One day in 1999, my pastor said to me after a gathering, “Su Xing, here is a letter for you.” I took a look and found it was from a that I established in Shandong Province. On my way home with that letter, I thought to myself: The letter is thick. Are they facing some difficulties?
After I went home, I could not wait to open the letter. It read, “Sister Su, peace to you in the Lord! We’re writing to tell you a piece of fantastic news: Our Savior Jesus, for whom we’ve been yearning night and day, has returned! He has returned to flesh in China and done a stage of work to purify man with the word, bringing an end to the Age of Grace and ushering in the Age of Kingdom…. We hope that you can accept God’s new work, follow His footprints, and never miss the opportunity for God to save you….” Seeing this, I thought: It’s over. So they didn’t encounter any problem, but accepted the . I was eager to know who on earth wrote it. When I turned to the last page, however, I found that all the brothers and sisters of this church had signed their names, though it was written by Brother Meng alone. I was left dumbfounded. They were so far away, and I could not go there for the moment. What should I do? In tears, I prayed to the Lord, “Oh Lord! These brothers and sisters have believed in You for a short time. They have not taken root. May you keep them….”
Then, I wrote the first rebuttal letter after studying the . I wrote, “Brothers and sisters, in I exhort you to be cautious and prudent. Paul said, ‘I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of to another : Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, if any man preach any other gospel to you than that you have received, let him be accursed’ (Galatians 1:6-9). Brothers and sisters, I took painstaking efforts to bring you before the Lord, yet you actually betrayed Him so quickly. Your statures are too small. You cannot easily believe others! You must listen to me, for what I preached to you is the true way. The Christ is our only Savior, so you must hold on to His name forever….” After I finished the letter of eight pages, I felt grounded, thinking: I’ve written all I should write, studied all the verses I should study, and exhorted all I should exhort. I’m sure that they will realize they’ve taken the wrong way after reading the letter, and apologize to me in their reply. Then I mailed the letter with full confidence.
Half a month later, I got the reply. The brothers and sisters said, “… Sister Su, we cannot keep silent about what we see and what we hear, for what we believe in is exactly the return of the Lord Jesus, we are holding to the true path and going forward, and we have kept up with the Lord’s footsteps instead of betraying Him. ‘I marvel that you are so soon removed from him that called you into the grace of Christ to another gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the gospel of Christ’ (Galatians 1:6-7). These are Paul’s words, which have a background. The ‘another gospel’ in Paul’s words refers to the Pharisees asking man to keep Jehovah’s laws at that time, not the work of judgment beginning at God’s house done in the last days when the Lord Jesus returns to flesh. Today, the Lord coming to do this stage of work just fulfills the prophecy in the Book of Revelation, ‘And I saw another angel fly in the middle of heaven, having the everlasting gospel to preach to them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people, Saying with a loud voice, Fear God, and give glory to him; for the hour of his judgment is come …’ (Revelation 14:6-7). ‘The everlasting gospel’ in Revelation refers to the work of judgment beginning with the house of God done by the of the Lord Jesus. When Paul wrote that letter to the Galatian churches, there was not the Book of Revelation, let alone people who preached the kingdom gospel of God. Therefore, the ‘another gospel’ mentioned by Paul cannot possibly refer to the work of judgment beginning at God’s house that the Lord comes to do in the last days. The salvation in the last days not only fulfills the prophecy in Revelation, but has already been revealed to the Lord Jesus’ disciples by the Holy Spirit. Just as Peter said, ‘Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time’ (1 Peter 1:5). Sister Su, are we not longing for the Lord’s return as we believe in the Lord? Now the Lord has really come back. We should be the ones who seek humbly, and never be like the Pharisees who measured God’s new work with their biblical knowledge, defined God’s work by their notions and imaginations, and at last nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross, being cursed by God. Does the lesson of the Pharisees not deserve our reflection? Moreover, Sister Su, we cannot listen to you just because you preached the gospel to us, for what we believe in is God. Peter and the other apostles once said, ‘… We ought to obey God rather than men’ (Acts 5:29). Sister Su, if we listen to you rather than God, do you think it is reasonable? You may think it over since you have believed in the Lord for so many years….”
I was rendered speechless by those words, but not won over. I hurried to take out the Reference Bible and turned to the introduction to the Book of Galatians. After reading it carefully, I was surprised, thinking: What they said is true! Why did I never notice that this verse had such a background? No wonder they were not convinced. On second thought, however, even if that was really the case, it could not prove that their preaching about the Lord’s return was true. I then read the letter through once again, getting more and more angry. I thought: You have known much more biblical verses in such a short period. That really surprises me. How dare you talk back to me with such severe words, and even say I am like the Pharisees? I hate most the Pharisees. I’ve believed in the Lord for so many years, working hard and laboring night and day for the believers. Don’t you know that? The more I thought about it, the more awful I felt. I thought to myself: No. How can I be taken down by these new believers? I’ve read the Bible so many times, and I refuse to believe that I’m unable to refute you.
