Who Is Obstructing My Return to God As I Journey to Welcome Him?
By Xinzao, South Korea
Editor’s Note: The Lord Jesus has returned, and this is a matter that stirs the hearts of man. It was only after many twists and turns, however, that she was finally able to be reunited with the Lord. On her journey to welcome the Lord, who was it trying to obstruct her? Let’s take a journey of our own into her story …
When we lived in China, my husband and I believed in the Lord as members of a house church, and later we came to South Korea together for work. Since the churches here in Korea were becoming increasingly desolate, we stopped attending church altogether. After my daughter was born, we both hoped she would build a foundation of faith while she was a child, so we decided to attend meetings at a Korean Presbyterian Church near our home.
One day in January 2018, Sister Wang from the church brought Sister Lin to my home. Sister Lin testified to my husband and me that the Lord Jesus had returned and was performing the work of judgment beginning in the house of God. Hearing this, I thought: “Which church does she belong to? It surprises me that she is bearing witness that the Lord Jesus has returned and is performing a new work.” Just then, Sister Lin took out a book from her handbag and gave it to me. Its name was The Scroll Opened by the Lamb and, when I saw this, it reminded me that it is mentioned many times in the New Testament that the Lord Jesus is the Lamb and that He became the sin offering for mankind. I was therefore curious, and I wanted to see what the book was all about. Sister Lin said: “The words in this book are all the truth and they are what the Spirit says to the churches that was prophesied in Revelation; they are not words that any human being could possibly speak. It is only Christ in the flesh who could express these truths.” Sister Lin then read for us a passage from the preface of the book and she showed us some dance and song videos of The Church of Almighty God using her mobile phone.
The brothers and sisters in the dance and song videos were so lively and full of vitality, and they made me feel positively uplifted. The words the sister had read from the book’s preface were also very practical and clear, and I began to be interested in The Church of Almighty God. However, when during Sister Lin’s following fellowship I learned that The Church of Almighty God is Eastern Lightning, my mind was suddenly cast back to ten years before when my pastors had stressed again and again during gatherings not to have any contact with Eastern Lightning. Thinking of this, I became alert instantly and couldn’t sit still. However, then I thought: “What Sister Lin is fellowshiping is in line with the Bible and it is also enlightened; why should I be on my guard?” I then felt a bit confused and didn’t know what to do for the best. At that moment, Sister Lin seemed to know what I was thinking and said to me with a smile: “Sister, the Lord Jesus said, ‘My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me’ (John 10:27). In approaching the big event of the Lord’s return, we should not blindly trust in what others say, but instead we must be wise virgins and focus on hearing the voice of God. We need to investigate whether the words expressed by Almighty God are the truth and are God’s voice. Only then will we be able to recognize the Lord and not miss the opportunity to welcome the Lord’s return.” My husband, who was sitting to one side, also advised me to look into the way first. I felt that what Sister Lin said made sense, and I thought: “The Lord’s return is indeed such a big event that I must treat it with care. I shouldn’t lightly come to any conclusions. If Almighty God is actually the returned Lord Jesus and I blindly abandon Him like this, won’t I offend the Lord?” Thinking this, my heart calmed down a little. When Sister Lin was about to leave, she invited my husband and me to visit the local church of Almighty God to investigate the way for ourselves. She also gave us a copy of the book, The Scroll Opened by the Lamb, and asked us to read it first. I thought: “Yes, if I don’t read Almighty God’s words, how can I determine whether or not Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned?” So, we accepted the book.
Afterward, my husband and I read the book whenever we had time. From Almighty God’s words, we came to understand the inside story of the Bible and the correct approach one should have to the Bible, and we also came to understand such truths as how God works to save mankind in the last days. We saw that the words of Almighty God are bountiful and that they have unveiled all truths and mysteries, and so we found answers to the questions which had confused us for over ten years since we had started believing in the Lord. My husband and I were very excited, and we decided to go to the local church of Almighty God and look into it this weekend.
One day, my husband happened to see a lot of negative news about The Church of Almighty God while he was browsing the web. In particular, when I read what the CCP government was saying, that The Church of Almighty God was founded by a certain Zhao, that it is an organization of man, and I read about the May 28 Shandong Zhaoyuan Case, I became paralyzed as if a basin of cold water had been poured on my fervent heart. I thought to myself: “Why is there so much negative propaganda online about The Church of Almighty God? If what it says online really is true, we’d better not go to the church or look into it.” However, once I had told my husband what I’d been thinking, he said: “How can we believe the words of the CCP government? Have you forgotten how the CCP government also condemned the house churches when we were in China? So, only after we actually look into this way can we correctly decide whether what it says online are rumors or facts. If we listen only to one side, we might miss the opportunity to welcome the Lord’s return. Then it would be too late for regret.” I felt his words made sense. Also, having spent some time reading Almighty God’s words, I’d found that His words always enjoined people to pursue the truth and walk the right path of life. But when I thought of all that negative news on the Internet, I was still very scared. Finally, I decided not to go visit The Church of Almighty God or look into it. My husband saw that he couldn’t change my mind, so he invited Sister Lin to our home and asked her to fellowship with us.
