By Chen Liang, United States
I was born into a Catholic family and at 13 I studied the catechism and was baptized. After that, I resolved to become a priest to serve God. To that end, I entered a seminary when I was 22 where I studied theology and the Scriptures and took some other courses. But some time passed and I still didn’t feel any closer to God, and my desire to get married and have a family kept cropping up. I prayed and prayed, but I still couldn’t keep it at bay. I’d sworn myself to chastity before God so that I could enter the kingdom of heaven but I wanted to forsake that commitment. Wasn’t I sinning and lying to God? How could I get into God’s kingdom? I was at the seminary for 10 years. After I graduated, I went to a monastery in Indonesia for another year but I kept having impure thoughts from time to time. I was really discouraged. After finishing my studies, I decided to become a regular parishioner. I went home and got married. But in day-to-day life, I’d argue with my wife over petty household things and I wasn’t very patient. Sometimes I’d lie to protect my own interests. I came before God to confess and repent a lot for these things but then I’d just keep doing them. I wanted to repair my relationship with God by going to Mass and saying prayers more, but that didn’t fix my problems.
Then I came to the US in 2014. I met Li and Liu, a couple other parishioners at Mass. Whenever I had the chance I’d discuss matters of faith with them. I remember once when we were sharing Scripture, Liu said that he knew a devout deacon who was well-versed in the Bible who believed in. He said a couple of other fervent church members joined it, too. He wondered what kind of church Eastern Lightning was and why so many avid believers had joined it. I was confused by this, too, because I’d also known a devout deacon who had joined Eastern Lightning. I didn’t know what Eastern Lightning preached or why it drew in so many pious Christians. Could it be inspired by the Holy Spirit? I figured I should check it out and see what was so special about what that church preached. I wondered if it could help me with my devotionals and with knowing God. At this thought, I told Li and Liu that I wanted to go check out . They agreed.
When we went, a sister played a video for us, The Origin and Development of The Church of. From this, I learned that the Lord Jesus had returned, just as I’d long hoped for. He is Almighty God in the flesh who is expressing truths to do the work of judgment. That’s why people from all denominations who love the truth and long for God’s appearance read Almighty God’s words, see that they’re the truth and God’s voice, and accept Almighty God’s work. Also, Almighty God’s gospel has spread from China in the East to many western countries, fulfilling the Lord Jesus’ prophecy: “For as lightning cometh out of the east, and appeareth even into the west: so shall the coming of the Son of man be” (Matthew 24:27). I was really surprised that that is how this prophecy is fulfilled. I’d read it all those years without understanding it.
Then a brother played a gospel movie called The Bible and God. This one moved me even more deeply and I saw there are a great deal of mysteries in the Bible. I’d read so many spiritual books but no theologian or Bible scholar had ever so clearly explained the truth behind the Bible, how it came to be, and its relationship to God. I gained so much from that movie. I could see why so many enthusiastic believers accepted Almighty God after hearing His words. I knew I had to look into it.
After that, they said that in the last days, Almighty God expresses truths to do the work of judgment beginning with God’s house to cleanse and save mankind once and for all. I was confused, because the Lord Jesus said “It is consummated” (John 19:30) on the cross. That should mean that God’s work to save mankind was finished, so why would God need to judge mankind to purify and save us? I wanted to find out but it was getting late, so I arranged to come back the next day. I felt excited on the way home. I’d learned quite a bit from that day’s fellowship and felt like I’d become closer to the Lord. It seemed likely that The Church of Almighty God did indeed involve the Lord’s work. It would be incredible if the Lord really had returned and I could live alongside Him just like Peter did. This thought made me look forward to the next day’s gathering even more.
As soon as I got off work the next day, I rushed to our meeting place and lost no time asking the sister, “You say that the Lord Jesus has returned and expresses truths to do the work of judgment. But on the cross, He said ‘It is consummated.’ That means God’s work to save mankind was completed. Our sins are forgiven through our faith—we’re justified and saved by faith, and when the Lord comes He can take us straight up into His kingdom. Why would He do more salvation work? What’s the meaning behind this?”
