By Xuxin, Korea
In 1999, I accepted thebecause of my experience of illness, and every Sunday I enthusiastically went to the town gathering place to attend gatherings. I remember it was winter, and at our meeting place the warm end of the kang stove and the floor were packed with people. The brothers and sisters all took care of me because I was unwell; everyone made room for me by the kang so that I could be more comfortable. I was really moved and felt that believing in the Lord was really wonderful, and there was love between brothers and sisters. In sermons, the preacher said that believers in the Lord should dress in a dignified and decent way and shouldn’t go to entertainment venues, as those were places that tended to drive people to depravity. The preacher also said that Christians should be faithful in their marriages and keep God’s commandments, and so on. I felt even more that Christians really were different from unbelievers. At the end of every gathering we would all pray, and in the evenings everyone would go to our meeting place for a late together. After every prayer I felt very much at peace, and really wonderful. I felt that the Lord really graced us. This beautiful time lasted for five or six years.
I’m not sure when it started or what the reason was, but a lot of ardent believers went away to do business and earn money; fewer and fewer people were coming to gatherings. Jealousy and conflicts between brothers and sisters became worse, and quite a few young brother-sister couples divorced, some with just one- or two-year-old children. After their divorces, they fought bitterly over the distribution of property. Seeing these things happening, I thought of theverse: “You adulterers and adulteresses, know you not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God” (James 4:4). The was becoming more and more secularized; believers were infighting over personal benefit. The mutual caring from before was nowhere to be found and there wasn’t even a hint of Christian decency. Aren’t those just like secular friendships? The church choir also became more and more difficult to manage. In the past each time a program was arranged, we prayed to God and it was done very easily, but later on it became very difficult and the choir ended up falling apart.
Pastors and elders would often talk about how to guard against. They quoted the scripture, “You men of Galilee, why stand you gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as you have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11), and said, “Since the Lord Jesus ascended upon a white cloud, He will take us into the kingdom of heaven upon a white cloud too. We don’t see Jesus descend from the heaven upon a white cloud, but Eastern Lightning is testifying that the Lord Jesus has already returned and expressed the truth to do the third stage of work. So, we mustn’t believe it. Whoever dares accept Eastern Lightning will be expelled from the church.” The pastors and elders also said that Eastern Lightning conned people out of their money and said all sorts of things condemning it. They told us to keep an eye on each other and that if we saw anyone hosting a stranger, we were to tell them right away; if we found an Eastern Lightning book, we were under no circumstances to open it and read it, but should hand it over to the church. I listened to what they had to say and determined that Eastern Lightning was heresy, and was very much on my guard against it. At that time, I thought that as long as I was a good believer in Jesus and focused on studying the Bible, I would certainly be raptured into the kingdom of heaven when the Lord returned.
In the blink of an eye, it was 2013. My husband and I got engaged in a business deal and we ended up losing all of the hard-earned money we had put into it, so I came to South Korea in 2015 to earn some money. I quickly found a church, but because I didn’t speak Korean very well, I couldn’t understand much of the sermons. But, I couldn’t not practice my faith—I had no choice but to keep on attending services. One day I got aleaflet at the church and saw the image of Pastor Li printed on it. It said that he had been all over the world preaching, that his sermons were really wonderful, and it was a great church. I was a little confused about why a gospel leaflet wouldn’t even have an image of a cross on it or say anything about the Lord Jesus redeeming mankind, but instead advertised Pastor Li’s reputation. Plus, in each gathering they first played a video of Pastor Li preaching in churches around the world and there were people clustered all around him. It looked like a movie star making an appearance.
One day just as I was getting to church, a sister with the last name Zheng excitedly ran over to me and said: “In the last big gathering the pastor walked by me and I grabbed his hand for a moment. I shook hands with the pastor.” Seeing her looking so excited I felt a little repulsed, and thought: “Do you believe in the Lord or do you believe in the pastor? How could you adulate him so much?” Another time, a sister asked me: “Your family has financial difficulties, right? But Malachi 3:10 says, ‘Bring you all the tithes into the storehouse, that there may be meat in my house, and prove me now herewith, said the Jehovah of hosts, if I will not open you the windows of heaven, and pour you out a blessing, that there shall not be room enough to receive it.’” She then said that her family wasn’t well off either, but she had borrowed money from friends for offerings and told me I should do the same. She said that by doing that I would certainly be blessed by the Lord Jesus. Hearing her say this, my heart cooled considerably. I didn’t have any money so I should borrow some for offerings? How could they push people into giving offerings? This is how I developed more and more distaste for that church, feeling that it wasn’t a church that belonged to God. But where could I find a church that was in line with? In my pain, I earnestly prayed to the Lord: “Oh Lord! I really can’t stay in this church any longer. I ask you to help me find a church that belongs to You!”
