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I Have Come to Know How to Distinguish Between the True Christ and False Christs

30

Chuanyang, United States

In 2010, the winter in the United States made me feel very cold. In addition to the bitter cold from the combination of wind and snow, what was even more serious was that my heart had been invaded and attacked by a “cold wave.” For those of us in the interior decorating business, winter is the hardest time of the year, because once winter starts there is very little work. We even face losing our jobs. This year was my first year in the United States, I was fresh off the boat, and I felt that everything was unfamiliar to me. Renting an apartment, finding a job, nothing was easy, and my days were full of hardships. It got to the point to where I was borrowing money to rent an apartment. Being faced with this kind of predicament put me in a bout of sadness, and I felt like the days were really hard to bear. At night I faced the ice-cold wall, with so much pain in me that all I wanted to do was cry. One day, as I walked around listlessly in my state of sadness someone who was spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus handed out a card to me, and said: “The Lord Jesus loves you, brother, come to our church and listen to the Lord’s gospel!” I thought to myself: I guess there’s nothing I have to do right now, so there’s no harm in me going to listen to this, I might as well, it’s something to do. So like that, I stepped into the church. I heard the pastor read aloud the Lord Jesus saying: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (Jhn 3:16). When I heard this sentence I felt deeply moved by the Lord’s love. I cannot clearly explain the kind of feeling it was, but I could feel that the Lord’s love was real, and that it surpassed the love of the entire secular world. My grief-laden heart felt greatly consoled. As a result, I decided to dedicate myself to putting trust in the Lord Jesus. Afterward I started enthusiastically participating in meetings every Sunday, and because of my enthusiastic pursuit I quickly became a co-worker in the church.

Christian church, Preach Gospel, serve God,

After serving in the church for two years, I felt more and more like the Lord was not with me. I didn’t feel enlightened when reading the Bible, I didn’t feel moved through prayer, and I didn’t feel like I was being provided with anything through meetings. In addition, I saw how everyone in the church lived in a condition where they sinned in the day only to confess in the evening, and how everyone, whether pastors, elders or ordinary believers, was bound by sin, having jealous disputes, creating factions, fighting over fame and profit, and clinging to worldly things. All kinds of unlawful behaviors were becoming more and more apparent. I also saw that people in society were becoming more depraved with each passing day, they were becoming more and more evil and more and more selfish, with disasters springing up all over the world—earthquakes, famines and epidemics were constantly breaking out. All kinds of signs made it clear that the last days were fast approaching, and that the Lord Jesus would soon return. The pastors and elders often talked about these Bible verses to us: “Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Mat 24:23-24). And in earnest, they talked about how in the last days false Christs would appear, they told us that by all means we must not listen to strangers preach, and they even said that besides those in our church, the believers in the other denominations and sects were all wrong, that we must be sure to carefully distinguish this so as not to allow ourselves to be deceived and walk down the wrong path. Since I often heard the pastors preach in this way I told myself: I cannot deviate from the path in this crucial moment of the Lord’s imminent arrival, I must be sure to keep my faith in the Lord.

One day in mid-September, 2016, I received an unexpected phone call from Sister Zhu. Sister Zhu was a long-time believer and an active pursuer of the truth in our church, and we had always been on good terms, so I was very happy to get a phone call from her. I listened as Sister Zhu spoke to me excitedly: “Brother, I have some good news to tell you, the Lord Jesus has returned, He is Almighty God! This time God has been incarnated to carry out the work of judging man, cleansing man and saving man …” I was somewhat surprised to hear these words, and I thought to myself: “Has Sister Zhu held on to the way of the Lord? Has she converted to another religion? How could she be so foolish? Haven’t the pastors and elders repeatedly emphasized that false Christs will emerge in the last days? Why hasn’t she listened? If we believe in the wrong thing in this crucial moment when the Lord is soon to come, then won’t we have practiced our faith in vain for these past many years?” As I thought about this I nervously asked Sister Zhu: “Sister, in the Bible it says that in the last days there will be false …” but without waiting for me to finish speaking, Sister Zhu cut in: “Brother, the Lord Jesus warned us to ‘Judge not,’ and we must not pass judgment as we please, so as not to be condemned by God.” The sister’s warning made me think of these words of the Lord: “Judge not, and you shall not be judged: condemn not, and you shall not be condemned” (Luk 6:37). I didn’t dare pass judgment anymore. However, facing such a big event as the return of the Lord, Sister Zhu and I each had our own opinions, and we both wanted to persuade the other, so we took turns trying to make our points, but in the end neither of us could persuade the other.

