14. The Lord Has Appeared in the East
One day, my younger sister called me to say that she was back from the north and that she had something important to tell me. She asked me to come over right away. I had a feeling that something bad might have happened, so I went over to her house straight away. It was only when I’d got to her place and saw her reading a book that my uneasiness left me. My sister saw me come in, jumped up and said cheerfully, “Qiu Zhen! This time in the north I heard some good news: The Lord Jesus has returned!”
After hearing my sister say this, I distractedly thought: “Over the past few years Eastern Lightning has been testifying that the Lord Jesus has returned; could it be that my sister has accepted Eastern Lightning?” Before I could speak, my sister said seriously, “Oh, Qiu Zhen! The Lord has incarnated again and has come to our country, China.” I hurriedly said, “Don’t believe everything you hear. Can God come to China? In the Bible it says very clearly: ‘And His feet shall stand in that day on the mount of Olives, which is before Jerusalem on the east, and the mount of Olives shall split in the middle thereof toward the east and toward the west, and there shall be a very great valley; and half of the mountain shall remove toward the north, and half of it toward the south’ (Zechariah 14:4). The coming of God will be in Israel. He cannot come to China. You work for the Lord and yet you don’t even know this!”
My sister said sincerely, “I used to think the way you do, but through the words of Almighty God and the fellowship of brothers and sisters, I have realized that the Lord really has incarnated in China. The scripture you speak of is a prophecy, but prophecies cannot be interpreted however we want. They are fulfilled and made visible to man through the facts of God’s work. When the Lord Jesus came to carry out work, neither Peter nor the Samaritan woman, nor the eunuch of Ethiopia clung to the literal meaning of the prophecies of the Bible, but rather it was the facts of what the Lord Jesus said and the work He carried out that affirmed to them that the Messiah had come as the Lord Jesus. They all followed God’s footsteps and received the Lord’s salvation. And those Pharisees who clung to the literal meaning of the prophecies of the Bible all treated the Lord Jesus, the Messiah who had already come, as an ordinary person and denied, resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus. In the end they crucified the Lord Jesus, and thus were punished by God. Qiu Zhen, we must handle the Lord’s coming carefully and we must have God-fearing hearts. You really mustn’t be too quick to judge this matter!”
I glanced at my sister and held the Bible up and said, “Jehovah God promulgated the law in Israel and the Lord Jesus was crucified in Israel too. China is a country ruled by an atheistic party, so would God come to such a country? We have believed in the Lord for so many years, and we absolutely must not believe everything we hear!”
My sister said anxiously, “Qiu Zhen, when the Lord Jesus was performing His work at that time, the Pharisees resisted the Lord and said, ‘Search, and look: for out of Galilee rises no prophet’ (John 7:52). ‘Shall Christ come out of Galilee?’ (John 7:41). But in fact, the Lord Jesus grew up in Nazareth in Galilee. The Bible says: ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out! For who has known the mind of the Lord? or who has been His counselor?’ (Romans 11:33–34). How can we fathom God’s wisdom? We cannot analyze God’s work with our own minds. We look forward to the coming of the Lord every day. Now that the Lord has really returned, if we hold onto our own notions and do not seek or investigate, we will miss the opportunity to welcome the Lord and we will be full of remorse!”
Seeing my sister look so serious, I thought: “My sister sincerely believes in the Lord and is a thoughtful person who knows her own mind. She is generally careful about what she does, and for such a big deal as the Lord’s coming, she is even less likely to just blindly believe what someone else says. She has now accepted Eastern Lightning, so could it be that the Lord has really returned and is performing His work in China?” But then another thought came to me: “How could the Lord perform His work in China? It’s too unimaginable!” So I said firmly, “The Bible is like a cake with a thousand layers, and each person’s way of interpreting it is different. The Bible prophesies that God will actually descend in Israel in the last days. Moreover, most Chinese people worship Buddha and the national government has always persecuted religious beliefs. God will not come to China to perform His work!”