A little over a week later, a sister told me that there was a Chinese preacher who gave really good sermons, and asked me to go listen to one with her. Hearing this, I wondered, “Is this what the Lord has set up for me?” I had been wanting to find a church with Chinese sermons all along, so I was very happy to go along with this sister. In the gathering, the brother preaching talked about God’s work in the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. It was a really good sermon that I enjoyed listening to. I thought: “Today I’ve found a very capable person. I’ve never heard such a good sermon!” Later, he brought a chart of the three stages of work. As soon as I saw it, I was dumbfounded. How could he be talking about the third stage of work? I instantly thought back to what the pastors and elders back in China had said condemning Eastern Lightning and I started to feel very nervous. I rushed to find an excuse, saying I had something to do at home, and then left.
A couple of months later, I ran into an older woman outside of my sister’s apartment who was also a believer in the Lord. We chatted about everyday things for a little bit, and then she invited me over to her home. When I got there I found out that her entire family believed in the Lord, giving me a feeling of closeness that I couldn’t put words to. I was really happy to talk about my faith with them. We talked about the Age of Law and then the Age of Grace, and then the woman’s son bore witness to me of God’s third stage of work in the Age of Kingdom. Hearing this, I once again felt anxious, wondering how I had run into people of Eastern Lightning again? But every single one of them had such kind face, they spoke gently and humbly, their fellowship was based on the Bible and it was full of light. They didn’t seem at all like the bad things the pastors and elders had said. I didn’t feel as nervous anymore, either, so I kept listening to what they had to say.
When I heard them bear witness that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus and is God incarnate come to earth to work, I asked: “The Lord Jesus left on a cloud and He’s going to come back on a cloud to rapture us into the kingdom of heaven. How could you say that God has become flesh and come to the earth? 2 Corinthians 12:2 says, ‘I knew a man inabove fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.’ This confirms that there is someone who was once caught up to the third heaven, so we will also be caught up to the third heaven when the Lord comes again in the last days.”
The brother fellowshiped, “‘Whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knows.’ This means that Paul himself didn’t know, so how could we say based on these words that people will be lifted up into heaven when the Lord returns? Sister, where do you think God placed people when He created them?” This brother’s question awakened me a bit, and I thought, “When God created man He put them on the earth, so why am I always thinking about going up into heaven?” Then, this brother read the Lord’s prayer, “After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6: 9–10). And he also read Revelation 21: 2–3, “And I John saw the holy city, new Jerusalem, coming down from God out of heaven … Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God.” Then he fellowshiped, “God’s words clearly tell us His kingdom is on earth, His will will be done on earth, and He will guide all of humanity in their lives upon earth so that the kingdoms of this world will be the kingdom of Christ. Imagination tells us that God’s kingdom is in heaven far away, and that when the Lord returns, we’ll be raptured up there. But if that’s the case, wouldn’t these words of God be in vain? In fact, God created man on earth, and had them live on earth. After mankind was corrupted by Satan, God performs three stages of work to save us and all of His works are done on earth, so the final result of God’s management plan is to save man and make His kingdom here on earth.” When I heard this, my heart was a lot more enlightened, and I understood that God’s kingdom is on earth, not in heaven.
