By Huigai, China
Almighty God says, “All souls corrupted by Satan are held thrall in Satan’s domain. Only those who believe in Christ have been made separate, saved from Satan’s camp, and brought into today’s kingdom. These people no longer live under Satan’s influence. Even so, man’s nature is still rooted in man’s flesh, which is to say that even though your souls have been saved, your nature is still as it was before, and the chance that you will betray Me remains one hundred percent. This is why My work lasts so long, as your nature is intractable. Now, you are all undergoing hardships to the best of your ability as you fulfill your duties, yet each of you is capable of betraying Me and returning to Satan’s domain, to its camp, and going back to your old lives—this is an undeniable fact. At that time, it will not be possible for you to present a shred of humanity or human likeness, as you do now. In serious cases, you will be destroyed and, more than that, doomed eternally, punished severely, never to be reincarnated again. This is the problem laid before you” (“A Very Serious Problem: Betrayal (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). I used to think that I’d believed in God for more than a decade, I could give up everything to follow God, suffer for my duty, and I didn’t cower in the face of CCP oppression, so I figured I was devoted to God and could never betray Him. Something I could never have imagined was that when I was arrested and brutally tortured by the CCP police, I would lose my dignity and give in to Satan. My nature of betraying God was fully exposed. Thinking of that awful defeat is terribly agonizing, and it will be a lifelong regret.
It was back in 2008 when the CCP started another round of large-scale oppression and arrests of Christians nationwide. I remember one day in August I was informed that lots of church leaders and brothers and sisters in many locations had been arrested. I rushed to contact some brothers and sisters to try to deal with the aftermath and move the church’s assets. It took more than two weeks to get all of the church’s affairs in order. I was feeling really pleased with myself at the time, thinking that, while the CCP was frantically arresting people, I could face it bravely and uphold the church’s work, that I was most devoted to God, most considerate of His will. When I heard that some of those arrested had been Judases, betraying God and selling out brothers and sisters, I was full of disdain for them and I silently resolved: “If the day comes that I’m arrested too, I’ll die before ever becoming a Judas!” I thought I possessed really great faith. To my surprise, right after New Year’s in 2009, the CCP started another nationwide arrest operation called “Thunder III” targeting The Church of Almighty God. One day as I was in a gathering with a few brothers and sisters, more than 30 police officers suddenly burst in. They took us to the municipal police station and separated us for interrogation. They demanded to know two things: The names and addresses of the leaders and co-workers, and how much money the church had and whose house it was hidden at. They said menacingly, “If you don’t talk, it’ll be the end of you!” At the time I wasn’t all that scared. I felt that I’d suffered my fair share ever since I was little, so even if they did torture me, I’d be able to take it. And in any case, I did my duty and was loyal to God, so He’d certainly protect me. When they saw I wouldn’t talk, the police brought out surveillance footage and photos of me going in and out of my hosts’ houses and listed all the places I’d been over the past few months, then told me to confess. Seeing such conclusive evidence concerned me. I thought that even if I denied this, they still wouldn’t believe me, so I prayed to God and asked Him to keep me from becoming a Judas. When they saw I still wasn’t talking, an officer said, infuriated, “Looks like you’re forcing us to get rough with you!” while he pushed over the iron chair I was tied to, leaving me on my back. Then they got a syringe with a mixture of mustard oil and horseradish water and started injecting it into my nose and rubbing it on my eyes. It stung so much. I felt like I almost couldn’t breathe. My eyes were stinging so much I couldn’t open them and my stomach was on fire. Then they stripped me to the waist, tied my arms behind my back and forcibly wrenched them up. When they got tired, they used a drawer to prop them up. I just endured the pain and didn’t say a word. Seeing their tactic wasn’t working, they tried another vicious approach. They handcuffed me to the iron chair again, found a couple of electric wires, tied one end to my two big toes while the other was connected to a taser, then they started splashing me with cold water while shocking me over and over. I went into full-body spasms from being electrocuted and I could feel my heart convulsing. I really felt like I was about to die. They kept on tormenting me until 2 a.m.
