My Story of Welcoming the Lord
By Su Yang, China
When I was little, I couldn’t walk because of severe pain in my legs, so my mother brought me before the Lord. To my surprise, my legs miraculously healed just one month later. To repay the Lord’s love, I dropped out of school in 1998 and began enthusiastically expending myself for the Lord. Soon after, the church identified me as an important candidate for training, and Elder Qu would take me around to different churches he preached at. The pastors and elders would often say that the Lord’s day was imminent, and that we should be like the wise virgins who prepared lamp oil and awaited the Lord’s coming. They also said, “The Bible 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’ (Revelation 1:7). In the last days, the Lord will come again in great glory on a bank of clouds and rapture us into the air to be with Him. We’ll enter into the kingdom of heaven and enjoy eternal blessings. Unbelievers will wail and gnash their teeth as they succumb to calamities.” Hearing the elders’ and pastors’ animated sermons, I immediately envisioned a glorious scene in which we all gathered round the Lord as He descended to earth on a bank of clouds. You can imagine how excited I was at the thought of such a stirring scene.
Then, one day early on in 1999, Elder Qu and Elder Wang called a co-worker meeting and said: “A new church called ‘Eastern Lightning’ has arisen and claims the Lord has already incarnated and returned, expressing words and performing the work of judgment starting from God’s house. But how could this be? The scriptures clearly state that God will descend on a bank of clouds, yet they say the Lord has returned incarnate. This is not in keeping with the Bible, so you shouldn’t listen to their sermons or read their books, much less host them. Whoever hosts them will be expelled from the church!”
When they said that, I thought: “The elders have been believers for years and are well-versed in the Bible, so they must be right. What’s more, the scriptures clearly state that the Lord will descend on the clouds, so how could He have incarnated? I still have a small stature, so I shouldn’t come in contact with people from Eastern Lightning, or I could be led astray.” But not long after that, many of my co-workers and fellow believers converted to Eastern Lightning. Elder Wang emphasized that we should break ties with these co-workers and believers, and had us get out the word to all the churches that no one could convert to Eastern Lightning. After that, I went to all the gathering points and told them to seal off the church. I also repeatedly emphasized: “When the Lord comes, it will be on clouds, not through incarnation in the flesh. Any rumors that the Lord has incarnated in the flesh are fake.” Hearing this, the believers all nodded their heads and expressed that if anyone else came to spread the gospel, they would drive them off. In order to keep brothers and sisters from hearing Eastern Lightning’s preaching, I rushed all around sealing off the church. But despite my best efforts, there was still a steady stream of co-workers and believers converting to Eastern Lightning.
One day, while I was at the home of a co-worker, he told me that Co-worker Li and others were investigating Eastern Lightning. A few other co-workers and I rushed over to stop them. I told them: “The scriptures say that the Lord will descend on a bank of clouds and that all will witness His descent. So we can’t believe these Eastern Lightning people when they say the Lord has incarnated in flesh.” But no sooner had the words left my mouth than one of them said: “What they preach is very insightful and lines up with the Bible! So why can’t we listen? Who can fathom the entirety of God’s work? I think we should continue investigating.” Hearing that made me anxious and I was about to continue dissuading them, but then, all of a sudden, my throat seized up and I had a coughing fit. My face was beet red and tears were streaming from my eyes—I couldn’t get a single word out. Everyone there just stared in shock. The co-workers rushed to pour me a glass of water, but I kept coughing even after drinking it. I was more panicked than a cat on a hot tin roof and continually prayed to the Lord, asking Him to stop my coughing. Seeing my state, another co-worker continued speaking in my place, but after just a few comments, they hastily wrapped the gathering up. It was an incredibly awkward scene. After the gathering, I couldn’t help but wonder: “I was defending the Lord’s way and safeguarding the flock, so why did I fall into a coughing fit at the most crucial moment? Why didn’t the Lord heed my prayers? Was what I was saying not in keeping with His will?” Not long after that, I fell ill. I had a headache, felt dizzy and there was a pain in my stomach. Lying there feeble and faint on my bed, I called out to the Lord over and over. But no matter how I beseeched Him, my condition wouldn’t change. I couldn’t help but think: “Am I not devoted enough to the Lord? I’ve done my utmost to protect our flock, so why would I fall ill?” I racked my brains seeking an answer, but I couldn’t figure it out. In the fall of 1999, Elder Wang got in an accident on his way home from sealing off the church. He passed out in the crash and sustained a serious head injury, then was in critical condition for several days before finally stabilizing. I was shocked to hear about this: Elder Wang had worked for the Lord for years, through thick and thin, and had suffered serious hardships to protect the flock and keep believers from accepting Eastern Lightning. Why would something like this happen to him? But at the