Following the Footsteps of the Lamb
By Li Zhong, China
“Since man believes in God, he must closely follow the footsteps of God, step-by-step; he should ‘follow the Lamb wherever He goes.’ Only these are the people who seek the true way, only they are the ones who know the work of the Holy Spirit. People who slavishly follow letters and doctrines are those who have been eliminated by the work of the Holy Spirit. In each period of time, God will begin new work, and in each period, there will be a new beginning among man. If man only abides by the truths that ‘Jehovah is God’ and ‘Jesus is Christ,’ which are truths that only apply to their respective ages, then man will never keep up with the work of the Holy Spirit, and will forever be incapable of gaining the work of the Holy Spirit. Only those who follow the footsteps of the Lamb to the very end can gain the final blessing” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs). We can see from God’s words how critical it is to closely follow His footsteps and keep up with the Holy Spirit’s work. I never used to understand this aspect of the truth, but just clung to my own notions and imaginings, thinking that as long as I was true to the Lord Jesus’ name and His way, I’d be taken up into heaven when He came. That’s why I didn’t seek or investigate Almighty God’s judgment work of the last days. I came so close to missing my chance to welcome the Lord.
One day back in August 2012, I was reclining on our bed, relaxing after dinner, while my wife sat on the other end listening to music. I could hear some music with a catchy tune from her earphones. I asked her out of curiosity, “What are you listening to?” Smiling, she said, “Hymns from The Church of Almighty God.” I sat bolt upright and demanded loudly, “You believe in Almighty God? Isn’t that a betrayal of the Lord Jesus?” She responded sternly right away, “Don’t talk about what you don’t know! The Lord Jesus has come back. He’s ended the Age of Grace, begun the Age of Kingdom, and is doing new work. Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, so my faith in Him isn’t betraying the Lord. It’s keeping up with the Lamb’s footsteps. Just like the Bible says, ‘These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes’ (Revelation 14:4). Just think, when the Lord Jesus appeared and worked, lots of people left the temple and accepted His work. Would you say that they betrayed Jehovah God? They not only didn’t betray Jehovah God, but they kept up with God’s footsteps and were graced with the Lord’s salvation. In fact, it was the chief priests, scribes, and Pharisees that clung to the laws in the Scripture, resisting and condemning the Lord Jesus, still thinking they were devoted to Jehovah God, that ended up cursed and punished by God. Are you really not aware of that?” At that moment I had no idea how to refute what she’d said, so I just said angrily, “The Lord has graced us so much. We have to stay true to His name and way no matter what. We can’t show such ingratitude!” At that, I stormed off with a sullen look on my face. In an effort to stop her, I told our daughter about what had happened, and she took my side. When my wife went to a gathering that day, our daughter went to make a scene and keep everyone from gathering. When I found out about it after work, I told her, “You did great today. Keep it up. Keep an eye on your mom while I’m at work. We’ve got to find a way to get her back to following the Lord Jesus.” But a few days later our daughter’s summer break was over, so she went back to school. Afraid that my wife would go to more gatherings, I coaxed our ten-year-old son with a little pocket money to watch her and make sure she didn’t go to a gathering after he got home from school. He’d report on where she’d gone every day after I got off work. I began to relax a little when I heard she’d just been going to work for the past few days. But something that really surprised me was that she wasn’t going to play mahjong in the evenings anymore. Instead she had cleaned the house and even finished the work in the field. I was perplexed. She always used to play mahjong and neglect the household, and I could never persuade her to stop. She’d even prayed and confessed to the Lord, but never changed. Why had she changed all of a sudden? I had no idea what was going on.
