72. Power and Position Lured Me to Keep Away from the True Way
Chaoyang City, Liaoning Province
I believed in the Lord in the Great Light Church in 1998. After turning to the Lord, I saw many miracles and received much grace, and all my illnesses were cured by the Lord. So, I pursued hard and was later appointed deacon responsible for a church of 500 believers.
In 1999, we received a sermon (given periodically in the Church) against the “Eastern Lightning” from the above, which said, “The people of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ believe in a false Christ and have departed from the Bible. They preach only to talented men and beautiful and intelligent women to commit adultery with them. They lure people to accept their way with money and beauty. If you don’t believe their way after listening to their message, they will break your arms or legs or even gouge out your eyes or cut off your nose. If you join them, you can never get out and your family will be ruined in the end.” Hearing it, all the brothers and sisters were very frightened and began to hate the “Eastern Lightning” bitterly. I had never doubted the sermons from the above. So I considered that the charges of the “Eastern Lightning” were unquestionable and any of them was sufficient to condemn the “Eastern Lightning” as a “heresy,” a “cult.” And I drew the conclusion in my heart: They are not believers in God at all; it’s a false Christ coming to deceive people in the last days. Since then, I tightened controls on the churches. I went around the churches every few days and wildly resisted, condemned, and blasphemed Almighty God and His work of the last days among the brothers and sisters.
One day in March 2002, at the news that a sister of our church had received two sisters from the “Eastern Lightning,” I went to the sister’s home with the sermon against the “Eastern Lightning” distributed by the above and urged her to turn back immediately from the false Christ and return to the true way. After much persuasion, she finally “woke up.” At another time, I saw at a sister’s home that two sisters who preached Almighty God brought a bag of oranges and a bag of apples to her. I remembered the adverse materials said that believers in Almighty God often poisoned the food, so I didn’t allow the sister to accept them and said they were poisoned and inedible. And I cursed the sisters to their face, saying that they were wolves in sheep’s clothing and the fruits they brought were Greek gifts. However, the two sisters weren’t angry at all but persuaded me patiently, saying, “We should not believe in God foolishly and must have discernment.” I said, “I have discerned that you are not good people at all.” In the end, I asked a brother to call the police, and the sisters had to leave.
In autumn of 2003, a sister in the church under my charge accepted the gospel of the last days after her niece, a believer in Almighty God, preached it to her. After I learned of it, I went to the sister and said to her, “Anything that disagrees with the ‘teachings’ of our Church is false and you can’t accept it, whether it is preached by your relative or friend. You can’t change your belief freely.” And I taught her with the examples in the adverse materials and threatened her with the condemnations of the “Eastern Lightning” written in the “teachings.” Thus, the sister forsook the true way and was dragged back by me.
During my visits to the churches, I learned from a church that many brothers and sisters there had a good feeling about the preachers of the “Eastern Lightning,” as they were moved by their faith and love in coming to preach despite wind or rain. So I immediately “debunked” the “Eastern Lightning” preachers among the brothers and sisters, saying that they were not believers in God at all, but “heretics” and “cultists” led by a false Christ who came to deceive people in the last days. And I also intimidated them with some examples in the adverse materials which showed how those who accepted Almighty God were cursed, and said that whoever received them would have a part in their sin and suffer curses as they did. After that, the sisters who had been friendly with the sisters from the “Eastern Lightning” didn’t dare to have contact with them anymore for fear of being cursed. And whenever I met people who preached the “Eastern Lightning” in the area I was in charge of, I would abuse and threaten them, “It’s shameless of you to deceive people everywhere. Next time I see you, I won’t be easy on you.”
As in the leader’s eyes I was successful in resisting the “Eastern Lightning” and reliable in handling matters properly, in 2003, I was promoted to be a deacon of the churches of a sub-area and the principal deacon of a church, leading over 600 believers. I was very pleased with myself. After my promotion, my transportation expenses were paid by the church, and the brothers and sisters in the churches respected me very much and received us deacons like receiving God. All these made me regard this position as important as my life. I knew that my promotion was due to my “outstanding contribution” to the resistance against the “Eastern Lightning,” so I resisted more fiercely since then, condemning and blaspheming Almighty God’s work of the last days wantonly and indiscreetly among the brothers and sisters. To stabilize my position and prevent the brothers and sisters from leaving the church, I held the brothers and sisters firmly in my grip, not allowing them to listen to any other preachings apart from the “teachings” of the Great Light Church or make contact with anyone from other denominations.
