Tieli City, Heilongjiang Province
In 1995, I turned to the Lord Jesus because of my illness. After believing in the Lord, I was soon healed by the Lord. Because of that, I pursued very hard and often preferred to go to the nearby villages to preach the gospel rather than go to work to earn money. Only one year later, I became a preacher of the Church of Truth.
In 1998, our church became increasingly desolate. Envy, strife, and factions were quite common, and every meeting became a formality. Seeing that situation, I tried to use my own ability to resolve those conflicts, but the result was contrary to my wishes. I was also drawn into the “whirlpool” of envy and strife. Just at this time, I met an elder of the Local Church. To pursue to be an overcomer, I left the Church of Truth and joined the Local Church. In the beginning, I read many life-studies written by Brother Lee and felt that I had found a new horizon. But a year and a half later, I began to get bored, because at each gathering (big meeting), we either fellowshipped about the messages written by Brother Lee many years ago or watched videos, and there was no way of practice to get rid of sin. Moreover, the envy and strife within the church here were also very serious. I became disappointed. Many times I knelt down before the Lord and cried out desperately, “Lord! The messages of Brother Lee are indeed higher than those given by all other sects and denominations, and they have given me some knowledge of God’s will concerning why God created the heavens, the earth, and man. But the theory he advocated that one can overcome his environment by calling on the name of the Lord doesn’t work so well in my personal experience. It’s only helpful for a while. Lord, how I wish to know what we should do to be approved by you. Lord, we are always living in the condition of committing sins in the day and confessing them at night. Since we live in sin like that every day, won’t we all become sons of hell when you come to take us? Lord, now all our daily minds and thoughts are for ourselves, but we cannot overcome our sins. What should we do? Lord, I do feel I have no way to go on. …”
In the fall of 2001, an elder of our Local Church (who was in charge of four small districts) phoned me and said in an angry tone, “If Brother X and Sister X go to your home, you absolutely can’t receive them. They have joined ‘the Eastern Lightning.’” The next day, the elder made a special trip to my home and said to me, “Brother, ‘the Eastern Lightning’ is a cult. They preach that God has come and is a female Christ. That gang of people do all kinds of evil, and they are of an underworld. They will give you whatever you ask for. If you don’t listen to them, they will break your arms and legs or, even worse, put you into a sack and throw it into the river. …” Hearing his words, I couldn’t help hating “the Eastern Lightning” from the bottom of my heart. So, I actively gave the elder counsel, saying: “To guard against ‘the Eastern Lightning,’ we should first conduct a training course on how to resist ‘the Eastern Lightning’ and train the brothers and sisters in question-and-answer form. For example, we ask the brothers and sisters, ‘Someone says that God has come, through being incarnated and as a female Christ. Do you believe it?’ If they cannot reply or are hesitant, we will find some verses in the Bible to refute ‘the Eastern Lightning.’” The elder nodded his head approvingly.
The first time I confronted people of “the Eastern Lightning” closely was on October 30, 2001. That day, two sisters and one brother came to my home and testified to me that God had returned in the flesh to do the work of judgment and purification. Before the brother explained it in detail, I scolded him to his face, “Stop! What you say can deceive others but not me. You preach that God has been incarnated and is a female. That’s absolutely impossible! God is a male. How could he be a female? You guys are too foolish and ignorant. How can you come out to preach the so-called end-time gospel without even knowing whether God is a male or a female? You’d better take a hike. I really don’t have time to listen to your nonsense. Today, I’ll neither beat you nor abuse you. Go away right now! You believe in your female Christ, and I believe in my Lord in heaven. There’s no need for you to worry about whether I will perish or not. Don’t come bothering me again. Otherwise, don’t blame me for being rude!”
The next day was Sunday. That brother came to my home again. I purposely did not open the door for him, nor did I answer his phone. The next morning, I had hardly been at my work place an hour when the brother came to me. He tried every means to persuade me with kind words, hoping that I could spare some time to have a fellowship with him. I said to him in exasperation, “No wonder others say that you people of ‘the Eastern Lightning’ are thick-skinned. You are really like that! Didn’t I tell you not to come to bother me anymore the day before yesterday? Why do you come again? I have no time to fellowship with you. Please go wherever you like and excuse me for not seeing you off!” After I said that, I returned to the electrician’s office and slammed the door.
