By Zhao Zhen, United States
One day, I switched on my computer and saw that the CCP government was arresting Christians belonging to The Church of Almighty God, and there was a lot of negative publicity on the internet which condemned and blasphemed The Church of Almighty God. After seeing this, I felt nervous all of a sudden, thinking of my wife who still lived on the Chinese mainland and who was a believer in Almighty God. I immediately called her up. I knew that the CCP government persecuted believers in God, so I didn’t dare say too much over the phone about my wife’s belief for fear of bringing disaster down on her. And so I told my wife not to go running around everywhere (meaning preaching the), and to stay at home. From then on, I often called her to find out how she was. She told me that everything was fine, and my worrying heart finally relaxed a little.
Before long, I happened to come across the May 28 Shandong Zhaoyuan Case on the internet. After watching the video of it, I felt somewhat stricken, and I thought to myself, “Believers in God are all upright and kind-hearted. How could they do such a thing?” I hurriedly called my wife and learned that she was safe and sound, and my worrying heart relaxed. I hinted to my wife that she should notanymore and to just live a normal life at home. Her response calmed me. But whenever I thought of the negative rumors on the internet, I would feel very worried for my wife, afraid that she would be arrested by the CCP or that something bad would happen to her. Although I called her often and she always told me that nothing out of the ordinary was happening at home, I still felt anxious.
Later, my wife and son came to the US, and when I found out that my wife was still believing in Almighty God, I became angry, and tried to dissuade her from believing anymore. I also showed her the reports of negative public opinion about The Church of Almighty God online. My wife would not read them, and she said to me, “They are all rumors fabricated by the CCP. The May 28 Shandong Zhaoyuan Case is even more so a criminal case fabricated by the CCP to purposefully invent false charges to frame and tarnish The Church of Almighty God. All Chinese media are the mouthpiece of the CCP and they only ever take the CCP’s side. Can you really believe what they say?” I said, “The CCP government says online that there are improper relations between men and women in The Church of Almighty God. Can it all be false? Whatever the case, you’re not to believe in Almighty God anymore. From this day on, you are to cut off all contact with them.” My wife shook her head and said resolutely, “Almighty God is thereturned, and this is the appearance and work of the true God. I cannot give it up. Since I met brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God, I’ve seen them dress simply and elegantly, and their speech and comportment are decent and dignified. There are boundaries and principles concerning the interaction between brothers and sisters, and it’s completely different to what those rumors on the internet say. Besides, in the administrative decrees, Almighty God clearly stipulates that, ‘Man has corrupt disposition and, moreover, he is possessed of emotions. As such, it is absolutely prohibited for two members of the opposite sex to work together when serving God. Any who are discovered doing so will be expelled, without exception—and no one is exempt.’ God is holy and righteous; God most detests when people are promiscuous, and so He has drawn up strict administrative rules. If anyone violates them, then they will be expelled from the church. Brothers and sisters all adhere strictly to His administrative decrees, and no one would dare violate them. Those stories that are spread online by the CCP are fabricated rumors and slander, pure and simple. You must not blindly believe it all!” Hearing her state her case so eloquently, and with such a resolute attitude, I pointed at her and said, “Why won’t you listen to me? Whatever you say, you must not believe in God anymore!” Our argument got hotter and hotter, but I still couldn’t convince her to give up her belief in God.
In the time that followed, I ignored my wife, but she still kept patiently preaching the gospel to me and reading Almighty God’s words to me, and she showed me some of The Church of Almighty God’s videos. But by that time, my mind had been completely deceived by the rumors I’d read online—I didn’t listen to what she said, and nothing I saw in the videos sank in. Seeing my wife with such a resolute attitude and not listening to my advice at all, in a fit of anger, I left to go work in another state. I lived very painfully at that time and would get a headache whenever I thought of this issue. Neither did I feel much like working, and I even thought of divorcing my wife. Afterward, my wife got sick, so I took some time off work to take care of her at home. During that period, she preached the gospel to me many times, but my heart remained inflexible. I believed without question the rumors online and, no matter what my wife said, I refused to accept the gospel.
