30. Once So Foolish, I Have Finally Woken Up Today
Nanyang City, Henan Province
I was formerly a preacher of the “Praise Church.” Since May 1999, I had often heard the elders say, “The ‘Eastern Lightning’ is a cult. Those people are together committing adultery. If you don’t obey them, they will cut off your ears, gouge out your eyes, or even cut your flesh into pieces. They will also trick you into going somewhere outside the town and shut you into a basement… These people are very crafty. They specially go to deceive people in various churches. If any stranger comes to our church, we must inspect him and verify his identity. If there is any flaw in it, he must be from the ‘Eastern Lightning.’ Then drive him away immediately…” So, I kept the elders’ “good words” in mind and went around telling the brothers and sisters not to accept the “Eastern Lightning,” and I also told them that it was the deception of Satan. When I myself met the preachers of the “Eastern Lightning,” I refused them all relentlessly, and I even told the brothers and sisters in what harsh ways I treated those preachers and how I drove them away so that they could learn from me. I, being so foolish, did many things resisting Almighty God. In the end, it was under Almighty God’s enlightenment and illumination that I woke up.
I remember that on one day in July 2002, it was unbearably hot. Two sisters who had preached God’s work of the last days to me many times came to my house again and said to me, “The Lord has come back!” “Where is He?” I said, “Take Him here and let me meet Him! Don’t you try tricking me. I won’t be fooled by you. I’m not someone who is easily swayed. My foundation is built upon the rock of Jesus Christ! Don’t think of shaking my belief. Am I able to follow until today if I don’t have the truth?” I stopped the sisters and no longer let them continue. After saying those words, I went away haughtily…
One day in October 2002, I had just finished my dinner when the two sisters came again. I said angrily, “You are quite diligent! Why do you come again?” They said with a smile, “Here comes a preacher. You can have a listen.” Just then, a brother over 60 years old walked into the yard pushing a bicycle. Seeing that his face was streaked with sweat, I didn’t have the heart to drive them away. I thought, “I may as well hear what they say, so I can have a clear idea of it.” Then the brother began to fellowship. He fellowshipped from the Age of Law to the Age of Grace. And lastly he spoke of Revelation 11:17, which says, “Saying, We give you thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which are, and were, and are to come; because you have taken to you your great power, and have reigned.” And he said that the Lord had already come back, whose name was Almighty God, and He had done a new work, opened the little scroll, and expressed many words… Hearing that, I had a notion, because in our denomination it had never been preached that when the Lord came back He would express more words. So I asked, “There is nothing wrong with what you have said about the first two stages of God’s work. But the third stage of work is without basis. You got a book somewhere, added it to the Bible, and say that this is God’s word. Isn’t it a joke?” Regarding my notion, the brother fellowshipped with me about the rejections, slanders, humiliations, and abuses Jesus encountered when He did His work. He said that today when Almighty God worked, the brothers and sisters were also abused and beaten by people of various denominations and sects, and some were even reported to the police… Hearing those, I thought about it and admitted that it was indeed the case. By then I was moved a little. I thought to myself, “If it weren’t the work of the true God, what do they do that for? Will they pay such a price?” But I still had doubts. So I continued to ask, “How many years have you believed in the Lord? How did you accept it?” The brother said, “I have believed in the Lord for thirty eight years, but when Almighty God’s work was preached to me, I refused to listen. Many brothers and sisters preached to me but failed. In the end, they gave me the book of God’s word The Word Appears in the Flesh. I read it for seven whole days. Under the enlightenment of God, I finally understood that it was indeed the work of reaping done by God Himself. He has opened the new age and unlocked the mysteries, and brought to men the new direction for walking. It was because of the word of Almighty God that I was convinced. After I accepted, I began to preach Almighty God’s gospel…” The brother’s words aroused my curiosity. “He has believed in the Lord for so many years, but was convinced and understood the way after reading God’s word. Is this book really so miraculous?” So I asked to keep the book of God’s word, expecting to find some mysteries in it.
That night, I thought about it over and over again and couldn’t fall asleep. “Is it really that the Lord has come back? But if I make a wrong choice, won’t all that I have consecrated and spent in the past ten years be futile? Won’t I have suffered those sneers and slanders in vain? And the brothers and sisters will also laugh at me and say that I have no ground. But if the Lord has really come back, won’t I become one resisting God if I don’t accept it? …” Just like that, I tossed and turned for a night.
