The Awakening of a Deceived Spirit
Yuan Zhi, Brazil
Summoned by the Lord’s Grace Tasting the Lord’s Love
I was born in a small city in Northern China. In 2010, I followed my relatives to Brazil. In Brazil, I got acquainted with a Christian friend. He brought me to church to listen to sermons. But though I went three times, I never absorbed it. Afterward, because my job was keeping me busy, I didn’t go to church again until one day in June, 2015, when my friend brought me to church once more. This time, through what brothers and sisters shared, I had some understanding that the Lord Jesus is the Redeemer. Especially, when I first read Genesis, I felt that the Creator is truly wondrous. In school, the textbooks had taught me that man evolved from apes and monkeys and all the things in the world were formed naturally. That day, when I read Genesis, I understood that in fact, man was created by God and that God had created all things. Suddenly, I felt that, for more than twenty years, I had been deceived. That day, I suddenly and completely awakened. From that point on, I believed in the Lord Jesus.
At the end of 2015, I went back to China and after 5 months, I returned to Brazil. This time, I decided to find a steady job and settle down properly. But things sometimes turned out contrary to one’s wishes. Both my work and my personal life did not go smoothly. This made me feel very agitated and anxious. One night, I phoned that Christian friend to complain. He told me, “Quiet yourself and pray to God. See how the Lord has arranged everything for you.” So, I quieted my heart and prayed to the Lord, “Lord Jesus! Presently, I am encountering difficulties at work. I do not know what to do. Lord, I hope I can receive your help.” I didn’t expect that four days later, my boss would call me and ask me to come back to work. I was ecstatic and thankful that the Lord Jesus heard my prayers. Afterward, I received more of the Lord’s grace. In order to repay the Lord’s love, I attended gatherings every week. I went and participated even if I had to take leave from work.
The Choir Video Shook My Heart Seeking the Truth and Getting to the Bottom of Things
Starting in June, 2016, not only did I attend gatherings at the church, I also shared the Bible with friends on Facebook, or I would browse Facebook so that I could have more understanding of the Lord. I added many good friends. When they had time, they would share the Bible with me. This was extremely rewarding for me. One day, when I was browsing Facebook, I saw a video, in which the words “God Descends With Judgment” immediately attracted me. I curiously clicked the video to watch it. I did not expect that the video would have been shot so well. Simply put, it was spectacular! I was attracted by the sonorous and powerful voices, the lyrics that tugged at the heartstrings, and the enthusiasm of everyone in the performance. When I focused my attention, I saw that the video was from The Church of Almighty God. I thought: Everybody plunges into the performance in this video. It is as if they are singing for God to hear. The Church of Almighty God is not bad at all! This is the first time that I have heard of this church. If I have an opportunity, I ought to get in touch with this church.
One day, I sent a link for that video through Facebook to Sister Yang, with whom I frequently communicated about the Bible. After she saw it, she also felt that the video was very good and she said that she also wanted to better understand The Church of Almighty God. She felt that this church was indeed very special and that it was filled with the Holy Spirit’s work. As a result, I shared this video on my Facebook page. I did not expect that, after seeing the video, one of my good friends told me that The Church of Almighty God was not good. He also sent me a lot of negative propaganda about the church. I was surprised when I saw these words that blasphemed Almighty God and condemned The Church of Almighty God. I thought: This church is pretty decent. How come there are these criticisms? When I opened that video again, I suddenly thought back to what my pastor had once spoken about. In the last days, false Christs will appear. If I deviate from the Lord Jesus’ path, wouldn’t it be over? This problem cannot be ignored. So I better stop watching it now. Immediately, I told Sister Yang about the situation. Sister Yang said, “We cannot simply rely on one side of the story to determine whether it is real or false. This is not in accordance with the Lord’s teachings. As believers in the Lord, we are all looking forward to His return. Right now, there are some people who are saying that the Lord has already returned. We must investigate this. We must not just follow the herd and blindly judge and condemn it. Let’s find some people from The Church of Almighty God and investigate it. If they’re the real deal, it’d be hard for them to fake it. If they’re just faking, it’d be hard for them to pretend to be real.” I thought: What Sister Yang says is correct. This is indeed the first time that I have heard the good news that the Lord has returned. I also do not know whether the words on the Internet that condemn The Church of Almighty God are true or false. I can see that the videos and movies shot by The Church of Almighty God are pretty good. I should go and understand them. This is a rational way to treat the return of the Lord. In this way, I agreed to investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days together with Sister Yang.