For over a month after this Sister Zhu gave me repeated phone calls to spread the gospel of the kingdom of Almighty God, but I always refused to accept it, and even kept urging her to come back and continue believing in the Lord. Later, I saw that she was very firm in her belief in Almighty God, that she would not waver in the least in her faith, so I had to let it go, and stopped trying to persuade her. I said: “From now on, I’ll still believe in my Lord Jesus and you can believe in your Almighty God, and we will not get in each other’s way!” After that, whenever Sister Zhu gave me a phone call giving me testimony of God’s work in the last days, I would look for an excuse to avoid her. I kept on refusing to accept the work of God in the last days, but this did not stop her from spreading the gospel to me.

One morning in November shortly after 5 am, before daylight had even broken, someone rang the doorbell at my home. I opened the door and saw Sister Zhu, and with her were a brother and a sister. When I saw Sister Zhu I felt conflicted. I thought to myself: “Have I not explained this to you? How could you still travel such a far distance to come to my home? Regardless of what you say I’m not going to believe in it.” In spite of our many years of getting to know each other as members of the church, I said some unpleasant words to them and didn’t let them come in. When Sister Zhu saw that I was so determined in my approach, a downcast look showed on her face and in a voice choked with emotion she said to me: “Brother, the reason I have come to spread the gospel of the kingdom to you is because I have been moved by the Holy Spirit. If it weren’t for God’s love, I wouldn’t have been able to put my feelings aside and spread the gospel to you time and again. Brother, the Lord Jesus really has returned. Right now the Holy Spirit is working on those who have received God’s new work. If it were not for the work of the Holy Spirit, how could anyone have this much faith and willpower to come to spread the gospel to you? You too have seen the current situation of our church, our brothers and sisters all live bound by sin, lacking the strength to break free. God has come this time to express words to judge man, and to carry out the work of ridding us of sin and cleansing us. If we miss God’s work in the last days we will not have another opportunity to attain God’s salvation.” The sister’s sincere words moved me and somewhat softened my heart. In particular, when she was talking about the church’s situation, the facts I had seen within the churches came to my mind one after another: In the first church I served at, the pastors said one thing and did another, and whoever contributed the most money was welcomed by these pastors with smiling faces, who would concern themselves with how they were doing, but anyone who didn’t contribute very much money was ignored and looked down upon by them. I really couldn’t bear to see this happen, so I went to the second church. In this church I saw the co-workers excluding one another, getting into jealous disputes, and creating factions, and they were no different from people in the secular world. This made me feel disappointed. At first I wanted to move to yet another church, but a brother told me that he had already changed many churches, and that no matter where he went it was always the same desolation and darkness…. As I thought about this I also thought of the various behaviors I have exhibited while living in sin, which made me somewhat waver in my heart: Could it be that the Lord Jesus truly has returned in the flesh to carry out the work of eradicating sin? At this time Sister Zhu continued speaking: “As far as whether or not Almighty God is the returned Lord, all you need to do to know this is read the word of Almighty God. At the time that the Lord Jesus came to carry out His work, His disciples followed Him because they recognized through His word and His work that He was the coming Messiah. Today, in determining whether or not Almighty God is the Lord Jesus appearing to carry out His work, we must also determine this through the work and the word of Almighty God. If, after you read all of Almighty God’s words, you still believe that He isn’t the returned Lord then I will not force anything upon you, and I will stop spreading the gospel to you, because God has never forced anyone to receive His gospel.”

