The Awakening of a Deceived Spirit (Part 1)
Yuan Zhi, Brazil
I was born in a small city in Northern China. In 2010, I followed my relatives to Brazil. In Brazil, I got acquainted with a Christian friend. He brought me to church to listen to sermons. But though I went three times, I never absorbed it. Afterward, because my job was keeping me busy, I didn’t go to church again until one day in June, 2015, when my friend brought me to church once more. This time, through what brothers and sisters shared, I had some understanding that the Lord Jesus is the Redeemer. Especially, when I first read Genesis, I understood that man was actually created by God and that God had created all things, and I felt that the Creator is truly wondrous. In school, the textbooks had taught me that man evolved from apes and monkeys and all the things in the world were formed naturally. Suddenly, I felt that, for more than twenty years, I had been deceived. Only after reading the Bible did I completely awaken. From that point on, I believed in the Lord Jesus.
At the end of 2015, I went back to China and after 5 months, I returned to Brazil. This time, I decided to find a steady job and settle down properly. But things sometimes turned out contrary to one’s wishes. Both my work and my personal life did not go smoothly. This made me feel very agitated and anxious. One night, I phoned that Christian friend to complain. He told me, “Quiet yourself and pray to God. See how the Lord has arranged everything for you.” So, I quieted my heart and prayed to the Lord, “Lord Jesus! Presently, I am encountering difficulties at work. I do not know what to do. Lord, I hope I can receive Your help.” I didn’t expect that four days later, my boss would call me and ask me to come back to work. I was ecstatic and thankful that the Lord Jesus heard my prayers. Afterward, I received more of the Lord’s grace. In order to repay the Lord’s love, I attended gatherings every week. I went and participated even if I had to take leave from work.
Starting in June, 2016, not only did I attend gatherings at the church, I also shared the Bible with friends on Facebook, or I would browse Facebook so that I could have more understanding of the Lord. I added many good friends. When they had time, they would share the Bible with me. This was extremely rewarding for me. One day, when I was browsing Facebook, I saw a video, in which the words “God Descends With Judgment” immediately attracted me. I curiously clicked the video to watch it. I did not expect that the video would have been shot so well. Simply put, it was spectacular! I was attracted by the sonorous and powerful voices, the lyrics that tugged at the heartstrings, and the enthusiasm of everyone in the performance. When I focused my attention, I saw that the video was from The Church of Almighty God. I thought: Everybody plunges into the performance in this video. It is as if they are singing for God to hear. The Church of Almighty God is not bad at all! This is the first time that I have heard of this church. If I have an opportunity, I ought to get in touch with this church.
One day, I sent a link for that video through Facebook to Sister Yang, with whom I frequently communicated about the Bible. After she saw it, she also felt that the video was very good and she said that she also wanted to better understand The Church of Almighty God. She felt that this church was indeed very special and that it was filled with the Holy Spirit’s work. As a result, I shared this video on my Facebook page. I did not expect that, after seeing the video, one of my good friends told me that The Church of Almighty God was not good. He also sent me a lot of negative propaganda about the church. I was surprised when I saw these words that blasphemed Almighty God and condemned The Church of Almighty God. I thought: This church is pretty decent. How come there are these criticisms? When I opened that video again, I suddenly thought back to what my pastor had once spoken about. In the last days, false Christs will appear. If I deviate from the Lord Jesus’ path, wouldn’t it be over? This problem cannot be ignored. So I better stop watching it now. Immediately, I told Sister Yang about the situation. Sister Yang said, “We cannot simply rely on one side of the story to determine whether it is real or false. This is not in accordance with the Lord’s teachings. As believers in the Lord, we are all looking forward to His return. Right now, there are some people who are saying that the Lord has already returned. We must investigate this. We must not just follow the herd and blindly judge and condemn it. Let’s find some people from The Church of Almighty God and investigate it. If they’re the real deal, it’d be hard for them to fake it. If they’re just faking, it’d be hard for them to pretend to be real.” I thought: What Sister Yang says is correct. This is indeed the first time that I have heard the good news that the Lord has returned. I also do not know whether the words on the Internet that condemn The Church of Almighty God are true or false. I can see that the videos and movies shot by The Church of Almighty God are pretty good. I should go and understand them. This is a rational way to treat the return of the Lord. In this way, I agreed to investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days together with Sister Yang.