My sister eagerly said, “Qiu Zhen, the Lord has returned and has appeared in China to perform His work. This is very significant. I just accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days so I still can’t explain this aspect of the truth very clearly, but the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God testify in a very illuminating way. I will get them to fellowship with you!” I waved my hand and said, “Don’t bother. I’m leaving.” After returning home, I sat stolidly on the couch and thought about what my sister had said. My mind was racing and I could not calm down. I had always waited for the Lord Jesus to step foot on the Mount of Olives, so how could my sister suddenly say that the Lord had come to China? How could this be? I ceaselessly leafed through the Bible but could not find any chapter or verse that foretold that the Lord would come to perform His work in China. “When the Lord Jesus was performing His work at that time, the Pharisees resisted the Lord and said: ‘Search, and look: for out of Galilee rises no prophet’ (John 7:52). ‘Shall Christ come out of Galilee?’ (John 7:41). But in fact, the Lord Jesus grew up in Nazareth in Galilee. …” My sister’s words floated intermittently through my mind, and I thought that what she’d said was true. I alternated between looking through the Bible and thinking about what my sister had said. My mind raced and I didn’t know what to do for the best, so I just called out to the Lord in my heart, “Dear Lord, what should I do? O Lord, where exactly will You come down?”
A few days later my sister came to find me again. As soon as she entered the house she smiled and said, “Qiu Zhen, Sister Xie and Sister Hao from The Church of Almighty God came to my place to give me support. They have believed in Almighty God for a long time and understand much more than I do. If there is anything you do not understand about the Lord’s return, go and fellowship with them.” I thought: “I’ve believed in the Lord for many years and have always hoped for the coming of the Lord. Has the Lord really come? Perhaps I should take advantage of this opportunity to fellowship with them.” And so, I went with my sister to her home. As soon as I entered the room, the two sisters greeted me very warmly and spoke very cordially. They asked me to speak out if I had any questions, and then everyone could fellowship together. I asked, “You say that the Lord Jesus has already returned and is performing His work in China. Are there any grounds for this claim in the Bible?” Sister Hao smiled and said, “Sister, there are actually prophecies in the Bible about the Lord coming to perform His work in China in the last days.” I was stunned and said, “How could this be? I have been through the Bible many times, but have not discovered a single biblical record concerning this. Where in the Bible is the basis for your claim?” Sister Hao patiently said, “Sister, let’s read two verses of Scripture and you will know. In Malachi 1:11 it says: ‘For from the rising of the sun even to the going down of the same My name shall be great among the Gentiles; … said Jehovah of hosts.’ In Matthew 24:27 it says: ‘For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’ From these two verses of Scripture, we can clearly see that the place where God shall once again descend is in the East of the world and it is in the lands of the Gentiles. We all know that China is in the East of the world. The first two stages of God’s work were both in Israel. As far as the state of Israel is concerned, China is a Gentile nation. Therefore, God coming to China to appear and perform His work in the last days fulfills these prophecies.” After listening to the sisters’ fellowship and pondering the meaning of these two verses of Scripture, I thought their fellowship to be very illuminating. Although I had read these two verses before, I never saw the meaning of the Lord’s return being in the East, in China. As I listened to their explanation, I felt that their fellowship had its source in the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit.
