The Origin of the Eastern Lightning’s Prosperity
Each and every time the Eastern Lightning is mentioned, many brothers and sisters in the Lord feel perplexed: Why is it that as the religious community as a whole becomes increasingly desolate and degenerate, as each denomination becomes increasingly guarded and conservative in condemning and banishing the Eastern Lightning, not only is the Eastern Lightning not becoming desolate and ebbing, but surging like unstoppable billows, sweeping across mainland China? Now that it has even expanded beyond China’s borders to foreign countries and regions, as it is being accepted by more and more people worldwide? Faced with this fact, the religious people are thoroughly puzzled, while in fact the reason is quite simple: What each religious sect calls the Eastern Lightning is the returned Savior Jesus of the last days, riding down from the heavens upon a “white cloud”; it is God Himself who has returned to flesh and is real and actual! What Almighty God Christ of the last days brings is the judgment work that changes man’s disposition and cleanses him, so that mankind may achieve salvation and be perfected. Almighty God issues forth with all the truths that cleanse, save, and perfect mankind. For this reason, even if every religious sect in the entire world resists, attacks, persecutes, blasphemes, or condemns God incarnate of the last days or His work, there is no one and no force that can ever obstruct or suppress what He wishes to achieve. God’s authority, power, and His almightiness and wisdom are unsurpassable by any force of Satan.
Many people believe that anything condemned by most people can’t be the true way, but does this viewpoint accord with the truth? Think back to the Age of Grace when God came in the flesh to begin His new work in Judea. From start to finish He was persecuted, blasphemed, and condemned by the Jewish religious community. They did everything they could to put the Lord Jesus to death. In the end, they colluded with Rome to have the Lord Jesus captured and they nailed the merciful Lord Jesus to the cross. Even upon the resurrection and ascension to heaven of the Lord Jesus, they still fabricated all sorts of rumors and framed and slandered against John, Paul, and the other apostles and disciples, calling them “the Sect of the Nazarenes” and “heretics and cultists.” The Jewish religious community did everything possible to hunt down and persecute the disciples of the Lord Jesus. But God’s wisdom always exploits and builds upon the tricks of Satan; how could His work be obstructed or destroyed by Satan? It is because of the Roman Empire’s wanton persecution and expulsion that the disciples were compelled to flee to various countries and so too did the salvation of the Lord Jesus spread far and wide and to the ends of the earth. Brothers and sisters let us consider: Why did so many people resist the Lord Jesus and oppose His way back then? Could it be because the Lord Jesus wasn’t bringing the true way? Could it be because what the disciples and apostles of the Lord Jesus of that time were spreading wasn’t God’s salvation? Could it be that what the people abandoned and resisted wasn’t God’s way? Surely we can’t weigh the true way based on how many people endorse it? Do not consider something as the false way because the majority of people oppose it. As long as it is God’s work, even if the entire world opposes it and forsakes it, the true way brought by God cannot be denied; there are no exceptions. If we believe in God and have followed Him for many years yet do not understand God’s work, it is easy for us to be deceived and bound by the various specious fallacies and rumors spread around by Satan. To turn from a believer into a follower of Satan, to serve God but also resist Him, doesn’t this just bring grief and sorrow to a person? Many people do not study the true way with a humble and searching heart, they just follow the herd and do what everyone else does. No matter how other people judge or attack God and His work, they merely parrot those same words and follow blindly. This is a very dangerous thing. If they persist in this way they will ultimately find themselves on a path of no return. Long ago, when the disciples of the Lord Jesus preached the gospel at the temple and were met with opposition from the masses, a man called Gamaliel, a teacher of the law, admonished the Jewish people, “And now I say to you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nothing: But if it be of God, you cannot overthrow it; lest haply you be found even to fight against God” (Act 5:38-39). Shouldn’t this also serve as a warning to today’s believers? Now, in these last days, God has once again become flesh in China—a nation where atheists and revolutionaries wield power and the very nest of the great red dragon—to begin His judgment work that begins from His house. God issues forth truths to judge and cleanse mankind, the purpose being to save man completely from the dark influence of Satan. In the end, they will be brought into His kingdom by God and gain a beautiful destination. However, the historical tragedy of Jewish resistance to the Lord Jesus has once again appeared on the stage. As God does His new work of the last days that strikes back against the notions of people from the various religious sects, these people do not welcome the return of the Lord Jesus. Instead, they spread all manner of twisted teachings and fallacious rumors. They slander God incarnate and His work, condemning the work of God incarnate of the last days as an “evil cult” or “heresy.” They even go so far as to collude with the Chinese Communist government to persecute and arrest God incarnate. Their deeds are no different than those of the Jewish religious community that once framed and persecuted the Lord Jesus. Nonetheless, the true way is, after all, the true way. God’s work, after all, is God’s work. Regardless of how the various religious sects resist and condemn God’s work of the last days, the good tidings of His kingdom have nonetheless spread throughout mainland China, shaking the religious community and the entire world to the very core.
