3. The Trial of a Foil
“Oh God! Whether I have status or not, I now understand myself. If my status is high it is because of Your elevation, and if it is low it is because of Your ordination. Everything is in Your hands. I have neither any choices, nor any complaints. You ordained that I would be born in this country and among this people, and all that I should do is to be completely obedient under Your dominion because everything is within what You have ordained. I do not give thought to status; after all, I am but a creature. If You place me in the bottomless pit, in the lake of fire and brimstone, I am nothing but a creature. If You use me, I am a creature. If You perfect me, I am yet a creature. If You do not perfect me, I will still love You because I am no more than a creature. I am nothing more than a minuscule creature created by the Lord of creation, just one among all created humans. It was You who created me, and now You have once again placed me in Your hands to do with me as You will. I am willing to be Your tool and Your foil because everything is what You have ordained. No one can change it. All things and all events are in Your hands” (Follow the Lamb and Sing New Songs, I’m Just a Tiny Created Being). Singing this hymn of God’s words is deeply moving for me. I can’t help but think of the experiences I had in the trial of a foil.
In early 1993, I had the duty of watering new believers in the church. We were in danger of being arrested wherever we went because of the Chinese Communist Party’s frantic persecution and arrests of Christians. In spite of the harsh environment, I never shrank back, but persisted in my duty. I read these words of God, “Only those who love God are able to testify of God, only they are God’s witnesses, only they are blessed by God, and only they are able to receive God’s promises” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Those Who Love God Will Forever Live Within His Light). Then I felt full of faith to pursue becoming someone who loves God. I thought that kind of pursuit would gain God’s approval and I’d definitely get into heaven and be one of the people of His kingdom.
Just as I was enthusiastically expending myself, certain I’d be taken into God’s kingdom, Almighty God expressed words that threw me into the trial of a foil. One day in March, brothers and sisters sent God’s new utterance to our church, “The Inside Truth of the Work of Conquest (1).” I read in God’s words: “Today, I work in God’s chosen people in China to reveal all their rebellious dispositions and unmask all their ugliness, and this provides the context for saying everything I need to say. Afterward, when I carry out the next step of work of conquering the entire universe, I shall use My judgment of you to judge the unrighteousness of everyone in the entire universe, for you people are the representatives of the rebellious among mankind. Those who cannot step up will become merely foils and serving objects, whereas those who can step up will be put to use. Why do I say that those who cannot step up will only serve as foils? It is because My present words and work all target your background, and because you have become the representatives and the epitome of the rebellious among all of mankind. Later, I will take these words that conquer you to foreign countries and use them to conquer the people there, yet you will not have gained them. Would that not make you a foil? The corrupt dispositions of all mankind, the rebellious acts of man, and the ugly images and faces of man—these are all recorded today in the words used to conquer you. I will then use these words to conquer the people of every nation and every denomination, because you are the archetype, the precedent. However, I did not set out to intentionally abandon you; if you fail to do well in your pursuit and therefore you prove to be incurable, would you not simply be a serving object and a foil? I once said that My wisdom is exercised based on Satan’s schemes. Why did I say that? Is that not the truth behind what I am saying and doing right now? If you cannot step up, if you are not perfected but are instead punished, would you not become a foil? Maybe you have suffered a good deal in your time, but you still understand nothing; you are ignorant of everything about life. Even though you have been chastised and judged, you have not changed at all, and deep within, you have not gained life. When the time comes to test your work, you will experience a trial as fierce as fire and even greater tribulation. This fire will turn your entire being into ashes. As someone who does not possess life, someone without an ounce of pure gold inside, someone still stuck with the old corrupt disposition, and someone who cannot even do a good job at being a foil, how could you not be eliminated?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God). I really had a reaction to seeing the word “foil” mentioned repeatedly in God’s words. I thought, “Foil? God’s mentioned a foil in His words before, but wasn’t that referring to the great red dragon? I make sacrifices for God in my faith and I seek to love Him. I should be one of His kingdom’s people. How could I be a foil?” I read God’s words again, very carefully. God said that we Chinese people are the most deeply corrupted, that our resistance to God is the worst, and we’re representatives of all mankind’s rebelliousness. He said that if followers of God don’t end up changing, if they haven’t gained life, they’ll serve as foils for God’s work, and they’ll all be eliminated by God. My chest tightened when I read this, and I wondered, “I’m a foil? That can’t be. If I’m really a foil, can I still get into the kingdom of heaven?”
