Why There Are So Many Obstacles to Accepting the True Way

October 17, 2022

By Joselyn, Ecuador

In 2008, I put my faith in the Lord along with my mother, and after that, I started attending gatherings at the local church. Later on, I even became a church deacon. Each time we had a gathering, I’d always want to read more of God’s words and gain a better understanding of God’s will, but over time, I realized I wasn’t being supplied by the pastor’s sermons. I didn’t enjoy the gatherings and felt empty inside. In June of 2020, just when I was entering a seminary to pursue further studies, I met Sister Garcia, a member of The Church of Almighty God, online. She shared the gospel of Almighty God in the last days with me and invited me to join a gathering group. I read much of Almighty God’s words, saw that Almighty God’s words were authoritative and powerful, that they were God’s voice, and became sure that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus we’ve been waiting for all along. I was so moved that I began to cry. I felt so lucky that I could welcome the return of the Lord and receive God’s salvation in the last days.

After that, I wanted to let my brothers and sisters know of the Lord’s return as quickly as possible. Knowing that Angel was our church’s preacher and that he was kind, responsible, and often helped all of us out, I went to him first with the news of the Lord’s return and shared Almighty God’s words with him, fellowshiping on my understanding of His words. To my surprise, Angel immediately interrupted me, saying: “That’s impossible. The Bible is the only place that contains God’s words. God’s words could not possibly appear outside of it. Reading content not found in the Bible is a betrayal of the Lord!” I hurriedly replied: “How could this be a betrayal of the Lord? You don’t have the slightest understanding of God’s work in the last days, so you should at least investigate it to see if Almighty God’s words are the voice of God—then you can make your decision.” But he interrupted me again and haughtily replied: “There’s no need to investigate. If you want to hear a sermon, just listen to me. You must remember, don’t read other books besides the Bible no matter what—departing from the Bible is a betrayal of the Lord.” I was surprised and confused by his attitude towards God’s work in the last days: “In the past, he’d always told us that we should be like the wise virgins and single-mindedly await the Lord, otherwise we might miss His return. Now, the Lord has already returned, so why is he unwilling to seek and investigate, and even demanding that I stop listening to Almighty God’s words? Doesn’t he want to welcome the Lord’s return?” I just didn’t get why he would have that kind of attitude. I also thought of how he said: “The Bible contains all of God’s words. God’s words do not appear outside of the Bible. Straying from the Bible is a betrayal of the Lord.” Even though I knew that I was welcoming the Lord by accepting Almighty God, not betraying Him, I still felt confused by what he said.

Later on, I read a few passages of God’s words, and listened to fellowship from brothers and sisters in The Church of Almighty God, and this helped resolve my confusion. Almighty God says, “The things that are recorded in the Bible are limited; they cannot represent the work of God in its entirety. The Four Gospels have fewer than one hundred chapters altogether, in which are written a finite number of happenings, such as Jesus cursing the fig tree, Peter’s three denials of the Lord, Jesus appearing to the disciples following His crucifixion and resurrection, teaching about fasting, teaching about prayer, teaching about divorce, the birth and genealogy of Jesus, Jesus’ appointment of the disciples, and so forth. However, man values them as treasures, even comparing the work of today against them. They even believe that all the work Jesus did in His life amounted only to so much, as if God were only capable of doing this much and nothing further. Is this not absurd?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)). “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 practice in light of the Sabbath and 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?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Concerning the Bible (1)). “No one knows the reality of the Bible: that it is nothing more than a historical record of God’s work, and a testament to the previous two stages of God’s work, and that it offers you no understanding of the aims of God’s work. Everyone who has read the Bible knows that it documents the two stages of God’s work during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. The Old Testament chronicles the history of Israel and Jehovah’s work from the time of creation until the end of the Age of Law. The New Testament records Jesus’ work on earth, which is in the Four Gospels, as well as the work of Paul—are these not historical records? Bringing up the things of the past today makes them history, and no matter how true or real they might be, they are still history—and history cannot address the present, for God does not look back on history! And so, if you only understand the Bible, and understand nothing of the work God intends to do today, and if you believe in God but do not seek the work of the Holy Spirit, then you do not understand what it means to seek God. If you read the Bible in order to study the history of Israel, to research the history of God’s creation of all the heavens and earth, then you do not believe in God. But today, since you believe in God, and pursue life, since you pursue the knowledge of God, and do not pursue dead letters and doctrines or an understanding of history, you must seek God’s will of today, and you must look for the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Concerning the Bible (4)). I remember the brothers and sisters fellowshiped with me, saying that the Bible is just a historical record of God’s previous work. It’s a compilation of written records of God’s work. Given that people compiled and edited it, inevitably certain things were selected, while others were edited out or overlooked. It would have been impossible to compile and record all of God’s words and work in the Bible. Just like the apostle John said: “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written” (John 21:25). This shows that the words and work of God recorded in the Bible are very limited. God is the Lord of creation and source of human life. For several millennia, God has been working and speaking, supplying humankind with what they need in an endless stream, and guiding humankind forward. God’s words are like a spring of living water that flows without end, so how could all of God’s words be contained in the Bible? God reigns sovereign over all things, He is not only the Lord of the Sabbath, but also the Lord of the Bible. He doesn’t do His work according to the Bible, nor is He limited by the Bible. He has the complete authority to transcend the Bible, and do more, newer work and proclaim more of His words according to His own plans and the needs of humankind. For instance, in the Age of Grace, Lord Jesus didn’t do His work in the same way that the Old Testament records it was done in the Age of Law. He performed a newer and more elevated work, expressing the way of repentance, performing the work of crucifixion, redeeming humanity of their sins, so that people were no longer condemned and sentenced to death by the law and could continue to survive. Now that God has come to do His work in the last days, He doesn’t repeat His previous work as recorded in the Bible, but expresses new words and does new work. Just as Lord Jesus prophesied: “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” (John 16:12–13). In the last days, the Lord Jesus has returned as Almighty God. He does the work of judgment starting from the house of God, expresses all the truths needed to purify and save mankind, allowing humanity to completely free itself from the bonds of sin, become purified, perfected and enter God’s kingdom. All that accept God’s work in the last days, receive the watering and supply of His words and attend the marriage supper of the Lamb. They are just as Revelation describes: “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes” (Revelation 14:4). It’s clear that they are following the footsteps of the Lamb and are not betraying the Lord. So this idea that “All that God has said and done is recorded in the Bible, and straying from the Bible is a betrayal of God” is just a fallacy and doesn’t conform with God’s words or the facts. After fellowshiping with the brothers and sisters, I felt much clearer and gained discernment of Angel’s fallacious remarks.