So, why is it that so many believers resist the true way? There are primarily two reasons for this: 1.) People do not understand the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work and they have no understanding of the phrase, “God’s work is always moving forward.” They are not in the slightest aware that they should seek the current work of God; they merely measure God’s new work based on what God did in the past. If they don’t agree with what they see, then they will consider God’s new work as “heretical” or “an evil cult.” 2.) People have arrogant and self-right dispositions. They do not at all seek out God’s new work with a humble heart. Instead, they stubbornly adhere to their own viewpoints and believe that their own opinions are the same as God’s opinions and they are completely unable to accept the truth. Thus, when God began His new age, the reason all of His new work encountered opposition from people was not because of any error in God’s way and it was not due to any error in His new work. Instead, it is because people do not understand God’s work and it is because they are unable to seek the truth due to their arrogance and self-righteousness. It will be preposterous and ridiculous if we judge that this is not the true way just because the majority of believers have opposed and forsaken God’s new work. It will certainly be to our eternal detriment if we lose God’s salvation of the last days as a result of this and it will be an irredeemable and mortal error without a doubt.
How exactly then, do we differentiate between the true way and the false way? God’s word has given us the principles with which we can differentiate. Almighty God says: “Knowing the work of God is no simple matter: You should have standards and an objective in your pursuit, you should know how to seek the true way, and how to measure whether or not it is the true way, and whether or not it is the work of God. What is the most basic principle in seeking the true way? You have to look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit, whether or not these words are the expression of the truth, who is testified to, and what it can bring you. Distinguishing between the true way and the false way requires several aspects of basic knowledge, the most fundamental of which is to tell whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit. For the substance of man’s belief in God is the belief in the Spirit of God, and even his belief in God incarnate is because this flesh is the embodiment of the Spirit of God, which means that such belief is still the belief in the Spirit. There are differences between the Spirit and the flesh, but because this flesh comes from the Spirit, and is the Word become flesh, thus what man believes in is still the inherent substance of God. And so, in distinguishing whether or not it is the true way, above all you must look at whether or not there is the work of the Holy Spirit, after which you must look at whether or not there is the truth in this way. This truth is the life disposition of normal humanity, which is to say, that which was required of man when God created him in the beginning, namely, all of normal humanity (including human sense, insight, wisdom, and the basic knowledge of being man). That is, you need to look at whether or not this way takes man into a life of normal humanity, whether or not the truth that is spoken of is required according to the reality of normal humanity, whether or not this truth is practical and real, and whether or not it is most timely. If there is truth, then it is able to take man into normal and real experiences; man, furthermore, becomes ever more normal, man’s human sense becomes ever more complete, man’s life in the flesh and the spiritual life become ever more orderly, and man’s emotions become ever more normal. This is the second principle. There is one other principle, which is whether or not man has an increasing knowledge of God, whether or not experiencing such work and truth can inspire a love of God in him, and bring him ever closer to God. In this can be measured whether or not it is the true way. Most fundamental is whether this way is realistic rather than supernatural, and whether or not it is able to provide the life of man. If it conforms to these principles, the conclusion can be drawn that this way is the true way” (“Only Those Who Know God and His Work Can Satisfy God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). There are three things from Almighty God’s words that we should consider so that we may distinguish whether something is the true way:
Firstly, look to see if it contains the work of the Holy Spirit, which is a crucial point. Because if it is the true way, then it is the work of God Himself, so it certainly contains the work of the Holy Spirit and will be upheld by the Holy Spirit. The reason people believe in God incarnate is because this flesh is the embodiment of God’s Spirit, so all that He does is the work of the Holy Spirit and it bears the confirmation of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, people believe in Him and follow Him. This is just like when the Lord Jesus performs His work: Even though on the surface it may appear that He is just a common and ordinary person, yet through His word and His work man sees the work of the Holy Spirit and the Holy Spirit’s maintenance. This is because all of mankind can see that the word and work of the Lord Jesus are full of authority and power. He can make a blind man see, a paralyzed person walk, and He healed the lepers. He can use five loaves of bread and two fish to feed five thousand people and He can even raise the dead. He can observe deep into the hearts of men to expose their darkest secrets. Furthermore, He can tell the mysteries of heaven to mankind. After people follow Him, they gain peace and joy in their hearts. The reason people follow the Lord Jesus and recognize that He is the Messiah is because all that He does is the work of the Holy Spirit. We can see that as long as it is the true way, it will contain the work of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, when considering whether something is the true way, we must first look to see whether it contains the work of the Holy Spirit.