Not long after that, I read this fellowship from God: “Because you are crooked and deceitful, and because you are lacking in caliber and you are of low status, you have never been within My sight or in My heart. My work is done with the sole intention of condemning you; My hand has never been far from you, nor has My chastisement. I have continued to judge and curse you. Because you have no understanding of Me, My wrath has always been upon you. Although I have always worked among you, you should know My attitude toward you. It is nothing but disgust—there is no other attitude or opinion. I only want you to act as foils for My wisdom and My great power. You are nothing more than My foils because My righteousness is revealed through your rebelliousness. I have you act as foils for My work, to be the appendages of My work…” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Why Are You Unwilling to Be a Foil?). I saw that God very clearly states that we are foils, that we are appendages of His work and He feels nothing but hatred and disgust for us. I was stunned and felt I’d been abandoned by God. I was really miserable and complaints arose within me. I thought, “I’ve believed all these years, given up my family and job, and I’ve suffered plenty expending myself for God. I’ve gone through the trial of the service-doers and the trial of death. Then I started pursuing love for God, thinking that becoming a person of the kingdom was in the bag. I never imagined I’d be a foil, a serving object, to be eliminated once I’m done being a counterpoint to God’s righteous disposition. Then what have I been paying a price for all these years? What would my friends and relatives think of me if they knew? They couldn’t understand when I gave up my job and family for my faith. They mocked me. So at the time I wanted to be a good believer so that once God’s work was completed and the great disasters came, I’d be taken into His kingdom. Then I could hold my head up high and they’d all be put to shame. Who’d have thought I’d end up as low as a foil? Foils don’t possess life. They’re trash, not even as good as service-doers. At least service-doers can do service for God for a while and enjoy His grace and blessings. Even being a service-doer would be fine. In any case, it sounds better than being a foil.”
The word “foil” just kept echoing in my head over the next few days, and I couldn’t stop wondering, “How could I be nothing more than a foil? Why was I born in China? If the great red dragon hadn’t corrupted the Chinese people so deeply, I would never be a foil! I thought I was about to get into God’s kingdom and become one of its people, to enjoy what God has promised. I never thought I’d end up as a foil instead.” I got more upset the more I thought about it and I couldn’t stop crying. I figured since that was the case, there was nothing I could do but resign myself to my fate.
After that, even though I kept going to gatherings and doing my duty, my heart wasn’t in it. I didn’t have anything to say to God in prayer and I didn’t have the heart to sing. I didn’t gain any enlightenment from God’s words. I felt that since I was a foil, there was no point in pursuing any further since I’d end up cast out and eliminated, thrown into the bottomless pit. I was feeling really negative and distressed. One evening as I was lying sleepless in bed, I thought about all those words uttered by God in His work in the last days that had been watering and sustaining us, and the trials and refinements that had been cleansing us. I particularly thought about the trial of the service-doers. At the time, although God stripped away our fleshly hopes and cursed us to the bottomless pit, it was a trial of words, and these things didn’t actually befall us. It was through that trial that I gained some understanding that my motivation for faith was receiving blessings and I experienced a bit of God’s righteous disposition. I saw that no matter what work God does, it’s all done to cleanse and save us. I also remembered how I’d resolved before God that I was happy to do service for Him. Then I felt some self-reproach and gained some motivation, and thought, “Whether I’m a service-doer or a foil, doing my duty for the Creator is right and proper, and no matter what God arranges in the future, even if I don’t have a good outcome after my service, I will still do service for Him until the end.” And so, I continued to perform my duty. But since I didn’t understand God’s will, whenever I thought about being a foil without gaining life or a good outcome, I’d still feel negative and upset.
