Letting Go of My Guardedness Gained Me God’s Salvation of the Last Days
By Li Chunmei, South Korea
Editor’s Note: The Lord Jesus prophesied that He would come again in the last days, and I’m sure that all brothers and sisters longing for the Lord’s return hope to be able to welcome His coming and gain God’s salvation of the last days. Sister Li Chunmei is no exception, but when she hears the news of the Lord’s return she nearly misses God’s end-time salvation because of her guardedness. But fortunately, ultimately she lets down her guard and welcomes the Lord’s return. What was her experience? Read on to find out.
As a Christian in China, I often heard the pastor say, “The Bible says, ‘You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven’ (Acts 1:11). When the Lord Jesus went up into heaven, it was His resurrected spiritual body ascending on a cloud, and so when the Lord returns it will certainly be His spiritual body appearing to us on a cloud as well. Many biblical prophecies have now been fulfilled—the Lord is coming very soon. So, we must be very careful not to be misled and miss out on the chance to get into the kingdom of heaven.” I always kept the pastor’s words in mind.
I came to South Korea in 2014, and after doing a lot of research I chose a Presbyterian church to serve in and later became a district leader for the church. I constantly reminded myself that I had to be a good steward and watch over the Lord’s sheep.
One day in June 2018, two other sisters and I had plans to go read the Bible at Sister Li’s house. It just so happened that her niece, Sister Jin, was also there and so we all delved into the Scripture together. I brought up passages I wasn’t clear on one by one and Sister Jin provided detailed explanations for all of them. She then spoke of these prophecies of the Lord’s return: “For the Father judges no man, but has committed all judgment to the Son” (John 5:22), “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17), “Fear God, and give glory to Him; for the hour of His judgment is come” (Revelation 14:7). Based on these, she shared fellowship that when the Lord returns He’s going to do a stage of the work of judgment. She also mentioned the parable of the net, the parable of the wheat and the tares, and the parable of the faithful and evil servants, saying that when the Lord returns, He will separate the wheat from the tares, the sheep from the goats, and the faithful from the evil servants through His work of judgment. Sister Jin’s fellowship was really new and contained such light—it was also in line with the Scripture, and I really enjoyed listening to it. As we were wrapping up, Sister Jin said to us very seriously, “Sisters, the Lord Jesus, who we’ve been waiting for a long time, has already returned. He is Almighty God, Christ of the last days. God has become flesh and is among us, expressing truths and doing the work of judgment beginning with the house of God….” Hearing her say this immediately took the smile off of my face and I thought, “The Lord Jesus has returned and He’s working in the flesh? How could that be possible?” A series of doubts brought to mind what the pastor had said about the Lord definitely coming down on a cloud, and so I immediately put up my guard with Sister Jin. I didn’t want to hear anything more. As we were leaving, she gave me a copy of The Scroll Opened by the Lamb and sincerely urged me to read through it thoroughly. I accepted the book for the sake of appearances.
After getting home I looked at a few pages of the book out of curiosity; I felt that these words were really authoritative and powerful, but the pastor’s words kept echoing in my head. So, I quickly put the book down and didn’t dare keep reading it. The next day those two other sisters came to see me and said that Sister Jin’s fellowship had been full of light and they wanted to hear more—they invited me to go with them. I said, “It is true that her fellowship was full of light, but the pastor frequently says that when the Lord returns, He will appear on a cloud, and to be on our guard against anyone who says that the Lord has come in the flesh.” They responded that the Lord’s coming was a major event and that since her fellowship had been enlightening, we should really seek and look into it, that that would be the only way to determine if the Lord really has returned or not. I figured what they said was reasonable, so I went to Sister Li’s house again.
