44. I Have Come Home
I believed in the Lord for over a decade and served in the church for two years, and then left my church behind to go abroad for work. I went to quite a few places, including Singapore, and earned a decent amount of money, but living in this existence in modern society where might makes right, everyone’s scheming against each other, and there’s treachery everywhere. In the face of all manner of complex interpersonal dealings, I was always on my guard against others. They were also always on their guard against me, leaving me with a feeling deep down inside that I couldn’t find any stable ground to stand on. That kind of life left me exhausted in body and spirit. The only thing that offered me any consolation was the diary I carried with me in which I had copied some passages of Scripture. Sometimes I would read them and they would fill an emptiness in my soul. I hadn’t been to a church gathering in a number of years but over the past year I had just had one thing in mind: to find a church in which I could serve the Lord in earnest. I later took advantage of some free time to go to a number of churches in Malaysia, both large and small, but every time I trotted in merrily and left feeling dejected. I always felt something was lacking inside, but I could never put words to exactly what it was. Faced with this conflict I went to another extreme, just playing video games and watching movies online, sometimes staying up playing until dawn or watching one movie after another. My sleep schedule was a mess. When I first started doing this I had a bit of awareness, feeling that the Lord wouldn’t be pleased, but I gradually became numb. It was during that time that I lost my cell phone. At the time, I felt really put out—my cell phone was gone and a lot of data had gone with it, plus I had no way to log in to Facebook. On the surface, this was a bad thing, but I never expected that it would be a turning point for my life. It’s just like the old saying, “a blessing in disguise.”
I bought a new cell phone in early 2017. One day in late February, I logged into Facebook and then inadvertently clicked on the timeline of an English-language profile, and saw that there was scripture in the posts. I also saw quotes that were not from the Bible, yet they were really inspiring for me, and they really drew me in emotionally. I kept my eye on that Facebook account for the next few days, and even spent some time looking up some words. Finally, I finished reading the post that I was interested in. Only after reading it did I realize that the main content of this post was an interpretation of the passage of Scripture in which the Lord Jesus says: “Not every one that said to Me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 7:21). I felt that this was quite a unique interpretation, and that it was full of inspiration and light. I hadn’t added that person as a friend, so though I wanted to see more posts on their timeline, I wasn’t able to. What I was able to see on their timeline, however, was that this Facebook user was from South Korea and was a sister named Susan. I sent her a friend request, but she probably wasn’t online at the time and so didn’t accept my request right away. Two days later, I added another Chinese-speaking person on Facebook named Qi Fei, another Christian from South Korea. She chatted with me about some of her experiences in her faith, and I really liked what she had to say. To my surprise, Sister Qi Fei was also friends with Sister Susan, so this time we added each other as friends. By reading their Facebook posts and through our occasional chats, I came to feel that they understood a lot about faith in God.
After some time of discussing the Bible and chatting about things in our lives, I really felt that their approach to helping me address some of my vexations was really unique, and that there was a lot of reason and insight in what they said. I could see firsthand that they were different from other people. I felt more stable and at peace within my heart through being in contact with them, and even though I didn’t know them very well, before I realized it, I had started to think of them as close friends because of their simplicity and honesty. I wanted to lay my heart bare to them. Gradually, I started to make some changes in how I lived my life.
About a week later on the evening of March 11, I got on Facebook and saw that Susan was online. I chatted with her about some work stuff first, then told her about my heart’s desire, to find a church to serve in, and that I wanted to hear her suggestions. Sister Susan said that everything is arranged and ruled by God, and that I should pray more to God and engage in seeking on this issue. She said that everything has a time appointed by God, and we should all learn to wait and submit. She then brought up the current situation in many of the churches: The preachers have nothing left to preach about, some churches don’t have anyone attending gatherings, and in others, even if there are some people there, they’re all just talking about making money, making business connections, and other things totally unrelated to faith. She said that these things are actually all manifestations of churches no longer having the work of the Holy Spirit, and having become desolate. I could really identify with everything she had said. When I was serving in the church before, co-workers were scrambling to make a name and make some money for themselves, scheming against each other, slandering each other, and trying to lord over their own little territories. There was even licentious behavior. Seeing these things happening one after another, I felt both depressed and indignant. At the time, I asked the pastor and some of my co-workers how I should look at all of this, but they couldn’t offer a clear explanation. To my great surprise, it was Sister Susan who resolved this confusion that had vexed me for so long. I felt an inexpressible sort of happiness within my heart.
