By Xu Fan
During my free time, I read a story about Solomon from the internet. A king from a neighboring country gave, as a present, two uncommon and rare flower baskets to Solomon. The flowers of one of the flower baskets were real and the flowers of the other basket were fake. However, the flowers of both baskets looked extremely similar. There was almost no way to distinguish the real flowers from the fake flowers just by looking at their appearance. The state official from the neighboring country that delivered the flower baskets had heard of Solomon’s wisdom. So, he asked Solomon to distinguish between the real flowers and the fake flowers. Solomon sent some people to bring the two flower baskets to his garden. Nobody understood what Solomon’s intentions were. Solomon asked everyone to gather at the garden and there they understood why he brought the two baskets into the garden. The real flowers had attracted many bees to them while the fake flowers did not have any.
While this is a very simple story, it contains a deep meaning. It is very difficult for people to discern between the real flowers and the fake flowers with their naked eyes, and yet King Solomon succeeded in doing this by relying on the wisdom God gave to him. The flowers that had life in them gave off a fragrance and they secreted nectar. That is why they attracted the bees. The flowers in the other basket were dead. Even though, externally, they looked the same, they did not give off a fragrance nor did they have any honey with which to attract bees. This is how the real flowers and the fake flowers can be discerned.
After reading this story of how Solomon was able to discern the real flowers from the fake flowers, I could not help but think: Presently, there are many Christians devoutly waiting for the return of the Lord Jesus. However, at the same time, they are afraid of being deceived and as a result, they reject the gospel of Jesus’ return. Because in the Bible, Jesus said: “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). That is why, presently, there are many Christians in the religious world who, even though they have heard someone bear witness to God and tell them that the Lord has returned, do not seek, investigate and discern. Instead, they blindly judge, convict and resist. They maintain that “All those who bear witness to the return of the Lord are false.” Can they welcome the return of the Lord if they have this kind of notion and imagination? If we carefully ponder the Lord’s teachings, we will find that the Lord has actually taught us how to discern fake Christs so that we will not reject the gospel of God’s return solely on the manifestation of fake Christs in the last days. If we allow our fear of being deceived by fake Christs to prevent us from focusing on listening to God’s voice and discerning God’s voice, how can we welcome the Lord’s return? Think back to when Jesus just arrived to do His work. The Pharisees, chief priests and scribes serving Jehovah God in the temple adhered to their own notions and imaginations and the Old Testament Bible. They did not seek or investigate Jesus’ work. Instead, they nailed Jesus to the cross and committed a very serious sin. In the very end, they received God’s punishment and curse. However, Peter, Daniel, the Samaritan woman and others, after listening to Jesus’ words, recognized that Jesus was the coming Messiah. As a result, they followed the Lord. It is prophesied many times in Revelation, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.” In the Book of Romans, chapter 10, verse 17, it says: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ.” Therefore, when we hear someone spreading the gospel of Jesus’ return, we should first seek and investigate. From our seeking and investigation, we should then discern whether the Lord has returned or not. In this way, we will not miss the opportunity to meet the Lord again.
Naturally, if we are to welcome the return of the Lord, first, we must understand what Christ is. Let’s take a look at God’s words and see what He has to say about this topic: “God become flesh is called Christ, and so the Christ that can give people the truth is called God. There is nothing excessive about this” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life”). From God’s words we can see that only the incarnate God can be called Christ. Christ is that God’s Spirit is realized in the flesh. Christ is the appearance of God, and is God made flesh to do His own work. Even though, externally, Christ looks like a normal person, the substance of Christ is divinity and the work that He does is God’s work. Now, how can one discern between the real Christ and fake Christs? God said, “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. If man sees only His external appearance, and overlooks His substance, then that shows the ignorance and naivety of man” (“Only He Who Experiences the Work of God Truly Believes in God”). “If a man calls himself God yet is unable to express the being of divinity, do the work of God Himself, or represent God, he is undoubtedly not God, for he has not the essence of God, and that which God can inherently achieve does not exist within him” (“The Difference Between the Ministry of the Incarnate God and the Duty of Man”). From Almighty God’s words, we can understand that discerning false Christs involves inspecting whether they possess God’s essence and not from looking at their external appearance. We must also look at their work, words and disposition in order to discern. Christ is able to provide people with the truth and life. He is able to express God’s righteous disposition and the wisdom of His work. Christ is the holy, righteous God Himself. This is similar to how Jesus, during the Age of Grace, looked like a normal person. However, He expressed a great amount of truth and He provided people with the way of repentance. He also expressed a disposition that is mainly mercy and love and taught people to forgive others seventy times seven. Jesus also healed the sick, exorcised demons and freed people from the bindings of the law. In the end, He was nailed onto the cross, thereby completing the redemption of all mankind. From Jesus’ words and work, we can confirm completely that Christ is the truth, the way and the life. Similarly, today the Lord Jesus who has returned to flesh—Almighty God has brought a new age, the Age of Kingdom. He has expressed millions of words and He has come to do the judgment work of the last days. He judges and cleanses man with His righteous and holy disposition so that man no longer needs to live in an endless cycle of committing sins and repenting. His work will allow man, in the very end, to break free from the bindings of sins and thoroughly be saved and perfected. Almighty God’s words have revealed all mysteries for us. They have informed us of God’s intentions for mankind, the ending for each category of man as well as the work that God intends to accomplish. God’s words have given us a path of practice as well. From Almighty God’s words and work, we can see that He is the embodiment of the truth. Almighty God’s work once again confirms that Christ is the truth, the way and the life. These are all things that fake Christs will never be able to accomplish.
