18. The Word of God Guides Me Through the Snares
By Tian’na, Hong Kong
Paging through the article of God’s words, “Did You Know? God Has Done a Great Thing Among Men,” I cannot help but recall my experience two years ago of breaking free from the binds of rumors and returning before God.
My family and I all live in Hong Kong. My father-in-law and brother-in-law (my husband’s younger brother) both believe in the Lord Jesus. My brother-in-law is a pastor in a church, so brothers and sisters from the church would often come to our home to visit where they would pray together and sing hymns in praise of the Lord. And then in December 2014, a good friend of mine told me that she also believed in the Lord. Influenced by my family and friends, I became somewhat interested in faith in the Lord. I met Sister Peipei, another church member, one day not long afterward. She was easygoing and friendly. She was very happy when she found out that some of my family and friends believed in the Lord and invited me to visit her home, where she introduced me to Sister Chen Hui. Over the course of several gatherings, Sister Chen shared with me truths regarding God creating all things and His sovereignty over everything as well as the origin of Satan, etcetera. The things she told me really drew me in and left me feeling extremely happy. I really liked to listen to them share their experiences and understanding of faith, and really wanted to share this happiness with others. One day, unable to contain myself, I shared my desire to become a believer with my family. The news quickly spread to my brother-in-law; he called and asked why I suddenly believed in God and also said, “There’s a church called Eastern Lightning, and they’re all over the place bearing witness that the Lord Jesus has already returned. They’ve stolen a lot of dedicated seekers from every denomination. Don’t be too casual about it; don’t have anything to do with them.” He then questioned me again and again as to whether the people sharing the gospel with me had given me a book, and repeatedly exhorted me to be especially careful about anything faith-related. My brother-in-law’s words kept going around and around in my head, leaving me feeling distraught. On the one hand, my brother-in-law opposed me finding a different church, but on the other hand, I really enjoyed what Sister Chen had to say about believing in God. I felt stuck between a rock and a hard place, and had no idea if I should continue to stay in touch with Sister Chen.
So, I started to look online for some pastors’ sermons to listen to. I saw a lot of information online about Eastern Lightning, but I didn’t pay much attention to it; I was wholly focused on finding good sermons. I listened to and compared a lot of them and in the end, I still thought that Sister Chen’s sermons were best, because she shared more about bearing witness to God, and listening to them gave me a better understanding of God. After giving it some thought, I decided to continue listening to Sister Chen’s fellowship. In the days that followed, she told me the stories of Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt, Abraham sacrificing Isaac, the Lord Jesus being crucified for mankind, the experiences of Peter, Lazarus being resurrected and glorifying God, and more. These wonderful biblical stories were really fascinating to me and gave me a deeper understanding of the work that God has done. After every gathering I waited eagerly for the next one.
A month later during a gathering, Sister Chen read some Bible verses and a passage of Almighty God’s words to me. In the Bible it says: “But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, And knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:37–39). Almighty God says, “Look back to the time when Noah built the ark: Mankind was deeply corrupt, people had strayed from the blessing of God, were no longer cared for by God, and had lost the promises of God. They lived in darkness, without the light of God. Then they became licentious by nature and abandoned themselves to hideous depravity. Such people could no longer receive the promise of God; they were unfit to witness the face of God or to hear the voice of God, for they had abandoned God, had cast aside all that He had bestowed upon them, and had forgotten the teachings of God. Their heart strayed farther and farther from God and, as it did, they became depraved beyond all reason and humanity and became increasingly evil. Then they walked ever closer to death and fell under the wrath and punishment of God. Only Noah worshiped God and shunned evil, and so he was able to hear the voice of God and hear His instructions. He built the ark according to the instructions of God’s word, and there assembled all manner of living creatures. And in this way, once everything had been prepared, God unleashed His destruction upon the world. Only Noah and the seven other members of his family survived the destruction, for Noah worshiped Jehovah and shunned evil.