time, I didn't realize that it was wrong to work against Eastern Lightning. One afternoon several months later, I heard about more believers looking into Eastern Lightning, so a couple other sisters and I rushed over on our bikes and told them many rumors and fallacies to threaten and obstruct them. This scared all those sisters and brothers and they said that they wouldn’t listen to Eastern Lightning’s sermons anymore. Only after hearing that did I finally feel a bit relieved. But then, on my way home when I arrived at a downhill section, I lost my balance on my bike, my vision went black and I crashed off the bike, landing two yards away. I immediately felt dizzy and my whole body was in pain. The fall left me with a broken collarbone. The sudden accident left me baffled and confused: Doesn’t the Lord bestow us with peace and joy? Why was I having these mishaps when I was protecting the Lord’s way? Could this Eastern Lightning that I was resisting really be the return of the Lord? But the Bible clearly states that the Lord would descend on the clouds, so Eastern Lightning couldn’t be the true way! Was the Lord testing me because I wasn’t devoted enough to Him? Or had I offended Him in some way? I was really bewildered and couldn’t grasp the Lord’s will.
After that, I felt increasingly dark and depleted. When I read the Bible, I didn’t attain any insight and had nothing to say in my sermons. Even my prayers felt vapid and insipid. It seemed as though I had lost the Lord’s presence and most of our believers were becoming tepid in their faith. During gatherings, most people just chit-chatted or dozed off, and many co-workers and believers had even left the church entirely, going back into the world. What was most disappointing for me was that there was a lot of jealousy among co-workers. During co-worker gatherings, the elders and co-workers would be at each other’s throats over the smallest issues and would part on bad terms. Seeing all of this, I just couldn’t understand why the church had become this way. I began to get fed up with gatherings and even considered returning to secular life.
Then, one day in 2002, my mother excitedly told me: “The Lord Jesus has returned and has incarnated to express His words and perform the work of judgment.” I was shocked when I heard this. Wasn’t this what Eastern Lightning was preaching? Had my mom converted to Eastern Lightning? Before she had even finished speaking, I asked her: “Who told you the Lord Jesus has returned? Have you forgotten that the Bible clearly says when the Lord comes, He will descend in glory on clouds and this will shake the heavens and the earth? You say the Lord has returned, so why haven’t we seen any of these signs? You also say that the Lord has incarnated to perform the work of judgment, but how could that be? You shouldn’t just casually believe anything you hear.” Seeing how obstinate I was, my mother went into her room and emerged with an exquisitely bound book. She said eagerly: “Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. In here you can find the new words that the Lord Jesus has expressed. Read it and you’ll see.” The book was brand new and the title The Word Appears in the Flesh was printed in large gold lettering on the cover. I immediately thought of the clergy’s warning: “You mustn’t read their book. If you read it, you’ll be taken in.” I said: “Mom, you shouldn’t believe this stuff. You haven’t read much of the Bible, but I’m well-versed in it and have attended a number of revivals. Do you think you really know better than me? If you stray in your faith, won’t all your years in the church have been in vain?” But at the time, I wasn’t willing to seek and kept trying to persuade my mom not to join Eastern Lightning. But no matter what I said, my mother wouldn’t relent and didn’t change her mind at all. She even earnestly said to me: “Almighty God really is the Lord Jesus we’ve been longing for all along. He is God’s Spirit once more incarnated in flesh to speak and perform work. The Word Appears in the Flesh is the word of God for the last days and it unveils all the mysteries of the Bible. You’ve never read Almighty God’s words, so how do you know they aren’t the words of the returned Lord? The Bible says, ‘Faith comes by hearing’ (Romans 10:17). You haven’t opened your eyes or your ears, so how do you expect to welcome the Lord? Think about it: if the Lord really has returned, and you don’t greet Him, won’t you regret that you missed your opportunity?” Hearing what she had to say, I couldn’t think of a good rebuttal, so I just sulkily replied: “I won’t read this book, I only read the Bible. We’ve enjoyed so much of the Lord’s grace—I can’t be ungrateful! No matter what you say, I won’t betray the Lord!” Seeing my attitude, she just sighed with frustration and went to prepare dinner. Not long after, I heard the faint sounds of music coming from the kitchen. The song had an infectious melody, but listening closely, I realized it wasn’t any of the hymns we’d learned before. I knew my mom was playing it for me to hear, so I immediately left. After that, my mom started playing hymns at home a lot, and, at night, I would often hear her praying for me in tears. At that point, it occurred to me that she was someone who thought for herself and so she must have done some diligent seeking when it came to welcoming the Lord. Could Eastern Lightning really be the return of the Lord Jesus? Otherwise, why would my mom be so anxious and worried in her prayers for me? But then I thought of what the pastors and elders said and I resolved to adhere to the Lord’s way and not relent. After that, I grew more distant to my mother.
