By Tongxin, Malaysia
Have you ever received counterfeit money? Many of you will answer that you have. Faced as we are with an era where counterfeit money is rampant, will you reject money because you fear receiving counterfeit bills? Of course not, because once you can discern real bills from fake, you are no longer blindly on guard. What, then of those Christians who yearn so deeply for the Lord’s return? How should they treat the matter of the appearance of false Christs? Should they be defensive and avoid things? Or should they listen attentively for God’s voice? This concerns whether or not we can receive the Lord. Once, I was on guard against being deceived by false Christs, and nearly missed my opportunity to receive the Lord.
One day in December 2017, my aunt invited me to an online meeting, saying there was light in their teachings. The meetings had allowed her to understand some truths she hadn’t previously found answers to in the Bible, and had also given her some understanding of God’s work. She also said my cousin had been taking part in these online meetings for two years. I was curious when I heard about these online meetings, so I agreed without hesitating. The first time I went online, because of a time conflict, we ended up just having a simple conversation before I left. Afterward, my aunt always said to me that this church was very different, and happily told me, “The Lord has returned!” “The Lord has returned?” The sudden news made my eyes go wide with surprise. I asked my aunt, “Really? Where is the Lord? Tell me about it.” But my aunt had only been taking part for two months, so she couldn’t explain it clearly. I had to wait until the next meeting to ask one of my sisters.
At the next online meeting, my sister tied together several prophecies related to the Lord’s return and testified to me that the Lord Jesus had already returned, and He had come incarnate to do the work of expressing the words to judge and purify mankind. She also fellowshiped with me on aspects of the truth such as the purpose of God’s management plan, how God saves people, how Satan corrupted mankind, how mankind can escape sin and attain salvation, and mankind’s final destination. I thought that God’s words have authority and power, that they are all the truth, and that they are the voice of God. My heart verified that this sermon had the work of the Holy Spirit, because no particular denomination could give sermons that were so illuminating. After that, each time a meeting was scheduled, I went straight to my aunt’s house after I closed my business for the day to hear my sister preach.
At one meeting, my sister played me a hymn video God Is the Beginning and the End. The landscapes in the video were majestic, the brothers and sisters who acted in the video sang with spirited voices, and the lyrics were a wonderful interpretation of all that God has and is. It was an entirely new experience for me, but the images looked strangely familiar to me, as if I’d seen them somewhere before. My sister then fellowshiped with me on the meaning of God’s name, and said that God uses the name Almighty God to do the work of judging and purifying mankind in the last days. When I heard the name Almighty God, that sense of familiarity was even stronger. After the meeting, I went home and opened WhatsApp to check my messages, and I discovered that Sister Chen from my church had sent me some videos from The Church of Almighty God before, along with a warning, “Don’t listen to the sermons of Eastern Lightning.” I thought, “Sister Chen has believed in the Lord for years, and she appears to be very devout, so why doesn’t she want me to hear sermons from The Church of Almighty God?” I was very confused, so I looked at the other things she sent me. It was all negative propaganda that condemned and slandered The Church of Almighty God, as well information about the “May 28 Shandong Zhaoyuan Incident.” I was a little afraid after I read it, because I remembered that the Bible said false Christs would appear in the last days, and I couldn’t discern them. Sister Chen had believed in the Lord for years, so she wouldn’t send me these things for no reason. My aunt had only believed in the Lord for a short time, and had only been in contact with The Church of Almighty God for two months, and I was very worried that she would believe in the wrong thing because she didn’t understand the truth. I tossed and turned as I lay in bed that night, and I was very conflicted. I prayed to the Lord to ask Him to guide me and grant me discernment.
