By Zheng Yan
After believing in the Lord Jesus, because I was very zealous in my pursuit, I became a co-worker. At one time, a senior preacher came to gather with us and said, “Brothers and sisters, Now the Eastern Lightningfollowers are testifying that the Lord Jesus has returned. They don’t read the Bible. Is this right? Believing in God is believing in the Bible, and departing from the Bible is not believing in God….” Afterward, he told us how to guard against Eastern Lightning. After hearing what he said, I thought: “Right! Aren’t we believing in the Bible during all the years of our belief in God? Is departing from the Bible still believing in God?” However, I wondered: Though the preacher always tells us to guard against Eastern Lightning and not to get in contact with them, why have so many of the “good sheep” still been stolen away by them? Sister Wang, who managed the churches of the three northeastern provinces of China, accepted Eastern Lightning, and so did Sister Lan, who took charge of the work of the churches of a province. They both are proficient in the Bible. Don’t they know that belief in God is belief in the Bible? They have so much knowledge of the Bible, how come they blindly believe in Eastern Lightning? I couldn’t understand, and this had become a riddle in my heart.
Later, Sister Li and Sister Zhang, upper-level leaders, also accepted the work of Almighty God in the last days. One day, they brought Brother Zheng from Eastern Lightning to gather with us. Because he was brought by Sister Li and Sister Zhang, we sat there listening to his sermons quietly. Brother Zheng communicated from Genesis to Revelation for a whole morning. I listened with great interest and took notes carefully. I thought: Since I believed in God, I have never heard such a clear sermon. I have gained a lot from this meeting. Each of us was very moved. Finally, Brother Zheng told us, “The Lord Jesus has already returned in the name of Almighty God. He has opened the little scroll in Revelation.” Saying this, he gave each of us a book. We were very excited and didn’t know he was from Eastern Lightning.
After they left, I went back home. Sitting on the bed, I looked at the little scroll on the desk. I thought to myself: Why do they read the little scroll but no longer read the Bible? At that moment, I suddenly realized: Could what Brother Zheng spread be the way of Eastern Lightning? The senior preacher said that the Eastern Lightning followers no longer read the Bible. But Brother Zheng told us that the scroll recorded in Revelation 5 has been opened, which is mentioned in the prophecy of the Bible and doesn’t depart from the Bible. However, the words of the senior preacher resounded in my ears. I was a bit sacred, and was unable to calm down. I rose from the bed in a clamor, walked out of the bedroom and stood on the balcony. Seeing the busy crowd downstairs, I lost myself in a deep thought: What should I do? Who on earth is right? What Brother Zheng said doesn’t depart from the Bible. But they read the little scroll, and say that it is God’s new work. If it truly is God’s new work, I must follow! Yet the senior preacher said that we should read the Bible when believing in God, and that departing from the Bible is not believing in God. If my belief is wrong, I won’t enter into the kingdom of heaven, and will be more pitiful than worldly people and receive even more severe chastisement. Alas! O Lord! What should I do? I paced back and forth between the room and balcony, not knowing how to choose the path ahead. I had no choice but to come before the Lord and pray to Him in tears, “O Lord, now your child is hesitating at the crossroads, not knowing which way to walk on. O Lord, please guide me the direction ahead. If what Brother Zheng said is right, please guide me. If not, please stop him. O Lord, please help me! …” Kneeling there, I felt so confused. I had been tormented for a time.