After that, I went to share the gospel with a sister from my original church. To my surprise, when Angel heard about it, he went to disrupt the sister, and to make sure that other members didn’t accept the gospel, he condemned and blasphemed Almighty God and said I had betrayed the Lord by joining a different denomination. He and the pastor also spread rumors about me in the church, saying that I’d stopped gathering because I had gotten a new boyfriend, that I didn’t have true faith in the Lord, and that the other members of the church should shun me. When everyone heard the rumors, they thought less of me and started to shun me. Some even looked at me in a weird way as if I was some kind of creep. Only a few days later, the pastor sought out my parents to tell them that I’d gone down the wrong path and had stopped attending gatherings. He also told my mom to keep an eye on me and not let me go anywhere. When all of this happened at once, I felt just awful, and I thought I was going to completely lose it. I didn’t understand why they would treat me like that. All I’d done was testify to them about the Lord’s return, and then they made up all of these rumors to disgrace me and even encouraged my parents to suppress me. This all felt like a knife to my heart and caused me unbearable suffering. With tears in my eyes, I prayed to God, asking for His help. When a sister heard about my situation, she shared many of God’s words with me and gave me a lot of encouragement.

I saw a passage of Almighty God’s words that said: “Nowadays, those who seek and those who do not are two entirely different types of people, whose destinations are also very different. Those who pursue knowledge of the truth and practice the truth are the ones to whom God will bring salvation. Those who do not know the true way are demons and enemies; they are the descendants of the archangel and will be objects of destruction. Even those who are pious believers of a vague God—are they not also demons? People who possess good consciences but do not accept the true way are demons; their essence is one of resistance to God. … Anyone who does not believe in God incarnate is demonic and, moreover, will be destroyed. Those who have faith but do not practice the truth, those who do not believe in God incarnate, and those who do not at all believe in God’s existence will also be objects of destruction. All those who will be allowed to remain are people who have undergone the suffering of refinement and stood firm; these are people who have truly endured trials. Anyone who does not recognize God is an enemy; that is, anyone who does not recognize God incarnate—whether or not they are inside or outside this stream—is an antichrist! Who is Satan, who are demons, and who are God’s enemies if not resisters who do not believe in God? Are they not those people who are disobedient to God?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together). Through fellowshiping God’s words with my sister, I realized that when Lord Jesus came to do His work, the Pharisees that worshiped Jehovah God in the temple clearly knew that what Lord Jesus said was authoritative and powerful, but not only did they fail to seek and investigate, they also wildly resisted and condemned Him, falsely claiming He used Beelzebub’s power to perform exorcisms. They committed blasphemy against the Holy Spirit and were cursed and punished by God. The Pharisees didn’t just blaspheme and condemn the Lord themselves, they also deceived believers into resisting Him, which led them to lose God’s salvation and become the Pharisees’ grave goods. I thought of how Lord Jesus cursed the Pharisees at the time: “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). And, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matthew 23:15). Through the Lord’s words, one can see that the Pharisees were God-resisting antichrists. They pretended to be kind, but in reality they hated the truth and took God as their enemy. They were demons that devoured souls and lured people into hell. Based upon the Pharisees’ nefarious acts, Lord Jesus leveled seven “woes” at them. From this, we can see that God’s disposition tolerates no offense. In the last days, Almighty God has come to do His work. He has expressed all truths needed to purify and save humankind and made a group of overcomers, sending shockwaves through the religious world. Despite God performing such an enormous work, the pastors and preachers of the religious world not only don’t seek and investigate it, they even go to great lengths to spread rumors and obstruct believers from investigating the true way. They’re just like the Pharisees whose nature and essence was hating the truth and opposing God. In the last days, God is doing the work of sorting each according to their kind, exposing the false believers and identifying the true believers. Those that claim to believe in God but don’t accept the truth and God incarnate, are not true believers and will ultimately be cast out. Only those that seek the truth with an open mind and accept God’s work in the last days will have the opportunity to be saved by God. Angel seemed like a kind, humble and helpful person, but when he heard of the Lord’s return, he didn’t seek and investigate at all, he judged and condemned God’s words and work, and even spread rumors and obstructed other believers from investigating the true way. He didn’t have the slightest fear of God. I saw that while he believed in and served the Lord, his essence was truth-hating and in opposition to God. There was no difference between him and the God-resisting Pharisees of old. Having realized all this, I gained some discernment of Angel and the leaders of the religious world, and had a clearer understanding of why they acted the way they did. I didn’t feel quite as bad after that.

