A Turning Point in My Spiritual Path (II)
My Conception Obstructed Me From Accepting God’s New Work
Afterward, Brother Chen sent us some God’s words online. After reading them, I felt these words have authority, which are beneficial to us and cannot be spoken by any human being. Nevertheless, I still had confusion in my mind: Is it OK that we don’t read the Bible but read these words at the meetings? If we Christians don’t read the Bible, could that even be called faith in the Lord? However, Brother Chen’s fellowship indeed conforms with the truth, and thealso predicted He would come again. If this is really the appearance and work of the Lord and yet I don’t take the chance to seek and investigate, then I will regret for the rest of my life. After careful consideration, I decided to continue investigating with Brother Zhang and Sister Wang.
In the next meeting, I had a serious headache after I had just listened for a little while. To relieve the pain, I went to the kitchen for a change of air; still I didn’t feel well when coming back. Seeing that I couldn’t calm down for the headache, Brother Chen told me it was Satan’s disruption, and then he led us to pray and entrust this to God. After praying, I felt better and told them my confusion. Brother Chen fellowshiped: “In the Age of Kingdom, God has expressed millions of words, which have revealed all mysteries of the Bible. When we finish reading these words, we will understand the inside truth of the Bible. Just as when we go to high school, there is no meaning reading primary school textbooks; now is a new age, we should read God’s newest utterances.” Hearing his words, I understood much more clearly: Brother Chen not only hasn’t strayed from the Bible, but communicated the Bible very clearly. It seems that I should read more of God’s words in the new age. From then on, I actively attended gatherings of the Church of Almighty God.
One Sunday morning, a friend from my original church came to my house and asked me why I hadn’t been attending gatherings recently. I answered: “Recently I have online meetings with some brothers and sisters, for I had no enjoyment at the group meetings.” My friend, after hearing my words, warned me, “Is their preaching according to the Bible? There are many heresies now, if their preaching goes beyond the Bible, you must be careful.” While hearing that, I felt a little shaken; recalling that Brother Chen said today we need not read the Bible, I couldn’t help feeling puzzled: Is it correct to investigate this way?
Just as I was in a dither, Xiaojia (a sister who had meetings with me online) learned of my headache and came to my house to communicate with me about the truth regarding how to discern Satan’s disruption. She said: “Now is the critical time for investigating God’s work of the last days. What Satan really hates to see is that we all follow the footprints of God’s work and receive God’s guidance; therefore, it is doing everything in its power, exploiting family disharmony or physical discomfort to obstruct us from returning to God. Its goal is to make us doubt God’s work and give up investigating the true way, thereby losing. We should see through its scheme.” Subsequently, Xiaojia told me that her mother also experienced Satan’s disruption when she had just accepted the work of Almighty God. As I listened to her fellowship, I knew that wherever there is the true God’s work there will be Satan’s disturbance. In the past, as I was about to be baptized, Satan constantly caused disruptions for me when I was sleeping; as I made up my mind to follow the Lord, Satan then drew back. Today when I was going to look into the work of Almighty God, Satan came to disturb me again. So what Brother Chen preached might be the true way. At that moment, I felt my heart gradually brighten up, and said to Xiaojia: “No wonder I had a headache; it turns out that it was Satan’s disruption. Actually, the reason why Satan had the opportunity to disturb me is because my confusion hasn’t been resolved yet. I don’t understand why today we don’t read the Bible. As we know, all those who believe in the Lord read the Bible; if I stop reading it, wouldn’t my years of belief have been in vain? I always thought moving away from the Bible is not believing in God.”
Putting Aside My Own Conception, I Gained the Supply of Living Water of Life
When I told Xiaojia the confusion in my heart, she read two passages ofto me: “How should the Bible be approached in the belief in God? This is a question of principle. … For many years, people’s traditional means of belief (that of Christianity, one of the world’s three major religions) has been to read the Bible; departure from the Bible is not the belief in the Lord, departure from the Bible is an evil cult, and heresy, and even when people read other books, the foundation of these books must be the explanation of the Bible. Which is to say, if you say you believe in the Lord, then you must read the Bible, you must eat and drink the Bible, and outside the Bible you must not worship any book that does not involve the Bible. If you do, then you are betraying God. … In this way, people worship the Bible as if it were God, as if it were their lifeblood and losing it would be the same as losing their life. People see the Bible as being as high as God, and there are even those who see it as higher than God. If people are without the work of the Holy Spirit, if they cannot feel God, they can carry on living—but as soon as they lose the Bible, or lose the famous chapters and sayings from the Bible, then it is as if they have lost their life. … In people’s conceptions, they think that only the Bible can bring the work of the Holy Spirit; only in the Bible can they find the footsteps of God; only in the Bible are hidden the mysteries of God’s work; only the Bible—not other books or people—can clarify everything of God and the entirety of His work; the Bible can bring the work of heaven to earth; and the Bible can both begin and conclude the ages. With these conceptions, people have no inclination to search for the work of the Holy Spirit. So, regardless of how much of a help the Bible was to people in the past, it has become an obstacle to God’s latest work. … The Bible has become an idol in people’s minds, it has become a puzzle in their brains, and they are simply incapable of believing that God can work exclusive of the Bible, they are incapable of believing that people can find God outside of the Bible, much less are they able to believe that God could depart from the Bible during the final work and start anew. This is unthinkable to people; they can’t believe it, and neither can they imagine it” (“Concerning the Bible (1)”).