When I saw Sister Jin, I said, “Sister Jin, you say that the Lord Jesus has become flesh and returned. How do you know? Have you seen God?” She smiled and responded, “Sister, the Lord Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’ (John 10:27). Determining that the Lord has returned doesn’t necessarily require personally seeing Him in the flesh. What’s most important is seeing whether the words expressed by Him in the flesh are really God’s voice, whether they are the truth. It’s just like when the Lord Jesus came and did His work—Peter, Nathanael, the Samaritan woman, and others could all recognize the voice of God from the words of the Lord Jesus and so were able to determine that He was the Messiah. They then started following the Lord. And now those of us who have accepted God’s work of the last days have done so because we’ve read the words expressed by Almighty God and have seen that His words are authoritative and powerful. They open up the mysteries of God’s management plan and reveal the corrupt dispositions and thinking hidden deep within human hearts. They point us toward the path to being cleansed. This completely fulfills what the Lord Jesus prophesied: ‘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). Almighty God is the Spirit of truth, and in the last days He has expressed all truths necessary for mankind’s full salvation. By reading God’s words and putting them into practice we can gradually cast off our corrupt dispositions and enter into various aspects of the truth. That’s how we have determined that the Lord Jesus really has returned, and that He is Almighty God, Christ of the last days.”
She then went on to talk about some of her own experiences in determining this was the true way—it really resonated with me. However, as soon as I thought about what the pastor said I just couldn’t entirely believe that the Lord had come back in the flesh, so I still kept my guard up with her. I then said to Sister Jin, “These things that Almighty God has said really are great, but I can’t just accept it right away. I need to look into it first.” She didn’t push me, but just invited me to come visit The Church of Almighty God when I had a chance.
That night I was tossing and turning, unable to get to sleep. I kept thinking about Sister Jin’s fellowship over the last couple of days, and I thought to myself, “Her fellowship really did contain light. I’ve been a believer all this time but have never heard such wonderful fellowship before. Should I keep listening to it, or not? What if the Almighty God that she’s bearing witness to really is the returned Lord Jesus? If I just steadfastly refuse to investigate it, wouldn’t that be missing my chance to welcome the Lord’s coming? But the pastor has told us very clearly that the Lord will return on a cloud, definitely not in the flesh. If I’m mistaken in my investigation wouldn’t that ruin the lives of the brothers and sisters in my district that I’m responsible for? What on earth should I do?” At that point I got up, then kneeled down to pray to the Lord: “Lord, I’m really at a loss right now. The pastor has said that when You return You’ll be on a cloud, but Sister Jin has fellowshiped that You’ve already come back in the flesh. I can’t be certain now if Almighty God really is Your return. Lord, if this is the right way, please enlighten and guide me so that I can recognize You. If this isn’t the right way, I ask that You grant me discernment so that I can keep to Your way.”
The following day I ran into Brother Wang, who had been a believer for a number of years and was very well-versed in the Bible. He was a devoted seeker and was an independent thinker in his words and actions. I told him about what Sister Jin had said about the Lord’s return and asked him what he thought. Hearing this, Brother Wang said earnestly, “Sister, this is the critical time for the Lord’s coming. If we hear someone spread the news that He has returned we absolutely have to seek this with an open mind and a heart of reverence for God. We can’t just lightly make a judgment. When the Lord Jesus appeared and did His work, the Pharisees crucified Him because they clung to their own notions and wantonly condemned His work. They were then damned and punished by God. We have to learn a lesson from the Pharisees’ failure! The Lord Jesus said, ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:3). And it says in Romans 10:17, ‘So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.’ I think we definitely have to look into whether or not Almighty God is the return of the Lord. If He really has returned, if we don’t investigate it, we’ll lose our chance at being raptured, and that would be the regret of a lifetime! How about we go visit The Church of Almighty God together?” I felt that what Brother Wang said was very reasonable, and that we should approach the issue of the Lord’s coming with reverence for God, not just blindly pass judgment. Only by seeking and investigating could we figure out if the Lord really had returned or not. So, I nodded my head in agreement and decided to go look into The Church of Almighty God.
A few days later, Brother Wang and I went to The Church of Almighty God along with a couple of other sisters. The brothers and sisters there received us very warmly. After exchanging introductions I shared my concern. “The fellowship that Sister Jin shared last time was all in line with the Bible and it really contained light, but I just can’t accept your testimony that the Lord has returned in the flesh, because it says in the Bible: ‘And then shall they see the Son of man coming in a cloud with power and great glory’ (Luke 21:27). When the Lord returns, He should appear to us in great glory in His resurrected spiritual body. How could He come back in the flesh?”