So, I lifted my pen and wrote the second letter, saying, “Brothers and sisters, peace to you in the Lord! I feel so uncomfortable seeing your reply. I was not to have you listen to me, nor believe in me. You just have no understanding of my heart. I’m afraid that you have no discernment and thus turn away from the way of the Lord Jesus. For 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’ (Matthew 24:23-24). Paul also said, ‘Now we beseech you, brothers, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, and by our gathering together to him, That you be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand. Let no man deceive you by any means …’ (2 Thessalonians 2:1-3). Dear brothers and sisters, I beseech you in the name of the Lord Jesus: There will be terrible times in the last days. We should memorize the Lord’s words. Do not believe any news preaching the Lord’s coming. Now various sects are springing up, so you should be very vigilant to avoid taking the wrong path and offending the Lord.”
Half a month later, they replied to me again, saying, “Sister Su, the verses you found for us are not wrong, but we should be clear about the true meaning of those words of the Lord Jesus. The Lord Jesus told us clearly: When He comes in the last days, there shall arise false Christs who perform signs and wonders to deceive man. He urged us to have discernment, but He did not say that any news preaching His coming would be false. In terms of how to distinguish the true Christ from false Christs, we copy a passage of Almighty God’s words for you, hoping that you can read it carefully. Almighty God says, ‘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, and perform many miracles, and if this person claims that they are the coming of Jesus, 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’ (“Knowing God’s Work Today” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Almighty God’s words have made it very clear that God’s work is always new and never old without any repetition, while false Christs possessed by evil spirits can only imitate the work of the Lord Jesus, such as healing and casting out demons, displaying signs and wonders. Nonetheless, however evil spirits falsely pretend, they cannot do the work of God Himself for their absence of God’s substance. Furthermore, we should not blindly deny the Lord’s return just because of the appearance of false Christs in the last days….”
Seeing those words from Almighty God they quoted, I just had no mind to read carefully or ponder, for what I cared about was whether they could turn to the Lord after seeing the verses I found for them. We went back and forth to debate, but I did not manage to persuade them; instead, they refuted me through and through. I immediately prayed to the Lord, and then laid the Bible and all spiritual books on my bed, flipping unceasingly with a view to finding evidence that could take them down. At that moment, the room was silent except for the sound of pages turning.
Unknowingly, it was night. I was tired out and sighed deeply: It does take a lot to reply to them. Then I picked up my pen and wrote the third letter to them, “Brother and sisters, having read your letter, I think you are no longer the original lovely lambs. You not only deviated from the Lord’s way, but even refused to listen to me and refuted me like that. I think what you have done has hurt the Lord’s heart. I’m grieved, too. May the Lord Jesus move you, so that you can turn around soon by perusing this letter. Amen!”
Another half month passed. I got their reply. To my disappointment, they did not turn around after my exhortation out of love, but responded in a severer tone, “Sister Su, it is true that you preached the gospel to us. We also remember how you have suffered for the Lord. However, we even more give our thanks to the Lord, for it was God who found us, the lost lambs, through you. We believe that you are only a servant in charge of watching over the flock, while the Lord Jesus is our real shepherd. Just as the Lord Jesus said, ‘I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knows me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd. … My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: And I give to them ; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand’ (John 10:14-16, 27-28). God entrusts His sheep to every one who works for Him, and their duty is only to keep watch on the flock. When God comes, they are supposed to return the flock to God. Sister Su, we all know the Parable of the Wicked Tenants in the Bible, which was given by the Lord Jesus. In order to seize on the inheritance of the householder, those wicked farmers beat the servants who went to receive the fruits, and even killed the son of the householder when he was sent to them. What would the householder do to those farmers when he returned? We can absolutely not act as the wicked servants. Now God has come back, so we should give His sheep to Him. This is the sense we ought to have. You should ponder it through….”
This letter left me astounded indeed. I thought: How come they’ve understood so much in such a short time? It’s been just two years since I established this church in Shandong Province. When I left the church, they were still at the infant stage. I didn’t expect that a few months after their acceptance of the Eastern Lightning, their speech would become so forceful, nor that the biblical verses they found to refute me could be so appropriate that I just had no words to counter. At this point, I felt particularly disappointed, with a sense that these brothers and sisters were steadfast in following the Eastern Lightning. They seemed to have written me off since they did not turn around despite my exhortation out of love. I realized I was unable to have them turn back. Feeling weak and limp all over, I wrote the fourth letter in helplessness, “Have it your own way. The Bible says that what is of God will increase while what is of man will decrease, which has been acknowledged throughout the ages…. Do not write to me anymore. May you hold on to your faith and love in Jesus Christ.”