The next day, a young sister came to eat and drink God’s word with me. I was lukewarm toward her, but she didn’t mind it. She also helped me with the field work and cooking, and whenever there was leisure time, she read God’s word to me. But I didn’t relax my vigilance against her. I kept praying while listening to her, “O God, have You really come back? Is this really Your word? If this is indeed Your work, please lead me into it, but if it isn’t, please keep me away from the wrong way.” One week passed. I almost didn’t take in any word of God, but I had a good impression on the sister because of her living out. During the period when the sister came to visit me, I still went to attend the meetings in my former denomination. And I told the elders truthfully, “You all say that we can’t listen to the messages of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ and that as soon as we listen to them, we will be captivated. In these days, some of them also came to my home and I listened to their messages and read their book, but I wasn’t captivated. I don’t think they are so frightening!” Unexpectedly, after I said that, they immediately “looked at me with new eyes.” On October 30, I went with the sister to my mother’s to preach the gospel. Four days later when I returned home, I heard that the elders in my former demonization spread the rumor everywhere, saying that I was absent from home for four days, staying with the “Eastern Lightning” followers doing filthy things. And they even specifically said that I was committing adultery with XX… Those filthy words were simply offensive to the ear, which made me so angry that I was about to explode. I had never expected that they could smear and slander me in such a way, given that I had been with them so many years going through wind and rain. My heart was broken…
On November 5, I flipped through the book of God’s word and saw that it was written, “… God become flesh is in China….” The next day, the young sister came and I asked her hastily, “You’ve got to make this clear to me today. Has the Lord come back in His glorious body as He ascended to heaven or through incarnation?” When the sister told me that God had come back through incarnation, I flew into a rage and immediately accused, “How can God be so incapable? Isn’t it enough for Him to be incarnated once to save man? Does He need to be incarnated again? If so, will He still be called God? And is it worthwhile for us to believe in Him?” With the word, I threw the book outside the door angrily, and I also threw the sister’s bicycle outside. And I shouted loudly, “In the name of Jesus, I drive you out! Go away! Keep away from me. You are really disgusting…” Thus, the sister left dolefully.
On November 8, a brother who believed in Almighty God came to my home to help me dig up sweet potatoes. I didn’t want to talk to him at all, and only my husband made conversation with him. While we were working, the brother sang, “The perishing city, the perishing city, a city full of sins and evil. Come out of her, my people, that you be not partakers of her sins. Those who escape from her will have eternal life.” As I was hearing, I thought of the elders’ slanders against me. “Isn’t this telling me that I should escape from my former denomination? They fabricated rumors to frame me, and those brothers and sisters without discernment also jeered at me. It has become the gossip of the whole church now. Is it still a church? It’s simply ridiculous! Yes, I should escape from that city, lest I be a partaker of their sins.” After a while, the brother went on singing, “Blessed are the poor in spirit…. Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness….” “Yes, I should be one poor in spirit. Maybe I should go on listening to their message?” Then, after stopping for a while, the brother continued singing, “… The Lord walks in front, and I follow behind. The Lord is my Leader. I dare not turn to the left, or to the right, and I dare not walk ahead of Him, or lag behind. Step by step, I follow the Lord into the Kingdom.” Each word of the song was spoken to my heart. “Yes! Only if I follow God’s footsteps closely can I enter into the Kingdom.” Just when I was listening with thirsty ears, the brother stopped. “Why do you stop? The lyrics are so good!” I couldn’t help praising. But the brother said, “Now the songs of ‘Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs’ are more practical and more touching to the heart, because they are the words of the true God. If you don’t believe it, we can take a look later.” At this, I said regretfully, “I’ve thrown the book away, and I’ve also driven away the sister.”
On November 10, the brother brought me another copy of the book of God’s word, and he also told me a story, “Once upon a time, a child was seized by a wolf and then he lived with the wolf. In order to save him, his father risked his life, going among the wolves at all costs. He went through hell and high water and finally saved him back.” The brother said, “Today, in order to save us, God is incarnated in China, an atheistic country, a filthy land. He is also running a great risk, and has suffered all the rejections and slanders. But people don’t know Him, and disobey Him and resist Him, shutting the door on Him, which has really broken God’s heart…” Then the brother read me the piece of God’s word “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Incarnated in the ‘Flesh’” in which God says: “God became flesh because the object of His work is not the spirit of Satan, or any incorporeal thing, but man, who is of the flesh and has been corrupted by Satan. It is precisely because the flesh of man has been corrupted that God has made fleshly man the object of His work; moreover, because man is the object of corruption, He has made man the only object of His work throughout all the stages of His salvation work. 