Now, how should we discern fake Christs? God said: “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. … 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.” “When Jesus came, He spoke few words; He primarily displayed miracles, performed signs and wonders, and healed the sick and cast out demons, or else He spoke prophecies in order to convince man, and to make man see that He really was God, and was a dispassionate God. Ultimately, He completed the work of crucifixion. The God of today does not display signs and wonders, nor does He heal the sick and cast out demons. When Jesus came, the work He did represented one part of God, but this time God has come to do the stage of work that is due, for God does not repeat the same work; He is the God that is always new and never old, and so all that you see today is the words and work of the practical God” (“Knowing God’s Work Today”).
From God’s words, we understand that fake Christs do not have God’s essence and they cannot do God’s work. All they can do is imitate God’s past work in order to pretend to be God. In other words, in the last days, all those who can perform miracles, heal the sick, exorcise demons and claim that they are Christ are definitely evil spirits that are impersonating God. This is because God is always new and never old. In each age, God’s work is different. He is always doing new work. If man cannot discern this, he will be deceived. Therefore, Jesus warned 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). Today, Almighty God, Christ of the last days, has done new work. He no longer performs miracles, heals the sick and exorcises demons. Instead, He expresses the truth and does the work of judging man, cleansing man and perfecting man. He has shown man a path of practice in the new age and He has given man the way of life. On the contrary, the fake Christs and fake prophets are not equipped with the truth at all nor are they able to express the truth and provide life to mankind. All they can do is imitate God’s past work and perform some simple miracles in order to deceive people. However, they can never emulate what Jesus did as feeding 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish, resurrecting Lazarus, rebuking the wind and sea and other such miracles. They are evil spirits that are impersonating God. They do not rule over all things and they do not have the power or the authority to do so. This is completely determined by their essence. It is just as God said: “Sooner or later, those who impersonate Christ will all fall, for although they claim to be Christ, they possess none of the substance of Christ. And so I say that the authenticity of Christ cannot be defined by man, but is answered and decided by God Himself” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life”). Therefore, if we can grasp the principles of discerning the true Christ from false Christs, we do not need to be afraid of being deceived. We can calmly and courageously seek, investigate and discern all kinds of voices with a heart that reveres God. Only the person who can bring man the truth, the way and the life is the true Christ. This is similar to what the story talked about. The real flowers had life and they were able to attract bees. The fake flowers, while similar externally to the real flowers, did not have life and were unable to attract bees with their honey. Similarly, no matter how well fake Christs disguise themselves and imitate God, because they do not possess the substance of life, they are unable to express the truth and provide life for man, and they will inevitably fall. However, the true Christ has the substance of God’s life, He is able to express the truth and He is able to provide man with life. Those who love and thirst for the truth, after listening to God’s words, will be attracted and conquered by His words; they are people who belong to God, and are able to hear God’s voice and recognize Christ as God Himself. This is just like when the Lord Jesus came to work: He is capable of spreading His gospel throughout the world and He can bring many people before God so that they can receive Jesus’ redemption. Only the work of God Himself can achieve such result. The truth that Almighty God of the last days expresses has opened all the mysteries of His work of 6,000 years of management for all of mankind to witness. Almighty God is capable of expressing all the truth that man requires in order to be cleansed and saved. This is what God provides to mankind. Not only can this truth aid us in discerning positive things and negative things, it also provides us with the path we need to change our dispositions and moreover, it provides us the way of eternal life. This is completely reliant on God’s essence. It is as Almighty God said: “The way of life is not something that can be possessed by just anyone, nor is it easily obtainable by all. That is because life can only come from God, which is to say, only God Himself possesses the substance of life, there is no way of life without God Himself, and so only God is the source of life, and the ever-flowing wellspring of living water of life” (“Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life”). Nowadays, Almighty God’s kingdom gospel has already spread throughout Mainland China. Right now, it is being transmitted and witnessed to all corners of the world. The Word Appears in the Flesh expressed by Almighty God has also been published online for a long time. It has been provided for all those who seek the truth to investigate. The people of various denominations that love the truth and thirst for God’s appearance have read the words that Almighty God expresses and they all recognize that they are God’s voice and that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus who returns in the last days. One after another, they are returning before God’s throne. Today, if we are afraid of being deceived by false Christs and as a result, do not seek and investigate the appearance and work of Almighty God, Christ of the last days, we will have forever lost God’s grace in the last days!
a. The original text reads “as for.”