By Xiao Ya, United States
Xiao En used to be a co-worker in a church. After accepting God’s new work, she proactively spread the gospel and brought her two sisters before. But when she preached to her two sisters-in-law, because the pastor and elders often preached about guarding against Eastern Lightning, they not only didn’t accept, but told the pastor about the fact that she’d accepted Almighty God’s work. After that, a spiritual battle began …
Debating With the Pastor and Co-workers
One day, Xiao En was reading Almighty God’s words at home when there suddenly came a loud knocking at the door. After she quickly hid the book of God’s word and then opened the door, she found the pastor and seven or eight co-workers standing outside with a furious expression on their faces. Looking at this scene, Xiao En thought, “In the past, after knowing that some sisters from the church were investigating Almighty God’s last days’ work, they started to obstruct and harass them. Could it be that they’re here to obstruct me?” At the thought of this, Xiao En felt somewhat afraid, and so she constantly prayed for God to give her faith and wisdom to deal with them. After the prayer, her heart felt a little more tranquil, and she also had the confidence to face them.
As soon as they were inside, a co-worker came forward and said to Xiao En, “We hear you’ve listened to Eastern Lightning?”
Another said, “Eastern Lightning witnesses that thehas returned. If it’s true, how could our pastor and elders not know? When the Lord comes He’ll definitely give them revelation first. The pastor and elders don’t accept Eastern Lightning, how could you accept it?”
After hearing these words, Xiao En said, “Not necessarily. When the Lord Jesus came to do work, He didn’t first reveal Himself to the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees who were serving God in the temple, but rather He traveled around to work and preach. Those who thirsted for the truth could recognize. Take Peter and John for example. They recognized from the Lord Jesus’ work and preaching that He was the Messiah foretold in the prophecies, and so followed Him.”
Just as Xiao En finished speaking, Pastor Weng said, “Why are you so foolish? To believe in the Lord is to believe in. God’s words are all in the Bible. But today Eastern Lightning testifies that the Lord has returned and expressed new words. This is absolutely wrong. So we can’t believe in Eastern Lightning.”
Hearing this, Xiao En replied, “The Lord Jesus once said, ‘Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have: and they are they which testify of me. And you will not come to me, that you might have life’ (John 5:39-40). The Bible can’t represent the Lord, for it’s merely a record of God’s work in the past, it’s only a testimony to the Lord. Besides, we should know that God’s work came first, and then the Bible. It was when God had completed a work that man recorded His words and work as well as man’s experience, and compiled them to make the Bible. The work God was yet to do couldn’t be written into the Bible in advance. It’s just like when the Lord Jesus came to do work. The way of He preached, the work He performed of healing the sick and casting out demons and the words He expressed were not recorded in the Old Testament. So we can’t define that all of God’s work and words are contained within the Bible.”
After listening, the pastor and co-workers looked at each other. Then the pastor argued speciously, “In any case, our belief in the Lord must be based on the Bible. The words of the Lord are all in the Bible. I’ve read the Bible thoroughly dozens of times, but what about you? You have such little spiritual life and lack the ability to distinguish. I advise you to hurry up and repent!” A co-worker nearby the pastor chimed in, “Yes! Pastor Weng is right. All of the Lord’s word is within the Bible, so believing in the Lord means believing in the Bible. This is exactly how people throughout the ages have practiced faith. It can’t be wrong!”
Xiao En retorted, “Is there any basis in the Lord’s words for what you’re saying? It is clearly stated in the Bible, ‘And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written’ (John 21:25). This confirms that the Bible only records a small part of the Lord’s words, and that many of His words and deeds are not recorded in the Bible, so to say that ‘the Lord’s words are all in the Bible’ doesn’t conform to the facts. You’re more familiar with the Bible than me, but it doesn’t prove that you know the Lord. Back then, the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees knew the Bible by heart, but they didn’t recognize the Lord Jesus as the Messiah, and even condemned and resisted Him because of His not obeying the law and crucified Him, committing a terrible sin. How can this be explained? The Bible says, ‘And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him’ (Matthew 25:6). We’ve believed in the Lord for many years and have always hoped for His coming. Therefore, when we hear someone preaching that the Lord has returned, we should be wise virgins and carefully listen for. But if we blindly condemn what others preach without seeking and investigating, then we may easily resist God like the Pharisees.”