The brother continued to fellowship: “In my faith in the past, I was just like you, thinking that when the Lord comes we would immediately be raised up into the sky and would meet with the Lord, then. After accepting God’s work in the last days, through reading Almighty God’s words, I came to know what it means to be raptured. God says, ‘“Being caught up” is not being taken from a low place to a high place as people imagine. This is a huge mistake. Being caught up is referring to My predestining and selecting. It is targeted at all those I have predestined and chosen. … This is most incompatible with people’s notions. Those who have a share in My house in the future are all people who have been caught up before Me. This is absolutely true, never-changing, and cannot be refuted by anybody. This is the counterattack against Satan. Anyone I predestined shall be caught up before Me’ (‘Chapter 104’ of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning). Almighty God’s words have made it very clear. ‘Being caught up’ is not what we think—being taken into the air from the earth and meeting the Lord in the clouds. Nor is it being taken up to heaven. What it actually means is that when God returns to earth to speak and work, we hear His voice and follow Him and submit to His work in the last days. This is the true meaning of being raptured before God’s throne. Only those who can recognize the Lord’s voice, know the truth in the words of Almighty God, accept the truth and return to Him are . They are the ‘treasures’ the Lord has ‘stolen’ back to His home. They are of good caliber, able to understand and accept the truth, capable of recognizing God’s voice, and are truly the raptured ones. They are the very group of overcomers God wants to perfect when He secretly descends and works in the last days. We all see that ever since Almighty God started His work of the last days, more and more of the people that truly thirst for God’s appearance have recognized His voice in Almighty God’s words. One after another, they have accepted God’s work of judgment in the last days. They have been caught up before God’s throne to meet with Him face-to-face and accepted the watering and nourishing of His words. They have gained true knowledge of God. Their corrupt dispositions have been cleansed and they have managed to live out the reality of the truth in God’s words. They have already obtained God’s abundant salvation. These people have already been made overcomers before the great catastrophes arrive. They have been obtained by God as the firstfruits. Those who hold onto their own conceptions and imaginings and blindly wait for the Lord to come and take them up to heaven, they who reject God’s work of judgment in the last days are the foolish virgins. They are the ones who will be forsaken by God. They are destined to suffer in the disasters; they will cry and gnash their teeth.This is a fact.” The brother’s fellowship had been of immense help, and I saw that God’s work is extremely practical and doesn’t fit man’s notions. If it weren’t for Almighty God’s words revealing this mystery, I would still be living within notions and imaginings, dreaming of being raptured into the kingdom of heaven.
Afterward, the brother read two passages of God’s words for me, “A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. And so you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance” (“Concerning Appellations and Identity”).
“The first incarnation was to redeem man from sin, to redeem him by means of the fleshly body of Jesus, that is, He saved man from the cross, but the corrupt satanic disposition still remained within man. The second incarnation is no longer to serve as a sin offering but rather to save fully those who were redeemed from sin. This is done so that those who have been forgiven may be delivered from their sins and made fully clean, and by attaining a changed disposition, break free of Satan’s influence of darkness and return before the throne of God. Only in this way can man be fully sanctified” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)”).
Then he fellowshiped, “God speaks very clearly that though we are forgiven of sins after being redeemed by the Lord Jesus and are no longer condemned and executed for not abiding by God’s laws, our corrupt disposition still exists and our satanic nature of resisting God is still very deep-rooted, so we still often sin and rebel against and resist God and live helplessly in sin. For example, we can still be arrogant and self-important, always wanting to be higher than others and have others look up to us, adore us. We still pursue fame and status, and scheme for our own benefit, and are greedy for the blessing of status. We often lie, and we even muddle through things and are disingenuous, trying to fool God. We pursue the evil trends of the world and love the pleasures of sin. When we encounter natural or man-made disasters, or oppression or hardships, we blame and misunderstand God. All sorts of things like this mean that we are still living under Satan’s power and are controlled, bound by sin. We want to put God’s words into practice and keep His commandments, but we simply cannot do it. God is righteous and holy, so how could He allow someone who frequently sins and opposes Him to enter the kingdom of heaven? It is recorded in 1 Peter 1:16, ‘Be you holy; for I am holy.’ After the Lord Jesus completed the work of redemption, God has became flesh once again in the last days to do the work of judgment beginning from the house of God and to express all truths to purify and save mankind. He has revealed to us God’s righteous, majestic, and unoffendable disposition, judged and exposed the substance and fact of our corruption by Satan and unearthed the root of our rebellion and resistance to God, through which He resolves the root cause of our sinning and resisting God and saves us from the influence of Satan so that our corrupted disposition can be purified and transformed. In the end, we can know God, obey God, love God, and be qualified to enter God’s kingdom to receive His eternal promise and blessing.”
