How are we supposed to free ourselves from the spiritual emptiness and the degenerate life and find a genuine life? I was so lost and befuddled before, but now I’ve found the answer.
The Process of a Preacher Welcoming the Lord’s Coming
By Wang Dan
Since my childhood, I had believed in the Lord with my parents. In order to serve the Lord better, at 14, I gave up my study under the encouragement of the Lord’s love and joined the Northeast Youth Fellowship. In the association, many preachers from home and abroad came to train us in Bible studying. Once, Elder Yang from Anhui Province preached to us, “Now there arises a sect called Eastern Lightning. Their preaching is very high and they grow very fast. Some fervent brothers and sisters of our church have been stolen by them. They said that God has done the third stage of work and now we don’t need to read the Bible anymore. Brothers and sisters, we all know that the Bible is the canon of Christianity, and all God’s words are in the Bible. There is no God’s word outside the Bible. As long as we hold on to the Bible, we will.” The preaching of Eastern Lightning was high, but I very much agreed with what the elder said. Any belief apart from the Bible is not true. There is no God’s words outside the Bible. Only if we hold on to the Bible, can we enter the kingdom of heaven. From then on, I kept on reading and memorizing the Bible every day. A few years later, I graduated from the youth fellowship and became a preacher who consecrated to the Lord full time, shepherding the churches in various places.
In the fall of 1999, I was assigned to Shandong to shepherd the church. Three months later, during the time when I was training the young believers in the Association, I met two strangers. I guarded against them immediately when seeing their strange faces. I thought, “Which church are they from? I have never seen them before. Are they followers of Eastern Lightning? I have to feel my way first. If they talk about the Bible, they should have the same belief as me. Then it would be OK. If not, something is not right.” Thinking of this, I said tentatively to them, “Sisters, we are all believers in the Lord. Let’s talk about the Bible.” They agreed with me happily. Sister Liu took out the Bible from her bag unhurriedly. When I saw this, my anxious heart was relieved. Later, we discussed about the Bible for one day, and we talked very agreeably. In the evening, Sister Liu said excitedly, “Sister Wang, our Savior Jesus has come back and expressed new words outside the Bible.” Before she could finish her words, I raised my voice in surprise with my face flushed, “What did you say? Does the Lord come back? Does He express words outside the Bible? How could it be possible? All of God’s words are in the Bible. Is there any God’s word outside the Bible? If I didn’t make a mistake, you are believers from Eastern Lightning.” Sister Liu stood up and tried to persuade me to calm down and listen more, but I ignored them. I pulled the host aunty to the west room in a hurry and said to her seriously, “Aunty, they don’t read the Bible. There is no need for us to fellowship with them. Their belief is different from ours. You should drive them away quickly.” But aunty hold my hands and said, “Xiaodan, I have listened to their fellowship for a whole day. Their fellowship doesn’t go beyond the Bible. Why not listen more? Besides, you are familiar with the Bible. You are not afraid of them.” After hearing this, I thought, “Yes, I’ve heard that the preaching of Eastern Lightning followers is very high, but I haven’t seen how high their preaching is. I hardly meet them and I haven’t competed with them yet. Let them stay, I’m not afraid of them.” Then, I pulled aunty, raised my head, and said confidently, “Aunty, let’s go into the room and see what they will say.”
Seeing we came back to the room, Sister Liu immediately gave her seat up to us, and said sincerely, “Sister, we know you may not accept this when you heard God has expressed new words. We can understand your feeling at this moment. If you have some opinions, you can bring them up. We believe that the more we fellowship about the truth, the more clearly we’ll understand it.”
I glanced at her with a haughty manner, and said with confidence, “All right, you said just now that God has expressed new words outside the Bible. That is not in accordance with the Bible. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God.” In the whole religious world, all the believers in the Lord Jesus read the Bible, because the Bible is the canon of Christianity. All the words in the Bible are God’s words. If one doesn’t read the Bible, he cannot be deemed a believer of God.
Sister Liu said with proud humility, “Everyone who has read the Bible knows that all the epistles and testimonies of experiences of the apostles in it have clearly indicated the authors, and all of these authors are men. If we insist that men’s words are God’s words, is it right? Men’s words must be mixed with men’s opinions. Matthew 27:5 says, ‘And he cast down the pieces of silver in the temple, and departed, and went and hanged himself.’ In Acts 1:16 and 1:18, it says, ‘…Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. … Now this man purchased a field with the reward of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst asunder in the middle, and all his bowels gushed out.’ From these two scriptures, we can see that Judas who sold the Lord had two kinds of death. One man can’t die twice. If they were all God’s words, how could they be contradictory? Let’s see what Almighty God says about the Bible: ‘Not everything in the Bible is a record of the words personally spoken by God. The Bible simply documents the previous two stages of God’s work, of which one part is a record of the foretellings of the prophets, and one part is the experiences and knowledge written by people used by God throughout the ages. Human experiences are tainted with human opinions and knowledge, which is unavoidable. In many of the books of the Bible are human conceptions, human biases, and human absurd interpretations. Of course, most of the words are the result of the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and they are correct interpretations—yet it still cannot be said that they are entirely accurate expressions of the truth’ (‘Concerning the Bible (3)’). Almighty God tells us the accurate sayings about the Bible. In the Bible, there are not only God’s words but also man’s words, Satan’s words, and donkey’s words. If we insist that these words are all God’s words, isn’t it a blasphemy against God?” Hearing their fellowship, I was shocked, thinking, “I have read these two scriptures for many times these years, why haven’t I realized the contradiction? No, maybe they misinterpret the Bible out of context.” So I said defiantly, “The Bible says, ‘Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have : and they are they which testify of me’ (John 5:39). I think there is no God’s word outside the Bible, and that the Bible is sufficient to testify to God.” After saying these words, I thought, “I will see how you will answer me.”
