The Church Became Desolate and I Expected the Return of the Lord
When I was 16, I believed in the Lord. At that time, every time I went to church, I was especially peaceful within. Particularly when hearing hymns of praise to God, I felt enjoyment and was often moved by the love of the Lord. So regardless of how my parents hindered me, I still kept going to church. Gradually, through reading the Bible, I understood that God had done much work for the sake of saving mankind; moreover, He became flesh and was personally nailed to the cross to be our sin offering, to redeem us from sin. And that the Lord Jesus promised that, in the last days, He would return to lift us into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, my faith became even more steadfast: I would definitely follow God.
After growing up, I pursued enthusiastically and actively shouldered the various administrative works of the church, organizing all kinds of church activities and positively serving my brothers and sisters. At night every day after I finished work, I would go to the church to read the Bible for a while and then go home, for I firmly believed that it was the only supply for my life and that all of the truth was in it, and that only the words in it were the lamp to my feet and the light to my path. So, I persisted in reading the Bible, praying and serving, feeling quite peaceful and enriched in my heart.
Unknowingly, the condition of the church was getting worse day by day. Many brothers and sisters became passive and weak, and some didn’t even attend gatherings. Every time the pastors preached, they always repeated the literal meaning of the Bible passages. Furthermore, they were unable to resolve the difficulties of brothers and sisters. Also, I couldn’t attain supply, so I felt parched in my spirit and didn’t feel the joy and peace of the presence of the Lord. Gradually, that I had meetings to worship the Lord became a ceremony. During that time, I often prayed to the Lord, begging Him to give me faith and strength. However, no matter how I prayed, I was unable to summon the strength to thirst for and pursue the Lord as before. I only hoped that the Lord could come quickly to let me get rid of this negative and weak life without His presence.
Holding on to My Conceptions, I Refused to Accept Almighty God’s Work of the Last Days
In June 2017, when my friend and I went out to run an errand, we met a believer in the Lord. Owing to sharing common topics, we had a very good talk. When we talked about the desolation of the church, he told us, “It is because God has already left the churches of the Age of Grace, He is now incarnated in human form, called Almighty God. He has returned among men, expresses the truth, and does His work of judging and purifying mankind in the last days, and all of the work of the Holy Spirit has been transferred into this stage of work. Just as during the later stages of the Age of Law, the Lord Jesus did a new work. The Holy Spirit left the temple, so the temple became desolate. At that time, only those who followed the Lord Jesus were able to receive the work of the Holy Spirit. Similarly, today, only by keeping up with Almighty God’s work in the last days can we gain the work of the Holy Spirit and obtain the provision of life; on the contrary, those who refuse to accept Almighty God’s work in the last days will sink into darkness. This precisely fulfills the prophecy in the Bible, ‘And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered’” (Amos 4:7). Each word of his fellowship was in accordance with the Bible, and my heart immediately felt enlightened. I had never thought that the Lord I pined for day and night and desperately awaited has already come. I felt a surge of excitement, wanting to ask him about what was behind the work of Almighty God. At that moment, he took out a book from his bag and gave it to me. He said that the words within it were the truth that God expressed in the last days, and that they were able to resolve all my confusions. He advised us to investigate Almighty God’s work.
I took this book on which it said The Scroll Opened by the Lamb. I couldn’t help but be shocked, thinking to myself: I have never seen this book. Though Revelation prophesies that a scroll will be opened in the last days, how can it be possible that the words in this book are God’s words? Only the Bible records God’s words, how can there be God’s words outside of the Bible? The pastors often say that all of the words of the Lord are in the Bible, and that departing from and exceeding the Bible is straying from the Lord’s way, and is heresy. At the time, I also suddenly remembered that the pastors always said that all manner of heresy would appear in the last days, and that the best way for us to protect ourselves was to not look, listen, or get in touch with other preachings. When I thought of this, I unwittingly generated conflicts and became wary of the brother, no longer willing to listen to what he said. However, my friend felt his fellowship and testimony were very good, and decided to read the book given by him, and she was even going to go to The Church of Almighty God to investigate. I was astonished at her reaction, thinking: How can you agree with him so casually? Do you forget that there is no utterance of God outside of the Bible? I tried to block her from investigating. However, it didn’t work and instead she tried to persuade me to investigate. Thinking that she had believed in the Lord for over 20 years, had a good understanding of the Bible, and had her own views in her faith and was determined to investigate, I didn’t say anything else. After all everyone had freedom of choice.
