How I Was Conquered by the Almighty God

Liu Shengli

Baoji City, Shaanxi Province

I would go to attend it actively. Besides, I frequently went around spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus. I made a resolution before God: “Whatever tribulations I encounter, even if I have to climb a mountain of swords or cross a sea of flames, I will walk this way ordained by God properly.” Because of my pursuit, I soon became a very well-known preacher in the Old Local Church.

In 1997, I first heard a rumor about “the Eastern Lightning.” The rumor said from The Church of Almighty Godthat it was a new rising “cult,” which mainly preached to and snatched the believers in Jesus, that whoever was not careful enough would be taken captive by it, and that many people in other denominations around us had already been deceived into joining it. At that time, I gave that no importance. I thought to myself, “The way we are walking is ordained by God. Our foundation is so solid. What can a ‘cult’ achieve? It can’t do anything to us at all. As time goes by, it will naturally decline and perish of itself. There’s absolutely no need to be nervous.”

However, in the winter of 1998, I heard that a couple in our denomination accepted “the Eastern Lightning.” I was greatly shocked at that. “This ‘sect’ is too aggressive. We haven’t done anything to you, yet you’ve come here to steal our ‘sheep.’ I can’t let it go. I have to get back the ‘lost sheep.’ I must be responsible for this couple’s life.” So, I went to the couple’s home by bus with a co-worker. As soon as I stepped into the room, I gained the initiative and said, “‘The Eastern Lightning’ is a sect. What it preaches goes against the Bible and is not in accordance with the truth. It’s a real ‘false christ.’ Why do you believe in it?” That brother greeted us excitedly and said to me eagerly, “The Lord Jesus has really returned.” “Nonsense! When Jesus returns, our bodies will be transformed in a flash. But now we are still the same as before. This is enough to prove that God hasn’t returned. You have believed in God for so many years and besides you are in charge of the meeting place, yet you don’t even have such discernment. Do you know how to believe in God or not? You don’t walk the way ordained by God but take the way of ‘evil.’ When the time comes that God judges you in the end, I’ll see where you can escape,” the co-worker and I scolded him harshly. The brother pondered for a short while and said, “You are right.” Seeing that he “woke up” a bit, I immediately seized the chance and said, “Hand the book they gave to you over to the church quickly lest you fall deeper and deeper.” So the brother took out the book. Just when he was about to hand it to me, his wife snatched the book back all at once and said, “This is God’s word. It can’t be given to others casually.” Immediately, I sprang to my feet, stared at her with my eyes opening wide, and was about to blow up at her. However, seeing that my co-worker stayed calm and fearing that others would laugh at me for losing my dignity as a “saint,” I only cursed in my heart, “You are such a foolish and stubborn woman. You can’t read at all. What could you know? If it hadn’t been for my kindness to you, the church would have long since expelled you, and you wouldn’t have a chance to be saved at all. What an unthankful woman!” I held back my anger and said, “If you don’t hand it over to the church, then return it to them quickly. You’d better stop contacting the people of ‘the Eastern Lightning’ at once lest you bring trouble to the church.” After I said that, I left with the co-worker in a huff. Later, I learned that they still followed “the Eastern Lightning.”

One month later, at a co-worker meeting, my leader and the co-workers all asked me to give a sermon on how to discern a heresy and how to guard against the attack of “the Eastern Lightning.” I was secretly proud of myself: “It seems that they all think very highly of me.” So, I prepared the sermon that very night. The next day, I strode onto the platform and wildly preached, “With regard to the fallacy of ‘the Eastern Lightning,’ we should discern it carefully. They preach that the Lord has come the second time. That’s not possible at all. The Lord having come the second time is not something that can be preached irresponsibly or casually. There has to be absolute evidence for it. The evidence is that when the Lord comes the second time, our bodies are sure to be transformed and the dead be resurrected and come out of the tombs. No matter how good their preaching is, without the fulfillment of this evidence, it is erroneous. They also preach that the Lord has been incarnated the second time in China. That’s sheer nonsense and doesn’t have any biblical basis. All these facts are enough to show that what they preach is ‘a heresy.’ …” The co-workers took my words as the truth and were all engrossed in taking notes. They also talked with each other from time to time, “Really good preaching. With just this evidence, we’ll never go wrong.” Seeing that, I seized the opportunity and added, “Although ‘the Eastern Lightning’ is great in momentum now, it can only deceive those who don’t have any foundation. This is not surprising. It will get nowhere. It can do nothing great and will fall sooner or later. As long as we have discernment, it won’t sway us at all. Don’t pay any attention to it. That’s no big deal and doesn’t matter to us!” My words further strengthened the co-workers’ stand against “the Eastern Lightning” and also won a satisfied smile from my leader. I thought gladly, “God really loves me very much. He has enabled me to preach so effectively. I haven’t run the race these many years in vain. I have proved myself to have the manner of Paul of those days.”

