53. When Resisting, I Acted Defiantly; After Being Shamed, I Was Heartbroken with Remorse
Dandong City, Liaoning Province
I was once a preacher in the Liberal Group (the Wilderness sect). In February 1997, I believed in the Lord because of illness, and the Lord healed me. As I received the Lord’s great grace and saw many signs and wonders, I was especially zealous in my pursuit of the Lord. So, I became one of the key persons to be developed in the leader’s eyes.
At the end of 1998, the leader told me, “Now there arises a sect called the ‘Eastern Lightning.’ It says that the Lord has come. It is a heresy, a cult, and is an underworld organization.” Then he showed me some adverse publicity materials, which said many slanders against Almighty God and said that the sect preached that God no longer performed signs and wonders. After reading these words, I hated the “Eastern Lightning” very much, thinking, “How could such people be believers in God? Believers in God can never be like this. How could God not perform signs and wonders? It is definitely not God. If it was God, he should perform signs and wonders.” And I didn’t have any doubt about the leader’s words and the adverse publicity materials. Instigated and deluded by the leader, I began to walk on the evil way of resisting Almighty God’s new work of the last days.
On the platform, I wildly preached that the “Eastern Lightning” was a “heresy,” a “cult,” and warned the brothers and sisters not to accept it; off the platform, I went out of my way from morning till evening in all weathers to resist and persecute the brothers and sisters who preached God’s gospel of the last days. I took “guarding the church,” sealing off the church, and driving away the “Lightning” followers as my “sacred” “duty.” I was considered one of the backbones of resisting the “Eastern Lightning” and became a “big name” in my hometown. Even the leader said assuredly, “Brother Ma won’t join the ‘Lightning’ even if any others do in the future.”
One spring day in 1999, when I got home, I saw two men working up a sweat helping my father plough the field and grow vegetables. I judged that they came to preach the gospel of the last days, so I drove them away rudely without asking about anything and warned them sternly, “Don’t come to preach anymore. If I see you again, I won’t be so easy on you.” But soon afterward, the two men were seen again in a neighboring village. I immediately hurried there in spite of the rain and drove them away fiercely. In order to protect the “sheep” from being “taken captive,” I, together with my co-workers, rushed about the churches day and night. When we found anyone who preached the gospel of the last days, we took the books from them, blasphemed Almighty God’s name, abused them as disguised angels of light and devils, and condemned them by the Bible. One day, while I was inspecting in a place, I was told that someone was preaching God’s new work of the last days in a sister’s home. I hurried there and rushed into the room exasperatedly. Swearing angrily, I grabbed the book from her hand and threw it on the ground fiercely, and said, “If it is the true God, let me see how he will punish me.” I thought I was defending the truth and holding fast to the true way, yet I didn’t know I had offended God. At that moment, my mastitis, which hadn’t recurred within years, acted up again, and I suffered an unbearable pain. However, I still didn’t examine myself, but instead I went even further and became more frenzied. I expelled all suspicious people in the churches…
Although I was so disobedient and resistant, God did not treat me according to my transgressions. At the end of 2001, God’s love came to me. Under God’s orchestration and arrangement, I listened to a fellowship of testifying Almighty God’s work of the last days. At the beginning, I was hardened and unconvinced in my heart when listening to their fellowship. No matter what they said, I refuted it with fallacies. Even though they explained, I turned my nose up at it and curled my lips with a sneer. I was really too arrogant! Finally, one brother asked me, “Brother, can you tell what Christ is? Why is Jesus called Christ in the New Testament?” This question stumped me. In my years of believing in God, I had never considered this question carefully. But I didn’t want to lose my face, so I said, “In the Old Testament, it refers to the anointed one, and the one whose head was anointed can be the king. In the New Testament, Christ is Jesus.” He continued to ask, “Saul and David were anointed, but why were they not called Christ?” I was tongue-tied, unable to say a word. The brother said, “God’s word tells us that God’s incarnate flesh is called Christ. He has a normal humanity and full divinity, and He is a combination of humanity and divinity.” These few words enlightened my ignorant mind, and my heart somewhat turned. Then they fellowshipped about God’s three stages of work and His whole plan and purpose of managing mankind. What they fellowshipped was very clear and convincing. I admired them secretly. But when I thought of the adverse words my leader said, I became suspicious again. After much consideration, I thought, “Today since I have come, I might as well get the fact straight and see what all this is about.” So I said to them, “I have some questions that puzzle me. If you can explain them to me clearly, I will accept.” They said, “OK! What are the questions?” I said, “When I believed in the Lord, the Lord healed me of my illness, and I have seen many signs and wonders done by the Lord. Today you say Almighty God is the returned Lord, but why does He not perform signs?”