Hearing this, Pastor Weng became even more angry and, pointing at Xiao En, said, “You’ve believed in Almighty God for just a few days and you’ve already dared to speak these words and condemn us. We come with kindness to save you; if you’re ungrateful, then forget it. You even dare to say that we are the Pharisees. You have let us down!” When he finished saying this, his anger left him with no wish to stay. Another brother then took out the Bible and tried to find verses to refute Xiao En, but after searching through the Bible again and again, he failed. Finally, Pastor Weng furiously said to him, “Stop searching! She is incurable. Let’s go!” And so they all went away. Seeing that they left in defeat, Xiao En thanked God from the bottom of her heart.
Seeing Through the Disguise of the Co-workers
Several days later, seven or eight co-workers paid Xiao En a visit to try to dissuade her. Co-worker Wang said, “Sister Xiao, you’ve been a believer for so long, how come you’re unable to discern properly? The pastor warns us again and again not to heed Eastern Lightning’s way, how could you not listen to him? The pastor and elders have believed in the Lord for so many years. Couldn’t it be that they understand more than we do? You ought to hurry and repent.”
Xiao En said firmly, “Almighty God’s words are all the truth. He has unfolded all the mysteries in the Bible, the mystery of God’s three stages of work, the mystery of God’s name, the inside story of the Bible, etc., which have resolved many confusions I had when I believed in the Lord. I had carried out serious examination before I started believing in Almighty God. Believing in the way comes from hearing of the way, so when we hear that someone is spreading the good news about the Lord’s coming we must seek and investigate in earnest. Do not blindly listen to the pastor, otherwise you’re likely to miss the opportunity to welcome the Lord.”
Then Co-worker Chen said, “Sister Xiao, these days we have been praying for you day and night, hoping that you hurry to repent and return to our church. If you keep on believing in Eastern Lightning, you’ll be expelled from the church and abandoned by our brothers and sisters. We don’t want that to happen. Thinking about how we’ve served the Lord together for so long and how we’ve been as close as sisters, we really can’t bear parting with you. …” As she said this, all the co-workers began to weep. Seeing them shedding tears, Xiao En felt very upset. Scenes of their working together for the Lord in the past racing through her mind, she couldn’t help but feel somewhat weak. She thought, “We used to be very close and support the brothers and sisters together. If I insist on believing in Almighty God, our many years of friendly relations will be ended, and the brothers and sisters will also abandon me and treat me as their enemy. …”
Just then, Xiao En suddenly realized that her thinking was incorrect, so she immediately prayed in her heart, “O God! I feel somewhat weak now. I’m afraid of having broken relationships with them. Please give me faith and strength to prevail over the weakness of my flesh and to stand witness.” After praying, she remembered a passage from God’s words, “You must be awake and waiting at every moment, and you must pray more before Me. You must recognize the various plots and cunning schemes of Satan, know the spirit, know people and be able to discern all kinds of people, matters and things.” God’s words awoke her in an instant and she clearly knew that the incident that befell her was one of Satan’s tricks, and was a spiritual battle. Satan knew that she cared a lot about her co-workers, and that she was unwilling to have strained relationships with them, much less see them weep for her, so it used emotions to disturb her. Its objective was to make her give up God’s work in the last days and thereby lose her opportunity to enter into the kingdom of heaven for the sake of maintaining her fleshly relationships with her co-workers. Xiao En then thought, “Since II should listen to God and not be controlled by people. If I were to betray God in order to protect my personal feelings, then I wouldn’t be standing witness to God, and would lose the opportunity to be saved by God.” When she realized all this, she had faith and strength returned to her heart. Following that, however her co-workers urged her, even trying to force her to deny Almighty God, Xiao En didn’t budge an inch and was still resolute in her belief in Almighty God. In the end, the co-workers walked off in a huff.