The next day, the police took me to a secret interrogation location. The second I walked in, I could see bloodstains everywhere. It was horrific. I felt pretty afraid, wondering if they were going to beat me to death in there. Just then, an officer, without saying a word, pulled on my arms and made me hug the iron chair, then shoved both me and the chair down to the floor. There were already deep openings on my wrists where I was handcuffed that were oozing blood and my hands were swollen up like balloons. That moment I was pushed down onto the floor was incredibly painful, and all I could do was pray to God over and over. The cops then reeled off a bunch of lies slandering the church. Hearing these lies nauseated and enraged me. Seeing I still wouldn’t talk, one of them picked up a taser in exasperation and kept tasing me all over my body, face, and even my mouth. There was a flashing blue light and I didn’t dare open my eyes, but could just hear the crackling of the taser and smell the odor of my burning flesh. One of the officers then seemed to lose his mind. He picked up a plastic bag and put it over my head, only taking it off when I was on the verge of suffocating. Another one started viciously kicking my lower body while yet another picked up a wooden cudgel about 4 cm thick and started hitting me, all the while yelling angrily, “We’ve got over 100 torture implements here that we’ll use on you one by one. Anyone who dies here just gets tossed into a pit, no problem! If you don’t talk at all you’ll get eight to ten years, and even if you’re beaten till you’re crippled, you’ll still do time. When you do get out, the rest of your life won’t be worth living!” I was pretty worried when I heard this, thinking, “If I’m beaten so badly I’m disabled, how will I go on with life? That cops said they’ve got all the data from my computer, so if I don’t talk, when they go to arrest other people they’ll say I sold them out. Everyone in the church will hate me and I won’t be able to show my face.” When the police took a break I could feel that my whole face was severely swollen, my eyes were nearly swollen shut and I could hardly see anything. My wrists were bleeding and I had burns all over my body. I could feel my heart contracting and I was struggling to breathe. I felt like I was about to die. Then I heard an officer say that the computer expert had come and they’d gotten access to everything on my computer. I was suddenly filled with fear. I thought, “That’s it. There’s information on the leaders and co-workers in there, plus a list of church members and the church’s bookkeeping.” I felt a sense of panic and didn’t know what I should do next. That evening, the officers set up a tripod in the room, tied my arms tightly behind my back and suspended me from the tripod. I was hanging two feet off the ground and they kept swinging me back and forth. Every time they did that my arms hurt terribly and huge beads of sweat were rolling down my face. I then thought of what that cop had said, that beating me to death would be no problem, and I’d be sentenced even if I was disabled. I started to feel like I couldn’t take it and thought, “What if I die in here? I’m only 30. If I’m beaten to death, what a waste that would be! If I’m disabled and I can’t work, how will I get by? Since they’ve got all the data on my computer anyway, it doesn’t matter if I confess or not. If I tell them a little bit, maybe they’ll spare my life.” But then I thought, “No, I can’t do that. Wouldn’t that make me a Judas?” This internal battle went on and on. Even though I’d prayed to God and said I’d rather die than be a Judas, as time went on the pain got even worse, and by 2 or 3 a.m. that night I really couldn’t take the police torture anymore and I completely broke down. I agreed to give them information on the church. Then they finally let me down. When they did, I just lay there on the floor, unable to move and I had no feeling in my arms. The officers had me confirm the floors and apartment numbers of the two hosts’ homes, and I conceded. That moment I betrayed my brothers and sisters, my mind was a total blank. I was panic-stricken, and felt something terrible was about to happen. These words of God came to mind, “Anyone who breaks My heart shall not receive clemency from Me a second time.” I knew very clearly that I had betrayed God and offended His disposition, and He wouldn’t forgive me again. I felt really pained and I absolutely hated myself. I thought, “Why did I sell them out? If I’d bitten the bullet and suffered a bit longer, maybe I’d have made it through.” I was filled with guilt and regret. After that, no matter what the police tried, I refused to say another word. Afterward, whenever I thought about betraying God and my brothers and sisters, being a Judas, doing such an unforgivable thing, I felt really tormented. I felt like my path of faith was at an end, as if I’d been sentenced to death, and I could just die in jail at any moment.
Then something unexpected happened. A little after 5 a.m. on the fourth day after my arrest when the officers watching me were in a deep sleep, I very quietly untied the rope I was bound with and jumped out of the window. After much difficulty, I made my way to a brother’s home and lost no time in writing a letter to tell the church leader about how I’d sold out those two hosts and told them they needed to take precautions immediately. The leader then arranged for me to be hosted in a safe place. I felt terrible when I saw another church member willing to take the risk to host me. I had betrayed God and sold out brothers and sisters. I’d been a Judas. I was totally unworthy of being hosted by anyone and I couldn’t show my face to other brothers and sisters. I read these words of God: “Toward those who showed Me not the slightest loyalty during times of tribulation, I shall be merciful no more, for My mercy only extends so far. I have no liking, furthermore, for anyone who has once betrayed Me, much less do I like to associate with those who sell out the interests of their friends. This is My disposition, regardless of who the person may be. I must tell you this: Anyone who breaks My heart shall not receive clemency from Me a second time, and anyone who has been faithful to Me shall forever remain in My heart” (“Prepare Sufficient Good Deeds for Your Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). This rocked me to my very core. Every single word was a painful blow. That person without loyalty to God during tribulations was me. That person who betrayed God and sold out his friends’ interests was me. That person who broke God’s heart was me. I had been a coward, I had betrayed God and sold out brothers and sisters, and had seriously offended God’s disposition. I’d never receive God’s clemency again, but was bound to be punished by God. The more I thought about it the more upset I got, and I just couldn’t hold my tears back anymore.