Sister Hao went on to say, “Let’s see what Almighty God says. ‘Throughout the universe I am doing My work, and in the East, thunderous crashes issue forth endlessly, shaking all nations and denominations. It is My voice that has led all men into the present. I cause all men to be conquered by My voice, to fall into this stream, and submit before Me, for I have long since reclaimed My glory from all the earth and issued it forth anew in the East. Who does not long to see My glory? Who does not anxiously await My return? Who does not thirst for My reappearance? Who does not pine for My loveliness? Who would not come to the light? Who would not look upon the richness of Canaan? Who does not long for the return of the Redeemer? Who does not adore Him who is great in power? My voice shall spread throughout the earth; I will face My chosen people and speak more words to them. Like the mighty thunders that shake the mountains and rivers, I speak My words to the whole universe and to mankind. Hence the words in My mouth have become man’s treasure, and all men cherish My words. The lightning flashes from the East all the way to the West. My words are such that man is loath to give them up and at the same time finds them unfathomable, but rejoices in them all the more. All men are glad and joyful, celebrating My coming, as if an infant had just been born. By means of My voice, I shall bring all men before Me. Thenceforth, I shall formally enter into the race of men so that they will come to worship Me. With the glory that I radiate and the words in My mouth, I shall make it such that all men come before Me and see that the lightning flashes from the East and that I have also descended unto the “Mount of Olives” of the East. They will see that I have already long been on earth, no longer as the Son of the Jews but as the Lightning of the East. For I have long since been resurrected, and have departed from mankind’s midst, and then reappeared with glory among men. I am He who was worshiped countless ages before now, and I am also the infant forsaken by the Israelites countless ages before now. Moreover, I am the all-glorious Almighty God of the present age! Let all come before My throne and see My glorious countenance, hear My voice, and look upon My deeds. This is the entirety of My will; it is the end and the climax of My plan, as well as the purpose of My management: to have every nation worship Me, every tongue acknowledge Me, every man repose his faith in Me, and every people be subject unto Me!’ (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Seven Thunders Peal—Prophesying That the Gospel of the Kingdom Shall Spread Throughout the Universe). We all know that God brought the gospel of the kingdom of heaven the first time He was incarnated, and this gospel spread from the West to the East. But we never once thought that God would return in the flesh in the East of the world, in China, bringing the eternal gospel and performing the work of judging, purifying and saving people. This time God’s work will spread from the East to the West—”
When I heard this, I interrupted the sister and asked in a puzzled manner, “Sister, the Bible records that Jehovah God performed His work in Israel, and the Lord Jesus’ work was in Judea. God’s two stages of work were both in Israel, so the Lord’s return should also be in Israel. How can you say it is in China?” Sister Hao smiled and said, “We think that because God’s first two stages of work were both in Israel, the Lord will definitely perform His work in Israel when He returns. But does such thinking accord with the facts? Could it be that God is just the God of the Israelites? Could it be that God just administers and saves the Israelites? Let’s see what Almighty God says.”
Sister Xie opened the book of God’s words and read: “If the Savior arrived during the last days and were still called Jesus, and were once again born in Judea and did His work there, then this would prove that I only created the people of Israel and only redeemed the people of Israel, and that I have nothing to do with the Gentiles. Would this not contradict My words that ‘I am the Lord who created the heavens and earth and all things’? I left Judea and do My work among the Gentiles because I am not merely the God of the people of Israel, but the God of all creatures. I appear among the Gentiles during the last days because I am not only Jehovah, the God of the people of Israel, but, moreover, because I am the Creator of all My chosen ones among the Gentiles. I not only created Israel, Egypt, and Lebanon, but all the Gentile nations beyond Israel. Because of this, I am the Lord of all creatures. I merely used Israel as the starting point for My work, employed Judea and Galilee as the strongholds of My work of redemption, and now I use the Gentile nations as the base from which I will bring the entire age to an end” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a “White Cloud”). “I will make all people know that I am not only the God of the Israelites, but also the God of all the nations of the Gentiles, even those that I have cursed. I will let all people see that I am the God of all creation. This is My greatest work, the purpose of My work plan for the last days, and the only work to be fulfilled in the last days” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Work of Spreading the Gospel Is Also the Work of Saving Man). “He led the Israelites and was born in Judea, and He has also been born in a Gentile land. Is not all His work done for the whole of the mankind