The Awakening of a Deceived Spirit (Part 2)
By Yuanzhi, Brazil
One day while browsing through Facebook, I read someone’s experience and testimony entitled “I Found Salvation of the Last Days on Facebook.” I opened it and saw that this sister had similar experiences to me. When she first got in touch with The Church of Almighty God, her online friends sent her some rumors about the church that really stood in her way. I read on impatiently, eager to know what happened in the end. I saw that after this sister prayed to the Lord and asked Him to guide her, she felt that she could not be selective in what she chose to listen and believe, but she had to investigate The Church of Almighty God in a practical way in order to discern whether it was true or false. Blindly listening to the rumors and refusing to investigate the second coming of the Lord would not be a very rational approach, so she felt that she had to find out the truth about the Lord’s return. These words really resonated with me. The return of the Lord is an important thing and one must treat it prudently. We can’t just follow the herd; we can’t just blindly reject and resist it. I continued reading the article and saw that what this sister came to understand about The Church of Almighty God was entirely different from what her online friends were telling her. She also personally hosted some visiting sisters from The Church of Almighty God who fellowshiped with her on Almighty God’s words, and were helpful and caring toward her. The real-life experiences of this sister told me that I could no longer continue to be deceived by these rumors, nor could I be taken in by gossip, refusing to investigate the work of Almighty God in the last days. Otherwise, I would very likely lose God’s salvation of the last days. I knew I had to get back in touch with The Church of Almighty God for further investigation!
That night while I was tossing and turning restlessly in bed, I thought, “I have to find Sister Yang again, even though I blocked her. If I can find her I’ll definitely be able to find Brother Zhang from The Church of Almighty God. Sister Yang is a genuine believer and she has been investigating Almighty God’s work of the last days this whole time. She’s probably gained a lot of understanding by now. I really need to ask her how her investigation is coming along.” It was no easy task, but through the help of some friends, I found Sister Yang’s Facebook account a couple of days later. I was really happy that she wasn’t angry at me for blocking her. When I contacted her, she told me that she had already gained clarity through her investigation, and that Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus. She also very happily put me in touch with Brother Zhang. When the three of us all connected online, I told them, “Through my recent experience, I can see that the Lord is guiding me. I am also willing to seek and investigate the work of Almighty God in the last days, but, I have so many questions for the two of you that I’d like your fellowship on. The one thing I really can’t make heads or tails of is that Jesus incarnated as a man to do His work, so how is it that He would now return to the flesh as a woman to do His work? This is a mystery. Brother Zhang, can you explain this to me?”
In response to my question, Brother Zhang replied, “Yes. There are mysteries contained within God’s incarnations—the significance is immense and profound, as well as something unfathomable to us. Therefore, we must maintain hearts of reverence regarding the return of the Lord. Even if God’s work is not remotely in line with our notions, we must watch our tongues. We must not judge it without thinking the matter through. Seriously speaking, arbitrarily judging God’s work is blaspheming against God, and the sin of blasphemy cannot be pardoned in this life or the next. Almighty God of the last days has come and opened up all mysteries. This completely fulfills Jesus’ prophecy: ‘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). Let’s read the words of Almighty God together to understand this aspect of the truth. Almighty God said: ‘Back then, when Jesus came, He was male, and when God comes this time, He is female. From this, you can see that God created both male and female for the sake of His work, and with Him there is no distinction of gender. When His Spirit comes, He can take on any flesh He pleases, and that flesh can represent Him; whether male or female, it can represent God as long as it is His incarnate flesh. If Jesus had appeared as a female when He came, in other words, if an infant girl, and not a boy, had been conceived by the Holy Spirit, that stage of work would have been completed all the same. If that had been the case, then the present stage of work would have to be completed by a male instead, but the work would be completed all the same. The work done in either stage is equally significant; neither stage of work is repeated, nor does it conflict with the other. At the time, Jesus, in doing His work, was called the only Son, and “Son” implies the male gender. Why is the only Son not mentioned in this current stage? Because the requirements of the work have necessitated a change in gender from that of Jesus. With God there is no distinction of gender. He does His work as He wishes, and in doing His work He is not subject to any restrictions, but is especially free. Yet every stage of work has its own practical significance. God became flesh twice, and it is self-evident that His incarnation during the last days is the final time. He has come to make known all His deeds. If in this stage He did not become flesh in order personally to do work for man to witness, man would forever cling to the notion that God is only male, not female. … In the beginning, when Jehovah created humankind, He made two kinds of human being, both male and female; and so there is the division of male and female in His incarnate fleshes. He did not decide His work based on the words He spoke to Adam and Eve. The two times He has become flesh have been determined entirely according to His thinking at the time He first created humankind; that is, He has completed the work of His two incarnations based on the male and the female before they were corrupted’ (“The Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of the Incarnation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). ‘In gender, one is male and the other female, so completing the significance of God’s incarnation, and dispelling man’s misconceptions of God: God can become both male and female, and in essence, the incarnate God is genderless. He made both man and woman, and to Him, there is no division of gender’ (“The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).”
