The Lessons I Learned From Being On Guard Against False Christs
By Zhi Jian, China
I was a co-worker in a house church. One day in 2000, the upper-level leaders convened a co-worker meeting. They said, “In the last days, false Christs emerge to deceive people. Some are preaching Eastern Lightning, and their preaching sounds very advanced. They also say Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. Don’t listen to them, and don’t have contact with them. You must be sure to take precautions to prevent Eastern Lightning people from entering the church to steal sheep. The Bible says clearly, ‘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’ (Matthew 24:23–24). These verses are a sign of the Lord Jesus’ coming. It also warns believers that in the last days, false Christs will show great miracles to deceive God’s chosen people, so we must lay a firm foundation in the faith and not listen to the sermons of Eastern Lightning. Otherwise, if you follow false Christs, you will lose your chance to welcome the Lord.” The co-workers all discussed the matter and said they wanted to protect the flock until the Lord came. I also thought we shouldn’t act rashly in welcoming the Lord, and that we should beware of false Christs, lest we be deceived. The next day, I followed the leaders’ instructions, went to the gathering places I was in charge of, and urged the believers to guard against false Christs and not to receive strangers, especially those preaching Eastern Lightning. Even if they were upper-level co-workers, if they preached that God had come to do new work, they shouldn’t be received. Otherwise, those deceived by false Christs would have believed in the Lord in vain. At the time, everyone said they would never listen to the sermons of Eastern Lightning.
After a few months, our leaders said upper-level co-workers Brother Li and Brother Cao had accepted Eastern Lightning, and told us never to receive them, lest we be deceived. I thought, “They are upper-level co-workers who are very familiar with the Bible. They forbade us to have contact with Eastern Lightning. How could they accept it?” I didn’t understand, but then again, no matter what they did, I had to keep the Lord’s way and protect the flock. Afterward, I told the brothers and sisters at a gathering not to receive Brother Li and Brother Cao. One day, Co-worker Xiao came to my house with a brother, and I was immediately on guard. The upper-level leaders said Co-worker Xiao had accepted Eastern Lightning. I couldn’t be deceived by him and betray the Lord. So, no matter how they fellowshiped with me that day, I pulled a long face and ignored them. In the end, they had no choice but to leave. As I watched them go, I breathed a sigh of relief. I was glad I wasn’t deceived by them. Later, Brother Zhang of our church also came to preach the gospel to me, but I hid, asked my wife to deal with him, and told her not to listen to his fellowship to avoid being deceived. Later, the situation at our church got worse and worse. Our preacher spoke in cliches and couldn’t bring forth new light, and we didn’t have the work of the Holy Spirit. The brothers and sisters didn’t receive a supply of life, spiritually they were all dark, passive, and weak, and they didn’t want to attend gatherings. Most of those that did were only following rules, and the focus of conversation was family, work, and the like. I was confused. I didn’t know why a church that originally had the Holy Spirit’s guidance could become like this, but I didn’t know the root cause or the solution. I only knew I had to keep the Lord’s teaching and wait for the Lord to come.
Two years later, more and more people preached Almighty God’s gospel of the last days to me. They fellowshiped, “The Lord Jesus said, ‘Seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you’ (Matthew 7:7). We can only know if something is the true way after we seek and investigate. If we do not seek, how can we welcome the Lord?” At the time, I thought they were right, but I was afraid of being deceived by false Christs, so I decided, “I will not listen to any who preach that the Lord has come to do new work.” And just like that, I spent every day as if on guard against thieves. I hid when I saw evangelists coming, but they still came to my house to preach the gospel as always. I thought, “No matter how I refuse, they still come. How could they have so much faith and love?” I felt a little self-rebuke. They had so much love for people, yet I still treated them like this. This wasn’t in line with the Lord’s will. But then again, our leaders repeatedly stressed that we couldn’t listen to Eastern Lightning sermons. If I was deceived, the suffering I’d endured for years believing in the Lord would be in vain. I had to keep the Lord’s way and never accept another gospel. No matter who came to preach, I couldn’t listen. So, I never sought or investigated Eastern Lightning sermons.
