66. The Confession of a Disobedient Son
Anqiu City, Shandong Province
I was once a leader of the Church of the “Truth of the Cross of Christ.” I was born into a Christian family. My grandpa and my father had been elders in the church. Nurtured by them, I was resolved from childhood to follow their will and devote a lifetime to serving the Lord faithfully. After graduation from senior high school, I began my full-time service. By the gifts given by the Lord, healing the sick and driving out demons and laying hands and praying, I brought 300 to 400 people to the Lord and built dozens of churches after several years of gospel preaching in and around Anqiu City. As I was a leader and was capable of preaching and much gifted, I won the believers’ admiration wherever I went. And I also considered myself as most faithful to the Lord. But I never expected that these things which I took as my merits led me to resist God’s work of the last days. Thanks to Almighty God’s loving chastisement and His authoritative word, I was conquered. Or else, I would have long died somewhere.
In early 1996, the prosperous church gradually became desolate for no reason. The messages couldn’t provide any new supply, and the brothers and sisters became weaker in faith. Many believers left the church and returned to the dazzling world. Some brothers and sisters lost the peace that they had ever received from the Lord, and they either suffered a relapse or were possessed by demons. My bestowed gifts didn’t work as effectively as before. Some key co-workers forsook their service and left the church… To deal with the desolation of the church, I went around the churches persuading the brothers and sisters, but it gave no result at all. So I also lost my previous faith. Just at that time, I heard there had arisen a sect called the “Eastern Lightning” in our country, which was said to be the reappearance of God. It developed rapidly and their spirit was powerful. Many core leaders and co-workers in the churches followed them and even preached their gospel for them with great faith. However, I thought, “It can’t be the reappearance of God. It must be the fulfillment of the Lord Jesus’ prophecy. A false Christ of the last days has appeared!”
In the winter of 1999, a co-worker in the church told me, “A brother who preaches the gospel of the last days is now in our church preaching about the third stage of God’s work. He says that now is the Age of Kingdom. Their hymns are quite inspiring…” Hearing that, I immediately said, “God cannot possibly do so. Never be deceived by them. He must be from the ‘Eastern Lightning.’” So saying, I hurried where the brother was immediately and drove him away forcibly. Then I called a meeting at once and warned the brothers and sisters, “If anyone comes to preach the work of the last days, no one shall receive them!” Later, many brothers and sisters came to my home to preach to me, but I shut the door on them all. At the end of 2000, rumors about the “Eastern Lightning” widely spread in our area, which said, “The ‘Eastern Lightning’ is a sect of Satan. They entice the core believers with money and beauty. Whoever disobeys them will suffer a bereavement…” Although I didn’t see the facts, in order to prevent the brothers and sisters from being “deceived,” I fabricated the details of these rumors and wildly spread them in the churches. Moreover, I asked for more than thirty copies of the adverse materials against the “Eastern Lightning” from the Three-Self Church and distributed them to the brothers and sisters in the churches. As the result of my strict guard, those gospel preachers who came to our churches were all confronted with hatred and curse, and no one received them… However, what puzzled me was that they, treated this way, still didn’t lose faith at all and came to preach to us unremittingly. Only during the year of 2001, they came to preach to me more than 100 times.
Although I greatly resisted God’s new work and sealed off the churches, still many brothers and sisters accepted God’s new work secretly behind my back. How could I leave the matter at that? Once, I threatened a brother who had just accepted God’s new work by saying, “Why did you betray me? The ‘Eastern Lightning’ is deceptive. It’s not too late for you to turn back now. Or else you can never drop out…” My threat really frightened the brother, and he handed over the book at once and doesn’t dare to accept God’s new work even today. I also sent people to persuade a sister many times who had accepted God’s new work. As the sister didn’t turn back, I abetted her husband in beating her and abusing and striking the gospel preachers. In the end, the sister was forced to drop out.