One day, two sisters from The Church of Almighty God came to the house. Seeing them speak so naturally and dress so plainly, I felt a little puzzled: They look as though they act decently, and they dress very simply, I thought. They’re not like it says online. The two sisters greeted me warmly and, afraid of losing face, I greeted them back as they sat down to chat. Seeing them and my wife having a meeting, I was going to leave them to it. Unexpectedly, the sisters invited me to sit and talk with them awhile, and my wife urged me to stay and listen. I would have felt embarrassed to refuse, so I reluctantly sat down.
After I’d sat down, Sister Huang patiently fellowshiped with me about the origin of all things, the degeneration of mankind and God’s salvation. As I listened to her, I came to understand many things I had not previously understood. And then, she played me the video The Days of Noah Have Come, and she said that our current age is exactly the same as the age of Noah: Mankind has been corrupted so much that they now don’t seem human at all, they advocate wealth, they engage in wicked promiscuity and they do not worship God. So as to save mankind, God has come to the world again to perform His work of judging and saving mankind, and only if we accept God’s work of the last days can we cast off our corruption, live out a true human likeness and attain the salvation of God. These words tugged at my heart, especially a hymn of God’s words that was sung at the end of the video they showed me, “Only if Mankind Worships the True God Can They Have a Good Fate”: “God created this world, He created this mankind, and moreover He was the architect of ancient Greek culture and human civilization. Only God consoles this mankind, and only God cares for this mankind night and day. Human development and progress is inseparable from the sovereignty of God, and the history and future of mankind are inextricable from the designs of God. … God alone knows the fate of a country or nation, and God alone controls the course of this mankind. If mankind wishes to have a good fate, if a country wishes to have a good fate, then man must bow down to God in worship, repent and confess before God, or else the fate and destination of man will unavoidably end in catastrophe.” These words are so authoritative and powerful, and my heart was deeply rocked. I felt that no ordinary person could say something like that. I thought: Could it be that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus? These two sisters didn’t look like bad people, and in their meeting, they only talked about belief in God and how to follow the right path in life. So what had that Shandong Zhaoyuan Case been all about? When I thought about that, I felt very uncomfortable, afraid that I would start believing in something that wasn’t true. As we went on, although I still listened to them, I harbored doubts all the way through the meeting.
Later, my wife saw that I had misgivings, and she showed me the video, The Truth Exposed Behind the May 28 Zhaoyuan Case. She said to me, “The May 28 Shandong Zhaoyuan Case was simply a murder case fabricated by the CCP to lay false charges against The Church of Almighty God. When you watch this video, you’ll learn the real truth.” My heart was beginning to soften at that point, and I wanted to get to the bottom of this matter.
After I’d watched the video, I suddenly saw the light. As it turned out, the May 28 Shandong Zhaoyuan Case was not perpetrated by members of The Church of Almighty God, and when the case came to trial, several of the accused gave incoherent statements, and they were clearly a bunch of psychopaths. And they said, “What the state cracks down on is the Almighty God of Zhao Weishan, not the ‘Almighty God’ of ours.” “I’ve never been involved or associated with The Church of Almighty God.” The perpetrators have emphasized that they are not members of The Church of Almighty God under attack by the CCP, yet the CCP has insisted that they are members of The Church of Almighty God. This is clearly a set up! I couldn’t stop myself from saying indignantly to my wife, “The CCP government really distorts the facts. They are so despicable and evil!”
My wife then said to me, “Also, there are principles to The Church of Almighty God’s preaching of the gospel. It can only be preached to those with a good humanity, who sincerely believe in God, who are willing to seek the true way and who can accept the truth. We do not preach to wicked or bad people. As for Zhang Lidong, The Church of Almighty God would never accept such a wicked person. They are simply not members of The Church of Almighty God.”
