almighty God! I will offer the rest of my life to You, and no matter how much I may suffer, I will bring the brothers and sisters deceived by the rumors before You to console Your broken heart.”
Dear brothers and sisters in the Slain Church and other denominations, this is my real experience of how I resisted Almighty God and accepted Him. I’m very grieved over my evil deeds and greatly thankful for Almighty God’s salvation. Almighty God is the Creator of the heavens and the earth and all things, who is with supreme glory, but in order to save the created mankind, He has humbly been incarnated to be a human twice and set an exemplar for man. God’s new work has exposed me. Although I believed in the Lord for ten years, I didn’t gain life from God but only observed some letters and doctrines of the Bible. These letters and doctrines were the very root of my resistance against God’s new work. The Bible says, “… the letter kills, but the spirit gives life.” “Kill” means losing life (God), and “give life” means gaining life (God). Losing God means being in death, darkness, and evil, and gaining God means being resurrected, enlightened, and justice. I lived by the letters of the Bible and treated others according to the flesh, beating and cursing the brothers and sisters who preached Almighty God. They were all evil doings, the deeds of a dead man. However, those brothers and sisters who preached the Almighty God’s gospel endured humiliations to testify God to others. Their love and mercy represented the resurrection life, light, and justice, which were from God only. It was because I lived in death that I fiercely condemned and resisted God’s new work of the last days and beat the brothers and sisters who preached Almighty God’s new work. And it was because I didn’t practice the Christ’s words and took understanding the doctrines as understanding the truth that I became more and more arrogant. If God didn’t work and speak personally, no one could understand His will. I thought that I could know God well because of reading the Bible and preaching for years. Actually, I was the most foolish one. Thanks to the enlightenment of God’s word, I can gain such knowledge. May every brother and sister learn from my experience and not repeat my mistakes.