My fierce resistance to God’s work of the last days finally incurred God’s punishment. During the years between 1999 and 2001, misfortunes befell me one after another. A brother was crushed to death while the construction team I led was demolishing an old building, and I had to shoulder all the responsibilities. The truck loaded with boards once hit a passerby, and we had to pay over 8,000 yuan for his medical treatment. In the winter of 2000, I had two motorbike accidents. The cash crops I planted suffered a loss of 3,000 to 4,000 yuan in two successive years. Pigs and cattle that I raised were all short-lived and they met their death soon after I raised them. All these blows made me immersed in debt and suffer even severer financial strains. Furthermore, the church was desolate and the brothers and sisters were all weak. Faced with this, I was almost in despair! “Is it that I have really come to the end of my faith?” I knelt before God and prayed in bitter tears many times, “O Lord, where are You? These years I have led the brothers and sisters to give up everything and run and spend for You with all our might, awaiting Your return. But now the flock is scattered, and the church is desolate and lifeless. Lord, when will You show Your face? Why have we lost Your care and keeping? Have You deserted us? Have I offended You? …” I turned things over in my mind, but still had no idea why all these happened. “Could there be any way higher than ours in this world? Why do people of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ are so zealous? What strength supports them? Has God really done a new work?” In despair, I cried out to God for the first time with a seeking heart, “O Lord! Have You really come back? I really don’t understand. May You give me strength and appear to me!”
In the summer of 2002, I met a brother from out of town at a friend’s home. When I knew that he was also preaching the “Eastern Lightning,” I decided to get to the bottom of it. After a conversation with him, I found his message was very high, which I had never heard of. And his fellowship was based on the Bible and didn’t depart from it. After fellowship, he gave me a book entitled The Word Appears in the Flesh and told me that it was the scroll God had opened in the last days and I should read it carefully. I took the book and turned to the Preface and read the following words: “‘God’ and ‘man’ cannot be spoken of as equals. His substance and His work are most unfathomable and incomprehensible to man. If God does not personally do His work and speak His words in the world of man, then man would never be able to understand the will of God, and even those who have devoted their entire life to God would be incapable of gaining His approval. Without God’s work, no matter how good man’s doing, it will count for nothing, for the thoughts of God shall always be higher than the thoughts of man, and the wisdom of God is unfathomable to man. And so I say that those who ‘clearly see’ God and His work are ineffectual, they are all arrogant and ignorant. Man should not define the work of God; moreover, man cannot define the work of God. In the eyes of God, man is smaller than an ant, so how can man fathom God’s work? Those who are constantly saying, ‘God does not work in this or that way’ or ‘God is like this or that’—are they not all arrogant? We should all know that people, who are of the flesh, have all been corrupted by Satan. It is their nature to oppose God, and they are not on a parity with God, much less can they offer counsel for the work of God. How God guides man is the work of God Himself. Man should submit, and should not hold such and such a view, for man is but dust. … Since we believe that there is a God, and since we wish to satisfy Him and to see Him, we should seek the way of truth, and should look for a way to be compatible with God. We should not stand in stiff-necked opposition to God; what good could come of such actions?” As I read these words, I felt they were majestic and authoritative. So I felt frightened and thought, “How come these words seem to be directed at me? Isn’t it that I am stiff-necked and oppose to the sect of Almighty God? …” Then I turned to another page and read these words: “Do many people not oppose God and obstruct the work of the Holy Spirit because they do not know the varied and diverse work of God, and, furthermore, because they possess but a smidgeon of knowledge and doctrine with which to measure the work of the Holy Spirit? Though the experiences of such people are superficial, they are arrogant and indulgent in nature, and they regard the work of the Holy Spirit with contempt, ignore the disciplines of the Holy Spirit and, moreover, use their trivial old arguments to ‘confirm’ the work of the Holy Spirit. They also put on an act, and are wholly convinced of their own learning and erudition, and that they are able to travel across the world. Are such people not those who are rejected by the Holy Spirit, and will they not be eliminated by the new age? … Those who are not cautious when they encounter the new work of the Holy Spirit, who run their mouths off, are quick to judge, who give free rein to their natural instinct to deny the rightness of the Holy Spirit’s work, and also insult and blaspheme it—are such disrespectful people not ignorant of the Holy Spirit’s work? Are they not, furthermore, the ones of arrogance, inherently proud and ungovernable?” After reading these words, I couldn’t help reflecting what I had done in those years. “When I first heard of the ‘Eastern Lightning,’ I concluded without thinking that it couldn’t be the reappearance of God, and did all I could to resist it. I myself sealed off the churches without seeking, and I also hindered other believers from seeking and investigating. I even shouted abuses at the gospel preachers and drove them away. Didn’t my actions show that I had no heart of fearing and seeking God? Wasn’t I making reckless remarks and rash judgments? Besides, my family suffered misfortunes these years… Is it really the work of God? Has God truly returned to flesh?”
