By Xinkao, Panmei
The Church was bleak and the faith of believers had grown cold.
Since I was little, I followed my parents in believing in God. At that time I often heard the adults say: “The Lord will come upon a cloud and take us to the kingdom of heaven in the last days.” In order to receive the Lord’s promise, I enthusiastically went to the church and attended services of worship. Especially when I saw that every day many people came to the church to accept the gospel of the Lord Jesus and get baptized, my heart was more fervent. However, later I found that the church became bleaker and bleaker, and that the pastor and elder were unable to preach the sermons to supply us with life and that what they said was only about donating to the church. Moreover, they showed great respect for the rich believers in the church but discriminated against the poor ones. At the end of each year they would count up the sums the believers donated, which was 10% of their personal or family income, and announce the amount; as a result, many poor believers envied the rich ones who had devoted so much. Soon after, more and more believers began to pursue money, while fewer and fewer believers attended the Sunday worship. Once, my father said: “If we don’t have money, we can’t devote more money to God, nor can we satisfy Him. Thus, let’s pray to God for making more money.”
In 2014, I went to Imphal to study and attended worship services in the local church. I found the situations in the churches there were almost the same as that in my hometown. My spirit failed to gain the sustenance it needed when I worshiped in the church, so I didn’t have much faith. Gradually, when I read the Bible and attended gatherings I felt much less active than before. Even if I occasionally went to the church to worship, it became all form and no substance.
The Salvation on Facebook
In March, 2017, by chance I saw a post of a sister of The Church of Almighty God on Facebook. After reading it I felt it was great and then liked it, and then we became Facebook friends. At first, because of the language barrier we didn’t chat too much, but every day Sister Elke Chen would send a passage to me. Whenever I saw the words, I felt they were so great and real, and that they could resolve my problems. However, I didn’t know where the words came from.
Through Sister Elke Chen I met Brother Steve. We often shared our understanding and knowledge of some passages in the Bible. I felt that we fellowshiped with a lot of light and I felt much enjoyment in my heart.
Two Ways of the Lord’s Return: Coming Both in Secret and in Public
Afterward we had a discussion about the issue of the desolation in our church. Eventually I understood: The main reason why the churches are bleak and desolate is that the pastors and elders in the religious world don’t abide by God’s commandments while serving God, nor do they lead the believers to practice the Lord’s word. They only pay attention to expounding on biblical knowledge and theology to deceive and shackle people, drowning them in biblical knowledge and taking them further away from God, which leads to more and more hypocritical acts that resist God in the church. Therefore, they’re hateful to God and have lost the Holy Spirit’s work. The other reason is that the work of the Holy Spirit has moved and that God has done His new work.
Brother Steve said: “Actually, God has been incarnated as the Son of man, expressed many truths and carried out the work of judgment beginning from the house of God, so the work of the Holy Spirit has moved to this group of people who accept God’s work in the last days.”
Hearing the news that the Lord had returned, I was very shocked. I said: “The Bible clearly prophesies that the Lord will come upon a cloud with power and great glory and take us to the kingdom of heaven. But why do you say that God has become flesh to do the work of judgment? What’s going on here?”
Brother Steve said: “The Bible prophesies in many places that the Lord will come upon a cloud with power and great glory. However, there are also many prophecies in the Bible which mention that the Lord will descend in secret. For example, ‘Behold, I come as a thief” (Revelation 16:15). ‘Be you therefore ready also: for the Son of man comes at an hour when you think not’ (Luke 12:40). All these prophecies refer to the fact that God becomes flesh as the Son of man and descends in secret. When it comes to ‘as a thief,’ it means that God comes quietly and secretly and even if people see or hear Him, they won’t recognize Him as God. Just like the time when the Lord Jesus appeared to work, in appearance, the Lord Jesus was an ordinary Son of man and no one knew that He is God. In addition, Luke 17:24–25 says, ‘For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in his day. But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation.’ All references to “Son” or “Son of man” are references to Christ in the flesh. For example, on the outside the Lord Jesus in the flesh looks like an ordinary and normal man and He eats, drinks, sleeps and walks like a normal man. The spiritual body cannot be called the “Son of man.” Just as Jehovah God is a Spirit, so He cannot be called the “Son of man.” Also, if the Lord returns in a spiritual body and publicly appears while riding upon a cloud with great glory, all people will bow down before Him and worship Him. Who dares to resist and condemn Him? And how will the Lord Jesus’ words ‘But first must he suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation’ be fulfilled? Only when God becomes flesh as the Son of man and appears to work, when people don’t recognize the incarnate Christ, would they dare to condemn Him and reject Him according to their imaginations and notions. So then, in the matter of welcoming the coming of the Lord, we shouldn’t only cling to the prophecy that the Lord will publicly descend on a cloud from heaven but we should also focus on seeking the prophecy that the Lord will become flesh and come again in secret. And in this way we won’t lose the opportunity to hear the Lord’s voice and to be raptured to the kingdom of heaven after meeting His return.”