The brother fellowshipped, “Matthew 24:24 says, ‘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.’ From this we can see that in the last days false Christs and false prophets will show signs and wonders and deceive people with them. However, God has long finished this work and will not repeat it. Let’s see what God speaks about this.” Then the brother opened the book of God’s word and read these words to me: “In the conceptions of man, God must always display signs and wonders, must always heal and cast out demons, and must always be just like Jesus, yet this time God is not like that at all. If, during the last days, God still displayed signs and wonders, and still cast out demons and healed—if He did exactly the same as Jesus—then God would be repeating the same work, and the work of Jesus would have no significance or value. Thus, God carries out one stage of work in every age. Once each stage of His work has been completed, it is soon imitated by evil spirits, and after Satan begins to follow on the heels of God, God changes to a different method; once God has completed a stage of His work, it is imitated by evil spirits. You must be clear about these things. Why is the work of God today different to the work of Jesus? Why does God today not display signs and wonders, not cast out demons, and not heal? If Jesus’ work were the same as the work done during the Age of Law, could He have represented the God of the Age of Grace? Could Jesus have completed the work of crucifixion? If, as in the Age of Law, Jesus had entered into the temple and kept the Sabbath, then He would have been persecuted by none and embraced by all. If that were so, could He have been crucified? Could He have completed the work of redemption? What would be the point if God incarnate of the last days displayed signs and wonders, like Jesus? Only if God does another part of His work during the last days, one that represents part of His management plan, can man gain a deeper knowledge of God, and only then can God’s management plan be completed.” “Thus, your knowledge must be clear; regardless of how God works, God does not allow man to delimit Him. If God did not do this work during the last days, then man’s knowledge of Him could go no further.” “Today, there are many people who do nothing but wait to see signs and wonders and the time of the catastrophe. Do you believe in God, or do you believe in the catastrophe? If you wait until the catastrophe it will be too late, and if God does not send down the catastrophe, is He then not God? Do you believe in signs and wonders, or do you believe in God Himself? Jesus did not display signs and wonders when He was derided by others; was He not God? Do you believe in signs and wonders, or do you believe in the substance of God? Man’s views about belief in God are wrong! Jehovah spoke many words during the Age of Law, but even today some of them have yet to be fulfilled. Can you say that Jehovah was not God?” (from “Knowing God’s Work Today” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) “The work in the last days is to speak words. Great changes can be effected in man through the words. The changes now effected in these people on acceptance of these words are much greater than that of people in the Age of Grace on acceptance of those signs and wonders. For, in the Age of Grace, the demons went away from man with the laying on of hands and prayer, but the corrupt dispositions within man still remained. Man was healed of his sickness and forgiven his sins, but the work for just how the corrupt satanic dispositions within man could be cast away was not done in him. Man was only saved and forgiven his sins for his faith, but the sinful nature of man was not taken away and still remained within him. The sins of man were forgiven through God incarnate, but it does not mean that man has no sin within him. The sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but man has been unable to resolve the issue of just how he can no longer sin and how his sinful nature can be cast away completely and be transformed. The sins of man were forgiven because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live in the old, corrupt satanic disposition. As such, man must be completely saved from the corrupt satanic disposition so that the sinful nature of man is completely cast away and never again develops, thus allowing the disposition of man to be changed. This requires man to understand the path of growth in life, the way of life, and the way to change his disposition. It also needs man to act in accordance with this path so that the disposition of man can gradually be changed and he can live under the shining of the light, and that he can do all things in accord with the will of God, cast away the corrupt satanic disposition, and break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation.” “Therefore, man cannot be fully saved from his sins by the healing of sickness and casting out of demons and cannot be fully made complete by the manifestation of signs and wonders. The authority to heal sickness and cast out demons only gives man grace, but the flesh of man still belongs to Satan and the corrupt satanic disposition still remains within man. In other words, that which has not been made clean still belongs to sin and filth. Only after man has been made clean through words can he be gained by God and become sanctified.” (from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh)
At first I didn’t think these words were special, but the more I listened, the more I felt they were good. God’s words made me understand why God does not perform signs and wonders when He comes again. “Ah, it is not that God cannot perform signs and wonders but that God’s work has changed, for God is always new and never old and does not repeat His work and much less allow man to circumscribe Him. God wants man to believe in His substance and not signs and wonders. Man should not believe in God by signs and wonders. Especially in the last days, God does the work of the word and He will perfect man with the word and not with signs and wonders, because signs and wonders cannot make man holy. In the last days, God wants man to see that the power of His word is greater than that of signs and wonders.” Through reading God’s words, I finally gave up the notion “a work without signs and wonders is not God’s work.” Then the brothers gave a clear fellowship about the questions I didn’t understand one by one, and also asked me to read “Preface” and several other pieces of God’s word. God’s every word stirred my soul and pricked my heart and revealed my ugliness thoroughly. When I acknowledged that this work was indeed God’s work, I was fearful. I couldn’t help kneeling down on the ground and prayed to God in tears, “O God, I really deserve death. I’ve done evil! I expected You to come every day. When You really come, I deny You and I even resist and slander You. I think that You are not God as You don’t perform signs and wonders. I circumscribe You within my notions and imaginations. I’m so arrogant. O God, I have disappointed You, and I don’t know how I should confess my sin and repent. I beg You to forgive my sin. I’m willing to drop myself and turn to You and surrender before You. I will do my best to make up for my faults…”
In the past, because I was arrogant and self-right and had no discernment, I became an antichrist. Today it is God’s great grace that He conquers me with His words, so that toward the God in the flesh, I have changed from resistance to obedience and from persecution to acceptance, and I have seen God’s wisdom and almightiness. Whenever I think of those brothers and sisters who were dragged back by me, my heart suffers as if being pricked. I’m indebted to them and even more indebted to God. I harmed them. I’m willing to receive any punishment from God. I have made a resolution before God: Even if I have to go through many difficulties and hardships, I will get them back, and even if I need to kneel down before them, I’m very willing to do so. Now I advise my dear ones, my fellow brothers and sisters, from the bottom of my heart: Don’t believe the rumors anymore. Almighty God is indeed the returned Jesus.
Dear brothers and sisters, may we humble ourselves and investigate with an open mind. We should never miss this rare opportunity. Although the Jews rejected Jesus in those days, the gospel of Jesus has still spread to the ends of the whole universe. I hope that we won’t follow Pharisees’ footsteps and reject Christ of the last days——Almighty God, for we don’t have much time. God’s work in Mainland China is drawing to an end and God is anxiously waiting for us to turn back. May we wake up and return to God’s family soon to console God’s anxious heart!