The following day, Sister Lin came. I told her about my misgivings and about the negative propaganda we’d seen on the Internet. She said: “Sister, the CCP is an atheist revolutionary party. It simply does not acknowledge the existence of God, much less does it acknowledge the fact that God has become flesh and is working to save mankind. Instead, it does its utmost to deny, slander and condemn God’s work, and we can see this from the fact that it has frantically suppressed and persecuted Christianity and Catholicism ever since the founding of the nation. The Lord Jesus has now returned as Christ of the last days—Almighty God—and He has expressed millions of words in order to cleanse and save man. The CCP, however, spreads the heretical fallacy that ‘The Church of Almighty God is an organization of man’ in order to vilify both God and His church. What kind of problem is this, and how should we be discerning this fallacy? In Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom, there is a sermon that says, ‘Who founded Christianity and Catholicism? Could it be Paul or Peter who was the founder? Who founded Judaism? Could it be Moses? Isn’t it absurd? You atheists have never acknowledged the existence of God, not to mention the fact of God’s incarnation. No matter the incarnate Christ has expressed how much truth, accomplished how much work, and brought how much salvation to mankind, don’t you all endeavor to deny, cover up and condemn Him? Do you think that Christianity and Catholicism were founded by man, so these are organizations of man? This is your greatest absurdity. Had the Lord Jesus not appeared to work, no believers or followers of the Lord would have been engendered, let alone the creation of Christianity. Isn’t this the fact? How could the apostles have created a church on the merit of their own giftedness alone? Can you go by people’s reception of the leadership and shepherding of Peter, John and other apostles and say that Christianity was founded by the apostles and it is an organization of man? The Church of Almighty God was begotten entirely by the appearance and work of Almighty God. It was because people heard the voice of God from many truths expressed by Almighty God that they returned before God and coalesced into the church. Upon appearing to work, Almighty God personally witnessed the man used by the Holy Spirit, who is the leader of The Church of Almighty God. Just as Moses in the Age of Law and the apostles in the Age of Grace, he is the man used by God to do his duty to water, shepherd and lead the chosen people of God. Your Communist Party denies God’s work and all the truths expressed by God, even denying that the One believed in and followed by the chosen people of God is the incarnate God. Isn’t there an ulterior motive? Had it not been the appearance and work of Almighty God, The Church of Almighty God would not have been begotten, and it would not exist. This is an undeniable fact. The CCP is consciously aware that the Christians of The Church of Almighty God pray in the name of Almighty God. What they read and communicate in congregation is the word of Almighty God. Why does the CCP still tell such glaring lies? The One God’s chosen people of The Church of Almighty God believe in is Almighty God. God’s chosen people follow the leadership of the man who is used by the Holy Spirit according to the word of Almighty God. This is a fact.’”
Sister Lin continued her fellowship, saying, “We now understand that The Church of Almighty God arose because God became flesh, appeared and began to perform His work in the last days; it was established entirely by Christ of the last days—Almighty God—Himself, it is led and shepherded by Almighty God Himself, and was not set up by any man. As brothers and sisters in The Church of Almighty God, although we accept the leadership and shepherding of the man used by God, the One we follow and obey is still Almighty God, and the words we read and enjoy at meetings are still the words of Almighty God. The CCP, however, insists that The Church of Almighty God is an organization of man, and it says this with the aim to conceal and deny the fact of God’s appearance and work in the last days and to deceive the people of the world into not seeking or investigating the true way, thereby causing them to lose God’s salvation in the last days. At the same time, the CCP also does this to make the claim that The Church of Almighty God is an organization of man as the basis of public opinion for it to attack, suppress and ban The Church of Almighty God, and arrest and persecute Christians. But what comes from God will always flourish, and no enemy force may ever obstruct the work of God. Since 1991 when Almighty God formally appeared to do His work in China, the CCP government has never stopped suppressing and persecuting The Church of Almighty God. However, God’s kingdom gospel has still spread spectacularly. In just a matter of over two decades, the gospel has spread across all of mainland China. Now, the kingdom gospel of Almighty God has spread to all the nations of the world and many branches of the church have been established in foreign countries. This is entirely the fruit of God’s work. Sister, as long as we quiet our hearts and contemplate, it’s easy for us to see through the CCP’s despicable intent behind this heretical fallacy it puts out.”