On the fifth day of the Chinese New Year, in 2004, I went to a new area to work. Unexpectedly, I met some people of the “Eastern Lightning.” As I had heard many adverse things against them, which said that they would poison the food, I even dared not take any of the food, fruits, drinks and water they offered. And I refused to listen to their fellowship or read the book they handed to me, because the slanderous materials said that there was an evil spirit in these people and poison in the book, and if one listened to their preaching, the evil spirit would get into him and if he read the book, he would be poisoned. Seeing that I was stubborn and blind, some brothers and sisters cried so much that their eyes were red, and they had no appetite for food. They prayed in bitter tears, because they failed to testify God’s new work and bring me to Him. But no matter what they did, fellowshipping about the Bible, reading God’s word, singing hymns or praying in tears, I wasn’t moved at all, for I had made a vow in my heart: Even if they may break my arms, legs, cut off my nose, ears, or gouge out my eyes, I won’t accept their way; even if I may be martyred for the Lord, I will never betray the “Third Redemption.” One day, two days, and three days had passed. The sisters who went with me also tried to persuade me, “It’s said that the people of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ are malicious. But the fact isn’t so! During these days, they entertained us and were kind and friendly to us. However unreasonable we were, they never got annoyed, but always treated us with love. Our stubbornness made them worried so much. They got blisters on their lips and their eyes were red with weeping. From their words and behavior, we can’t see they are licentious people at all, nor see any sign of their committing adultery. The ‘sermon’ says that if one doesn’t accept their way, they will break his arms or legs, or gouge out his eyes or cut off his ears. But they have preached their way to us for five years, during which some believers in our church had accepted their way and were later persuaded back by us. According to the ‘sermon,’ they should have long been disabled and had a ruined family. And the materials say that people of the ‘Eastern Lightning’ will poison the food, fruits, and water they offer to you. But we have taken them, and aren’t we all very well? Let’s hear their message! Don’t be one track-minded.” The sisters’ words somewhat awakened my foolish heart. “Right. I believe too much in the adverse materials. During these years, some brothers and sisters accepted their way, some didn’t accept their way, and some were dragged back by me after they accepted, but aren’t they all very well? None of the things written in the materials happened. The materials say that they lure others with money and beauty, and they only preach to the young, pretty, and educated people. Aren’t they all lies? Aren’t there both young and old, and pretty and ordinary-looking brothers and sisters here?” Thinking of those, I began to disbelieve what the adverse materials said and doubt those frightening false testimonies. From that day on, I opened my heart and began to fellowship with the brothers and sisters who preached Almighty God.
I asked a brother directly, “The basis for our believing in God is the Bible. You say that God has come, but why don’t you read the Bible?” The brother replied kindly, “For so many years, all believers in Jesus have read the Bible, and in their eyes the Bible is the basis for believing in God, and a believer in God must read the Bible. So it’s very normal that some brothers and sisters can’t understand why we don’t read the Bible anymore after believing in Almighty God. Actually, before we accepted the work of Almighty God, we held the same view as yours. But after reading Almighty God’s words, we have understood. The Bible records God’s will and requirements for the people in the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. If people don’t read the Bible, they won’t know God’s requirements and will for man in the first two stages of the work. So before God does a new work, they have to practice according to God’s requirements recorded in the Bible, otherwise they can’t be approved by God or receive the supply of the truth. But when the age changes and God does a new work, they have to keep up with God’s present work, read God’s present words, and practice according to God’s present will and requirements. Only in this way can they grow in life. For example, when the Age of Law ended, at the beginning of the Age of Grace, Jesus did a new work—the redemption work, bringing the truths to man and making new requirements of man: Be humble and patient, deny the self, bear the cross, love each other, break bread, be baptized, and so on. All these were the truths that couldn’t be found in the Age of Law (the Old Testament) but could best supply the need of the people in the Age of Grace. So all those who followed Jesus practiced God’s requirements in the new age and no longer memorized the laws in the Old Testament, nor offered sacrifice in the temple, or kept the Sabbath. These people walked out of the law, lived under the leading of God Himself, and received God’s salvation in the new age. They knew that God could not only issue the law to lead man’s life but also bear man’s sins and forgive man of sins. And they knew that God was not only a God of cursing man but also a God full of love and mercy… They listened to Jesus’ preachings instead of reading the Old Testament, and they followed Jesus’ new work rather than kept the law in the Old Testament. They were not wrong but after God’s will of that