With the contact details provided at the end of the video, Sister Yang contacted Brother Zhang from the North American branch of The Church of Almighty God. After we were online, Sister Yang and I mentioned the same question: “We both know that the Lord will return in the last days, however the Lord Jesus said: ‘Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect’ (Mat 24:23-24). Brother Zhang, what do you think of this issue of false Christs emerging in the last days to deceive people?”
Brother Zhang said: “The Lord Jesus said these things to warn us. When He returns during the last days, false Christs will also emerge. The Lord’s intentions are that we learn how to differentiate and not be deceived by false Christs. However, the Lord’s intentions of saying this are not that we blindly ignore someone who says that the Lord has returned and even judge and condemn them. This is a misunderstanding of the Lord Jesus’ words. The Lord Jesus spoke very clearly about what false Christs are: ‘For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.’ The traits of false Christs are that they will imitate the Lord Jesus to show signs, perform miracles, heal diseases and cast out demons. These are the areas where false Christs are most cunning and evil, and they are also the main traits of false Christs. In regard to the manifestations and traits of false Christs, Almighty God’s words are even more specific and incisive. Almighty God said: ‘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 the coming of Jesus, 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. ... 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’ (‘Knowing God’s Work Today’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). We all know that all that is false can only follow and imitate what is true. False Christs are no exception. False Christs are evil spirits. They do not have the essence of Christ. They are unable to do the work of Christ, they are unable to express the truth, and they are unable to express God’s disposition and all that God has and is. They cannot bring man the truth, the way, and the life. Therefore, false Christs can only imitate the work that the Lord Jesus has done. All they can do is perform some signs and wonders to deceive stupid and ignorant people. They are exactly like some people who have been possessed by evil spirits. They falsely declare that they are the returned Lord Jesus, and imitate the Lord Jesus in doing things such as healing diseases and casting out demons, performing miracles, and preaching the way of repentance and forgiveness. Without a doubt, they are false Christs that deceive people. The principles of God’s work are that it is always new and never old. His work is always developing in a forward direction. He will never repeat work that He has performed before. This is similar to when the Lord Jesus came to do work and concluded the Age of Law and began the Age of Grace. He did not repeat the work that Jehovah God did in issuing laws and guiding the lives of people. Instead, He did His work of redemption upon the foundation of work that was performed during the Age of Law. The Lord Jesus brought the way of repentance and forgiveness to mankind. All we had to do was come before Him, confess, and repent. As a result, the Lord would pardon our sins and forget our transgressions. After this, we would be entitled to enjoy the abundant grace and blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon man. All of this work was new. No evil spirits or Satan could have performed it. Likewise, with the return of the Lord Jesus in the last days—Almighty God concluded the Age of Grace and began the Age of Kingdom. Almighty God did not repeat the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus. He does not cast out demons, heal diseases, nor perform miracles for people. Instead, upon the foundation of the redemptive work, He expresses the truth and performs a stage of work of judging and cleansing man. He completely rescues mankind from the domain of Satan and brings them into God’s kingdom. This work from God is all completely new and has never been performed before. It cannot be performed by any false Christ whatsoever. As long as we know that God’s work is always new and never old and we understand the principles of differentiating false Christs, we will naturally differentiate between the appearance and work of God and the deception of false Christs.”
I understood a lot from Brother Zhang’s communication. He was very clear in his fellowship. False Christs can only repeat and imitate some work that God has done in the past. However, they cannot bring man to new path nor can they do any new work. At this point, I understood the true meaning behind the Lord Jesus’ words: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Sister Yang also said that she gained a lot from this exchange. As a result, we made an appointment with Brother Zhang for the next evening so we could continue listening to his fellowship.
Deceived by Rumors My Heart Is Tightly Locked
I felt that Brother Zhang from The Church of Almighty God spoke very well and that what he said was very beneficial to me. However, when I thought of the rumors on the internet, I was still a little apprehensive. When I went back to my church, I asked one of the older brothers whether he knew of The Church of Almighty God. He told me that the pastor had said that this church should not be contacted. He also related some words of judgment, attack, and condemnation from pastors directed against Almighty God. After listening to this, I felt a little shaken. I immediately told Sister Yang about this negative propaganda, so that she could also stop contacting The Church of Almighty God. However, Sister Yang seemed determined to investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days. She said to me, “Wherever the footprints of the lamb lead me, I will follow. Through this period of reading the words of Almighty God online and watching all sorts of videos and gospel movies about The Church of Almighty God, I have understood a lot of truth. Many of the difficulties and perplexities that I had encountered in the past have been resolved. I feel that Almighty God’s words are the truth. Regardless of how others condemn The Church of Almighty God, I will investigate this clearly….” I was unable to persuade Sister Yang and as a result, I blacklisted her name and Brother Zhang’s name on my Facebook account and I no longer dared to contact them again.