At a co-worker meeting in the summer of 1999, my leader gave every co-worker a book called The Utterance of the Spirit and said, “This is the book of ‘the Eastern Lightning.’ I’ve read it. Its content is sheer nonsense. It’s absolutely a ‘cult.’ After you go back home, change the words ‘the Spirit’ on the cover to the words ‘the Evil Spirit’ to keep you alert lest you be deceived.” I thought to myself, “Since the leader has read it, there’s no need for me to do so.” After I got home, I changed the words “the Spirit” to the words “the Evil Spirit” stroke by stroke seriously. And I felt quite happy: “I’ll keep this book, and it can also be used to save those brothers and sisters who are ‘deceived.’ I’ll see whether you ‘cult’ still dare to be aggressive or not.”

Before long, a co-worker in our church came into contact with some people of the Stream of Recovery when out of town and brought back many life-studies by Witness Lee. After I read those books, I felt that the messages of Witness Lee could better supply people and were what spiritual men needed. So, I wanted to directly “integrate” with the Stream of Recovery. But our leader and many of the co-workers opposed me strongly, and they even sided with the government, saying that the Stream of Recovery was against the government. For that, the leader and the co-workers quarreled with and yelled at each other and colored up to the ears in the heated argument. From then on, the church sank into chaos. So, several co-workers and I joined the Stream of Recovery resolutely with a small number of brothers and sisters. Through our untiring efforts, in less than one year, the number of the brothers and sisters in our area who joined the Stream of Recovery increased from several dozen to almost two hundred. I felt extremely excited in my heart, “This is really the God-ordained way. It’s not wrong for me to take this step. I’ll be gained by God sooner or later.”

To accomplish the plan of “conquering the entire ‘Christian world’ in 30 years” put forward by Brother Witness Lee, I went to Lanzhou City at the end of March 2001 to spread the gospel widely. Unexpectedly, this trip made me step onto the way back to God’s family in a real sense.

At a host home in Lanzhou, I happened to meet a brother from our denomination. After we started to fellowship, we couldn’t help carrying it on for several days. We talked very congenially and had a feeling of regret at having not met earlier. However, on the fifth day, the brother said unexpectedly that the Lord had come the second time and had done a new work. Immediately, the scenes of our fellowshipping together from morning to night these days passed in review before my eyes. I couldn’t help thinking to myself, “How could the people of ‘the Eastern Lightning’ who can do nothing great as I heard before conjure up such a high way today? The enemies are bound to meet on a narrow road! Anyway, I have long since wanted to measure myself against people of ‘the Eastern Lightning’ but have never got any opportunity. Since I have met you today, I’m not afraid and I’ll see what you’re going to preach. Humph! I must find some flaws in your preaching to score you off so that you have to leave with your tail between your legs.”