She said, “The Lord Jesus said ‘It is consummated’ because His redemption work was complete. It didn’t mean that all of God’s work to save mankind had been finished. If we determine that God’s work to save mankind is done because the Lord Jesus said ‘It is consummated’ and that He won’t do new work when He returns, then how would these prophecies be fulfilled? ‘I have yet many things to say to you: but you cannot bear them now. But when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will teach you all truth. For He shall not speak of Himself; but what things soever He shall hear, He shall speak; and the things that are to come, He shall shew you’ (John 16:12–13). ‘He that despiseth Me, and receiveth not My words, hath one that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (John 12:48). There’s also 1 Peter 4:17: ‘For the time is, that judgment should begin at the house of God.’ These prophecies show that in the last days, the Lord will express more truths and work to judge and cleanse mankind. If we say that God’s salvation work is completely finished, then how would these prophecies be fulfilled? The Bible also prophesies that in the last days, the Lord will separate the good servants from the evil, the sheep from the goats, the wheat from the tares, the wise virgins from the foolish. It’s just as the Lord Jesus said: ‘He that soweth the good seed, is the Son of man. And the field, is the world. And the good seed are the children of the kingdom. And the cockle, are the children of the wicked one. And the enemy that sowed them, is the devil. But the harvest is the end of the world. And the reapers are the angels. Even as cockle therefore is gathered up, and burnt with fire: so shall it be at the end of the world. The Son of man shall send His angels, and they shall gather out of His kingdom all scandals, and them that work iniquity. And shall cast them into the furnace of fire: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Then shall the just shine as the sun, in the kingdom of their Father. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear’ (Matthew 13:37–43). Revelation also prophesies that God will make a group of overcomers in the last days and that His kingdom will come to earth. This is all work the Lord does in the last days. If we say God’s work to save mankind is totally finished because the Lord Jesus completed His work, then how would those prophecies be fulfilled? So this understanding is clearly out of line with the Lord’s words and the reality of God’s work.”
I nodded my head as I listened. I felt she was right. Why hadn’t I ever seen something so obvious? She went on to read several passages of Almighty God’s words. Almighty God says, “For all that man may have been redeemed and forgiven of his sins, it can only be considered as God not remembering the transgressions of man and not treating man in accordance with his transgressions. However, when man, who lives in a body of flesh, has not been set free from sin, he can only continue to sin, endlessly revealing his corrupt satanic disposition. This is the life that man leads, an endless cycle of sinning and being forgiven. The majority of mankind sin in the day only to confess in the evening. This way, even though the sin offering is forever effective for man, it will not be able to save man from sin. Only half the work of salvation has been completed, for man still has a corrupt disposition” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in). “For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but you have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. You, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are therefore incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance” (“Concerning Appellations and Identity” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering; He did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to become the sin offering and bear the sins of man, but it also required God to do even greater work to rid man completely of his satanically corrupted disposition. And so, now that man has been forgiven of his sins, God has returned to the flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment. This work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and they shall gain the truth, the way, and the life” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh). “The essential purpose of God’s work of chastisement and judgment is to purify humanity and to prepare them for their ultimate rest; without such cleansing, none of humanity could be classified into different categories according to kind, or enter into rest. This work is humanity’s only path to enter into rest. Only God’s work of purification will cleanse humans of their unrighteousness, and only His work of chastisement and judgment will bring to light those disobedient elements of humanity, thereby separating those who can be saved from those who cannot, and those who will remain from those who will not. When this work ends, those people who are allowed to remain will all be cleansed and enter a higher state of humanity in which they will enjoy a more wonderful second human life upon the earth; in other words, they will commence their human day of rest, and coexist with God. After those who are not allowed to remain have been chastised and judged, their true colors will be entirely exposed, after which they will all be destroyed and, like Satan, will no longer be permitted to survive upon the earth. The humanity of the future will no longer include any of this type of people; such people are not fit to enter the land of the ultimate rest, nor are they fit to join in the day of rest that God and humanity will share, for they are the targets of punishment and are wicked, unrighteous people. … The entire purpose behind God’s ultimate work of punishing evil and rewarding good is to thoroughly purify all humans so that He may bring a purely holy humanity into eternal rest. This stage of His work is the most crucial; it is the final stage of the whole of His work of management” (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After reading these words of God, she shared this fellowship: “The Lord Jesus did the work of redemption in the Age of Grace, so as long as we believe in Him, pray, confess, and repent, our sins are forgiven. We can enjoy God’s grace and blessings, and won’t be condemned under the law. This is what the Lord Jesus’ redemptive work achieved and it’s the real meaning of ‘saved by faith.’ Our sins are forgiven by the Lord Jesus and we don’t commit obvious sins anymore and we mostly behave well. But we’re still not free from sin. We still lie and deceive for our own interests, we’re greedy, jealous, hateful, and harbor evil thoughts. We can’t resist the temptation of worldly trends, we long for money and love vanity. We condescendingly reproach people who do things we don’t like. We’re full of satanic dispositions like arrogance, crookedness, selfishness and greed, we’re sick of the truth and adore evil. These satanic dispositions are more entrenched than outward sins. They’re instilled in us by Satan and are the root of sinning and resisting God. Until these things are resolved, we still can’t help but sin and we can’t be free of sin’s bonds. The Bible says ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’ (1 Peter 1:16). God is holy and so is His kingdom. He can’t allow filthy human beings in. Those of us who sin every day are servants of sin, so how could we be fit to enter God’s kingdom? So, the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption was just one part of God’s work to save mankind, not all of it. Our sins have just been forgiven but we haven’t been freed from sin or cast off Satan’s influence. God has yet to completely gain mankind. Almighty God has come in the last days. He expresses truths and does the work of judgment to cleanse our corrupt dispositions and resolve our sinful satanic nature in opposition to God, so we can totally cast off the shackles of sin, be fully saved, and enter God’s kingdom. Almighty God’s appearance and work also reveals good and evil servants, sheep and goats, wheat and tares, wise and foolish virgins. Those who refuse to hear the Lord’s voice, who deny and condemn Almighty God’s work of the last days are the foolish virgins, the tares, the evil servants who’ll ultimately fall into disaster, weeping and gnashing their teeth. Those who recognize God’s voice in Almighty God’s words and accept His work of the last days are the wise virgins, the wheat, and the sheep. They undergo God’s judgment of the last days, are purified, and ultimately brought into God’s kingdom. This completely fulfills the prophecies in Revelation. So when God’s work of judgment comes to a close, God’s work to save mankind will be fully completed.”
Her fellowship was eye-opening for me. I realized that the Lord Jesus only did the work of redemption and only Almighty God’s judgment work in the last days can fully cleanse and save mankind. We’re redeemed of our sins because of our faith, but our sinful nature remains, which is why we live in a state of sinning and confessing. All I could do before was force myself not to sin but reading the Scriptures and following the monastery’s rules couldn’t stop me from sinning. Then I understood that the only way to uproot the problem of sinfulness was to be judged and cleansed by God in the last days. I eagerly asked this sister how God performs the work of judgment to cleanse people.
She played another video of a reading of God’s words. Almighty God says, “In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the essence of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, the words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan, and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt substance and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God” (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). She continued her fellowship after the video. “God expresses truths in the last days to judge and cleanse people. He expresses all the truths mankind needs to understand and enter into to be cleansed and fully saved. He has revealed the mysteries of His 6,000-year management plan, His three stages of work to save mankind, the mysteries of God’s work in the flesh, and the mysteries of His judgment work in the last days. He also judges and exposes the root of why mankind sins and opposes God and the truth of our corruption by Satan and all sorts of corrupt states. On top of that, He reveals God’s holy, righteous, unoffendable disposition and tells us who pleases Him, who disgusts Him, who can enter God’s kingdom and who will be punished, and the destination and outcome for each type of person. He also gives us the path to transform our life dispositions. By undergoing the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, we see how deeply Satan has corrupted us and that we’re full of satanic dispositions, like arrogance, deceitfulness, selfishness, and greed, and that we can’t live out a human likeness. We also see God’s righteous disposition and develop reverence for God, start to truly hate ourselves, and become willing to forsake the flesh and practice the truth. Then our corrupt dispositions are gradually changed.”
After her fellowship she played another testimonial video for me called The True Light Appears. The main character has some small talent that he lords over others, and he looks down on everyone. He’s haughty and condescending and wants everyone to listen to him. He’s a believer and he prays and confesses a lot, but he can’t help but lose his temper and reprimand others. All his colleagues keep their distance and his wife and daughter are afraid of him. He doesn’t have a single confidant. Living in sin, he suffers terribly. After he accepts Almighty God’s work of the last days, going through the judgment and chastisement of God’s words shows him that always putting himself first, being self-aggrandizing, and demanding others’ obedience is because he’s arrogant and unreasonable, and that these are satanic dispositions. This is disgusting to God and alienating for others. Once he realizes this, he genuinely hates himself and is filled with regret. Then he takes a softer approach toward others and when faced with a problem, he forsakes the flesh, seeks the truth, and listens to others. He’s no longer as arrogant as he was.
Seeing this video was exciting for me. I saw what authority and power Almighty God’s words have, that they really can cleanse and transform people. I started reading Almighty God’s words every chance I got and watching gospel movies and hymn videos from The Church of Almighty God. The more I watched, the more uplifted I felt. I became certain that Almighty God’s words are the truth and the voice of God, that Almighty God is the returned Lord. I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days.