A Victory Amidst Satan’s Test

October 17, 2022

By David, Benin

My name is David, and I was born into a Christian family. I believed in the Lord along with my parents since I was little. After growing up, I served as the youth fellowship secretary and an interpreter for the pastor. I also participated in the choir and various other types of ministry work. But later I realized that although our church seemed really dynamic, everyone was spiritually barren. The pastor’s and elders’ sermons were empty and lacking new enlightenment and no one gained sustenance. Lots of people had lost faith and even nodded off during sermons. Some people even brought things to church to sell and talked about secular things. I saw there wasn’t any real sustenance to be gained in the church. All I could do was look for Christian videos online.

In January 2019, I was browsing videos on YouTube like always when I saw a clip from Yearning, a movie by The Church of Almighty God, called So This Is How the Lord Returns. I was so excited: Was this video saying the Lord Jesus has come back? I clicked on it right away. I learned from this video that the Lord Jesus has two ways of returning in the last days. First, He becomes flesh as the Son of man and comes in secret, and then He openly appears on a cloud, coming for all to see. The video also gave testimony that the Lord Jesus has already returned, that He has incarnated as Almighty God. I was thrilled to hear of the Lord’s return, and also pretty curious. I felt like their fellowship was really enlightening and I wanted to delve into it more. After that I watched quite a few more movies, like Faith in God, Salvation, Deadly Ignorance, and Break Through the Snare. It felt really eye-opening for me. Watching these movies by The Church of Almighty God, I found out why our church was so desolate and learned lots of aspects of the truth, such as, what true faith is, what kind of person can get into the kingdom of heaven, and that in the last days, Almighty God cleanses and saves man through the judgment of His words. These were all mysteries and truths I’d never heard before, and were really nourishing for me. I really liked the movies—they helped me out a lot. In those movies I noticed they were reading from a book, The Word Appears in the Flesh, so I tried looking for it online. Later I found The Church of Almighty God’s app, downloaded it, then read lots of Almighty God’s words. His words have such authority, and the more I read them the more I felt they are God’s words, that it really is the voice of God, an expression of the truth, without a doubt. I was pleasantly surprised, and quickly contacted The Church of Almighty God through the app. Over a few days of reading Almighty God’s words in gatherings and listening to brothers’ and sisters’ fellowship and testimony, I became certain that the Lord Jesus has returned, that Almighty God is the return of the Lord Jesus. The Lord really has come back! I was delighted, so excited, and felt that I was very blessed. In that moment I only wanted one thing, which was to announce His return everywhere so that all believers would know the wonderful news. I thought of our church clergy often telling us to watch and wait for the Lord’s return and I figured they’d be thrilled if they knew that the Lord Jesus has come back. I wanted to rush over and share the gospel with them so they could hear the Lord’s voice and welcome Him right away. I first thought of Pastor Gilbert and Elder Romain in our church. They worked really hard for the Lord in the church, and were warm, loving, and patient with the brothers and sisters, helping them a lot. In particular, Pastor Gilbert gave up his job out in the world to go to a Bible college and study to be a pastor. I thought that since they were good preachers, they should be able to accept God’s work. I shared the gospel of the Lord’s return with Elder Romain first.

That day, we watched a gospel movie from The Church of Almighty God together and I bore witness to him that the Lord Jesus has come back. I thought he would ask me a bunch of questions, but surprisingly, he didn’t say anything, but was really cold and had no desire to seek or talk about it. I was afraid I hadn’t explained it clearly, so I asked him to install The Church of Almighty God’s app so he could look into it himself, but he wouldn’t do it. After inviting him over and over to attend The Church of Almighty God’s sermons, he reluctantly agreed. But he just half-heartedly joined an online gathering and then left without a word. He never joined another gathering again. Romain started intentionally avoiding me after that and never walked by my house anymore. I was a little puzzled by that kind of attitude from him. We’d gotten along pretty well in the past, so why did he become so distant from me as soon as I told him the Lord has returned? In his sermons he always told us to watch and wait for the Lord’s coming. Why didn’t he seek and investigate now that the Lord Jesus has returned? Before I’d been able to make sense of these things, something I hadn’t anticipated happened.

