Who Stands Between Me and the Kingdom of Heaven?
By Michael, Indonesia
I used to be a Catholic. I went to a Catholic school when I was young and I always took an active part in church activities. I’d go to prayers or fellowships every week. But over the last few years I wasn’t getting anything from the priest’s sermons and I still had a lot of unanswered questions, so I went online to find the answers.
Back in August 2018, I was looking through The Church of Almighty God’s website when I saw there were lots of gospel movies like The City Will Be Overthrown, Who Is He That Has Returned, The Mystery of Godliness, Disclose the Mystery About the Bible, Break Through the Snare, Rapture in Peril, God’s Name Has Changed?! and many more. These movie titles grabbed my attention. I thought, “My church is so desolate now and the priest just preaches the same old things. He’s not nourishing our spirits and we’re all longing for the Lord Jesus to return. Perhaps these movies could help me welcome the Lord.” I ended up watching all the movies and took notes on all the important parts of the characters’ fellowship. I learned from these movies that the Lord had already returned as Almighty God, Christ of the last days, and that He’s expressing the truth and working to judge and cleanse man. I learned about the mystery of God’s names, the mystery of His incarnations, the truth behind the Bible, how to tell the true Christ and the true way from the false, who God saves and who He eliminates, who can enter the kingdom of heaven, and much more. I’d never heard any of these truths and mysteries before. I found the answers to many of my questions, too, and I really felt my spirit soar. After six months looking into it online, I became certain it was the voice of God and that Almighty God is the Lord returned. I then happily accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days.
One day in March 2019, seeing that I was sharing The Church of Almighty God movies and hymns on Facebook, my cousin realized that I now believed in Almighty God. She went to my dad and the two of them came to talk to me about it. Thinking how my dad and my cousin were a Christian elder and a pastor who had always strongly opposed Almighty God’s work of the last days, I worried that I wouldn’t do a good job of testifying to God’s new work, as I’d only just accepted it myself. I was afraid they’d try to stop me from believing in Almighty God. So I said a silent prayer in my heart to God asking Him to grant me faith and strength, to give me the right words to say so that I would know how to testify to God’s work of the last days.
My dad asked me with a stern face, “Why have you gone off believing in Almighty God and not the Lord?” I told him that the Lord Jesus has returned as Almighty God, Christ of the last days, that He has expressed many truths and is performing a new stage of work, and that He has opened the small scroll foretold in Revelation. I wanted him to learn more about it. Instead, my dad said angrily, “New work? New words? All God’s work and words are in the Bible. There’s no new work or words from God outside the Bible. Anything that goes beyond the Bible is heresy. Don’t you realize that?” My cousin echoed what my dad had said.
Seeing my dad so angry, I stayed calm and said, “Dad, you say that God’s work and words are all in the Bible, that there are no words or work of God outside of that, and that anything that goes beyond the Bible is heresy. But do the facts support this claim? We know that the Lord Jesus officially worked for three and a half years. He preached and worked everywhere He went and must have said and done so many things. The things He said that are recorded in the Four Gospels would only have taken Him a few hours to say. So how can you say everything the Lord said is recorded in the New Testament?” My dad and my cousin were stumped by that. I went on: “It says in the Bible, ‘[T]here are also many other things which Jesus did; which, if they were written every one, the world itself, I think, would not be able to contain the books that should be written’ (John 21:25). This verse tells us that a lot of what the Lord said wasn’t recorded in the Bible. So you saying God’s work and words are all in the Bible and there’s no work or words of God outside the Bible doesn’t really hold water. Besides, when the Lord worked in the Age of Grace, the New Testament didn’t even exist. He taught people to confess and repent and performed many miracles. It was all new words and new work. None of it was recorded in the Old Testament—it all went beyond the Old Testament. If we say that anything that goes beyond the Scriptures is heresy, wouldn’t we be condemning the Lord Jesus’ work and words?”