The second aspect that we should weigh when considering whether something is the true way is to see whether it contains truth and if it can gradually change a person’s life disposition to make their humanity ever more normal. We all know that God is the truth, the way, and the life, and that every stage of His new work is based on the truth that God issues forth to man, which indicates the path of practice in the new age. God ensures man has the supplies he needs for life so that he gradually lives out a normal humanity and so that he gradually returns to the original likeness when God created man. This is an obvious characteristic of the true way. It is just like when the Lord Jesus began His work in the Age of Grace. At that time, He issued forth many truths for the people to put into practice, and taught them to love others as they love themselves, to bear the cross, to deny themselves, and to forgive others seventy times seven times. The Lord Jesus bade the people to worship God in spirit and truth. Every true believer may have some change in their outward conduct through the teachings of the Lord Jesus. Through the Lord Jesus they may conduct themselves with humility and patience and thereby possess some likeness of a normal person. Therefore, as long as it is the true way, then there will be an expression of truth. This can make one’s human sense become more and more normal, and he will look more like how a real person should be.
The third aspect we must consider in pondering the true way is to see whether the way can make people have an increasing knowledge of God and whether it can inspire a love of God in them and bring them ever closer to God. We all know that since it is the true way, then it is the work of God Himself and that His work inevitably issues forth His disposition as well as all that God is and has. When people experience God’s work, they naturally arrive at a genuine understanding of God, thereby creating a loving heart for God within them. This is just like in the Age of Law when Jehovah God issued forth laws to guide the lives of the people on earth. From their experience with His work, they recognized that Jehovah God is the one true God. Furthermore, they recognized God’s majesty and curses and that His disposition must not be offended, which created within them a reverent heart for God. In the Age of Grace, God incarnate came to earth to do a stage of work to redeem mankind. Through their experience with the Lord Jesus’ work, the people recognized God’s loving and merciful disposition. The people also saw that God was at once a Spirit yet could also take the humble human form, that He could perform miracles, cure disease and cast out demons…. And all this work that the Lord Jesus did made the people come to a new understanding of God, which inspired an adoration of God within the hearts of the people. Therefore, if it is the true way it will make people understand more about God and inspire greater understanding about God’s disposition.
Even though God’s work moves ever forward, as long as it is the work of God Himself and the true way, it will certainly possess and express the three aforementioned attributes. That is to say, the true way will certainly contain the work of the Holy Spirit, issue forth the truth, and will make people gain a greater understanding of God and bring them closer to Him. Therefore, if we differentiate the true way through weighing these three standards, we will be able to distinguish what is true and false, so we can keep pace with God’s current work in a timely manner, gain the truth, the way, and the life, as well as gain God’s greater promises and blessings.