A few days later, Pastor Gilbert suddenly asked me to his office. I felt a little circumspect. As soon as I got there, Pastor Gilbert asked me, “David, it seems you’ve found some friends and are communicating with them online. That’s very interesting. Who are they? What church are they with?” Since he had a warm attitude, I thought he wanted to look into it, so I told him it was The Church of Almighty God. He wrote down the name of the church and said to me proudly, “I’ve seen them, and we shouldn’t listen to them. The Bible clearly tells us that many false Christs will arise in the last days who will mislead a lot of people.” Saying this, he opened a Bible and read this from 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17. “For the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first: Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.” After reading these verses, he explained to me haughtily, “These verses clearly tell us that when the Lord comes, the angels will blow horns, the dead will be resurrected, and we’ll be lifted up into the clouds to see the Lord. If anyone says the Lord has returned, but we’re still on the ground and haven’t been lifted up into the sky, that is false! When the Lord comes we’ll leave the earth and go to live in the heavens with Him forever.” But I was totally frozen when I heard him say that. The verses he read said that the Lord would descend on clouds, but The Church of Almighty God’s movies fellowshiped about Him incarnating in secret. What was going on with that? I was a little confused. In the Bible, the Lord Jesus prophesied “the coming of the Son of man” and “the Son of man comes” many times. This was about the Lord becoming the Son of man and coming in secret. The Lord Jesus never said that we would be lifted up into the clouds. So why was what Paul said at odds with what the Lord Jesus said? What was that really about? Was Almighty God actually the return of the Lord? If He wasn’t, how could His words contain so much truth, and be so full of authority and power? I really didn’t get it. Pastor Gilbert started asking some questions right after that and had me tell him more about what I’d learned with The Church of Almighty God. He also said some derogatory and slanderous things. Then I realized his motive in asking me questions wasn’t to seek and investigate, but it was to gain more information so he could keep me from investigating the true way. Just then I thought of The Church of Almighty God’s movie, Break Through the Snare, that talks about modern Pharisees. The pastors and elders in the movie never looked into the work of Almighty God, but blindly condemned it, fabricating misinformation to stand in the way of people researching the true way and following God. Now Pastor Gilbert was doing this, too. He wanted to get more information to spread rumors later on, to keep God’s sheep from hearing God’s voice and welcoming the Lord. In my heart, I beseeched God to give me the wisdom to respond to him. I said to him, “I can’t tell you anything now. I’m still looking into this. I can tell you when I get more information.” In the end he said he wouldn’t do any seeking with me, and ended our conversation. But I was still a little confused about the claim that the Lord would come and take us up into the sky.