A few days later, I heard that an older sister at one of the homes I’d sold out had been arrested and her home searched. She’d taken a risk to host me and take care of me, but I sold her out. I was well aware of how brutal the CCP is to Christians, and I myself had gone through that torture, but to save my own life, I’d delivered her into the demons’ hands. What an evil thing to do! I slapped my face really hard a few times and prostrated myself before God in prayer: “Oh God, I’ve betrayed You and sold out brothers and sisters. I’m not even human, and I don’t deserve to live. I should be cursed and punished. Even my death would be Your righteousness.” I could find no peace at all and felt constantly tormented. I was frequently awoken by nightmares at night and I kept thinking, “How could I have betrayed God and become a Judas? In my years of faith I’ve given up my family and career for God, and I never threw in the towel no matter how dangerous my duty was. How could I betray God and become a Judas overnight? Why did I do that?” Right after my arrest I wanted to stand witness, but when I was brutally tortured and my life was in danger, I shrank away in fear, and when I heard the cops say they could kill believers in Almighty God with impunity, and I’d be sentenced even if I was disabled, I worried about how I’d live out my life as a disabled person. I was only 30 years old, and it would’ve been such a waste if I was killed! When they said they’d already cracked the password on my computer and they had all the church information on it, I gave up inside and felt that it made no difference if I confessed or not, and I could save my life by giving them a little information. I lost my dignity and became a Judas. I saw that the main reason I’d betrayed God was that I just wanted to save my own skin, that I treasured my own life too much. I used to think that I could handle suffering and that I was devoted to God, and I of all people would never betray God. But the moment I was arrested and tortured, I showed my true colors. I then saw that I totally lacked the reality of the truth and didn’t have true faith in God. Faced with trials and hardship, with my life in danger, I’d resist and betray God at any moment. I read this: “Who of the whole of mankind is not cared for in the eyes of the Almighty? Who does not live in the midst of the Almighty’s predestination? Whose life and death come from their own choices? Does man control his own fate? Many people cry out for death, yet it is far away from them; many people want to be those who are strong in life and fear death, yet unbeknownst to them, the day of their demise draws near, plunging them into the abyss of death” (“Chapter 11” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “When people are ready to sacrifice their lives, everything becomes trifling, and no one can get the better of them. What could be more important than life? Thus, Satan becomes incapable of doing any more in people, there is nothing it can do with man. Although, in the definition of the ‘flesh’ it is said that the flesh is corrupted by Satan, if people truly give themselves over, and are not driven by Satan, then no one can get the better of them….” (“Chapter 36” of Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words made me realize that all things are in His hands, including our life and death. When I die, whether I’m beaten and disabled, no matter what my life is like, it’s all pre-ordained by God. Everything comes from God, and whether I live or die, I should submit to God’s arrangements. Even if I were persecuted to death by Satan, if I could stand witness for God, it would be a worthwhile, meaningful death. I remembered that the Lord Jesus said, “For whoever will save his life shall lose it: but whoever will lose his life for My sake, the same shall save it” (Luk 9:24). I thought of the Lord Jesus’ apostles and disciples, and that many of them were martyred to spread God’s gospel and do His will. Their deaths were commemorated by God. Although they physically died, their souls didn’t die. But me betraying God, selling out others, and being a Judas is an eternal shame. I was like the living dead, like a walking corpse without a soul. I thought about how, when I believed the police already had the church’s information, I thought my confession wouldn’t make any difference. But I was totally wrong. While I was being tortured by the great red dragon, what God looked at was my attitude and whether I bore witness before Satan. Whether or not they really had that information, I still shouldn’t have talked. My talking to the police was me bowing to Satan, and it was a mark of shame. I hated that I hadn’t pursued the truth and didn’t have true faith in God. I hated my greed for life, lack of dignity, and lack of integrity. Even more, I hated that demon, the great red dragon. It hates God and the truth to the extreme, madly arresting and persecuting His chosen ones. It pushes people to deny and betray God, and ruins their chances at salvation. I resolved to fully break my ties to the great red dragon and pledge my life to following God.