One day when I was sitting on the living room couch, my mom put on a hymn in her room. The lyrics of the hymn drew me in: “This time, God has become flesh to perform the work that He has not yet completed, to lay judgment upon this age and bring it to an end, to save man from the sea of suffering, to thoroughly conquer humanity, and to change people’s life dispositions. Many are the sleepless nights that God has endured to free man from suffering and from the dark forces that are as black as night, and for the sake of the work of mankind. He has descended from the highest to the lowest of places to live in this human hell and pass His days with man. God has never complained of the shabbiness amongst them, nor has He ever asked too much of man; rather, God has endured the greatest shame while carrying out His work. So that all of humanity may soon enjoy rest, God has endured humiliation and suffered injustice to come to earth, and personally entered into the tiger’s den to save mankind. So many times has He faced the stars, so many times has He departed at dawn and returned at dusk; He has endured extreme agony and been subjected to people’s attacks and breaking. God has come to this land of filth, quietly enduring man’s ravages and oppression in obscurity, yet He has never fought back or made any excessive demands of people! He has performed all the work that is necessary for mankind: teaching, enlightening and reproaching people, refining them with His words, as well as reminding, exhorting, comforting, judging, and exposing them. Every step He takes is for the sake of people’s lives, is meant to cleanse them. Despite having taken away their prospects and fate, everything God does is for the sake of humanity. Every step He takes is for their survival, so that people can have a beautiful destination on earth” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs, God Suffers Great Torment for Man’s Salvation). The lyrics to this hymn spoke to me deeply. I couldn’t help but think of how the Lord Jesus had incarnated to redeem mankind. He had been hunted and persecuted by the ruling party, condemned and abandoned by the religious world, jeered at and slandered by the common people and never had a place to rest or a home to call His own. Despite all this, He still expressed truth to supply people, healing them and driving out demons, and was ultimately crucified as an everlasting sin offering for mankind, redeeming all of humanity from sin. When I thought of the Lord’s love for mankind and contrasted this with the torment He received at man’s hands, my numbed and hardened heart was deeply shaken and tears came streaming from my eyes. Could Almighty God really be the returned Lord Jesus? Who else but God could express such words? Who else could pay such a price for man? After that, I heard another hymn: “The innocent, after all, have grown numb; why must God always make things difficult for them? Feeble man is utterly bereft of perseverance; why should God always have such unabating anger toward him? Weak and powerless man no longer has the slightest vitality; why should God always chide him for his disobedience? Who can withstand the threats of God in heaven? Man, after all, is fragile, and in desperate straits, God has pushed His anger deep into His heart, so that man may slowly reflect upon himself” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs, How Hard God’s Work Is). The lyrics had a deep impact on me. The lyrics spoke of God’s profound concern and care for humankind. It was akin to when a disobedient child hurts their mother’s feelings and yet the mother continually calls out to them, hoping that their child can emerge from the fog and return to her side. I felt that these words were God’s voice. I couldn’t help but think of all my disagreements with my mom during that time: No matter how she tried to persuade me, I wouldn’t listen and when she played recitations and hymns of God’s words for me, I even resisted and avoided listening without the slightest intention of investigating. I didn’t have even the smallest semblance of a Christian. After that, when my mom played hymns, I wasn’t as resistant.