When I left the pastor’s office that day, I prayed to God in my heart, asking Him to guide and enlighten me. Later on, I kept thinking about those verses in 1 Thessalonians 4:16–17. After plenty of thought, I realized that those verses Pastor Gilbert read had come from Paul, those were things Paul said. The Lord Jesus never said that He would bring believers up into the clouds when He returns, and He never said the kingdom of heaven would be in the sky. Later, in my ongoing process of prayer and seeking, I saw another movie by The Church of Almighty God, Awakening From the Dream, that really enlightened me. Some of the content in the movie clearly explained questions surrounding the rapture and whether the kingdom is in the sky. The people sharing the gospel in the movie fellowshiped that people all think the kingdom of heaven is in the sky because of their own notions. But is that really the case? We can see that the Lord Jesus said this: “Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven(Matthew 6:9–10). The Lord Jesus clearly told us that God’s kingdom is on earth, not in the sky: God’s will be done on earth, as it is done in heaven. Now let’s look at Revelation 21:2–3: “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven…. Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God.” And Revelation 11:15: “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ; and He shall reign for ever and ever.” These prophecies mention “the tabernacle of God is with men,” “new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven,” and “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdom of our Lord, and of His Christ.” This proves that God will establish His kingdom upon the earth, that He will live among men. The kingdoms on the earth must become Christ’s kingdom, and into eternity. If we go by our imaginings, thinking that God’s kingdom will be in the heavens, and the Lord will take us up into the sky when He comes, wouldn’t these words from God all come to nothing? Then what is being caught up? Most people don’t know this. The mystery of the saints being caught up wasn’t revealed until Almighty God came. Almighty God says, “‘Being caught up’ does not mean being taken from a low place to a high place, as people might imagine; that is a huge misconception. ‘Being caught up’ refers to My predestining and then selecting. It is directed at all those I have predestined and chosen. … This is most incompatible with people’s notions. Those who will have a share in My house in the future are all ones who have been caught up before Me. This is absolutely true, never-changing, and irrefutable. It is a counterattack against Satan. Anyone I predestined shall be caught up before Me(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 104). Almighty God is very clear. Being caught up isn’t what we’ve imagined, being taken from the ground up into the sky to meet with the Lord in the clouds. It’s about when God comes back to speak and work on the earth, people hear God’s voice and stand up to follow God, and submit to God’s work of the last days. This is the true meaning of being taken up before God’s throne. All who can recognize the Lord’s voice, who can discover and accept the truth from Almighty God’s words and turn toward Him are the wise virgins. These people are those “precious stones” “stolen” back into God’s house who can all accept the truth and understand God’s voice. They are truly raptured, and are a group of people God perfects into overcomers when He comes in secret to work in the last days. Ever since Almighty God’s work of the last days began, more and more of those who truly long for God’s appearance have recognized the voice of God from Almighty God’s words and accepted God’s judgment work of the last days. They’ve been lifted up before God’s throne to meet with Him, and are fed and watered by God’s words. They’ve gained true understanding of God, their corrupt dispositions have been cleansed, and they live out the reality of God’s words. They’ve received great salvation from God. They’ve already become overcomers before the disasters. They’ve become the first ripe fruits gained by God. But those who cling to their notions and imaginings, who stupidly wait for the Lord to take them up into the sky and refuse to accept God’s judgment work of the last days are the foolish virgins who will all be cast out by God. Ultimately, they’ll fall into the disasters, weeping and gnashing their teeth. That’s a fact.

After watching the movie I saw that we can’t interpret “being caught up” literally. This mainly refers to people hearing God’s voice, welcoming the Lord, and coming before God’s throne. That’s being caught up. Those who accept God’s work of the last days are the wise virgins who are caught up before God’s throne. They eat and drink Almighty God’s words, and accept their judgment and cleansing. This is attending the Lamb’s wedding feast. Being raptured this way is so practical. God’s work is so wise, so meaningful! I saw that my time gathering and communicating with members of The Church of Almighty God really was like that. They lead normal lives on earth just like the rest of us. What is different is that they eat and drink God’s words, and their fellowship on the truth has insight and enlightenment. Their outlook on things and perspectives on faith are so refreshing. When they run into issues they’re not thinking about how to beg for God’s grace, but they seek and fellowship how to love and submit to God, how to recognize and resolve their own corrupt dispositions, and how to practice the truth and live out God’s words. I truly felt that they were in a new world, that they’d entered a new age and were living an entirely new kind of life. I’d never encountered any other people like them before. They’d left those of us who were believers in the Lord very far behind. This made me thirst even more to read Almighty God’s words, to experience His judgment work, to live the way they did. Then it became even clearer to me that Paul said these things entirely because of his own notions, and I had to believe that the Lord’s words, not Paul’s words, are the truth, because Paul was a man. On a matter as important as welcoming the Lord, believing in a person is extremely dangerous. Particularly when the words of man and the words of the Lord clash, we cannot take the words of man as our basis. I was nearly deceived, misled by the pastor’s use of Paul’s words. All those years, no one ever understood the mystery of the saints being caught up, and no one had discernment over Paul’s words, which were full of imaginings. Turns out, they were entirely contrary to the Lord Jesus’ words. This clarified things for me.