Later, many brothers and sisters in my church accepted Almighty God, even my wife. They often told me believing in the Lord Jesus just means accepting God’s work of redemption. If we didn’t keep up with God’s work in the last days, we didn’t truly believe in God, and we didn’t follow the footsteps of the Lamb. I was shaken. These years, the church had become more and more desolate, many people were negative and weak, their faith cold, even the co-workers didn’t come to the gatherings, and the church no longer had the Holy Spirit’s work. But people from The Church of Almighty God had been preaching the gospel to me, and no matter how I refused them, they still came. If not for the work of the Holy Spirit, how could they have such great love and patience? Was Eastern Lightning really God’s work? To get to the bottom of things, I secretly read the words of Almighty God when my wife wasn’t at home. One day, I came across this passage. Almighty God says, “No one who believes in Jesus is qualified to curse or condemn others. You should all be someone with sense and who accepts the truth. Perhaps, having heard the way of truth and having read the word of life, you believe that only one in 10,000 of these words are in line with your convictions and the Bible, and then you should continue to seek in that 10,000th of these words. I still advise you to be humble, to not be over-confident, and to not exalt yourself too highly. With your heart holding such meager reverence for God, you will gain greater light. If you carefully examine and repeatedly contemplate these words, you shall understand whether or not they are the truth, and whether or not they are life” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. By the Time You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus, God Will Have Made Heaven and Earth Anew). After I read Almighty God’s word, my heart was stirred. It was true. As a believer in the Lord, I should have reason, as well as the humility to seek. I was not qualified to judge or condemn anyone. Over the years, so many people had preached the gospel to me, and testified that God was doing a new stage of work, but I didn’t accept it, and completely lacked the humbleness to seek. Regardless of whether it fitted my notions or not, I should have humbly sought. Even if only one in ten thousand of these words were in line with the Bible, I should have sought and investigated this one ten thousandth and not refused it. I also thought of how after my wife believed in Almighty God, her state improved significantly. She read Almighty God’s words daily, and actively attended gatherings and preached the gospel. I started to wonder if I might be wrong. Could it be that Almighty God was really the returned Lord Jesus? The next time someone preached the gospel to me, I decided not to refuse.
One day, Brother Lin came to preach the gospel to me again. At that time, he asked me, “How is your spiritual state now?” I said helplessly, “My spirit is in darkness, I can’t preach sermons, and my brothers and sisters can’t gain sustenance. We have no option but to wait for the Lord to take us into the kingdom of heaven.” Brother Lin said, “The Lord Jesus said, ‘Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life’ (John 4:14). God is the source of life, endless and inexhaustible. Believers in the Lord should be supplied from the fountain of living water, without thirst, but now, there is no new light in your preaching, and the brothers and sisters are spiritually thirsty, passive, and weak. It is obvious that the church no longer has the work of the Holy Spirit. So, is your waiting for the Lord’s return His will? Are you sure you won’t be forsaken by the Lord?” Brother Lin’s questions left me speechless. Waiting for the Lord this way didn’t seem right, but I was also abiding by the Lord Jesus’ teachings. So, I said, “The Bible says clearly, ‘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’ (Matthew 24:23–24). These two verses clearly tell us in the last days, false Christs appear, and any claim that the Lord has come is false. I am following the Lord’s teachings. Is there a problem with the fact that I don’t investigate when others preach the Lord’s coming?” Brother Lin said, “The Lord Jesus clearly says that He will come again in the last days, but you say any claim that the Lord has come is false. Isn’t this denying the Lord’s words, and denying and condemning His return in the last days? Let’s think about the Lord’s return in the last days. Since false Christs appear, this means Christ will surely come. If we blindly guard against false Christs, when the Lord Jesus returns incarnate, and we refuse to listen or read, aren’t we shutting out the Lord Jesus? How can we welcome the Lord like that? Faced with the appearance of false Christs in the last days, merely fearing being deceived will not work. What matters is learning to discern between the true Christ and false Christs. This will prevent you from being deceived by false Christs.” That’s completely right. Learning to discern them is the key!
