By Learning to Discern the True Christ From False Christs, I Welcome the Lord’s Return
By Ganxin, China
Almighty God says, “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. 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. Sooner or later, those who impersonate Christ will all fall, for although they claim to be Christ, they possess none of the substance of Christ. And so I say that the authenticity of Christ cannot be defined by man, but is answered and decided by God Himself. In this way, if you truly wish to seek the way of life, you must first acknowledge it is by coming to earth that He bestows the way of life unto man, and you must acknowledge it is during the last days that He comes to earth to bestow the way of life unto man. This is not the past; it is happening today” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God says it so well. He tells us the principle to discern the true Christ from false Christs in just a few words: Can they express the truth and do the work to save man or not? This is the key principle. In my previous faith, pastors and elders always kept us on guard against false Christs, but never explained the principle on how to discern. They condemned all testimonies of the Lord’s coming as fake, and told us not to have anything to do with it. So when I heard the Lord had returned, I didn’t dare look into it. I almost rejected Christ of the last days and missed my chance to welcome the Lord.
After believing in Jesus in 1996, I’d always pray to Him whenever anything came up, and I got through many troubles this way. Having the Lord with me was wonderful, and I felt peace and joy. A few years later, I realized the clergy had nothing new to say and there wasn’t any light in their sermons. Attendance in services plummeted and some even slept through sermons. I got nothing out of it and I didn’t feel any spiritual enjoyment. I didn’t want to go anymore but I felt guilty, so I forced myself to keep going.
At one gathering, Elder Xu said, “The Lord Jesus warned us: ‘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). The prophecies of the Lord’s return are largely fulfilled and He will soon come for us, but false Christs will also appear to deceive us. We must be watchful and not accept any news that the Lord has returned. Eastern Lightning is testifying that the Lord has returned and is doing new work, and many true believers from lots of churches have accepted it. Even long-time preachers have been stolen away by Eastern Lightning. You’re immature in life, so stay away from strangers to avoid being deceived by Eastern Lightning.”
When I heard that Eastern Lightning was saying the Lord had returned, and that many long-time preachers had accepted Eastern Lightning, I was startled and thought, “These preachers understand the Bible and they all know their own minds. For them to accept Eastern Lightning is no simple thing. Could there be truth to seek in Eastern Lightning? I’ve longed for the Lord’s coming for years. If He really has returned and I don’t seek or investigate, what will I do if He abandons me?” But I was worried about what Elder Xu had said that false Christs will appear in the last days—I couldn’t be deceived! I was a bit conflicted and didn’t know what to do, so I said a prayer in my heart: “Should I listen to Eastern Lightning if someone from that church preaches to me? Lord Jesus, please enlighten and guide me.” I then thought of this from the Bible: “[F]or He has said, I will never leave you, nor forsake you. So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do to me” (Hebrews 13:5–6). I immediately felt peace in my heart. With the Lord behind me, there was nothing to fear. As long as I prayed to the Lord often, He’d guide me to discern false Christs. It couldn’t hurt to listen.
One day at a gathering, Elder Xu went on about how to guard against Eastern Lightning again, stressing over and over about false Christs deceiving people, telling us to stay away from strangers. Sister Qian then said, “Elder Xu, why are you telling us to stay away from strangers? You always say the Lord will soon come for us, that He’s practically got His foot in the door. Eastern Lightning is testifying that He’s returned and is expressing the truth. Is it the Lord’s will that we don’t go hear them out and seek this? The Bible says, ‘So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ’ (Romans 10:17). To determine whether Eastern Lightning is the Lord’s return, we first have to listen to their sermons. If we don’t listen and we stay away from them, how will we know whether Eastern Lightning is true or not? If it really is the Lord’s return, then aren’t you stopping us from turning to the Lord?” Sister Zong then said, “The Lord Jesus said, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you’ (Matthew 7:7). The Lord wants us to pray and seek more with things we don’t understand. As long as we seek with an open heart, He will hear our prayers and guide us. We’ve heard the gospel of the Lord’s return but we’re not looking into it, and we’re not seeking the Lord’s will through prayer. This is against His teachings, so how could we welcome Him?”