The next day, I sent the May 28 Shandong Zhaoyuan Incident video to my aunt, and anxiously said to her, “The Lord Jesus told us, ‘Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect’ (Matthew 24:23–24). In the last days, many false Christs and false prophets will appear to deceive people, so be careful not to be drawn in.” My aunt ignored my warning. That evening after I got off work, my aunt came to my shop to persuade me to continue investigating, but I feared I would be deceived, so I refused. But my aunt insisted that I hear more, and called my cousin to have her fellowship with me over the phone. My cousin said, “When we read the words expressed by Almighty God, we feel that they are a strong provision of the truth, that no person could express these words. Our hearts can verify that The Church of Almighty God has the truth and the work of the Holy Spirit, so why should we give up investigating? If we have doubts, we can seek and investigate, but we can’t stop investigating.” I thought to myself, “My cousin has believed in Almighty God for two years, and nothing strange has happened to her, so I might as well hear more.”
After I went online, my sister said to me, “Sister, as we investigate God’s work, we primarily must examine whether Almighty God’s work is God’s appearance and work, and whether the words expressed by Almighty God are the truth and the voice of God, rather than examine them based on the lies and rumors of the CCP. We all know the CCP has fabricated lies and deceived people for many years, and that its name is odious both in China and abroad. The number of people in the world who can see the CCP’s essence grows every day, and no one trusts them anymore. The CCP is also an atheist party, more than any it is evil and resists God. It also operates a single-party system. It controls every agency and office, no matter how large or small, and each one must speak and act to protect the CCP’s tyranny. CCP courts have no judicial independence and CCP judges have no autonomy. They have to act according to the CCP’s instructions. The ‘May 28 Shandong Zhaoyuan Case’ was heard by the CCP court. Could it possibly be fair and just? During the CCP’s trial of the ‘May 28 Shandong Zhaoyuan Case,’ the suspects all clearly said in the courthouse, ‘I’ve never been involved or associated with The Church of Almighty God.’ ‘What the state cracks down on is the Almighty God of Zhao Weishan, not the “Almighty God” of ours.’ None of the suspects admitted to being members of The Church of Almighty God, so why did the CCP judges insist they were? Anyone can see that this is the CCP slandering The Church of Almighty God to attack religious faith.” My sister also sent me a video called The Truth Exposed Behind the May 28 Zhaoyuan Case.
After I got home, I opened the video and watched it, and I was hit by a sudden realization. None of the suspects claimed to be members of The Church of Almighty God, and there were suspicious things about the murder scene, but the CCP courts never investigated the matter clearly. Instead, they framed The Church of Almighty God for the crime. It was obvious this case was fabricated by the CCP to attack and suppress The Church of Almighty God. Any thinking, reasonable person could see this was one of the CCP’s tricks. But I wanted to stop investigating God’s work of the last days because I listened to rumors. I even wanted to stop my aunt from believing in Almighty God. I was so ignorant. I felt truly grateful to God for not abandoning me, and for using my sister’s fellowship on the truth to give me discernment, because otherwise I would have lost the chance to welcome the Lord’s return.
The next day, after I went online, I couldn’t wait to ask my sister, “The scriptures say false Christs will appear in the last days to deceive people. How can I discern the true Christ from the false?”