I could no longer calm down. I was excited and fearful, feeling that everything would be revealed. I went on reading and saw these words of God: “Although Jehovah, Jesus, and the Messiah all represent My Spirit, these names only denote the different ages in My management plan, and do not represent Me in My entirety. The names by which people on earth call Me cannot articulate My entire disposition and all that I am. They are merely different names by which I am called during different ages. And so, when the final age—the age of the last days—arrives, My name shall change again. I shall not be called Jehovah, or Jesus, much less the Messiah, but shall be called the powerful and almighty God Himself, and under this name I shall bring the entire age to an end. I was once known as Jehovah. I was also called the Messiah, and people once called Me Jesus the Savior because they loved and respected Me. Today I am no longer the Jehovah or Jesus that people knew in times past. I am the God who has returned in the last days, and who shall bring the age to an end. I am the God Himself that rises up at the ends of the earth, replete with My entire disposition, and full of authority, honor and glory. … Eventually, all nations shall be blessed because of My words, and also smashed to pieces because of My words. In this way, all people during the last days shall see that I am the Savior returned, I am the Almighty God that conquers all of mankind, and I was once the sin offering for man, but in the last days I also become the flames of the sun that burn all things, as well as the Sun of righteousness that reveals all things. Such is My work of the last days. I took this name and am possessed of this disposition so that all people may see that I am a righteous God, and am the burning sun, and the flaming fire. It is so that all may worship Me, the only true God, and so that they may see My true face: I am not only the God of the Israelites, and am not just the Redeemer; I am the God of all creatures throughout heavens and earth and seas.” (from “The ‘Savior’ Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) I sensed authority, power, and unoffendable majesty between the lines of these words. A scripture in Revelation popped into my mind. “Great and marvelous are your works, Lord God Almighty….” (Revelation 15:3) Then it suddenly dawned on me: Jehovah, Jesus, and the Almighty are the three different names God takes because of His different work, and They three are one God. At this point, tears streamed down my face, and I sobbed. I never expected that I was actually exerting myself to resist the Lord Jesus whom I had awaited eagerly for many years. I was regretful yet found great delight in it. “No wonder that the church has been in such condition and I have had no strength the entire time. The truth is that God has carried out a new work and we are rejected and eliminated by God because of our refusal to keep pace with the work of the Holy Spirit. That is the reason why the brothers and sisters lost the care and keeping of God… O God! Thank You for Your enlightenment and salvation so that I can return to Your arms! Or else I would die somewhere!”
After I followed Almighty God, I made a reflection of what I had done in those years: To save me, God had sent so many brothers and sisters to preach the gospel to me, but I had remained unrepentant in my error; to wake me up, God had given me one blow after another, but I had been so numb and totally unaware of why these misfortunes came upon me. So, to atone for my trespasses and my former sins, I resolved to tell the brothers and sisters that the “Eastern Lightning” was the reappearance of the true God and they should be quick to keep pace with God’s work. However, just a few days after I preached God’s work of the last days in the church, the old servant in my former denomination sealed off the churches and gave an order that whoever received me must be expelled. Immediately, rumors flew in the churches. Some said that I was captivated by beautiful women, some said that I gained 30,000 yuan from the “Eastern Lightning,” and so on. During those days, I went to the brothers’ and sisters’ homes to persuade them earnestly and patiently, yet I was confronted with nothing but their cold shoulders and abuses with misunderstandings… Seeing this, I even more regretted having done so many evils. It was because I was arrogant and had no seeking heart that I myself suffered loss and the brothers and sisters who had walked through the storms with me for years were also harmed. Today, I have been conquered by God and am enjoying all the abundance from Almighty God before His throne. Those brothers and sisters who had stayed together with me, however, are still resisting God’s work of the last days with the adverse materials which I had distributed to them, and obstinately refuse to accept it. Words can’t describe my remorse, and I am unworthy of these brothers and sisters, much more unworthy of the only true God who had shed His blood and laid down His life and now has suffered all manner of tribulations. Each time I was driven out of the door by the brothers and sisters, I truly tasted how difficult God’s work is and what a great effort and price God has paid for us!
Dear brothers and sisters, if you have heard the heartfelt confession of me, a disobedient son, I hope you will listen to my sincere advice. Don’t believe the ungrounded rumors any more, and don’t look up to your leaders, co-workers, and shepherds any more, because they are as common people as you are. Almighty God is really the Lord Jesus whom we have expected for many years! Don’t be like the brothers and sisters in my former denomination. God’s day is at hand. There is truly not much time left!