seek God, hearing God's voice, seek the truth

After hearing Sister Zhu say this I hesitated for a moment, and thought to myself: I might as well read them and see which truths spoken in the words of Almighty God have made Sister Zhu so firmly believe in this. Thereupon, I opened the door and let Sister Zhu and the rest of them into my home. Sister Zhu introduced the others, and they were Sister Zhang Qing and Brother Liu Kaiming from The Church of Almighty God. Sister Zhu said: “Brother Chuanyang, since I accepted the last-days work of Almighty God, it has been several months. I have gone to The Church of Almighty God to check it out for myself. I have participated in their church life. Through personal experiences and through carefully investigating it, I have seen that The Church of Almighty God really is a church that has the work of the Holy Spirit, it is a genuine church, and it absolutely comes from God. We have been members of the church together for years, and as a co-worker in the church you ought to know better than I do about what’s going on within it now. The Holy Spirit stopped working in our church long ago, and this is a fact that everyone has accepted. The pastors cannot preach sermons that supply us with life, they only lecture on how to attack and be on guard against other Churches, telling us that we must keep the Lord’s name, that we will be saved if we do not leave the church, but really there is no basis in the word of the Lord for them to be acting in this way. They are doing so all in order to protect their status and keep their jobs, and they are not doing it for our lives. If they truly felt responsible for our lives then they ought to take the initiative in taking us in search of a church where the Holy Spirit is at work, rather than have us remain obstinately in a religious church where the Holy Spirit stopped working long ago, only to await our deaths by starvation or exhaustion.” After hearing this I thought to myself: “Sister Zhu’s words really do speak of what’s going on, the church today really does not have the work of the Holy Spirit, everything that the pastors and elders do really is not in consideration of the lives of the believers, and as I’ve stuck with this church over the years I’ve felt more and more like the Lord is not with us. I long ago felt withered and dark in my spirit, with nowhere to go.” Hearing her speak in this reasonable and well-grounded way, I felt I could no longer reject their visitation.