that He created? Does He love Israelites a hundred fold and loathe Gentiles a thousand fold? Is that not your notion? It is not the case that God was never your God, but rather just that you do not acknowledge Him; it is not the case that God is unwilling to be your God, but rather just that you reject Him. Who among the created is not in the hands of the Almighty? In conquering you today, is not the goal to have you acknowledge that God is none other than your God? If you still maintain that God is the God of Israelites only, and still maintain that the house of David in Israel is the origin of God’s birth, and that no nation other than Israel is qualified to ‘produce’ God, much less is any Gentile family able to personally receive Jehovah’s work—if you still think this way, then does that not make you an obstinate holdout? … You have not believed in God for very long, yet you have a lot of notions about Him, to the point that you dare not for a second think that the God of the Israelites would deign to grace you with His presence. Even less do you dare to think about how you could see God make a personal appearance, given how unbearably filthy you are. Neither have you ever thought about how God could personally descend into a Gentile land. He ought to descend on Mount Sinai or the Mount of Olives and appear to Israelites. Are not the Gentiles (that is, people outside of Israel) all objects of His loathing? How could He personally work among them? All these are the deep-rooted notions that you have developed over many years. The purpose of conquering you today is to shatter these notions of yours. Thus do you behold God’s personal appearance among you—not on Mount Sinai or on the Mount of Olives, but among people He has never led before” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Inside Truth of the Work of Conquest (3)). “If His current work were carried out among the Israelites, by the time His six-thousand-year management plan comes to a close, everyone would believe that God is only the God of the Israelites, that only the Israelites are God’s chosen people, that only the Israelites deserve to inherit God’s blessing and promise. God’s incarnation during the last days in the Gentile nation of the country of the great red dragon accomplishes the work of God as the God of all creation; He completes the whole of His management work, and He ends the central part of His work in the nation of the great red dragon. The core of these three stages of work is the salvation of man—namely, making all of creation worship the Creator. Thus, there is great meaning to each stage of work; God does nothing that is without meaning or value” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God Is the Lord of All Creation).
Sister Hao then gave fellowship, saying, “In the past we determined in our hearts that God was the God of the Israelites because God’s first two stages of work were both done in Israel. Israel was the birthplace of God’s work and also the base area for God’s work, so we thought that God’s work could only be in Israel, that the gospel could only come out of Israel and that only the Israelites are truly God’s chosen people. Therefore, if God still performed this final stage of His work in Israel, then we would believe even more strongly that God could only perform His work in Israel, that God could only bless the Israelites and that He has nothing to do with Gentiles. In the last days, God has chosen to carry out His work of judging and purifying people in a Gentile country, being the land where the great red dragon lies coiled—China. By doing this, He has upturned everyone’s notions, so that people can actually see that God is not only the God of the Israelites, but also the God of all the nations of the Gentiles, and the God of all created beings. God not only blesses the Israelites but also blesses Gentiles. This accomplishes the work of ‘God is the Lord of all creation.’ It is clear that God choosing to perform His work in the last days in China is profoundly significant. God is truly so omnipotent and so wise.”
Listening to the sister’s fellowship, I sank into contemplation: “Yes,” I thought, “God is the Lord of all creation. Wasn’t the whole of mankind created by God? God not only saves the Israelites, but also saves the people of China. Does God coming to work in China today not show His love for the Gentiles? It seems that I really do not understand God’s will!” Thinking of this, I felt somewhat ashamed. I softened my tone and said, “Sister, I understand what you say. If God once again performed His work in Israel, we would delimit God and think that God is just the God of the Israelites. God works in this way today to destroy people’s notions and to make people understand that God is the Lord of all created beings, that God can perform His work in Israel and also in China, and so accordingly we do not delimit God’s work. It seems that by delimiting God’s work based on my notions and imaginings, I’ve really been so foolish and ignorant! However, there is still one thing I don’t understand. There are so many countries in the world, such as the many countries of Europe and North America, where Protestantism and Catholicism are the national religions and where God has always been worshiped. Would it not be easier for God to come and do His work of judging and purifying people in those countries? China is an atheistic country, full of idolaters. The national government frantically persecutes those who believe in God, so why would God perform His work in China?”
