By Chen Wei
My name is Chen Wei and I am sixty-five years old. After my marriage, my wife and I became believers in the Lord Jesus. At that time, the preacher said to us, “When the seven bowls pour out seven plagues in the last days as prophesied in Revelation, we believers, who have accepted the salvation of the Lord Jesus, will be brought into the air by the Lord Jesus descending with clouds and enjoy the feast with Him for seven years, and avoid the disasters on earth. After the seven-year great disasters end, we will be taken up into the kingdom of heaven and enjoy the rich and happy life in heaven forever. So we should listen to the Lord’s words, act according to the requirements in the Bible, and prepare more oil when waiting for the Lord’s return. Just like the Lord Jesus told us: ‘I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also’ (John 14:2–3). According to the biblical prophecies, the Lord will receive us before 2000.” After hearing the preacher’s words, my wife and I abandoned the pursuit of wealth and reputation and turned to zealously pursue the Lord’s words and spend for Him. At that time, my family was so poor that it was an extravagant wish for us to have a warm blanket in winter. However, at the thought that we would have a nice life when the Lord came to rapture us into the kingdom of heaven, I felt it was worthwhile enduring some hardships. At that time, I recited scriptures every day, busying myself in spreading the gospel and building churches. Owing to my years of enthusiastic pursuit, I became an elder in charge of a district of the Praise Church and shepherded hundreds of believers. Whenever I preached about the heavenly vision described in Revelation on the lectern, I was excited and happy. After hearing my preach, the brothers and sisters were also utterly thrilled, itching for the Lord to arrive on a cloud to take us into the kingdom of heaven the next day.
However, the Lord Jesus hadn’t come in 2000, which made me feel greatly disappointed. I thought: What is going on? Why has the Lord still not come? What should I say to the brothers and sisters? Then I came before the Lord and prayed to Him, “O Lord, where are You? When will You come to bring us to the heavenly home? Now the brothers and sisters are all weak and our faith and love grow cold. What should I do?” Once in a co-workers meeting, I poured out my confusion to the pastor and he said, “God is love. He wants every person to be saved, and does not want anyone to perish. But there are still many people not coming before Him, including many of our relatives. It is out of His tolerance for mankind that the Lord hasn’t come.” After hearing the pastor’s words, I had no choice but continue to wait. However, one year after another, the Lord Jesus had still not come in 2011. I thought: Why has the Lord Jesus still not come to raise us up into the heavenly kingdom? Since the Lord’s word is faithful, then could it be that we have made a mistake?
So I began to search within the Bible for the time when the Lord Jesus would come to take us. One day, I read these words in Psalms: “What man is he that fears the LORD? him shall he teach in the way that he shall choose. His soul shall dwell at ease; and his seed shall inherit the earth” (Psalms 25:12–13). And Psalms 37:9, 11, 22, 29, and 34 all mention “inherit the earth.” Besides, in Matthew 5:5, the Lord Jesus said: “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Pondering these verses, I thought: These verses all mention that God promises us the life on earth. How is this? I felt confused and continued to search in the Bible. Then I saw these verses: “After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:9–10). “The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 11:15). “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away” (Revelation 21:3–4). Reading these verses, I thought: It seems that the place prepared by God for us is on earth and that God will become King on earth, dwelling with us for all eternity. So, does this mean that God will be incarnated as the Son of man just like the Lord Jesus to speak and work and lead us to live on earth forever? But then I thought of the Lord Jesus words: “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also” (John 14:2–3). These verses seem to tell us that the place prepared by the Lord for us is in heaven. What is this all about? I have been longing to enter into the heavenly kingdom and gain eternal life since believing in the Lord, but now I am confused: Is the place God prepares for us in heaven or on earth? Who can clearly explain this? Then I brought these questions to the Lord in prayer every day, asking Him to lead me to understand the meaning of these verses.