After reading God’s words, Brother Zhang shared this fellowship, “Whatever God does has meaning. God absolutely would not do anything lacking meaning or value. The Bible says: ‘So God created man in His own image, in the image of God created He him; male and female created He them’ (Genesis 1:27). We can see from this that in the beginning, God created man and woman in His image. God can incarnate as a man, and He can incarnate as a woman as well. In God, there is no distinction between genders; whether He becomes a man or a woman, He possesses the essence of God and is able to do God’s own work. God taking on two different genders the two times He has incarnated is to complete the significance of His incarnation and dispel man’s fallacious belief that God can only incarnate as a man, that He cannot incarnate as a woman. This allows mankind to realize that not only can God’s incarnation embody the identity of a man, but it can also embody the identity of a woman. This allows humanity to see that God is indeed almighty, that we are unable to fathom Him, and we should not arbitrarily judge or delimit God. Additionally, God’s essence is of the spirit, and there is no differentiation of sex in spirits. Sex only applies to created mankind. God has become flesh twice in order to save and redeem mankind, therefore, the sex of God’s incarnation is only dependent on the period of time in which He does His work in flesh. Once the incarnated God’s work on earth concludes, He returns to the spiritual world and at that time, there is no longer any differentiation according to sex. Therefore, if we delimit God within a certain sex, it is a great blasphemy!”
Listening to the words of Almighty God and Brother Zhang’s fellowship gave me a sudden flash of insight. I finally understood why God has taken on a different sex in each of His incarnations. I realized that contained within this is God’s will from when He first created mankind as well as His kind intentions. If God came to work as a man for both of His incarnations, we would believe for eternity that God is a man and we would believe in error that the male sex is greater and of higher status than the female sex. God incarnate of the last days working as a woman is an embodiment of God’s fairness and righteousness, and it allowed me to see the incredible significance of God incarnating and working as a woman this time! Otherwise, we would never have an understanding of God, and our notions and delimitations of God would never be eliminated and furthermore, this would offend God’s disposition. The first time that God was incarnated, He appeared as a man, and in the last days, He has appeared as a woman. These two incarnations of God truly show us the complete significance of God’s incarnation; they’ve given me a more accurate and a more genuine understanding of God. Thanks be to God! God’s work is truly wise!
After Sister Yang and Brother Zhang listened to my understanding and knowledge of God’s words, they felt happy that I had been able to understand God’s will and dispense with my notions and misunderstandings of God. They were moved to tears by the work of salvation that God had done upon me. We joined together in fellowship three more times. Thank God for His guidance. I understood more and more of the truth, I learned the mystery of God’s incarnation, and I learned the mystery of God’s three stages of work. I learned of the differences between God’s work and man’s work, the differences between the Holy Spirit’s work and Satan’s work, and other aspects of the truth. I could truly feel that Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus and that He is the truth, the way and the life. That Saturday evening, Sister Yang sent me a new music video called God’s Love Circles My Heart, “God’s will has been revealed—to perfect those who truly love Him. Innocents, pulsing with life, offer up your praises to Him. A dance of joy is beautiful, leap and prance around the throne. From the earth’s four corners, we come, summoned by God’s voice. His words of life bestowed on us, we’re cleansed by His judgment. …” This song was so encouraging for me that I was moved to tears. I dialed Sister Yang’s number, but I was so overcome with emotion that I couldn’t speak. All I could do was say over and over, “Thank God! Thank you …”
Once the intensity of my feelings had subsided, that same night I had a very heartfelt talk with my brothers and sisters. I was thankful that Almighty God had not given up on my salvation that whole time and that He had not dealt with me according to my rebellion and resistance. Instead, He was always with me. He used gospel movies, videos, and brothers’ and sisters’ articles on their own experiences to guide and move me bit by bit, bringing me back to His house, bringing me before Him. From the bottom of my heart, I told my brothers and sisters: “I have already experienced God’s love and I also understand the truth of God’s incarnation. I’ll never again believe hearsay or rumors. I completely accept Almighty God as my Savior and as my God. For I have already determined that Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus—He is the God that has provided me with so much grace, and He is the Redeemer of mankind.”
When I think back on how I listened to rumors in the past, how I was rife with conflict about the work of God in the last days and even said some words of judgment against God, of how I was so rebellious, I feel incredibly indebted to God—I’m aggrieved and full of regret. However, Sister Yang told me: “When we don’t know God, as human beings we’re really prone to being deceived by lies. As long as we truly repent, God will not keep a record. God’s word says, ‘God did not come this time to strike people down, but rather to save people to the greatest extent possible. Who is entirely free of error? If everyone were struck down, then how could it be called “salvation”? Some transgressions are done on purpose, while others are done involuntarily. With involuntary matters, if you can change after you recognize them, would God strike you down before you changed? Can God save people that way? That is not how He works! Regardless of whether you transgress involuntarily or out of a rebellious nature, you must remember: Afterward, you must hurry up and wake up to reality, and press onward; no matter what situation arises, you must press onward. The work God is doing is that of salvation, and He will not casually strike down the people He wants to save’” (“God’s Will Is to Save People to the Greatest Extent Possible” in Records of Christ’s Talks). God’s words have given me great comfort and they have allowed me to see that God is full of mercy and forgiveness. God’s love is so great! I can’t hold back the gratitude to God I feel within my heart. Over the period of time that followed, through my interactions with brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God, I could see that the church is not at all what the rumors purport it to be. In fact, it is completely the opposite. This is the place for us to pursue the truth and know God. When we have gatherings in The Church of Almighty God, nobody talks about eating, drinking, and making merry; nobody talks about cars, money or houses; nobody talks about the dirty, filthy, evil things in the world. We all read Almighty God’s words together and we fellowship on our experience and knowledge of God’s words. We practice and adhere to Almighty God’s words. I can see that within The Church of Almighty God, God’s words hold power, the truth holds power, and Christ holds power. This is a place full of fairness and righteousness. I feel like I’m getting a taste of a beautiful life in a new heaven and earth! Now when I think back on those rumors, I realize that they do nothing but trap and harm people, and it was due to those rumors that I nearly lost God’s salvation of the last days. Thankfully, Almighty God saved me and allowed me to gain some understanding of God’s work. My spirit was awakened, I broke through the tangled web of Satan’s rumors, and I came before the throne of God. I give thanks to God for saving me!