My heart brightened when I heard this. His fellowship made sense. If I blindly guarded against and feared false Christs, and refused to listen, seek, or investigate, if Almighty God really was the returned Lord Jesus, wouldn’t I miss the chance to enter the kingdom of heaven? So, I quickly asked, “Then how can we discern false Christs?” Brother Lin said, “The biblical prophecy is the Lord Jesus’ warning to people. In the last days, false Christs will emerge to deceive people, but the Lord Jesus told us one of the most crucial principles of discernment, which is that false Christs deceive people by showing signs and wonders. It should then be obvious that Christ in the last days comes without miracles, because God’s work is always new, never old, and never repeats. It is always newer, higher work. Christ comes in the last days to express the truth to do the work of judgment and completely cleanse and save humankind. But false Christs and false prophets do not possess God’s essence. They are all evil spirits. Therefore, they have no truth at all, and they can’t express the truth. They can only imitate the Lord and show miracles to deceive people. We will understand if we read a passage of Almighty God’s words. ‘If, during the present day, there is to emerge a person who is able to display signs and wonders, cast out demons, heal the sick, and perform many miracles, and if this person claims that they are Jesus who has come, then this would be a counterfeit produced by evil spirits which imitate 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. … In the notions of man, God must always display signs and wonders, must always heal the sick and cast out demons, and must always be just like Jesus. Yet this time, God is not like that at all. If, during the last days, God still displayed signs and wonders, and still cast out demons and healed the sick—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 this’” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Knowing God’s Work Today). Brother Lin continued, “Almighty God’s words are very clear. Those who claim to be the returned Lord Jesus while performing miracles, healing the sick, and casting out demons are certain to be false Christs, because the Lord Jesus already did that kind of work, and God’s work does not repeat. When the Lord Jesus came to work, He did not repeat the work of the Age of Law. Instead, according to God’s plan for the work of salvation, and based on the needs of humankind, He did the work of redemption. He was personally nailed to the cross for humankind as an eternal sin offering, redeeming humankind from sin, ending the Age of Law, and beginning the Age of Grace. In the last days, God appears and works in the flesh, and there are no signs and wonders. On the basis of the Lord Jesus’ work, He does a stage of work that is higher and deeper, the work of judgment in the last days, in which He expresses the truth to judge and cleanse people’s sins, completely saves us from sin so that we can return to God and be brought into His kingdom. Almighty God’s work of judgment ends the Age of Grace and begins the Age of Kingdom. This work is different from the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption, and it does not repeat. From this, we can see that God’s work is always new and never old. This is the most obvious characteristic of God’s work, newness. In every stage of His work, God expresses new words, initiates a new era, and points out to people the path and direction of practice suitable for the era, so that step by step, people are completely saved from sin and brought into God’s kingdom. False Christs, on the contrary, can’t express the truth or do new work at all, and certainly can’t cleanse or save people. They can only imitate the work done by the Lord Jesus and show minor signs and wonders to deceive people. Once we understand this aspect of the truth and master this principle, we no longer need to fear being deceived by false Christs.”
After hearing Brother Lin’s fellowship, I suddenly realized: “The characteristic of God’s work is newness. That’s right. The work God did in the Age of Law and the Age of Grace were completely different. In one, He led people to live on earth and taught them to keep the laws and commandments, and in the other, He was crucified to redeem all of humankind. God’s work in the last days is definitely different from the work done by the Lord Jesus. It is new work done from a new starting point. This fellowship is very practical.” At this point, I opened up to him and said, “Your fellowship is very practical, and I can fully understand it. False Christs cannot do new work, they can only imitate God’s past work by showing signs and wonders to deceive people. But there is still one thing I don’t understand. How can we be sure that Almighty God is the Christ of the last days, the returned Lord Jesus?”