One of the brothers responded with this fellowship: “Sister, there are a lot of other prophecies about how the Lord will appear when He returns aside from that verse you mentioned that say that He will show Himself to humanity in the flesh. For example, ‘Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you think not’ (Luke 12:40), ‘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), ‘For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in His day. But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation’ (Luke 17:24–25). These prophecies mention ‘the Son of man comes’ and ‘the coming of the Son of man’—by saying ‘the Son of man,’ that means He is born of a human being and possesses normal humanity. If He were to appear in a spiritual body He wouldn’t be referred to as the Son of man. For example, Jehovah God was a Spirit and wasn’t called the Son of man. After the Lord Jesus was resurrected, even though His spiritual body looked just like a fleshly body on the outside, He could not have been called the Son of man. The angels are also spiritual bodies, and they can’t be referred to as the Son of man, either. So, whenever He has the image of a human being but is actually a spiritual body, He’s not called the Son of man. The Lord Jesus in the flesh was the Son of man, He was Christ, and this was because He was the Spirit of God clothed in the flesh. He looked very common, very normal on the outside, but He was entirely divine and could do God’s own work. And so, when the Lord Jesus mentioned ‘the Son of man comes’ and ‘the coming of the Son of man,’ He was referring to God returning in the last days in the flesh. This verse in particular—‘But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation’—proves that when the Lord returns He will appear in the flesh to work. It’s only if God comes in incarnated form so that He appears very normal on the outside that people will fail to recognize Him as God, and then they’ll slander, judge, and condemn Him. If the Lord Jesus appeared to mankind in His resurrected spiritual body with great glory, everyone would tremble and prostrate themselves in fear before Him. Who would dare to rebel against, resist, or reject God then? Then suffering and being rejected by this generation would be out of the question. In our investigation of whether He is the returned Lord Jesus, we should take into account all of the prophecies of His second coming. If we determine that He’ll return on a cloud just based on one or two Bible verses we’ll be likely to end up resisting God and then lose the Lord’s salvation of the last days!”
There wasn’t a single thing I could refute in this brother’s fellowship; I started to let down my guard a bit. He then played a wonderful clip called The Mystery of the Coming of the Son of Man from a film by The Church of Almighty God for us, The Mystery of Godliness. After watching this I realized that the Lord’s appearance and work when He returns in the last days will happen in steps. First, He’ll become flesh and secretly walk among mankind, expressing the truth and doing a stage of work of judgment and cleansing to complete a group of overcomers before the disaster. Once the work of His secret coming has been finished He’ll begin to rain down great disaster to reward the good and punish the evil, and only after all that will He come down on a cloud and openly show Himself to the peoples of all nations. Then those who resisted Christ of the last days will succumb to disaster, weeping and gnashing their teeth. This is the fulfillment of this biblical prophecy: “Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him” (Revelation 1:7). Once I understood all of this I no longer held onto the belief that the Lord would return in a spiritual body, appearing to humanity on a cloud. However, I still didn’t understand why the Lord would come to work in the flesh, so I continued my seeking with this brother.
I went on to ask, “Brother, I have another question I’d like to seek. Why would the Lord incarnate when He returns to save mankind instead of coming in Spirit form?”