“Now look upon the present age: Such righteous men as Noah, who could worship God and shun evil, have ceased to exist. Yet God is still gracious toward this mankind and still absolves them during this final era. God seeks those who long for Him to appear. He seeks those who are able to hear His words, those who have not forgotten His commission and offer up their hearts and bodies to Him. He seeks those who are as obedient as babes before Him and do not resist Him” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Sister Chen said in her fellowship: “The people of Noah’s days were ‘eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage’; they were promiscuous and corrupt, and did not listen to the word of God or worship God. Instead, they worshiped idols and were sinful to an extreme. In order to save the people of that time, God called on Noah to build the ark and tell people that God would destroy the world with a flood. But even after Noah had preached this for more than a hundred years, no one believed God’s words and no one repented to God. Thus, God used a great flood to destroy the people of that age. The people of the last days are even more corrupt than the people in the time of Noah. The whole of society is morally bankrupt and is devolving by the day. The divorce rate remains high, crime is commonplace, plus pornography, gambling and drugs have eroded people’s souls. People are becoming increasingly crafty, greedy, evil, mean and selfish. No one cares about having a conscience or being a good, honest person, but they only place importance on eating, drinking, having fun, and trading power for sex, or sex for power. People are fed up with the truth and exalt evil. They are greedy for the joys of sinning, and they have long since reached a point that merits destruction by God. All of these signs indicate that the last days have come. Now the Lord Jesus has returned and His second incarnation lives in the world. He has uttered all truths for the purification and salvation of mankind; He has come to completely save us, such deeply corrupt people that we are. God’s love and compassion for mankind is so great!” Hearing the sister say these words was thrilling for me and I thought to myself: “We are all deeply evil people and should have been destroyed by God long ago. It is only thanks to God’s mercy that we are fortunate to come into the house of God, to read the words that God has uttered, and have the chance to know God. What a great blessing!” I thanked God over and over for guiding me and for allowing me to come abreast of God’s last days’ work and gain the opportunity for salvation. Just as I was about to leave, the sister gave me a book of God’s words. Clutching the book with both hands, I was so moved that I began to weep. I set my resolve to follow God to the best of my ability.
One day after turning on my computer, I saw a website that said something about Eastern Lightning. Driven by curiosity, I clicked on the link and saw some negative propaganda about Eastern Lightning from the CCP government and the religious community. When I realized that the “Eastern Lightning” mentioned on the website was the last days’ work of Almighty God that Sister Chen had preached to me, I was dumbstruck and felt very flustered: Could it be that I had gone astray in my belief? What should I do? However, I remembered how every time I was in touch with Sister Chen and the others, they were all very loving toward me and were not at all like it said on the Internet. I thought back to when I first began to read the word of God and was touched by God’s love—those words possessed authority and power, so how could they not be the expression and the voice of God? I then got God’s words out with the intent of reading them, but I couldn’t regain that feeling I initially had of being moved—God had hidden His face from me. All I could see was white paper and black words. Every piece of negative propaganda I had seen online flashed through my mind one by one. I was at my wits’ end. I kept wondering: “Should I believe this, or not? Is Eastern Lightning God’s work? What if Eastern Lightning is really God’s work? If I don’t practice this faith, won’t I just lose my chance at knowing God and being saved? But if it is fake and I just blindly follow it, won’t that mean I’ve been duped? Should I keep looking into it, or not?” These questions kept bothering me and even left me in no mood for work. I really wanted to discuss it with my family and ask them for advice, but I thought about how my brother-in-law had exhorted me over and over about exercising caution, and to not just go around looking for other churches. If my faith really was in error, wouldn’t they come down on me that much harder? So, I dismissed the idea of discussing it with my family even though my state of mind had hit rock bottom, I was in a great deal of emotional pain, and I really felt at a loss. I felt worlds away from the joy and ease I had felt a few days before when fellowshiping with the sisters.
With nowhere left to turn, I tried to pray and seek God, to entrust God with each and every one of the difficulties and insecurities in my heart, and to beseech His enlightenment. After praying, something that Sister Chen had once told me suddenly came to mind: When the Lord Jesus was born, because King Herod was afraid of losing his throne at the time, he gave the order for all boys in the whole city under the age of two to be killed. When the Lord Jesus shared His teachings, the leaders in the Jewish faith went wild to take a stand against and condemn Him because they feared that believers would follow the Lord Jesus, and that they would lose their status. They knew well that no mere man could perform the miracles that the Lord Jesus did, but they intentionally slandered Him, saying that He was casting out demons with the help of Beelzebub. They also accused the Lord Jesus of blasphemy. In the end, they cooperated with the Roman government to crucify the Lord Jesus. And today, the CCP government’s and the religious community’s insane acts of condemnation of Almighty God are exactly the same as those perpetrated by the Roman government and the leaders of Judaism in the Age of Grace against the Lord Jesus. The true way has suffered suppression ever since ancient times. Every time God comes to work, He suffers persecution from the religious world as well as the powers that be. However, no one can stand in the way of God’s work. Ultimately, the Lord Jesus still completed the work of being crucified and saving mankind and His gospel spread throughout the entire world. And today, the Chinese government and the religious community have fabricated so many rumors online that condemn Almighty God and His work, yet His gospel of the kingdom has still spread rapidly. If this was not God’s work, would it not have been wiped out by the Chinese government long ago? It then occurred to me that each time I had met with Sister Chen and the others, they had all been really genuine toward me, and all of their fellowship exalted God and bore witness to God. They never talked about worldly things or about things that were of no benefit to people’s lives. It had all provided positive guidance and help for me. Before I knew it the doubts within my heart dispelled somewhat, so I prayed again to God with a heart of seeking: “God! If it really is You who has come back, please guide me to know Your work and to return before You.” Sure enough, God heard my prayer.
Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, I opened the book of God’s words, The Word Appears in the Flesh and saw the article, “Did You Know? God Has Done a Great Thing Among Men,” in which Almighty God said, “You should know that if this flesh did not exist, all mankind would face an ineluctable calamity and find it impossible to escape the even more severe punishment that God metes out to mankind in the last days. Had this ordinary flesh not been born, you would all be in a state where you beg for life without being able to live and pray for death without being able to die; if this flesh did not exist, then you would not be able to gain the truth and come before the throne of God today, but rather, you would be punished by God because of your grievous sins. Did you know that were it not for the return of God to the flesh, none would have a chance at salvation; and were it not for the coming of this flesh, God would have long ago put an end to the age of old? This being so, are you still able to reject the second incarnation of God? Since you can derive so many benefits from this ordinary man, why would you not gladly accept Him?” “The work of God is something that you cannot comprehend. If you can neither fully grasp whether your choice is correct, nor can you know whether the work of God can succeed, then why not try your luck and see whether this ordinary man may be of great help to you, and whether God has indeed done great work?” Thanks be to God! I felt much calmer after reading God’s words—they couldn’t be more right! I realized that since I wasn’t familiar with God’s work and couldn’t fully understand all that stuff on the Internet, why not try my luck? Why not continue to go more deeply into my investigation and then come to a conclusion? If it really is the appearance and work of God, then if I reject it, is that not a rejection of God? Would that not be a lifelong regret? I decided to go and see Sister Chen the next day and to continue with my seeking and investigation.
When I saw Sister Chen I shared my experience over the past few days with her and asked her what was really going on with Eastern Lightning. She read two passages of God’s words to me: “When all people take heed, when all things are renewed and revived, when every person submits to God without qualms and is willing to shoulder the heavy responsibility of God’s burden—this is when the eastern lightning issues forth, illuminating all from the East to the West, terrifying all the earth with the arrival of this light; and, at this juncture, God once again begins a new life. … This means that in the world’s East, from when testimony to God Himself begins, to when He begins to work, to when divinity begins to wield sovereignty across the earth—this is the glowing shaft of the eastern lightning, which has ever shone upon the whole universe. When the countries of earth become the kingdom of Christ is when the whole universe is illuminated. Now is the time of the eastern lightning issuing forth. God incarnate begins to work, and, furthermore, speaks directly in divinity. It may be said that when God begins to speak on earth is when the eastern lightning issues forth. More precisely, when living water flows from the throne—when the utterances from the throne begin—is precisely when the utterances of the seven Spirits formally begin” (“Chapter 12” of Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Only when the light of the East gradually turns white will the darkness across the earth begin to turn to light, and only then will man discover that I have long ago gone from Israel and am rising anew in the East. Having once descended into Israel and later departed from it, I cannot again be born into Israel, because My work leads all of the universe and, what is more, the lightning flashes straight from East to West. For this reason I have descended in the East and brought Canaan to the people of the East. I wish to bring people from all over the earth to the land of Canaan, and so I continue to issue forth utterances in the land of Canaan to control the entire universe. At this time, there is no light in all the earth apart from Canaan, and all men are imperiled by hunger and cold. I gave My glory to Israel and then took it away, and afterward I brought the Israelites to the East, and all of humanity to the East. I have brought them all to the light so that they may be reunited with it, and be in association with it, and no longer have to search for it. I shall let all who are searching see the light again and see the glory I had in Israel; I shall let them see that I have long ago come down upon a white cloud into the midst of mankind, let them see the countless clouds of white and fruits in their abundant clusters, and, what is more, let them see Jehovah God of Israel. I shall let them look upon the Master of the Jews, the longed-for Messiah, and the full appearance of Me who have been persecuted by kings throughout the ages. I shall work upon the entire universe and I shall perform great work, revealing all My glory and all My deeds to man in the last days. I shall show My glorious countenance in its fullness to those who have waited many years for Me, to those who have longed for Me to come upon a white cloud, to Israel that has longed for Me to appear once again, and to all mankind who persecute Me, so that all will know that I have long ago taken away My glory and brought it to the East, so that it is no longer in Judea. For the last days have already come!” (“The Seven Thunders Peal—Prophesying That the Gospel of the Kingdom Shall Spread Throughout the Universe” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
She then shared this in fellowship: “We can see from God’s words that God’s work and words in the last days are the lightning that comes from the East. ‘Lightning’ refers to light, and ‘light’ refers to God’s words; that is, God’s return in the last days is His incarnation as the Son of man, appearing and working first in the Orient, in China, uttering words and making a group of overcomers. And then His gospel of the last days rapidly spreads to the West, so that all of the people around the world can receive God’s salvation of the last days. This fulfills what was said in Matthew 24:27: ‘For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.’ In addition, God’s time for working in the last days is short and goes quickly, just like lightning. Over just two short decades, God’s gospel of the kingdom has already spread throughout the entirety of mainland China and is spreading across countries around the world. Eastern Lightning is God’s word and work of the last days, the truth expressed by God. Almighty God is the Son of man who appears before man in the last days, as prophesied of in the Bible; He carries out new work in the last days. All those who do not accept God’s work of the last days will be eliminated by the work of the Holy Spirit.” Only when I heard this did I realize that Eastern Lightning refers to God’s work, to the truth expressed by God, and it is God’s appearance in the last days! God first appeared and began working in China, an atheistic political power. He first conquered and perfected a group of people into overcomers in China, and then extended this into the West and even into the entire world, so that God’s chosen people from all nations and all places could accept God’s work of the last days and attain God’s purification and salvation, fully realizing God’s six-thousand-year management plan. Is this not a manifestation of His wisdom? If God Himself had not uttered words to reveal these mysteries, I would never have understood!