We also explored the topic of the various disasters and wars occurring at the time, and judging by the signs of disasters all around and of imminent wars, the biblical prophecies of the Lord’s second coming had basically all been fulfilled, and the Lord would soon return. That reminded me of a believer I had met online around midday who said that the Lord had returned in 1991, but I really had my doubts about that. I simply had to ask Susan about this. When she asked me what I thought about it, I said: “There’s no way. When the Lord returns He’ll definitely descend upon a cloud and will be seen by everyone. But we haven’t seen the Lord descending on a cloud, so how could anyone say that the Lord has already returned?”
Susan responded, “Brother, you’re well-versed in the Bible. If you examine the words of the Bible closely, I’m sure you’ll find your answer. In fact, there are a lot of different prophecies regarding the Lord’s second coming. We can all see from the biblical prophecies that they primarily fall into two categories. One is as you just described, prophesying that the Lord will openly descend on a cloud and be seen by everyone. The other kind prophesies the Lord’s secret advent, which only a certain group of people will be aware of. It is just as the Lord Jesus said: ‘Behold, I come as a thief’ (Revelation 16:15). ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6). ‘As a thief’ and ‘at midnight there was a cry made’ mean it will be silent and motionless, unknown to anyone. The heavens will not sound and the earth will not shake—it won’t be something that everyone can see. There is only a small group of people able to hear the Lord’s voice, who are able to welcome Him. These are the prophecies of the Lord coming in secret. If we cling only to the prophecies of the Lord descending openly on a cloud but neglect the prophecies of the Lord coming in secret, is that right? Then wouldn’t we fail to hear the voice of the Lord, and miss our opportunity to welcome the Lord and be raised up into the heavenly kingdom?”
I was stumped by Susan’s question. I read these two passages over and over again, and thought: “Could there be contradictions within the Bible? No, no, no! How could that be? But in fact, there are two different categories of biblical prophecies about how the Lord will return! How can this be explained?” Confused, I asked her to continue with her fellowship. Susan said: “We can see from the prophecies in the Bible that the second coming of the Lord will occur in two different ways. One is the hidden advent, and one is openly appearing. In the last days, God will become flesh in the world as the Son of man, and on the outside Christ will appear to be an ordinary, common person just like the Lord Jesus in the flesh. He will possess humanity, and will eat, dress, live, and act just like an ordinary person. He will live among man, and so this is considered hidden from our perspective because no one will see that He is God, and no one will know His true identity. Once the Son of man begins to work and speak, those who are able to hear God’s voice will see the expression of God’s disposition through the words and work of the Son of man. They will see God’s authority and power, and will recognize that the Lord has come. This will fulfill the Lord Jesus’ prophecy: ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’ (John 10:27). Those who are unable to discern the voice of God are sure to treat the incarnate God as an ordinary person based on His outer appearance. They will deny and reject, and even resist, condemn, and blaspheme Christ of the last days. This is just like when the Lord Jesus came to do His work—on the outside, He appeared to be an ordinary, common Son of man, leading the majority of people to deny, resist, and condemn Him. Only a small group of people recognized through His words and work that the Lord Jesus was the incarnate Christ, that He was the manifestation of God, and thus followed the Lord Jesus and attained His redemption.” Hearing the sister’s fellowship, I felt it made a lot of sense because these were all facts—that’s really how it was when the Lord Jesus came to perform His work. But then I thought: It says in Revelation that when the Lord returns He will openly descend on a cloud, and that’s what the pastors and elders all say, too. With this in mind, I immediately asked Susan, full of conviction: “The Lord Jesus Himself said that His second coming would be upon a cloud. How could it be an incarnation? How can you deny those words of the Bible?” Sister Susan said: “You just need to investigate the Bible very carefully and you will discover that there are many places that clearly prophesy that the Lord will return incarnate.” In light of what Sister Susan said, I found some passages of Scripture and began to read: “Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you think not” (Luke 12:40). “For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in His day. But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation” (Luke 17:24–25).