One day, Brother Zheng came to gather with us again. Seeing that I looked worried, he asked me concernedly, “Little brother, how do you think about God’s new work?” I said, “Brother, our preacher told us that believing in God means believing in the Bible, and that departing from the Bible isn’t believing in God. Now you don’t read the Bible, but just read the little scroll. What is the reason? I can’t figure it out.” Brother Zheng said patiently, “Brother, the question you raised is quite good. Not only do you have this thought, but many religious people also do, thinking that believing in God, people must read the Bible, and that departing from the Bible is not believing in God. Let’s look back to the time of Noah and Abraham, there was no Bible. Can we say that they didn’t believe in God? There was also no Bible when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. Can we say that his faith was not in God? God is God, and the Bible is the Bible. The Bible can’t represent God. The Lord Jesus said that the Bible is a testimony for God. The Bible only recorded some work God had done, but it can’t represent God. So the Bible can’t replace God’s work and words in the last days at all. Especially, the scroll prophesied in the Book of Revelation was written by John after he received the revelations around 90 A.D., and it even more can’t replace God to save mankind. However, we have placed the Bible and God in the same position, and even see it higher than God. Don’t we replace God with the Bible? It seriously resists and blasphemes God! On this point, let’s take a look at the words of Almighty God. Almighty God says: ‘From the time when there was the Bible, people’s belief in the Lord has been the belief in the Bible. Instead of saying people believe in the Lord, it is better to say they believe in the Bible; rather than saying they have begun reading the Bible, it is better to say they have begun believing in the Bible; and rather than saying they have returned before the Lord, it would be better to say they have returned before the Bible. 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’ (‘Concerning the Bible (1)’). From God’s words, we can see that the saying that “Believing in the Lord is believing in the Bible, and departing from the Bible is not believing in God” is completely wrong. This is only from our notions and imaginations. Actually, the Bible is only a historical record of the first two stages of God’s work, the previous work done by God. That is, the Bible is the testimony of God’s work. Nowadays, God’s work has progressed forward. If we continue holding on to the Bible and standing still, even if we have the Bible memorized from back to front, we will not be the ones who truly believe in God, and moreover, we will never gain the work of the Holy Spirit, nor be saved to enter into the kingdom of heaven. So if we want to be saved by God, we must follow His present work, gain the guidance of the work of the Holy Spirit, and grasp the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work. Only in this way can we follow the footsteps of God, and win His praise.” At this point, I thought: “Right, there was no Bible when God created the heavens and earth and all things; there was also no Bible when Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt. After experiencing God’s work, Moses wrote the Pentateuch. Didn’t they believe in God? But the Bible clearly states, “And that from a child you have known the holy scriptures, which are able to make you wise to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus” (2 Timothy 3:15). Since I believed in God, I have started to read the Bible. How can I believe in and know God without the Bible? So, I said, “Without the Bible, how can we know the work God has done? Does anyone not base his faith on the Bible? Isn’t my belief in the Bible right?” Brother Zheng continued to say, “In fact, after God finished His work in each age, the old prophets wrote down God’s work, which was compiled by later generations into a book. That is the Bible that we read today. Almighty God also communicated with us about the truth of this aspect. Almighty God says, ‘If you wish to see the work of the Age of Law, and to see how the Israelites followed the way of Jehovah, then you must read the Old Testament; if you wish to understand the work of the Age of Grace, then you must read the New Testament. But how do you see the work of the last days? You must accept the leadership of the God of today, and enter into the work of today, for this is the new work, and no one has previously recorded it in the Bible. Today, God has become flesh and selected other chosen ones in China. God works in these people, He continues on from His work on earth, continues on from the work of the Age of Grace. The work of today is a path that man has never walked, and a way that no one has ever seen. It is work that has never been done before—it is God’s latest work on earth. … As such, if you wish to walk the new path of today, then you must depart from the Bible, you must go beyond the books of prophecy or history in the Bible. Only then will you be able to walk the new path properly, and only then will you be able to enter into the new realm and the new work’ (‘Concerning the Bible (1)’). We all know that in the Age of Law, if man read the Old Testament, no one condemns him; however, in the Age of Grace, man should read the New Testament, because the Lord’s demands were recorded in the New Testament. If he still holds on to the Old Testament, the Lord Jesus will condemn him and won’t commemorate him. Today God has come and done a new stage of work. According to what people need in the last days, He has expressed new words, the Bible of the new age. If we don’t follow but remain seeing the New and Old Testaments, then we will not be approved by God or be saved to enter into the kingdom of heaven, because we are cast behind by God’s new work. Just as the Bible says, ‘In that he said, A new covenant, he has made the first old. Now that which decays and waxes old is ready to vanish away’” (Hebrews 8:13).
After hearing what Brother Zheng fellowshiped, I thought: Right! I treat the Bible as God. It reaches the point that when God has come to do new work, I still hold on to the Bible. My faith is just in the Bible, but not in God at all. The Bible is a record of the work that God has done, and it has become history. If I still continue holding on to it, then eventually won’t I cause myself to be ruined? I have believed in the Lord for so many years; not only will my hope for entering into the kingdom of heaven come to nothing, but I also will be punished in the future. So, I should walk out of the Bible and enter into the stream of God’s new work. Although I had this thought in my heart, I still couldn’t control my mind. The words of the senior preacher resounded in my ears again: “The Bible contains the full truth. Departing from the Bible is not believing in God. Whoever believes in God must believe in the Bible….” At that time, my heart grew very chaotic, and I didn’t know what I should do. Then Sister Zhang read my mind and said to me, “Brother, it is not all smooth sailing for us to accept God’s new work, and we will experience many struggles. For example, the Lord Jesus said: ‘No man puts a piece of new cloth to an old garment, for that which is put in to fill it up takes from the garment, and the rent is made worse. Neither do men put new wine into old bottles: else the bottles break, and the wine runs out, and the bottles perish: but they put new wine into new bottles, and both are preserved’ (Matthew 9:16-17). Now if we want to follow God’s new work, we have to let go of our old notions and old thoughts….”
