The True Colors of My “Spiritual Parent”
By Li Xianghe, South Korea
Not long after I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days, I watched a gospel movie called The Mystery of Godliness: The Sequel on The Church of Almighty God’s website. Some pastors and elders in the movie didn’t accept Almighty God’s work and madly tried to stop believers from seeking the true way. This confused me, as I thought of pastors and elders as devout people who served the Lord. They always taught us to keep watch and wait so as not to miss the Lord’s coming. If they learned the Lord Jesus had returned, they should accept Him with joy. Why would they stop us? I thought of Pastor Jin in my old church. He was so loving toward believers and always yearned for the Lord to return. If he knew that the Lord had returned he’d be overjoyed to accept it right away. I decided to equip myself with the truth so I could share the gospel with him. But things didn’t turn out how I’d thought, and the storyline in the movie soon played out in my own life.
One day, Pastor Jin came to see me at our fruit stall and asked me straight off, “Have you been going to The Church of Almighty God?” He then said some defamatory things about the church, saying, “That church testifies that God has returned in the flesh. It’s just not possible!” I was surprised and a little mad to hear him say this. I thought, “The Lord teaches us not to judge others. You know nothing about that church and you haven’t looked into Almighty God’s work of the last days. How can you condemn it?” But then I thought, “I guess he hasn’t heard Almighty God’s words so he won’t know it’s the true way. If he knew that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned who’s expressing all truths which cleanse and save man, I just know he’ll accept it.” So I said to Pastor Jin, “Pastor, you say the Lord can’t possibly come again in the flesh. Is this based on the Lord’s words? Did He ever say that?”
He confidently replied, “It says in the Gospel of Matthew, ‘And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory’ (Matthew 24:30). The Lord will return with great glory, coming openly on a cloud for everyone to behold. The whole religious world acknowledges this fact. Every Christian is waiting for Him to come on a cloud, so how could He come in the flesh?” I heard him out and then said, “Pastor, there are many prophecies in the Bible about the Lord’s return. It’s narrow-minded to cling to that one verse. Yes, there are prophecies of the Lord coming on a cloud, but there are also many about the Lord coming in secret, such as, ‘If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come on you’ (Revelation 3:3), ‘Behold, I come as a thief’ (Revelation 16:15), ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6). These verses prophesy the Lord returning as a thief, coming in secret at midnight, with few people knowing about it. If the Lord came openly on a cloud, wouldn’t everyone see Him? There’d be no need to cry out, preach or testify. If the Lord only came openly on a cloud, as we’ve believed, what about the prophecies of His coming in secret? The Lord is faithful, and His words won’t come to nothing. His words will always come to pass. So we can be sure that His return will be in two stages. First He comes in secret, then He appears openly to man. God long ago became flesh to work secretly in man’s midst—He is Almighty God, Christ of the last days. He does the work of judgment beginning with God’s house, expresses all truths which cleanse and save mankind, and will make a group of overcomers before the disasters. When God’s secret work is finished, He will unleash the great disasters and reward the good and punish the wicked. He will then come on a cloud and appear openly to all peoples. At that time, all who resist and condemn Almighty God will be swept away by the disasters, weeping and gnashing their teeth. This fulfills Revelation 1:7 that says, ‘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.’ Those who recognize Almighty God’s words as God’s voice, turn toward God, accept His judgment, and are cleansed will survive with God’s protection from the disasters and enter God’s kingdom. God’s secret work is the work to save mankind. When He appears openly, it will be too late to accept Him. That will be the time for punishment. I understood all this from reading Almighty God’s words. I’ve seen that only God can express the truth and uncover this mystery and Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned.” I then told Pastor Jin that I hoped he would look carefully into Almighty God’s work of the last days.