Who Are the Stumbling Blocks on the Path to the Heavenly Kingdom
In the following days, the pastor and co-workers still came to Xiao En’s house every few days, trying to force her to abandon her faith in Almighty God. In order to avoid them, she went to her sister’s home and spread the kingdom gospel of Almighty God there. After learning that Xiao En was still preaching, the pastor and elders became even more flustered and exasperated. They announced that Xiao En had been expelled from the church in the whole county, and on top of that they sealed off the church, threatened to expel anyone who received her, and made the brothers and sisters reject and curse her. Not only that, they also coerced Xiao En’s families to cut ties with her. As a result, when Xiao En went to preach the gospel to her uncle, his family didn’t receive her. And many times, when she came across the co-workers that she knew well, they didn’t even greet her and simply turned their faces and walked away.
The brothers and sisters from Xiao En’s original church all rejected her and the pastor and elders blocked off the church, so she was unable to preach to them. This made her upset. She thought of what the Lord Jesus said when He condemned the Pharisees, “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:13). “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves” (Matthew 23:15). According to these words, Xiao En thought of the pastor and elders. They were well versed in the Bible and often preached to believers, but didn’t know God and didn’t have hearts that revered God at all. When hearing about the Lord’s coming, they didn’t have the slightest interest in investigating it and even sealed up the church, preventing believers from accepting the Lord’s return, and controlling them in their own hands. Xiao En realized that their deeds were the same as that of the Pharisees and that they were obstructions and stumbling blocks to believers’ entering God’s kingdom.
Later, after learning of Xiao En’s condition, the brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God went to visit her in succession. Xiao En told them how she had experienced during that period and how she distinguished the pastor and elders. After hearing what she said, Sister Wang said, “Thank God! Sister, it’s good that you have discernment on this matter. God’s appearance and work in the last days reveal good servants, evil servants, goats and sheep. Experiencing harassment and obstruction at the hands of the pastors and elders enables us to see the facts and truth of their resistance of God while serving Him, so that at least we won’t be deceived by them or follow them in resisting God. Let’s read a few passages of Almighty God’s word, and we’ll have more discernment of the substance of the pastors and elders.
“Almighty God says, ‘Do you wish to know the root of why the Pharisees opposed Jesus? Do you wish to know the substance of the Pharisees? They were full of fantasies about the Messiah. What’s more, they believed only that the Messiah would come, yet did not seek the truth of life. And so, even today they still await the Messiah, for they have no knowledge of the way of life, and do not know what the way of truth is. How, say you, could such foolish, stubborn and ignorant people gain God’s blessing? How could they behold the Messiah? They opposed Jesus because they did not know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work, because they did not know the way of truth spoken by Jesus, and, furthermore, because they did not understand the Messiah. And since they had never seen the Messiah, and had never been in the company of the Messiah, they made the mistake of paying empty tribute to the name of the Messiah while opposing the substance of the Messiah by any means. These Pharisees in substance were stubborn, arrogant, and did not obey the truth. The principle of their belief in God is: No matter how profound Your preaching, no matter how high Your authority, You are not Christ unless You are called the Messiah. Are these views not preposterous and ridiculous?’
“‘Those who read the Bible in grand churches recite the Bible every day, yet not one understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one is able to know God; moreover, not one is in accord with the heart of God. They are all worthless, vile men, each standing on high to teach God. Though they brandish the name of God, they willfully oppose Him. Though they label themselves believers of God, they are ones who eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such men are devils who devour the soul of man, head demons who purposefully disturb those who try to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks that impede the path of those who seek God. Though they are of “robust flesh,” how are their followers to know that they are antichrists who lead man in opposition to God? How are they to know that they are living devils who specially seek souls to devour?’”
