Beware of the Leaven of the Pharisees: I Have Welcomed the Lord Jesus’ Return
By Hanmei, Myanmar
The Wonderful Surprise of the Lord’s Return
In June 2017, I got to know Sister Liu and Brother Duan, both in Germany on Facebook, and through my communication with them I saw that they were genuine and modest people. They had a very pure understanding of the scripture and the content they shared in fellowship really contained light and was very beneficial for me. After joining them for a few gatherings, I understood a number of truths I never had before. My heart was really brightened; I loved meeting with them. During one gathering, Brother Duan referenced this passage of scripture: “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” (Matthew 24:27). In his fellowship, he said that God would once again appear and work in the flesh in the last days, and that He had already come to the East, to China. He said that this prophecy had already been fulfilled. Hearing this, I felt a bit shocked, thinking, “Thehas already returned?” In this state, I thought of what I had heard the pastors and elders say, that only the people of bore witness that the Lord Jesus has already returned in the flesh. They told us we couldn’t believe in this, because only the Lord Jesus is Christ. I then felt really unsettled and no longer took heed of Brother Duan’s fellowship, thinking, “The pastors and elders are all people who serve God. They understand a lot about the Bible and they should have clarity on something as important as the Lord’s coming. I’ll ask them and then see!”
Listening to the Pastor and Sinking Into Darkness
I went to church that Sunday and asked the pastor about Eastern Lightning testifying that the Lord Jesus has returned. He said, “Though the sermons of the people with Eastern Lightning are really lofty and are in line with the Bible, they bear witness that the Lord Jesus has already returned, that He isin the flesh. That’s simply not possible. They just believe in a person, while we believe in the Lord Jesus, the only incarnation of God and God’s son. Plus the CCP government is doing all they can to condemn and strike out at , saying that they just believe in a human being and that Eastern Lightning is organized by a person….” Hearing this I suddenly felt afraid, thinking, “If that’s true, then wouldn’t believing in Eastern Lightning be a betrayal of the Lord Jesus?”
I went back home, feeling ill at ease. I couldn’t get comfortable and couldn’t seem to do anything right. I even forgot to pick up my kid after school. I was really feeling in pain and in darkness, so I came before God in prayer: “Oh Lord! After hearing what the pastor had to say today I’ve felt very suspicious and guarded toward Brother Duan, and I don’t dare continue to seek and investigate Eastern Lightning. But the more doubts I have, the more darkness I feel, and I can’t feel Your presence anymore. Lord, I’m longing for Your return, but I’m also afraid of taking the wrong path and betraying You. I really don’t know what to do. Lord, may You enlighten and guide me so that I may discern right and wrong and know what choice to make.”
I gradually had more of a sense of peace after praying. Something Brother Duan had shared with me in fellowship suddenly came to mind: “In our faith, we must revere God as great and in all things seek His will. When encountering an issue, if we don’t seek the truth but just ask other people and listen to what they have to say, that’s not believing in God but is believing in and following man.” With this in mind, I reflected on how, when I heard the news of the Lord’s return, I didn’t first seek and pray to God, but went straight over to ask the pastor. Isn’t that not having a place for God in my heart? I then thought of how, every time I joined a gathering with the brothers and sisters with The Church of Almighty God, their fellowship was well-founded, in line with Bible. It contained light and they fellowshiped very clearly on God’s will. After a few gatherings I understood many truths I never had before and my relationship with God had grown closer and closer. That was very clearly the work of! But I didn’t engage in seeking or submit to the Holy Spirit’s guidance. If I determine whether the Lord has truly returned based on what the pastor said because I thought that he knew more about the Bible, isn’t that just having faith in the pastor? Without a place for God in my heart, how could my spirit not be in darkness? I thought of how, when the Lord Jesus appeared and worked, the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees serving God in the temple refused to acknowledge that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah they were waiting for, even though they were very familiar with the scripture and well-versed in the law. They even madly condemned and opposed the Lord Jesus, ultimately nailing Him to the cross. At that point I finally realized that knowing the scripture well does not mean having knowledge of God, and if I just blindly listened to the pastor, that would not be in line with God’s will. I had to actively seek and investigate this to see whether Almighty God really is the return of the Lord Jesus. I resolved to continue going to gatherings with Brother Duan, and if I was able to determine that Almighty God really is the return of the Lord Jesus, I would accept and follow Him.
Resolving My Doubts by Seeking the Truth
The next time I got online for a gathering I shared my dilemma with my brother and sister to seek with them. I said, “Sister Liu, Brother Duan, our pastors and elders have said that you just believe in a person, and that only the Lord Jesus is God incarnate and the Son of God. And since the CCP government is also crazily condemning and striking out at The Church of Almighty God, saying that those in the church just believe in a human being and Eastern Lightning is organized by a person, I’m really concerned about believing in the wrong thing and betraying the Lord Jesus. I’d really like to hear your fellowship on this.”
