21. Breaking Free From the Rumor Trap
By Xiaoyun, China
I used to be a female army officer. One day in 1999, a Korean pastor preached the gospel of the Lord Jesus to me. Because of my earnest pursuit, I soon became the focus of the pastor’s training and his primary assistant. In the summer of 2000, the pastor came to Yunnan on a short summer missionary trip with more than a dozen college students from the Korean Gospel Church. Unexpectedly, this alarmed the CCP government. We were arrested whilst having a meeting at the pastor’s home and then brought to Yunnan Province Public Security Department for questioning. The Korean university students were deported that same night and the Korean pastor was also expelled from the country. The church suffered persecution by the CCP government, and many believers became afraid and did not dare believe. A proportion of believers were also forced to go to the Three-Self Church, and this was how the church was broken up by the CCP government. I was the main co-worker in the church and the persecution by the CCP government this time also caused me to lose my job.
In March 2005, I heard Almighty God’s kingdom gospel. When I learned that the Lord Jesus had returned, I was so excited that tears of joy filled my eyes and I felt so indescribably grateful. I just wanted to bring my brothers and sisters before God as soon as I could. Under God’s guidance, one by one the brothers and sisters accepted God’s last days’ work. But unexpectedly, one of the church’s most talented co-workers, after hearing the testimony of the last days’ work of Almighty God, declared: “This doctrine sounds right, but we need to ask the pastor first and see what he says.” Soon after, the pastor gave me a call and said, “It is very disorderly outside now. You have not believed in God for long and your stature is small. Whatever you do, do not carelessly listen to sermons from outside the church, and then you won’t go astray. We can only accept the shepherding of this church. Do not listen to the ways preached by other churches.” After listening, I said calmly, “Through this period of time studying Almighty God’s last days’ work, I have found that everything they preach conforms to the Bible, has the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit and it is the true way.” My pastor said, “No matter how well they preach, we must understand that only the Lord Jesus is the true God. We must not leave the Lord!” I said firmly, “I have not left the Lord, but am following the footsteps of the Lamb. The Lord Jesus has already returned. It is only right that we should welcome the Lord just like the wise virgins.” The pastor said harshly, “How could the Korean Gospel Church not know that the Lord has returned?” I said, “This is not something that can be explained in a few words.” The pastor asserted eloquently, “What they believe in is Eastern Lightning, which was the target of the CCP government’s crackdown. It’s explained very clearly on the Internet. Go online, and you will see. You have to go online to check it out….” After putting down the phone, my heart could not calm down for a long time. The pastor’s words kept ringing in my ears. I particularly wanted to know exactly what was being said online.
In order to find out, I quickly ran to an Internet cafe. The moment I opened websites, I was dumbfounded. On the websites there was a lot of the CCP government’s blasphemy and condemnation of God, as well as slander and blasphemy from religious figures of authority. I had some doubts: Almighty God’s words cannot be spoken by just anybody. They are the expression of the Spirit of truth. This is a fact recognized by many people from many different denominations who sincerely believe in the Lord and yearn for the truth. But why do the websites start rumors to make people deny Almighty God? There are also many famous pastors who also condemn and blaspheme God along with the CCP government. What is going on here? Seeing all this negative propaganda, I felt a flurry of indecision. After that, I saw an attack on the man used by the Holy Spirit online. My heart once again dropped. Did I really believe in a man? As I continued to browse through the information on the Internet, I became more flustered and felt very bewildered and perplexed so that, in the end, I had no idea how I left the Internet cafe.
On the way home, I recalled all the time I had spent seeking and investigating Almighty God’s work of the last days. Whenever I raised some questions, brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God read the words of God to me. Every issue was resolved one after the other, and I had become completely convinced. It took a full eleven days of debate and investigation before I firmly believed that Almighty God was the Lord Jesus returned. I also read some of God’s words. God has disclosed all of the mysteries of the three stages of work and the six-thousand-year management plan, and He has also clarified truths such as the inside story and the essence of the Bible, which are God’s words and which are people’s words in the Bible, and how people should approach the Bible. When I read these things, everything became clear and I reaped great benefit. From these words of God, I saw that Almighty God should be the Lord Jesus returned. But why was the propaganda on the Internet all negative? The more I thought about those rumors, the more depressed and heavier my heart felt, and I was almost hit by a car as I crossed the road.