The sister fellowshiped, “God’s words have thoroughly exposed the source and substance of the Pharisees serving God many for years yet defying Him. They were arrogant and hated the truth, so when the Lord Jesus came to do His work, they didn’t seek and study it, but stubbornly clung to the letters of the Scripture and their conceptions and imaginations. In the Lord Jesus’ work and preaching, they felt authority and power, but because the Lord Jesus didn’t match up with the Messiah in their notions and imaginations, and they feared that more believers would follow the Lord and that they would lose their positions and livelihoods, they judged the Lord Jesus’ work, tried everything to condemn Him, and in the end nailed Him to the cross. These facts are enough to prove that the Pharisees basically didn’t serve God with sincerity, but instead pursued fame and status. They, in nature and essence, were the antichrist demons that hated the truth and God. Today, religious pastors and elders are just like the Pharisees. They are believing in God and serving God nominally, but in fact they don’t obey the Lord’s teachings. In their work and preaching, they don’t exalt and bear witness to the Lord’s word, but rather preach biblical knowledge and theological theory to show off and establish themselves. This causes believers to worship them and have no place for God within their hearts. Even when seeking and investigating the true way, these believers don’t seek God’s will at all but listen to them instead, to the point of following them in resisting God’s work. It can be seen that the pastors and elders have brought believers before themselves. The pastors and elders keep saying that they long for the Lord’s return, yet when they’ve heard about the Lord’s coming, they don’t seek and study, but instead define God’s work and words based on their biblical knowledge and theory. Worse still, they employ all kinds of ways to block believers from investigating and accepting God’s new work under the guise of ‘protecting the sheep flock,’ and incite them to defy the Lord’s return with them. In fact, their objective is to cage and control believers and so protect their positions and livelihoods. That’s why they wildly resist God’s new work. Not only will they not get into the kingdom of heaven, but they even make believers their sacrificial objects to go to hell with them for resisting God. They really are living devils that devour man’s soul!”
Through God’s words and the sister’s fellowshiping, Xiao En saw very clearly the religious pastors’ and elders’ essence of opposing God. Though they are familiar with the Bible, they only preach biblical knowledge to show off, or talk about donating to the church in their preaching work. As a consequence of this, believers are unable to receive any nourishment, and after believing in the Lord for many years, they end up not having any knowledge of the Lord but instead worship and look up to the pastors and elders. Furthermore, when Almighty God appears to do His work, the pastors and elders don’t seek and investigate it. In order to protect their status and livelihood, they seal off the church under the guise of “protecting the brothers and sisters,” and think of various ways to obstruct believers from accepting God’s new work. Aren’t they dragging brothers and sisters to hell? They truly are so malicious! They are true antichrists! At that moment, Xiao En was very grateful to God for His salvation. If God hadn’t saved her she would continue following the pastor and elders, and would resist God and be unable to enter the kingdom of heaven. Thinking of this, Xiao En felt even more loathing and hatred in her heart for the pastor and elders. She bolstered her will in her heart: The more they persecute me, the more I will do my utmost to spread the gospel so that more believers will break away from the bondage and deception of the pastors and elders and return before God’s throne.
Witnessing God’s Almightiness in Experience
Later on, the pastor and elders refused to give up—they phoned Xiao En’s brothers and brother-in-law who did business in another part of the country, and deceived them by saying that Xiao En had betrayed the Lord Jesus and committed apostasy, and also asked them to hurry home to prevent her. After they returned, because of the deception of the pastor and elders, they really thought that Xiao En’s belief was incorrect. However, after Xiao En relied on God to spread God’s kingdom gospel to them and read them Almighty God’s words, they knew that she hadn’t betrayed the Lord Jesus, but instead she had welcomed the Lord’s coming and followed God’s footsteps. By then, they all saw through the tricks of the pastor and elders, and clearly saw their truth-hating, God-resisting, antichrist essence, and in the end accepted God’s work of the last days. Soon afterward, some brothers and sisters from Xiao En’s original church also began to investigate Almighty God’s last days’ work, and by reading Almighty God’s words their notions and difficulties were resolved, and so they accepted Almighty God’s work one after another. Witnessing God’s wondrous deeds, Xiao En’s heart was full of gratitude to God. She appreciated that no enemy force can stand in the way of what God wants to accomplish. Despite the fact that the pastor and elders spared no pains to disturb and block believers from coming before Almighty God, after recognizing God’s voice, some believers still returned before God’s throne one by one, for God’s sheep can hear God’s voice. Just as God’s words say, “The work of God is like mightily surging waves. No one can detain Him, and no one can halt His footsteps. Only those who listen carefully to His words, and who seek and thirst for Him, can follow His footsteps and receive His promise. Those who do not shall be subjected to overwhelming disaster and deserved punishment.”
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