56. The Ignorant Me Was Finally Awakened
Chaoyang City, Liaoning Province
In 1996, I believed in the Lord Jesus because of my wife’s illness. Later, I became a church leader. To serve the Lord wholeheartedly, I resigned the secretaryship of our village. From then on, I worked for the Lord day in and day out, bustling about several churches for more than 70 miles around. The brothers and sisters praised me and admired me for my ability to preach, heal the sick and drive out demons, and sing spiritual songs. And I also took them as my merits, and considered myself very sincere and faithful to God. But today I have realized that although I believed in God, I actually followed men and was a blind leader.
One day in March, 1999, I went to shepherd a church. At a sister’s home, I met two brothers who preached Almighty God’s gospel of the last days (they were the relations of the sister). I listened to their fellowship with curiosity. They fellowshipped from Genesis to Revelation about things including the source of mankind’s corruption, how mankind has developed to the present day, and the three stages of God’s six-thousand-year management plan for saving mankind—the Age of Law, the Age of Grace, and the Age of Kingdom. And they also fellowshipped that the work in the Age of Kingdom was based on the first two stages of work and was mainly to judge, conquer, and purify mankind with God’s word so that they might become holy and be brought into the pleasant destination, and that the three stages of work were inseparably interconnected and done by one God. I felt their fellowship was quite reasonable, so I accepted it happily.
After I returned home, I read God’s word day and night. The more I read, the more I felt the words were the truth, which revealed all the mysteries of the Bible. A few days later, I went to the church with the book of God’s word, and I read Preface and The Disclosing of Mysteries to the brothers and sisters. They all felt very brightened and said that the words were all the truth. After about a month, my leader learned of it and came to my home. He asked me for the book and read it for a while, and then he asked me in surprise, “How could you read this book?” “This book is quite good, and the words in it are indeed the truth,” I answered straightly. The leader said to me very gravely, “Don’t you know whom we believe in? We are believing in Teacher Hua. He did many miracles before us on the celebrations of his birthday (the birthday of Hua Xuehe was on the seventeenth of the first lunar month.) Only he is the returned Savior; only he can lead us onto the way of eternal life and save us. This book is from the ‘Eastern Lightning.’ It is from a false Christ coming to deceive people. How dare you read their book! Give it back at once!” And then he changed his tone and said gently, “Brother, during these years, we kept sustaining you, but now you believe others’ words and don’t listen to us. Is it right to do so? …” I was swayed by his words and felt that I had disappointed them. So I obeyed him and put away the book of God’s word and didn’t read it anymore.
Not long afterward, the two brothers visited me three or four times, and they patiently exhorted me to investigate the true way again. I admired their love and perseverance very much, but at thought of the leader’s words I gave them a flat refusal. Seeing that I had no intention of seeking the true way at all, they could only but take the book away. After that, other brothers and sisters who preached Almighty God’s gospel of the last days came to persuade me a few more times, but every time I turned them down.
In November, 1999, we six brothers and sisters went to Huaiyin by train with a great happiness to see the “Lord” Hua Xuehe. The journey took us several days. As soon as we arrived there, Brother So-and-so asked us, “Have you brought the money?” I handed 1,500 yuan to him, and other brothers and sisters also gave their money to him. After that, the brother said, “Teacher Hua is ill, and you can’t see him this time.” Upon hearing his words, two sisters cried, and I was also disappointed. I saw on the ground a stack of clothes more than one meter high, and many cartons of excellent cigarettes and liquors. The brother said, “These are the presents for celebration of Teacher Hua’s birthday. You can take a packet as a souvenir if you’d like to smoke.” At his words, I was unhappy, thinking, “Aren’t they acting in the same way as the officials in the world?” I had a feeling of being fooled, but when I saw that the senior leaders were all dead set on believing, I didn’t give it much thought and just let things be.
From the second half of 2000, the church gradually became desolate. The brothers and sisters lost faith and love, and I myself found a job to earn money and spent less time in shepherding the churches. I went around the churches only when my leader pressed me. But I had nothing new to preach and just went through the motions. I became weaker and weaker. My leader encouraged me, “We must endure and wait. In three years, Teacher Hua will surely appear to us and take us to the home in heaven (Hua Xuehe died on July 1, 2000).” With this only hope, I waited anxiously.
