That year, my business collapsed and my marriage broke up. I was overwhelmed with great distress. Just at that time, my next-door neighbor preached the gospel of the to me. She told me the story about how Jesus was nailed to the cross for the redemption of mankind. The hopeless I was deeply moved by the great love of the Lord Jesus, and only then did I realize that I could rely on the Lord in the time of my most pain.
I remember that at a meeting, Pastor Zhang preached, “John 16:8 says: ‘And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.’ The Lord Jesus was crucified to redeem us and has borne the sins of all. Today those who have truly confessed their sins and repented to the Lord are all the ones who have been judged by God and have gained a new life, and they are no longer of sin. When the Lord comes back, they will be taken to the kingdom of heaven by Him. Brothers and sisters, if we are willing to accept the Lord’s judgment, we must confess to the Lord all our sins that we have done in our whole life, whether great or small, and truly repent to the Lord. Only then will He forgive all our sins. If anyone just confesses his sins casually, going through the motions, he will be forsaken by the Lord when He comes back and finds that he hasn’t confessed all his sins to Him….” After I returned home, I knelt before the Lord and confessed all my sins I had committed since my childhood, even the smallest ones. At that moment, I felt the Lord was in my heart, and that my whole being was released, as if I had received a new life. After that experience, I had this absolute conviction that as long as one confessed his sins and repented, he was receiving the judgment and would receive life. And I was full of strength within, believing that as long as I accepted the judgment of the Lord Jesus and reproved myself, I would be able to gain life and enter into the kingdom of heaven.
While I did hosting duty, I went to see the brothers and sisters in our church with Sister Cui. I often sustained them with that verse as Pastor Zhang explained it to us. At that time, the Lord especially blessed our church. The gospel preaching was thriving and all our brothers and sisters were full of faith. Soon I also became a good preacher.
However, several years later, the gospel work began to slow down quite markedly. And some brothers and sisters who pursued actively were converted to the , and even Pastor Zhu and Pastor He who had preached to us accepted the way of the Eastern Lightning. I thought, “It seems normal that those brothers and sisters who don’t have much knowledge of were taken away by the Eastern Lightning followers, but it is really incomprehensible that Pastor Zhu and Pastor He who know the Bible very well and who had preached and worked for the Lord for years unexpectedly turned to believe in the Eastern Lightning.” Just when Sister Cui and I were about to go and reconfirm the faith of our brothers and sisters separately, Pastor Zhang urgently called the co-workers together. In the meeting, he said gravely, “Co-workers, I hastily gathered you here to discuss a very important issue. Now the followers of the Eastern Lightning are stealing sheep from every church, and even Pastor Zhu and Pastor He have been taken away by them. And many pillars in every church who had believed in the Lord over ten years have also become members of the Eastern Lightning. The followers of the Eastern Lightning preach that the Lord Jesus has come back and started the work of judgment and chastisement by the word, and if people want to be cleansed, they must experience the judgment and chastisement of ’s word. That’s absolutely impossible! John 16:8 says clearly: ‘And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.’ As long as we accept the Lord Jesus’ judgment and confess and repent to Him, we are not of sin, and when He returns, we will enter the kingdom of heaven. So there’s no need for God to come again to do the work of judgment and chastisement. All those who have accepted the Eastern Lightning are betrayers of the Lord, and they will be cursed by God. Co-workers, the Lord is at the door. If we can’t hold to the Lord’s way and can’t protect the Lord’s sheep, what will we use to give an account to the Lord when He returns? At that time, we will be abandoned like the five foolish virgins.” Hearing his words, I felt very frightened, thinking, “How come the Eastern Lightning is so powerful? What have they actually preached to make those who believed in the Lord for over ten years accept their way? It seems that we must hurry up to water our brothers and sisters to ensure that the flock are looked after well and none is lost anymore.” Then I rushed about among our brothers and sisters strengthening them with the words of Pastor Zhang, and I told them not to have any contact with the Eastern Lightning followers lest they be deceived.
One morning at the end of October, a sister in her fifties, who was a former member of our church, suddenly came to my home. I was so surprise to see her and didn’t know why she visited me that day, for I had once tried to persuade her to stay in our church when she insisted on leaving. As soon as she entered the room, she said with excitement, “Sister, our Lord has come back! This book is the word personally spoken by Him. You’d best read it!” As she said this, she held out a book in her hands to me. When I looked at it, I saw the title of the book—Judgment Begins With the House of God. At once, I flew into a rage and said, “Go, go, go! Take your book away quickly! I’ve already accepted the judgment of the Lord Jesus and He has forgiven all my sins. I can enter the kingdom of heaven directly when the Lord returns. We don’t need the Lord to come again to do the work of judgment. Obviously this is the book of the Eastern Lightning. How dare you try to convert me with this book!” As I said these, I got ever angrier. I thought to myself, “No wonder I couldn’t persuade you to stay in the church then no matter how hard I had tried. It turns out that you have accepted the Eastern Lightning. You yourself couldn’t hold to the true way and betrayed the Lord, and now you even try to convert me to it. I have believed in the Lord for many years and have read the Bible over ten times. Do you think I am as undiscerning as you?” Seeing me being rude to her, the sister said kindly with a smile, “Sister, what I said is true. The Lord has really come back …” I cut her off, saying, “I’m busy, and have no time to talk to you. Go and do your own business.” The sister had to leave in embarrassment.