She answered me with this fellowship, “We’re all afraid of false Christs appearing in the last days, so we focus on guarding against false Christs, but we forget to focus on how to be clever virgins, hear the voice of God, and welcome Him when the Lord appears again to work in the last days. Instead, we keep to our own notions and imaginings, and believe that any who testify the Lord’s return are false. Do you really think such people believe that the Lord Jesus will return? Aren’t they the foolish virgins the Lord Jesus talks about? The truth is that the Lord tells us false Christs will appear not because He wants us to be negative and guarded, but because He wants us to learn to discern false Christs. The truth expressed by God in the last days gives us the path to do so. First, let’s read a passage of Almighty God’s word, ‘To study such a thing is not difficult, but requires each of us to know this truth: He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the substance of God, and He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He must do, and since God becomes flesh, He shall express what He is, and shall be able to bring the truth to man, bestow life upon man, and show man the way. Flesh that does not contain the substance of God is surely not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt. To investigate whether it is God’s incarnate flesh, man must determine this from the disposition He expresses and the words He speaks. Which is to say, whether or not it is God’s incarnate flesh, and whether or not it is the true way, must be judged from His substance. And so, in determining[a]whether it is the flesh of God incarnate, the key is to pay attention to His substance (His work, His words, His disposition, and many more), rather than external appearance.’ God’s words clearly tell us that the incarnate flesh of God can do God’s own work. It can express the truth and give people a path to practice. The Lord Jesus, for example, to redeem mankind, came incarnate to live among the Jews to preach of kingdom, show man the way of repentance, and personally teach and shepherd His disciples. From His work, we can see that the Lord Jesus is the truth, the way, and the life. In the same way, in the last days Almighty God has expressed millions of words of truth, in which aspects of the truth such as the mystery of God’s six-thousand-year management plan, the true essence of the three stages of work, and the mystery of the incarnation are revealed for man, as well as begun the new stage of work of judging mankind beginning with the house of God, to allow mankind to completely escape the bondage of sin, attain salvation, and enter the kingdom of heaven. The essence of false Christs is that of evil spirits. They don’t possess even a bit of the truth, and much less can they express the truth. All they can do is speak lies that confuse right and wrong and absurd theories to deceive people, and even if they testify themselves as Christ, they don’t possess the essence of Christ. We can determine whether or not someone is God incarnate from God’s work, God’s words, and the disposition expressed by God, because only Christ is the truth, the way, and the life.”
After I heard my sister’s fellowship, I felt much brighter, and I said excitedly, “In the past, I didn’t know the essence of Christ, and I couldn’t discern false Christs. But now, I finally understand that Christ is the truth, the way, and the life, and that He who is the incarnate God can express God’s words and do God’s own work, because the essence of Christ is God. But false Christs don’t possess the truth, and can only speak absurd theories to deceive people. They can’t express the truth at all.” Then I said to my sister, “Can you fellowship with me more about this aspect of the truth?”
She smiled and said, “You have a heart that yearns for and seeks the truth, so you’ll definitely be able to receive God’s leadership and guidance. Let’s read another passage from God’s words, ‘If, during the present day, there is to emerge a person who is able to display signs and wonders, cast out demons, heal the sick, and perform many miracles, and if this person claims that they are Jesus who has come, then this would be the counterfeit of evil spirits, and their imitation of Jesus. Remember this! God does not repeat the same work. Jesus’ stage of work has already been completed, and God will never again undertake that stage of work. The work of God is irreconcilable with the conceptions of man; for example, the Old Testament foretold the coming of a Messiah, but it turned out that Jesus came, so it would be wrong for another Messiah to come again. … If, during the last days, God still displayed signs and wonders, and still cast out demons and healed the sick—if He did exactly the same as Jesus—then God would be repeating the same work, and the work of Jesus would have no significance or value. Thus, God carries out one stage of work in every age. Once each stage of His work has been completed, it is soon imitated by evil spirits, and after Satan begins to follow on the heels of God, God changes to a different method. Once God has completed a stage of His work, it is imitated by evil spirits. You must be clear about this.’ From God’s words we can understand that God is always new, never old, and that God does not do repeated work. Satan can only imitate some of the work God did in the past, and God can do newer, higher work. For example, when the Lord Jesus came to work, He began the Age of Grace and ended the Age of Law, He showed many of God’s signs and wonders to people, such as curing diseases and casting out demons, granted people rich blessings and grace, and finally, was crucified as an offering to redeem man’s sins, thereby completing the work of redeeming all mankind. Although we have accepted the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption and our sins have been forgiven, we are not free from the bondage of sin. If the Lord comes, and He still did things like curing diseases, casting out demons, and showing God’s signs and wonders, how could we escape the bondage of sin? On the basis of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption, Almighty God is doing the next stage of work, that of judgment to purify mankind, to point out the path to change our life disposition, completely save mankind from Satan’s influence, and allow us to escape the bondage of sin and attain God’s salvation. Also, false Christs can’t do the work of beginning a new age or ending an old one. After the Lord Jesus’ resurrection and ascent to heaven, we have not seen any false Christs who can express the truth and give people a way to escape sin, because false Christs do not have the essence, authority, or power of God. They can only imitate some simple work done by the Lord Jesus, revealing signs and miracles to deceive people, but divine miracles that possess God’s authority and power, like the Lord Jesus’ resurrection from the dead and feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, are things that false Christs can never imitate.”