In order to figure out whether the place God prepares for us is in heaven or on the earth, I began to seek. One day when I met Deacon Zhou, I poured out my confusion to him; unexpectedly, he questioned my view that the Lord would come to take us up into the kingdom of heaven. He said, “I think that belief in the Lord is solely for gaining peace and joy. It is unrealistic for us, who weigh over fifty kilos, to be taken up into the kingdom of heaven by the Lord.” I said to him, “I don’t agree with you. God is almighty. At that time, when the Lord promised Peter, Peter then could walk on the water. So we should have faith in the Lord. Since the Lord has promised us that He will take us into the kingdom of heaven, we should have faith in the fulfillment of His promise.” He said, “Is there anyone in the flesh taken into the kingdom of heaven in the accounts of the Old and New Testaments? The Bible holds mysteries and many of them have puzzled me for years. Even you yourself can’t figure out the question whether we will be taken into the heaven or remain on earth when the Lord comes, can you?” My hope for being taken into the kingdom of heaven by the Lord was quenched by his words. But when calming down, I found that what he said was pretty much the case. Though I had preached sermons to brothers and sisters for many years, I didn’t truly understand the Lord’s intention or the words in the Bible; even though I told brothers and sisters that the Lord will take us into the kingdom of heaven, actually I was not sure about that, nor did I know whether the kingdom of heaven was in heaven or on earth.
Once, I attended a co-worker meeting in parish. When Pastor Li said about how to strengthen the defenses against Eastern Lightning on the lectern, because I was sick of hearing these same old things, I flicked through the Bible and saw a passage of words in Matthew 24:27: “For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be.” It suddenly occurred to me that whether “the lightning comes out of the east” refers to Eastern Lightning. If it does, then haven’t we made a mistake? Shall I express my doubt? If I do so, how will the pastors and elders think of me? But if Eastern Lightning is really the return of the Lord Jesus and the true way, we would commit a great sin for resisting the Son of man and God. I felt conflicted inside and thought for a while: Perhaps it is the Lord’s enlightenment and He is leading me to tell them. No matter how they will treat me, I can’t disobey the Lord’s will. I must tell them. Then I stood up, saying, “Brothers and sisters, could I have a few words? Just now, I saw a scripture: ‘For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be’ (Matthew 24:27). These words were said by the Lord Jesus Himself. When He told the disciples what would happen in the last days, He compared the descending of the Son of man to the eastern lightning. As we all know, ‘the Son of man’ refers to the incarnation of God. So I wonder if Eastern Lightning which has been resisted and condemned by us for many years is the descending of the Son of man, and the appearance of the Lord Jesus in the last days. If it is, then aren’t we resisting God? Besides, we all see that the Eastern Lightning followers have such a great strength to spread the gospel and testify to Almighty God. Who can achieve this without the faith and power given by the Holy Spirit? Should we think about this carefully? Recently, I saw these verses when studying the Bible: ‘After this manner therefore pray you: Our Father which are in heaven, Hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, Your will be done in earth, as it is in heaven’ (Matthew 6:9–10). ‘The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever’ (Revelation 11:15). ‘Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away’ (Revelation 21:3–4). From these verses, we can know that perhaps the Lord Jesus will come to earth. Since the Eastern Lightning followers testify that the Lord has become flesh again to speak and work on earth, maybe Eastern Lightning is the return of the Lord. I think we shouldn’t blindly condemn and oppose it anymore.” I had just finished my words, when the believers in the meeting all looked at me in wide-eyed and some of them pointed at me. My friendly brother pulled me by my clothes, as a hint that I’d better sit down. And then Leader Ding spoke seriously in a bureaucratic tone, “Brother Chen, what are you talking about? Aren’t you in direct opposition to us? The kingdom of heaven is definitely in heaven, and there is no need to investigate. It is not for you to tell us whether Eastern Lightning is the Lord’s return or not. You’d better reflect on yourself, and I hope that such thing won’t happen again.” At that time, people at the meeting all looked at me with a peculiar gaze as if I had broken the law. Though I wasn’t convinced, I didn’t retort. I thought: Why do they treat me as an enemy when I mention Eastern Lightning? The prophecies of the Lord’s return have basically been fulfilled now, so the Lord should have already returned. Since Eastern Lightning is preaching the descending of the Son of man, shouldn’t we seek and investigate it carefully? If it is really the return of the Lord and the true way, I should quickly accept and submit to it and follow the traces of God’s work in last days. At this thought, I said to myself: If someone preaches Eastern Lightning to me in the future, regardless of how other people are, I will investigate it carefully.