I gained a bit of discernment over the clergy through gatherings and fellowship. They were well versed in the Bible, but they had no idea whether welcoming the Lord should be based on God’s words, or man’s words. They didn’t know God at all. One evening a few days later, I ran into Pastor Gilbert near a soccer field in our village. He was still trying to change my mind. This time he was trying to use demonstrations, like performing a skit. He lifted up his hands and gazed up at the sky, then started stepping on the ground with his feet, as if he were climbing stairs. He said, “We’ll be able to walk on the clouds. But if you aren’t filled with the Holy Spirit on that day, you won’t be able to.” This childish performance by Pastor Gilbert convinced me even further that the story of being taken up into the clouds is purely human imagination. It was so absurd and amusing that I wanted to laugh. It was just as childish as believing that Santa Claus really does come on December 25 to bring gifts to children. From that day on, I no longer believed in that fantasy, but just focused on reality, and I kept looking into Almighty God’s work of the last days.

Later on, Pastor Gilbert’s younger brother and I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days and we got copies of books of Almighty God’s words. We were both really happy and excited. Pastor Gilbert was furious when he found out, and not only stood in the way of his brother’s faith, but took away his books and sent some of them to Elder Romain. I knew that they hadn’t taken the books of Almighty God’s words to seek the truth, but it was to find fault with it, to use that to condemn Almighty God’s appearance and work, and ultimately convince us to betray Almighty God. They didn’t have good intentions. And that is what actually happened.

One day, Elder Romain said to me, “There’s nothing special about this book. It’s all stuff that’s in the Bible—there’s nothing new.” I was once again disappointed in him when I heard him say that. I told myself that Almighty God’s words are so authoritative and powerful, and talk about mysteries of the truth. Wasn’t lying that way, saying there was nothing new, something only a demonic person could say? Almighty God’s words reveal the mysteries of God’s 6,000-year management work, of the incarnation, of God’s names, how God does the work of judgment, and so on. There are also lots of other mysteries and truths. These are all things the Bible doesn’t have, and things we’d never understood in our years of faith. How could he say he hadn’t seen anything new in the book? That was just absurd. I wasn’t going to be duped by him. It also showed me that he was sick of the truth and couldn’t understand God’s voice at all. It was the same with Pastor Gilbert. He not only didn’t look into it, but he opposed and condemned it even more, intensifying his spread of religious notions in services, telling the brothers and sisters that all of God’s words are in the Bible, and there aren’t any words from God outside of that. He said the Lord Jesus has to come down on a cloud, and anyone claiming the Lord has come is lying. At the time I was still serving as an interpreter in the church. I felt awful. I was thinking that translating those fallacies that deceive and mislead people must be taking part in evil. Wasn’t I participating in the clergy’s resistance and blasphemy? These things they were doing reminded me of a passage of Almighty God’s words: “Look at the leaders of each denomination—they are all arrogant and self-righteous, and their interpretations of the Bible lack context and are guided by their own notions and imaginings. They all rely on gifts and erudition to do their work. If they could not preach at all, would people follow them? They do, after all, possess some knowledge and can preach on some doctrine, or they know how to win others over and make use of some artifice. They use these to deceive people and bring them before themselves. Nominally, those people believe in God, but in reality, they follow their leaders. When they encounter someone preaching the true way, some of them say, ‘We have to consult our leader about our faith.’ See how people still need the agreement and approval of others when they believe in God and accept the true way—is this not a problem? What have those leaders become, then? Have they not become Pharisees, false shepherds, antichrists, and stumbling blocks to people’s acceptance of the true way?(The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three). I saw from God’s words that the clergy are keeping people from seeking and investigating God’s work of the last days under the guise of preaching and working for the Lord, protecting His flock. They are trapping church members, controlling them within their grasp to achieve their aim of dominating them. They don’t genuinely long for the Lord Jesus’ return, but they are modern-day Pharisees. By nature they hate the truth and go against God. I distanced myself from the pastor after that and stopped serving as his interpreter. This decision felt really freeing for me, as if I were a little bird leaving its cage.