Later, in response to my confusion about the May 28 Shandong Zhaoyuan Case, Sister Lin played for me a video called The Truth Exposed Behind the May 28 Zhaoyuan Case, which analyzed every questionable point and allowed people to clearly recognize it as nothing but a false case. In the video, a section of commentary said: “Before implementing crackdowns on a group, the CCP creates accusations so that they can sway public opinion and let it become legal foundation. This was all to deceive the public and pave the way for ensuing suppression. To suppress and ban The Church of Almighty God and ban all house churches in the country, they did the same thing and created the Zhaoyuan case to sway public opinion. That is the CCP’s plan in engineering this case. Anyone discerning can see what they’re trying to do. Unsurprisingly, After the case occurred, the CCP launched an escalating and comprehensive, brutal operation, suppressing The Church of Almighty God.” At that moment, I suddenly saw the light. I realized that the CCP was the invisible hand that had concocted the May 28 Zhaoyuan Case. Through the sister’s fellowship, I came to discern the rumors on the Internet and the despicable intent of the CCP behind its discrediting, smearing and framing The Church of Almighty God. Therefore, my husband and I agreed on a time with Sister Lin to visit the local church of Almighty God.
Although I had some discernment about the lies made up by the CCP, as we made our way to the local church of Almighty God that day, I still couldn’t help thinking about those terrible lies and I felt somewhat anxious in my heart. My husband could tell how I was feeling and he laughed at me for being too suspicious. “Sister Lin already knows where our house is. If she really wanted to kidnap us, would she have asked us to go to their church?” Hearing my husband’s words, I thought: “That’s right. If the rumors were true, they wouldn’t have asked us to go to their church.”
As we were approaching the church, from a distance we saw Sister Lin and some other brothers and sisters waiting to welcome us at the gate. Because we were late, they had stood outside for more than half an hour on a very cold day. My husband and I felt really bad about this. Their friendliness and warmth made me feel not only very moved but ashamed for my misgivings about them. Before entering the church building, I saw five large words above the gate reading “The Church of Almighty God”; it was all straight and aboveboard, and anyone was welcome who wished to investigate the true way. This was obviously a normal church, utterly unlike what was described online. After we went in, I saw that all the brothers and sisters were dignified and decent, and they all greeted us warmly. Afterward, some brothers and sisters introduced us to the website of The Church of Almighty God where there are the words of Almighty God, annals of the work arrangements of The Church of Almighty God, dance and song videos, gospel movies, choral collections, music videos and life experience testimonials written by brothers and sisters. All the contents are open to people from around the world who love the truth to seek and investigate. I thought: “Apart from The Church of Almighty God, no other denomination in the world dares to openly testify to the whole of mankind that the Lord Jesus has returned. This way can’t possibly be false!” So, I began to think well of The Church of Almighty God. At lunchtime, the brothers and sisters prepared a meal for us. Seeing that I’d brought our daughter, they all fussed over her and brought out plenty of toys for her to play with. I could tell that their sincerity was heartfelt and was not put on. The church had nothing in common with the violent organization described by the online rumors. After I’d actually visited The Church of Almighty God, my previous misgivings disappeared, and my husband and I decided to attend meetings in The Church of Almighty God.
At each meeting, the brothers and sisters always fellowshiped about the words of Almighty God. The purpose of these fellowships was to help us know God and His work more. They sometimes also shared with us their experiences and testimonies of how they practiced God’s words. Moreover, they prayed in the name of Almighty God, which was contrary to the online claim that said that the One who the people of The Church of Almighty God believed in and worshiped was a human being. Through our actual investigation and associating with the brothers and sisters, the rumors made up by the CCP government all collapsed in upon themselves. I couldn’t help but reproach myself for the fact that I had believed those lies and refused to investigate God’s work of the last days. I also felt very indignant: “The rumors put about by the CCP are really harmful to people! Who knows how many people like me, because of believing the rumors, do not dare to seek and investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days? Without discernment, we human beings truly are so pitiful.” So, I determined to examine carefully God’s work of the last days.