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.” “For those to be saved, the use value of the Spirit is far inferior to that of the flesh: The work of the Spirit is able to cover the entire universe, across all mountains, rivers, lakes, and oceans, yet the work of the flesh more effectively relates to every person with whom He has contact. What’s more, God’s flesh with tangible form can better be understood and trusted by man, and can further deepen man’s knowledge of God, and can leave upon man a more profound impression of the actual deeds of God. The work of the Spirit is shrouded in mystery, it is difficult for mortal beings to fathom, and even harder for them to see, and so they can only rely on hollow imaginings. The work of the flesh, however, is normal, and based on reality, and possessed of rich wisdom, and is a fact that can be beheld by the physical eye of man; man can personally experience the wisdom of the work of God, and has no need to employ his bountiful imagination. This is the accuracy and real value of the work of God in the flesh. The Spirit can only do things that are invisible to man and difficult for him to imagine, for example the enlightenment of the Spirit, the moving of the Spirit, and the guidance of the Spirit, but for man who has a mind, these do not provide any clear meaning. They only provide a moving, or a broad meaning, and cannot give an instruction with words. The work of God in the flesh, however, is greatly different: It 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.” Hearing those words, I immediately felt enlightened in my heart as if walking out of the dense fog. “Yes! The Revelation mentions ‘what the Spirit says to the churches,’ ‘the hidden manna,’ ‘the sealed scroll,’ and ‘a sharp two-edged sword out of His mouth,’ and don’t they all refer to God’s word of the last days? How can God speak if He is not incarnated? If the Spirit speaks, His voice will be like thunder, and who can understand it?” After I got that enlightenment, I felt very assured. Then we also read the piece of God’s word “All Is Achieved by God’s Words,” in which God says: “During the Age of Kingdom, God incarnate speaks words to conquer all those who believe in Him. This is ‘the Word appearing in the flesh’; God has come during the last days to do this work, which is to say, He has come to accomplish the actual significance of ‘the Word appearing in the flesh.’ He only speaks words, and rarely is there the advent of facts. This is the very substance of the Word appearing in the flesh, and when God incarnate speaks His words, this is the appearance of the Word in the flesh, and is the ‘Word’ coming unto the ‘flesh.’ ‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh.’ This (the work of the appearance of the Word in the flesh) is the work that God will accomplish in the last days, and is the final chapter of His entire management plan, and so God has to come to earth and manifest His words in the flesh.” Hearing these words, I understood the necessity of God’s being incarnated this time.
Thinking of the humiliations, rejections, and slanders that the supreme God has suffered in the world for the sake of saving man, and my previous deeds of disobeying God, I felt a sensation of distress and couldn’t help shedding remorseful tears… At that time, the Holy Spirit enlightened me greatly, and I seemed to understand all at once all the questions that I didn’t understand before. I remembered many songs I had sung in the past. For example, one song goes, “We shall rejoice often, and we shall rejoice greatly, because different voices all shout ‘China’ at the same time. Though we may go through water and fire, do not lose our joy, because Jehovah’s footsteps are in China…. We have at last reached this moment, for God loves China and hasn’t abandoned China. … The great return is in China.” In the past, I didn’t understand what those lyrics meant. I had asked the elders about that, but they answered, “You only need to understand what God asks you to understand. Don’t split hairs on matters God didn’t require us to understand.” Only then did I know that it was because the incarnate God was in China. At that time, I was so happy that I sang those songs again. My joy simply couldn’t be put into words. When I read the words “Almighty God! He has publicly revealed His glorious body. The holy spiritual body has appeared. He is completely God Himself!” in “What the Holy Spirit Says to the Churches,” I understood this: God’s substance is holy and glorious. No matter whether He works in the form of the Spirit or through incarnation, as long as He is God, His body is glorious. But I still half believed those words slandering Almighty God (such as, they would cut off your ears or gouge out your eyes). Then, the brother said to me, “Sister, words are but wind, but seeing is believing! Have you seen anyone who has been cut off his ears or gouged out his eyes? If we really want to learn to do ill, do we need to suffer so much and pay so much price to do it? Moreover, it is stipulated in Article 4 of the Ten Administrative Decrees God’s Chosen People Must Keep, ‘Man has corrupt disposition and even more has emotion. So, in the service in coordination, two people of different sexes are forbidden to coordinate alone. If discovered, they shall be expelled, no matter who they are.’ From that we can see that God most hates men committing adultery. Who dares to offend God?” Hearing that, I felt assured. Later, in my contact with the brothers and sisters, I saw that they indeed kept a clear line between male and female and they all spoke properly. Then I fully realized that the elders’ words that they would “cut off others’ ears and commit adultery” were completely fabrications, slanders, and unfounded and malicious attacks.
Thinking back to the past, I saw that I was really blind, ignorant, and foolish to the extreme as to frenziedly condemn God’s flesh. I bitterly hated myself for believing hearsays and blindly resisting God, which had broken God’s heart. Today, faced with God’s grace of salvation, I couldn’t express my feeling of remorse. I could only sing the hymn No. 110 “All the Glory Be to God” to lay bare my heart:
“God’s great love is as deep as sea; having experienced until today I’ve just truly known this. I hate myself for being so blind. I have been corrupted by Satan so deeply that I often disobeyed and grieved God. … I received Your salvation in corruption; I was lifted by You from the dunghill. I really don’t deserve Your love; I truly feel shame and disgrace. Dung as I am, how can I be worthy to see You? … God’s painstaking care and price on me, I really cannot count. Even if I offer up my everything, I’m unable to repay God’s love. All I can do is to perform my duty well to comfort God’s heart.”