Next, I opened the notes of Almighty God’s words I’d taken while watching those movies and read to them. Almighty God says, “During the time of Jesus, Jesus led the Jews and all those who followed Him according to the Holy Spirit’s work in Him at the time. He did not take the Bible as the basis of what He did, but spoke according to His work; He paid no heed to what the Bible said, nor did He search in the Bible for a path to lead His followers. Right from when He began to work, He spread the way of repentance—a word of which there was absolutely no mention in the prophecies of the Old Testament. Not only did He not act according to the Bible, but He also led a new path, and did new work. Never did He refer to the Bible when He preached. During the Age of Law, no one had ever been able to perform His miracles of healing the sick and casting out demons. So, too, were His work, His teachings, and the authority and power of His words beyond any man in the Age of Law. Jesus simply did His newer work, and even though many people condemned Him using the Bible—and even used the Old Testament to crucify Him—His work surpassed the Old Testament; if this were not so, why did people nail Him to the cross? Was it not because it said nothing in the Old Testament of His teaching, and His ability to heal the sick and cast out demons? His work was done to lead a new path, it was not to deliberately pick a fight against the Bible, or to deliberately dispense with the Old Testament. He simply came to perform His ministry, to bring the new work to those who yearned for and sought Him. He did not come to explain the Old Testament or uphold its work. His work was not in order to allow the Age of Law to continue developing, for His work gave no consideration to whether it had the Bible as its base; Jesus simply came to do the work that He ought to do. Thus, He did not explain the prophecies of the Old Testament, nor did He work according to the words of the Old Testament Age of Law. He ignored what the Old Testament said, He cared not whether it agreed with His work or not, and cared not what others knew of His work, or how they condemned it. He simply kept doing the work that He ought to do, even though many people used the foretelling of the prophets of the Old Testament to condemn Him. To people, it appeared as if His work had no basis, and there was much of it that was at odds with the records of the Old Testament. Was this not man’s error? Does doctrine need to be applied to the work of God? And must God work according to the foretelling of prophets? After all, which is greater: God or the Bible? Why must God work according to the Bible? Could it be that God has no right to exceed the Bible? Can God not depart from the Bible and do other work? Why did Jesus and His disciples not keep the Sabbath? If He were to keep the Sabbath and practice according to the commandments of the Old Testament, why did Jesus not keep the Sabbath after He came, but instead washed feet, covered head, broke bread, and drank wine? Is this not all absent from the commandments of the Old Testament? If Jesus honored the Old Testament, why did He break with these doctrines? You should know which came first, God or the Bible! Being the Lord of the Sabbath, could He not also be the Lord of the Bible?” (“Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). After I’d read this, I said to my dad, “God doesn’t work according to the Scriptures. In fact, God’s work came first, and then it was recorded in Scriptures. God created all things in the beginning. He created Adam and Eve, and He destroyed the world with floods. He led the Israelites out of Egypt, He issued the laws and commandments, and much more, and none of this was done according to Scriptures. The Old Testament didn’t exist back then. When the Lord Jesus came to work in the Age of Grace He taught people to love Him with all their heart, love others as themselves, and forgive people seventy times seven times. He healed the sick and cast out demons, He performed many miracles, and so on. None of His words or work were recorded in the Old Testament, but instead went beyond the Old Testament. But the Pharisees didn’t understand the Lord Jesus’ work. Seeing that His work went beyond the Scriptures, they used the literal words of the Scriptures to condemn His new work. They said He didn’t keep the Sabbath and told people boys didn’t need to be circumcised, and so on. They even blasphemed Him, saying He cast demons out by the prince of devils. They finally had the Lord crucified, and committed the heinous sin of resisting God. Dad, we should learn the lessons of this ancient tragedy! We’re now in the last days and the Lord prophesied: ‘I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself; but what things soever He shall hear, He shall speak; and the things that are to come, He shall shew you’ (John 16:12–13). It’s also prophesied in the Bible: ‘He, that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith to the churches’ (Revelation 2,3). ‘For the time is, that judgment should begin at the house of God’ (1 Peter 4:17). In Revelation, it says many times that the Spirit will speak to the churches in the last days to let us hear the Holy Spirit’s utterances. The Lord needs to express more truths in the last days and do the work of judgment beginning with God’s house. How could God’s last-days work and words be recorded in the Bible in advance? If His last-days work didn’t go beyond the Bible, how would the prophecies of what the Lord Jesus would say and do when He returns be fulfilled? God is almighty and wise. He’s the Lord of the Sabbath and of the Bible. He’s entirely capable of doing new work beyond what’s recorded in the Bible. So saying God’s work and words are all in the Bible, that they are only in the Bible and that anything that goes beyond the Bible is heresy is just our notion and is totally at odds with the facts of God’s work! Dad, we can’t keep holding onto this wrong view, or else we’ll end up resisting God and offending His disposition.” My dad and my cousin didn’t respond to that but they still insisted that God’s work and words were all in the Bible and refused to look into Almighty God’s last-days work. They even said some things condemning and opposing Almighty God.