After going through a period of seeking and investigation, my husband and I accepted the work of Almighty God of the last days. A month later, a good friend of mine who belonged to my old church came to South Korea to visit me. I couldn’t wait to tell her the good news that the Lord Jesus had returned. However, to my surprise, after hearing this, she angrily said to us: “How can you believe in Eastern Lightning? Don’t you know that all the leaders of every denomination are condemning Eastern Lightning?” My husband replied: “We’ve read a lot of Almighty God’s words and have investigated this way many times and we are certain that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus—” Without waiting for my husband to finish speaking, my friend interrupted him and fired questions at us. “How many years have you two believed in the Lord? Do you understand the Bible? Haven’t the pastors and elders believed in the Lord longer than you have? Don’t they understand the Bible better than you do? If Eastern Lightning is the true way, why do they not accept it?” After she had left, I felt a little shaken, and I also felt very confused. I thought: “That the Lord Jesus has returned is a good thing, so why does she not look into the work of God in the last days? As for those pastors and elders who have believed in the Lord and worked and preached for many years, why don’t they investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days either?” A succession of questions occupied my mind.
In the following days, my friend ceaselessly called me and urged me to see the pastor we knew in China. She also told me many things that the pastor had said condemning The Church of Almighty God. When the pastors and elders from the church in South Korea learned that we had begun to believe in Almighty God, they called us one after another and asked to meet with us. They also repeatedly warned us not to read the books of Eastern Lightning, saying that the preaching of The Church of Almighty God was very clever, and that we were easily deceived because our statures were small and we didn’t understand the Bible very well. Due to their continuing harassment, my heart was in turmoil, and I started thinking, “For some time now, I have understood many truths through reading Almighty God’s words and I am sure from the bottom of my heart that Almighty God truly is the Lord Jesus returned. So why do the pastors and elders not accept but instead condemn and resist Almighty God along with the CCP government? Could I have gone astray in my faith?” The more I thought about it, the more troubled I felt. Without realizing it, I was a little shaken again. In the following week, I did not want to read God’s words nor did I want to attend meetings. My husband worried about me very much when he saw me like this, and so he constantly advised me to seek and fellowship with the brothers and sisters. After repeated exhortations from my husband, I decided to meet with the brothers and sisters to try and figure out my issues.
When I saw them, I poured out to them all the confusion I’d been feeling over the past few days. One brother read me a parable spoken by the Lord Jesus: “There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and dig a wine press in it, and built a tower, and let it out to farmers, and went into a far country: And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the farmers, that they might receive the fruits of it. And the farmers took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did to them likewise. But last of all he sent to them his son, saying, They will reverence my son. But when the farmers saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance. And they caught him, and cast him out of the vineyard, and slew him” (Matthew 21:33–39).
The brother then gave fellowship. “The parable of the wicked farmers told by the Lord Jesus is primarily about the wicked servants and antichrists who appear to serve God, but who in essence defy God and vie with God for control over His chosen people. Take the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees of the Age of Law, for example. They were the leaders of the religious world at that time, and they were supposed to lead the faithful to follow God’s words and, when the Lord Jesus came, to lead the faithful to accept and obey the Lord’s words and work. When the Lord Jesus came to perform His work, however, they clung to their own notions and refused to seek or accept the Lord’s work. Instead, they frantically condemned and resisted the Lord Jesus, so much so that they did their utmost to stop the faithful from following Jesus, they fabricated all manner of lies to blaspheme Jesus, and they incited the faithful to crucify the Lord upon the cross, all to protect their own positions and livelihoods. The Pharisees appeared to all as the servants of God, and yet they denied and condemned Christ, they usurped God’s flock and vied with God for control over His chosen people—in essence, they were God-defying antichrists!
“In the last days, God has once again become flesh and is working to save mankind. Although the pastors and elders of the religious world are well-versed in the Bible, they are completely devoid of a God-fearing heart. When they hear the news of the Lord’s return, they cling to their own notions and refuse to accept it, and they fabricate all manner of lies in order to slander and condemn God’s work of the last days. Especially when they see more and more believers seeking and investigating Almighty God’s work of the last days, the pastors and elders become afraid that the believers will all start believing in Almighty God, that they will no longer follow or idolize them, and that they will no longer donate money to them. Under the banner of ‘Stay Loyal to the Lord and Protect the Flock,’ they disseminate all kinds of conceptions and fallacies to confound people. They also use the various lies cooked up by the CCP government about The Church of Almighty God to condemn God’s work of the last days, and they do all they can to stop the faithful from investigating the true way. The pastors and elders try in vain to wrest control of God’s sheep, and their behavior is absolutely no different from the way the Pharisees treated the Lord Jesus all those years ago—truly, they are the evil servants exposed by God’s work of the last days. Let’s see now what Almighty God’s words say about this. 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? How are their followers to know that they are living devils dedicated to the devouring of human souls?’ (“All People Who Do Not Know God Are People Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The essence of the religious leaders is clearly revealed by Almighty God’s words. They are simply not true believers of God but are the obstacles and stumbling blocks that obstruct people from investigating the true way; they are the modern-day Pharisees, and the antichrists who resist God. Sister, we need to thoroughly understand the essence of the pastors and elders of the religious world of today lest we be deceived.”