After returning home, my heart simply couldn’t calm down and those Internet rumors came to the forefront of my mind from time to time and lingered there. My heart felt overwhelmed as I thought one thing and then another. I couldn’t sleep that night, and I thought: “If I take the wrong path, then would my faith not all be in vain? No, I have to turn back right away. But what if Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned? Then won’t I miss my opportunity to welcome the Lord and lose my chance to be saved?” As I wavered back and forth, I came before God in prayer: “O God! Since accepting this step of work, my heart has always felt at ease, I have found it very enjoyable to read God’s words and my soul has felt very nourished. But after seeing some negative propaganda on the Internet, I cannot calm down. Please guard my heart. O God! My stature is small and I don’t know how to discern these things. If Almighty God really is You who have returned, then I ask You to guide me to be certain of Your work without being disturbed by anyone or anything. If not, then I ask You to guide me to develop discernment….” After praying, an idea came into my heart: To quickly finish reading the words of Almighty God in order to determine whether or not it is God’s voice. That night, I read God’s words all night and I do not know when I fell asleep at the table.
Early the next morning, I was awakened by a knock at the door and I drowsily went to open it. It turned out to be Sister Wu who had watered me. She saw me looking sleepy and asked what had happened in a concerned manner. I said, “I was online yesterday and saw a lot of things which resisted and blasphemed against God, and now I feel very conflicted….” After hearing this, Sister Wu fellowshiped with me: “Sister, you know very well the CCP government’s attitude toward Christians. They have arrested and persecuted countless Christians. This is a hard fact. The rumors online are all fabricated by the CCP government so as to persecute The Church of Almighty God. Their aim is to suppress God’s work and to make China an atheistic zone and not allow people to follow or worship God. Sister, the CCP is an atheistic government. Can we believe what they say?” The sister’s remarks were a timely reminder. Right! The CCP is atheist. They are the ones who hate and resist God the most. How can one believe what they say? The CCP government goes under the guise of the banner “freedom of religion,” but behind the scenes, they wantonly coerce and arrest people who believe in God. I thought of how the CCP government had coerced and oppressed those from our church before and how many brothers and sisters had lost faith and did not dare believe, and I thought of how I had also lost my job because of this—was this not the CCP government’s attitude toward people who believe in God? In order to restrict religious belief, the CCP government established the Three-Self Church and asked people to first “love the state” then “love religion.” Their purpose is to keep control of people firmly in their hands and to restrict people’s freedom of belief. When I thought of this, I came to have some discernment about the despicable intentions of the CCP government. The CCP government has always persecuted religious beliefs and condemned the true way. So was their fabricating rumors and condemning the last days’ work of Almighty God not a great unveiling of their God-hating and God-opposing satanic nature?
Sister Wu continued to fellowship with me: “The CCP government is an atheist satanic regime and the enemy of God. In order to achieve their wild ambition of permanent control of the people, they perversely twist black into white to condemn and discredit The Church of Almighty God. We are able to distinguish this pretty well. But how can the religious pastors and elders follow the atheist regime in resisting, condemning and blaspheming God? Most people cannot figure out this problem. Actually, this is related to the religious leaders’ nature and essence of resistance to God and hatred of the truth. Thinking back to two thousand years ago, when the Lord Jesus did the work to redeem mankind, He was met with the utmost opposition and persecution from the chief priests, scribes and the Pharisees. This was because the way the Lord Jesus preached and the miracles He performed at that time caused a sensation throughout Judea. Many ordinary people were attracted by the Lord’s words and one after the other they turned to the Lord Jesus. The chief priests, scribes and Pharisees saw this as a threat to their status and livelihoods, and they conspired with the Roman government to resist and condemn the Lord Jesus. They spread rumors, slandered the Lord’s work and crucified the Lord Jesus on the cross. Now the history of two thousand years ago is repeating itself. Religious leaders see the last days’ work of Almighty God being accepted by growing numbers of people and they immediately become jealous and unite with the CCP government in resisting and condemning God’s last days’ work. This completely shows that most religious leaders are antichrists who do not love the truth and love only status. ‘Since ancient times, the true way has always been suppressed.’ It is therefore not surprising that Almighty God’s last days’ work could be strongly opposed and condemned by the evil forces of the CCP government and the religious community.” Yes, the Pharisees, chief priests and scribes were all figures of authority in the religious community, but they were not true believers in God and did not love the truth. They knew that the Lord Jesus’ words had authority and power, but they did not seek or investigate whatsoever. Rather, in order to maintain their status and livelihoods, they condemned and blasphemed the Lord. Their nature was indeed to resist God and to be the enemies of God. Nowadays, how the pastors and elders of the religious community act with regard to the Lord’s second coming is the same as what the Pharisees did. It turns out they are God-hating, truth-hating antichrists! When the Lord Jesus’ return is prophesied in the Bible, it says, “But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation” (Luke 17:25). Now Almighty God has come to perform His work, yet He is being resisted and condemned by the religious community and the atheist CCP regime. Is this not the fulfillment of the Lord’s prophecy? At that moment, my heart was illuminated. Sister Wu carried on with her fellowship: “The negative propaganda disseminated by the CCP government and the religious community on the Internet is essentially meant to destroy and disturb God’s work. Satan has always used lies to deceive and confuse people and to make people doubt, deny, and betray God. In the end, they will be punished by God and sent to hell, and they will lose the opportunity to be saved by God forever. We must be able to discern their rumors and realize their sinister intentions and despicable purpose in spreading rumors. Otherwise, we will become deluded and will lose the opportunity to be saved by God.” I nodded in approval and felt that the sister’s fellowship and help had come in the nick of time. I couldn’t wait to continue listening …
Sister Wu took out the book of God’s words and said to me: “Sister, let’s read a passage of Almighty God’s words! Almighty God said: ‘In My plan, Satan has, all along, been stalking behind each step and, as the foil of My wisdom, has always been trying to find ways and means to disrupt My original plan. Yet could I succumb to its deceitful schemes? Everything in heaven and on earth serves Me; could the deceitful schemes of Satan be any different? This is precisely where My wisdom intersects; it is precisely that which is wondrous about My deeds, and it is the principle of operation for My entire management plan. During the era of the building of the kingdom, still I do not avoid the deceitful schemes of Satan, but continue to do the work I must. Among the universe and all things, I have chosen the deeds of Satan as My foil. Is this not a manifestation of My wisdom? Is this not precisely that which is wondrous about My work?’ (“Chapter 8” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh).”
After reading God’s words, Sister Wu said in fellowship: “We see from Almighty God’s words that every step of God’s work embodies God’s will, wisdom and wondrousness. From beginning to end, God’s work does not shy away from Satan’s trickery, but uses Satan’s trickery for the benefit of God’s work, to perfect those who truly believe in God and to complete God’s management plan to save mankind. On the surface, Satan appears to be swollen with arrogance in its resistance to God, but God’s wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s trickery. In the beginning, Satan corrupted mankind, but God did not destroy it directly. Instead, God uses the three stages of His work to save mankind and, whilst saving mankind, God allows Satan to create disturbances and interruptions, His purpose being to show Satan’s true devil face of corrupting and confusing mankind, of furiously resisting God and being the enemy of God, so that mankind actually sees Satan’s hideous face and evil essence. In so doing, people can proactively reject and forsake Satan and return to God, and Satan will be completely shamed and defeated. This is the most powerful testimony against Satan, and it reveals God’s wisdom and almightiness. Just as Job was a God-fearing man who shunned evil, yet God allowed Satan to inflict suffering on Job and eventually He used Job’s testimony in trials to humiliate Satan and prove that God’s evaluation of Job was entirely correct. This was God’s wisdom. In addition, what God does in the last days is the work of saving and perfecting people. It is also the work of separating people according to their kind and bringing the age to an end. God uses the persecution by the CCP government and the religious community to cause people to experience various trials and tribulations. Those who truly believe in God can understand the truth and develop discernment by experiencing tribulations, they can know God’s almightiness and wisdom, see through to Satan’s wickedness, and in the end completely reject Satan and attain God’s salvation. Yet those who are timid, those who lack true belief, those who are bored of the truth and those evil ones who hate the truth are all exposed through trials and tribulations, and they become targets to be weeded out. Thus the goats are separated from the sheep, the tares from the wheat, the evil servants from the good servants, and the foolish virgins from the wise virgins, as all are separated according to their kind. This is God’s wisdom and almightiness.” After listening to Sister Wu’s fellowship, I couldn’t help but think back to two thousand years ago when the Lord Jesus was crucified by the Jewish Pharisees and the Roman government. From man’s perspective, the work of the Lord Jesus had failed, but the Lord Jesus said, “It is finished.” It was precisely through Satan’s persecution and crucifixion that God finished the work of redeeming mankind. Today in the last days, the CCP government and religious community’s condemnation and defamation have precisely rendered a service to God perfecting those who truly believe in Him, and they have also become God’s evidence to convict them. Almighty God says: “My wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s schemes” (“The Inside Truth of the Work of Conquest (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). In the Bible it is recorded: “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!” (Romans 11:33). Thinking of this, I saw that God’s work was so wise and so wonderful, and I praised God from the bottom of my heart.