I asked them not to blaspheme against God and my dad suddenly got really angry and yelled at me, “If you insist on believing in Almighty God, you won’t be my daughter anymore!” I was shocked to hear him say this to me. He was a church elder and had always longed for the Lord to return. But when he heard about the Lord’s return, he refused to let go of his notions and had no interest in learning more about it. He even wanted to disown me. That night, I lay in bed unable to sleep. I never thought my dad would be so opposed to it that he would be willing to cut all ties with me. I was really miserable, and I felt so disappointed in my dad. My head was spinning and I felt like I needed someone to talk to, so I sent a message to the people at The Church of Almighty God telling them about my dad and cousin trying to obstruct my faith. A sister then sent me a passage of Almighty God’s words. “God does His work, God cares for a person, looks upon this person, and all the while Satan dogs His every step. Whomever God favors, Satan also watches, trailing along behind. If God wants this person, Satan would do everything in its power to obstruct God, using various evil ploys to tempt, disrupt and wreck the work God does, all in order to achieve its hidden objective. What is this objective? It does not want God to gain anyone; all those that God wants it wants for itself, it wants to occupy them, control them, to take charge of them so they worship it, so they join it in committing evil acts. Is this not Satan’s sinister motive?” (“God Himself, the Unique IV” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The sister then fellowshiped with me, saying, “When family members try to obstruct us, a spiritual battle is raging behind the scenes. God wants to bring all who truly believe in Him and love the truth before Him in the last days so that they can accept the judgment and chastisement of His words, be cleansed and saved and enter His kingdom. Satan, on the other hand, wants to possess and control people forever. It uses all kinds of people, events, and things to stand in our way, hoping to keep us from God’s salvation so that we end up perishing alongside it.” Listening to the sister, I finally understood. It looked like my dad and cousin were trying to stop me from believing in Almighty God and even that my dad wanted to cut all ties with me. But behind it all was Satan’s cunning scheme. Satan wanted to use my dad’s threat to force me to give up the true way and lose God’s salvation in the last days. Satan is so incredibly evil! I just couldn’t do what it wanted. No matter how painful, I had to keep to the true way and stand firm!
My dad got two pastors from his church and three Catholic priests and they all came to harass me. Remembering how God had guided me to stand firm when my dad and cousin had come before, I didn’t feel timid or afraid to face these pastors and priests. I knew I had to rely on God to preach the words of God that I could understand and defeat Satan with the truth. No way would I let them frighten me. I said a silent prayer in my heart asking God to help me and grant me wisdom so I could stand witness in this spiritual battle. Pastor Liu started by saying, “The Lord Jesus was crucified to redeem us of our sins. We’ve gained the Lord’s redemption and enjoyed His abundant grace and blessings. Leaving Him to go believe in Almighty God is a betrayal of the Lord!” I replied, “Pastor Liu, I’ve investigated Almighty God’s work for over six months and read many of His words. I’ve found that His words are authoritative and powerful—they are the truth. I know in my heart that these words are the voice of God and Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned! My faith in Almighty God means I’ve welcomed the Lord. So why would my belief in Almighty God be a betrayal of the Lord? Jehovah, the Lord Jesus, and Almighty God are actually all one God. These are just the names He takes to do different work in different ages. The people in the Age of Law believed in Jehovah God. They worshiped Him and magnified Him as great. The Lord Jesus came to do the work of redemption in the Age of Grace and those who left the law behind and followed the Lord Jesus weren’t betraying Jehovah God but were following the Lord’s footsteps—they gained His redemption. Those Pharisees who refused to accept the Lord Jesus’ work were the ones who actually betrayed Jehovah God.” Just then I thought of a movie I’d watched called God’s Name Has Changed?! and a video of a reading of God’s words called The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a “White Cloud.” These videos discussed truths about God’s three stages of work. I said, “Since Satan corrupted man, God has performed three stages of work to save man. The first stage was the work of the Age of Law when Jehovah God issued the laws and commandments and guided man on earth, teaching them how to worship God. He showed people what sin was. The second stage was in the Age of Grace. The Lord Jesus did the work of redeeming man and brought the way of repentance. He showed people how to confess and repent. The third stage is the Age of Kingdom in the last days. Building on the Lord Jesus’ work, Almighty God does a newer, higher work. He expresses the truth, judges and cleanses man’s corruption, and saves us from the fetters of sin once and for all. He expunges all sin from us so that we’re cleansed of corruption and fit to enter His kingdom. God’s work moves ever onward. All three stages are essential, with each stage higher and more profound than the last. Though God’s work changes in the last days along with His name, it’s still the work of one God. That’s why accepting Almighty God’s work in the last days is keeping pace with God’s footsteps. It’s not a betrayal of the Lord. If we stop at the Age of Grace and refuse to accept the work of the Age of Kingdom, then we’d really be betraying the Lord and we’d just end up condemned and eliminated like the Pharisees.”