Sister Chen continued on with her fellowship: “However, faced with the appearance and work of God, not only did the leaders of all denominations fail to seek and investigate it, but they madly condemned, resisted and blasphemed God; they openly spread rumors to smear The Church of Almighty God and joined hands with the atheistic CCP government to hysterically coerce, arrest and persecute those who follow Almighty God in an attempt to keep Almighty God’s gospel of the kingdom from spreading, destroy God’s work of the last days and stop believers from returning to Almighty God. Just like the Roman government and Jewish leaders who resisted, condemned and crucified the Lord Jesus, they are all satanic devils who hate the truth, hate God, and are enemies to God. They know that the words uttered by Almighty God are all the truth and that they possess authority and power. Once these words have spread throughout the world, all those who love the truth and thirst for God’s appearance will turn to Almighty God and worship Him. Then, no one will continue to follow them. Therefore, now that God has once again incarnated to work to save mankind, the atheistic CCP government and the religious community’s antichrist forces are trying desperately to block and destroy God’s work. They are using all sorts of despicable means and methods to bind and deceive people, to keep them from seeking and examining the true way. It’s just like you developing doubts about the work of God after seeing those rumors on the Internet—Satan’s goal is to get all of us to doubt God. It wants us to deny and betray God, to lose His salvation and return under its domain, to achieve its evil goal of permanently controlling and harming people. As God’s words reveal: ‘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). We should see through Satan’s trickery according to God’s words; we should clearly see Satan’s evil essence of being an enemy of God and preventing people from returning to God. We should see its sinister intention to possess and devour people whole, so that we do not miss the opportunity to be saved by God.” Through reading God’s words and listening to the sister’s fellowship, I truly understood that all those rumors online had come from Satan. I saw that they are the snares and traps that Satan has set to hinder people from examining the true way and returning to God. If I lacked discernment over them, then I would be taken captive by Satan. The sister’s fellowship gave me some true understanding of Eastern Lightning, that it is God’s appearance and work. I now possess discernment regarding the despicable means that the satanic evil forces of the CCP government and religious community make use of to attack God; I have also seen that the true way has been suppressed ever since ancient times. Surprisingly, Satan’s disruptions afforded me a greater understanding of God’s work and also enabled me to gain true discernment over Satan, and to reject it. God’s wisdom is indeed carried out based on Satan’s tactics. Thanks be to God!
When I got home I started watching The Church of Almighty God’s videos online. I watched a series of ten choral videos in a row as well as some of the recitations of God’s words and some gospel movies. Everything conveyed by these videos and movies was all the truth and what they bore witness to was the appearance of God and His last days’ work. They allowed me to see God’s genuineness and loveliness, and to gain some knowledge of God’s righteous disposition. Seeing that the words uttered by Almighty God are all the truth and that they really can change, cleanse and save people allowed me to find the path to the kingdom of heaven—it gave me hope of salvation. When my brother-in-law later learned that I had accepted Almighty God’s last days’ work, he showed up a number of times to hassle me, and even gathered some people in the church to do so as well. He also parroted a lot of negative press from the Internet in an attempt to confuse me and get me to give up my faith in Almighty God. However, I was already entirely certain of the work of Almighty God and those rumors had no effect on me. Looking back, it really was God’s guidance that allowed me to understand some truths; step by step I broke free from the shackles and binds of the rumors and established a foundation upon the true way. Thanks be to God for His salvation and protection for me, and for guiding me into the house of God!