More than a month later, a sister from Suihua City came to my work place to preach God’s new work to me. Seeing that she was small and lightly dressed, I hit upon a malicious idea. I said to her, “Sister, please wait outside for a moment.” Then, I returned to the room, took off my working clothes, put on my thick leather “army” shoes, cashmere cotton-padded cap, and a cotton overcoat. After I was “armed to the teeth,” I walked out with my head held high and my back straight, and I said to the sister, “Since you’ve come from so far and it’s not easy for you to be here, you can talk to your heart’s content. I am all ears now.” In December, the temperature in the northeast was very low (lower than 20˚C below zero). In the sharp wind, the sister’s face had turned pale, her lips had lost color, and her thin body kept trembling, but she still fellowshipped with me in earnest, “Brother, to accept this stage of God’s new work, we have to first drop the imaginations and notions in our minds. Let’s talk about God’s three stages of works first. …” I nodded my head absent-mindedly, but in my heart, I thought, “Aren’t you people thick-skinned? I just don’t believe that it’s not cold enough to freeze your thick skin. You want to talk about the three stages of works, but before you finish one stage, you will be so cold as to run away. And you won’t come again even if I ask you to.” It was too cold that day. Although I was in thick winter outerwear, my face and feet soon became frozen. In the end, I grew impatient and said, “Sister, let’s make a long story short. Our elder says that you are of an underworld and do nothing but cheat people out of their money. I advise you not to try to deceive me anymore. You’d better give up this hope. I won’t be fooled by you. …” Although I said many offensive words at that time, the sister still said to me calmly, “Brother, your elder says that we are of an underworld and do nothing but cheat people out of their money. But brother, please think about this: If we are really of an underworld, those we will cheat should be rich people such as the general managers and the chairmen of large group companies. But as far as I know, brother, you are only an ordinary worker, and your family is not rich. Of what can we cheat you? Brother, please think about it again: If I had not been urged by the Holy Spirit and encouraged by God’s love, I would not have braved the biting wind in such cold weather to preach this stage of God’s new work to you. Could there be an underworld that cheats you out of your money in this way? It’s because God doesn’t want you to perish that he has sent us many times to rescue you. Hope you don’t think too highly of yourself or feel self-important for having a little Bible knowledge. Brother, if you don’t experience this stage of God’s work, you won’t know what God’s present will is, you will not be able to act according to God’s will, and your life disposition will not be transformed. The few letters and doctrines you understand will lead you to hell. Won’t that be a heartbreaking thing for you who have served the Lord for so many years?” Hearing the sister’s words, I felt that they were not unreasonable. So I couldn’t help bowing my head, unable to be arrogant anymore. Having no way out, I said to her, “It’s too cold today, and I’ll get off work soon. We can find another chance to fellowship.”
Looking at her receding small figure in the biting wind, I did not feel proud that my mischief had succeeded, but instead, I had an unspeakable feeling in my heart. Suddenly, that small figure turned round and waved her hand to me, and the cold wind carried her weak but sincere voice to me, “Brother, get into the room quickly. It’s too cold outside! I’ll come to see you again in a few days!” Hearing this, I immediately felt terribly ashamed. “Isn’t it too wicked of me to treat her in this way?”
That night, I lost my sleep. At one time, the heartfelt words the brother poured out to me in tears rang in my ears: “Brother, you are not driving me away, but are rejecting God’s salvation for you! …” At another, the small figure surrounded by the cold wind appeared before my eyes. “Brother, get into the room quickly. It’s too cold outside! I’ll come to see you again in a few days!” I couldn’t help sitting up and pondered for a long time. “If they were really of an underworld as my elder said, would they have expended such efforts? What did they do that for? What can they gain from cheating a person like me who has neither position nor money in the world and who is even looked down upon by his brothers, colleagues, and schoolmates?” Thinking of that, I knelt down before the Lord and cried out, “O Lord, you know I’m a sincere believer in you. I’m willing to follow your footsteps, but I really don’t know whether what they preach is true or false. Lord, if what they preach is a true way and I miss it, I will perish. If what they preach is a false way and I believe in it, I will also perish. What should I do now? Lord, please inspire me and keep me. Lord, now I know that I shouldn’t have had no seeking heart and even less should I have driven them away indiscriminately. O Lord, please prepare a time for us. I’m willing to have a thorough fellowship with them.”
On December 10, I took the bus to a brother’s home with a sister. That brother impressed me as humble, sincere, gentle, and frank, which was entirely opposite to my elder’s description of those people.