Elder Xu was stumped by these two sisters and had no excuses. I thought what the sisters said was right, that we should look into Eastern Lightning ourselves. I was also surprised. Sister Zong was always so timid and hardly ever spoke, yet she’d found the courage to argue with the elder. She also had ironclad evidence from the Bible so that no one could refute her. It was so incredible! How had these sisters’ ideas and insights gotten so good? Had they accepted Eastern Lightning? The Lord’s coming was such a big deal, I had to be clear on it, so I decided to ask them.
The next day, I asked Sister Zong if she’d accepted Eastern Lightning. She nodded and said, “The Lord has returned as Almighty God. He expresses all the truths which cleanse and save us and does the work of judgment to uproot our sinful nature and cleanse our corruption, and save us from sin once and for all.” Hearing her say this, I felt I just had to hear what Eastern Lightning had to say. She arranged for me to receive fellowship from The Church of Almighty God.
When the day came, I told the brother from The Church of Almighty God all about my confusions. “The Lord Jesus said, ‘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). Elder Xu says that false Christs will appear in the last days when the Lord returns, that all news of the Lord’s coming is fake, and that we shouldn’t investigate any of it. I don’t think being so guarded accords with the Lord’s will. What if we don’t look into it and don’t welcome Him and the Lord abandons us? But I’m also afraid of being deceived. When someone preaches the Lord’s return, what should we do? I really want to understand this.”
The brother smiled and said, “We’re all afraid of going astray and being deceived by false Christs. It’s normal to have this worry. But what use is fear alone? Can fear solve our problems? To understand this and know what to do, we must understand the Lord’s will behind His words. He spoke those words so we could discern false Christs and not be deceived. He didn’t say them so we’d guard against everything and even reject the Lord’s return. He not only says that false Christs will appear in the last days, but also tells us how to discern false Christs. The Lord said, ‘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). The Lord’s words are clear. False Christs mainly rely on signs and wonders to deceive people. Now we know the hallmarks of false Christs, we just have to be careful and we won’t be deceived. If we take this verse out of context and misinterpret the Lord’s words, condemning all news of the Lord’s coming as fake and not seeking it at all, wouldn’t we be denying and condemning the Lord’s return?”
This came as a shock to me. “That is true, isn’t it?” I thought. “The Lord foretold His coming, but we’ve taken this verse out of context, condemning all news of His coming as fake. We’ve been condemning the Lord’s return!”
The brother went on with his fellowship: “The Lord Jesus told us, ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6). ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me’ (Revelation 3:20). We can see that when the Lord returns, some people will hear His voice first and then preach and testify to it. This is the Lord knocking on our doors. If we listen to what the pastors say and we shut out anyone who testifies that the Lord has returned, and we don’t open our ears and eyes, will we be able to hear His voice and welcome Him? Wouldn’t that be cutting off our noses to spite our faces?”
As I listened, I thought what he said accorded with the Bible and with the Lord’s will. It turned out the Lord was telling us that false Christs mainly deceive people by showing signs and wonders, that we should be discerning of false Christs, but not passive and guarded against everyone. The Lord’s words were so clear—how come I hadn’t seen this before? The pastor and elders had read this verse so many times, but they not only hadn’t mentioned this principle, but they’d skewed this verse and misinterpreted the Bible, saying all news of the Lord’s return was fake. It now seemed as though they didn’t understand the Bible at all. Yet they still told us to stay away from strangers and wouldn’t let us seek the gospel of the Lord’s return. If He’d truly returned, wasn’t I shutting Him out? That’s so dangerous!