After I finished reading these scripture passages, Sister Susan said: “These prophecies mention ‘the Son of man comes’ and ‘so shall also the Son of man be.’ The ‘Son of man’ is born of a human and possesses normal humanity. If He manifested in a spiritual body, then He could not be referred to as the Son of man, just as Jehovah God is the Spirit and cannot be called the Son of man. People have also seen angels, which are spiritual beings and so cannot be called the Son of man either. All who have a human form but are spiritual beings cannot be called the Son of man. The incarnate Lord Jesus is called the Son of man and Christ because He was the fleshly incarnation of God’s Spirit, and the realization of the Spirit in the flesh. He became an ordinary, common man, and lived among man. The Lord Jesus was the Son of man, the incarnation of God, so when the Lord Jesus said He would return again as the Son of man, He meant that He will come again in a physical body as the Son of man, and not in spiritual form. Therefore, when the Lord Jesus said He will come again, He meant that He will return in the form of an incarnation. Furthermore, the Scripture says: ‘But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.’ This further proves that when the Lord comes again it will be in the manner of the incarnation. Think about it: If the Lord appeared to us upon His return in a spiritual body rather than a fleshly body, He wouldn’t suffer as much, much less be rejected by this generation. Who would dare reject the Spirit of God? Who would be able to cause God’s Spirit to suffer? Therefore, as for whether the Lord will return incarnate or come in a spiritual body, doesn’t it go without saying?”
I was astonished at reading the words “Son of man.” I had thought in the past about the question of the “Son of man,” but it had never been clear to me. Sister Susan’s explanation completely resolved all my doubts, and I was overcome with emotion when I heard it. It had gotten late, so we said our goodbyes and logged off. I was so excited that night that I couldn’t sleep until it was very late. I thought about how I had believed in the Lord for so many years, but had never heard such wonderful fellowship. I was stunned, and there was a kind of blissful clarity in my heart that I could not put into words.
The next day, March 12, I felt an indistinct sort of hope and ineffable excitement. This was because Susan and I had mostly discussed the Son of man and the incarnation the previous night. Even though I could draw a connection between the Son of man and the incarnation, and I knew in theory that the Lord Jesus is none other than Christ incarnate, I still really wanted to know the answers to questions such as what the incarnation truly is, what Christ is, on what basis one could say with certainty that God has incarnated, and so on. But since Susan and I both had work during the day and were only free in the evenings, I just hoped that time would move a bit more quickly.
Finally, evening came around and we were both online. After logging on, the first question I asked Sister Susan was about the incarnation. She sent me some passages from the words of Almighty God, and asked me to read them. And so I began to read: “The ‘incarnation’ is God’s appearance in the flesh; God works among created mankind in the image of the flesh. So for God to be incarnated, He must first be flesh, flesh with normal humanity; this is the most basic prerequisite. In fact, the implication of God’s incarnation is that God lives and works in the flesh, that God in His very essence becomes flesh, becomes a man” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God). “The incarnate God is called Christ, and Christ is the flesh donned by the Spirit of God. This flesh is unlike any man that is of the flesh. This difference is because Christ is not of flesh and blood; He is the incarnation of the Spirit. He has both a normal humanity and a complete divinity. His divinity is not possessed by any man. His normal humanity sustains all His normal activities in the flesh, while His divinity carries out the work of God Himself” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Essence of Christ Is Obedience to the Will of the Heavenly Father). “He who is God incarnate shall possess the essence of God, and He who is God incarnate shall possess the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He intends to do, and since God becomes flesh, He shall express what He is, and shall be able to bring the truth to man, bestow life upon him, and point the way for him. Flesh that does not have the essence of God is decidedly not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt. If man intends to inquire into whether it is God’s incarnate flesh, then he must corroborate this from the disposition He expresses and the words He speaks. Which is to say, to corroborate whether or not it is God’s incarnate flesh, and whether or not it is the true way, one must discriminate on the basis of His essence. And so, in determining whether it is the flesh of God incarnate, the key lies in His essence (His work, His utterances, His disposition, and many other aspects), rather than external appearance” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Preface). After I had finished reading, I felt that these words explained very clearly the mystery of the incarnation, especially regarding the definition of Christ: “The incarnate God is called Christ.” This was so clear, simple, and eloquent! Even though I had believed in the Lord for more than a decade and knew that Jesus was Christ, I had never understood mysteries of the truth such as why we say that the Lord Jesus is Christ. That day, I learned from those passages of God’s words that Susan had sent me that the incarnate God is actually what we call Christ, and Christ is He in whom God becomes incarnate. I pondered these words very carefully, and the more I pondered them, the brighter my heart became.
