By Jia’nan, France
The Gospel Reached Me When the Church Was Desolate
In April, 2015, I had meetings in Overseas Chinese Christian Church. At first, I saw a lively scene in the. The brothers and sisters took the initiative in holy communions, and what’s more, there were varieties of Christian fellowships in the church. The pastor seemed to be very pious and to have love for the brothers and sisters as well. For example, when someone fell ill, the pastor would lead his co-workers to for him or her; they would pay a visit to a believer who didn’t attend meetings. I ardently pursued at that time, so the pastor prepared to train me to study theology. However, a period of time later, though I found there were various Christian fellowships, yet very few people came to have meetings or listen to sermons. For instance, every week twenty to thirty people came to eat before study meeting; however, when it began, there remained only six or seven persons. Some believers stayed to join in the study meeting, but they dozed off. Seeing this phenomenon, the pastor not only could never solve this problem, but he said they were better than those who didn’t have gatherings. I also found some fellowships made different kinds of snacks and refreshments so that more people could take part in the activities they organized. I appeared to serve the Lord, yet my spirit felt dark and empty. For this reason, I often prayed and waited for the Lord to descend upon the clouds to take us into heaven.
Thank the Lord for His listening to my prayers. At the beginning of 2017, when I, along with the sisters in the church, had a spring outing, I knew Brother Zheng and Brother Liu of the Church of. After that, we talked about the cause of the desolation of the church together. From their fellowship, I knew that the whole religious world is currently bleak and desolate. Therefore, the brothers and sisters are weak in their faith and love. In addition, the pastors have nothing new to preach. This phenomenon just fulfills 8:11 of the Book of Amos, “Behold, the days come, said the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD.” Then, we talked of the topic of the Lord’s return. Because I had been aspiring for the Lord’s return all the time, I intended to continue seeking and exploring the topic.
My Notions Removed, I Rejoiced the Lord’s Return
Subsequently, the two brothers of the Church of Almighty God testified to me that thehas already turned back in the flesh and is doing the work of judgment in the last days. Almighty God is the returned Lord . This just fulfills what records in the Bible, “For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also be in his day” (Luke 17:24). Brother Zheng also fellowshiped with me about the mystery of the coming of the Son of man. When hearing the news from them that the Lord Jesus has already returned in the flesh, I was both surprised and pleased. I couldn’t help thinking of the words in the Bible, “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Matthew 25:6). “Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes” (Matthew 24:44). In the past, when I read these verses, I didn’t understand what they are all about. Are they about the secret work of the Lord’s incarnation in the last days? At this moment, however, I thought: In the Bible there are also a lot of places with prophecies that say the Lord will descend upon the clouds for all to see. What on earth does this mean? After I spoke my confusion, Brother Liu fellowshiped, “There are many prophecies in the Bible saying the Lord will descend upon a cloud with His power and great glory. This is a fact. However, there are several places which prophesy the Lord will arrive in secret, like ‘I come as a thief’ (Revelation 16:15). ‘Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes’ (Matthew 24:44). ‘But of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father’ (Mark 13:32). From these scriptures we can see the way of the Lord’s arrival must not be as easy as we imagine. There are two ways in which the Lord comes back: One way is in secret and the other is in public. That is to say, the Lord’s incarnation arrives secretly in the last days to do the work of judging, purifying and saving man. After He makes a group of overcomers in His end-time work, the work of at His secret arrival will come to an end. And thus God will send down big disasters and start to reward good and punish evil. After the disasters, the Lord will appear publicly to myriad people on the clouds. Then, the prophecies about the Lord Jesus’ descending openly will come true, as it is written: ‘And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory’ (Matthew 24:30). ‘Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him’ (Revelation 1:7). When we see the Lord appearing publicly to man on the clouds, whoever refuses to accept the secret work of God incarnate will absolutely lose the opportunity to ; those who have pierced Him, or we can say, who have resisted and condemned Almighty God—Christ of the last days, will beat their breasts in despair, wail and grind their teeth, for they will have seen Almighty God they resisted and condemned is precisely the returned Lord Jesus. So then, at that moment, there will appear the scene of all the tribes of the earth mourning. But during the period of the incarnated God’s doing His work of judgment secretly, we will certainly not see the Lord’s appearing in public atop clouds.”