One day, I heard this hymn: “The return of Jesus is a great salvation for those who are capable of accepting the truth, but for those who are unable to accept the truth it is a sign of condemnation. You should choose your own path, and should not blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and reject the truth. You should not be an ignorant and arrogant person, but someone who obeys the guidance of the Holy Spirit and longs for and seeks the truth; only in this way will you benefit” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs, Be Someone Who Accepts the Truth). Hearing this hymn, I was suddenly seized with worry: “If Almighty God really is the returned Lord Jesus, won’t I be condemned for not accepting Him? Offending God is a serious issue—this is a sin that wouldn’t be forgiven in this world or the next!” I also thought of how Lord Jesus said: “Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled” (Matthew 5:6). The Lord Jesus taught us that only by seeking and thirsting for truth can we receive God’s abundant sustenance. But if I were to investigate Eastern Lightning and was deceived, wouldn’t all my years of faith be in vain? I kept going back and forth and couldn’t decide, so I reached out to the Lord in prayer: “O Lord, I’m feeling really conflicted. These words seem to be Your voice, but I’m scared I’ve got it wrong and I may betray You. Lord, I’m not sure if You’ve returned as Almighty God. If this truly is Your work, please enlighten me. If not, please help me to stand firm.”
A few days later, my mom pulled out The Word Appears in the Flesh again and said to me: “Diligently read Almighty God’s words and you’ll know that He is the returned Lord Jesus. If you don’t investigate, how will you know if He’s the returned Lord? It’s like a banquet buffet: If you just look at it but don’t try any of the food, you’ll never know what it tastes like. We believe in the true God, so what are you afraid of? I’m your mother—do you really think I’d do you harm?” My mom’s words were quite convincing: I thought, “It’s true, I’ve only listened to the pastors and elders, parroting their words, but I never once listened to Eastern Lightning’s sermons or read Almighty God’s words. So how would I know if Almighty God was the returned Lord Jesus? Hadn’t I confirmed that Lord Jesus was the Redeemer by reading the Bible?” At this thought, I picked up the book and started leafing through. I saw what Almighty God says: “Perhaps, having heard the way of truth and having read the word of life, you believe that only one in 10,000 of these words are in line with your convictions and the Bible, and then you should continue to seek in that 10,000th of these words. I still advise you to be humble, to not be over-confident, and to not exalt yourself too highly. With your heart holding such meager reverence for God, you will gain greater light. If you carefully examine and repeatedly contemplate these words, you shall understand whether or not they are the truth, and whether or not they are life” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. By the Time You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus, God Will Have Made Heaven and Earth Anew). Reading this ardent exhortation, I began to get nervous and scared: “Could these really be the words of God? Why else would it say these are the words of life and the way of truth and advise people to continue seeking even if just one in 10,000 of it is in line with their convictions and the Bible.” I decided to investigate. Otherwise, it would be too late for regret once I missed my opportunity to welcome the Lord. Having made up my mind, I continued reading and came upon this passage. “It is My hope that each and every brother and sister who seeks the appearance of God will not repeat the tragedy of history. You must not become the Pharisees of modern times and nail God to the cross again. You should carefully consider how to welcome the return of God, and you should have a clear mind regarding how to be someone who submits to the truth. This is the responsibility of everyone who is waiting for Jesus to return riding upon a cloud. We should rub our spiritual eyes to make them clear, and not become mired in words of exaggerated fantasy. We should think about the practical work of God, and take a look at the practical aspect of God. Do not get carried away or lose yourselves in daydreams, always longing for the day when the Lord Jesus, riding upon a cloud, suddenly descends among you, and takes you who have never known or seen Him, and who do not know how to do His will. It is better to think upon more practical matters!” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Preface). Reading this was a bit confusing for me. In the Bible, it clearly states that the Lord will return in great glory on the clouds, so why did this passage say the following? “We should rub our spiritual eyes to make them clear, and not become mired in words of exaggerated fantasy.” “Do not get carried away or lose yourselves in daydreams, always longing for the day when the Lord Jesus, riding upon a cloud, suddenly descends among you.” Did the Lord really not return on the clouds? What was going on here? I turned the matter over and over in my mind but I couldn’t figure it out. Then it occurred to me that believers in Almighty God came to our house a lot, so I decided to ask them and see what they said.