That day, I swallowed the criticism and didn’t express my opinion. When I had a chat with a pastor outside at lunchtime, he said, “We have been condemning Eastern Lightning for many years. However, the brothers and sisters of my hometown in Henan told me that Eastern Lightning does not preach to those who have moral problems and bad humanity.” His words reminded me of two parables said by the Lord Jesus. “Again, the kingdom of heaven is like to a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away” (Matthew 13:47–48). “Even so every good tree brings forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree brings forth evil fruit” (Matthew 7:17). According to the Lord Jesus’ words, the fruits of the Holy Spirit’s work hold the truth, and the life. The Eastern Lightning followers act in accordance with the truth and principles and have fear of God, which is the result reached through the work of the Holy Spirit and is in line with the Lord Jesus’ parable. It can be further proved that the preaching of Eastern Lightning comes from God. The more I thought, the more I felt that Eastern Lightning is the Lord’s return. Since then, I paid more attention to studying prophecies and God’s word about the Lord’s return in the Bible, longing to fathom out how the Lord would do His work in the last days so as not to miss the chance of meeting the Lord and being brought into the kingdom of heaven.
One day in June, 2012, Brother Liu, a follower of Eastern Lightning, came to preach Almighty God’s kingdom gospel in the last days to me. Since the denominations I had visited all failed to resolve the confusion in my heart during these years, I thought: If Brother Liu can resolve my confusion, I will accept Eastern Lightning. So I spoke to the point, “Brother Liu, I heard you preaching the coming of the Lord Jesus, but why haven’t we believers in the Lord been taken up into the kingdom of heaven? The Lord said that His return to heaven was to prepare our place, and that He shall prepare our place, then come and take us, while the Bible records ‘the tabernacle of God is with men’ and ‘The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ.’ What is this all about? Where is the place the Lord prepares for us, in heaven or on earth?”
Brother Liu said, “The Lord Jesus said: ‘I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you to myself; that where I am, there you may be also’ (John 14: 2–3). The Lord’s word has profound meanings, which can’t be fathomed by us corrupt men. If we take His words literally and think that since the Lord ascended to heaven with clouds, the place He prepares for us is in heaven, then isn’t it our conception and imagination? If it were that way, then does it not contradict the Lord’s prophecy ‘the tabernacle of God is with men’? The Lord’s words can’t be mutually conflicting, so it can be seen that the letter is dead while the spiritual meaning is alive. God’s word is mystery, so only God can explain His words clearly to us. In fact, it is known to us that in the beginning when God created man, He put men on earth to live. When God burned Sodom, Lot escaped from Sodom with his family, and they lived on earth. After the flood, Noah and the seven members of his family also lived on earth, and it was the same with the Israelites after they were led out of Egypt by Moses. … All these people lived on earth and none of them was taken up into the heaven. So, the place God prepares for us is surely on earth. Just as Revelation says: ‘The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever’ (Revelation 11:15). From this verse we can see that the beautiful destination God prepares for us isn’t in heaven but on earth. Almighty God has unraveled all mysteries contained within the Lord Jesus’ prophecies. Let’s read what Almighty God says about it.”
Almighty God says: “God has God’s destination, and man has man’s destination. While resting, God will continue to guide all of humanity in their lives upon earth. While in God’s light, man will worship the one true God in heaven. … When humanity enters into rest, it means that man has become a true creation; humanity will worship God from upon the earth and have normal human lives. People will no longer be disobedient to God or resist God; they will return to the original life of Adam and Eve. These are the respective lives and destinations of God and humanity after they enter into rest. Satan’s defeat is an inevitable trend in the war between God and Satan. In this way, God’s entering into rest after the completion of His management work and man’s complete salvation and entrance into rest likewise become inevitable trends. Man’s place of rest is on earth, and God’s place of rest is in heaven. While man rests, he will worship God and also live upon earth, and while God rests, He will lead the remaining portion of humanity; … After God and man enter into rest, Satan will no longer exist, and like Satan, those wicked people will also no longer exist. Before God and man enter into rest, those wicked individuals who once persecuted God upon earth and the enemies who were disobedient to Him upon earth will have already been destroyed; they will have been destroyed by the great disasters of the last days. After those wicked individuals have been completely destroyed, earth will never again know Satan’s harassment. Humanity will obtain complete salvation, and it will only be then that God’s work ends completely. These are the prerequisites for God and man to enter into rest” (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together”). After reading God’s words, Brother Liu fellowshiped with me, “From Almighty God’s words, we can know that the beautiful destination God prepares for us isn’t in heaven but on earth. In the last days, God will still work as ‘the Son of man’; that is to say, God will become flesh again to do the work on earth. He will choose those who can understand His voice and truly believe in Him, and then cleanse them with the judgment of His word. It is just like the disciples who followed the Lord Jesus after hearing His way of repentance and finally gained the Lord’s salvation. If we keep pace with God’s work after hearing His voice, accept and obey His judgment in the last days, and stand witness to Him in the great disaster, we can be made overcomers and completely saved by God, and gain His promise. At that time, God’s kingdom will be realized on earth; we continue to believe in and worship God on earth and He will be with us forever, which just fulfills the Lord Jesus’ promise ‘that where I am, there you may be also.’ But God’s original place of rest is in heaven, which will never change at all times. We should have a correct appreciation of God’s word.” Hearing God’s word and Brother Liu’s fellowship, I finally got the answer to the question that had puzzled me for many years. I said excitedly, “Brother, can you leave this book for me.” Brother Liu said smiling, “Yes, of course!” So saying, he handed the book to me. I received the book in both hands and took it in my arms excitedly, saying, “I will investigate carefully.” After Brother Liu left, I hurried to my bedroom and eagerly read God’s word.