I nodded in approval, “That’s right, God doesn’t repeat His work. Each stage of God’s work is built on the work of the last stage, and progresses step by step. People were in danger of being condemned to die by the law in the Age of Law, so to save mankind from death, the Lord Jesus personally came incarnate to do the work of redemption and bestowed rich grace upon people. When mankind accepted the Lord Jesus’ saving grace, they received God’s blessings, but we have not escaped our sinful nature. In the last days, God has come incarnate to do the work of judgment beginning with God’s house and express words of judgment that will purify us of our corrupt dispositions and allow us to escape the bondage of sin. False Christs lack the truth and cannot do work that begins or concludes an age, nor can they save us from Satan’s influence of darkness or give us God’s salvation. They can only imitate some of the miracles God did in the past.”
After that, my sister fellowshiped on many aspects of the truth. I was deeply excited after I listened to her, and was certain that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, so I accepted God’s work of the last days. I thought of Sister Chen, who believed in the Lord for years and longed for the Lord’s return, but never investigated Almighty God’s work of the last days because of the CCP’s rumors and lies, and I wanted nothing more than to tell her this good news.
When I got home, I sent Sister Chen a message right away to tell her that the rumors she saw online were fabricated by the CCP to slander and attack The Church of Almighty God, that she shouldn’t blindly believe the CCP’s lies and rumors, and that she should also investigate God’s work in the last days. I was surprised when she not only refused to investigate, but followed by continuing to send me negative videos, say things that judged and condemned The Church of Almighty God, and said to me, “There are many false Christs in the world today, and you shouldn’t carelessly give them credence. You haven’t believed in the Lord for long enough, you lack discernment. I’ve believed in the Lord for many years. Do you really think I’m wrong?” I tried to persuade her, saying, “It’s right to be wary of false Christs, but if we are always negative and guarded against them and refuse to investigate the Lord’s appearance and work, don’t we risk losing God’s salvation? The Lord told us He would come again, which means He will return in the last days. Almighty God really is the returned Lord Jesus, and as long as you read more of Almighty God’s words, you’ll hear God’s voice.” No matter what I said, she wouldn’t listen, and instead stubbornly stuck by her notions. I was very disappointed.
One day, I read these words of God, “The return of Jesus is a great salvation for those who are capable of accepting the truth, but for those who are unable to accept the truth it is a sign of condemnation. You should choose your own path, and should not blaspheme against the Holy Spirit and reject the truth. You should not be an ignorant and arrogant person, but someone who obeys the guidance of the Holy Spirit and longs for and seeks the truth; only in this way will you benefit. I advise you to tread the path of belief in God with care. Do not jump to conclusions; what’s more, do not be casual and carefree in your belief in God. You should know that, at the very least, those who believe in God should be humble and reverential. Those who have heard the truth and yet turn their nose up at it are foolish and ignorant. Those who have heard the truth and yet carelessly jump to conclusions or condemn it are beset by arrogance.” Yes, God advises us to tread the path of belief with care, we must regard God’s work with a heart that fears Him, learn to seek the truth, and not allow our arrogant disposition to carelessly judge or condemn God’s work. I thought of how Sister Chen’s behavior was the exact opposite of God’s words. There was no humbleness or desire to seek in her attitude toward God’s work in the last days. When she heard that the Lord had returned, she had absolutely no wish to seek the truth, but instead listened to her own arrogant disposition and stubbornly kept to her own notions and imaginings, to the point of judging and condemning God’s work. Isn’t this precisely the arrogance revealed in God’s word?
When I thought of the process by which I had come before God, I realized I was very fortunate. God had taken pity on me, and used my sister to patiently fellowship with me about God’s new words, to give me understanding of God’s work, and to allow me to follow God’s footsteps. I also realized that only those who humbly seek and yearn for the truth can hear the voice of God.
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The original text reads “as for.”