One day, Sister Muyu from The Church of Almighty God came to our house and so I told her about my confusion. She smiled and replied: “It’s true that the Bible mentions the Lord returning on the clouds, but as for how the Lord will come back, the Bible contains other prophecies besides the ones of His coming on the clouds. ‘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). And, ‘Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you think not’ (Luke 12:40). ‘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). Also, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hears My voice, and opens the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me’ (Revelation 3:20). In these verses, why is it that the Lord keeps emphasizing ‘the coming of the Son of man,’ ‘the Son of man comes,’ and ‘the Son of man in His day’? What is ‘the Son of man’ referring to? It’s referring to God’s Spirit incarnating and becoming the Son of man. God’s Spirit alone could not be called the Son of man. Also, the Lord mentions over and over that He will return ‘as a thief,’ and says, ‘at midnight there was a cry made.’ This suggests that when the Lord returns, He will do so quietly, in secret, that He’ll incarnate and become the Son of man, descending in secret without anyone discovering what has happened. This is just like when God’s Spirit incarnated as the Lord Jesus to appear and do His work. The Lord Jesus looked like a normal person, and when He traveled all around preaching, no one recognized that He was the incarnate God, that He was the manifestation of Christ. So, we can be completely sure that when the Lord returns, He does so incarnated as the Son of man to appear and do His work.” I was really taken aback when Muyu said this. The pastors and elders would often say that “the Son of man” refers to the Lord Jesus, not the returned Lord Jesus. The pastors and elders were well-versed in the Bible, so they couldn’t be wrong. I reasoned Muyu had probably misunderstood the Bible and spoke incorrectly. Realizing this, I hurriedly said: “Muyu, the pastors and elders told us, ‘the Son of man’ refers to the Lord Jesus, not the returned Lord incarnated in flesh.” She patiently replied: “Sister, these verses all clearly state that these are prophecies of the Lord Jesus’ return. Any discerning person will be clear on this. How could this be referring to the Lord Jesus? Aren’t these clergy misinterpreting the Lord’s words? Also, look at the Gospel of Luke, 17:24–25: ‘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.’ In these verses, the Lord is prophesying what the conditions will be like upon His return. If the Lord returned in great glory on a bank of clouds, then everyone would certainly be terrified and would fall down on the ground. Who would dare resist and forsake the Lord then? Then how would the prophecy, ‘But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation’ be realized? So according to the Lord’s words, there is no doubt that the returned Lord is the Son of man incarnated in flesh. Almighty God’s appearance and work completely fulfill the Lord Jesus’ prophecies.”
After hearing her fellowship, I felt really ashamed. Her fellowship was well-grounded and it completely convinced me. I finally realized why, when the Lord Jesus spoke of His return, He’d always mention “the coming of the Son of man,” “the Son of man comes,” and “the Son of man in His day.” He repeatedly stressed “the Son of man” to tell us that He’d return in the flesh, appearing and working as the Son of man. I never imagined that despite knowing the Bible well and often explaining it to others, I didn’t see that the Bible clearly states that the returned Lord will become the Son of man to appear and do work. I just blindly believed what the pastors and elders told me. I was really so muddled in my faith, and all my years of Bible study had been in vain. I didn’t have the slightest understanding of the Lord’s words and was still blindly arrogant and delimiting. How irrational I was! I was glad that I was able to quiet my heart and listen to Muyu’s fellowship. Otherwise, if I had only listened to the pastors’ and elders’ sermons, I’d still be staring off into the clouds, awaiting the Lord’s descent. Ultimately, I would just be cast out and abandoned by God! Muyu continued her fellowship, saying: “God’s return in the last days happens in two stages. First, He incarnates and arrives in secret, then, later, He will come in the clouds, appearing openly. As of now, Almighty God’s appearance and work in the flesh is the first stage in which the Lord arrives in secret. God expresses the truth to do the work of judgment, to purify and save humanity, and allow mankind to completely break free from sin. Those that truly believe in God and long for His appearance can recognize God’s voice in the words of Almighty God, become sure that He is the returned Lord Jesus and come before Him. These are all wise virgins that have been raptured before God’s throne and are now receiving and experiencing the judgment and purification of God’s words. So during this time, we can’t possibly see the Lord appearing on a bank of clouds. Only after God has completed a group of overcomers and has finished His secret work in the flesh, will He inflict disasters, reward good and punish evil, and finally descend on a bank of clouds, revealing Himself to all people. At that time, those that previously condemned and resisted Almighty God will wail, beat their chests and gnash their teeth with regret in the disasters when they see that they were resisting the returned Lord Jesus. This completely fulfills the prophecy in Revelation: ‘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).”