The brother then picked up a book and said, “Let’s read Almighty God’s words to understand more about how false Christs deceive people.” Almighty God says, “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” (“Knowing God’s Work Today” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
When he’d finished, the brother said, “God is always new and never old, and He never repeats His work. In the Age of Law, God issued the laws and commandments to lead man’s life on earth and teach them how to worship Him. When the Lord Jesus came in the Age of Grace, He didn’t do the same work again, but did the work of redemption on the foundation of the Age of Law’s work. He spoke the way of repentance, healed the sick and cast out demons, and showed signs and wonders. Finally, He was crucified as a sin offering, thereby redeeming mankind from sin. Almighty God has come in the last days to do the work of judgment beginning with God’s house upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ redemption work. He expresses all truths which cleanse and save mankind, uprooting the causes of sin, which are our satanic dispositions and nature, so we can be cleansed free of sin once and for all and be led by God into His kingdom. This shows us that God’s work moves ever onward and He keeps expressing the truth and working to save mankind based on their needs. If the Lord came in the last days and did the work of the Age of Grace again, healing the sick and casting out demons, then God’s work wouldn’t move forward, and the Lord Jesus’ work would become meaningless. That’s why when He comes again in the last days, He absolutely won’t show signs and wonders or heal the sick and cast out demons. If someone shows signs and wonders, pretending to be the returned Lord, then they are sure to be a false Christ trying to deceive people. False Christs are evil spirits and devils pretending to be Christ. They cannot express the truth, much less do the work to save mankind. All they can do is follow behind God, imitating His work and show some simple wonders to deceive people. But the wonders filled with God’s authority that the Lord Jesus showed, like bringing the dead back to life, feeding the 5,000, and calming the winds and seas, cannot be done by false Christs. When we know God’s work and can discern false Christs’ essence and deceptive tactics, we will not be deceived by them.”
After listening to Almighty God’s words, I understood a little about the truth of discerning false Christs. God is always new and never old, and He never repeats His work. The Lord Jesus’ redemption work has been completed, so when He returns He won’t do the same work again. False Christs can’t express the truth or do God’s work. All they can do is imitate God’s past work and deceive people with simple signs and wonders. The Lord said, “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders,” and I now understood what He meant.
The brother went on: “Almighty God is very clear on the truth of how to discern the true Christ from false Christs, and shows us the key principle to distinguish between them. Above all, we have to understand what the incarnation is and know Christ’s essence. When we know Christ, we’ll naturally discern false Christs.” The brother then read a couple passages of Almighty God’s words. “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” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). “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. 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. Sooner or later, those who impersonate Christ will all fall, for although they claim to be Christ, they possess none of the substance of Christ. And so I say that the authenticity of Christ cannot be defined by man, but is answered and decided by God Himself” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The brother then said, “We can clearly see from Almighty God’s words that Christ is God incarnate, He is God from heaven wearing flesh as the Son of man, coming to work amongst man. Christ possesses both normal humanity and complete divinity. He may look ordinary, but His essence is divine. That’s why He can express the truth, speak with God’s voice, save mankind, and express God’s disposition and what He has and is. Christ can at all times express the truth to sustain and guide people, and show people the path of practice. This is determined by Christ’s essence. To be certain whether someone is Christ or not, we have to determine this based on their words, work, and disposition. The Lord Jesus was the incarnation of God. He began the Age of Grace and ended the Age of Law. He expressed the truth and bestowed the way of repentance upon man, expressed God’s loving and merciful disposition, and was crucified to do His work of redemption. From His words and work, we can see that He supplied what people’s spirits needed and gave people a path for the new age. He taught people to confess and repent, to love their neighbors, to be tolerant and patient, to forgive seventy times seven times, to love God with all their hearts and minds, and so on. We feel peace and joy when we pray to the Lord. When we confess and repent to Him, our sins are forgiven. When we act by His words, He commends and blesses us. From His words, work, and the disposition He expresses, we can see that He is Christ, the Redeemer of mankind. Almighty God has now come to do the work of judgment beginning with God’s house. He expresses all truths which cleanse and save mankind, and He’s begun the Age of Kingdom and ended the Age of Grace. Almighty God expresses the truth and uncovers the mysteries of His management plan to save man, the purpose of His three stages of work, the mysteries of His names and incarnations, the difference between God’s work and man’s work, between the Holy Spirit’s work and evil spirits’ work, and between the true Christ and false Christs, and more. He reveals the root of the world’s darkness and evil, man’s satanic nature that resists God and our various corrupt states, and He lays bare the corrupt dispositions within man, such as arrogance, selfishness, deceit, evil and greed. He also shows us the path to be cleansed and what truths we should practice entering into, such as how to be honest, how to obey God, love God, and revere God, how to serve in line with God’s will, how to cast off our corrupt dispositions, and more. Through the judgment of God’s words, God’s chosen ones understand some truths, they see how they’ve been corrupted by Satan, and recognize God’s righteous disposition and holy essence. They then begin to revere God and start to practice His words and cast off their corrupt dispositions, and gradually their life dispositions change. Almighty God expressing the truth, doing judgment work, and expressing His righteous and majestic disposition all proves that He is God incarnate, Christ of the last days. Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned! False Christs are possessed by evil spirits, and actually are evil spirits. They cannot begin a new age or end an old one. They cannot express God’s words or reveal the mysteries of God’s management work. They cannot do the work of judging, cleansing and changing man. They can only imitate some of God’s past work and show some simple wonders. They misinterpret the Bible and speak spurious doctrines, or else say things that suit man’s fleshly notions to deceive people. People who listen to them come to a dead end and get nothing from it. They feel darker inside until they’re led astray by Satan and evil spirits.”
