Spiritual Warfare: I Rely on God to Defeat Satan (Part 1)
By Wang Lin
I Rejoice to Welcome the Lord’s Return
The year I turned 36, I developed bone hyperplasia, and despite going to many hospitals for treatment, nothing had any effect whatsoever. In the spring of 1996, I began to believe in the Lord Jesus and, by the mercy of the Lord, my illness was healed. From that time on, I began to pursue my faith in great earnestness and before long I became a co-worker in my church. In September 1998, two sisters came and testified to us of God’s work in the last days. By reading Almighty God’s words, I became certain that Almighty God is indeed the returned Lord Jesus for whom we have so desperately longed and I, along with over 130 brothers and sisters from my church, accepted God’s work of the last days. I was thrilled—never had I imagined that I would be able to welcome the return of the Redeemer in my lifetime, and I thanked the exaltation and grace of God from the bottom of my heart. Afterward, I avidly read Almighty God’s words and my spirit was nourished. Just as I was feeling immersed in the joy of being reunited with the Lord, however, the leaders and co-workers from my old church tried every possible way to obstruct me and harass me, and thus a spiritual war began …
A Spiritual War Breaks Out
One day, Sisters Zheng and Song from The Church of Almighty God came to our gathering to give us fellowship, and they said, “In the last days, God expresses His words and performs His work of judgment primarily to purify and change man, and to enable us to thoroughly cast off our satanic corrupt dispositions and attain the salvation of God. At the same time, God will also do the work of winnowing and will separate the wheat from the chaff, the sheep from the goats and the good servants from the wicked servants, separating each according to their kind. All who, after hearing God’s utterances, can tell that it is the voice of God that speaks, and can accept God’s work of the last days—they are the wheat, the sheep, and they are those who love the truth. Those who hear God’s voice but don’t accept it, however, and who resist, judge and condemn God’s work of the last days, are the false believers, they are the chaff and they are the wicked servants who are exposed. Some are punished for having resisted God too strongly, and some will be caught up in the disasters and punished when God’s work comes to an end. We have now accepted God’s work of the last days, and we have the opportunity to experience judgment and be purified by God. Yet Satan will not admit defeat, and it uses all manner of people, events and objects to obstruct us and harass us, so that we forsake the true way and lose God’s salvation. This is a spiritual war, and we must keep constant vigil, read God’s words more, pray to and rely on God more and discern all the deceitful schemes of Satan in the light of God’s words and the truth. Only then will we be able to stand firm on the true way …”
Just as our attention was absorbed by listening to the sisters’ fellowship, there suddenly came a rapid knocking on the door. Opening the door, I saw two leaders from my old church, Brothers Li and Liu, standing there with fierce looks on their faces. My heart thumped and I thought to myself: “What are these two leaders doing here? They used to stress to us over and over that we were not permitted to receive strangers, especially those preaching the way of Eastern Lightning. If they find out that I and so many brothers and sisters have accepted God’s new work, what will they do to me?” Thinking this, I hurriedly greeted them, saying, “Ah, it’s you. Please come in.” The two leaders angrily pushed their way in and saw Sisters Zheng and Song. They then jabbed their fingers at the sisters and asked: “What are you up to? Are you preaching Eastern Lightning? Come to steal our sheep, have you?” They then swept their eyes across the room and, scarcely able to contain their rage, they pointed at the brothers and sisters and said vehemently, “OK, none of you are to listen to this anymore! Hurry up and get out!” When I saw Brother Li treating the brothers and sisters in such a terrible way, I thought of how the Lord Jesus had taught that we had to love our neighbors as ourselves. How was this behavior keeping to the Lord’s way, and how was it loving in any way whatsoever? And so, I said to them in no uncertain terms, “Brother Li, Brother Liu. Over these past few days, by reading the words of Almighty God and listening to the fellowship and testimony of these two sisters, we have become certain that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned. It’s good that you have come today, as you can listen to it with us! Welcoming the Lord’s return is a big deal!” I’d only just finished speaking when Brother Liu scoffed and said, “You want us to listen to this? Anyone who has come to preach Eastern Lightning to me has been shown the door. Their sermons are indeed very clever, but I will not listen to them, and you people lack foundation.” As he said this, he placed his hands on his hips and shouted angrily at Sister Zheng and Sister Song, “We wouldn’t accept Eastern Lightning even if it really was the Lord Jesus returned!” He then turned about and said to me, “The way of Eastern Lightning is not the same as the work of the Lord Jesus. By believing in Eastern Lightning you are abandoning the Lord Jesus’ work and committing apostasy! And what’s more, you’ve led so many brothers and sisters into listening to their sermons. When the Lord does come, we’ll then see how you account for your actions to Him …” When I heard him say that I had committed apostasy, I felt very upset, and I thought to myself: “I see that Almighty God’s words possess authority and power and that they come from God. But the work of Almighty God is different to the work of the Lord Jesus. Could it be that, by accepting God’s work of the last days, I have abandoned the Lord’s way?” Question after question floated through my mind, and I began to waver. Just then, Sister Song