After that, Muyu read a passage of Almighty God’s words for me. “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 and 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 return of Jesus is a great salvation for those who are capable of accepting the truth, but for those who are unable to accept the truth it is a sign of condemnation. You should choose your own path, and should not blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and reject the truth. You should not be an ignorant and arrogant person, but someone who obeys the guidance of the Holy Spirit and longs for and seeks the truth; only in this way will you benefit” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. By the Time You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus, God Will Have Made Heaven and Earth Anew). After hearing Almighty God’s words, I put aside my pride and finally saw that I had all kinds of notions and imaginings concerning the Lord’s coming. It was no wonder that I hadn’t seen the Lord descend on the clouds after all these years. He has incarnated and come in secret, expressing words to save humanity, and will only appear in the clouds after completing a group of overcomers. But I’d been deceived by the clergy, taking passages out of context and sticking to literal words of the Bible. I almost missed my chance to welcome the Lord and was abandoned by God. It was really a close call!
Muyu continued her fellowship: “We all know that 2,000 years ago, all the Israelites were awaiting the Messiah, but when the Lord Jesus came and worked, the Pharisees stuck to literal words of the Scripture, and were full of notions regarding the Messiah’s arrival. They believed that when God came, He would be called Messiah, would be born into an aristocratic family, have kingly status and power, and would free them from the Roman government’s rule. But when the Lord Jesus came, He wasn’t called Messiah. He was born into a family of commoners, birthed in a stable and wasn’t particularly tall or imposing. He was even oppressed and persecuted. They denied and condemned Him and ultimately had Him nailed to the cross, committing an atrocious sin, incurring God’s curses and punishment and leading to the subjugation of the Israelites for 2,000 years. That was a brutal lesson to undergo! It’s worthwhile for us to reflect on the root cause of their failure. If we fail to gain insight on this, then, with regard to the Lord’s coming, we’ll be likely to follow the same God-resisting path that the Pharisees once walked.” When the sister finished, she read another passage of Almighty God’s words with me: “Do you wish to know the root of why the Pharisees opposed Jesus? Do you wish to know the essence 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 pursue 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 to the mere name of the Messiah while opposing the essence of the Messiah by any means possible. These Pharisees in essence 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. Is this belief not preposterous and ridiculous?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. By the Time You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus, God Will Have Made Heaven and Earth Anew). Muyu fellowshiped, saying: “Almighty God has revealed the essence and root cause of the Pharisees’ resistance to the Lord Jesus. It was due to their stubborn, arrogant nature, and because they were sick of the truth, and hated it. What’s more, they didn’t understand God’s work and clung to literal words of the Scripture, delimiting God’s appearance and work according to their own notions. Even when the Lord Jesus expressed many truths and performed plenty of miracles, they still didn’t seek or accept this at all. They stubbornly held to the literal Scripture, always trying to gain leverage over, condemn and resist the Lord, ultimately having Him crucified. So, when considering the Lord’s coming in the last days, only by learning from the brutal lesson of the Pharisees’ failure, letting go of our notions and looking into God’s appearance and work, can we hope to welcome the Lord. Nowadays, the pastors and elders of the religious world are just like the Pharisees. When they hear people bearing witness to the Lord’s coming, they don’t seek or investigate it at all and even stubbornly cling to the Bible passage about the Lord coming in the clouds. They say, ‘He who claims to be the Lord Jesus but does not come upon a cloud is a false Christ,’ wantonly resisting Almighty God, and preventing believers from investigating the true way. If they never repent, they will be exposed by God in the last days as false believers and antichrists, and once God’s work of salvation is finished, they’ll cry and gnash their teeth as they succumb to unprecedented calamities.”