He responded, “Sister, Almighty God has explained this very clearly. Let’s read a couple of passages of His words and then you’ll understand. God says, ‘The reason why He becomes flesh is because the flesh can also possess authority, and He is capable of carrying out work in a practical manner among mankind, in such a way that it is visible and tangible to man. This work is much more realistic than the work done directly by the Spirit of God, who possesses all authority, and its results are also apparent. This is because God’s incarnate flesh can speak and work in a practical way. The outward form of His flesh holds no authority, and can be approached by man, whereas His substance does carry authority, but His authority is visible to none. When He speaks and works, man is unable to detect the existence of His authority; this facilitates Him in doing work of a practical nature. … If God did not become flesh, He would remain the Spirit who is both invisible and intangible to man. Man being a creature of flesh, he and God belong to two different worlds and are endowed with different natures. The Spirit of God is incompatible with man, who is of flesh, and there is simply no way of establishing relations between them, not to mention that man is incapable of turning into a spirit. This being so, the Spirit of God must become a created being in order to do His original work. God can both ascend to the highest place and humble Himself to become a human creature, doing work among men and living in their midst, but man cannot ascend to the highest place and become a spirit, and even less can he descend to the lowest place. This is why God must become flesh to carry out His work’ (‘The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“‘Because the one who is judged is man, man who is of the flesh and has been corrupted, and it is not the spirit of Satan that is judged directly, the work of judgment is not carried out in the spiritual world, but among man. No one is more suitable, and qualified, than God in the flesh for the work of judging the corruption of man’s flesh. If judgment were carried out directly by the Spirit of God, then it would not be all-embracing. Furthermore, such work would be difficult for man to accept, for the Spirit is unable to come face-to-face with man, and because of this, the effects would not be immediate, much less would man be able to behold the unoffendable disposition of God more clearly. Satan can only be fully defeated if God in the flesh judges the corruption of mankind. … If this work were done by the Spirit of God, then it would not be victory over Satan. The Spirit is inherently more exalted than mortal beings, and the Spirit of God is inherently holy, and triumphant over the flesh. If the Spirit did this work directly, He would not be able to judge all of man’s disobedience, and could not reveal all of man’s unrighteousness. For the work of judgment is also carried out through man’s conceptions of God, and man has never had any conceptions of the Spirit, and so the Spirit is incapable of better revealing the unrighteousness of man, much less of completely disclosing such unrighteousness. The incarnate God is the enemy of all those who do not know Him. Through judging man’s conceptions and opposition to Him, He discloses all the disobedience of mankind. The effects of His work in the flesh are more apparent than those of the work of the Spirit. And so, the judgment of all mankind is not carried out directly by the Spirit, but is the work of the incarnate God’ (‘Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Become Flesh’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh).”
He went on to share this fellowship: “Almighty God’s words completely clarify why God would incarnate in the last days to save humanity. As believers, we all deeply feel that even though our sins have been absolved by the Lord Jesus, we still live by our satanic natures and may reveal arrogant, selfish, despicable, crooked, deceitful, evil, and greedy satanic dispositions at any time. We also frequently distance ourselves from God and resist Him. God has come in the last days to express words to do the work of judgment so that people may thoroughly cast off the shackles of sin and become people who truly obey and love God. Then ultimately, we’ll be fully saved and get into the kingdom of heaven. In order for God’s work to be effective this way He has to become flesh to work and speak in very practical ways and come into contact with people face-to-face; this way He can express truths at any time and any place in accordance with people’s needs, and provide sustenance for their lives. And as long as we read Almighty God’s words more we’ll be able to understand His will and requirements as well as gain understanding of our own corrupt dispositions plus understanding of God’s righteous disposition. When we forsake the flesh and put the truth into practice, our corrupt dispositions can gradually be cleansed, and we can gain more and more reverence and obedience for God. However, work by His spiritual body could not achieve the same outcomes. We all know that after the Lord Jesus was resurrected, His spiritual body wasn’t subject to the constraints of time, location, or space. He could appear or disappear at any time; He possessed supernatural capabilities and He inspired alarm and fear in people. They dared not draw near to Him. After His resurrection He could walk through walls; when He suddenly appeared standing among His disciples and began speaking with them they were all terrified, feeling that He was mysterious and unfathomable. We can see from this that there was no way for the Lord Jesus to work and speak in a practical, concrete way after His resurrection, so God’s work of expressing words to judge man in the last days wouldn’t have been able to be carried—wouldn’t that kind of plan to save mankind just come to nothing? So, God incarnating in the last days to save mankind is totally what is required for God’s work, and it’s especially what is required to cleanse our corrupt dispositions.