Sister Zong then said, “Christ is the truth, the way, and the life. Christ can express the truth, sustain people’s lives, and show the way. False Christs are evil spirits that cannot express the truth or sustain people’s lives, and they really can’t show people the way. All they can do is show wonders and say things that suit people’s notions to deceive them. In God’s words, we have a path to discern the true Christ from false Christs, and we don’t need to fear being misled anymore.”
Based on Almighty God’s words, they both fellowshiped so clearly on what Christ is and how to discern false Christs, my heart filled with light. Key to determining whether someone is Christ and the Lord returned is to look at their essence, to see whether they can express the truth and God’s words, and do the work to save man. This is most crucial. Only someone who can express the truth and do the work to save man is God incarnate and only someone who can do judgment work to cleanse and save man is Christ of the last days. Anyone who cannot express the truth or do God’s work, who calls themselves Christ or God, is a false Christ, a fake who comes to deceive people. This is such an accurate and simple way to discern between the true Christ and false Christs! If Almighty God hadn’t revealed these truths and mysteries, I’d never have known them no matter how much I read the Bible or listened to pastors.
The brother went on, saying, “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). The Spirit of truth has now come as Almighty God in the flesh. He uncovers all truths and mysteries needed by man to attain salvation, and only through His words can we understand the truth and have the right path of practice.” The brother fellowshiped much more after that. I’d never heard any of it before in my years of faith. I understood more that day than I had in years believing in the Lord. No wonder people said Eastern Lightning’s sermons are so great. It all came from the words of Almighty God! I asked the brother, “How much does The Word Appears in the Flesh cost? I’d like to buy a copy and read it myself.” He smiled and said, “It’s free. God said, ‘I will give to him that is thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely’ (Revelation 21:6). God loves man, and to save man from Satan’s domain once and for all, He gives to us freely. As long as we want to seek the truth, He bestows His words freely on us.” I felt so very moved. Only God could love us and provide for us so selflessly. The brother then gave me a copy of The Word Appears in the Flesh.
After that, I avidly read Almighty God’s words every day. The more I read, the more I got from it and enjoyed it. I felt God’s words enter my heart. Long-standing confusions I’d had in my faith were resolved. I was delighted and thrilled. I realized all those good believers who had accepted Eastern Lightning had seen the truth and heard God’s voice in Almighty God’s words, and recognized Him as God incarnate, as the returned Lord Jesus, before following God’s work of the last days without hesitation. They are the wise virgins! I’d been deceived by the notions and nonsense spouted by the pastor and elders in my church, believing that any news of the Lord’s coming was fake, not daring to look into it. I almost missed my chance to welcome the Lord. I’d been so stupid! Yet God didn’t abandon me. Through the brother’s and sister’s fellowships, He showed me how to discern false Christs, so I heard His voice, became certain about Almighty God’s work of the last days and kept up with the Lamb. I thank God for His salvation for me!