One time, I woke up suddenly in the middle of the night and saw a sliver of light shining on the curtain. I was confused about where it could have been coming from. Looking closer, I saw it was coming from under my wife’s blanket. I found it really odd and wondered, “What on earth is she doing?” I carefully crept out of bed, tiptoed over to the other side, and peered under the bedding. She was reading a book with a flashlight. I thought, “Didn’t she give up her faith in Almighty God? I never thought she’d still be reading that book. What’s in it, anyway, that makes her want to hole up in the bedding reading it? And no matter how opposed I am, why is she determined to keep on believing?” I couldn’t make heads or tails of it. I thought again about how my hands had been tied when she’d loved playing mahjong so much she would neglect the home. “Why the sudden change?” I wondered. “Was it that book that changed her?” I tried to figure it out, then thought, “I’ve got to find out what’s actually written in there.” One day when my wife went out after breakfast, that book sprang to mind again. I went through every cabinet and drawer, going through absolutely everything, but came up empty-handed. I suddenly realized she could be hiding it between layers of clothing. Sure enough, that’s how I found it. That’s good. Taking it out, I saw a thick, hardcover book: The Word Appears in the Flesh. I opened it up and was immediately drawn in by the title of one of the chapters. “God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind.” I read it right away from beginning to end, and a passage moved me really deeply. “I urge the people of all nations, of all countries, and even of all industries to listen to the voice of God, to behold the work of God and to pay attention to the fate of mankind, to make God the most holy, the most honorable, the highest, and the only object of worship among mankind, and to allow the whole of mankind to live under the blessing of God, just as the descendants of Abraham lived under the promise of Jehovah, and just as Adam and Eve, whom God created first, lived in the Garden of Eden. The work of God surges onward like a mighty wave. No one can detain Him, and no one can halt His march. Only those who listen carefully to His words, and who seek and thirst for Him, can follow His footsteps and receive His promise. Those who do not shall be subjected to overwhelming disaster and well-deserved punishment.” I thought, “These words are so authoritative and powerful. No human being could have uttered them! Are these the words of the Holy Spirit? My wife said that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned, that faith in Him is keeping up with the Lamb’s footsteps. If that’s true, standing in her way like this would be resisting God. Wouldn’t that make me just like the Pharisees two thousand years ago? The Pharisees stuck to the law and wouldn’t accept the Lord Jesus’ work. They madly resisted and condemned Him, ultimately having a hand in His crucifixion, and they were cursed by God.” I wondered, “If Almighty God really is the Lord Jesus returned, wouldn’t I be committing that same terrible sin of opposing God’s new work? The consequences would be unthinkable!” Then I remembered that the book said, “Only those who listen carefully to His words, and who seek and thirst for Him, can follow His footsteps and receive His promise.” I thought, “I can’t keep blindly judging and condemning Almighty God’s work. I should read this book carefully and really look into it.”
From that day on, I’d read The Word Appears in the Flesh whenever my wife was out of the house. One time she told me she had to work overtime that day, so I wrapped up my work two hours early and rushed home on my bike so I’d have more time to read the book. I saw this written in it: “My entire management plan, the six-thousand-year management plan, consists of three stages, or three ages: the Age of Law of the beginning; the Age of Grace (which is also the Age of Redemption); and the Age of Kingdom of the last days. My work in these three ages differs in content according to the nature of each age, but at each stage this work befits the needs of man— or, to be more precise, is done according to the tricks that Satan employs in the war that I wage against it. The purpose of My work is to defeat Satan, to make manifest My wisdom and omnipotence, to expose all of Satan’s tricks, and thereby to save the entire human race, which lives under Satan’s domain.” “The work of today has pushed forward the work of the Age of Grace; that is, the work under the entire six-thousand-year management plan has moved forward. Though the Age of Grace has ended, there has been progress in God’s work. Why do I say time and again that this stage of work builds upon the Age of Grace and the Age of Law? Because the work of this day is a continuation of the work done in the Age of Grace, and an advance over that done in the Age of Law. The three stages are tightly interconnected, with each link in the chain closely tied to the next. Why do I also say that this stage of work builds on that done by Jesus? Supposing that this stage did not build on the work done by Jesus, another crucifixion would have to take place in this stage, and the redemptive work of the previous stage would have to be done all over again. This would be meaningless. And so it is not that the work is completely finished, but that the age has moved forward and the level of the work has been raised higher than before. It can be said that this stage of work is built on the foundation of the Age of Law and upon the rock of Jesus’ work. God’s work is built stage by stage, and this stage is not a new beginning. Only the combination of the three stages of work may be deemed the six-thousand-year management plan” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). Reading this made me wonder if my wife could actually be right: Was Almighty God’s work being done on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption? Had it really pushed the work of the Age of Grace forward? The book filled me with curiosity and longing. I seized on every chance I had to read it in secret.