Hearing this left me afraid and trembling. I considered what she’d said in light of my own behavior: I stuck to the literal words of the Bible in welcoming the Lord, believing, based on my own notions, that the Lord would arrive on a bank of clouds. When I heard people saying that the Lord Jesus had returned, not only did I not investigate, but I went along with the pastors and elders in blindly condemning them, spreading all kinds of rumors to slander and malign Almighty God, and kept believers from investigating the true way. There was no difference between my behavior and that of the Pharisees that resisted the Lord Jesus. I was a modern-day Pharisee, a stumbling block obstructing believers from investigating the true way. If not for God’s mercy, displayed through Muyu’s fellowship of the truth, allowing me to hear God’s voice, someone as stubborn and unaccepting of the truth as I was, would ultimately be abandoned, cast out, cursed and punished by God. After that, I asked her: “Given that the Lord has incarnated to do His work in secret, how can we be sure that Almighty God is the incarnate God, Christ of the last days?” She read me a few more passages of Almighty God’s words. “The ‘incarnation’ is God’s appearance in the flesh; God works among created mankind in the image of the flesh. So for God to be incarnated, He must first be flesh, flesh with normal humanity; this is the most basic prerequisite. In fact, the implication of God’s incarnation is that God lives and works in the flesh, that God in His very essence becomes flesh, becomes a man” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God). “The incarnate God is called Christ, and Christ is the flesh donned by the Spirit of God. This flesh is unlike any man that is of the flesh. This difference is because Christ is not of flesh and blood; He is the incarnation of the Spirit. He has both a normal humanity and a complete divinity. His divinity is not possessed by any man. His normal humanity sustains all His normal activities in the flesh, while His divinity carries out the work of God Himself” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Essence of Christ Is Obedience to the Will of the Heavenly Father). “He who is God incarnate shall possess the essence of God, and He who is God incarnate shall possess the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He intends to do, and since God becomes flesh, He shall express what He is, and shall be able to bring the truth to man, bestow life upon him, and point the way for him. Flesh that does not have the essence of God is decidedly not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt. If man intends to inquire into whether it is God’s incarnate flesh, then he must corroborate this from the disposition He expresses and the words He speaks. Which is to say, to corroborate whether or not it is God’s incarnate flesh, and whether or not it is the true way, one must discriminate on the basis of His essence. And so, in determining whether it is the flesh of God incarnate, the key lies in His essence (His work, His utterances, His disposition, and many other aspects), rather than external appearance. If man scrutinizes only His external appearance, and as a result overlooks His essence, this shows that man is benighted and ignorant” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Preface). After finishing reading, Muyu fellowshiped: “Almighty God’s words clearly tell us that incarnation means God’s Spirit is clothed in flesh and He becomes a normal person, appearing in the world to express the truth and perform work. Outwardly, Christ looks like a normal person, but God’s Spirit is within Him—He is the embodiment of God’s Spirit. So Christ not only has normal humanity, but He also has complete divinity, which is to say: God’s inherent disposition, what God has and is, His authority, almightiness, and wisdom are all realized within His incarnate body. Christ is God Himself, the Lord of creation. So, Christ can express the truth, unveil mysteries at any given moment, express God’s disposition and all that He is, and perform the work of redemption and salvation of humankind. This is just the same as how the Lord Jesus was the incarnation of God—He was Christ. Even though the Lord looked like a normal person outwardly and really lived amongst humans on earth, He was able to express the truth and reveal the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven at any time, and He provided humanity with the way of repentance. The Lord Jesus forgave people’s sins and expressed God’s loving and merciful disposition. He also performed many miracles: He healed the sick, drove out demons, resurrected the dead, calmed the winds and seas, and fed 5,000 with five loaves and two fish. The Lord Jesus’ words and work were a complete manifestation of God’s authority and power. We all confirmed that the Lord Jesus was Christ, God incarnate, based on His words and work. So when confirming whether or not someone is God incarnate, we shouldn’t base our evaluation on their outward appearance, what family they were born into, if they have status or power, or whether they are supported or rejected by others, but rather entirely upon whether they can express the truth and do God’s work. This is the key. As long as they can express the truth and do the work of salvation of humankind, then no matter how average they may appear outwardly, and no matter how much they may be condemned and rejected, they are undeniably still God incarnate, they are Christ. Since appearing to perform His work, Almighty God has expressed millions of words and revealed all the mysteries of God’s management plan. He’s revealed the purpose of God’s management plan, the inside story of the three stages of His work, the mystery of God’s incarnations and names, the inside story of the Bible, how God’s work of judgment in the last days purifies and saves humanity, the outcomes and destinations of each kind of person, how Christ’s kingdom is realized on earth and much more. On top of that, Almighty God also judges and exposes people’s God-resisting, satanic nature and all manner of corrupt dispositions. He also shows people the path to freeing themselves of sin and being saved. The truths that Almighty God has expressed are just so abundant― He has expressed all the aspects of the truth that we need to be fully saved and none of these mysteries and truths have ever been heard before. God’s chosen have experienced the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, and have some actual understanding of their corrupt dispositions, recognition of God’s righteous and majestic disposition, are gradually being freed from the fetters and constraints of sin, and have changed their life dispositions to various degrees. Only through reading Almighty God’s words and personally experiencing His work in the last days have we come to know that Almighty God is God incarnate, Christ of the last days.”