I finished reading The Scroll Opened by the Lamb in less than two weeks. When I saw God’s word says: “Since Jesus departed, the disciples who followed Him, and all of the saints who were saved thanks to His name, have been desperately pining for Him and awaiting Him. All those who were saved by the grace of Jesus Christ during the Age of Grace have been longing for that joyful day during the last days, when Jesus the Savior arrives on a white cloud and appears among man. Of course, this is also the collective wish of all those who accept the name of Jesus the Savior today. Throughout the universe, all those who know of the salvation of Jesus the Savior have been desperately yearning for the sudden arrival of Jesus Christ, to fulfill the words of Jesus when on earth: ‘I shall arrive just as I departed.’ Man believes that, following the crucifixion and resurrection, Jesus went back to heaven upon a white cloud, and took His place at the Most High’s right hand. Similarly, man conceives that Jesus shall descend, again upon a white cloud (this cloud refers to the cloud that Jesus rode upon when He returned to heaven), among those who have desperately yearned for Him for thousands of years, and that He shall bear the image and clothes of the Jews. After appearing to man, He shall bestow food upon them, and cause living water to gush forth for them, and shall live among man, full of grace and love, living and real. And so on. Yet Jesus the Savior did not do this; He did the opposite of what man conceived. He did not arrive among those who had yearned for His return, and did not appear to all men while riding upon the white cloud. He has already arrived, but man does not know Him, and remains ignorant of His arrival. Man is only aimlessly awaiting Him, unaware that He has already descended upon a white cloud (the cloud which is His Spirit, His words, and His entire disposition and all that He is), and is now among a group of overcomers that He will make during the last days” (“The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’”), my heart was deeply touched. For it fully expressed what I had thought and hoped. In these years, I have been waiting for the Lord descending with the clouds to take us into the kingdom of heaven and give us eternal life, without knowing that God has already come among us. He has neither appeared to us nor raptured us to the midair or the third heaven according to our conceptions and imagination. How vague and impractical our conceptions and imagination are! God’s thoughts are higher than ours, and His work even more transcends the limits of our conception and counters our imagination. It is as Jehovah said: “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, said the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8–9).
Through reading Almighty God’s word and fellowshiping with brothers and sisters in meetings, I come to know that the beautiful kingdom God prepares for us isn’t in heaven but on earth, and that if we understand God’s work according to the literal meaning of the Bible and our mind, then our understanding will be far different from the real work done by God. I am just an example: As I obstinately clung to the letters of scriptures and neglected the verses about God’s leading man to live on earth, I thought the place God prepares for us is in heaven and thus kept waiting for His coming upon a cloud to receive us. If God hadn’t guided me to seek the way the Lord would appear and work in the last days, I couldn’t have possibly examined the relevant scriptures carefully, or sought fellowship with those who have the work of the Holy Spirit and understand the truth. Later, when I sought fellowship with the brother who spread the kingdom gospel with my question about Eastern Lightning, his fellowship of Almighty God’s word turned around my mistaken viewpoints on the Lord Jesus’ return in the last days. God’s word dispelled my conceptions and imagination and led me to keep pace with the footsteps of Christ of the last days and receive God’s salvation. If not for God’s salvation, I could still remain in the religious community, becoming a vile sinner who follows the religious pastors and elders in resisting and condemning God. In that case, the consequences to me would be unimaginable! Now God’s work in mainland China is drawing to a close and His kingdom gospel is expanding with lightning speed through the universe. Thank Almighty God for not abandoning me in this last moment and allowing me to hear His voice and attend the feast of the Lamb. All the glory and praise be to Almighty God!