It was then that I suddenly had an awakening and saw that in all my years of believing in the Lord, I would frequently sin and then confess, but I had never achieved purity. I was still a sinful person, so how could I be qualified to see God’s face? If I hadn’t heard Almighty God’s words as well as this brother’s fellowship and, I would still be waiting for the Lord to lift me up into the three levels of heaven, and when I was discarded by the Lord I wouldn’t have known what happened. We fellowshiped late into the night, and when I left they gave me a copy of The Scroll Opened by the Lamb.
From then on, I very eagerly ate and drankevery day, and I had known the inside story of all three stages of God’s work of salvation, the mystery of God’s incarnation, and the inside story of the Bible. I also gained a shallow understanding of what it means to truly believe in and obey God, how to to be after God’s heart, and so on. I felt that my spirit was gaining true sustenance. The more I read, the more I felt illuminated in my heart and the more I thought that these are things that man cannot say. Besides God, who else can reveal all these truths and all the mysteries? Who can show us the path to break free from Satan’s dark influence and attain salvation? After reading God’s words, I was certain about God’s work of the last days and firmly believed that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus.
After I accepted Almighty God’s work I began officially participating in the life of the church, attending gatherings and fellowshiping on God’s words with brothers and sisters, and singing hymns and praising God. I felt really wonderful; it was like returning to those beautiful days after first believing in the Lord, enjoying the Holy Spirit’s work. In my interactions with brothers and sisters in The Church of Almighty God I felt that everyone is really loving, and they are all really patient, supportive, and helpful of me. When I encounter difficulties they share fellowship on God’s will, onto God and lean on Him, and on how to put His words into practice. When some brothers and sisters have difficulties in their home lives, everyone does everything they can to help out. From what they actually live out I can feel the love from God, and what The Church of Almighty God spreads and bears witness to is God’s work and words of the last days, and everything read in gatherings is Almighty God’s words. Brothers and sisters all pursue the truth according to God’s words and perform their duties according to the principles of the truth. In the church, it is the truth that holds authority; it is God that holds authority. It’s an entirely different realm from the religious churches. I confirmed in my heart that The Church of Almighty God possesses the work of the Holy Spirit and that it is the church born out of God’s appearance and work in the last days.
There was another thing that happened that was deeply moving for me. A few months after joining the church, I really wanted to make an offering, and when I mentioned this to a sister who was a church leader, she read The Principles of Offering and Donation for me, “1. Neophytes who do not understand the truth are not permitted to make offerings. Only those with true faith who sincerely believe in God can make offerings; 2. The offering and donation of God’s chosen people must be conducted through repeated prayers with total willingness, without regret and expectation for reward, in order to be commemorated by God….” She then fellowshiped: “The church’s rule is that new believers are not allowed to make offerings, and even those who have believed in God for many years must come before God and pray when making an offering. They must ensure that they are happy and willing to do so. No matter what difficulties occur in life, they won’t complain or blame God, and they won’t have regrets. This is the only way the church will accept it.” Hearing this was very moving for me. I couldn’t help but think of the pastors and elders before condemning The Church of Almighty God, saying they cheated people for money. In the face of the facts, I saw that what they said was just utter rubbish that had been concocted. I had been in the church for a while and I hadn’t heard any brothers and sisters preach about giving offerings, and they all give free books of God’s words to brothers and sisters who are investigating God’s work of the last days. I was so foolish and ignorant in the past; I was full of misunderstandings of God’s work because I blindly listened to the pastors and elders. If it hadn’t been for God’s mercy, allowing brothers and sisters to share testimony with me on God’s work of the last days, I would have missed the opportunity to welcome the Lord’s coming. I truly give thanks for God’s salvation!
In this year since accepting Almighty God’s work of the last days I’ve reaped quite a harvest. I’ve gained some understanding of aspects of the truth such as God’s work, His will to save mankind, and the significance of fulfilling the duty of a created being. I’ve also been exalted so that I may now perform my duty. Along this path I have finally seen clearly why the various religious churches are so desolate and are more and more secularized—it’s because they have veered off of the Lord’s path, they do not seek or investigate the true way, and they have not followed the footsteps of the Lamb. They have been cast aside by the Holy Spirit’s work. Realizing this has made me feel even more that I am incredibly blessed. In this foreign land, I’ve been able to welcome the Lord’s return, find the church that belongs to God, and return to the house of God! Thank Almighty God for loving me and saving me. All the glory be to Almighty God!