Brother Lin said happily, “Your question is a good one. Almighty God’s words can resolve all of our confusion, and we will understand if we read Almighty God’s word.” Almighty God says, “It is not difficult to inquire into such a thing, but it requires each of us to know this one truth: 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). “God become flesh is called Christ, and so the Christ that can give people the truth is called God. There is nothing excessive about this, for He possesses the essence of God, and possesses God’s disposition, and wisdom in His work, that are unattainable by man. Those who call themselves Christ, yet cannot do the work of God, are frauds. Christ is not merely the manifestation of God on earth, but also the particular flesh assumed by God as He carries out and completes His work among man. This flesh cannot be supplanted by just any man, but is a flesh that can adequately bear God’s work on earth, and express the disposition of God, and well represent God, and provide man with life” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life). After reading Almighty God’s words, Brother Lin fellowshiped, “To determine whether Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, we need to look at the essence rather than the outward appearance. Christ is when the God in heaven comes to earth, wears ordinary flesh, becomes human, and appears and works among people. From the outside, Christ is an ordinary and normal person, He has the life rhythms of a normal person, as well as the joys and sorrows of a normal person. Joyous things make Him happy and hurtful things make Him sad. But no matter how ordinary and normal Christ appears, His life essence is completely different from that of humans. The Christ is God’s Spirit wearing flesh, God’s Spirit dwells within the Christ, and the Christ is fully divine, so He can express the truth at any time, He can expose and analyze human corruption, He can point out the path and direction for people to cast off their sins and be saved by God, and He can completely purify and save humankind. What Christ expresses and reveals is God’s disposition and all that God has and is, and what He does is God’s own work. These are things no human could possess or achieve. In the Age of Grace, when God became incarnate for the first time, outwardly, He was an ordinary and normal person, born into an ordinary family, without social status or any high and noble image, but the essence of the Lord Jesus was God. He gave us the gospel of the heavenly kingdom and the way of repentance, He expressed the truth anytime and anywhere to supply and shepherd people, and He was finally nailed to the cross for humankind and redeemed all people, so that people’s sins could be forgiven and people were qualified to survive and continue to develop. From the words and work of the Lord Jesus, we can be absolutely certain that He was God incarnate, the Christ. To determine whether Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, we must also do so by looking at His words and work. In the last days, Almighty God has come to express millions of words on the basis of the Lord Jesus’ redemptive work and reveal mysteries in the Bible that have been hidden for thousands of years, such as the mysteries of the incarnation, the three stages of work, God’s names, and so on. Almighty God also judges and exposes the essence and truth of man’s corruption by Satan, and points out the path of repentance and change, such as how to achieve true repentance, how to live out normal humanity, who God likes and who God hates, what kind of people are saved and what kind are cast out, the end and destination of humankind, and the beauty of the kingdom. Almighty God explains all truths required by humankind to be saved so that people have a path, can be free of the bondage of sin, achieve dispositional change, and be saved by God. This completely fulfills the Lord Jesus’ words, ‘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’ (John 16:12–13). And also the prophecy in Revelation, ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Revelation Chapters 2, 3). Let’s consider this. Who among all of corrupt humankind could express these truths and mysteries? Who could do the work of judgment to thoroughly cleanse and save people? Who has the ability to determine people’s outcome and give them a beautiful destination? Apart from God, no one has this authority or power. Those with a heart and a spirit are convinced when they read what Almighty God expresses, and are certain from the heart that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. This is without a doubt.” Almighty God’s words and work completely prove that Almighty God is the appearance of Christ of the last days.
My heart brightened after hearing these things, and moved, I said to my brother, “With your fellowship, I can discern between the true Christ and false Christs, and I know how to determine who is Christ. Christ has God’s essence, can express the truth and do God’s work, and can cleanse and save people. But false Christs are not the incarnation of God and do not possess the divine essence, so they can’t express the truth or do the work of saving people. They can only deceive people by imitating God’s past work and showing signs and wonders.” After hearing me say this, Brother Lin said sincerely, “Thank God! That you can understand this way is truly God’s mercy and grace. When the incarnate God appears and works, no matter how many people deny or condemn Him, even if the entire human race rejects Him, He is still God and Christ. No matter how false Christs may testify to themselves, they are false, and cannot stand.” The real cannot be false, the false cannot be real. This is a fact no one can change.