My wife showed me a passage from God’s word, “Kin who are not of the faith (your children, your husband or wife, your sisters or your parents, and so on) should not be forced into the church. God’s household is not short of members, and there is no need to make up its numbers with people who have no use. All those who do not believe gladly must not be led into the church. This decree is directed at all people. In this matter you should check, monitor and remind each other, and no one may violate it. Even when kin who are not of the faith do reluctantly enter the church, they must not be issued books or given a new name; such people are not of God’s household, and their entry into the church must be put a stop to by any means necessary. If trouble is brought upon the church due to the invasion of demons, then you yourself will be expelled or will have restrictions placed upon you. In short, everyone has a responsibility toward this matter, but you should also not be reckless, or use it to settle personal scores.”
My wife gave fellowship, saying, “God is faithful, holy and righteous. The people God saves all have a good humanity and love the truth, and God requires that His chosen people do not drag those who are unwilling to believe in God kicking and screaming into the church, even if they are family members or loved ones. The Church of Almighty God has never forced anyone to accept God’s gospel, much less would its members beat anyone to death for not wanting to believe in God or for not giving them their telephone number.” After listening to my wife, I began to awaken, and I felt like I had been so ignorant and foolish. It had been such an obvious attempt to frame the church and I hadn’t even been able to figure it out. I decided there and then to investigate in earnest Almighty God’s work of the last days.
When the sister had a meeting with me, she fellowshiped with me the substance of the CCP’s resistance to God and read a passage of God’s words, “Satan wins its fame through deceiving the public. It often establishes itself as a vanguard and role model of righteousness. Under the banner of safeguarding righteousness, it harms man, devours their souls, and uses all sorts of means to benumb, deceive and incite man. Its goal is to make man approve of and follow along with its evil conduct, to make man join it in opposing God’s authority and sovereignty. However, when one grows wise to its schemes, plotting and vile features and does not wish to continue to be trampled upon and fooled by it or to continue slaving away for it, or to be punished and destroyed together with it, Satan changes its previously saintly features and tears off its false mask to reveal its true evil, vicious, ugly and savage face. It would love nothing more than to exterminate all those who refuse to follow it and those who oppose its evil forces. At this point Satan can no longer assume a trustworthy, gentlemanly appearance; instead, its true ugly and devilish features under the sheep’s clothing are revealed. Once Satan’s schemes are brought to light, once its true features are exposed, it will fly into a rage and expose its barbarity; its desire to harm and devour people will only be intensified. This is because it is enraged by man’s awakening; it develops a strong vindictiveness toward man for their aspiration to yearn for freedom and light and to break free of its prison. Its rage is intended to defend its evil, and it is also a true revelation of its savage nature.”
After reading God’s words, the sister fellowshiped, “We all know that ever since the atheist CCP government came to power, they’ve been publicly denying God, condemning and blaspheming God. They have labeled Christianity as an evil cult and thea cultist book; they confiscate it and burn it! Especially when it comes to those Christians, the CCP is always fanatically suppressing, capturing and persecuting them. There are countless Christians they’ve maimed or killed. Facts show that the CCP goes under the guise of the banner ‘freedom of religion,’ but behind the scenes, they wantonly coerce and arrest people who believe in God. By doing this, aren’t they cheating and deceiving the people? The CCP hates and persecutes The Church of Almighty God. It fears that the Chinese people will all believe in God and follow God, and then no one will listen to the CCP anymore or be enslaved to it anymore. In particular, the kingdom gospel of Almighty God has already spread to all nations of the world, and the CCP’s wicked deeds persecuting Christians have been exposed. The CCP fears that more people will see its true colors and reject it, and so it uses media online to publicize its own take on events, and it engages in the wholesale fabrication of false charges, it frames and tarnishes The Church of Almighty God, it uses any means to cruelly torture and persecute Christians in an attempt to outlaw God’s work and turn China into a godless zone, so that it may achieve its ambitious aim of ruling people forever. The CCP is the absolute worst God-hating and truth-hating satanic, evil force! Satan has always opposed God; it fabricates and disseminates all manner of lies in order to deceive and disturb us, to make us shun God and betray Him, so that we can be controlled and possessed by Satan. Since olden days, the true way has always been subject to persecution. We must have discernment of the CCP’s essence, and we must not be deceived by its lies and lose our chance to attain salvation!”