“Many people believe that understanding and being able to interpret the Bible is the same as finding the true way—but in fact, are things really so simple? No one knows the reality of the Bible: that it is nothing more than a historical record of God’s work, and a testament to the previous two stages of God’s work, and offers you no understanding of the aims of God’s work. Everyone who has read the Bible knows that it documents the two stages of God’s work during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. The Old Testament chronicles the history of Israel and Jehovah’s work from the time of creation until the end of the Age of Law. The New Testament records Jesus’ work on earth, which is in the Four Gospels, as well as the work of Paul; are they not historical records? Bringing up the things of the past today makes them history, and no matter how true or real they might be, they are still history—and history cannot address the present. For God does not look back on history! And so, if you only understand the Bible, and understand nothing of the work God intends to do today, and if you believe in God but do not seek the work of the Holy Spirit, then you do not understand what it means to seek God. If you read the Bible in order to study the history of Israel, to research the history of God’s creation of all the heavens and earth, then you do not believe in God. But today, since you believe in God, and pursue life, since you pursue the knowledge of God, and do not pursue dead letters and doctrines, or an understanding of history, you must seek God’s will of today, and must look for the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work” (“Concerning the Bible (4)”).
Then Xiaojia started fellowshiping: “Sister, from God’s words we can see that there is the principle of the truth in how the Bible should be approached. Now we all know that Almighty God’s word is the truth and has authority; however, when asked not to read the Bible but to read the words expressed by God in the Age of Kingdom, we feel uncomfortable and think all these years of our believing in the Lord would have been in vain. According to the revelation of Almighty God’s words, we can know that when we hold this notion, we see the Bible as higher than God, and that what we believe in is the Bible but not God. Could God’s work only be confined to the Bible? Let me ask you a question: Which came first, the Bible or God?” “Of course God came first.” I answered. Xiaojia continued, “Yes. We all know, before the Bible existed, God had created the world; when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt, there was no Old Testament; when the Lord Jesus worked in the Age of Grace, there was also no New Testament, which wasn’t compiled until over 300 years AD. Therefore, God’s work came first, and then the Bible. The Lord Jesus once prophesied that He would come again, and the work of God in the last days couldn’t be written into the Bible in advance. It’s because that the Bible is merely a record of God’s previous work and prophecies about the last days. If we want to know what work God will do and how God will do His work in the last days, we must read theexpressed in the new age. Now we have investigated Almighty God’s work of the last days for a period of time, and have read some words of Almighty God; we all feel that these words have authority and can’t be spoken by any man, and that they are beneficial to us knowing the mysteries of the Bible and the work of God today, so we should keep up with the work of the Holy Spirit and read God’s newest utterances. In addition, it’s not denying God’s past work that we don’t read the Bible today; it’s just that God’s work has forged onward on the foundation of the work of the Age of Grace. The words of the Lord Jesus are only suited to the believers in that age, while in the last days, the new words expressed by Almighty God are more suitable for our present needs. Just as we don’t use the old calendar because the old year has passed, but not because it is wrong.” After hearing the sister’s fellowship, I completely understood: God’s work comes first, and then the Bible. Since I have read the words of Almighty God and known that God is now doing new work, I ought to continue forward and seek according to God’s present words. Only then can I closely follow the footsteps of the Lamb and be after God’s heart. Thinking back on my faith over 20 years, reading the Bible has been a habit for me, as well as a formality, so that I felt moving away from the Bible was not believing in God; turns out that I was wrong. If I continue holding on my conception, won’t I be eliminated by God’s work just as the Pharisees of the past? After this fellowship, my conception was completely resolved, and my heart felt much brighter.
Following the Footsteps of the Lamb, I Enjoyed God’s Great Blessing
In one gathering, a sister read these words of Almighty God: “Today, God has returned to the world to do His work. His first stop is the grand assemblage of dictatorial rulers: China, the staunch bastion of atheism. God has gained a group of people by His wisdom and power. During the period, He is hunted by China’s ruling party in every means and subjected to great suffering, with no place to rest His head and unable to find a shelter. Despite this, God still continues the work He intends to do: He utters His voice and spreads” (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind”). When hearing that God has incarnated in China, uttering His voice and spreading the gospel, I said excitedly: “Oh, right. When I believed in the Lord, a preacher once told us: ‘In the past, the Westerners spread the gospel to us Easterners; in the future, we will then in turn spread the gospel to them, and even to Jerusalem. When the day comes, the burden we shoulder is the heaviest.’ At that time, I didn’t know what he meant and thought: Since the Westerners all believe in the Lord, what will we preach to them? Now I finally understand that what we will preach to them is the gospel of the Lord Jesus’ return—the work of Almighty God in the last days.” Having recognized all these, I was so excited. Today I can welcome the return of the Lord and follow the footsteps of the Lamp, live the church life with my brothers and sisters and enjoy God’s words every day, and then one day, I can expend myself for the sake of spreading the gospel; I am truly blessed!
Part One: A Turning Point in My Spiritual Path (I)
By Jiahui, the United States