Through what the two brothers shared, I understood: The Lord first became incarnated to utter His word in a secret way, and then, after He attains a group of overcomers in doing His work, He will reveal Himself to the myriad hosts of humanity, rewarding good and punishing evil. Their fellowship made me thoroughly convinced. I was determined to really examine the Church of Almighty God. After a period of investigation, I knew many aspects of the truth, such as, the inside story of God’s three stages of work, the means and meaning of the judgment work during the final age, andof God. I was firmly sure that Almighty God is exactly our long-held Lord Jesus. Soon, I began to attend gatherings in the Church of Almighty God.
Fighting Head-on With the Pastor
In May，2017，Pastor Li suspected that I had accepted the work of Almighty God in the last days, so he sent messages, twice, to inform me of talking to him alone in the church. After reading his messages, I felt amazed and nervous. I thought: He previously convicted Almighty God publicly in the meetings, as well as hindered and prevented us from contacting the brothers and sisters of the Church of Almighty God. Recently he also shared videos of him resisting and convicting Almighty God in the chat group. If he knew I had accepted the work of Almighty God in the last days, I wonder how he will deal with me. Can he force me to blaspheme Almighty God or let me give up investigating the true way? I was very afraid. Thereupon, I came before God to pray, “Almighty God. The pastor and elders in my original church have probably known my accepting Your new work. They made an appointment to talk with me in the church. I don’t know what they want to do. God! You are the Sovereign in control of the heavens and earth, and all things. You are God who sees into the depth of man’s heart. No matter what they will say, may You give me right words as well as confidence and wisdom, letting me stand up to them.” After praying, I told this thing to the brothers and sisters of Almighty God at once. They told me to pray more before God. Additionally, they also told me if the pastor and elders didn’t have a heart to seek or investigate the truth, but directly condemned and resisted Almighty God, then I ought to stand on the side of God to safeguard the truth and bear testimony to Him. Thank God. The words of the brothers and sisters made me particularly faithful, and strong enough to meet them.
At the arranged time, I arrived at the church and was called into a room, where Pastor Li and two ministers were all waiting for me. I was immediately nervous and quickly prayed to God within: May God safeguard my heart and give me proper words, so that I can bear witness to You. After I was seated, Pastor Li asked me straight, “I heard you had received some strangers at your home to listen to them preach. Why didn’t you consult with us? You accepted the Lord’s work in our church, so we must care for you. We’re worried about you. We’re doing this for your good.” Hearing his words, I was uneasy in my heart, and thought: Why do you always restrict and bind me? Why do you always want to cage and control me? I have freedom to study and investigate the true way. Then, I said solemnly with justice, “Yes. I willingly believed in the Lord and was baptized, and then betook myself in this church. This way, am I not able to listen to sermons from others? It says in the Bible, ‘So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the’ (Romans 10:17). You don’t allow us to receive strangers or listen to others’ sermons. Is that in accord with the teaching of the Lord? In fact, through a few fellowships with the brothers and sisters of the Church of Almighty God, I think their preaching is very great and has a new enlightenment of the . They can solve various difficulties in my life through fellowshiping the truth, making me have some knowledge of God’s work and mysteries in the Bible. There is the work of the Holy Spirit in their fellowship and sermons …” Before I could finish my words, Pastor Li interrupted my speech angrily. Subsequently, he said fiercely some words of blaspheming Almighty God. I said to him furiously, “Have you contacted the brothers and sisters of Eastern Lightening? Have you sought and investigated the work of Almighty God? Without doing that, why dare you randomly condemn the Church of Almighty God? As believers, we should have a heart that reveres God, for the sin of blaspheming God is unforgivable in this life or in the afterlife.”