67. Repeating What the Leaders Say Harms Others and Ourselves
Jining City, Shandong Province
I was formerly a leader in charge of twenty-one churches in the “Hua Xuehe sect.” Before I accepted the true way, because I believed in my leader’s words, I resisted Almighty God’s work very fiercely and regarded the brothers and sisters who believed in Almighty God as enemies. Thinking of my past doings of resisting Almighty God, I’m bitterly remorseful!
At the end of 1998, when the gospel of Almighty God’s work of the last days was preached to our city, our upper leader immediately came to seal off the churches, and he told us, “The ‘Eastern Lightning’ is a heresy, a cult. Their preaching is very high. Whoever has contact with them will be deceived at once. Moreover, they don’t read the Bible anymore. They are not believers in God at all… None of you should receive them lest you be deceived.” After hearing these words, I believed them to be true, and I thought to myself, “They believe in God but don’t read the Bible; are they believers in God? They’re surely deceivers!” So I rushed about the churches, conveying the leader’s words as if they were a royal edict… As a result, many brothers and sisters shut the door as soon as they saw the preachers of God’s gospel of the last days, avoiding them like a plague, not daring to have contact with them.
From then on, at every meeting, we first sang two songs and then began to give false testimonies or tell about how the brothers and sisters in some churches beat and swore away the people of the “Eastern Lightning” and how faithful they were to the Lord, or said that we should also take some effective measures to deal with the preachers of Almighty God and only by doing so would we be a faithful believer to the Lord, and that if anyone didn’t listen to the warnings and was deceived, no one could save him and he could only suffer the consequences of his own deeds and deserved it and shouldn’t blame others when he was punished.
In April of 1999, I went to work in a church. When I entered the host home, I saw two strangers talking to the host sister. Seeing me coming in, they immediately got up and greeted me. At first I thought they were the sister’s relatives, but later when I knew that they were preachers of Almighty God, my eyes blazed with anger, and I shouted, “Get out! What cheek! This is God’s church, not the place for you. Get out of here, the farther the better! Or I won’t be so easy on you!” As I said this, I took up a shoe to slap the sisters’ faces… After driving them out, I told the brothers and sisters, “You mustn’t receive them again. What do you know? Once you fall into their trap, it will be too late to repent! Our leader says that whoever comes into contact with them can never expect to get rid of them.” The brothers and sisters were frightened into silence by my words. I thought that the two sisters would learn a lesson and not come again, but they kept coming there. Later I threw their bicycles on the ground and broke them, but they came on foot. I was stunned!
One day in January 2000, Sister Zhou, once a leader in our church, came to my home (She had accepted Almighty God and preached the gospel to me seven times). As soon as she entered the room, I went out without saying anything. I thought to myself, “You will go away if I ignore you and am not at home.” Ten minutes later, I went back and eavesdropped. I heard she was speaking to my son, “Is this story good?” My son clapped his hands and said, “Great! Great! The deer and the monkey are too silly. They believe whatever the rabbits say. Luckily, Uncle OX has his own mind, or many more small animals will suffer…” As she was leaving, she turned around and said to my son, “Don’t forget to tell this story to your mum!” At that time, I entered the room and said angrily, “I won’t listen to any lousy story of yours. Go, go, go, go quickly! Don’t bother me anymore!” After saying this, I pulled her out. Outside the door, she still told my son to remember to tell me that story. I slammed the door and began to scold my son, “Who let you speak to that bad woman?” My son cried. Then I coaxed him but it didn’t work. In the end, he made a bargain with me: I must allow him to tell the story to me. I had no way but agreed with him reluctantly. So he told the story to me from beginning to end: Once upon a time, there was a papaya tree by a lake. In fall, a papaya was ripe. Plop! It fell into the water. Hearing the sound, three rabbits eating grass by the lake were so frightened that they started running. As they ran, they shouted, ‘Terrible! ‘Plop’ is coming, run quickly!” They met deer, monkeys, giraffes, wild boars, and other small animals on the way. When they heard the rabbits’ words, they all cried out, ‘‘‘Plop’ is coming!” They fled in all directions. When an old ox heard this, he asked them, “Who saw ‘Plop’? What does ‘Plop’ look like? Why are you so frightened?” Everyone was stunned, and they all said, “We didn’t see it. The rabbits said so.” The rabbits were dumb, for they didn’t see “Plop” either, but only heard the sound of “Plop” and then started running. In the end, the old ox led the small animals to find out the truth: Actually, a papaya was ripe and fell into the water. That caused a false alarm… After I heard this story, I blushed and understood why Sister Zhou again and again told my son to tell it to me. I was very ashamed, thinking, “God gave me a brain; why don’t I use it? How could I be like those ignorant small animals? I didn’t discern what the leader said and repeated it, having no view of my own. If the ‘Eastern Lightning’ is the true way, so many brothers and sisters will be harmed by me. I can’t be muddled like this anymore. I must find out the truth and then draw a conclusion.” Thinking of this, I began to regret what I had done before.