With the contact details provided at the end of the video, Sister Yang contacted Brother Zhang of The Church of Almighty God in the US. After we were online, Sister Yang and I mentioned the same question: “We both know that the Lord will return in the last days, however the Lord Jesus said: ‘Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect’ (Mat 24:23-24). Brother Zhang, what do you think of this issue of false Christs emerging in the last days to deceive people?”
Brother Zhang said: “The Lord Jesus said these things to warn us. When He returns during the last days, false Christs will also emerge. The Lord’s intentions are that we learn how to differentiate and not be deceived by false Christs. However, the Lord’s intentions of saying this are not that we blindly ignore someone who says that the Lord has returned and even judge and condemn them. This is a misunderstanding of the Lord Jesus’ words. The Lord Jesus spoke very clearly about what false Christs are: ‘For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.’ The traits of false Christs are that they will imitate the Lord Jesus to show signs, perform miracles, heal diseases and cast out demons. These are the areas where false Christs are most cunning and evil, and they are also the main traits of false Christs. In regard to the manifestations and traits of false Christs, Almighty God’s words are even more specific and incisive. Almighty God said: ‘If, during the present day, there is to emerge a person who is able to display signs and wonders, and can cast out demons, and heal the sick, and perform many miracles, and if this person claims that they are Jesus who has come, then this would be the counterfeit of evil spirits, and their imitation of Jesus. Remember this! God does not repeat the same work. Jesus’ stage of work has already been completed, and God will never again undertake that stage of work. … If, during the last days, God still displayed signs and wonders, and still cast out demons and healed the sick—if He did exactly the same as Jesus—then God would be repeating the same work, and the work of Jesus would have no significance or value. Thus, God carries out one stage of work in every age. Once each stage of His work has been completed, it is soon imitated by evil spirits, and after Satan begins to follow on the heels of God, God changes to a different method; once God has completed a stage of His work, it is imitated by evil spirits. You must be clear about these things’ (‘Knowing God’s Work Today’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). We all know that all that is false can only follow and imitate what is true. False Christs are no exception. False Christs are evil spirits. They do not have the essence of Christ. They are unable to do the work of Christ, they are unable to express the truth, and they are unable to express God’s disposition and all that God has and is. They cannot bring man the truth, the way, and the life. Therefore, false Christs can only imitate the work that the Lord Jesus has done. All they can do is perform some signs and wonders to deceive stupid and ignorant people. They are exactly like some people who have been possessed by evil spirits. They falsely declare that they are the returned Lord Jesus, and imitate the Lord Jesus in doing things such as healing diseases and casting out demons, performing miracles, and preaching the way of repentance and forgiveness. Without a doubt, they are false Christs that deceive people. God’s work is always new and never old. His work is always developing in a forward direction. He will never repeat work that He has performed before. This is similar to when the Lord Jesus came to do work and concluded the Age of Law and began the Age of Grace. He did not repeat the work that Jehovah God did in issuing laws and guiding the lives of people. Instead, He did His work of redemption upon the foundation of work that was performed during the Age of Law. The Lord Jesus brought the way of repentance and forgiveness to mankind. All we had to do was come before Him, confess, and repent. As a result, the Lord would pardon our sins and forget our transgressions. After this, we would be entitled to enjoy the abundant grace and blessings that the Lord has bestowed upon man. All of this work was new. No evil spirits or Satan could have performed it. Likewise, the returned Lord Jesus in the last days—Almighty God concluded the Age of Grace and began the Age of Kingdom. Almighty God did not repeat the redemptive work of the Lord Jesus. He does not cast out demons, heal diseases, nor perform miracles for people. Instead, upon the foundation of the redemptive work, He expresses the truth and performs a stage of work of judging and cleansing man. He completely rescues mankind from the domain of Satan and brings them into God’s kingdom. This work from God is all completely new and has never been performed before. It cannot be performed by any false Christ whatsoever. As long as we know that God’s work is always new and never old and we understand the principles of differentiating false Christs, we will naturally differentiate between the appearance and work of God and the deception of false Christs.”
