I Have Seen My Pastor’s True Colors
By Nora, the Philippines
I remember when I first became a Christian, our church’s Pastor Chen and his wife thought very highly of me. They made me the leader of the Praise Team and a Sunday School teacher and were always really caring toward me. Whenever I had a problem or felt some weakness, they’d pray for me. They were caring toward other church members, too. Whenever someone felt down or weak they’d fellowship on the Bible to help them out. I felt like they were both really loving and we were lucky to have them. Deep in my heart, I’d always felt like they were my spiritual parents in faith.
Then in 2018, I met some brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God online. After hearing their testimony, I found out that the Lord Jesus had returned, incarnated as Almighty God. He’s expressing truths to judge and cleanse mankind in the last days, fulfilling the prophecy in 1 Peter 4:17 that says: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God.” I was thrilled, and my family and I looked into Almighty God’s work of the last days together. Through reading Almighty God’s words we all became certain that they are the voice of God and that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned. We all accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. After that, Pastor Chen came to mind for me. He always told us to keep watch for the Lord’s coming, so I figured he’d be overjoyed to hear that the Lord had returned. I decided to tell him the good news.
Once during a gathering, Pastor Chen said, “We’re in the last days and the Lord could return at any moment. We have to pray and be watchful.” I was so excited to hear him say this, so I chimed right in, saying, “I met some brothers and sisters online recently bearing witness that the Lord has returned. I’ve been attending gatherings with them, which have been really enlightening.” His response was, “Online gatherings are great and they can help us understand the Lord’s words better.” Then he just went on with his sermon. I was delighted, thinking, “Pastor Chen really is a seeker of the truth. I have to share God’s gospel of the last days with him right away.” Surprisingly, Pastor Chen and his wife came to my house a few days later. The moment they walked in, Pastor Chen asked me with a grim look on his face, “You mentioned online gatherings. Have you joined another church?” Seeing how displeased he looked left me a little dumbfounded. Before I could respond, my mom said happily, “Yes, Pastor. We’ve been looking into The Church of Almighty God. That’s how we found out that the Lord has returned. He’s expressing lots of truths and doing the work of judgment starting with the house of God.” Pastor Chen responded sternly, “The Lord has returned? Impossible! The Bible clearly prophesies: ‘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). The Lord will return on a cloud in the last days for everyone to see. If He’s already returned, why haven’t we seen Him?” My mom said, “There are lots of biblical prophecies of the Lord’s return. Aside from Him coming openly on a cloud, there are also verses about Him coming in secret, like Revelation 16:15, ‘Behold, I come as a thief,’ Revelation 3:3, ‘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,’ and Matthew 25:6, ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him.’ Saying He comes like a thief means He returns quietly without anyone knowing about it. If the Lord just came openly on a cloud, then everyone would see Him. How could that be like a thief, and who would need to cry that the bridegroom has come?” Infuriated, Pastor Chen said, “Doesn’t your claim that the Lord comes in secret contradict the prophecies of Him coming on a cloud? This isn’t in line with the Bible. We haven’t seen the Lord coming on a cloud, which proves He hasn’t returned. We won’t believe it!”
It seemed he didn’t really get it, so I said, “Pastor Chen, the prophecies of Him coming in flesh in secret and of Him coming openly on a cloud aren’t actually contradictory. His return happens in two stages. First, He comes secretly in the flesh, expresses truths to judge and cleanse mankind, and makes a group of overcomers before the disasters. Once that’s done, His work in secret comes to a close and then He’ll send disasters, reward good and punish evil. He’ll destroy all enemies of God, all who belong to Satan. He’ll appear openly to all nations and peoples only after the great disasters are over. Those who hear God’s voice and look into His work while He’s here working in secret all come before God’s throne, accept His judgment in the last days, and their corruption is cleansed. They’re ultimately brought into God’s kingdom. They are the wise virgins that the Bible prophesied. Those who don’t hear God’s voice while He’s here working in secret and who even condemn and reject Almighty God are the foolish virgins. They’re the nonbelievers, antichrists, and evildoers exposed through God’s work of the last days. When God comes openly on a cloud, they’ll see that the Almighty God they opposed is actually the returned Lord Jesus, but their regret will come too late. They’ll be taken by the disasters, and punished as they weep. This will fulfill what the Lord said: ‘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). This is how the prophecies of the Lord coming in secret and coming openly will both be fulfilled.” My mom then said earnestly, “Pastor, he’s right. The Bible mentions the Son of man coming a number of times. For example: ‘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). ‘The Son of man’ refers to God incarnate, just like the Lord Jesus was the Son of man. He was born of man and possessed normal humanity. If the Lord returned in His Spirit form, He wouldn’t be called the Son of man. And if the Lord returned as God in the Spirit, who would dare reject or oppose Him? Why “first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation”? The Lord Jesus has already returned as Almighty God incarnate. You should take a look at Almighty God’s words.” As my mom spoke, she got a copy of Almighty God’s words out for the pastor. He not only refused to look at it, but smacked it angrily and yelled, “This is absolutely not the word of God. God’s words are all in the Bible and there’s nothing outside of that!”