At this time, Brother Liu who had come with her said, “Brother, the reason that the religious world is this desolate is because God has come to carry out new work, and the work of the Holy Spirit has progressed forward, but they have not caught up with the new work that God is doing. An even greater reason for this is that the pastors and elders have not obeyed the Lord’s commandments or put the Lord’s words into practice, and instead, they have led believers to follow the evil trends of the world, and even resist and condemn the new work of God. It’s just like when the Lord Jesus came to carry out His work, the temple had been turned into a place where cattle, sheep and doves were sold and money was exchanged. Priests violated laws and offered animals with blemishes as sacrifices to deceive God, the Pharisees coveted wealth and enjoyed the spoils of their position, and other sins were committed. Even those who served God lived in sin, without the least bit of reverence for God in their hearts. This was enough to show that the Holy Spirit no longer worked in the temple, the work of the Holy Spirit had moved onward, and God’s work in the Age of Law had come to an end. The Lord Jesus had come to carry out the work of redemption on the foundation of the work of the Age of Law, and the Holy Spirit no longer worked in those who kept the name of Jehovah God and clung obstinately to the laws, and instead, the Holy Spirit had transferred His work to those who accepted the new work of the Lord Jesus. Since the presence of God was no longer in the temple, it became more and more desolate, until in the end it became a den of thieves. But the Lord Jesus’ disciples received the Lord’s salvation, they put into practice the Lord’s teachings, they had faith and strength to follow the Lord, they forsook their homes and abandoned their jobs in order to bear witness to and spread the Lord’s gospel, and they did not fear persecution and adversity. Wasn’t all of this the effect achieved in them by the work of the Holy Spirit? In the same way, today the return of the Lord signifies that the old age has come to an end and a new age has begun. The Holy Spirit has long ago stopped working in the churches of the Age of Grace; rather He has begun to work on those who have accepted God’s new work. This is fulfilling the prophecy in the Bible: ‘And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered’ (Amo 4:7). ‘Behold, the days come … that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah’ (Amo 8:11). Almighty God also says: ‘God will accomplish this fact: He will make all people throughout the universe come before Him, and worship the God on earth, and His work in other places will cease, and people will be forced to seek the true way. It will be like Joseph: Everyone came to him for food, and bowed down to him, for he had things to eat. In order to avoid famine people will be forced to seek the true way. The entire religious community is suffering severe famine, and only the God of today is the wellspring of living water, possessed of the ever-flowing wellspring provided for the enjoyment of man, and people will come and depend on Him’ (‘The Millennial Kingdom Has Arrived’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘All of God’s work in the entire universe has focused on this group of people. He has devoted all His efforts to you and sacrificed all for you; He has reclaimed and given to you all the work of the Spirit throughout the universe. That is why I say, you are the fortunate. Moreover, He has shifted His glory from Israel, His chosen people, to you, in order to make the purpose of His plan fully manifest through you group of people. Therefore, you are those who will receive the inheritance of God, and even more the heirs of God’s glory’ (‘Is the Work of God So Simple as Man Imagines?’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘Because those in religion are incapable of accepting God’s new work, and only hold to the old work of the past, thus God has forsaken these people, and does His new work on the people who accept this new work. These are people who cooperate in His new work, and only in this way can His management be accomplished’ (‘God’s Work and Man’s Practice’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From these words of God we can see that the Holy Spirit has stopped working in the churches of the Age of Grace, so no matter how hard people try or what kind of man-made methods they use to revive the churches, it is of no use. The Catholic Church and the Protestant denominations are all the same, the spirits of their believers are parched and starved, their faith and their love are gradually growing cold, they are unable to hold on to the teachings of the Lord, and many of them are following the evil trends of the world, pursuing wealth and coveting worldly things. The churches have become places of desolation. On the other hand, the brothers and sisters in The Church of Almighty God are people who have walked away from different denominations and sects and who come from different professions to accept the work of God in the last days. They are the wise virgins who, upon hearing the voice of God, have returned before His throne. They are receiving the supply of the living water of life that flows out of the throne of God, they are being shepherded and led by God Himself, and they are spreading and bearing witness to the gospel of the kingdom of God with one accord. They endure being ridiculed and slandered by the world, they endure the abuse and condemnation from the leaders of various denominations and sects, they are even beaten, and they endure being arrested, having their homes searched and their possessions confiscated, and being cruelly tortured and imprisoned by the CCP government. Still, they have faith, they have strength, they have love, and they are tenacious and unyielding as they follow Almighty God and bear witness to God’s work in the last days. It isn’t by their own strength that they are able to do so. These are all effects achieved through the work of the Holy Spirit! In addition, God’s will is to be sought for in His sending of a famine into the religious world, for His purpose in doing so is to compel those who truly believe in God and who thirst for the truth to break away from their religions, to break away from the deception and control of the antichrists in their religions, and to walk away from their religions and seek God’s footsteps and God’s appearance, accept God’s work of judgment in the last days, and be cleansed and perfected by God, while simultaneously leaving those false believers in their religions and exposing and eliminating them, who seek bread to satisfy hunger and who do not believe in God with a true heart and instead adore men and follow men. In this way people will be classified according to their kinds. Is this not the wisdom and almightiness of God?”

bought and sold in the temple

Listening to God’s words and this brother’s fellowship made me feel this was very real, and that it completely conformed to the truth. It felt like I had awoken from a dream, and I realized the source of the desolation of the various churches. Before I had only known that the Lord Jesus drove out all those who bought and sold in the temple, overturned the tables of the money changers and the seats of those who sold doves, saying that they had turned the temple into a den of thieves, but I had not known the reason that led to the temple being turned into a den of thieves. Only then did I know that it was because God was carrying out new work, and the work of the Holy Spirit had moved onward, which was being carried out on those who had accepted God’s new work, and therefore those who did not follow God’s new work lost the work of the Holy Spirit and lost reverence for God in their hearts, so that they did things that broke the law in the temple, turning it into a den of thieves. Knowing that this is what happened, I see that the reason today’s churches are desolate is the exact same as with the temple at that time! In this moment I finally saw how insensitive I had been. Although I had seen that from the pastors and elders to the ordinary believers all had been bound by sin, and that the church was brimming with lawlessness and iniquity, I still had not sought God’s will, nor had I sought the work of the Holy Spirit. I also had not paid any attention to listening to God’s voice, and as a result, I had been eliminated by the work of the Holy Spirit without knowing that at all. I realized that I needed to carefully read the word of Almighty God. On that day, before Sister Zhu and the rest of them left they scheduled a time to come back and fellowship with me again, and they also left me with a copy of The Scroll Opened by the Lamb, which I was very happy to receive.