Once, I read some testimony articles on the overcomers’ experience and saw that when they were tortured by the great red dragon, they had all relied on God’s words to overcome Satan and stand witness. I felt even more ashamed. They were persecuted believers just like me, so how had they been able to endure the pain and stand witness? Why was I so selfish, despicable, and greedy for life that I became a traitorous Judas? Thinking about how my selling out had become something for Satan to laugh about was like a knife to the heart. It was incredibly painful, and I couldn’t forgive myself. I was feeling really negative. It was just then that I read these words from God: “The majority of people have committed transgressions, for example, some ever resisted God, some rebelled against God, some spoke words of complaint, or others committed acts against the church or did things that damaged the family of God. How should these people be treated? Their outcomes will be determined with reference to their nature and the full breadth of their behavior. … God deals with each person according to the background at the time, the actual situation, people’s actions, performance and expressions, and the environment and context people are in. God will never wrong anyone. This is the righteousness of God” (“The Basis of God’s Treatment of Man” in Records of Christ’s Talks). After that I read this from a sermon: “There are some people who, due to weakness, sell out a little after being arrested. They do not render service for Satan, though, and in their hearts, they still believe in God and are still praying to God. The reason they sell out a little is that they are too immature of stature and their flesh is too weak. However, they do not sell out completely, nor do they render service for Satan; this is the equivalent of their having stood testimony. Those who, once arrested, do completely sell out the church and their brothers and sisters, and who cooperate with the great red dragon to monitor and arrest their brothers and sisters, and who even sign statements in which they pledge to never again believe in God—these people will be utterly eliminated and are bound to be cursed by God. … In the past there have been some brothers and sisters who sold out a little, due to weakness, while incarcerated in prison. Later on, suffering a twinge of conscience, they felt remorseful, and they fell to weeping and self-loathing. They made vows before God to have Him punish them, and implored Him to allow them to face adverse circumstances once more so that they might have the chance to bear beautiful testimony to satisfy God. In just such a manner did they frequently pray to God, until ultimately, they grew able to pursue the truth and perform their duties as usual, and they even came to possess the work of the Holy Spirit. Such people have genuinely repented, and are honest. God will have mercy on them” (Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life). These words really moved me and I just couldn’t stop crying. God’s determination of someone is based on the background and degree of their transgressions, and whether they truly repent. He doesn’t determine their outcome based on a single transgression. I saw how righteous God’s disposition is, and that His righteousness contains both judgment and mercy for people. I’d committed a transgression as grave as betraying God and selling out brothers and sisters, but God didn’t eliminate me. He gave me a chance to repent. He enlightened and guided me and allowed me to understand His will. I truly appreciated that God brings the greatest salvation to each and every one of us, and how incredibly benevolent God is. My remorse and guilt grew and I felt so indebted to God. I resolved within my heart: “If I’m arrested by the CCP again, I’m ready to sacrifice my life. Even if the police torture me to death, I will stand witness and put Satan to shame!”
A few months later the church arranged for me to take on another duty. I felt incredibly moved. My betrayal of God was heartbreaking for Him, but with His enormous tolerance and mercy, He gave me a chance to repent. I knew I had to treasure that chance and put my all into my duty to repay His love.
December 2012 came in the blink of an eye, and the CCP started another large-scale operation to arrest and suppress The Church of Almighty God. They were using phone surveillance and tailing people to arrest lots of brothers and sisters. On December 18, two sisters who did their duties with me were arrested after having their phones tapped, and then two leaders were arrested soon after. When I heard about it I started to feel really nervous. I was aware that it was highly likely I was already under CCP surveillance and I could be arrested at any moment. There was no way to know if I’d survive if I was arrested again. That thought left me feeling really afraid, but I also knew that everything happens with God’s permission. I said a prayer to God, saying I didn’t want to consider my personal physical danger anymore, but that I just wanted to deal with the crisis and do my duty as best I could. Even if I were arrested, I would stand witness to shame Satan, even at the cost of my own life. I felt calmer and more at ease after that prayer, and then I started arranging the church’s work. Thanks be to God, a little over a month later, the church’s work had returned to normal. Through this experience I saw that when people don’t live for their own interests, but can do their duty, they really feel peaceful and at ease within themselves, and their consciences can be at peace.
Every time I think of being a shameful Judas, betraying God, I feel absolutely terrible. However, it was failing and being exposed that way that gave me some understanding of God’s righteous disposition and some fear of God. I saw how wise God is. I saw that God used the great red dragon’s arrests and persecution to expose my faults, and only then did I know and hate myself, and really start pursuing the truth. I also saw how practical God’s work to save mankind really is! Thank God!