He just gave me a scornful look and said, “You don’t know much about the Bible but you’re preaching to me? Isn’t what you know about the Bible taught by me?” I was so disappointed to hear him talk this way. Was this the Pastor Jin I’d known? I’d always thought he was a humble man. He always told us to be the wise virgins and keep watch for the Lord’s coming so we could welcome Him. But now he wasn’t seeking in the Lord’s coming at all and was even scorning it. I didn’t understand and wanted to help him, so I said, “You know more about the Bible than I do, so you should seek the Lord’s coming with a humble heart and look into it! The Pharisees knew the Scriptures by heart and thought that knowing the Scriptures meant they knew God. But when the Lord Jesus appeared and worked, they didn’t seek or investigate it. They clung to the words of the Scriptures, thinking that only someone called ‘Messiah’ could be God and only someone who could free them from Roman rule could be God. They condemned the Lord Jesus’ work based on their notions and finally had Him crucified. They offended God’s disposition and incurred His punishment.” I then said, “Do you think understanding a lot about the Bible means one knows God and won’t resist the Lord? We must learn from the Pharisees’ failure, and not casually condemn Almighty God’s work of the last days. We must keep an open mind and listen out for God’s voice. Only then can we welcome the Lord!” Seeing I wasn’t taking his advice, he said bitterly, “Since you’ve been an ardent seeker all these years in your faith, I’ll pray for you. Leave The Church of Almighty God!” He then stalked off.
After he’d gone, I thought, “Why isn’t he taking the Lord’s coming more seriously? He always tells us to seek humbly, so why is he acting so out of character?” I’d always thought of Pastor Jin as my spiritual parent. I could ask him anything, and he’d patiently answer using Bible verses. He always asked after my family, too, and would pray for us when we had problems. He’d believed in the Lord for years, always working and expending himself—hadn’t it all been because he longed for the Lord’s coming? I decided to wait. I just had to talk to him again about God’s work of the last days.
A couple days later, Pastor Jin showed up at our fruit stand again. I thought he must’ve consulted the Bible and come to understand how the Lord returns and works. To my surprise, he said, “Deacon Li, 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). This is very clear. The Lord Jesus went up to heaven on a white cloud in the form of a Jewish man, so He will return on a white cloud in the form of a Jewish man. You’ve been deceived. You must turn back.” He was clinging to the idea of the Lord returning on a cloud, judging and condemning Almighty God’s work. I didn’t understand, and thought, “There are so many biblical prophecies about the Lord’s return. Why isn’t he seeking it at all?” Just then, a passage of Almighty God’s words came to mind. I read it to Pastor Jin. “I tell you, those who believe in God because of the signs are surely the category that shall be destroyed. Those who are incapable of receiving the words of Jesus who has returned to flesh are surely the progeny of hell, the descendants of the archangel, the category that shall be subjected to everlasting destruction. Many people may not care what I say, but I still want to tell every so-called saint who follows Jesus that, when you see Jesus descend from the heaven upon a white cloud with your own eyes, this will be the public appearance of the Sun of righteousness. Perhaps that will be a time of great excitement for you, yet you should know that the time when you witness Jesus descend from the heaven is also the time when you go down to hell to be punished. That will be the time of the end of God’s management plan and it will be when God rewards the good and punishes the wicked. For the judgment of God will have ended before man sees signs, when there is only the expression of truth. Those who accept the truth and do not seek signs, and thus have been purified, shall have returned before the throne of God and entered the Creator’s embrace. Only those who persist in the belief that ‘The Jesus who does not ride upon a white cloud is a false Christ’ shall be subjected to everlasting punishment, for they only believe in the Jesus who exhibits signs, but do not acknowledge the Jesus who proclaims severe judgment and releases the true way of life. And so it can only be that Jesus deals with them when He openly returns upon a white cloud. They are too stubborn, too confident in themselves, too arrogant. How could such degenerates be rewarded by Jesus?” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). He looked really angry and said, “The Bible is very clear on how the Lord will come. Why do you need to read any other book? If Almighty God is the true God, why then does every religious leader condemn Him? You should turn back right away! I’ve asked your husband, Deacon Piao, to talk to you, but you’re adamant.” After he said this, I asked, “Have you read The Word Appears in the Flesh? This book contains the utterances of Almighty God in the Age of Kingdom. The words in this book are all the truth. You should read it and look into it. Don’t just condemn—” But he interrupted me, saying, “I read it ages ago. These are not God’s words, and you shouldn’t read them anymore.” I was disgusted by what he’d said and his contemptuous manner. He was so absurd! Almighty God’s words are the truth. They’re authoritative and powerful. He just didn’t get it. He wasn’t one of God’s sheep. He then said to me, “If you persist in this belief, don’t blame me if things get nasty. I’ll tell the church you now believe in heresy and expel you. I’ll make everyone shun and reject you!”