Unexpectedly, the next evening the sister came again. As she walked into the room, she said solicitously, “Sister, yesterday I saw you got a cold, so I came to see you today. Are you feeling better?” I felt a strong antagonism for her, but to save my face, I didn’t show her the door and just gave a snort as a reply. Seeing my coldness, she said softly, “Sister, the Lord Jesus we have waited for day and night has really come back. Listen to His word first, and then you will draw a conclusion whether this news is true or not.” At the mention of the Lord Jesus’ coming, I got annoyed and said, “Stop that! I only accept the Lord’s judgment, and I’m waiting for the Lord to take me!” Yet she was patient and said, “Sister, the Lord Jesus said: ‘… you love one another, as I have loved you’ (John 15:12).We are both believers in the Lord and are one family in spirit. You have a bad cold; would you mind if I stayed and took care of you tonight?” Her sincerity made me too embarrassed to refuse her offer. That evening she tended on me, fetching me water and medicine, but I just didn’t let her say anything about the Eastern Lightning. The next morning before her departure, she said to me, “Sister, you are a true believer in God, so God moved me to tell you the great news of the Lord’s coming. Please listen first!” I refused her flatly, “The Lord certainly won’t abandon me, for He knows I am sincere with Him. Whatever happens, I will hold fast to the Lord’s way. No one can make me leave the Lord.” Just like that, I again rejected God’s salvation for me.
One afternoon a week later, when I came back from the church meeting, I saw a lady about forty standing at the gate of the community. She smiled at me warmly. From her eyes, I felt she was kind and friendly. She walked quickly to me and said with a smile, “Sister, I was here to preach the gospel to you. Our expected Lord Jesus has come back.” Hearing that, I thought, “Preach the gospel? How could there be so many Eastern Lightning followers?” I said with a scowl, “Don’t exert effort on me anymore. I have already received the judgment of the Lord Jesus. So I don’t need God to do the work of judgment and purification on me again. I advise you to stop rushing about and quickly go back to confess and repent to the Lord and ask for His forgiveness. Or else, you’ll become a betrayer of the Lord, and your outcome will be one of punishment and curse from God. Then it will be too late to regret….” I said a lot without a break, and the sister had no time to speak and had to go away. I was so numb that I never realized the sisters who preached the gospel of the kingdom to me were sent by the Lord. Although my heart remained hardened, God didn’t give up saving me.
Soon afterward, Sister Deng, my former co-worker, came to my house suddenly. I hadn’t seen her for a long time. After we chatted for a while, she asked about the recent condition of the brothers and sisters in our church. I said, “Now many brothers and sisters who had pursued actively accepted the Eastern Lightning, and even Pastor Zhu and Pastor He were converted to it. They said that the Lord Jesus has come back and started the work of judgment and chastisement by the word. How is it possible? The Lord Jesus said, ‘And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment’ (John 16:8). We have been judged by the Lord and He doesn’t see us as sinners. Even though we sin, the Lord will forgive us. How is it possible for God to come again to do the work of judgment with the word?” At my words, Sister Deng smiled and said, “Sister Li, we think that we have been judged by the Lord Jesus and have gained life, and so we don’t need God to come again to do the work of judgment. Then, how do you explain s that He will come to judge all peoples? John 12:47-48 says: ‘And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day.’ And Matthew 12:36-37 says: ‘But I say to you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment. For by your words you shall be justified, and by your words you shall be condemned.’ These words of the Lord Jesus make it clear that He came not to judge the world but to save the world. Even though the Lord Jesus spoke some words of judgment at that time, yet because people are of small stature, they only acknowledge that they are sinners and don’t understand the things of human nature at all. Because people don’t know their nature, they still can resist God and rebel against God driven by their nature. So in order to completely resolve the things in their corrupt nature and get purified, people need God to do the work of judgment with the word in the last days. It is just as Almighty God says: ‘Before man was redeemed, many of Satan’s poisons were already planted within him. After thousands of years of Satan’s corruption, man already has within him a nature that resists God. Therefore, when man has been redeemed, it is nothing more than redemption, where man is bought at a high price, but the poisonous nature within has not been eliminated. Man that is so defiled must undergo a change before being worthy to serve God’ (‘The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)’ in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Therefore, in the last days God will come again to do the work of judgment, and this is fully compatible with the Bible.” When I heard this, my heart missed a beat. “I wished to get some help from you, but you have also accepted the Eastern Lightning.” Then I thought, “Sister Deng has always pursued diligently and is strong-minded and not a muddled believer at all. Even such a good sheep was stolen by the Eastern Lightning followers. Do Almighty God’s words really have great attraction?” Then, Sister Cui’s words suddenly came to my mind, “The Eastern Lightning followers are all glib talkers. Never hear their preaching, and if you do, you will be unable to stand firm, and then your years of belief in God will come to naught….” At this thought, my face immediately darkened. I invented an excuse, saying, “Sister, it’s been so long since we met last time. Let’s go out for a walk.” Sister Deng had to agree to go with me. I led her directly to the bus stop and forced her to get on the bus, and then I turned toward home. On the way, I kept thinking, “It’s so strange that recently there’s always someone coming to preach the Eastern Lightning to me. They are all earnest, and despite my outright rejection, they still come to preach it. Could the one whom the Eastern Lightning followers preach be really the returned Lord Jesus?” When I thought of this, I was fearful, “Am I wrong in rejecting it?” When I got home, I immediately knelt down and prayed to the Lord, “O Lord, in recent days, several sisters have come to preach a gospel to me. They said You have come back and started the work of judgment. I don’t dare to accept it for fear of being deceived. Lord, please guide me. If You have really come back, may You prepare for me, allowing me to receive Sister Deng without any hindrance; if not, may You stop her steps.” God heard my prayer …