Sister Susan then told me that these were the words of Almighty God; she also said that God’s word is the truth, and that only God Himself is able to express the truth. When she mentioned the words “Almighty God,” I was speechless for a moment, though it didn’t come as a complete surprise since I had already guessed that she might belong to The Church of Almighty God. I had also read some rumors online about this church. It was just that I thought of myself as a Christian, and that I had to have a heart of reverence for God, so I did not want to come to any conclusions lightly before understanding the truth of the matter. This was to avoid sinning with my words and offending God. Besides, I had been thinking these last few days: Sister Susan and I had spoken together quite a few times, and even though I could not see who I was talking to, the truth she fellowshiped to me was still able to resolve my confusion. Through our discussions and by reading her posts on her timeline, I felt that she and Qi Fei were both sincere, warm, and good people. The content of their fellowship was really edifying and beneficial for me. It is written in the Bible that you can know a tree from its fruit; good trees produce good fruit, while bad trees produce bad fruit. So, through my contact with Sisters Susan and Qi Fei, I slowly let go of the doubts and apprehension in my heart, and asked Susan to go on fellowshiping.
Sister Susan said: “Since He is God incarnate, He has the expressions of God—that is, He utters words. God incarnate of the last days has come mainly to express the truth to judge, cleanse, and save people. All those who hear the voice of the returned Lord, and who can seek and accept it, are the wise virgins who attend the banquet with the Lord, and this fulfills the prophecy uttered by the Lord Jesus: ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6). The wise virgins hear the voice of God and go out to meet Him. Unwittingly, they are raised up before God’s throne to meet face-to-face with the Lord; they accept God’s judgment and cleansing in the last days. Through the judgment of the words of God, their corrupt dispositions are transformed and purified, and they are made overcomers by God before the disasters. This is currently the phase in which Almighty God is working in secret to save and perfect man. Once a group of overcomers has been made, God’s hidden work in His incarnate flesh will come to an end, and the disasters will befall the world. God will begin to reward the good and punish the evil, and then will make Himself known to all countries and peoples of the world. At that time, the prophecy of the Lord descending on a cloud in Revelation 1:7 will be fulfilled: ‘Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.’ One could reasonably say that when people see the Lord descending on a cloud, making Himself manifest to all people, they should all go wild with joy. But the Scripture says that all kindreds of the earth shall wail. Why is this? It is because when God manifests Himself publicly, God’s hidden work of salvation in His incarnate flesh will already have ended and He will begin the work of rewarding the good and punishing the evil. At that time, all who rejected the hidden work of God will completely lose their chance to attain salvation, and those who pierce Him—those who resist and condemn Almighty God, Christ of the last days—will see that Almighty God, whom they have resisted and condemned, is none other than the Lord Jesus returned. Just think about it, how could they not then beat their breasts, and weep and gnash their teeth? This is the context of the words ‘all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.’”