spoke gravely to Brother Liu and said, “Brother, we have not committed apostasy by believing in Almighty God. Instead, we keep pace with the footsteps of the Lamb and we welcome the return of the Lord Jesus. Let’s think about this: When the Lord Jesus became flesh and came to perform His works, He performed, upon the foundation of Jehovah God’s work, a higher work than that performed in the Age of Law. He led people away from the bonds of the laws and was crucified upon the cross in order to take upon Himself all the sins of mankind, and thus He became mankind’s sin offering. As long as people went before the Lord Jesus to confess and repent, then their sins were forgiven, and they were able to avoid the danger of being condemned and sentenced to death by the laws. Though the work of the Lord Jesus was different from the work of Jehovah God, in essence they were still performed by one God and were just different works performed according to the needs of mankind—this is an undeniable fact. Can we then say that all who follow the Lord Jesus have committed apostasy? Certainly not. We can say that they are the wise virgins who keep pace with God’s footsteps. Similarly, our acceptance of the work of Almighty God today is us keeping pace with God’s footsteps …”
Before Sister Song had even finished speaking, Brother Li waved his hands impatiently and said angrily, “That’s enough! We’re not listening!” Just then, I thought of Almighty God’s words that say: “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. … 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 Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “That’s true,” I thought. “Put together, the three stages of work of the Age of Law, the Age of Grace and the Age of Kingdom form God’s entire management. All three of these stages of work are done by one God, and that’s the truth!” Thinking this, I felt more secure, and I spoke in a leisurely tone to the leaders, saying, “Brother Li, Brother Liu. We are not wrong to accept Almighty God’s work of the last days today. Although the work Almighty God does is different to that which was done by the Lord Jesus, God performs different works according to our needs as corrupt humanity. Though the Lord Jesus has forgiven our sins, our sinful nature has not been expunged, and we are still capable of frequently sinning and resisting God. In order to save us utterly from sin, God performs upon the foundation of the work of redemption a stage of work that is the work of judgment by words, so that we may be completely rid of the bonds of sin and be purified and saved by God. Whether it is the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption or Almighty God’s work of judgment, they are both done by one Spirit. Therefore, it is not apostasy for us now to accept Almighty God’s work of the last days, but rather we are keeping pace with the footsteps of the Lamb and we are acting entirely in accordance with the Lord’s will. Just as it says in Revelation: ‘These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes’ (Revelation 14:4).” Without waiting for me to finish speaking, the leaders bellowed with frustration and exasperation: “No matter how right you may be, it’s totally useless. If you won’t listen to us then you will be expelled from the church, and everyone in the church will be notified that you are now believing in Eastern Lightning, so that they will all abandon you too!” Having finished speaking, they both left in a rage.
I felt some distress when I heard the leaders say that they would expel me from the church, and I wondered what my brothers and sisters in that church would think of me to be expelled despite being a believer in God. How would I face them in the future? Sister Zheng saw that my mood was a little low, so she read to me a passage of God’s words: “In My plan, Satan has, all along, been stalking behind each step and, as the foil of My wisdom, has always been trying to find ways and means to disrupt My original plan. Yet could I succumb to its deceitful schemes? Everything in heaven and on earth serves Me; could the deceitful schemes of Satan be any different? This is precisely where My wisdom intersects; it is precisely that which is wondrous about My deeds, and it is the principle of operation for My entire management plan” (“Chapter 8” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). She then gave fellowship, saying, “We can see from God’s words that in every stage of work God performs, Satan employs all manner of deceitful schemes to destroy them and ruin them, and it makes every possible effort to disturb us and obstruct us from coming before God, in the vain hope that we will shun God and betray Him, and fall into its net and lose God’s salvation. It can therefore be said that wherever God works, there also will Satan be causing disturbances. The leaders of religious denominations now fabricate many rumors to make up false charges against The Church of Almighty God and to discredit it, and they spread misconceptions and employ all manner of underhanded means to seal off churches and to obstruct believers from returning before God. Behind all this hide Satan’s deceitful schemes—Satan is vying with God for mankind and it is a raging spiritual war. We have to learn how to depend on God’s words and on the truth to discern Satan’s deceitful schemes, and we must rely on God and stand firm, and not allow Satan’s deceitful schemes to prevail!” After listening to God’s words and to the sister’s fellowship, I felt some light enter my heart and I finally realized that this was a spiritual war. Satan was using these religious leaders to spread fallacies to disturb me with the aim of taking me away from God’s presence and causing me to lose God’s salvation forever. I thought then that I must not get caught in Satan’s deceitful schemes, but that I must keep pace with God’s footsteps and stand firm on the true way. Thinking this, my heart gradually became calm. Because it was getting late, the brothers and sisters arranged to meet again next time.