The brother said to me, “Brother, as for this stage of God’s new work, which aspects of it do you find it hard to accept? What do you think of it? Shall we have a fellowship together?” I said, “You say that God has been incarnated and is a female. I can accept neither of these two aspects, because there are no prophecies concerning them in the Bible.” The brother said to me, “Brother, before I accepted this stage of God’s new work, I thought the same way as you do. But we cannot deny this fact: God always does things beyond man’s thinking and imaginations. Isaiah 55:8-9 says: ‘For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.’ ‘Your thoughts’ in these two verses refer to our human thinking, imaginations, and notions. If God could not do things beyond man’s imaginations, would he still be God? Brother, if God had come the second time as a spiritual body, as we have imagined, could we human beings understand his utterance and word?” I shook my head and said, “No.” The brother said, “That’s right. If the Spirit directly spoke to mankind like thunder, lightning, or a trumpet blast (Exodus 19:16; John 12:28-29), we not only couldn’t understand, but we would be struck down by the Spirit, because we are all extremely filthy after being corrupted by satan and unworthy to come before the Spirit (Exodus 19:21-24).” Hearing that, I knew that it was impossible for the Lord to come again as a spiritual body, but it was too hard for me to accept God’s coming through being incarnated. So, I asked, “Is there any prophecy in the Bible saying that God will come the second time through being incarnated?” The brother answered, “Yes. John 3:16 tells us that when God was incarnated the first time, he came into the world as the ‘only begotten Son.’ Hebrew 1:6 says, ‘And again, when God brings his firstborn into the world….’ When God came into the world through being incarnated the first time, he was called the ‘only begotten Son.’ When he comes again into the world as the ‘firstborn,’ obviously he will appear to men still with the flesh. In the Bible, the ‘only begotten Son’ and the ‘firstborn’ both refer to God incarnate, because the Spirit does not have a normal humanity and cannot be called the ‘only begotten Son’ or the ‘firstborn.’ And we also know that God was called the Son of Man when he was incarnated the first time. The ‘Son of Man’ refers to the flesh with a normal humanity. All the verses in the Bible concerning the Lord’s second coming mention the ‘Son of Man’ instead of the ‘spiritual body,’ such as Matthew 24:30, 33, 37, 39, 44, 25:31, and Luke 17:24, 26, 30.” The brother continued, “Although there are prophecies in the Bible concerning the Lord’s coming again through being incarnated, we cannot always measure, analyze, or judge God’s work by them. The Old Testament did not prophesy that a person called Jesus would come to the world, choose twelve disciples, heal the sick, drive out demons, and eventually be crucified. Who dares to say that Jesus was not the incarnated God? Who dares to say that Jesus’ work was not the work of Jehovah God? Let’s listen to what the God incarnated the second time says. Almighty God says: ‘God does not save man directly in the form of the Spirit or in the identity of the Spirit, because his Spirit is untouchable and invisible to man and also unapproachable to man. If he saved man directly in the position of the Spirit, man could not receive his salvation. If God did not put on a shell of a created man, man could not receive this salvation either. This is because man could in no way approach him, just as no one could approach the cloud of Jehovah. Only if he becomes a created man, that is, he puts his “Way” into the flesh he will become, can he personally work the “Way” into all his followers and can they personally hear his way and see his way and thus gain his way. Only in this way can they be completely saved. If God were not incarnated, no fleshly man could receive this exceedingly great salvation, and no one could be saved. If God’s Spirit directly worked among men, they all would be struck down, or they would be completely taken captive by satan because they had no way to contact God.’”
Hearing the brother’s fellowship and Almighty God’s words, I was deeply touched. “I used to think that I was learned and had a very deep knowledge of God, and even felt that I was a person who knew well all the works that God had done from the creation of the world until the end time. With my own thinking and imagination and the little Bible knowledge that I had understood, I found fault with God’s second incarnation and even dared to criticize God’s work. Now, I see that I was so foolish and blind. And I realize that if God’s Spirit directly worked among people, they would all be struck down or would be completely taken captive by satan because they could not contact God. Today God has come through being incarnated. If I still stick to my own notions, won’t I, who think that I can surely gain the crown after having served the Lord for many years, also be completely taken captive by satan and become a son of hell because of refusing and resisting the God incarnated the second time?”
I said to the brother, “Through your fellowship and Almighty God’s words, I have understood the truth concerning the ‘incarnation.’ But can you fellowship with me about the truth concerning God’s being incarnated as a female?”
He said, “Brother, before we fellowship about this issue, we have to first understand what ‘Christ’ is.”
I immediately answered, “The word ‘Christ’ is a Greek word, meaning the ‘Anointed One.’”
He asked, “Do you think David was an ‘anointed one’?”
“Of course he was. He was anointed by Jehovah God through the prophet Samuel.”
“Then, was Aaron an ‘anointed one’?”
“Of course he was too. In Psalms, it says that Aaron was anointed by God, and the oil ran down on his beard and down upon the collar of his robes.”