God becoming flesh to do His work in the last days is also to more effectively judge and perfect mankind as well as expose and eliminate people. After we were corrupted by Satan we all became really arrogant and self-important, without anyone else in our thoughts or God in our hearts. When we see that God in the flesh appears on the outside to be very normal we develop notions about Him and about the truths that He expresses—this way our rebelliousness against and resistance to God are entirely exposed. Those who love the truth see that God’s words reveal the truth of people’s various manifestations of resisting God, they’re then conquered by His words and realize how deep their corruption is; they become ready and willing to accept the judgment and chastisement of His words. By continuing to experience God’s work and gradually casting off their satanic, corrupt dispositions, they can be fully saved by God. However, those who hate the truth are full of notions and imaginings about God’s work; they refuse to accept the judgment of His words and don’t have an iota of love for the truth. They are exposed and eliminated by God. All people are exposed through this kind of judgment; everyone is sorted according to their kind—this work of the Lord Jesus in the last days will completely fulfill and accomplish the prophecies of separating the wheat from the tares, the sheep from the goats, the faithful servants from the evil ones. If God were to appear to us in a supernatural spiritual body it would frighten us to see it. We wouldn’t dare draw near to Him and there’s no way we would have any notions about God. Also, no one would dare resist Him. That way both good and evil people would all fall before God, and that would not expose people’s rebelliousness and unrighteousness; it would not reveal true faith and false faith. There would be no way to expose and cleanse people, to eliminate and save people so that they are sorted according to their kind. This is why God becoming flesh to do His work of salvation in the last days is so deeply significant!”
After hearing Almighty God’s words and this brother’s fellowship, I understood that God’s work in the flesh is done according to what we require. Even though we’re absolved of our sins after coming to believe in the Lord we really are still living in sin, frequently rebelling against and resisting God. The Bible says, “Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). We’re so filthy and corrupt that there’s really no way we could get into the heavenly kingdom. If God didn’t incarnate but instead just directly appeared in His spiritual body we wouldn’t be remotely able to approach Him. Even though we have corruption within ourselves it wouldn’t be revealed, plus we wouldn’t be able to recognize our own corrupt dispositions or be freed from the bonds of sin. Ultimately we would be destroyed because of our resistance and rebellion against God. I saw that God becoming flesh to work in the last days really is so necessary!
This brother then played another great clip from The Mystery of Godliness for me—The Necessity for God to Do His Work Through Incarnation. This gave me even more understanding of the significance of God becoming flesh. Although God’s incarnation in the last days appears very common and normal from the outside, the truths that He expresses give us life sustenance; His judgment work can cleanse, save, and perfect us. God’s work in the flesh is so very practical! At that point I completely let down my guard and decided to really seek and investigate the work of Almighty God.
After that the brothers and sisters shared a lot of videos of recitations of God’s words and gospel films with us; they also gave us fellowship on the mysteries of God’s name and His incarnation, the truth of mankind’s corruption by Satan, how God does the work of judgment, how to discern faithful and evil servants, how to be an honest person, and other aspects of the truth. I truly reaped a great harvest. Almighty God’s words resolved the confusion within my heart, and through a period of time of seeking and investigating, I determined with three other brothers and sisters that Almighty God truly is the returned Lord Jesus. We accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. We felt so excited and grateful—we couldn’t stop offering our thanks and praise up to God.
I thought back to the past when I didn’t understand God’s will and wasn’t familiar with His work, but just blindly believed the pastor and clung to the idea that the Lord would come down on a cloud in spiritual form. This kept me on guard against God’s work of the last days—I was so foolish. If it hadn’t been for God going through those brothers and sisters to share fellowship with me over and over, I certainly would have missed out on God’s salvation of the last days because I was stuck in my own notions—what a perilous situation! I have resolved that I must be a good follower of Almighty God, and I also hope to bring before God my other brothers and sisters who are longing for the Lord’s return so that they can also gain His salvation of the last days. I give thanks to Almighty God.