I was stunned. I thought, “You’re turning the truth on its head! By believing in Almighty God, I welcome the Lord and follow the Lamb’s footsteps. How can you say I believe in heresy? Not only will you not seek God’s work, but you slander me and expel me. This isn’t something a long-time believer should do!” A few days before that, my husband had said to me harshly, “Pastor Jin is saying anyone who believes in Almighty God will be expelled from the church. Aren’t you afraid this will happen to you? What will we do if our brothers and sisters reject us? Some of them already know about your belief and ignore us when they walk by our stall. You’re not allowed to go to that church anymore!” I realized that Pastor Jin had been behind my husband’s attempt to stop me. I never thought he would threaten expulsion to stop believers from investigating the true way. It was so insidious and malicious of him! I’d always thought of him as humble and loving through all the years he served the Lord, but it had all been a pretense to trick people. I thought of the clergy members in that movie who pretended to be humble and pious around believers, but used secret tactics to threaten them and stop them from investigating the true way. Pastor Jin was behaving the exact same way as the clergy in the movie. I was so disgusted with him. The image I held of him in my heart was instantly destroyed. Seeing me ignoring him, he left dejected.
Over the next two weeks, he came by the stall now and then to see me, trying to convince me to give up the true way and betray Almighty God. One day, he stormed angrily over to the stall and didn’t address me as deacon like before, but just said right away, “You’re not to believe in Almighty God or bring your two kids into it! Your husband’s family are all devout believers. Those kids’ grandparents were so pious, I can’t let you ruin that family!” His accusation made me furious. My belief in Almighty God means I was raptured before God’s throne—this is a great thing. How could he make such an accusation? What made me even angrier was that he was not only forbidding me, but was also trying to control my kids’ freedom of belief. How could he stop anyone from seeking the true way? Justly and sternly, I said to him, “God’s sheep hear His voice and no one can stop anyone else from believing in God. My kids have read Almighty God’s words and have recognized God’s voice. That’s God’s guidance! When I looked into other denominations before, my kids didn’t want to go, but now they want to believe in Almighty God. They’re free to believe in Him and I won’t stop them. On what grounds are you trying to take that freedom away?” He was speechless for a moment, then cursed me out in a rage and stormed off. I was shocked by Pastor Jin’s actions. He always used to pray for my family. Why was he being so malicious? Was he hating, persecuting, and cursing me just because I’d accepted God’s work of the last days? I was bewildered.
A while later, I preached Almighty God’s gospel to two sisters from my old church. They were happy to hear it and we were in touch regularly. Before too long, Pastor Jin found out about this. I don’t know what he threatened them with but they stopped contacting me and began avoiding me. I was so upset and angry. I couldn’t help thinking of what the Lord Jesus said to the Pharisees: “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:13). “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matthew 23:15). Pastor Jin refused to accept God’s work of the last days and did all he could to stop others from looking into it. He used all manner of threats on brothers and sisters. Weren’t his actions just the same as the Pharisees’ all those years ago? He not only didn’t try to get into God’s kingdom, but stopped others. He was dragging brothers and sisters down to hell with him. This was an evil deed that God would punish!