In early April we received more of God’s new utterances. I read this in God’s words: “In your seeking, you have too many individual notions, hopes, and futures. The current work is in order to deal with your desire for status and your extravagant desires. Hopes, status, and notions are all classic representations of satanic disposition. The reason that these things exist in people’s hearts is entirely because Satan’s poison is always corroding people’s thoughts, and always people are unable to shake off these temptations of Satan. They are living in the midst of sin yet do not believe it to be sin, and still they think: ‘We believe in God, so He must bestow blessings on us and arrange everything for us appropriately. We believe in God, so we must be superior to others, and we must have more status and more of a future than anyone else. Since we believe in God, He must give us limitless blessings. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be called believing in God.’ For many years, the thoughts that people have relied upon for their survival have been corroding their hearts to the point that they have become treacherous, cowardly, and despicable. Not only do they lack willpower and resolve, but they have also become greedy, arrogant, and willful. They are utterly lacking any resolve that transcends the self, and even more, they don’t have a bit of courage to shake off the strictures of these dark influences. People’s thoughts and lives are so rotten that their perspectives on believing in God are still unbearably hideous, and even when people speak of their perspectives on belief in God it is simply unbearable to hear. People are all cowardly, incompetent, despicable, and fragile. They do not feel disgust for the forces of darkness, and they do not feel love for the light and the truth; instead, they do their utmost to expel them” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Why Are You Unwilling to Be a Foil?). God’s words cut right to the quick. They entirely exposed my satanic disposition and my thoughts for my own survival. I felt really ashamed. I thought back to how at first, my faith was just to get blessings. “Since we believe in God, He must give us limitless blessings. Otherwise, it wouldn’t be called believing in God.” This was what I thought at the time. After going through the trials of the service-doers and of death, I started to understand my motives to gain blessings and became willing to do service for God, but deep in my heart, that desire for blessings was still really entrenched and hadn’t been fully cleansed. Particularly when I saw God’s promise of blessings for those who love Him, my desire for blessings was stirred up again. I thought I was certain to get into the kingdom of heaven this time, so I expended myself for God even more zealously. But when God exposed us as foils, as appendages, and targets of His disgust, I felt that my hopes for blessings had been dashed, that I had no future or status anymore. I felt incredibly wronged and I was full of complaints. I took my sacrifices and hard work as capital I could use to negotiate with God, to get a free pass from God into His kingdom, otherwise I wasn’t willing to keep expending myself. Only then did I realize how serious my longing for status and my extravagant desires were. I didn’t have a shred of genuine love or submission for God. It was all transactional, rebellious, and deceitful. Faced with the facts, I became utterly convinced. I saw how deeply I’d been corrupted by Satan. I was arrogant, crooked, selfish, and despicable, totally devoid of conscience and reason. I also saw God’s holy and righteous disposition that brooks no offense. Someone as corrupt as me, tainted by so many motives and corrupt dispositions, how could I not disgust God? Whatever God calls me, however He treats me, it is righteous.
I later read these words of God in a gathering: “You should read more of these utterances that God has expressed during this period of time, and look at your actions by comparison: It is absolutely a fact that you are well and truly a foil! What is the extent of your knowledge today? Your ideas, your thoughts, your behavior, your words and deeds—do all of these expressions not amount to a foil to God’s righteousness and holiness? Are your expressions not manifestations of the corrupt disposition revealed by God’s words? Your thoughts and ideas, your motivations, and the corruption that is revealed in you show the righteous disposition of God, as well as His holiness. God, too, was born in the land of filth, yet He remains unsullied by filth. He lives in the same filthy world as you, but He is possessed of reason and perception, and He despises the filth. You may not even be able to detect anything filthy in your words and deeds, but He can, and He points them out to you. Those old things of yours—your lack of cultivation, insight, and sense, and your backward ways of living—have now been brought into the light by today’s revelations; only by God coming to earth to work thus do people behold His holiness and righteous disposition” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How the Effects of the Second Step of the Work of Conquest Are Achieved). “Of course, God does not make you a foil just for the sake of it. Rather, it is only when this work bears fruit that it becomes evident that man’s rebelliousness is a foil to God’s righteous disposition, and it is only because you are foils