Brother Duan then shared his fellowship on this: “Whether Almighty God really is God incarnate, whether He is the return of the Lord Jesus is not determined by the acknowledgment of any one person or government. It is determined by the very essence of God. Sister, we can be taken in by the lies of pastors and elders of the religious world and the CCP government because we don’t understand the truth about God’s incarnation and we don’t understand God’s essence. As for what the incarnation is, Almightyexplain this very clearly. Let’s read some of it. Almighty God says, ‘The meaning of incarnation is that God appears in the flesh, and He comes to work among man of His creation in the image of a 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, God in His very essence becomes flesh, becomes a man’ (‘The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God’ in ). ‘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 substance 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. The real 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 is not one that can be replaced by just any man, but one that can adequately bear God’s work on earth, and express the disposition of God, and well represent God, and provide man with life’ (‘Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the substance of God, and He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He must 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 man, and show man the way. Flesh that does not contain the substance of God is surely not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt. To investigate whether it is God’s incarnate flesh, man must determine this from the disposition He expresses and the words He speaks. Which is to say, whether or not it is God’s incarnate flesh, and whether or not it is the true way, must be judged from His substance. And so, in determining[a] whether it is the flesh of God incarnate, the key is to pay attention to His substance (His work, His words, His disposition, and many more), rather than external appearance. If man sees only His external appearance, and overlooks His substance, then that shows the ignorance and naivety of man’ (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“God’s words explain the incarnation very clearly. God incarnate is God’s Spirit clothed in the flesh as a common man; He comes to the earth to speak and work, showing Himself to mankind. This is to save humanity. From the outside, God in the flesh looks average, totally normal. He seems to possess normal humanity just like any person. He eats and puts on clothing normally, and He has normal human feelings. But God incarnate is essentially different from us. As humans, we only possess normal humanity but lack the essence of divinity. We cannot express the truth and we cannot do the work that God Himself does. However, God incarnate not only possesses normal humanity, but complete divinity. He can do the work of God Himself. He can express God’s disposition, and what He has and is—He can provide us with the truth in accordance with our needs. This is something that not a single one of us, created beings, can achieve. On the surface, the Lord Jesus Christ looked exactly like an average person, but He opened up the Age of Grace and brought an end to the Age of Law, and brought us the way of ‘Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand’ (Matthew 4:17). He expressed a disposition of love and mercy, and during the time of His work and preaching He was able to express the truth at any time and any place to provide sustenance for people and give them a path of practice, such as the sermon on the mountain and forgiving others seventy times seven times. The Lord Jesus also cured the sick and cast out demons. He performed a number of miraculous deeds such as feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fishes, calming the wind and sea with a word, bringing the dead back to life, and so on. Ultimately, the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross and redeemed mankind of our sins, completing the work of redeeming all of mankind. We can see from His work and words, as well as the disposition that He expressed, that the Lord Jesus was God in the flesh—He was Christ. In the last days God has once again become flesh as Almighty God, appearing and working with His disposition of righteousness, majesty, and wrath. Although Almighty God may appear very common, very normal on the outside, and He possesses normal humanity, He has opened up the Age of Kingdom and concluded the Age of Grace. He has expressed all the truths necessary for us to be cleansed and attain final salvation, performing the stage of work of judging and cleansing mankind and saving us from the bondage of sin. Almighty God’s words have revealed all of the mysteries of the Bible, such as: the mysteries behind God’s name, the mysteries of His incarnations, the meaning of God doing the work of judgment in the last days, plus how God will end this age and how Christ’s kingdom will be realized on earth. Almighty God has revealed the truth of our corruption by Satan as well as our satanic nature that opposes God so that we come to understand our own arrogant, crooked, tricky, selfish, and despicable satanic dispositions while also pointing out a specific path for us to change these dispositions. We can see from Almighty God’s words and work as well as the disposition that He expresses that He really is God in the flesh, and His work and words are all built upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption. The Lord Jesus said, ‘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 if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (John 12:47–48). Almighty God’s appearance and work have completely fulfilled these prophecies, and this proves that Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus, and He is the appearance of Christ in the last days. So in order to welcome the Lord’s return, we can’t just look at Christ’s outward appearance but we should recognize His essence. God’s sheep hear His voice—many with true faith who long for the truth, by seriously investigating Almighty God’s work and words, have heard this voice and seen that it is the expression of the truth, that it comes from God. They have determined from their hearts that Almighty God is God incarnate, that He is the returned Lord Jesus, and they are now following God’s footsteps.”
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