Almighty God’s words and Muyu’s fellowship were enlightening. I saw that the key to determining if someone is God incarnate rests upon whether they can express truths, do the work of salvation, and whether they can express God’s disposition and all that He is. So Almighty God really is God incarnate, the returned Lord Jesus, otherwise, who else could open the scroll and the seven seals to reveal all the hidden mysteries and truths? Other than God, who could save mankind by freeing us from the shackles of sin?
Muyu continued, saying: “In this appearance, God is primarily expressing His words to identify those that thirst for His arrival and can hear His voice. The Lord Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’ (John 10:27). All who are God’s sheep long for the truth and have reverence for Him. When they hear someone say that the Lord has returned, they seek and investigate the true way. When they read Almighty God’s words, they recognize God’s voice, accept Almighty God and have a chance at salvation. Those who are not God’s sheep all arrogantly and stubbornly cling to religious notions, refuse to listen to God’s voice and even judge and condemn God’s work in the last days. Ultimately, they will get the punishment they deserve. So, God uses His words to reveal each kind of person in the last days, sorting each according to their kind, rewarding good and punishing evil. This fully manifests God’s righteousness.”
Hearing this, I bowed my head and tears came streaming down my face. I knew that I had really resisted God. Thinking back to when people testified that the Lord had returned, I didn’t seek or investigate, but blindly obeyed the pastors and elders, spreading lies and intimidating believers to prevent them from investigating the true way. As a result, I fell into a coughing fit to the point that I couldn’t speak, fell ill, and even broke my collarbone. Elder Wang also got into a car crash. I realized that none of these were mere accidents. They were all punishments and retribution for resisting God, but I was numb and didn’t know I needed to wake up. I even continually condemned and resisted God’s appearance and work, thinking I was safeguarding the Lord’s way and protecting the flock. I was so numb! Not even in my wildest dreams did I imagine that Eastern Lightning, which I had continually slandered and resisted, was actually the Lord Jesus I had been awaiting for so long! I felt unspeakably anguished and regretful and hated myself for being so blind and foolish. I had believed in God without recognizing His work, and had even followed the elders in resisting God and keeping believers from investigating the true way. Based on my behavior, I really did deserve to be punished by God. But God didn’t act upon me based on my transgressions, and even used my mother playing the hymns of His words over and over for me to hear and Muyu’s fellowshiping on the truth to allow my numb, stubborn heart to gradually awaken and gain insight, so that I accepted God’s appearance and work. Thank Almighty God for His mercy and salvation!
After that, I hungrily devoured the words of Almighty God. Through His words, I learned about the meaning of each of God’s names in the different ages, the inside story of the Bible, and how Satan has corrupted mankind and how God saves us. I also came to know that people’s satanic nature is the root cause of our sinfulness and resistance to God, and learned how to seek to rid myself of corruption and attain salvation. I saw that Almighty God’s words and work completely fulfill the Lord Jesus’ words: “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’s words resolved much of my confusion and false notions and I became completely sure that these were the personal utterances of God. Almighty God was the Lord Jesus I’d been awaiting for so long. I felt like a child who had gone missing for years and was finally reunited with her mother. I couldn’t help but embrace the book of God’s words and break out in tears. I hated myself for being so blind and not recognizing God, mindlessly resisting and condemning God’s work of the last days, and becoming a barrier to believers seeking and investigating the true way. I’d become a rebel and enemy of God. Realizing this, I felt deeply regretful and resolved to start spreading the gospel as soon as I could, to bring those I’d deceived and obstructed back into the fold and make up for my past transgressions to comfort God’s heart. After that, I joined the ranks of those spreading the gospel. While sharing the gospel, I would often tell people how I used to cling to literal words of the Bible and do evil deeds in resistance to God. I told them to learn from the lessons of my past failures and I shared Almighty God’s words with them so they could hear God’s voice. Seeing more and more people accepting God’s work in the last days, I felt so happy, grounded and peaceful.
Looking back on the road I’ve traveled, from resisting God to being conquered by God’s words, I saw what painstaking efforts God took on my account. Despite how rebellious I was, God didn’t abandon me and even allowed me to hear His voice and welcome Him. This is God’s great love and salvation for me! Thanks be to Almighty God!
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