that you have the chance to know the natural expression of God’s righteous disposition. You are judged and chastised because of your rebelliousness, but it is your rebelliousness also that makes you a foil, and it is because of your rebelliousness that you receive the great grace that God bestows on you. Your rebelliousness is a foil to the omnipotence and wisdom of God, and it is also because of your rebelliousness that you have gained such great salvation and blessings. Though you have been repeatedly judged by Me, you have received tremendous salvation never before received by man. This work is of the utmost significance for you. Being a ‘foil’ is also extremely valuable for you: You are saved and have obtained the grace of salvation because you are a foil, so is such a foil not of the utmost value? Is it not of the utmost significance? It is because you live in the same realm, the same filthy land, as God, that you are a foil and receive the greatest salvation. If God had not become flesh, who would have been merciful toward you, and who would have looked after you, lowly people that you are? Who would have cared for you? If God had not become flesh to work among you, when would you have received this salvation, which those before you never had? If I did not become flesh to care for you, to judge your sins, would you not long since have fallen into Hades? If I had not become flesh and humbled Myself amongst you, how could you be qualified to be a foil to God’s righteous disposition? … Though I have used the ‘foil’ to conquer you, you should know that this salvation and blessing is given in order to gain you; it is for the sake of conquest, but it is also so that I might better save you. The ‘foil’ is fact, but the reason that you are foils is because of your rebelliousness, and it is because of this that you have gained blessings that no one has ever gained. Today you are made to see and to hear; tomorrow you will receive, and, more than that, you will be greatly blessed. Thus, are foils not of the utmost value?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How the Effects of the Second Step of the Work of Conquest Are Achieved). God’s words showed me what it means to be a foil. We were born in China, so we’ve been educated, influenced, and corrupted by the great red dragon all these years. We’re filled with satanic philosophies, atheism, evolution, and other fallacies. Our every thought is evil and contrary to the truth. But we don’t realize that, instead thinking we’re good people, that we accord with God’s will. Almighty God incisively exposes all of our satanic dispositions like arrogance, craftiness, and wickedness, and then He utterly convinces us by revealing the facts. When God expresses truths to judge and expose our corruption, His righteous disposition of hating sin and evil just naturally comes out. We see His holiness and His righteous disposition that tolerates no offense, then our corruption and evil become a foil to God’s righteous disposition. I also saw the love and salvation for mankind in God’s words, especially when He said, “If God had not become flesh, who would have been merciful toward you, and who would have looked after you, lowly people that you are? Who would have cared for you?” That was deeply moving for me. As I contemplated God’s words, I realized that God hasn’t discarded or eliminated us because of our filth and corruption, but instead, He’s had mercy on us, who’ve been so deeply corrupted and damaged by Satan. He personally became flesh to save us, suffering the greatest humiliations to work among us, expressing truths to water and sustain us, to judge and expose us. Even though He exposed us as foils, His will is not to eliminate us, but to have us recognize our own desire for status and our hopes for the future, to know our satanic dispositions of arrogance, deceit, and evil so that we can pursue the truth, cast off corruption, and be fully saved by God. This is God’s very practical love and salvation for us! Once I understood God’s will, I thought about how I’d been behaving to God, and I wanted the ground to swallow me up. I was a paltry little created being, deeply corrupted by Satan, both filthy and debased. Being able to serve as a foil to God, the Most High, and having the chance to experience God’s work and to witness His righteousness and holiness was God’s great grace for me! If it weren’t for God becoming flesh, speaking and working among us, how would I ever have the chance to understand so many truths? How would I have the chance to know His righteous disposition? Not only did I not thank God, but I tried to argue with God over being called a foil. I didn’t have any reason or humanity. When I realized this, I felt how deeply I’d been corrupted by Satan, and how indebted to God I am. I wanted to repent to God, and I wanted to submit to God’s orchestrations no matter what He calls me, and no matter what my future and destination are to be. I wanted to pursue the truth and a change in disposition.
By undergoing the trial of a foil, I gained some understanding of my motive to gain blessings and of my satanic disposition, and I realized that, high or low status, I’m nothing but a tiny created being and I should submit to what God arranges at all times. Even if I’m serving as a foil for God, I have to praise His righteousness, pursue the truth well, and do my duty as a created being. That’s the proper testimony a creature should bear.