By Endai, South Korea
I Encounter the Lord for the First Time and I Experience Peace and Joy
In 2010, I moved to South Korea with my husband and began to believe in theat a church near our home. At gatherings, the pastor would often preach the way of “the of the cross” and “God loves the people of the world,” and my heart was deeply stirred by the great love of the Lord Jesus. Whenever I prayed to the Lord, I would feel as though He was right beside me, and my heart would be flooded with feelings of peace and security. At that time, I would attend church on time every week to listen to the pastor’s sermons, and I conscientiously read the Bible every day, and managed to finish the whole book within a year. I read the Lord Jesus’ prophecies that He would return in the last days to raise us up into heavenly kingdom, and so I hoped to be able to welcome the return of the Lord within my own lifetime.
The Church Becomes Desolate and I Search Painfully in a Daze
Several years went by and my longing for the Lord Jesus to return did not abate, and yet I felt that the situation in my church had become very different to what it had been before. The pastor always preached the same old things and his sermons had no new light to them at all. At morning prayers, some brothers and sisters would be constantly yawning, and some would actually fall asleep. I was also in a state of semi-confusion and my prayers were dry and insipid. What’s more, the number of people coming to church had dwindled from 40 or 50 down to about a dozen, and they would hurry in and then hurry out again and would take naps during gatherings. Not only that, but the pastor would always enjoin people to make donations at gatherings. The Lord Jesus clearly said, “But when you do alms, let not your left hand know what your right hand does: That your alms may be in secret: and your Father which sees in secret Himself shall reward you openly” (Matthew 6:3–4). And yet at gatherings, the pastor always announced publicly how much people had donated, and he was always nicest to those who donated the most. A large portion of the donations were used to pay the salaries of the pastor and his deacons, and would even be spent on their children. I thought of Eli’s two sons in the Old Testament. Because they brazenly stole the offerings that were meant for Jehovah, they were punished by God. I was shocked by the pastor’s practices: The money donated by brothers and sisters was for God and it was an offering. How could the pastor take this money and spend it on his own family so casually? Were they not afraid of being disciplined by the Lord for doing such a thing? Seeing all the many unlawful things going on in my church, I felt really unhappy, and I thought: How could my church get like this? Where did the flourishing church of former days go to? Is the Lord still with us? I began to think of going to find another church somewhere else.
Not long after that, I moved to a new house. I wanted to find a good church and to rediscover the enthusiasm I had had when I first started believing in the Lord. And so, I asked around and, through an introduction by one of my neighbors, I came to a church and saw that it was in a big building and that many people were coming to gatherings. Afterward, however, I discovered that most of the people coming to pray and attend gatherings were there looking to speak in tongues and were not so concerned with fellowshiping the Lord’s words. Because I didn’t understand what they were saying, I once again couldn’t help feeling drowsy, and I became worried that I would be abandoned by the Lord if this carried on much longer. Then I thought of the Lord Jesus’ words, “But whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life” (John 4:14). The Lord’s words are the wellspring of living water, and as long as I could understand His words more, then the power of my faith in the Lord would certainly arise. And so, I attended a Bible training class at the church. After a year of training, however, besides being more well-versed in the Scriptures, I didn’t get much out of it. Two years went by and I still couldn’t feel the Lord’s presence, and I had no choice but to leave this church in disappointment once again. Later, my neighbor told me of a church that gave excellent sermons and she told me to go listen. With a tiny shred of hope, I went to the church she’d told me about. Contrary to my expectations, however, the situation in this church was much the same as the previous two churches I had attended: The pastor said nothing that had any light to it, and the people were selling honey, vegetables and oils and so on in the church aisles. Seeing that the church was being treated like a food market, I thought of what the Lord Jesus said when He rebuked the Pharisees, the chief priests and the scribes: “It is written, My house is the house of prayer: but you have made it a den of thieves” (Luke 19:46). The church is a place where God is worshiped—how could they set such an example by buying and selling inside the church? It was just the same as the temple two thousand years ago!
Looking back at the churches I had attended, I saw that they had all been pretty much the same, without the work or the guidance of the Holy Spirit at all, and with most people in a state of negativity and stagnation. Faced with such a situation, I felt great pain in my heart, and I had no idea what course to follow. In the beginning, I had believed in the Lord so that I would earn His praise and get into heavenly kingdom, but now I had been unable to regain my faith and love for the Lord, so how would I ever get into heavenly kingdom if things continued this way? But I had no other path of practice and my sole hope was for the Lord to hurry and return. I often prayed silently in my heart to the Lord: “O Lord! When will You return?”