There was a passage I read one day. “You only know that Jesus shall descend during the last days, but how exactly will He descend? A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but you have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. You, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are therefore incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). It seemed really practical to me. I thought about how over my years of faith, I was always confessing and then sinning again. I couldn’t help but lie and deceive. I really hadn’t escaped the bonds of sin. I couldn’t be sure if I would get into the kingdom of heaven that way. I thought, “What if it’s really like it says here? What if I’m still missing a step in my faith, that just accepting the Lord Jesus’ redemption isn’t enough?” The more thought I gave it, the more I felt the book really did contain the truth and no man could have said those things. I wondered if it could really be from God, if it could be His voice. That thought really spurred me on. I read on, devouring it hungrily.
My wife later noticed that I wasn’t so opposed to her faith in Almighty God anymore. She stopped reading the book behind my back, and sometimes she’d even read parts out loud so I could hear. One day when I got home from work, she was reading God’s words, and seeing me come in, she said happily, “Li Zhong, come read Almighty God’s words. The Word Appears in the Flesh is God’s utterances in the last days. It reveals all the mysteries and truths we’ve never understood in our faith before. How about I read a few passages of it for you?” I thought, “I’ve been reading Almighty God’s words for a while, maybe I’ve even read as much as you.” When I didn’t object, she picked up the book and started reading. “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.” “By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt substance within his own self, and he will be able to change completely and become clean. Only in this way can man become worthy to return before the throne of God. All the work done this day is so that man can be made clean and be changed; through judgment and chastisement by the word, as well as through refinement, man can purge away his corruption and be made pure. Rather than deeming this stage of work to be that of salvation, it would be more apt to say it is the work of purification.” “From the work of Jehovah to that of Jesus, and from the work of Jesus to that of this current stage, these three stages cover in a continuous thread the entire gamut of God’s management, and they are all the work of one Spirit. Since the creation of the world, God has always been at work managing mankind. He is the Beginning and the End, He is the First and the Last, and He is the One who begins an age and the One who brings the age to an end. The three stages of work, in different ages and different locations, are unmistakably the work of one Spirit. All those who separate these three stages stand in opposition to God. Now, it behooves you to understand that all the work from the first stage until today is the work of one God, the work of one Spirit. Of this there can be no doubt” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). After my wife had finished reading, I asked her to explain it to me in detail. A little surprised, she shared this fellowship with me: “You’ve always said my faith in Almighty God is a betrayal of the Lord Jesus. In fact, Jehovah, the Lord Jesus, and Almighty God are the same God. God does different work in different ages. In the Age of Law, Jehovah God issued the law and the commandments to lead early mankind in their lives on earth. That way people knew what sin was and how they should worship God. But by the end of the Age of Law, no one could observe the law anymore. They were sinning more and more and they were all in danger of being condemned and put to death under the law. In the Age of Grace, God personally became flesh to save mankind. He did the work of redemption. He expressed His disposition of mercy and love, showering mankind with grace. He was ultimately nailed to the cross as a sin offering for mankind. When we’ve sinned, we only have to come before the Lord, confess and repent, and we’re absolved. But the Lord Jesus just redeemed us of our sins. Our sinful nature still isn’t resolved. We still can’t help but constantly tell lies and commit sin. We’re arrogant, selfish, cunning, greedy, and we love to show off. Even believers who expend themselves, make some sacrifice, and suffer a little do it for the blessings of the kingdom of heaven. It’s transactional. In the face of major tribulations and trials, or a real calamity, we just blame the Lord or even deny and betray Him. When God’s work isn’t in line with our notions, we arbitrarily judge, condemn, and oppose Him. God is holy, so how could we, who are constantly sinning and opposing God, be fit to enter the kingdom of heaven? That’s why the Lord Jesus promised He’d return and do the work of judgment in the last days. Almighty God has come in the last days, expressing truths to do the work of judgment beginning with the house of God on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption. He’s come to cleanse us of our corrupt dispositions, to completely resolve our sinful nature. That way we can be freed from sin and be fully saved. This fulfills the Lord Jesus’ prophecies: ‘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’ (John 16:12–13). ‘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 12:48). Even though God does different work in different ages under different names, it is all work done by one single God. His three stages of work, the Age of Law, Age of Grace and Age of Kingdom are each higher and more profound than the last. Every stage of work builds on the previous one, each closely linked to the next. Only these three stages together can save mankind once and for all. That’s why me accepting Almighty God’s work isn’t betraying the Lord Jesus at all, but it’s following the steps of God’s work and welcoming the Lord.”