Rewatching the Video I Was Deeply Moved
However, after two days, I had no work to do. Aside from cooking at home each day, I didn’t have anything else to do. Since I had nothing to do, I opened up YouTube and watched some movies. Mysteriously, each time I opened up YouTube, movies, MVs and choir videos associated with The Church of Almighty God would appear. I started to think: The videos and movies of The Church of Almighty God are recorded so quickly. It is quite astonishing! Things that come from God must be prosperous. Could it be that The Church of Almighty God truly comes from God?! The things that I heard from Brother Zhang last time were in accordance with the truth. Maybe I should try once more to understand The Church of Almighty God. I cannot simply refuse to investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days just because of what other people say. However, once I recalled the words of condemnation regarding Almighty God from the internet as well as my pastor’s warning to not contact The Church of Almighty God, I thought: Perhaps I should not go any further. Consequently, I decided to look for other videos to watch on YouTube. However, everywhere I looked, there were videos from The Church of Almighty God. I started feeling helpless. In the end, my curiosity took over and I thought: Regardless of whether The Church of Almighty God is good or not, I am only going to watch their videos. If they are really not good, then it’ll be a lesson on how to distinguish things. As a result, I opened the video titled, “The Salvation of the Soul Kingdom Praise Chinese Choir of The Church of Almighty God 9th Performance.” This video attracted my interest because its story was a genuine portrayal of contemporary society and I really identified with it. The video portrayed human life very vividly, realistically, and genuinely. I cried and laughed along with it and my heart was very moved, and at the same time I felt very energetic. I had a feeling where I wanted to immediately watch all the videos produced by The Church of Almighty God. From then on, I would watch the videos from The Church of Almighty God on a daily basis. In one week, I watched all 17 episodes of the Chinese Choir. The more I watched, the more I felt it was great. There seemed to be a power in my heart that is urging me forward to watch and investigate, without delay. I thought: I watched so many videos of The Church of Almighty God. Each video has been so beneficial to me. Additionally, there is not a word of negativity within any of the videos. It is all positive, some expose the darkness of the world, some bear witness to God, and some guide man to return before God. They do not contain any fleshly or worldly matters. The Church of Almighty God is filled with the Holy Spirit’s work. It is not at all like how the rumors portrayed it to be. Almighty God’s work in the last days is definitely worth my investigation!
The Enlightenment Derived From Articles of Experience Realistically Investigating and Differentiating Truth and Falseness
One day, while I was browsing through Facebook, I read an article about someone’s experience and testimony titled “I Have Found Salvation in the Last Days on Facebook.” After I opened it, I read that this sister had similar experiences to me. When she first started contacting The Church of Almighty God, she encountered rumors about it that her friends sent to her. She was very disturbed. However, there was a lot of content in the article after this point and I wanted to understand what the conclusion was. As a result, I continued reading impatiently. I read that this sister prayed to the Lord and asked the Lord to guide her. After she finished praying, she felt that she could not selectively listen and believe. She had to realistically investigate The Church of Almighty God in order to differentiate whether it was true or false. If she blindly listened to the rumors and refused to investigate the second coming of the Lord, it would not be very rational. She had to find out the truth about the Lord’s return. When I read this, I felt that it was correct. The return of the Lord is an important thing and one must treat it prudently. I cannot simply follow the herd and blindly reject and resist it. I continued reading the article and saw that the circumstances regarding The Church of Almighty God that this sister came to understand was completely different from what her online friends were telling her. Additionally, she personally received as visitors some sisters from The Church of Almighty God. They fellowshiped with her about Almighty God’s words and they also helped and cared for her. They did not harm her or deceive her at all. The true experiences of this sister told me that I could no longer continue to be deceived by these rumors, nor could I believe gossip and reject investigating the work of Almighty God in the last days. Otherwise, it is possible that I would lose God’s grace of the last days. I must connect with The Church of Almighty God again for further investigation!
Opening Up My Heart and Seeing the Lord’s Face
At night, while I am tossing and turning restlessly in bed, I think, “I must find Sister Yang, whom I have blacklisted. If I can find her, I would definitely be able to find Brother Zhang from The Church of Almighty God. I recall that Sister Yang is someone who truly believes in God. All along, she has investigated the work of Almighty God in the last days. Right now, she should have already understood a lot. I want to know how her investigation is coming along. Through the help of some friends, two days later, with difficulty, I found Sister Yang’s Facebook account. I was glad that she was not angry at me for blocking her. After I contacted her, she told me that she had already investigated things quite clearly. Almighty God is the return of Jesus. She also happily connected me with Brother Zhang.
