By Tan Xin
In gatherings, the pastors often read this piece of scripture, “Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is, 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” (Matthew 24:23-24). Besides, they exhorted us, “The last days have come. By reason of having no discernment, many people have been deceived by false Christs. You don’t understand the and are immature in stature. So don’t go to outsiders for messages lightly, lest you be deceived by false Christs and miss the Lord’s salvation.” In my mind, I thought that the pastors knew a lot and all they said was right. Moreover, it was the ’ warning for us. From then on, I always held the view that any preaching that said the Lord has come was false and unreliable.
In the church, somehow, many brothers and sisters who truly believed in the Lord didn’t attend meetings gradually, most of whom are of good caliber. Seeing this, I felt somewhat anxious within myself. Not until I went to help and support them did I know that many of them had turned to believe in the Eastern Lightning, which rather astonished me: The pastors and elders have all along emphasized that false Christs will appear during the last days and told us not to go to outsiders for messages. As a preacher, I’ve done everything I can, but why doesn’t it work? And further, they are astute people, yet why did they leave the church to believe in the Eastern Lightning?
I never thought Sister Wang who had studied theology also had put her faith in the Eastern Lightning. Actually, she was a Christian who sincerely believed in the Lord, as well as one of the preachers I liked best. In the past, in order to defend the way of the Lord, she would rather bear her unbelieving husband’s abandonment and still follow the Lord. I was always moved by her faith in the Lord. However, what I couldn’t quite figure was why she, who sought ardently and understood the Bible, could believe in the Eastern Lightning as well. Then, so as to make her turn around, I usually prayed for her.
One day, on the way home, I mulled over in my heart: I may as well come to Sister Wang to see what this is about. While pondering this, I looked up and saw Sister Wang heading in my direction. At that time, I kept thanking the Lord for His arrangement. Holding her gladly, I asked eagerly, “Sister, nowadays there are so many people who preach that the Lord Jesus has come back and carried out new work. I heard that you had believed in the Eastern Lightning. So I often pray for you and ask the Lord to protect you from taking the wrong path.” Then, she smiled and said, “Sister, at first I was likewise afraid that my beliefs would be mistaken, so I refused God’s salvation of the last days again and again. However, later I read the words expressed by Almighty God and I saw that Almighty God’s words are full of authority and power. Thereupon I was sure that this was God’s voice. Later, I preached the words of Almighty God to the brothers and sisters in the church. Some of them also felt that Almighty God’s words are the truth, and ever so practical. They were all moved by Almighty God’s words. After knowing this, however, the pastors and elders did their utmost to prevent and obstruct me from believing in Almighty God. Furthermore, they sealed off the church, blocked brothers and sisters from following the new work of God and ultimately expelled me from the church.”
Hearing this, I felt somewhat astonished, thinking: Sister Wang isn’t a muddled person. She could investigate the way of the Eastern lightning, and even preached Almighty God’s words in the church; moreover, brothers and sisters all thought these words are the truth and they were willing to listen after hearing them. It seems that Almighty God’s words are extraordinary, but … I still exhorted her, “Sister, from what you say, it seems that Almighty God’s words are pretty good. However, in regard to the matter of welcoming the Lord, you’d better treat it with caution.” “Well,” said Sister Wang, smiling, “It’s getting late. How about I come to you tomorrow and we have a talk?” For the sake of saving face, I promised reluctantly.
The next afternoon, she came to me with a piece of newspaper published in Hong Kong and a book of God’s words. She showed the newspaper to me, saying: “God’s words have been published in the newspaper, and spread to overseas countries. This is great news for those who yearn for the Lord’s coming. Take a look at this.” When seeing the title “The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud,’” I felt a bit shocked: Has the Lord really returned? Is this truly the Lord’s word? But the pastors said that any preaching that said the Lord has returned was false, and enjoined us not to trust it. So, should I read it? At that moment, the pastors’ exhortation for us to guard against false Christs recurred to me. Thus, I said, “Sister, the Lord Jesus once 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’ (Matthew 24:23-24). How can you so easily accept other ways? You might as well take these things back!”
Putting the newspaper aside, Sister Wang said with a slight smile, “Sister, we shouldn’t understand from the literal meaning of the scriptures. In fact, the Lord Jesus is to tell us: In the last days, the Lord will return in the identity of Christ, that is, He will return in the means of incarnation. But at the same time, there will be false Christs who show signs and wonders to deceive man. So we must know their manifestation and guard against being deceived by them. The Lord’s intention of saying this is not to let us blindly ignore the Lord’s return due to guarding against the deception of false Christs.
Particularly the Lord Jesus said, ‘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’ (Matthew 24:24). These words are to tell us that false Christs and false prophets mainly rely on imitating God’s work and performing signs and wonders to deceive man. This is the most important principle of discerning false Christs told by the Lord Jesus. Consequently, when it comes to the Lord’s arrival, we should focus on hearing God’s voice and learn to discern the manifestation of false Christs’ deceiving man. As long as we can discern the true Christ from the false ones, we naturally won’t be deceived by false Christs and won’t miss the chance to welcome the Lord’s arrival. Sister, the Lord Jesus also said, ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6). Nowadays we hear that someone preaches theof the Lord’s return, yet we still hold onto our own conceptions and don’t go out to meet Him. Aren’t we foolish virgins? As believers in God, we all long for the Lord to come back soon. Now some people preach that the Lord has returned; we should investigate it actively. Only thus can we gain the Lord’s salvation, since it was prophesied in the Book of Revelation, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.’”
After hearing her fellowship, I felt rather shocked inside: Turns out that the Lord Jesus’s intention of saying this is to tell us that the false Christs deceive man primarily by showing signs and wonders, which is their manifestation, rather than tell us that any preaching that says the Lord has come is false. Alas! How could I be so confused? Having read this verse for many times, I still didn’t gain the light. Her fellowship is in line with the truth. Afterward, she fellowshiped more to me and I considered her words reasonable. Nevertheless, it was a great matter to welcome the Lord, so I told her that I needed to pray and search.
After she left, I remembered what she fellowshiped in my mind, and thought: The manifestations of false Christs she fellowshiped just now is in line with the Lord Jesus’ words. The false Christs can’t bring life to us but can only perform some signs to deceive man. Her words are right. Yet is what she preaches exactly the Lord’s return? In case the Lord has really come back, yet I don’t investigate but blindly avoid it, won’t I refuse the Lord? Won’t I become the foolish virgin? As a true believer in the Lord, she was about to be ordained as a pastor before; however, she would rather abandon the title of pastor and still accept the Eastern Lightning. It seems that the Eastern Lightning has the truth to be sought. I should investigate it seriously next time she visits. Then I knelt down, prayed to the Lord and asked Him to give me discerning ability.