From then on, my friend started to investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days. Sometimes she would tell me the light she received from the book and would also advise me to read it. But as soon as I thought of how the pastors said many times that God’s word was in the Bible and that there were no words of God outside of it, I obstinately said to her, “Don’t urge me. You believe in your Almighty God, and I believe in my Lord Jesus.” In this way, I stubbornly clung to my own stance and still thought I was upholding the Lord’s way.
Letting Go of Myself and Seeking With An Open Mind
One day not long after this, I came across a former colleague on the bus whom I used to work with, and we were on good terms with each other. The moment she saw me, she excitedly said to me, “Let me tell you some good news! I’ve found a church which has the work of the Holy Spirit. They preach so well. After I listened to their sermons, my confusions I’ve had during all these years of faith have been resolved and I have understood many truths and mysteries. If you have time, I’ll take you to our church.” Hearing her words, I took them lightly, thinking: Now, the situation in most churches is the same. The pastors have nothing to preach, and believers become weak in their spirits. Even if your church is good, how good can it be? But seeing she was brimming with energy and vitality, I couldn’t help feeling curious about which church she went to. After returning home, I still pondered this thing. I thought what she believed in was certainly different from what I believed in. Then I could not help but send her a message to ask which church she went to, and she replied, “The Church of Almighty God.” I was very astonished, thinking: Could it be that The Church of Almighty God truly has the truth? Why do so many friends around me believe in Almighty God? Is God reminding me to investigate Almighty God’s work in the last days by this? Is the viewpoint I hold on to wrong? What is really going on here? Thereupon, I prayed to the Lord and waited for His preparation.
Afterward, my friend again told me the things about The Church of Almighty God. She said that, through reading the word of Almighty God during that time, she understood some mysteries of the truth, such as the origins of the church’s desolation, what false shepherds are, what religious conmen are, how God’s work in the last days fulfills and accomplishes the prophecies in the Book of Revelation, and so on. She also said that only by experiencing God’s work in the last days and accepting the judgment and chastisement of God’s word could we gradually be freed of our corrupt disposition, and become the ones who truly fear and obey God, and that only in this way would we be qualified to be face-to-face with God and receive His promises. After hearing her fellowship, I considered it was reasonable, and also envied her for understanding so many truths after she believed in Almighty God, so I came up with an idea: I would investigate The Church of Almighty God.
Which Is Greater on Earth, God, or the Bible
The next day, my friend invited the brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God to fellowship with me. After we met, Brother Chen told me, “If you have any confusions, you can share them. Let’s seek and fellowship together.”
I said, “Brother, I think that there are no other words of God outside of the Bible, and that God’s word is only in the Bible! All that goes against and surpasses the Bible is heresy. But why do you say the words in this book are God’s words?”
Brother Chen patiently listened to me, and then smiled and said, “Sister, I would like to ask you two questions: Which do you think really came first—God, or the Bible? And which is greater—God, or the Bible?” Hearing the questions, I felt they were very strange and novel, for I had never heard pastors or elders put forward such questions during these years of my faith.
I blurted out, “Of course God came first, and God is greater.”
Brother Chen said, “Right. God’s word and work came first, and then the Bible. What is recorded in the Bible is just the words once spoken by God and the work once done by God. However, we see the Bible as greater than God, don’t allow God’s work to exceed the scope of it, and consider that all of God’s words are in it and anything that exceeds it is heresy. In fact, these viewpoints are incorrect. Just as when the Lord Jesus came to work, He delivered the sermons that enabled people to confess their sins and repent, taught people to love others as themselves, love their enemies, and forgive others seventy times seven times, and healed people on the Sabbath. The word and work of the Lord Jesus wasn’t recorded in the Old Testament, and they weren’t in accordance with God’s requirements of mankind in the laws and commandments, such as, ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,’ ‘You must offer up a sin offering to God if you commit a sin,’ and ‘Don’t work on the Sabbath.’ In people’s eyes, the work of the Lord Jesus was also beyond the scope of the Bible, but can we say the Lord Jesus’ work is heresy? This is obviously invalid. At that time, the Jewish Pharisees saw that the word and work of the Lord Jesus exceeded the Old Testament, so they did their utmost to resist and condemn Him, and finally nailed Him to the cross. Actually, God is supreme and His work is always new and never old. God never works according to the Bible or by consulting the Bible, much less does He look for paths in the Bible to lead His followers. Rather, He’ll do a newer work and bestow upon man a newer way beyond the Bible. God is not only the Lord of the Sabbath, but also the Lord of the Bible. He absolutely has the right to stand above the Bible and do a newer work based on His own plan and the needs of mankind at that point in time. How can we act on our conceptions and imaginations to confine God’s work and word to the Bible? How can we say that God will never speak any other words or do any other work outside of the Bible?”