time, because God’s footsteps had moved forward and God had done a new work and brought new practices to man. Those who insisted on reading the Old Testament and rejected Jesus had no way to go. For example, the Pharisees who held on to the law in the Old Testament and didn’t listen to Jesus’ words still vainly served in the desolate temple and kept the letters of the law, and they didn’t believe that Jesus was God but only acknowledged that Jehovah was their God in the temple. They believed in the name of Jehovah and read the Old Testament of the Bible, but resisted Jesus and rejected Jesus’ words of life. In the end, they became sinners who resisted God and were condemned through the ages.” Then, the brother read me this passage of God’s word: “The Jewish Pharisees used the law of Moses to condemn Jesus. They did not seek compatibility with the Jesus of that time, but diligently followed the law to the letter, to the extent that they ultimately nailed the innocent Jesus to the cross, having charged Him with not following the law of the Old Testament and not being the Messiah. What was their essence? Was it not that they didn’t seek the way of compatibility with the truth? They obsessed over each and every word of the ‘Scripture,’ while paying no heed to My will and the steps and methods of My work. They were not people who sought the truth, but people who rigidly followed the words of Scripture; they were not people who believed in God, but people who believed in the Bible. In fact, they were watchdogs of the Bible. In order to safeguard the interests of the Bible, and uphold the dignity of the Bible, and protect the reputation of the Bible, they went so far as to nail the merciful Jesus onto the cross. This they did merely for the sake of defending the Bible, and for the sake of maintaining the status of each and every word of the Bible in people’s hearts. So they preferred to forsake their future and the sin offering to condemn to death Jesus who did not conform to the doctrine of Scripture.” The brother’s fellowship and God’s words made me understand that “follow the Lamb’s footsteps” we had talked about before meant to keep up with God’s new work. If one only held on to God’s old work and didn’t accept His work and word in the new age, he couldn’t receive God’s supply of life of the present time and would resist God and be condemned by God because of holding on to the old things.
I felt somewhat worried in my heart. I asked the brother, “The ‘teachings’ in our denomination directly testified that ‘Ji Sanbao’ (the founder of the Third Redemption) is God, the Lord Jesus who came back in the flesh. Now you preach that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus incarnated the second time. How do we tell which one is the true God?” The brother opened the book of God’s word and read these words: “He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the substance of God, and He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He must do, and since God becomes flesh, He shall express what He is, and shall be able to bring the truth to man, bestow life upon man, and show man the way. Flesh that does not contain the substance of God is surely not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt. To investigate whether it is God’s incarnate flesh, man must determine this from the disposition He expresses and the words He speaks. Which is to say, whether or not it is God’s incarnate flesh, and whether or not it is the true way, must be judged from His substance. And so, in determining whether it is the flesh of God incarnate, the key is to pay attention to His substance (His work, His words, His disposition, and many more), rather than external appearance. If man sees only His external appearance, and overlooks His substance, then that shows man’s ignorance and naivety.” “Apart from Christ, those who falsely claim to be Christ do not have His qualities. When juxtaposed against the arrogant and self-exalting disposition of those false Christs, it becomes apparent what manner of flesh is truly Christ. The more false they are, the more such false Christs show off themselves, and the more capable they are of working signs and wonders to deceive man. False Christs do not have the qualities of God; Christ is not tainted by any element belonging to false Christs.” (from “The Substance of Christ is Obedience to the Will of the Heavenly Father” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) “You cannot make way for a new age, and you cannot bring the old to an end and cannot usher in a new age or do new work. Therefore, you cannot be called God!” (from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) “God comes to the earth not to perfect His normal humanity. He comes not to do the work of normal humanity, but only to do the work of divinity within normal humanity. … Some people say, however, that God incarnate can be said to possess normal humanity only if He has a wife, sons and daughters, a family. Without these things, they say, He is not a normal person. I ask you then, does God have a wife? Is it possible for God to have a husband? Can God have children? Are these not fallacies? However, the incarnate God cannot spring from cracks between rocks or fall down from the sky. He can only be born to a normal human family. That is why He has parents and sisters. These are the things that the normal humanity of the incarnate God must have.” (from “The Essential Difference Between the Incarnate God and People Used by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh) “If, during the present day, there is to emerge a person who is able to display signs and wonders, and can cast out demons, and heal, and perform many miracles, and if this person claims that they are Jesus who has come, then this would be the counterfeit of evil spirits, and their imitation of Jesus. Remember this! God does not repeat the same work. Jesus’ stage of work has already been completed, and God will never again undertake that stage of work. The work of God is irreconcilable with the conceptions of man; for example, the Old Testament foretold the coming of a Messiah, but it turned out that Jesus came, so it would be wrong for another Messiah to come again. Jesus has already come once, and it would be wrong if ‘Jesus’ were to come again this time. There is one name for every age, and each name is characterized by the age. 