What Brother Steve fellowshiped about sounded reasonable. It was based on facts and conformed to the Bible as well. Nevertheless, I still wondered: If the Lord really returns in the flesh, then how will many passages of the Bible that say the Lord will descend from the clouds and that everyone will see Him be fulfilled? So I continued asking him: “You just now said two ways of the Lord’s return are mentioned in the prophecies of the Bible, but they are mutually conflicting. Then how will these two prophecies be fulfilled?”
Brother Steve said: “In fact, these two ways don’t conflict mutually. It is because in the last days, the Lord will first become flesh, come in secret, express His words and make a group of overcomers, and then He will openly arrive on a cloud to appear to all nations, and do the work of rewarding the good and punishing the wicked. God’s wisdom lies therein. Because the incarnate God comes to the world and works and speaks in secret, and He looks like an ordinary and normal man outwardly, no one recognizes Him as God, nor does anyone know His true identity. That way the attitudes toward God of these various types of people will be revealed. Only those who truly believe in Him and yearn for His appearance will seek and investigate God’s work and words and finally recognize His voice through His utterances. But those who don’t love the truth and can’t distinguish God’s voice will treat God as an ordinary man, and deny and refuse Him. Just like the time when the Lord Jesus was incarnated to do His work, He was like an ordinary man outwardly, so those Pharisees who didn’t love the truth denied and resisted Him. However, Peter, John and Matthew all paid attention to hearing the voice of God, and through the work and words of the Lord Jesus, they recognized that He is the incarnate Christ, God’s appearance, so they followed Him.
“During the time when the incarnate Almighty God does the work of judgment in the last days, that is, the stage when God secretly does His work to save man, God only expresses His words to purify and perfect man. During this time, we can’t see the scene of the Lord appearing publicly whilst riding on clouds. Not until He has made a group of overcomers and the work of God’s incarnation and secret descent among man has been finished, will God begin to reward the good and punish the wicked and then openly appear to all nations. At that point, the prophecy of the Lord’s public descent on earth will be fulfilled. Just as the Bible says: ‘And then shall appear the sign of the Son of man in heaven: and then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn, and they shall see the Son of man coming in the clouds of heaven with power and great glory’ (Matthew 24:30). ‘Behold, he comes with clouds; and every eye shall see him, and they also which pierced him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of him’ (Revelation 1:7). At that time, whoever refused to accept God’s hidden work will have completely lost the chance to be saved. Those who pierced Him, that is, those who resisted and condemned Almighty God will beat upon their breasts and weep unceasingly, knowing that Almighty God they resisted and condemned is exactly the Lord Jesus’ return.”
After hearing his words, I thought: “Yes, it turns out that when the Lord returns in the last days, He will first become flesh and do His work secretly, and then He will openly appear, and reward the good and punish the wicked. God is so wise. Yeah! If the Lord arrives upon a cloud, then everyone will bow down before Him and worship Him, and in that case, there would be no way of separating sheep from goats and the wise virgins from the foolish virgins. After knowing these things, I was able to understand God’s intentions of becoming flesh to do His work in the last days, but I felt the truth of God’s incarnation was so profound and that my understanding was too one-sided. Because of time differences between us, and because it was too late and I would go to school the next day, I failed to continue to ask them about the truth of incarnation, and had to get offline to go to sleep.
Fellowshiping About the Mystery of the Incarnation
The next day, when I was at school, I always pondered over what Brother Steve had fellowshiped about the night before: “They witnessed that the Lord has returned through incarnation, but what is the incarnation? If the incarnated God is Christ, then how should I know Him?” The more I thought about it, the more I felt it was too important to know the incarnated God, because it directly relates to how we are taken into the kingdom of heaven. I thought: “If I have an opportunity, I must ask them about the truth of the incarnation.” Unexpectedly, that night, Sister Elke Chen contacted me again and asked me whether I was going to investigate The Church of Almighty God and whether I was willing to attend meetings with them. Without hesitation I agreed, because I felt there were many truths that I didn’t understand.