Sister Xie smiled and said, “Sister, your question is so essential! Why did God choose to perform His work of judgment and purification in China? Only by understanding the purpose and significance of God performing His work in Israel and in China will we understand this aspect of the truth. Let’s take a look at what the word of God says. Almighty God says: ‘The Old Testament records Jehovah’s words to the Israelites and His work in Israel; the New Testament records Jesus’ work in Judea. But why does the Bible not contain any Chinese names? Because the first two parts of God’s work were carried out in Israel, because the people of Israel were the chosen ones—which is to say that they were the first to accept the work of Jehovah. They were the least corrupt of all mankind, and in the beginning, they were of a mind to look up to God and revere Him. They obeyed the words of Jehovah, and always served in the temple, and wore priestly robes or crowns. They were the earliest people to worship God, and the earliest object of His work. These people were the specimens and models for the whole of mankind. They were specimens and models of holiness, of righteous men. People such as Job, Abraham, Lot, or Peter and Timothy—they were all Israelites, and the most holy of specimens and models. Israel was the earliest country to worship God among mankind, and more righteous people came from here than anywhere else. God worked in them in order that He could better manage mankind throughout the land in the future. Their achievements and their righteous deeds in worshiping Jehovah were recorded, so that they could serve as specimens and models to the people beyond Israel during the Age of Grace; and their actions have upheld several thousand years of work, right up until today’ (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Vision of God’s Work (2)). ‘The work of Jehovah was the creation of the world, it was the beginning; this stage of work is the end of work, and it is the conclusion. At the start, God’s work was carried out among the chosen ones of Israel, and it was the dawn of a new epoch in the most holy of all places. The last stage of work is carried out in the most impure of all countries, to judge the world and bring the age to an end. In the first stage, God’s work was done in the brightest of all places, and the last stage is carried out in the darkest of all places, and this darkness will be driven out, the light brought forth, and all the people conquered. When the people of this most impure and darkest of all places have been conquered, and the entire population has acknowledged that there is a God, who is the true God, and every person has been utterly convinced, then this fact will be used to carry out the work of conquest throughout the entire universe. This stage of work is symbolic: Once the work of this age has been finished, the work of six thousand years of management will come to a complete end. Once those in the darkest of all places have been conquered, it goes without saying that it will also be so everywhere else. As such, only the work of conquest in China carries meaningful symbolism. China embodies all forces of darkness, and the people of China represent all those who are of the flesh, of Satan, and of flesh and blood. It is the Chinese people who have been most corrupted by the great red dragon, who have the strongest opposition to God, whose humanity is most base and impure, and so they are the archetype of all corrupt humanity. This is not to say that other countries have no problems at all; the notions of man are all the same, and although the people of these countries may be of good caliber, if they do not know God, then it must be that they oppose Him. Why did the Jews also oppose and defy God? Why did the Pharisees also oppose Him? Why did Judas betray Jesus? At the time, many of the disciples did not know Jesus. Why, after Jesus was crucified and rose again, did people still not believe in Him? Is man’s disobedience not all the same? It is merely that the people of China are made an example of, and when they are conquered they will become models and specimens, and will serve as references for others. Why have I always said that you are an adjunct to My management plan? It is in the people of China that corruption, impurity, unrighteousness, opposition, and rebelliousness are manifested most completely and revealed in all their varied forms. On the one hand, they are of poor caliber, and on the other, their lives and mindset are backward, and their habits, social environment, family of birth—all are poor and the most backward. Their status, too, is low. The work in this place is symbolic, and after this test work has been carried out in its entirety, God’s subsequent work will be much easier. If this step of work can be completed, then the subsequent work goes without saying. Once this step of work has been accomplished, great success will have been fully achieved, and the work of conquest throughout the entire universe will have come to a complete end. In fact, once the work among you has been successful, this will be equivalent to the success throughout the entire universe. This is the significance of why I have you act as a model and a specimen. Rebelliousness, opposition, impurity, unrighteousness—all are found in these people, and in them is represented all the rebelliousness of mankind. They are really something. Thus, they are held up as the epitome of conquest, and once they have been conquered they will naturally become specimens and models for others’ (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Vision of God’s Work (2)).”