In October, 2002, during my visit to my niece’s home, I met a sister who preached Almighty God’s gospel of the last days. I thought to myself, “How come the people who preach Almighty God’s gospel of the last days can be seen everywhere? I never expected that I would meet them in this place thousands miles away from home.” The sister was very humble and behaved decently, which made me think of the brothers and sisters who had come to preach the gospel to me and the book they had given me. “Could it be that what they preach is the true way?” I thought. So I decided to quiet my heart and listen to her fellowship. During the fellowship, when the sister knew that I had once received the book but returned it later, she said sincerely, “Brother, you have missed one opportunity. Be sure to seize it this time! Now God’s gospel work in China is coming to an end. You should be serious about it! It’s a great matter concerning whether we can be saved! God’s work doesn’t fit man’s notions. As a man, we should put aside our notions and not confine God’s work. In God’s sight, man is smaller than an ant; how can he fathom God’s work? It’s God’s business how God leads man. Man should obey, and shouldn’t have such and such a view about it.” I felt that the sister’s words were quite reasonable. “Right! How could I, a small created being, fathom God’s work?” The sister continued, “This time God didn’t come to heal the sick, drive out demons, perform miracles, or preach the gospel of repentance. Today He came to end the Age of Grace and initiate the Age of Kingdom, for He doesn’t repeat His work and He is always new and never old. In the last days, His work is to speak, and through His words, He shows people the way, purifies them, and thoroughly saves them out of their corrupt satanic disposition. If God did the same work as Jesus, performing signs and wonders, healing the sick, and driving out demons, then God’s work would be repeated and the work Jesus did would be worthless and meaningless. Now if there comes a man who can perform signs and wonders, heal the sick, and do many miracles and who claims himself to be the returned Jesus, he must be an evil spirit who passes himself as Jesus and imitates Jesus’ work. Because the work of Jesus has been finished and God will not do it again.” Hearing these words, I was startled, “Is Hua Xuehe not the returned Savior? Is he an evil spirit?” At that time, my mind was in turmoil, but I continued listening to the sister’s fellowship with patience. The sister went on, “Whether it is the true way, it cannot be determined by man. There is a standard for it. Let’s see what God says about it.” She opened the book of God’s word and read: “Those who do not understand the truth always follow others: if people say that this is the work of the Holy Spirit, then you, too, say it is the work of the Holy Spirit; if people say it is the work of an evil spirit, then you, too, become doubtful, or also say it is the work of an evil spirit. You always parrot the words of others, and are incapable of distinguishing anything by yourself, nor are you able to think for yourself. This is someone without a position, who is unable to differentiate—such a person is a worthless wretch! Such people always repeat the words of others: today it is said that this is the work of the Holy Spirit, but chances are one day someone will say it isn’t the work of the Holy Spirit, and nothing but the deeds of man—yet you can’t see through this, and when you witness it said by others, you say the same thing. It is actually the work of the Holy Spirit, but you say it is the work of man; have you not become one of those who blaspheme against the work of the Holy Spirit? In this, have you not opposed God because you cannot differentiate? Who knows, maybe one day some nitwit will appear who says that ‘this is the work of an evil spirit,’ and when you hear these words you’ll be at a loss, and once again bound up by the words of others. Every time someone stirs up disturbance you’re incapable of standing by your position, and this is all because you do not possess the truth.” “What is the most basic principle in seeking the true way? You have to look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit, whether or not these words are the expression of the truth, who is testified, and what it can bring you. Distinguishing between the true way and the false way requires several aspects of basic knowledge, the most fundamental of which is to tell whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit. For the substance of man’s belief in God is the belief in the Spirit of God, and even his belief in God incarnate is because this flesh is the embodiment of the Spirit of God, which is to say, such belief is still the belief in the Spirit. There are differences between the Spirit and the flesh, but because this flesh comes from the Spirit, and is the Word become flesh, thus what man believes in is still the inherent substance of God. And so, in distinguishing whether or not it is the true way, above all you must look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit, after which you must