The next evening, while our family were having dinner, Sister Zhou came with another sister. This time I changed my attitude and received them warmly. We had a pleasant fellowship that night. Through the sister’s fellowship and God’s words, the doubts and misconceptions in my mind were removed. During our fellowship, I raised my biggest question, “Why don’t you read the Bible? Is one believing in God if he leaves the Bible?” The sister fellowshipped, “People all regard the Bible as a heavenly book and even equate it with God. Actually, that’s absolutely wrong. If we want to be clear about this, we have to know the inside truth of the Bible. First let’s look at what God says about it.” As she spoke, she took out the book of God’s word and read these words to me: “For centuries, conventional religious belief (belief of Christianity among the world’s three major religions) has emphasized reading the Bible. Departing from the Bible amounts to not believing in the Lord; to do so is cult, heresy. Any other book that one reads must be one that explicates the Bible. That is to say, if you claim to believe in the Lord, you must read the Bible, must eat and drink it, and not venerate any other books that do not pertain to it; otherwise, you are betraying God. … And so people have come to worship the Bible as if it were God, to see it as their own lifeblood; without it, they seem to have no life. … People’s attitude toward the Bible is one of ‘obsession’ and ‘faith’; no one is completely clear on its true story and substance.” (from “Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) “It is merely a historical record of God’s work, and a testimony to the first two stages of God’s work, and you cannot understand the purpose of God’s work from it. … The Old Testament of the Bible records the history of Israel and shows how Jehovah did His work from the creation of the world to the end of the Age of Law. The New Testament records Jesus’ work on earth, which is in the Four Gospels, as well as the work of Paul. Are these not all historical records? Anything that happened in the past is history today, no matter how true, how real; and history cannot address the present. For God does not look back! So if you understand only the Bible but not the work that God plans to do now, if you believe in God but do not seek out the work of the Holy Spirit, then you do not know what it means to seek after God.” (from “Concerning the Bible (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) Hearing these words, I was greatly surprised: Who can explain the inside truth of the Bible so thoroughly? Who can know man’s heart so clearly? Am I not treating the Bible in this way? What the Bible records is indeed the history and are the things that happened thousands of years ago. Is this really God’s work?
Noticing that my attitude had changed, the sister continued, “Let’s read the Lord Jesus’ words in the Bible. John 5:38-40 says, ‘And you have not his word abiding in you: for whom he has sent, him you believe not. Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. And you will not come to me, that you might have life.’ From these words we can also know that the Bible cannot give man life, because only God is the source of man’s life. From the Bible we can only know about the history of the two stages of work that God has done before, but the Bible doesn’t record the facts of God’s work in the last days. The Bible only prophesies that the Lord Jesus will come again, but concerning how He will do His work when He comes, men cannot know it no matter how many times they read the Bible, for the Bible doesn’t speak about it, and it will become clear to them only after the facts are fulfilled. The Lord Jesus has returned in the flesh in China and has personally uttered His voice, judging all nations and all people with His word and opening the scroll and breaking the seven seals, which has fulfilled the word in the Revelation, ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ This is God’s present work. Only if we keep up with God’s present work and receive the chastisement and judgment of God’s word can we completely be purified and cast off the corrupt dispositions that Satan has planted in us and become a holy person, and in the end enter into God’s kingdom and inherit God’s promise to us.” After listening to the sister’s fellowship and pondering over God’s explanation about the inside truth of the Bible, I was like waking from a dream: In the past, I always thought that as long as I held on to the Bible, I would gain life. But actually the Bible is only a testimony to God. Only if we keep up with God’s present work will we be able to gain life, and only God can give man life. The Bible has long spoken about this clearly, but I knew nothing about it though I held the Bible in my hands every day, and I even used the Bible to measure God’s work blindly. God’s work is so wise! Man really can’t fathom it. Afterward, the sister read a few more passages of God’s word to me. The more I heard God’s words, the more I became clear within, and the more I felt thirsty. I thought, “This is indeed God’s personal utterance. Almighty God is precisely the Lord Jesus who has come the second time!”
After I followed Almighty God, I recalled what I had done and regretted it bitterly. “I beat and abused the brothers and sisters who preached the gospel. Did I have any humanity? Was I like a believer in God? Why didn’t I investigate or discern carefully but instead believed the leaders’ rumors blindly at that time? I’m really a foolish person without my own mind. Not only did I myself miss two years but I also hindered so many brothers and sisters from accepting the true way.” Thinking of these, I hated myself for having a muddled head. Formerly I had thought that I was a person who had a ground and had discernment. Today I saw that I was a fool without my own mind. I really hated myself for blindly believing the leader’s words and resisting the coming of the true God.
God says: “If, in the pursuit of God, man does not have his own position to stand by, and does not know what truth he should hold to, then he will have no foundation, and so it will not be easy for him to stand firm. Today, there are so many who do not understand the truth, who cannot distinguish between good and evil or tell what to love or hate. Such people can hardly stand firm. … 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! … 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?”
Right! Because of not having my own mind, I repeated what others said and did many things that resisted God. To make up for my indebtedness to God and diminish my sins, I at once told the truth to the brothers and sisters. Unexpectedly, none of them dared to seek or investigate the true way, because they believed the rumors I hammered into them and were poisoned by them too seriously. When I went to fellowship with them from door to door, I was repaid with these words, “At that time, you didn’t allow us to listen, but now you are deceived. Who will believe you? Go away! …” Seeing this, I even more hated myself and knew that I had committed heinous sins and deserved to be punished and cursed! They treated me like that, and it was the retribution I deserved and the consequence I should suffer!
Brothers and sisters of all denominations and sects, from my own experience, we can see how harmful it is to repeat what others say and how injurious the rumors from the leaders are! Pharisees shut up the kingdom of heaven against men; they neither go in themselves, nor did they let those go in who are trying to. Now, aren’t most of our leaders like this? We blindly believe them and repeat what they say, which as a result harms both ourselves and the brothers and sisters. This is a painful lesson I have drawn from my experience. I sincerely hope that the brothers and sisters who haven’t accepted Almighty God will stop believing the rumors from your leaders. God’s work among men is about to end. Please cherish the last short period of time, and reject the rumors from your leaders quickly and seek and investigate the true way! If we are too obstinate to be awakened, what awaits us will be a more severe curse and punishment than what the Pharisees received. Won’t it be too late to regret then?