The words of God and the fellowship of the brother made my heart feel much brighter. I clearly saw that the pastors and elders of the religious world are just like the wicked farmers. They shepherd and look after the Lord’s sheep, but when the Lord Jesus returns and wants these sheep returned to Him, they become afraid that if believers all follow Almighty God, then no one will listen to their preaching or donate money to them. They therefore frenziedly try to prevent believers from investigating the true way. All they have been doing is protecting their own positions and livelihoods. They truly are so despicable! It was myself who was to blame for being undiscerning and so ending up deceived by them. I had even reached a stage where I didn’t want to contact the brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God. What a fool I’d been!
After that, the brother read another passage of Almighty God’s words: “In the nation of the great red dragon, I have carried out a stage of work unfathomable to human beings, causing them to sway in the wind, after which many quietly drift away with the blowing of the wind. Truly, this is the ‘threshing floor’ I am about to clear; it is what I yearn for and it is also My plan. For many wicked ones have crept in while I am at work, but I am in no hurry to drive them away. Rather, I shall disperse them when the time is right. Only after that shall I be the fountain of life, allowing those who truly love Me to receive from Me the fruit of the fig tree and the fragrance of the lily. In the land where Satan sojourns, the land of dust, there remains no pure gold, only sand, and so, meeting with these circumstances, I do such a stage of work. You should know that what I gain is pure, refined gold, not sand. How can the wicked remain in My house?” (“The Seven Thunders Peal—Prophesying That the Gospel of the Kingdom Shall Spread Throughout the Universe” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
He then fellowshiped: “In the last days, God has become flesh and is working in China. He permits the antichrist forces in religious circles and the CCP government to disturb and obstruct His work, and God’s wisdom is behind this. On the one hand, God’s purpose is to allow us to develop discernment and to see through to the CCP’s demonic essence of resisting God and the hypocritical and truth-hating antichrist essence of the religious leaders. On the other hand, through these disturbances and obstructions, God will reveal all the different kinds of people, such as the sheep and the goats, the wheat and the tares, the good servants and the evil servants, the wise virgins and the foolish virgins, and so on. The rumors can only bind the tares but not the wheat; the wind only blows away the chaff but not the ripened grains. Despite the frenzied persecution of the CCP government and religious leaders, those who belong to God are able to see through all manner of lies by seeking the truth and they become resolved in their faith to follow God; they are the wise virgins and they have the hope of being made by God into overcomers, and becoming the pillars in God’s kingdom. This precisely fulfills the prophecy of the Book of Revelation: ‘Him that overcomes will I make a pillar in the temple of My God, and he shall go no more out’ (Revelation 3:12). However, those who do not love the truth and only have a muddle-headed belief in God are exposed by the lies. They are the foolish virgins mentioned by the Lord Jesus and are thoroughly abandoned and eliminated by God’s work of the last days.”
After hearing God’s words and the brother’s fellowship, my heart became even more filled with light. It turned out that God uses the rumors and persecution of the CCP government and the disturbances caused by the religious antichrist forces to render service to God as He perfects and exposes people, and therein lies the wisdom and almightiness of God. I felt very fortunate to have been shown God’s mercy. Although I was deceived by the CCP’s rumors because I had no discernment, God had arranged for the brothers and sisters to patiently fellowship the truth with me time and time again. Through this, I became able to distinguish the rumors, and could see clearly the essence of the CCP government and religious leaders and the sinister motives behind their using rumors to deceive and devour people. All of this was God showing me His grace. I thanked God for His salvation from the bottom of my heart.
Afterward, whenever I had time, I would go to The Church of Almighty God to attend meetings. Through God’s words, I came to understand more and more truths. When I encounter something at odds with my conceptions, I no longer guard against it or resist it like before. Instead, I am able to take the initiative to seek and fellowship with my brothers and sisters. By reading God’s words, I have come to understand that God’s will is for more people to accept His salvation. Seeing many brothers and sisters in various denominations being deceived by the CCP’s rumors or confused and controlled by the antichrists of the religious world, I now have the desire to preach the gospel to them. I hope to use my personal experiences to help them to see through Satan’s tricks soon, to break free from the bondage of the rumors and to return before Almighty God—Christ of the last days—and accept His salvation. Thanks be to God!