Next, Brother Lin read a passage of Almighty God’s words to me that gave me some understanding of the mystery of God’s three stages of work and made me even more certain that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. Almighty God says, “After the work of Jehovah, Jesus became flesh to do His work amongst man. His work was not carried out in isolation, but was built upon the work of Jehovah. It was work for a new age that God did after He had concluded the Age of Law. Similarly, after the work of Jesus ended, God went on with His work for the next age, because the entire management of God is always progressing forward. When the old age passes, it will be replaced by a new age, and once the old work has been completed, there will be new work to continue God’s management. This incarnation is God’s second incarnation, which follows upon Jesus’ work. Of course, this incarnation does not occur independently; it is the third stage of work after the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. Every time God initiates a new stage of work, there must always be a new beginning and it must always bring a new age. So too are there corresponding changes in the disposition of God, in the manner of His working, in the location of His work, and in His name. No wonder, then, that it is difficult for man to accept the work of God in the new age. But regardless of how He is opposed by man, God is always doing His work, and is always leading the whole of mankind forward. When Jesus came into the world of man, He ushered in the Age of Grace and ended the Age of Law. During the last days, God once more became flesh, and with this incarnation He ended the Age of Grace and ushered in the Age of Kingdom. All those who are able to accept the second incarnation of God will be led into the Age of Kingdom, and will moreover become able to personally accept the guidance of God. Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering; He did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to become the sin offering and bear the sins of man, but it also required God to do even greater work to rid man completely of his satanically corrupted disposition. And so, now that man has been forgiven of his sins, God has returned to the flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment. This work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and they shall gain the truth, the way, and the life” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Preface). Brother Lin fellowshiped, “From Almighty God’s words, we know God’s work of saving humankind has three stages. These stages are not independent. Each is done on the basis of the previous work, and step by step, they are deeper and higher, so that in the end, people are completely saved from sin and brought into the kingdom of God. In the Age of Law, God promulgated laws to lead humankind in living on earth, teach people what sin is and how to worship Jehovah God. In the Age of Grace, God came incarnate to give people the way of repentance, did the work of crucifixion, redeemed all humankind, forgave our sins, and let us be saved by grace so we were no longer condemned by the law. But the Lord Jesus’ work is only the work of redemption, the forgiveness of man’s sins. Our sinful nature is still unresolved, and we still live in sin, under the power of Satan. In the Age of Kingdom, Almighty God appears and works, expresses the truth and does the work of judgment to thoroughly purify and save people, so that we can escape Satan’s influence and enter God’s kingdom. From this, we can see that every stage of God’s work is based on the needs of humankind. They never repeat or contradict each other, and they are all to completely save us from sin so that we can be completely gained by God. These three stages of work are God’s entire management plan to save humankind. The work of judgment in the last days is the last stage of God’s management plan. If people do not accept the judgment and cleansing of Christ of the last days, they will never be qualified to enter the kingdom of God.”
After listening to his fellowship, my heart was even brighter. Now I knew that God does three stages of work to save humankind. Each stage of work is deeper than the last, and they ultimately save people from sin. Such fellowship was in line with both the Bible and the facts. I had believed in the Lord for so many years, yet I had never heard such a sermon. No pastor or preacher had explained God’s work of saving humankind so thoroughly. I hated my own arrogance, my blind trust in the fallacies of my leaders and co-workers. I had been rejecting God’s gospel of the last days for several years. I was so ignorant! Like this, I would lose my chance to welcome the Lord and enter the kingdom of heaven. So, I decided to continue to investigate the work of Almighty God in the last days. Before leaving, Brother Lin gave me a book of God’s word.
After that, I hungrily read the words of Almighty God, I came to understand many truths and mysteries, and the more I read, the more I believed Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, the appearance of Christ of the last days. Since then, I have officially accepted the work of Almighty God. I was both happy and ashamed to welcome the Lord. Over the past few years, the brothers and sisters had preached the gospel to me again and again, but I was stubborn. Not only did I not seek and investigate, I treated them as enemies. I even sealed the church and stopped others from hearing the Lord’s voice and welcoming Him. I was doing evil! When the Lord Jesus appeared and worked, the Pharisees spread all kinds of fallacies resisting and condemning the Lord Jesus to stop believers from following the Lord. What I did was no different from the Pharisees. I truly deserved to be cursed and punished by God. But God didn’t remember my transgressions, and time and again He sent brothers and sisters to preach the gospel to me until I finally heard God’s voice. God’s love and mercy for me were too great! I had to have a conscience and reason, and preach God’s gospel to those yearning for the Lord’s coming but deceived by rumors, so that I could bring them into God’s house and comfort God’s heart.
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