After that, I read some of Almighty God’s words I’d written down during the movie: “The three stages of work were done by one God; this is the greatest vision, and this is the only path to knowing God. The three stages of work could only have been done by God Himself, and no man could do such work on His behalf—this is to say that only God Himself could have done His own work from the beginning until today. … If man can see in the three stages of work that they were carried out by God Himself at different times, in different places, and in different people; if man can see that although the work is different, it is all done by one God, and that since it is work done by one God, then it must be right and without error, and that though it is at odds with the notions of man, there is no denying that it is the work of one God—if man can say for sure that it is the work of one God, then the notions of man will be reduced to mere trifles, unworthy of mention” (“Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Before I’d even finished reading, the pastors cut me off. They said sternly, “We believe only the Lord Jesus is our Lord. We will not believe in Almighty God!” My dad also said angrily, “I support your faith in the Lord, but I absolutely oppose your faith in Almighty God. You’d better think again!” Seeing him still opposed to my belief in Almighty God, I thought, “Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned. I’ll believe in Him no matter what you say.” So I said resolutely, “Dad, I’m sure Almighty God’s words are the truth, the voice of God. I won’t change my mind about following Almighty God. I’m an adult and I have the right to choose what to believe in. You ought to learn about and look into Almighty God’s words and work more instead of jumping to conclusions.” The pastors exchanged looks when I said this. They knew they couldn’t convince me otherwise, so they left.
Once they’d gone, I thought of the desolation in the church. So many people were losing faith and becoming negative and weak, yet these pastors and priests didn’t care. They had no love whatsoever and didn’t lead believers to seek a church with the Holy Spirit’s work. But when they found out I’d accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days, they all banded together to try to stop me. They misinterpreted the Bible with their notions and spread fallacies to mislead and disturb me. Their behavior left me feeling bitterly disappointed. Especially my dad…. He was generally so devout when it came to the Lord Jesus and he was always good to me. He encouraged me to follow the Lord’s teachings and said we’d welcome the Lord together when He came. I never imagined that when I bore witness to the work of the returned Lord he wouldn’t be interested at all, but instead would do all he could to obstruct and harass me, condemning Almighty God’s work of the last days and threatening to cut all ties with me. He was like a totally different person. What had happened to my dad? Wasn’t he now a stumbling block on my path to the kingdom of heaven? He’d become a hypocritical Pharisee, an antichrist! By following these pastors, elders and priests in their faith in the Lord, weren’t believers’ chances of welcoming the Lord and getting into His kingdom being dashed? This made me think of the Lord Jesus’ rebuke of the Pharisees: “[W]oe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men, for you yourselves do not enter in; and those that are going in, you suffer not to enter” (Matthew 23:13). And I thought of Almighty God’s words about this, too. “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). Through this encounter I began to discern the antichrist essence of these pastors and priests and realized that they were stumbling blocks obstructing people from getting into God’s kingdom. I also felt that God was always protecting me, giving me faith and strength and the right words to say, and the confidence to rebut the pastors and priests. I thank God for guiding me to overcome Satan’s temptations, enabling me to stand firm on the true way. My faith to follow Almighty God till the very end got even stronger!