Hearing that fellowship from Sister Susan, that feeling I had had of contentment and excitement returned. I hadn’t ever really understood these passages when I was a member of my old church, but had only understood their literal meaning, thinking that the Lord’s return would be upon a cloud and known to all. Only then did I finally understand that God first comes in secret to do a stage of the work of judging and saving man. Once a group of overcomers has been made, only then will He openly manifest Himself to all nations and peoples of the world. If we blindly cling to the idea that the Lord will descend upon a cloud when He returns, if we refuse to accept God’s hidden work in His incarnate flesh and wait until the Lord openly comes down upon a cloud, that will be the time we go straight to hell, because God’s work of saving mankind will have already ended. Thank the Lord for His guidance. I had come to understand a great deal in the brief time that Sister Susan had been fellowshiping to me.
Sister Susan then asked me if I wanted to accept Almighty God as my Savior. The first time she asked me, I did not answer, and when she asked again, an indescribable feeling of excitement burst forth within me, and I began to tear up. Earnestly, I answered: “I … want … to!” Once I had uttered these words, I felt like a prodigal son who had been wandering out in the wilderness for a long time, who had finally returned to a warm home. In my heart, I felt full of joy and ease.
After I had accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days, I reposted some of Sister Susan’s own posts. Soon after that, five or six Facebook friends sent me messages telling me to “wake up” and sent me some links to sites that were full of attacks, accusations, and defamation of The Church of Almighty God. I knew that this was the disruption of Satan, and didn’t let it get to me. The next day, a pastor found me online, and after a bit of idle chatting, he asked me, “Do you really believe in Almighty God? Why is it that you want to believe in Almighty God?” This really upset me, so I asked him in return: “The sheep of God listen to the voice of God. I have recognized from the words of Almighty God that everything expressed by Almighty God is the truth, that it is the voice of God, so why should I not believe in Almighty God? Why?” He probably hadn’t anticipated that I would ask him something like that and didn’t respond for a while. So, I asked him again, “Pastor, have you investigated the work of Almighty God in the last days? Have you read Almighty God’s words? As a pastor, how can you refuse to seek and investigate, but just make random judgments and accusations?” To my surprise, he hemmed and hawed without giving a substantive response, then suddenly logged off. Seeing him so flustered, I felt an indescribably sense of happiness, and felt a satisfaction as if I had triumphed over one of Satan’s tests. In fact, all that I had done was make use of some of the questions that Sisters Susan and Qi Fei had often brought up in our discussions; I had just said something from what I had understood from the words of Almighty God. I had never expected such a formidable pastor to be stumped by my questions. This tiny little experience gave me a lot of confidence. Thanks be to God!
More than five months had gone by in the blink of an eye. By attending gatherings and reading the words of God, I gained understanding of what the incarnation is, what kind of people may enter the kingdom of heaven, and other aspects of the truth. Throughout this time, I experienced disturbances from all sorts of rumors spread by pastors and elders. At times I was negative and weak because I could not see through the trickery of Satan, but God never departed from me. Through God’s words read to me by the sisters as well as their patient fellowship on the truth, I was able to gain some discernment over the elders’ and pastors’ satanic nature and essence of hostility to the truth, and resistance to God. I also began to have some discernment over their despicable drive to do their utmost to prevent believers from seeking and investigating the true way. I will never again be led astray or controlled by them. Being able to break through the dark influence of Satan and be raised up before God’s throne was God’s grace and blessing for me. Thanks be to Almighty God! Being able to turn to God was predestined and arranged by God long ago. I will rely on God and move forward without any misgivings! When I came into the house of God, the first hymn I learned was “Walking the Correct Path in Life”: “God’s words are the truth, the more I read them, the brighter my heart becomes. God’s words reveal the mystery of life and they make me suddenly see the light. I see that everything I have comes from God—it is all God’s grace. I follow Christ and pursue truth and life; I’m walking on the right path of human life …” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). And today, I preach the gospel and bear witness to God with my brothers and sisters in the church. I want to throw myself into my duty and repay God’s love!