I Discover the Reasons for the Desolation in the Churches
One day in August 2016, a Christian friend called Sister Cao brought someone called Sister Jin to my home. When we got to talking about the desolation in the churches, I said emotionally, “I really miss how things were when I first started believing in the Lord. The Lord was with me every day and my heart was filled with peace and joy. Nowadays, I read the Bible but find no enlightenment or illumination, my prayers are dry and insipid, I always feel drowsy at church gatherings and I can’t put the Lord’s words into practice. I’ve attended a few churches but have been unable to regain the faith I had before. Ah, I really don’t know what’s up. In Revelation, God says to the angel from the church of the Laodiceans: ‘I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot: I would you were cold or hot. So then because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew you out of my mouth’ (Revelation 3:15–16). Aren’t the churches nowadays just like the church of the Laodiceans? If things carry on this way, we’ll surely be abandoned by God!” I gave a deep sigh.
Sister Jin then said, “Sister, the problem you describe is commonplace throughout churches everywhere. The Lord Jesus said, ‘If any man thirst, let him come to Me, and drink. He that believes on Me, as the scripture has said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water’ (John 7:37–38). Only God is the bread of life, the wellspring of living waters—wherever God is, there also is the bread of life. Previously, when we prayed to the Lord or read His words, we would feel His presence and we gained light and a path of practice every time we attended a gathering. Now, however, we cannot feel the Lord’s presence and our spirits have grown dark and stagnant. This can only show that the Lord Jesus has departed from us; that is, the Holy Spirit is no longer working amongst us. How could a church become desolate if it had the Holy Spirit’s work?”
The sister’s fellowship gave me a sense that I was hearing something new and my interest was suddenly piqued. Thinking back over how things had been in recent years, the sister had described it exactly, and I really wanted to know the reason why things were as they were. And so, I asked the sister, “Ephesians 1:23 says, ‘Which is His body, the fullness of Him that fills all in all.’ So why would the Lord depart from the church? Do you know what this is all about?”
Sister Jin continued her fellowship, saying, “This question is key, as it relates to whether or not we will be able to welcome the Lord’s return. First, let’s think back to the desolation of the temple at the end of the Age of Law. As we all know, the temple in the beginning was filled with the glory of God Jehovah, as He said to Solomon: ‘For now have I chosen and sanctified this house, that My name may be there for ever: and My eyes and My heart shall be there perpetually’ (2 Chronicles 7:16). At that time, those who served Jehovah God in the temple were respectful and reverential, and no one would have dared to act wantonly in any way. When the priests entered the temple, they first had to abide by Jehovah’s commands, lest they be burned to death by fire falling down from the pinnacle of the temple. So why then, at the end of the Age of Law, were people not disciplined or punished by God when the priests made improper sacrifices and when the common people changed money and traded cattle, sheep and doves in the temple? It shows that Jehovah had already departed from the temple, and that is why people dared to act so willfully there. From this, we can see that there were two reasons for the desolation in the temple: The first was that the Jewish leaders did not adhere to the law of Jehovah, they did not have God-fearing hearts and they had strayed from God’s way, and thus the Holy Spirit departed from the temple and no longer worked there. The second reason was because, according to His plan to save mankind and in accordance with the needs of mankind at that time, God incarnated to perform the stage of work of being crucified to redeem mankind. Therefore, all who followed the Lord Jesus at that time all came to enjoy the peace and joy brought by the work of the Holy Spirit, they obtained the supply of the water of life and they found new paths of practice. The Jewish priests, Pharisees and common people, however, because they clung to the law and refused to accept the Lord Jesus’ salvation, thereby lost the work of the Holy Spirit. It is just as Jehovah God said: ‘Behold, the days come, said the Lord Jehovah, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of Jehovah’ (Amos 8:11).”
Sister Jin’s fellowship truly chimed with the Bible, and I couldn’t help but sink into deep thought: So the desolation in the temple was caused by religious leaders not abiding by God’s commandments and thus being detested and rejected by God, which resulted in God departing from the temple. It was also caused by God performing a new stage of work beyond the temple. If this is the case, then surely the desolation in the religious world now is because of the same reasons? Thinking these thoughts, I continued to listen to Sister Jin’s fellowship.
She went on: “When God departed from the temple, it became chaotic and desolate. Similarly, the reason for the desolation in the religious world today is because the pastors and elders now go against the will of God and do their own thing. They don’t care about the lives of brothers and sisters; they focus only on their own reputations and positions. In the church, they vie with each other for power and profit and they preach their knowledge of the Bible to show themselves off and bear witness to themselves. They lead brothers and sisters before them and they do not bear witness for God or exalt God in any way whatsoever, nor do they lead brothers and sisters to practice or experience the Lord’s words. They have gone completely astray from the Lord’s way, and this is the main reason for the religious world having lost the work of the Holy Spirit. The other reason is because God has begun a new age and is once again performing a new stage of work. When a new stage of work begins, the work of the Holy Spirit likewise moves onto God’s new work. This precisely fulfills the prophecy in the Bible that states, ‘When there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered. So two or three cities wandered to one city, to drink water; but they were not satisfied: yet have you not returned to Me’ (Amos 4:7–8). The words ‘one piece was rained on’ mean the churches that accept and obey God’s new work. Because they accept God’s new utterances, they enjoy the supply and the nourishment of the water of life that flows from God’s throne. Whereas ‘the piece whereupon it rained not withered’ means that because the pastors and leaders of the religious world do not practice the Lord’s words and do not follow the Lord’s commandments, but instead reject, defy and condemn God’s new work, they are detested, rejected, and cursed by God. They lost utterly the work of the Holy Spirit, they are unable to obtain the supply of the water of life, and they descend into desolation.”