Through Sister Wu’s fellowship, I came to have a little understanding of God’s work and could also distinguish somewhat the essence of the CCP government and religious community’s resistance to God, but I still did not understand what it said on the Internet about us believing in a man, that is, believing in the man used by the Holy Spirit. I asked Sister Wu: “On the Internet it says that we believe in a man. Is that the case?” Sister Wu said in fellowship regarding this question: “Your problem is that you are not clear about the truth relating to the difference between God’s work and man’s work. Let’s first read two passages of Almighty God’s words. Almighty God says: ‘The work of God Himself involves the work of all of mankind, and it also represents the work of the entire era, which means that God’s own work represents every dynamic and trend of the work of the Holy Spirit, whereas the work of the apostles comes after God’s own work and follows from it, and it does not lead the era, nor does it represent trends of the Holy Spirit’s work in a whole era. They only do the work man ought to do, which has nothing at all to do with the management work. The work God does Himself is a project within the management work. Man’s work is only the duty that people who are used fulfill, and it is unrelated to the management work’ (“God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘The work God does is not representative of the experience of His flesh; the work man does is representative of his experience. Everyone talks about their personal experience. God can express the truth directly, while man can only express the experience that corresponds to his having experienced the truth. … To tell whether something is God’s own work or man’s work, you must simply compare the differences between the two’ (“God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Almighty God’s words allow us to understand that God’s work is the work of ushering in a new era. It is the work that saves the whole of mankind. Man cannot usher in any age, nor can he perform the work of saving mankind. The work of man is just to perform man’s duty upon the foundation of God’s work. It is doing some work watering, supplying and guiding people to enter into the reality of God’s words and is done in cooperation with God, but man’s work cannot replace the work of God Himself at all, nor can it be regarded in the same category as God’s work. Take the Age of Grace, for example, when the Lord Jesus began the Age of Grace and ended the Age of Law, leading mankind into a new era. After the Lord Jesus finished His work, the apostle Peter and others started to continue the work of the Lord Jesus, leading and shepherding the church and leading brothers and sisters to follow the way of the Lord. This was entirely in cooperation with the work of the Lord Jesus. At that time, the people of the church accepted Peter’s shepherding and leading, but no one said that they were believing in Peter or some other apostle. This is a fact. In the same way, Almighty God of the last days has come and has ended the Age of Grace and ushered in the Age of Kingdom; He performs the work of judgment starting with God’s house and expresses all truths to purify and save mankind. If we can understand, practice, and enter these truths, then we are the ones who shall attain true salvation and be perfected. However, because of our poor caliber, through reading God’s words ourselves and experiencing God’s words, achieving true salvation is a very difficult and slow process. Therefore, God enlisted the man used by the Holy Spirit to lead us. The man used by the Holy Spirit has been prepared and perfected by God in advance. He has the experience of attaining salvation and perfection through experiencing God’s work. He uses his experience of God’s words to guide us to know God’s words and to enter God’s words. This helps us to deviate from the path less. As long as we accept and obey the leadership and the watering of the man used by the Holy Spirit, then we can take the right path of belief in God and attaining true salvation. This is entirely God’s kindness and blessing toward us. The work that the man used by the Holy Spirit does is exalting and witnessing God and guiding us to obey and worship God. He has never asked us to treat him as God, nor has he demanded that we believe in him. All of God’s chosen people are very clear about this: The man used by the Holy Spirit is only our brother and our leader, and we believe in Christ of the last days, Almighty God, not the man whom the Holy Spirit uses. It is rumored on the Internet that we believe in the man used by the Holy Spirit. This is purely a distortion of the facts and a confusion of right and wrong. It is Satan’s fallacy and it is a lie to delude people. You might as well go to The Church of Almighty God to see for yourself, walk amongst the brothers and sisters, listen to