But the church clergy didn’t stop disturbing me. One Sunday after the service, Elder Romain came to my house and asked me why I’d decided to stop being the church interpreter. I told him that I didn’t agree with some of the things the pastor had preached recently. He said the Lord will come on a cloud, and if there’s any claim that Christ has come, but we haven’t been taken up into the sky, it’s about a false Christ. But was there any basis for that in the Lord Jesus’ words? If not, wasn’t he denying that Almighty God is the Lord returned? That was spreading rumors to lead people astray. Elder Romain said, “What’s incorrect about that? The Bible really does say that the Lord will come on the clouds in the last days.” I said, “The Bible does say that the Lord will come on the clouds in the last days, but there are also lots of prophecies in the Bible of the Lord incarnating as the Son of man and coming in secret in the last days.” I picked up a Bible and read some verses for him. “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). “Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes(Matthew 24:44). “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be(Matthew 24:37). I said to him, “‘The coming of the Son of man’ is a reference to the Lord coming in the flesh, in secret. ‘The Son of man’ is a reference to being born of man, being of the flesh and possessing normal humanity. The Lord Jesus was called the Son of man, and Christ. From the outside, He looked like a perfectly normal person. He ate, dressed and lived just like a regular person. Neither the Spirit of God nor the Lord Jesus’ spiritual body after His resurrection is called ‘the Son of man.’ So ‘the coming of the Son of man’ mentioned in these prophecies means that the Lord will return in the flesh in secret, as the Son of man.” Elder Romain responded, “That’s true.” So I went on, “In fact, He came in secret a long time ago—He is Almighty God. He’s expressed truths and is doing judgment work, and He’s already made a group of overcomers before the disasters. Great disasters have already begun, and once the disasters pass God will come openly on a cloud, appearing to all peoples and all nations. Then all the prophecies of the Son of man coming and of God appearing on a cloud will be fulfilled. This is entirely in line with the Bible, so why won’t you seek and investigate it? Why do you only read the prophecies of the Lord coming on a cloud? Isn’t that taking the Lord’s words out of context, misinterpreting them? By always explaining the prophecies based on your own imagination, thinking the Lord can only come on a cloud, you’re just like the Pharisees who explained the prophecies of the Messiah’s coming based on their own notions and imaginings. They thought the Messiah would be like a king, with a noble presentation, born into a royal family, and He would save people from Roman rule. But when the Messiah came, He was a common person born in a manger. His family was average, without any standing in society, and He didn’t save people from Roman rule, either. He was even nailed to the cross. The Lord Jesus’ appearance and work didn’t fit with the Pharisees’ notions at all. So just the same, how can we go by our own imaginings and say the Lord is coming down on a cloud?” I read another Bible passage for him. “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, said Jehovah. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts(Isaiah 55:8–9). “We can clearly see from the Scripture that people will never be able to fathom in advance what God is going to do because God is a wise God and His prophecies are veiled. People can’t interpret and understand them until they’ve come to pass. The Pharisees interpreted the prophecies according to their own notions and came to the wrong conclusions about the Messiah’s coming. As a result, when the Lord Jesus came, they resisted and condemned Him and ended up punished and cursed by God. Today, interpreting the prophecies according to our own notions isn’t right. In fact, we can only understand the prophecies after they’ve been fulfilled. Now that the Lord Jesus has returned and all the prophecies of the Lord’s coming have come to pass, we can understand what they were actually about.” I said a lot to Elder Romain that day, but he wouldn’t listen to any of it.