“Was Peter an ‘anointed one’?”
“Of course he was. On the day of Pentecost, Peter and other disciples were filled with the Holy Spirit and could all speak in tongues.”
“Then, can we call David, Aaron, or Peter Christ?”
“No, we can’t.”
“Because they were not the incarnated God.”
The brother said, “Brother, your answer is quite right. David, Aaron, or Peter couldn’t be called Christ, because they were only men used by the Holy Spirit but not the incarnated God. That is to say, only the incarnated God is worthy to be called Christ. The exact translation of the word ‘Christ’ is that God (the Holy Spirit) puts on the flesh. Although Christ has the same outer shell as man, his substance is different from man’s. His substance is the Spirit and is the incarnated God Godself. Before Jehovah God was incarnated, he had never said that he was ‘Christ,’ and in the Old Testament you cannot find the word ‘Christ’ at all. Only after God (the Holy Spirit) put on the flesh did the word ‘Christ’ appear in the New Testament. John 4:24 tells us that ‘God is a Spirit.’ God is the Creator. He is not one of the created mankind, and with him there is no gender. Only with created beings is there gender. For example, human beings can be divided into male and female, and animals can be classified into male and female. If someone says that God is a male or a female, or male Christ or female Christ, it’s wrong, because he has listed God—the Creator—among the created beings. This is a blasphemy against God. When God (the Holy Spirit) puts on the flesh of a male, his inner substance is God (the Holy Spirit). When God (the Holy Spirit) puts on the flesh of a female, her inner substance does not change and is still God (the Holy Spirit). Let’s listen to what Almighty God says: ‘Every stage of work God does has practical significance. At that time when Jesus came, he was a male; this time when God comes, he is a female. From this you can see that God’s creating both man and woman can be for his work and that with God there is no distinction of gender. When his Spirit comes, he can put on any flesh as he likes, and this flesh can represent him. Whether this flesh is male or female, he can represent God as long as he is God’s incarnated flesh. If Jesus had come as a female, that is, if at that time a female baby had been conceived by the Holy Spirit instead of a male baby, she could have accomplished that stage of work all the same. If that had been the case, this stage of work today would have to be done by a male, and he could accomplish the work too. Both stages of works have significance, and they do not repeat each other but do not contradict each other either. At that time when Jesus worked, he was called the only begotten Son. “Son” means a male. Why is God not called the only begotten Son in this stage? Because he has taken a different gender from Jesus’ according to the need of the work. With God there is no distinction of gender. He works in whatever way he likes, and he works without any restrictions and in a very free way, but each stage of his work has practical significance.’ ‘In gender, one is a male and the other is a female, which completes the significance of incarnation. Thus people do not have any notions about God. That is, God can become a male and can also become a female, and the substance of the incarnated God has no gender distinction. He created man and woman, and in his eyes there is no gender distinction.’” Hearing the brother’s fellowship and God’s words on “gender,” I felt my face burning, because I remembered I had concluded that God was a male, and I had sneered at the brother who came to my home to preach the gospel, saying that how he could come out to preach the end-time gospel without even knowing whether God was a male or a female and that he was too ignorant. Only now did I know that the real ignorant person was not anyone else but myself. Just as the Bible says, “Wisdom reposes in the heart of the discerning”; “…a fool exposes his folly.” In the past, I had used “female” as the powerful evidence for me to resist the God who had returned in the flesh, and had used “female” as a handle against God. I remembered that one time a Three-Self church invited me to preach there. I said with conviction on the platform, “The words ‘the Holy Father’ and ‘the Holy Son’ are written clearly in the Scripture, right there in black and white. So God is obviously a male. How could it be possible for a female Christ to come?” Now, thinking back, I was really seized with fear: What a great blasphemy against God I had committed! However, God did not treat me according to what I had done but still saved me with his love. I deeply felt that I was not worthy to be a human and felt that I was indeed a scum, no better than a swine or a dog.
Here, I hope that the brothers and sisters who have not accepted this stage of Almighty God’s new work will never be like me who always “verified” Almighty God’s new work with the little Bible knowledge that I had understood and who always wanted God to work according to the “course” that I had set for God with my mind. This is an action of the most arrogant and foolish person. God’s deeds are unfathomable to any man, God’s work is not as simple as we have imagined, and every stage of work directed by God is the crystallization of God’s wisdom. We all should drop ourselves, seek, and investigate. Then, we will see that God’s deeds are too many, too great, and too immeasurable. Dear brothers and sisters, the Lord Jesus told us: “Blessed are the poor in spirit”; “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.” The Lord’s words are faithful. May we all be a truly blessed person and be gained by God!