I was shocked to see Pastor Chen acting so out of character and even his face was red with anger. He’d always been so kind—he suddenly seemed like a totally different person. I started feeling a little timid, so I quickly said a silent prayer to God asking Him to give me faith and guide me to keep fellowshiping. That calmed me down quite a bit. I said to him very gently, “Pastor Chen, there’s no biblical basis for your claim that all of God’s words are in the Bible and nowhere else. That’s not in line with the facts. It says in the Gospel of John, ‘[T]here are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written’ (John 21:25). The Lord Jesus said a lot in the three and a half years He worked and preached on earth, but what’s recorded in the Four Gospels would just take a few hours to say. This shows that there’s no way all of the Lord Jesus’ words were recorded in the Bible. Besides, there were things that the people who compiled the Bible left out, so some prophets’ prophecies didn’t make it into the Bible. That includes some of God’s words conveyed by the prophet Ezra that weren’t included in the Bible. That means the statement that there are no words of God outside the Bible simply doesn’t stand!”
My mom also said earnestly, “Not only were some words of God left out of the Bible, but there are also God’s words in the last days! 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’ (John 16:12–13). It’s also prophesied many times in Revelation: ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Revelation Chapters 2, 3). It also mentions the Lamb opening a scroll. These are all prophecies of the Lord uttering more words when He returns. If there couldn’t be any words of God outside the Bible, how would these prophecies be fulfilled? Almighty God is doing the work of judgment, expressing all truths which cleanse and fully save mankind. He’s revealed all the mysteries of God’s management plan, exposed and judged the truth of man’s corruption and the root of man’s resistance to God. He’s given us the path to true repentance and entry into the kingdom. What was prophesied in Revelation about the Holy Spirit speaking to the churches and the Lamb opening the scroll refers to Almighty God’s words. How could these new words be recorded in the Bible in advance? Isn’t the claim that none of God’s words exist outside the Bible way too arbitrary? God is the Lord of creation and the ever-flowing fount of the living waters. But the work and words of God recorded in the Bible are really limited. We can’t delimit God within the scope of the Bible based on our notions. That would be denying the truth, denying God’s own work and words!”
This made Pastor Chen really angry, but he couldn’t refute it. He just said, “Not allowing you to look into this is for your own good. You’re immature in life and could be misled. Confess and repent to the Lord right away!” I quickly responded, “Pastor Chen, we’ve come to the conclusion that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned only through earnest seeking and by reading a lot of Almighty God’s words. You haven’t read His words, so it’s normal to have some doubts and notions. 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). As long as you’re willing to seek, and read Almighty God’s words, your confusions can all be dispelled.” No sooner had I finished than his wife asked me for contact information for brothers and sisters from the Church and said she would look into it later. Taking her at her word, I gave it to them. They took it and stormed out.
I felt unsettled for quite a while after the two of them left. I’d always thought of them as good, humble people. They’d often told us to keep watch for the Lord’s return, but when they heard news of the Lord’s return they weren’t interested in it at all. They just stubbornly clung to the Bible’s words. Why wouldn’t they practice what they preached? I was really disappointed and upset, but hoping they’d investigate God’s work of the last days, I said a silent prayer for them. I also sent them a link to the gospel movie Disclose the Mystery About the Bible, hoping it would get them to let go of their notions and look into Almighty God’s work and welcome the Lord soon. I was filled with expectation, but something really unexpected happened. They sent me all sorts of rumors slandering The Church of Almighty God to keep me away from it. Seeing I wasn’t affected, they sent messages harassing members of The Church of Almighty God. They also got on Facebook and posted lots of rumors slandering and attacking The Church of Almighty God to mislead and keep others from investigating the true way. And they didn’t stop there. They went from house to house warning brothers and sisters not to have anything to do with me, judging and badmouthing me. A lot of people got the wrong impression and kept their distance from me. Some sent me accusatory messages and some refused to speak with me when we crossed paths. Some wouldn’t even answer the door when I went to visit them. This was really upsetting for me. I’d been close with these brothers and sisters in the past, but now they avoided me and spurned me, taken in by the pastor’s lies. I could hardly believe this was all done by the pastor I’d once thought so highly of. I was suffering and felt very weak inside. I couldn’t figure it out. I hadn’t done anything wrong. I’d just accepted God’s work of the last days. Why would the pastor treat me that way?