During the gathering, I said to Brother Steve: “Brother, through investigation, I have believed that in the last days the Lord returns in the flesh and I have no doubt about it. However, what is the incarnation truly? And how should we know the incarnate God? I wasn’t clear about the truth of this aspect, so could you fellowship about it in details?”
Brother Steve said: “Brother, the problem you’ve raised is very crucial. If we believe in God but don’t know the incarnate God, it’s easy for us to resist Him and offend Him. Regarding the truth of this aspect, we read several passages of God’s words: ‘The Christ with normal humanity is a flesh in which the Spirit is realized, possessing normal humanity, normal sense, and human thought. “Being realized” means God becoming man, the Spirit becoming flesh; to put it plainly, it is when God Himself inhabits a flesh with normal humanity, and through it expresses His divine work — this is what it means to be realized, or incarnated’ (‘The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God’). ‘He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the substance of God, and He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He must do, and since God becomes flesh, He shall express what He is, and shall be able to bring the truth to man, bestow life upon man, and show man the way. Flesh that does not contain the substance of God is surely not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt. 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 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’” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Brother Steve fellowshiped: “The incarnation means God’s spirit is realized in the flesh as a man, that is, God’s spirit has put on an ordinary and normal flesh, and come to the world, appearing to mankind and doing His work. Although God’s flesh is ordinary and normal in appearance, this flesh can express the truth, express what God has and is anytime, anywhere, and do His own work. For example, in appearance, the incarnate Lord Jesus was like an ordinary man and lived practically among man but He could express the truth and bestow upon man the way of repentance; He also performed many signs and wonders, such as calming the wind and waves, feeding five thousand people with five loaves and two fish, raising the dead, and so on, which revealed God’s authority and power. From His words and work we know that the Lord Jesus is the incarnate God. Likewise, the incarnate Almighty God in the last days has expressed millions of words, and He is doing the work of judging and purifying mankind of the last days. From God’s word we can know His righteous disposition and what He has and is, and can see His attitude toward different kinds of people; while experiencing God’s word, we also can realize that God knows everything about the satanic nature of corrupt mankind and the root causes of sin, and that any created being is incapable of undertaking this work. Therefore, if we wish to know the incarnate God, we must examine His work and words to tell whether what He expresses is God’s voice, whether His expression is God’s disposition and what God has and is, and whether His work and words can provide for mankind and save mankind.”
I said: “Yes, through your fellowship, I’ve come to understand that if I want to know the incarnate God, I must investigate His work and His words instead of only focusing on His appearance. Otherwise, it’s easy to resist God. Just like the time when the Lord Jesus appeared and worked, the Pharisees only focused on the ordinary and normal appearance of the Lord Jesus but never paid attention to knowing His divine substance through His work and words. Ultimately, they were cursed and punished by God because they stubbornly clung to their own imaginations and notions in opposing and condemning the Lord Jesus. The Pharisees’ ending makes me understand clearly the consequence of not knowing Christ. I’m willing to investigate Almighty God’s work in the last days carefully.”
Welcoming the Lord’s Appearance and Attending the Feast of the Lamb
Through successively reading the words of Almighty God, watching many gospel movies and videos about The Church of Almighty God, and attending gatherings and fellowshiping together with the brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God, I understood many aspects of the truth, such as the truth of the incarnation, how God does the work of judgment in the last days and the path to having sins washed away to enter the kingdom of heaven. Additionally, through hearing the experiences and witnesses the brothers and sisters from different countries shared, I really felt the authority of God’s word: Though He doesn’t perform any sign or wonder, His words can judge and conquer us, and transform our corrupt disposition. So, I gladly accepted the work of the last days of Almighty God and followed God’s footsteps.
After coming to The Church of Almighty God, I met many brothers and sisters. They are very enthusiastic, and help and love each other. During meetings, they all talk about their own experiences and knowledge of how to practice God’s words. Here I’ve felt the true love and happiness among brothers and sisters. Now I’m also learning to experience God’s words through the people, events, and objects I encounter every day. Gradually I have some knowledge of my corrupt disposition and have learned how to seek God’s will. I’ve experienced that the words of Almighty God really are the truth and that His words can show me the path to practice. Thank and praise Almighty God!