These Words Carry Such Authority That They Must Be the Voice of God
I felt that what Sister Jin had fellowshiped was so fresh and new, things that I had never heard before in religion. Through her fellowship, I came to understand a little about many verses in the Bible which I had not understood before, and I admired her greatly. I asked her, “Sister, we all believe in the Lord, so how come you can fellowship so clearly about the reasons for the desolation in the churches? Also, where can we go to find God’s new work?”
At this point, Sister Cao said, “Sister, let’s read a few passages first, and then you’ll understand.” The sister read, “God will accomplish this fact: He will make all people throughout the universe come before Him, and worship the God on earth, and His work in other places will cease, and people will be forced to seek the true way. It will be like Joseph: Everyone came to him for food, and bowed down to him, for he had things to eat. In order to avoid famine people will be forced to seek the true way. The entire religious community is suffering severe famine, and only the God of today is the wellspring of living water, possessed of the ever-flowing wellspring provided for the enjoyment of man, and people will come and depend on Him.”
“I gave My glory to Israel and then took it away, and afterward I brought the Israelites to the East, and all of humanity to the East. I have brought them all to the light so that they may be reunited with it, and be in association with it, and no longer have to search for it. I shall let all who are searching see the light again and see the glory I had in Israel; I shall let them see that I have long ago come down upon a white cloud into the midst of mankind, let them see the countless clouds of white and fruits in their abundant clusters, and, what is more, let them see Jehovah God of Israel. I shall let them look upon the Master of the Jews, the longed-for Messiah, and the full appearance of Me who have been persecuted by kings throughout the ages. I shall work upon the entire universe and I shall perform great work, revealing all My glory and all My deeds to man in the last days. I shall show My glorious countenance in its fullness to those who have waited many years for Me, to those who have longed for Me to come upon a white cloud, to Israel that has longed for Me to appear once again, and to all mankind who persecute Me, so that all will know that I have long ago taken away My glory and brought it to the East, so that it is no longer in Judea. For the last days have already come!”
After she’d finished reading, I felt that these words were incredibly fresh and new, that they carried the authority and power of God and were not words that could have been spoken by just anyone. I therefore asked the sister, “Where have these words come from? I’ve never heard such words before.”
Sister Cao said excitedly, “Sister, let me tell you some good news! The Lord Jesus we’ve longed for has returned as the incarnate Almighty God, and He is expressing many truths and is performing the stage of work of judgment beginning in God’s house, which is the work of the Age of Kingdom. This precisely fulfills the biblical prophecies: ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come’ (John 16:12–13). ‘He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (John 12:48). ‘For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God’ (1 Peter 4:17). Almighty God has expressed millions of words, has revealed many mysteries held within the Bible, and He has told us such things as the inside story on His six-thousand-year management plan, how we can get into heavenly kingdom, and the end and final destination for mankind. As long as we pray in the name of Almighty God and keep up with God’s new work, then we will be keeping pace with the footsteps of the Lamb and our parched spirits can be nourished and watered. The two passages I’ve just read are words expressed by Almighty God, and the reasons for the desolation in the religious world we’ve just fellowshiped are also revealed in God’s words. This allows us to see God’s almightiness and wisdom and that He has not discarded those who love the truth and who yearn for His appearance, but instead He uses our spiritual famine to allow us to grasp His will and seek out His footsteps. He does this to lead all those within any denomination who truly love the truth and who sincerely believe in God before His throne, and only those who hearken to theand accept His work in the last days can regain the work of the Holy Spirit, obtain the supply of the water of life that flows from the throne and leave the desolation behind. If someone refuses to accept God’s work of the last days, then they will have no chance to experience the judgment and chastisement of God’s words and be purified, and they will forever lose their chance to enter the heavenly kingdom.”
After listening to what Sister Cao said, I felt a sense of excitement that I couldn’t express. I felt like I was dreaming—the Lord really had returned! If it weren’t for God expressing the truth, who would have understood the reasons for the desolation in the churches? I couldn’t wait to ask the sisters to take me to their church, and they both said, “Thanks be to God! God’s sheep has heard His voice!”