look at whether or not there is the truth in this way. This truth is the life disposition of normal humanity, which is to say, that which was required of man when God created him in the beginning, namely, all of normal humanity (including human sense, insight, wisdom, and the basic knowledge of being man). That is, you need to look at whether or not this way takes man into a life of normal humanity, whether or not the truth that is spoken of is required according to the reality of normal humanity, whether or not this truth is practical and real, and whether or not it is most timely. If there is truth, then it is able to take man into normal and real experiences; man, furthermore, becomes ever more normal, man’s human sense becomes ever more complete, man’s life in the flesh and the spiritual life become ever more orderly, and man’s emotions become ever more normal. This is the second principle. There is one other principle, which is whether or not man has an increasing knowledge of God, whether or not experiencing such work and truth can inspire a love of God in him, and bring him ever closer to God. In this can be measured whether or not it is the true way. Most fundamental is whether this way is realistic rather than supernatural, and whether or not it is able to provide the life of man. If it conforms to these principles, the conclusion can be drawn that this way is the true way.” (from “Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) God’s words pricked my heart, “Aren’t these words of God directed at me? I had no discernment and no ground and echoed views of others. I blindly obeyed the leaders’ words without investigating the facts, and even when I felt what the book said was the truth, I still didn’t accept it and rejected and resisted God’s work together with them.” I really hated myself for my ignorance and blindness. Facing the facts, I had to submit myself to the truth and acknowledged that this way is indeed the true way and God’s work.
Then the sister said, “Brother, God and man are not of the same kind; how can they be lumped together? How can God start a family and raise children on earth? Isn’t it a dishonor to God? God’s normal humanity is for Him to be able to carry out His work normally on earth, not for Him to live like an ordinary man, starting a family. When God came to earth, His ‘Word’ became flesh. His only purpose in doing so is to let man understand His word and see the work His flesh does.” After hearing these words, I was suddenly enlightened, “The one I have followed is actually a false Christ (Hua Xuehe had a wife and children).” I felt as if having had a terrible dream. I hated myself for being too ignorant. Only then did I understand that Almighty God is the returned Savior Jesus! I was really regretful. No word could express my feeling at that moment. I thanked Almighty God from my heart that He saved me from the hand of the false Christ and showed me the right way of life.
Hearing the sister’s fellowship and God’s words and looking back to the journey I had walked, I was extremely remorseful, “In these years of serving God, I have only gone my way of believing in God in a muddled way by my gift and my imagination. Although I gave up the job and put much time and effort into serving God, I was never serious about seeking the truth. I had read the book of God’s word for a month and clearly seen that the words were the truth. However, I gave up the truth and forsook the true God for fear of hurting the leaders’ feelings. And I saw clearly that Hua Xuehe amassed huge wealth and fooled the believers, but I let things take their course and followed the crowd. Wasn’t I too muddle-headed?” At that time, I felt indebted very much, and tears uncontrollably spilled over. I prayed silently to God, “O Almighty God! You love me so much. I’m too ignorant, disobedient, and muddle-headed, but You didn’t abandon me and instead saved me with Your love. According to what I have done, I’m not worthy of enjoying Your love, much less do I have the face to come before You. O God! Thank You for giving me the opportunity to repent. I’m willing to bring before You those brothers and sisters I’m leading, to make up for my indebtedness to You. And I’m even more willing to devote the rest of my life to repaying Your love.” After I returned home, encouraged by God’s love, I, together with two sisters, drove my cart through wind and snow to preach the gospel. Six days later, more than fifty brothers and sisters in our church were all brought to Almighty God. After doing that, I felt somewhat comforted. Now the church has recovered from the desolation. The brothers and sisters have come to life, and they are enjoying the sweetness and abundance of God’s word in God’s family and being watered by the living water of life. Brothers and sisters in every denomination, wake up quickly! Don’t follow my footsteps. If we believe in God but follow men, we will miss the opportunity of being saved. Won’t it be an awful pity then? Be bold and investigate it! If we have a seeking heart, God will surely enlighten us! Only God is our shepherd. Only Almighty God can save us.