In these last days, God is performing new work again, which involves issuing His words to do His judgment and cleansing work on corrupt mankind. This work is done according to His plan and is based on the actual needs of the people of the last days. It is a new, higher work based on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work. If we seek and study carefully with a quiet heart, we can see that this stage of God’s new work not only contains the Holy Spirit’s work, but moreover issues forth the truth and can allow us to have a more genuine, comprehensive, and practical understanding of God’s disposition and all that God has and is. Below, we shall fellowship about our experiences and understanding of God’s work in the last days based on using these previously discussed three aspects as standards for considering the true way.
Firstly, the true way contains the work of the Holy Spirit. Almighty God has come and established the Age of Kingdom, performed new work, issued forth His word to judge and cleanse people, and supplied mankind with the new provisions for life. The faithful among every religious group and sect have, one by one, returned to Almighty God under His name. No matter the resistance, no matter what obstructions appeared, God’s gospel of the last days still has surged forth like ocean waves and spread throughout all of mainland China. All peoples have been streaming to the holy mountain in a joyful scene. Although we all came from different denominations, we are nonetheless able to live in harmony together, help one another. There are no cliques here and the church life is brimming with vitality. The brothers and sisters here feel that our meetings are never enough, and there are hymns to sing and enjoy and prayers that enlighten us. Every time we gather we are all able to receive new provisions from Almighty God’s word, we can recognize our own shortcomings, and from God’s word we find the path to practice. Our brothers and sisters are brimming with faith and can bear God’s commission with devotion. Our corrupt disposition changes to varying degrees, and we can coexist normally and love each other in accordance with God’s word. When we encounter different views, we are all able to put aside our own views and listen attentively to other people’s ideas, and we yield to the authority of the truth in God’s word in the Church. Even though in this stage of work God does not repeat His work of the Age of Grace of healing the sick and casting out demons, nonetheless, we can see from Almighty God’s work that His words are powerful and carry authority. If we submit to Almighty God’s work and words, then we will be able to receive enlightenment and illumination from the Holy Spirit and we will be able to separate ourselves from our passive and feeble states, and be able to actively perform our duty as a created being to be considerate of God’s intentions. Thus, our brothers and sisters can let go of fleshly pleasures and rush from place to place for the work of expanding God’s kingdom gospel with all our hearts. Regardless of how we are treated by the various religious sects, or if we are rejected, or persecuted, or beaten, or cursed, we are willing to bear any hardship and we continue as always carrying out God’s will and preaching the gospel of Almighty God of the last days. One can see Almighty God’s authority and power from the actual behavior of our brothers and sisters. Almighty God’s work contains the work of the Holy Spirit and is upheld by the Holy Spirit. Yet for those who have not kept up with God’s new work, those various religious sects are jealous and confrontational; they do everything possible to gang up against others. They live in circumstances where they may be doing the same work, but not for the same reasons and all of this is enough to prove that the religious community already lacks the work of the Holy Spirit. Because the Church of Almighty God contains the work of the Holy Spirit, it therefore appears so full of vitality, while the various religious sects are bleak, desolate, and have lost the work of the Holy Spirit, standing in a stark contrast with the Church of Almighty God. So, it is self-evident which is the true way and which is the old way.