them and truly understand. Then you will see that we read the words of Almighty God, we pray in Almighty God’s name and we believe in the incarnate God Himself, that is, Almighty God, Christ of the last days. Christ wields power over The Church of Almighty God entirely. It is God’s words that wield power. So tell me, do we believe in a man or in God? Is this not obvious?” After listening to the sister’s fellowship, I came to know a little about God’s work and man’s work, and I also understood a little about God’s intention in enlisting the man used by the Holy Spirit. I also knew that we believed in Almighty God incarnate, not a man. I could not help but think to myself: What we have received is God’s work and the supply of God’s words. We believe in Almighty God; we do not follow and believe in a man. It seems that those online rumors are really Satan’s lies, falsehoods meant to delude people. In the beginning, our first ancestors, Adam and Eve, were taken in by Satan’s tricks; they committed sin and were cast out of the Garden of Eden because they listened to Satan’s lies. The Jewish people who joined the Pharisees in crucifying the Lord Jesus also listened to rumors and were taken in by Satan’s trickery and became eternal sinners against God. I must learn from the lessons of previous failures. I should no longer be taken in by Satan!
When Sister Wu left, she told me to read God’s words more and also left the fellowship of the man used by the Holy Spirit for me to read. One day I saw a passage of the fellowship: “At this critical final moment, people should make the following the top priorities in their practice: eating and drinking the words of God, doing whatever God entrusts them to do, carrying out their duties, satisfying God, and glorifying God—only by practicing in these ways can people be loyal to God. The saints of the past often said, ‘What we gain or lose doesn’t matter; we should pay mind to God’s will.’ This should be the motto of all people. The specific practices are as follows: If one is afflicted by the harassment of Satan, then the first task is to uphold God’s testimony and God’s work and to use the truth to defeat Satan; if one faces sin or temptation, then glorifying God comes first, and one must not sin and humiliate God; if people, issues, or things encumber the fulfillment of one’s duties, then what God entrusts one with comes first and one must break free of all entanglements and be loyal to God; if and when matters involving one’s personal interests arise, then the interests of God’s family come first. Abandoning one’s personal interests and being considerate of God’s heart is vital. If worldly affairs entangle and constrain one, then fulfilling one’s duty and satisfying God must come first and one must cast aside all else and expend oneself for God” (The Fellowship From the Above). I came to know very clearly from the fellowship of the man used by the Holy Spirit how I should practice in real life in order to satisfy God’s will and what to do so as to be faithful to God. I felt that the man used by the Holy Spirit was really guiding us to obey God, to enter the truth and fulfill God’s will. I came to appreciate that the “interpreter” God has arranged for us is really good! I felt even more clearly that God has prepared someone used by the Holy Spirit for us in advance to guide us to understand the truth more quickly and come to know God. This is God’s sincere love for us! At this point, I completely saw through and discarded those rumors that had been spread online that condemned God’s last days’ work and attacked the man used by the Holy Spirit. From feeling on tenterhooks, I could finally be at ease. I really came to believe that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned. By accepting the last days’ work of Almighty God, I keep up with the Lamb’s footsteps, attend the marriage feast of the Lamb and am raised before God’s throne!
After going through this disturbance by Satan, I became even more convinced about Almighty God’s last days’ work. Now I have followed Almighty God for more than a decade. I think back to all of the notions I had when I had just accepted God’s last days’ work, to understanding some truths and seeing through the CCP government and the religious community’s rumors, casting aside my notions and no longer being deluded, to striving to pursue the truth and doing my duty as a created being and repaying God’s love, and resolutely following Almighty God. All this has made me really appreciate the truth of these words of God: “In his relationship with God in the flesh, man progresses from opposition to obedience, from persecution to acceptance, from notions to knowledge, and from rejection to love—these are the effects of the work of the incarnate God” (“Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of the Incarnate God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Thanks be to God!