After I came to The Church of Almighty God, I received a warm welcome from the brothers and sisters, and they gave me detailed fellowship on the inside story of God’s three stages of work and the significance of. As I listened, fervent flames began to rise in my heart, and the more I listened, the more I wanted to hear. Through the meticulous fellowship of the brothers and sisters, I came to understand that, in order to save mankind, God launched His six-thousand-year management plan and He performs three stages of work, with each stage of work being higher and more profound than the one before it. By performing the work of redemption, the Lord Jesus saved mankind from the bondage of the law, but because the root cause of our sins was not resolved, we still live in a state whereby we sin in the daytime and confess at night. Now, Almighty God has come in the last days and is performing a stage of work of judgment beginning in God’s house, based upon the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption, and He is expressing all the truths to enable man to thoroughly cast off the bonds of sin, be purified, and attain true salvation. The brothers and sisters also played a dance video for me called “The Happiness in the Good Land of Canaan,” and I watched the brothers and sisters in the video dancing happily and carefree. My heart was touched, as though I had gone back to when I first started believing in the Lord, and I felt an enjoyment as though I were a seedling that had long been in a drought and which had suddenly been watered and nourished by a spring rain. I was so thrilled, my eyes brimmed with tears, and I kept thanking the Lord in my heart. When it came time to leave, the brothers and sisters gave me a book called The Scroll Opened by the Lamb, and they told me to give it a good read when I got back home.
When I returned home, I found it hard to calm my excitement, and I thought: Is this real? Can I really welcome the Lord? When I read the Bible before, I had always been so envious of the disciples who followed the Lord Jesus for being able to hear His voice. Could my wish really come true? I then read a passage from The Scroll Opened by the Lamb: “I was once known as Jehovah. I was also called the Messiah, and people once called Me Jesus the Savior because they loved and respected Me. But today I am not the Jehovah or Jesus that people knew in times past—I am the God who has returned in the last days, the God who shall bring the age to an end. I am the God Himself that rises up at the ends of the earth, replete with My entire disposition, and full of authority, honor and glory. People have never engaged with Me, have never known Me, and have always been ignorant of My disposition. From the creation of the world until today, not one person has seen Me. This is the God who appears to man during the last days but is hidden among man. He resides among man, true and real, like the burning sun and the flaming fire, filled with power and brimming with authority. There is not a single person or thing that shall not be judged by My words, and not a single person or thing that shall not be purified through the burning of fire. Eventually, all nations shall be blessed because of My words, and also smashed to pieces because of My words. In this way, all people during the last days shall see that I am the Savior returned, I am the Almighty God that conquers all of mankind, and I was once the sin offering for man, but in the last days I also become the flames of the sun that burn all things, as well as the Sun of righteousness that reveals all things. Such is My work of the last days.” These words carried authority and power and I felt that no ordinary person could have spoken them. Besides God, who would dare to speak in His place? In my heart, I became certain that these were the words of God. I felt so thrilled: The Lord really had returned! God is the First and the Last, He can begin new ages and bring ages to a close. The three stages of work fellowshiped by the sister—the Age of Law, the Age of Grace, and the Age of Kingdom—are surely all performed by one God, and Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. I held the book of God’s words to my chest, feeling as though I’d found some precious treasure, and I decided that I would investigate this way in earnest.
I Joyfully Welcome the Lord’s Return and Obtain the Supply of the Wellspring of Living Water
Over the following weeks, I attended gatherings at church every day and I saw that the words of Almighty God were truly everything I thought they would be and more; there were passages on revealing man’s corrupt essence, passages that reminded, advised, encouraged and comforted, and passages that showed people paths of practice, and so on. Whether God was speaking from the perspective of His Spirit or from the perspective of man, His words encapsulated His painstaking efforts to save mankind. I thought back to when I used to attend gatherings at my old church and how I would feel drowsy as soon as the pastor began his, and how I just couldn’t get into the Bible at all. Now with God’s words, the more I read them, the more energized I felt, and the more light filled my heart. What’s more, when I attended gatherings at church, I fellowshiped together with my brothers and sisters about our experiences and knowledge of God’s words, I felt like I was experiencing new light every single day and I felt such liberation and enjoyment in my heart. This made a sharp contrast with the situation before when I first began to believe in the Lord in church, as I am now experiencing the enjoyment and the happiness that is brought by the work of the Holy Spirit. I couldn’t help but offer up a prayer to God: “O Almighty God, I offer You my true thanks and praise. That such an unremarkable person as me can today hear Your voice is the greatest blessing I’ve ever had in my life!”
Thanks be to the guidance of God that finally led me to find a church that had the work of the Holy Spirit and the supply of the nourishing water of life. God raised me up, and in less than a month, I had begun to perform my duty in the church. Every day now, I have boundless energy and my spirit is filled with peace and joy. This is all due to the work of the Holy Spirit. May glory be unto Almighty God!