After reading God’s words, Sister Xie continued on with her fellowship. “The words of Almighty God clearly tell us that, for every stage of His work, the kind of place and the objects of His work are all chosen based on the needs of His work, and that they are all considerably meaningful. For example, the first two stages of God’s work were in Israel because the Israelites were God’s chosen people. They were the least corrupt of all mankind and they had God-fearing hearts. Performing His work amongst them, it was easiest for God to make a group of models and specimens to worship Him. Thus, God’s work could spread faster and more easily, so that the entire human race would know of God’s existence and God’s work, and so that more people could come before God and receive God’s salvation. Therefore, it was most meaningful for God to do the first two stages of His work in Israel. In the last days, God performs the work of conquering and purifying people. He also needs some representatives to first accept God’s conquest and purification. Amongst the whole of mankind, the people of China are the most corrupt and backward, and China is the nation which least believes in God and which offers the staunchest resistance to God. In the last days, therefore, by God performing His work of judgment and conquest first in China, by performing His work of chastisement and judgment upon those who have been corrupted most deeply, and by conquering and purifying the people of China who are the most corrupt in the world, God’s omnipotence, holiness and righteousness are best demonstrated and Satan is most shamed. When those who are the most corrupt are conquered by God, it goes without saying that the rest of mankind will be conquered and that Satan will also be completely defeated. From the place and the objects of His work chosen by God in every stage of His work, and from the final results achieved, we can see even better that God’s work is so wise and wonderful!”
After listening to the words of Almighty God and the sisters’ fellowship, I understood: God previously performed His work in Israel because He wanted to make a group of models and specimens amongst the least corrupted of mankind and, through their testimony and preaching of God’s gospel, to allow even more people to receive His salvation. The work that God performs in the last days is the work of conquering and purifying man, and He has chosen the people of China, who are the most corrupt and most defiled in the world, as the objects of His work, making these people models and specimens who are conquered and saved. This is even more revealing of God’s wisdom and almightiness. I never understood God’s will and when I read in the Bible that the Lord would return by descending upon Israel’s Mount of Olives, I accepted the literal meaning and thought that God would definitely perform His work in Israel. I never expected that God would have already come to China long ago! It seemed that God’s work was not as simple as people imagine!
At this time, Sister Xie went on to say, “No matter which country God performs His work in it is all for the sake of His work and to better save mankind, and it is all very meaningful. If we want to seek God’s appearance today, we must first put aside our imaginations and notions. We must not delimit God’s footsteps within a certain scope, thinking that God should come to this or that country. God is the God of all of mankind. He can freely choose the place of His work according to the needs of His work. Almighty God says: ‘God is the God of the entire human race. He does not consider Himself the private property of any nation or people, but goes about doing His work as He has planned it, without being confined to any form, nation, or people. Perhaps you have never imagined this form, or perhaps your attitude to this form is one of denial, or perhaps the nation where God reveals Himself and the people among whom He reveals Himself just happen to be discriminated against by everyone and just happen to be the most backward on earth. Yet God has His wisdom. With His great power, and by means of His truth and His disposition, He has truly gained a group of people who are of one mind with Him, and a group of people that He wished to make complete—a group, conquered by Him, who, having endured all manner of trials and tribulations and all manner of persecution, can follow Him to the very end’ (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Appendix 1: The Appearance of God Has Ushered in a New Age).”
After hearing Almighty God’s words, I wept in excitement and said to the sisters, “These words carry God’s power and authority and come from God. Now I finally understand: God is not only the God of the Israelites, but also the God of the people of China and, even more so, He is the God of the whole of mankind. God really has returned! These past few days, I’ve not been able to eat or sleep well because I was afraid of taking the wrong path! Thanks to fellowshiping with you today, the weight in my heart has vanished. I truly give thanks to God for not giving up on me!” Afterward, the two sisters gave me a copy of The Word Appears in the Flesh, and I happily returned home clutching the book in both hands. Through reading Almighty God’s words, I became convinced that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. Our Lord Jesus really has returned!