I understood a lot from Brother Zhang’s communication. He was very clear in his fellowship. False Christs can only repeat and imitate some work that God has done in the past. However, they cannot do any new work nor can they bring man to new path. At this point, I understood the true meaning behind the Lord Jesus’ words: “For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect.” Sister Yang also said that she gained a lot from this exchange. As a result, we made an appointment with Brother Zhang for the next evening so we could continue listening to his fellowship.
I felt that Brother Zhang from The Church of Almighty God spoke very well and that what he said was very beneficial to me. However, when I thought of the rumors on the Internet, I was still a little apprehensive. When I went back to my church, I asked one of the older brothers whether he knew of The Church of Almighty God. He told me that the pastor had said that this church should not be contacted. He also related some words of judgment, attack, and condemnation from pastors directed against Almighty God. After listening to this, I felt a little shaken. I immediately told Sister Yang about this negative propaganda, so that she could also stop contacting The Church of Almighty God. However, Sister Yang seemed determined to investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days. She said to me, “Wherever the footprints of the Lamb lead me, I will follow. Through this period of reading the words of Almighty God online and watching all sorts of videos and gospel movies of The Church of Almighty God, I have understood a lot of truth. Many of the difficulties and perplexities that I had encountered in the past have been resolved. I feel that Almighty God’s words are the truth. Regardless of how others condemn The Church of Almighty God, I will investigate this clearly….” I was unable to persuade Sister Yang and as a result, I blacklisted her name and Brother Zhang’s name on my Facebook account and I no longer dared to contact them again.
However, after two days, I had no work to do. Aside from cooking at home each day, I didn’t have anything else to do. Since I had nothing to do, I opened up YouTube and watched some movies. Mysteriously, each time I opened up YouTube, movies, MVs and choir videos associated with The Church of Almighty God would appear. I started to think: The videos and movies of The Church of Almighty God are recorded so quickly. It is quite astonishing! Things that come from God must be prosperous. Could it be that The Church of Almighty God truly comes from God? The things that I heard from Brother Zhang last time were in accordance with the truth. Maybe I should try once more to understand The Church of Almighty God. I cannot simply refuse to investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days just because of what other people say. However, once I recalled the words of condemnation regarding Almighty God from the Internet as well as my pastor’s warning to not contact The Church of Almighty God, I thought: Perhaps I should not go any further. Consequently, I decided to look for other videos to watch on YouTube. However, everywhere I looked, there were videos from The Church of Almighty God. I started feeling helpless. In the end, my curiosity took over and I thought: Regardless of whether The Church of Almighty God is good or not, I am only going to watch their videos. If they are really not good, then it’ll be a lesson on how to distinguish things. As a result, I opened the video titled The Call of God | Musical Show “Gospel Choir 9th Performance.” This video attracted my interest because its story was a genuine portrayal of contemporary society and I really identified with it. The video portrayed human life very vividly, realistically, and genuinely. I cried and laughed along with it and my heart was very moved, and at the same time I felt very energetic. I had a feeling where I wanted to immediately watch all the videos produced by The Church of Almighty God. From then on, I would watch the videos from The Church of Almighty God on a daily basis. In one week, I watched all 17 episodes of the Chinese choir videos. The more I watched, the more I felt it was great. There seemed to be a power in my heart that is urging me forward to watch and investigate, without delay. I thought: I watched so many videos of The Church of Almighty God. Each video has been so beneficial to me. Additionally, there is not a word of negativity within any of the videos. It is all positive, some expose the darkness of the world, some bear witness to God, and some guide man to return before God. They do not contain any fleshly or worldly matters. The Church of Almighty God is filled with the Holy Spirit’s work. It is not at all like how the rumors portrayed it to be. Almighty God’s work in the last days is definitely worth my investigation!