Sister Sun said solemnly with justice, “The latter part of this verse said, ‘And you will not come to me, that you might have life’ (John 5:40). The Bible is only a testimony to God. Only through God’s actual words can we gain life. In John 16:12-13, it says, ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come.’ In these verses, ‘the Spirit of truth’ refers to God Himself, that is, when the Lord Jesus comes back, He will speak words again to lead us to understand all the truth and things to come. But these truths and things to come are not recorded in the Bible. This shows us that there are God’s new words outside the Bible.” Hearing what they said was well-founded, I thought, “They are very familiar with the Bible, and they answer my questions without preparation. It seems that I underestimate them.”
Then I said, “We know Revelation 22:18 says, ‘For I testify to every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add to these things, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book.’ You said there are God’s words outside the Bible, this is adding to the Bible and resisting God. God will add to them the plagues written in the Bible.”
Sister Sun said calmly, “This verse says that if anyone adds to the prophecy of this book, but not to the Bible. The Revelation was recorded after John saw the vision on the island of Patmos in A.D. 90. But the New Testament was compiled after 300 A.D. Obviously, ‘this book’ John spoke of means the Revelation, the book of prophecy, but not the entire Bible. ‘No one shall add’ means that man cannot add anything to the prophecy; it does not mean God cannot. For God’s work is not restricted by the Bible; He does whatever He wants to do. Let’s see Revelation 2:17, ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches; To him that overcomes will I give to eat of the hidden manna….’ ‘The hidden manna’ is God’s hidden word, that is, the truth that has not yet been expressed by God. They are not recorded in the Bible. Otherwise, can they be called the hidden manna? The words that the Spirit said to the churches and the hidden manna are actually the words expressed by God when He comes back in the last days. Almighty God says: ‘God speaks His words and does His work according to different ages, and in different ages, He speaks different words. God does not abide by rules, or repeat the same work, or feel nostalgia for the things of the past; He is a God who is always new and never old, and every day He speaks new words’ (‘All Is Achieved by the Word of God’). God expresses words in every age according to the need of the corrupt mankind. In the age of Law, mankind was slightly corrupt. So God issued the laws, commandments, statutes and ordinances to lead man’s life on earth. By the end of the Age of Law, because man couldn’t keep the law, God became flesh to serve as a sin offering basing on man’s need. He was nailed to the cross to redeem us. In the last days, man has become corrupted deeper and deeper. So, God has personally come back in the flesh again to express all aspects of truths, and He opens up the truth, way, and life to all those who have faith in Him and does the work of judgment beginning with the house of God. All those who can accept God’s actual work can be purified and be saved by God.” After listening to their fellowship, I thought it was reasonable, but because of my arrogance I was not willing to bow my head easily. I thought, “I have believed in the Lord since my childhood, and had professional Bible studying and training. Two Bible books were completely dog-eared by me. And I traveled extensively for many years and saw many spiritual persons. How can I, a dignified preacher who served the Lord full time, be defeated by you? I was really not reconciled to the fact. Lord, please help me. I am willing to use the Bible as a weapon to safeguard your way. Oh Lord! Please give me the words I should say. Lord!” But whatever I prayed, it was of no avail. My head was ringing, completely blank. I was on pins and needles at that time; my face was flushed and my forehead was beaded with sweat. I felt I have completely lost my face and could no longer stay there at ease. Then I said to the host aunty, “Auntie, I’m going out for a walk.” I put on my down jacket and went out of the room. She said, “Xiaodan, it’s very cold outside. Where are you going? Don’t catch a cold.” “It doesn’t matter. I just go out for a while.” I said.
It was the twelfth lunar month, and the biting cold wind cut into me, but I did not feel cold. Standing outside, I gazed at the sky and felt as if my heart were hollowed out. I was crying in my heart, “Lord, I have given up my study in order to equip the Bible these years, and even devoted my youth to You. Since I entered the youth fellowship, I have been working hard to study the Bible. I even know how many words, verses, and chapters in the Bible. I have explained the Bible to brothers and sisters for many years. Lord, I was useless at this crucial moment because I’m incapable of testifying to Your words. Are my reading the Bible all in vain? The Bible is my life, aren’t all Your words not in the Bible? If I depart from the Bible, am I still a believer in the Lord? Lord, what should I do? …” Thinking of this, I couldn’t help controlling myself, tears kept rolling down. After a while, some words occurred to my mind: The hidden manna is God’s word that has not been expressed. … Adding things to the prophecy of the book doesn’t refer to adding things to the entire Bible, but to the Revelation. … The two kinds of Judas’ deaths were mixed with man’s will. … And the words they read, “Human experiences are tainted with human opinions and knowledge, which is unavoidable.” I thought, “These words make sense. The death of Judas recorded in the Bible is indeed contradiction. Could it be that the Bible is not all God’s words but mixed up with man’s will? No. All of God’s words are in the Bible, and there is no God’s word outside the Bible. I have clung to it for so many years, how could it ever be wrong?” Just like this, I stayed in the biting cold wind for more than one hour. Later, I felt too cold, so I went into the room.
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