What really surprised me was that not only did Pastor Gilbert and Elder Romain refuse to seek, but they opposed my faith even more. One Sunday when all of our church’s pastor and elders were at church, they asked me about the status of my faith in Almighty God. I didn’t give them any information about The Church of Almighty God because I knew they’d try to find something wrong with it to fabricate rumors. I didn’t say much, but just said I was still looking into it. The pastor didn’t agree and he told me to make a choice. If I didn’t stop looking into Almighty God’s work, they’d write to all churches to tell them I’d been kicked out. I thought that if I was kicked out, everyone around me would think I’d taken the wrong path, then they’d all look down on me and spurn me. The thought of these consequences scared me. But I knew that if I gave up on accepting Almighty God because I was afraid of humiliation, I’d be losing my chance to welcome the Lord, then I’d never gain the truth or be saved. Those are serious consequences. I felt a bit of internal conflict. Just then, the pastor threatened me, saying they’d curse me if I didn’t do what they said. I felt like this was a demonic thing to say and didn’t respond at all. I thought of something from the Bible: “And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen(Revelation 18:2). “And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, My people, that you be not partakers of her sins, and that you receive not of her plagues(Revelation 18:4). I thought of a movie by The Church of Almighty God I’d watched and knew that Babylon the great referred to the religious world. These verses are very clear, to leave Babylon, leave the religious world, and not take part in its sin. At that point I saw I should leave the church, leave the religious world, and follow God. I’d seen how desolate the religious world was, that no one sought the truth, the clergy all fought for name and status, the church lacked the Holy Spirit’s work, and was full of sin and filth. When the religious leaders heard the news of the Lord’s return they didn’t seek it, but resisted and condemned it, using all sorts of tactics to keep believers from investigating the true way. None of that was in line with the Lord’s teachings. I felt that my church really was Babylon and I should leave it right away, otherwise I wouldn’t be able to welcome the Lord and enter the kingdom of heaven. I’d lose the Holy Spirit’s work and fall into depravity along with them, and lose my chance at salvation. I resolved that even if they didn’t kick me out, I would still leave that religious wasteland. I never went back to that church.

To get me to rejoin the church, Pastor Gilbert came to my house and told my parents I wasn’t attending church anymore, and asked them to tell me to go back. My father was also a church elder. He and my mom already knew about my faith in Almighty God, and though they wouldn’t let go of their own notions, they weren’t oppressing me. They did start oppressing me after the pastor talked to them, demanding that I go back to church. I refused to. My dad was intentionally disruptive to me when it was time for The Church of Almighty God’s gatherings, and criticized me daily saying all sorts of awful-sounding things. My mom used physical force to keep me from attending gatherings, trying to snatch my phone away from me whenever I was in a gathering, saying she was going to break it so that I couldn’t join the gatherings. One time my dad hid my phone when I wasn’t there, and then threatened to get our power cut off. As my parents’ oppression got more and more severe, it got harder for me to bear, but with God’s words always guiding me, I never gave in to them. One day they said they were going to cut off ties with me and kick me out of the house. I sought God’s words in the face of this persecution from my parents. His words enlightened me and gave me clear discernment over all this. God says, “When God works, cares for a person, and looks upon this person, and when He favors and approves this person, Satan trails closely behind, trying to dupe the person and bring them to harm. If God wishes to gain this person, Satan will do everything in its power to obstruct God, using various evil ploys to tempt, disrupt and impair the work of God, in order to achieve its hidden objective. What is this objective? It does not want God to gain anyone; it wants to snatch possession of those whom God wishes to gain, it wants to control them, to take charge of them so they worship it, so they join it in committing evil acts, and resist God. Is this not Satan’s sinister motive?(The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique IV).