Brother Zheng went on fellowshiping, “God’s work is always progressing forward, no one can fathom it. Let’s read a passage of Almighty God’s words and see what He has to say about this.Almighty God says: ‘The work of God continues to advance, and though the purpose of His work remains unchanging, the means by which He works are constantly changing, and thereby so are those who follow God. The more work of God, the more thoroughly man comes to know God, and the disposition of man changes accordingly along with His work. However, it is because the work of God is ever-changing that those who do not know the work of the Holy Spirit and those absurd men who do not know the truth become opponents of God. Not ever does the work of God conform to the conceptions of man, for His work is always new and never old. Not ever does He repeat work of old but rather forges ahead with work never before done. As God does not repeat His work and man invariably judges the work of God today based on His work of the past, it is exceedingly difficult for God to carry out each stage of work of the new age. Man presents far too many hindrances! The thinking of man is too hidebound! No man knows the work of God, yet they all define such work’” (“How Can Man Who Has Defined God in His Conceptions Receive the Revelations of God?”). This section of Almighty God’s words pointed out my thought immediately. I had been treasuring the old thing—the Bible. When God came to do new work, I used my own imaginations and conceptions to define His work. No wonder the Bible says, “But the scripture has concluded all under sin” (Galatians 3:22). During these years, all along, I had been treasuring the famous chapters and sayings from the Bible. Every day I wrote five chapters on a note and must recite them. In my eyes, they were as important as my life. It was at that time that I thought of the words in Revelation: “Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Revelation 19:9). Before, I didn’t understand this verse. Through God’s words and the fellowship of the brother, I understood that those people who follow God’s new work are those who are invited to the wedding feast of the Lamb. The work of God continues to advance, and He does not repeat His work so that we can gain a newer and completer understanding of Him. I thought: Today I am a person who believes in God and follows the footsteps of Him. Wherever the footprints of God are, I will follow. Only in this way can I receive His approval. It is precisely as Revelation says: “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes” (Revelation 14:4). If I can’t follow the footsteps of the Lamb, I will lag behind His work, and then raise lamentation and gnash my teeth in darkness.
Then, Brother Zheng continued to read Almighty God’s words: “Even if you have found out much irrefutable proof within the Bible, it cannot bring you fully before Me. You are one who lives within the confines of the Bible, and not before Me; the Bible cannot help you know Me, nor can it deepen your love for Me” (“How Can Man Who Has Defined God in His Conceptions Receive the Revelations of God?”). “They pay no heed to My existence or actions, but instead devote extreme and special attention to each and every word of Scripture, and many of them even believe that I should not do anything I wish to do unless it is foretold by Scripture. They attach too much importance to Scripture. It can be said that they see words and expressions as too important, to the extent that they use verses from the Bible to measure every word I say, and to condemn Me. What they seek is not the way of compatibility with Me, or the way of compatibility with the truth, but the way of compatibility with the words of the Bible, and they believe that anything that does not conform to the Bible is, without exception, not My work. Are such people not the dutiful descendants of the Pharisees?” (“You Should Seek the Way of Compatibility with Christ”). After reading, he said, “Through God’s words we can see that today we believers in God should walk out of the words of the Bible, be a wise person, and accept the words expressed by Christ of the last days. Only thus are we the people who can gain the truth, walk onto the bright and right path, and truly enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
Every word of God nettled my heart like a sword. It gave me the chills. In the past, I had missed many opportunities. I didn’t read, hear or contact Almighty God’s work in the last days and closed my heart. I really ruined myself. I thought: God has done a new work. If I don’t follow it, won’t my years of belief in God be like drawing water with a sieve—a futile effort? Like the foolish virgins, I will weep and gnash my teeth outside the door. At that time, I thought that the Pharisees used the words of the Bible to condemn God. They didn’t seek His will, and all they cared about was verses and words. In the end, they used the words of the Bible to nail Jesus to the cross, and were cursed and punished by God. If I don’t absorb the lessons of the Pharisees, my fate will be the same as that of them.
Thank Almighty God’s words for conquering me, so I can walk out of the Bible, and am willing to let go of my notions and follow God’s new work. At that time, my depressed heart was set free immediately. I was able to treat the Bible correctly in my heart: I can understand God’s previous work through it. However, to know God’s new work, I must read the scroll opened by the Lamb. Thank Almighty God’s grace and mercy, and I am also thankful that Almighty God didn’t abandon me. I was so excited that tears welled up in my eyes. From then on, I could hardly tear myself away from Almighty God’s words, and let go of the old almanac—the Bible completely in my heart. All the glory be to Almighty God! Amen!