Through the internet, I contacted Brother Zhang and Sister Yang. I said, “After this period of experience, I can see that the Lord is guiding me. I am also willing to seek and investigate the work of Almighty God of the last days. However, I have many questions to ask you two. The thing I do not understand the most is that Jesus incarnated as a man to do His work. However, today, why can Jesus incarnate as a woman to do the work? This is a mystery. Brother Zhang, can you explain this to me?
In response to my question, Brother Zhang replied, “Yes. Within God’s incarnation, there is a mystery. The meaning of His incarnation is great and it is deep. It is also something that we cannot fathom. Therefore, we must have a heart of reverence in regard to the return of the Lord. Even if God’s work is not in accordance with our notions at all, we must watch our tongues. We must not judge it without thinking the matter through. Seriously speaking, arbitrarily judging God’s work is blaspheming against God. The sin of blaspheming God cannot be pardoned in this life or the next. Almighty God of the last days has come and opened up all the mysteries. This is exactly fulfilling Jesus’ prophecies: ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come’ (Jhn 16:12-13). If we read the words of Almighty God together, we will be able to understand this aspect of the truth. Almighty God said: ‘When Jesus arrived, He was male, and this time He is female. From this, you can see that God created both male and female for His work and with Him there is no distinction of gender. When His Spirit arrives, He can take on any flesh at will and the flesh represents Him. Be it male or female, both represent God as long as it is His incarnate flesh. If Jesus arrived and appeared as a female, in other words, if an infant girl, not a boy, was to be conceived by the Holy Spirit, that stage of work would have been completed all the same. If so, this stage of work would have to be completed instead by a male and the work would then be completed all the same. The work done in both stages is significant; no work is repeated or conflicts with each other. At the time of His work, Jesus was called the only Son, which indicates the male gender. Then why is the only Son not mentioned in this stage? This is because the needs of the work have necessitated a change to the gender different from that of Jesus. With God there is no distinction of gender. His work is done as He wishes and is not subject to any restrictions, particularly free, but every stage has a real significance. … In the beginning, when Jehovah created mankind, He made both male and female; therefore, His incarnate flesh was also differentiated into either male or female. He did not decide His work based on the words He spoke to Adam and Eve. The two times He became flesh were determined entirely in line with His thinking when He first created mankind. That is, He completed the work of His two incarnations based on the male and female that had not been corrupted’ (‘The Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of the Incarnation’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘In gender, one is male and the other female; in this the meaning of God’s incarnation has been completed. It dispels man’s misconceptions of God: God can become both male and female, and the incarnate God is in essence genderless. God made both man and woman, and He does not differentiate between the genders’ (‘The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After we finished reading God’s words, Brother Zhang said, “God’s work principle is as follows: God absolutely does not get involved with matters that do not have meaning or value. Whatever God does has meaning. The Bible says: ‘So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them’ (Gen 1:27). From this we can see, in the beginning, He created man and woman in His image. The reason He chose to embody different genders the two times He was incarnated is to make whole the meaning of His creation of man and woman. At the same time, by doing so, He dispels man’s fallacious belief that God can only incarnate as a man and that He cannot incarnate as a woman. This allows man to acknowledge that not only could God’s incarnation embody the identity of a man, but it could also embody the identity of a woman. This allows man to see that God is indeed almighty, that man is unable to fathom it and he should not arbitrarily judge or define God. Additionally, God’s essence is spirit. Spirits are not differentiated into sexes. Sex only applies to created mankind. In order to save and redeem mankind, God incarnated Himself twice. Therefore, the sex of God’s incarnation is only dependent on the period of time in which He does His work. Once the incarnated God’s work on earth concludes, God will return to the spiritual world. At that time, He will no longer be differentiated by sex. Therefore, if we confine God to a certain sex, it is a great blasphemy against God! …”
After listening to the words of Almighty God and Brother Zhang’s fellowship, I had a sudden flash of insight. Finally, I understood the reason why God took on a different sex the two times that He was incarnated. As it turns out, this embodies the will that God had when He first created man and it also embodies God’s kind intentions. If God embodied a man the two times He was incarnated to do work, we would have believed that God is eternally a man and we would fallaciously believe that the male sex is greater and has higher status than the female sex. God incarnate of the last days working as a woman embodies God’s impartiality and righteousness and it lets me see that God’s incarnation this time working as a woman is very meaningful! Otherwise, I would never know God and my notions and definition about God would never have been eliminated. Furthermore, due to my defining God, I would have offended God’s disposition. The first time that God was incarnated, He embodied the identity of a man. In the last days, God’s incarnation embodied the identity of a woman. From these two times of God’s incarnation, it can be seen that these two instances indeed make whole the meaning of God’s incarnation. It allows me to have a more accurate and a more genuine understanding of God. Thank God! God’s work is truly wise!