After her fellowship we watched a video of the reading of God’s words. Almighty God says, “I was once known as Jehovah. I was also called the Messiah, and people once called Me Jesus the Savior with love and esteem. Today, however, I am no longer the Jehovah or Jesus that people knew in times past; I am the God who has returned in the last days, the God who shall bring the age to an end. I am the God Himself that rises up from the end of the earth, replete with My entire disposition, and full of authority, honor, and glory. People have never engaged with Me, never known Me, and have always been ignorant of My disposition. From the creation of the world until today, not one person has seen Me. This is the God who appears to man in the last days but is hidden among man. He resides among man, true and real, like the burning sun and the blazing flame, filled with power and brimming with authority. There is not a single person or thing that shall not be judged by My words, and not a single person or thing that shall not be purified through the burning of fire. Eventually, all nations shall be blessed because of My words, and also smashed to pieces because of My words. In this way, all people during the last days shall see that I am the Savior returned, and that I am the Almighty God that conquers all of mankind. And all shall see that I was once the sin offering for man, but that in the last days I also become the flames of the sun that incinerate all things, as well as the Sun of righteousness that reveals all things. This is My work in the last days. I took this name and am possessed of this disposition so that all people may see that I am a righteous God, the burning sun, the blazing flame, and so that all may worship Me, the one true God, and so that they may see My true face: I am not only the God of the Israelites, and I am not just the Redeemer; I am the God of all creatures throughout the heavens and the earth and the seas” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). My heart brightened after watching this. I saw that Jehovah, the Lord Jesus, and Almighty God are one God, who has done different work in different ages. Jehovah God’s work in the Age of Law was to issue the law, the Lord Jesus’ work in the Age of Grace was to redeem all of mankind, and now Almighty God’s work in the last days is to express the truth, and do the work of judging and cleansing man. These three stages of work are God’s work to save mankind throughout the different ages, according to the needs of mankind. I became certain in my heart that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned, and that following Almighty God is keeping up with the Lamb’s footsteps. I was really excited and said to my wife, “Your faith in Almighty God isn’t betraying the Lord Jesus, it’s keeping up with God’s new work! The truth is, I’ve been reading Almighty God’s words for a while.”
A little surprised, she said, “Since when? I had no idea!” I didn’t respond directly, but hung my head a bit sheepishly and said quietly, “When you first started believing in Almighty God, I not only stood in your way, but I got our children to do it too, and to watch you. I really regret it now! Doing that was resisting God and going against Him. But God has had mercy on me, guiding me to read His words. Now I’m certain that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus whose return we’ve been waiting for. He’s the one true God! I want to officially accept Almighty God.” I was overflowing with emotion that night. I came before God in prayer, calling out Almighty God’s name, “Thank You, God, for choosing me and allowing me to follow Your footsteps and attend the Lamb’s wedding feast!”