After hearing the sister’s fellowship, light flooded my heart, and I couldn’t help but say to the sister, “I now understand. All those rumors online are false. Satan uses the CCP government to spread rumors online and to stop us from seeking and investigating the true way. It tries to make us lose God’s grace so that we will be destroyed by God alongside it in the end. Satan is so despicable and hateful! Because I believed in the CCP’s rumors over these past few years, I’ve lived in a state of apprehension and anxiety, so much so that I almost divorced my wife. I tried to stop my wife from believing in God and did many things which resisted God, and I almost ruined my chance to attain salvation. It was Almighty God’s words which allowed me to see through the lies of Satan and be able to come before God.” Hearing me speak like this, the sisters were glad. And my wife, laughing, said to me, “Thanks be to God! Old Zhao, you’ve finally got it!” I laughed too.
Later, I met and fellowshiped with brothers and sisters whenever I had time and, as we fellowshiped during our meetings, they were always so loving and patient. Sometimes, they would give fellowship about something and I wouldn’t understand, so a sister would then fellowship it with me several more times until I understood. Brothers and sisters talked about their own experiences with each other, giving fellowship on how they received the judgment and chastisement of God’s words and how they came to understand their own corrupt dispositions. They would then fellowship about how they forsook their flesh and practiced the truth, and came to live out a true human likeness. Through living this kind of church life, I became even more sure that the brothers and sisters in The Church of Almighty God were following the right path in life. I thought back to how I had had the wool pulled over my eyes by online rumors, and so never watched in earnest the videos and movies produced by The Church of Almighty God. Now watching these videos, I felt them to be truly wonderful, and they allowed me to understand many truths. Whenever I see brothers and sisters with smiling faces that overflow with joy in music and dance videos, I feel joy in my heart, and I feel as though all my troubles instantly disappear. And then there are the videos of experiences and testimonies, which talk about how people used to live by satanic philosophies before they came to believe in God and how they didn’t have a true human likeness. They talk about their experiences and testify to how, after they came before Almighty God and under the guidance of His words, their corrupt dispositions changed. Only the work of the true God could achieve such results! Almighty God’s word is the truth and it carries authority and power. It can change our hearts and our spirits and enable us to live out a true human likeness and live our lives in the light.
Through a short period of investigation, I came to completely verify Almighty God’s work. Before, I used to blindly believe the rumors I’d read. I didn’t seek or investigate God’s work and so I condemned it, and I tried to stop my wife from believing in God. When I thought of that, I felt such remorse and sadness in my heart, and I always felt that God would not save me, being so corrupt as I was. Later, I read God’s words, “Each and every person who has accepted the conquering of words will have ample opportunity for salvation. God’s salvation of each one of these people shows them His utmost leniency, meaning that they are showed the utmost tolerance. So long as people turn back from the wrong path, so long as they can repent, then God will give them the opportunity to obtain His salvation.” God’s words were like a warm current flowing through me, and my heart was much moved. God was showing leniency and mercy to my ignorance and foolishness and was not treating me according to my transgression. He was always giving me chances to repent and, through my wife and the sisters coming to give me fellowship, God had enabled me to see through the rumors and come back before God, and to get a chance to attain salvation—God had so much love for me! It was God’s exaltation and graciousness that enabled me to accept Almighty God’s work of the last days.
Now, our whole family believes in God and, under the guidance of God’s words, we live together in increasing harmony and peace. We all pursue the truth and pursue dispositional change, and I feel that only this kind of life is a life of value and meaning. Thanks be to Almighty God!