Secondly, the true way contains the truth and can indicate to people the path of practice in the new age and can allow people to gain new provisions for life. Their life disposition undergoes more and more change and their humanity becomes more and more normal. In His work of the last days, Almighty God issues forth many truths in many different fields. This includes the truths about understanding the work that God does and also the truths of how to practice and enter during the new age. For example this includes: the purpose of God’s management; the principles behind His work; the inside truths of God’s work in the Age of Law and the Age of Grace; how God does His judgment work; the significance of God becoming flesh; how mankind came to be the way it is now; how Satan corrupts mankind; how God saves mankind; what mankind’s future destination will be like; what the end will be like for different kinds of people; what kind of views believers should have; what their belief in God should seek; why people who believe in God should submit to Him; why loving God is the only way to truly believe in God; and how to serve God in a way that meets His intentions. Almighty God’s issuance of these truths has allowed us to have a much better understanding of God’s intentions, as well as allowed us to have a better understanding about our nature and substance and the fact of our corruption. Furthermore, these truths have allowed us to clearly see the road to change our disposition. Through experiencing Almighty God’s work and word, we come to finally understand the mixed-up aspects of our old faith and we recognize that even though we have received God’s redemption and ample grace, nonetheless we still deeply long to scheme more physical pleasure and material blessings from God and how to achieve the fortunes of our dreams through God. Furthermore, even though we rush about working for God, we are doing it for the sake of being blessed and crowned. We do this in the name of personal fame and gain and we rush around for our own profit. We do not do these things to fulfill our duty as a created being. No matter how much grace or how many blessings we gain from God, if anything God does fails in some tiny way from meeting our notions, we immediately resist and complain to God. We even go so far as being publicly antagonistic to God or even abandoning God. We long ago lost our original conscience and ability for rational thought in God’s presence. We were so corrupted by Satan that we completely lost our human semblance. The truths issued forth by Almighty God allow us to have a true understanding of our own corruption and we can see that we are selfish, despicable, and lacking in humanity. At the same time, we understand the significance of God’s salvation work that is done upon us, and we understand God’s salvation of man was well thought out. In this manner, our spirits begin to awaken bit by bit and our conscience and ability to think rationally begin to be restored day by day. We no longer seek to satisfy our own flesh, no longer see God in a transactional light. Instead, we only seek to satisfy God’s intentions and offer up to God everything we have. In this way, we, as created beings, gradually regain a normal relationship with the Creator. We become more and more loving toward God, more submissive and more worshipful, and finally we start looking more like man should. In short, Almighty God gives us, the people of the last days, the truths that we so urgently need. He shows us the direction of the way in the new age, He allows us to gain the most real provisions that we need for life. All of this proves that Almighty God’s way is the true way.
Thirdly, the true way gives man a new understanding about God. Brothers and sisters, if you can personally read the words of Almighty God and actually get in touch with those who have accepted the work of Almighty God in the last days, it is not difficult to discover that the brothers and sisters of the Church of Almighty God have gained new knowledge and a more nuanced understanding about God through the manner in which they seek Almighty God’s truths. Through experiencing Almighty God’s work and words, we understand God’s righteous disposition and see that God’s inherent disposition not only contains love and mercy, but also majesty and wrath, and His disposition tolerates no offense committed by mankind. Through experiencing Almighty God’s work and words, we see how God saves man step by step, how God uses His wisdom to defeat Satan, and thus we gain some practical knowledge about God’s almightiness, wisdom, wondrousness and unfathomableness. Furthermore, we also gain a more practical understanding about God’s kind intention to save mankind, His genuine love toward mankind and His substance of holiness and beauty. Experiencing Almighty God’s work and word helps resolve so many misconceptions we have had about God and helps us realize that God does not belong to any nation or ethnic group; God is the Creator, the God of all men. We also understand that God’s work is always new and never old and is bound by no rules. From this it can be seen that Almighty God’s work and words of the last days can give man a deeper understanding about God than was possible during the Age of Grace; it is an understanding that is more practical as well as more comprehensive. Only God’s own work can have this effect and only God Himself can issue forth to mankind His disposition and all that He is and has. It is without a doubt that Almighty God’s way is the true way.
In summary, the Eastern Lightning, which has been resisted and condemned by the religious community, is the Lord Jesus who has returned to flesh in the last days—it is God Himself the unique. Therefore, no matter how the various religious sects have resisted and attacked it and no matter how much it has been disparaged and condemned by the forces of Satan, they have not been able to obstruct in the slightest the expansion of God’s work in the last days. In only ten years or so, the kingdom gospel of Almighty God has spread throughout the whole of mainland China. God’s word and God’s name have spread throughout hundreds of millions of households. Among various denominations, those who pursue the truth and truly want God have returned before Almighty God. Millions of people are enjoying the word of God, receiving God’s judgment, cleansing, salvation and perfection, and praising God’s wonderful deeds. God has made a group of overcomers in China and has gained a group of people who are of one heart and one mind with Him. God’s work has finally concluded with His glorification and it moves rapidly from the East—China—to the western world and the Church of Almighty God has established branches in dozens of countries, which is the complete fulfillment of the prophecy of the Lord Jesus: “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” (Mat 24:27). My spiritual colleagues, quickly put down your imagined notions and seek instead to hear God’s voice, please come before God in earnest: Almighty God awaits your return!