A little while after that, I began fulfilling a duty in the church. I’d attend gatherings and read God’s words every day with the others and I felt great. But when my parents heard the rumors that the pastor and preacher spread, they angrily chided me. They forced me to go back to my old church and forbade me from believing in Almighty God. Due to my parents’ obstruction and disruption, I wasn’t able to do my duty regularly and couldn’t even attend gatherings. One day, my dad caught me attending an online gathering with other brothers and sisters and got so angry that he was about to hit me. Luckily, my mom came in and stopped him just in time. After that, my parents kept me on an even tighter leash. They locked me in the house and wouldn’t let me leave, so I couldn’t attend gatherings anymore. At the time, it was really too much for me. I felt weak and didn’t have the confidence to do my duty. I prayed to God, asking Him to give me faith and strength. After that, I came upon a passage of God’s words: “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” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God). Through God’s words, I realized that in the current situation, it seemed as though my parents were obstructing me from following Almighty God, but behind the scenes, it was Satan that was causing the disruption. This was a spiritual battle. God has expressed many truths in the last days to allow us to break free from our satanic corruption and be saved by God. But Satan didn’t want me to be saved by God, so it used my parents to attack me and block me from believing in God and doing my duty. Satan wanted to make me completely lose my opportunity to be saved and be cast down into hell with it. Satan really is so sinister and wicked! If I stopped following Almighty God, wouldn’t I just be falling for its sinister plot?

I then came across another passage of God’s words: “Do not be discouraged, do not be weak, and I will make things clear for you. The road to the kingdom is not so smooth; nothing is that simple! You want blessings to come to you easily, do you not? Today, everyone will have bitter trials to face. Without such trials, the loving heart you have for Me will not grow stronger and you will not have true love for Me. Even if these trials consist merely of minor circumstances, everyone must pass through them; it’s just that the difficulty of the trials will vary from one person to another. Trials are a blessing from Me, and how many of you come often before Me and beg on your knees for My blessings? Silly children! You always think that a few auspicious words count as My blessing, yet you do not recognize that bitterness is one of My blessings. Those who share in My bitterness will certainly share in My sweetness. That is My promise and My blessing to you” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 41). After reading Almighty God’s words, I realized that even though I had suffered a bit due to the pastor’s suppression and my parents’ obstruction, God had allowed this situation to occur to perfect my faith. This was God’s good intention! But I was weak and ready to abandon my duty just because of a little hardship. I realized that I didn’t have the drive to suffer and pay a price to gain the truth. I didn’t have a sincere attitude towards God and my stature was still quite small. I came to understand God’s intentions and no longer felt passive and down. I also had a sense of faith and strength and was ready to face the situation head-on, relying on God to stand firm in the face of oppression. Later on, I would often pray to God, read God’s words to strengthen my faith and ask God to help open up a path for me so that I could continue to gather and do my duty.

After that, the rumors that Angel and the others had spread about me started taking a toll on my parents, and so to rid themselves of the of influence the rumors, they sent me to live with my grandmother. I was able to connect with my brothers and sisters there via the internet, and could once again gather and do my duties. My parents were mad when they found out, but I wasn’t influenced by them and resolutely said to them: “My greatest hope in believing in the Lord is to welcome His return. Now the Lord Jesus has returned as Almighty God, so even if you guys don’t understand, I will still follow Almighty God to the very end. If you still insist on stopping me, I’ll have no choice but to leave this family.” Seeing how steadfast I was, my parents didn’t say anything else on the matter. From then on, even though they’d still often complain or try to disrupt me in my duty, I was no longer constrained by them and was resolute in doing my duty. Experiencing the repeated oppression and obstruction of my pastor and family, I did suffer a little, but I came to understand some of the truth, gained discernment and my faith in God deepened. No matter what situations I encounter in the future, I’m ready to rely on God to get through them.

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