Later, at a gathering, I told my brothers and sisters what had happened. Sister Li then read a couple passages of Almighty God’s words. “Do you wish to know the root of why the Pharisees opposed Jesus? Do you wish to know the substance of the Pharisees? They were full of fantasies about the Messiah. What is more, they believed only that the Messiah would come, yet did not seek the truth of life. And so, even today they still await the Messiah, for they have no knowledge of the way of life, and do not know what the way of truth is. How, say you, could such foolish, stubborn and ignorant people gain God’s blessing? How could they behold the Messiah? They opposed Jesus because they did not know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work, because they did not know the way of truth spoken by Jesus, and, furthermore, because they did not understand the Messiah. And since they had never seen the Messiah and had never been in the company of the Messiah, they made the mistake of clinging in vain to the name of the Messiah while opposing the substance of the Messiah by any means possible. These Pharisees in substance were stubborn, arrogant, and did not obey the truth. The principle of their belief in God was: No matter how profound Your preaching, no matter how high Your authority, You are not Christ unless You are called the Messiah. Are these views not preposterous and ridiculous?” “There are those who read the Bible in grand churches and recite it all day long, yet not one among them understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one among them is able to know God; still less can any one among them accord with God’s will. They are all worthless, vile people, each standing on high to lecture God. They willfully oppose God even as they carry His banner. Claiming faith in God, still they eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such people are devils that devour the soul of man, demons that deliberately get in the way of those trying to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks impeding those who seek God. They may appear of ‘sound constitution,’ but how are their followers to know that they are none other than antichrists who lead people to stand against God? How are their followers to know that they are living devils dedicated to the devouring of human souls?” (The Word Appears in the Flesh).
She then gave this fellowship: “God’s words clearly explain the essence and root cause of the Pharisees’ and clergy’s resistance to God. It’s mainly because they’re so stubborn and arrogant, they don’t fear God at all, and they hate the truth more than anything. The Jewish Pharisees always expounded on the Scriptures in the synagogues and seemed very devout. But when the Lord came and worked, though they knew His words had authority and power, they still refused to look into them. They were afraid their believers would follow the Lord Jesus and they’d lose their status and livelihoods, so they made up rumors and bore false witness, madly condemning the Lord Jesus. They did their utmost to stop people from following Him, and ultimately had Him crucified, committing a heinous sin. From the attitude they took toward the Lord Jesus and the truth, and how they fought God for control over people, we can see the Pharisees didn’t serve God. They were antichrists who hated the truth and opposed God. The pastors and elders in the religious world today know the Bible well, they can preach the Bible and some theological theories, and they seem humble and devout. But now God has become flesh to do His work, they know The Church of Almighty God has testified for years that the Lord has returned, that He’s expressing the truth and doing judgment work, but they not only don’t look into it, they madly resist and condemn Almighty God. They cling to the words of the Bible and to their own notions and imaginings. They believe the Lord can only come on a cloud, they speak all kinds of heresies and do all they can to deceive and entrap believers, keeping them from the true way. They keep God’s sheep firmly under their own control and fight God for them. They are doing just what the Pharisees did. They hate the truth and hate God’s work, and they oppose Christ of the last days. They are the evil servants and antichrists exposed by God’s work.”
Hearing her fellowship brightened my heart. God’s work is so wise! God’s work in the last days exposes these hypocritical Pharisees. These pastors and elders, these “servants of the Lord” are just evil servants who resist God. They’re antichrists who deny and resist Christ, devils who devour our souls! Deceived by Pastor Jin’s false piety, I never could discern him before. I always thought he served the Lord, that he was the Lord’s faithful servant, so I saw him as my spiritual parent. When I saw the pastors and elders in that movie going to great lengths to keep people from the true way, I still went by my notions and imaginings, believing Pastor Jin to be different. Once I accepted Almighty God’s work and Pastor Jin tried to stop me so many times, I finally saw his true hypocritical colors, and saw he was essentially an antichrist who hated the truth and opposed God. I was finally free of the deceptions and bonds of the Pharisees and antichrists of the religious world. I returned before God and attended the wedding feast of the Lamb.