In every step of work that God does within people, externally it appears to be interactions between people, as if born of human arrangements or from human interference. But behind the scenes, every step of work, and everything that happens, is a wager made by Satan before God, and requires people to stand firm in their testimony to God. Take when Job was tried, for example: Behind the scenes, Satan was making a bet with God, and what happened to Job was the deeds of men and the interference of men. Behind every step of work that God does in you is Satan’s wager with God—behind it all is a battle. … When God and Satan do battle in the spiritual realm, how should you satisfy God, and how should you stand firm in your testimony to Him? You should know that everything that happens to you is a great trial and the time when God needs you to bear testimony. Though they may seem unimportant from the outside, when these things happen they show whether or not you love God. If you do, you will be able to stand firm in your testimony to Him, and if you have not put the love of Him into practice, this shows you are not someone who puts the truth into practice, that you are without the truth, and without life, that you are chaff! Everything that happens to people happens when God needs them to stand firm in their testimony to Him. Though nothing major is happening to you at the moment and you do not bear great testimony, every detail of your daily life is a matter of testimony to God(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God). I understood from God’s words why I was facing so many barriers. On the surface it looked like it was something happening between me and my parents, but that wasn’t the case. Behind that were Satan’s disruptions and manipulations. Satan was using my family to try to keep me from believing in Almighty God, from accepting God’s salvation. This was a spiritual battle. Then I knew that God’s will was to have me stand firm in my witness. And so I resolved that no matter what my family did to stop me, I would keep joining online gatherings with the brothers and sisters, reading Almighty God’s words and doing my duty, and stand firm to shame Satan.

My parents kept on oppressing me and standing in my way, but no matter what they did or said, I leaned on God to counter their verbal attacks and kept on attending gatherings and reading Almighty God’s words. Gradually, they stopped criticizing me. I praised God in my heart for this. Almighty God’s words really are the truth, and with these truths, no one can attack me or destroy my faith in Almighty God.

After that, the clergy impeded the brothers and sisters investigating the true way even more. Pastor Gilbert put a lot of pressure on his little brother, demanding that he perform ceremonies in the church and not leave the church. There was a fierce cold war between the two brothers. His little brother was afraid to leave the house. He had to do what his brother said, and couldn’t join our gatherings. I felt really sorry for his brother and saw the true face of the religious clergy even more clearly. They really are modern-day Pharisees. They themselves won’t seek the true way, and they stand in the way of others’ investigation. They’re pulling people toward hell, making them lose God’s salvation of the last days. Aren’t they making themselves enemies of God? Just as the Lord Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in(Matthew 23:13). Almighty God says, “There are those who read the Bible in grand churches and recite it all day long, yet not one among them understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one among them is able to know God; still less can any one among them accord with God’s will. They are all worthless, vile people, each standing on high to lecture God. They willfully oppose God even as they carry His banner. Claiming faith in God, still they eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such people are devils that devour the soul of man, head demons that deliberately get in the way of those trying to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks impeding those who seek God. They may appear of ‘sound constitution,’ but how are their followers to know that they are none other than antichrists who lead people to stand against God?(The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. All People Who Do Not Know God Are People Who Oppose God). Through the revelation of God’s words and my own personal experiences during that time, I truly saw the religious clergy’s hypocritical, vile countenances. They appear to explain the Bible very well, to live humble, godly lives, and tell believers to watch for the Lord’s coming, but now that the Lord Jesus has returned, they not only don’t hear God’s voice, but they resist and condemn it, fighting to keep believers from investigating the true way. Clearly, they’re just like the Pharisees who had the Lord Jesus crucified back in the day. They are all evil and hate the truth by nature, and are antichrists who are exposed by God’s work. They’re evil servants against God! Once I clearly saw the clergy’s anti-God, truth-hating nature and essence, I gained true discernment over them. I was no longer misled, taken in by their superficial good behavior. I was thoroughly freed from the bonds of the religious antichrist forces. Thank Almighty God!

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