When a sister from The Church of Almighty God found out about it, she offered me help and support and read a passage of God’s words for me. “In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men and the interference of men. Behind every step of work that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle” (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Then I understood that the pastor being disruptive and the other church members isolating me was all one of Satan’s temptations. Satan wanted me to give up the true way and betray God and lose His salvation of the last days. Satan is so despicable! I thought, “Since I’m already certain that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned, no matter what difficulties I may face I have to unswervingly follow Him until the end.”
Then the sister shared this fellowship: “God uses these situations to teach us discernment of others. The approach people take to the Lord’s coming shows their attitude toward the truth and God, and reveals their essence.” Then she read another passage of 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?” (“By the Time You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus, God Will Have Made Heaven and Earth Anew” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After that, she shared more fellowship in light of these words from God and shed some light on the clergy’s behavior. I’d always thought that since they knew the Bible well, had worked hard to serve the Lord for years, were loving toward the congregation, and were always telling us to be watchful for the Lord’s return, that meant they loved the truth and longed for the Lord’s coming. But reality showed me that it wasn’t at all like I had thought. Their humble, loving appearance was just a facade to fool and deceive people and they were no different from the hypocritical Pharisees. The Pharisees also seemed really devout. They expounded the Scriptures in the synagogues every day, they prayed on the street so others would see them doing it. They were all waiting for the Messiah to come, but when the Lord Jesus did appear and He expressed truths, and showed so many signs and wonders, which all clearly came from God, the Pharisees didn’t want to know about it. They stubbornly upheld the scriptural laws and used the words of Scripture to condemn God’s work. They helped get the Lord Jesus crucified and were punished by God. My pastor was exactly the same. He appeared to be humbly serving the Lord and waiting for His return, but knowing full well that Almighty God was expressing the truth and doing the work of judgment, he still didn’t look into it at all. He just clung to his own notions and the literal Bible words, opposing and condemning God’s new work. He said if He didn’t come on a cloud, then He wasn’t the Lord Jesus and anything not written in the Bible couldn’t be God’s work, and so on. He did everything he could to keep others from investigating the true way. He and his wife weren’t genuinely longing for the Lord’s coming at all, but were modern-day Pharisees who despised the truth, and despised God’s appearance and work. It reminded me of the Lord Jesus condemning the Pharisees, saying, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like to white washed sepulchers, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but within you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity” (Matthew 23:27–28). Understanding all of this gave me some discernment over the way the clergy acted. But what happened next really clearly showed me their true colors.
One afternoon, Elder Wang and two sisters from my former church came by my house and just stared at me coldly without saying a word. Then Elder Wang got out his phone, dialed a number, and handed it to me. When I took it, I heard Pastor Chen angrily saying all sorts of foul things and then he warned me, “You’re forbidden to have contact with our church members and to spread Almighty God’s gospel in our church. Don’t steal my sheep!” I was incensed and told him, “Why shouldn’t I share the wonderful news of the Lord’s return? Why are you trying to stop people from seeking the true way? They are God’s sheep. Why wouldn’t you let them hear God’s voice?” After hanging up, Elder Wang and the others gave me a talking to and then took off. The pastor kept bothering my family after that and even openly smeared our names in the church. My family became kind of weak and negative, unable to bear the harassment. The pastor’s evil deeds made me so angry. I read more of Almighty God’s words. “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, head 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?” (“All People Who Do Not Know God Are People Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Almighty God’s words gave me greater clarity on the true colors of clergy and their resistance to God. They act as if they’re protecting God’s flock by not letting us share God’s gospel, but in fact, they’re afraid everyone will follow Almighty God and no one will listen to them anymore. Then they’d lose their status. That’s why they do everything they can to keep believers from investigating the true way. It made me think of the Lord Jesus’ words: “But 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). Not only did the clergy refuse to seek the true way themselves, but did everything to smear and condemn Almighty God’s work of the last days and mislead believers. A lot of people who don’t know the facts go along with them in condemning Almighty God. Aren’t they turning those people into sons of hell just like them, so they’ll be punished together? They really are malicious to the core. Clergy in the religious world hate the truth. They oppose and condemn God’s work of the last days and shamelessly corral God’s sheep in their own pens, fighting with God over His chosen people. They’re just the same as the Pharisees the Lord Jesus cursed 2,000 years ago. They are the evil servants, the antichrists exposed by God in His work of the last days! I fully and clearly saw their demonic, God-opposing nature and their hatred for the truth. I resolved to confidently follow Almighty God no matter how they tried to stand in the way! Everyone else in my family also gained discernment by reading Almighty God’s words and didn’t feel so constrained by them anymore.
Thinking back on that time when they kept harassing and badmouthing me, though I did suffer a bit, it gave me discernment over the clergy. I saw their true colors—they hate the truth and oppose God. I’ll never be misled or constrained by them. I also learned that in a spiritual battle with Pharisees and antichrists, if we pray and lean on God, He will use His words to guide us to understand the truth and triumph over Satan’s temptations. My faith grew thanks to that experience. Thanks be to Almighty God!