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.” God’s words gave a very clear explanation of the true Christ and the false Christ. I knew that since a flesh is Christ, the incarnate God, He has God’s substance and can bring the truth, the way, and the life to man; since a flesh is Christ, the incarnate God, He can open a new age and end the old age; since a flesh is Christ, the incarnate God, He cannot take a wife, have children, or start a career on earth. From God’s words, I also understood that God is always new and never old, and it is God’s consistent working principle and wisdom that He does not repeat His work; only a false Christ gets married, has children, and starts a career, and only a false Christ imitates the work God has done, performing miracles and healing the sick and driving out demons. God’s words suddenly enlightened me: “Actually ‘Ji Sanbao,’ whom I have believed for so many years, is a false Christ! I enjoyed the vain position and even didn’t know such a simple truth! God can’t possibly get married, have children, or start a career. But Ji Sanbao was a man who had a wife and children. God’s work can open a new age and end the old age. But Ji Sanbao couldn’t bring any new and practical ways. He only performed some miracles and healed the sick and drove out demons to make people believe in him.” Then I hated myself for being so blind and ignorant that I followed the false Christ and resisted and blasphemed Almighty God—the real Christ of the last days. I hated myself for being intoxicated with the position so that I, for the sake of preserving my position, kept the brothers and sisters under my power as my private possession, took the area I shepherded as “my territory” that no one could trespass on, and regarded shepherding of many brothers and sisters as my own glory. I considered those who preached Almighty God as worthless, ignorant, and evil ones. I insulted and abused them to their face, and threatened them by calling the police. At that time, I felt that what I had done before was a performance of a person completely devoid of conscience and sense. I remembered the vow I made in disobedience: Even if they may break my arms, legs, cut off my nose, ears, or gouge out my eyes, I won’t accept their way; even if I may be martyred for the Lord, I will never betray the “Third Redemption.” Then I felt extremely guilty about it. I looked up at those honest, kind, genial, and respected brothers and sisters, whose eyes were bloodshot from staying late for my sake. I felt too ashamed of myself. I couldn’t control my remorseful tears and fell down before God and prayed, “O Almighty God! I was really too blind and ignorant. When You came, I failed to recognize You and blindly spread the rumors and resisted You crazily. Because of my disobedience, I harmed so many brothers and sisters who sincerely expended themselves for You. Because of my disobedience, I hindered so many brothers and sisters from accepting Your new work. I hate myself for turning a deaf ear to the true way and rejecting Your salvation. I’m an unpardonably wicked person who deserves to be cursed and die ten thousand times. But You didn’t punish me according to my evil deeds, and still gave me an opportunity to repent myself. Almighty God, I see from what You did on me that You are saving mankind to the utmost. I will subject myself to You, repent myself, and make a fresh start. I will devote myself to preaching Your gospel of the last days to those who seek painfully in darkness.”
Brothers and sisters of all denominations, it was Almighty God’s great love and wisdom that made me, a disobedient and arrogant person who had resisted for five years, completely fall down before Him. There, for the first time, I heard an overall testimony of Almighty God’s work and the voice of truth expressed by Almighty God, and realized that what were written in the adverse materials about the “Eastern Lightning” were all rumors and lies, which were slanders, false accusations, and attacks against God’s new work of the last days. The judgment of Almighty God’s word also made me realize for the first time that I was an ignorant and disobedient person who didn’t recognize God and resisted God while believing in God. Lured by power and position, I became too arrogant and lost my sense and frenziedly resisted God’s new work. I was so presumptuous and played the role of a latter-day Pharisee. Here I’d like to urge all the brothers and sisters who haven’t accepted the gospel of the last days: Never follow my footsteps. After I accepted Almighty God’s new work, I saw more clearly that what the adverse materials said were all rumors and lies. Brothers and sisters, never be fooled by those horrible lies fabricated by those liars anymore. Almighty God is indeed Christ of the last days. Only Christ of the last days is the gate for us to enter into the kingdom of heaven, and only Christ of the last days can bestow to us the way of eternal life.