After Sister Yang and Brother Zhang listened to my understanding and knowledge of God’s words, they were happy that I was able to understand God’s will and that I had eliminated my notions and misunderstandings about God. They were so moved by the salvation work that God had done upon me that they cried. Afterward, we had fellowship three more times. Thanks to God’s guidance, I understood more and more of the truth, I learned about the mystery of God’s incarnation and I learned about the mystery of God’s three stages of work. I learned of the differences between God’s work and man’s work, the differences between the Holy Spirit’s work and Satan’s work and other such aspects of the truth. I could truly feel that Almighty God is the return of Jesus and that He is the truth, the way and the life. On Saturday night, Sister Yang sent me a new MV called “Love the Practical God With All Our Heart,” “God’s will has been revealed—to perfect those who truly love Him. Innocents, pulsing with life, offer up your praises to Him! Dance beautiful dances, leap and prance around the true God! From the earth’s four corners, we come, summoned by God’s voice. His words of life freely bestowed on us, we’re cleansed by the judgment of His words …” After I listened to this song, I was very encouraged, and I cried tears full of emotion. I called Sister Yang’s telephone, but I was so emotional that I could not speak. All I could do was repeatedly say one sentence: “Thank God! Thank you….”
After my emotions subsided, that night, I had a very heartfelt conversation with my brother and sister. I was thankful that Almighty God did not give up on my salvation all this time and that He did not punish me for my resistance and contradiction. Instead, He was with me all this time. He used gospel movies or videos and my brothers’ and sisters’ experience articles to guide and move me bit by bit, and brought me back to His family and before Him. From the bottom of my heart, I told my brother and sister: “I have already experienced God’s love. I also understand the truth of God’s incarnation. I no longer believe hearsay and rumors. I completely accept Almighty God as my savior and as my God. Since I have already determined that Almighty God is the return of Jesus, He is a God that has provided me with a lot of grace and He is the Redeemer of mankind.”
Entering Into a New World, My Future Is Bright and Without Limits!
I recalled the past when I listened to rumors, was full of conflict in regard to the work of God in the last days and said some words of judgment against God. I was so rebellious! My heart felt very indebted to God and I was remorseful and grieved. However, Sister Yang told me: “During circumstances when someone does not know God, it is very easy for them to be deceived by lies. As long as we truly repent, God will not remember. God’s word says, ‘God did not come this time to strike people down, but rather to save people to the greatest extent possible. Who is entirely free from errors? If everyone is struck down, then how could it be called salvation? Some transgressions are done on purpose and other transgressions are done involuntarily. With involuntary matters, you can change after you recognize them, so would God strike you down before you change? Is this how God saves people? It is not like that! Regardless of whether you transgress involuntarily or out of a rebellious nature, just remember: Hurry and wake up to reality! Press onward; no matter what situation arises, you must press onward. God is working to save people and He will not randomly strike the people He wants to save’ (‘God’s Will Is to Save People to the Greatest Extent Possible’ in Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words have given me great comfort and they have allowed me to see that God is full of mercy and forgiveness. God’s love is great! Within my heart, I cannot help but be grateful to God. Afterward, I got into contact with the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God. I could see that The Church of Almighty God was not at all what the rumors purported it to be. In fact, it was completely opposite. This was the world’s cleanest place. When we had gatherings in The Church of Almighty God, nobody talked about a life of pleasure. Nobody talked about cars, money or houses. Nobody talked about the dirty and filthy evil in the world. Everybody read Almighty God’s word together and we communicated our experience and knowledge of God’s words. We practiced adhering to Almighty God’s words. I can see that God’s word, the truth, and Christ are completely in power within The Church of Almighty God. This place is filled with equality and righteousness. It is like I had a taste in advance of a new life in a new world! At this time, when I recall those rumors, I realize that they simply trap and harm people. Due to those rumors, I almost lost God’s salvation of the last days. Thankfully, Almighty God saved me and helped me have an understanding of God’s work. My spirit was awakened, I broke through the net of Satan’s rumors and I came before the throne of God. I am thankful to God for saving me. All the glory be to Almighty God!