Thinking of that, I straightened my collar and said to the brother loudly, “You say that the Lord has come the second time. Then how come the dead haven’t been raised and come out of the tombs? Please give me a definite answer and make that clear today!” The brother said calmly, “The rising of the dead doesn’t refer to the resurrection of the flesh but to the resurrection of the spirit. Just as what is recorded in the Bible: Jesus said that John the Baptist himself was Elijah who was to come. The resurrection of Elijah refers to the resurrection of his spirit which was in John the Baptist, but his flesh didn’t come out of the tomb. (It was prophesied in Malachi 4:5-6 in the Old Testament, and the fulfillment is in Matthew 11:13-14, 17:10-13 in the New Testament.) Besides, if the dead bodies throughout the ages and generations all came out of the tombs, wouldn’t you feel afraid? So, we have to be a bit realistic. Don’t hold too supernatural thoughts.” After hearing his words, I thought, “That’s right! If all the dead really came out of the tombs, wouldn’t the living be frightened to death? And wouldn’t everything be turned upside down? Then, what meaning does the work of God have?” Then, I asked, “You say that Christ has come, but how come the bodies of all the Christians haven’t been transformed? How do you explain Philippians 3:21?” Hearing that, the brother said with fervor and assurance, “The transformation of the body refers to the transformation of man’s inner life nature rather than the transformation from man’s flesh into a certain image we have imagined. Since the time when Adam and Eve were beguiled by the serpent and sinned by eating the forbidden fruit, what men live out has been the image of satan and whatever they think about has been for the lust of the flesh. They have been completely occupied by evil and have long since forgotten the only true God who created the heavens and the earth and who bestowed love. So, in order to regain men from the authority of satan and restore them to their original holy image, God has been doing the work of salvation among them according to his plan. The first stage: God issued the law and made people conscious of their sins. It is like a patient knowing about his disease through the doctor’s diagnosis. The second stage: God was incarnated to be crucified for man and shed his precious blood to forgive man’s sins. This stage is like the doctor bringing the dying patient back to life at the price of the doctor’s own blood when the patient’s illness has developed to a point beyond his own control. Since this stage of the work was done, man’s sins have been forgiven, but the root of sin hasn’t been removed. So, God comes again and uses the sharp sword in his mouth, that is, expresses the word, to disclose all the corrupt nature in man, so that man can know it and can cast off his corrupt nature and get rid of the root of his sin through practicing the truth. This is like the doctor hardening his heart and performing a major operation on the patient so as to clear away the fatal poisons from his body and make him fully recover. Only by doing such work can God completely purify and transform man and enable man to live out the image of a holy person who is full of vitality and vigor. This is the true meaning of God’s transforming our lowly bodies into glorious bodies. If, as man has imagined, no matter how many sins man had committed and how many corruptions he had, God did not pay attention to or care about them but simply changed man’s outward appearance, then where could God’s righteousness and holiness be seen? Man has been corrupted by satan, and it’s not that his outward appearance has been corrupted but that his inner nature has become filthy and corrupt and is of satan. What God hates is man’s corrupt satanic nature in him, so, to purify and sanctify man, God has to start with man’s corrupt nature rather than transform man’s body. The ‘transformation of man’s body’ is purely our own imagination.” The brother’s fellowship left me at a loss for words. Then, he asked me a question: “In what way do you think God will come the second time?” I answered with assurance, “God will come secretly like a thief on the one hand and publicly on the clouds on the other hand.” “Will he be in the image of a Jew as before?” “Yes, definitely!” “Then, why didn’t Jesus’ disciples and Mary recognize him when he appeared to them after his resurrection?” I was once again struck dumb. Seeing that I made no reply, the brother continued, “According to what’s recorded in Luke 24:13-35 and John 20:11-18, the reason why the Lord’s disciples and Mary Magdalene, who had followed Jesus in person previously, didn’t recognize the Lord was that Jesus’ appearance after his resurrection was completely different from that before his crucifixion. It’s through Jesus’ words that they recognized him later.” Hearing that, I was very surprised. “I’ve been reading the Bible for so many years since I believed in God, but how could I have missed this point?” When I was thinking about it, the brother asked me again, “Jesus’ appearance changed after only three days at that time. So will he still have the same appearance as before when he comes the second time?” I could say nothing to dispute but said, “In that case, his appearance will be different. But the Lord should come as a spiritual body.” The brother again asked me, “The coming of the Son of Man is mentioned in many places in the Bible in referring to Jesus’ second coming. What do you think the ‘Son of Man’ is?” “The Son of Man is the son of a man,” I answered without thinking. He smiled and said, “What’s mentioned here means that when the Lord comes the second time, he will come as the ‘Son of Man,’ which doesn’t refer to a ‘created being.’ Since he is the ‘Son of Man,’ he must have human likeness, but his substance is the Spirit of God realized in the flesh. When talking about his coming again, Jesus didn’t say that the Son of God or the Holy Spirit would come, but only said that the Son of Man would come (cf. Matthew 24:27, 37-39, 44; Luke 17:24-30, 18:8). This proves that when the Lord returns, he will still come as the flesh to do his work.” I was stumped and had nothing to say in reply. Yet I was still not convinced in my heart. “How come I can’t get anything on him? Is ‘the Eastern Lightning’ really so unassailable?” Seeing that I was silent, the brother said patiently, “If this is still not enough to prove that God’s second coming is through being incarnated, then let me ask you: What does ‘Christ’ mean?” I immediately replied, “Christ means the Messiah, the Anointed One.” “Then, Elijah, Samuel, and many other high priests and great prophets had been anointed; why were they not called ‘Christ’?” “Um…” Again, I was at a loss for words. The brother then explained to me, “Christ is the name to call God incarnate, who has full divinity and a normal humanity. We often say Jesus Christ, but we have never said Jehovah Christ, because Jesus is the incarnated flesh of God’s Spirit, whereas Jehovah is the Spirit. Since it is Christ who is to come again, then, how could God return as a spiritual body? God is incarnated the second time to work and speak personally. Isn’t this exactly the fulfillment of the verses in Ephesians 1:10 and Hebrews 9:28?” After he said that, I had to believe that God’s coming this time was through being incarnated. “However, to say that God appears as a female is absolutely unacceptable. Good! I’ll seize on this to defeat him.” As I thought of this, I pretended to be calm and, with the intention of dragging the words out of him, I asked, “If God is incarnated, then can you tell me what his gender is?” Instead of answering my question directly, the brother said, “God is essentially a Spirit. With the Spirit there is no gender. But for the sake of the work of salvation, God’s Spirit has to take an outer shell of a normal man when he is incarnated. And then, there is gender with him. When God was incarnated the first time, he was in the likeness of a male, so people conclude that God is a male. However, God is an ever-new God, and he does not do repeating work. Every time he comes to earth, he changes his gender and his image. So, can God still be in the likeness of a male when he comes the second time? If so, how do you explain the verses in Genesis 1:27, 5:1-2? Were women not created by God in his image? It doesn’t affect God’s substance that he takes the image of a female when being incarnated. As long as we seek his work, we can know his wonderful deeds. This is exactly the confirmation of God’s almightiness and wisdom.” Alas! Again, I did not succeed. Then, I said discontentedly, “You’re beating around the bush. Aren’t you just trying to make me admit that God incarnate the second time is a female? Aren’t you just trying to tell me that God has already come to earth? Then, tell me, where has God come?” The brother answered, “Let’s look at the following verses, and we’ll know where God has come to work. Luke 17:34-37 records that Jesus prophesied that at the time of his coming again, the people in the church would be divided into two kinds: One kind would be those who believed God’s having returned through the second incarnation, and they would be taken and gained by God; the other kind would be those who didn’t believe God’s second incarnation but only stuck to the Bible and maintained the status quo, and they would be cast away by God in the end. Then, the disciples asked where that would happen. Jesus didn’t answer them directly but only told a parable: ‘Where the corpse is, there the vultures will gather.’ This is the very place where God comes again to do his work. In Matthew 24:27-28, there is the same prophecy. The place where the corpse is refers to the country where the dead are the most numerous in the last days. Besides, this country lies in the east of the world. In God’s eyes, the dead are those who don’t believe in Jesus (cf. Luke 9:59-60) rather than those whose fleshes are dead and buried in the tombs. China lies right in the east of the world, and its population ranks first in the world. However, the believers in Jesus are few, while the idol worshippers are the most. This is exactly where ‘the corpse’ is. So, the place where the corpse is refers to China. ‘The rising of the sun’ mentioned in Malachi 1:11 and Psalm 113:3 also refers to China.” “Then, why does God choose to do his work in China?” I asked. “Each stage of God’s work is for the sake of his glory. China is an atheistic country where its people disobey and resist God most, and Chinese people are most deeply corrupted by satan and are the most backward human beings, so working in China is most representative. God is the God of all mankind. God first conquers a group of the most corrupt people born in the land inhabited by satans and makes them specimens and models for mankind. Isn’t this better able to set off God’s almightiness? Then, satan will be utterly shamed and defeated.”

After listening to the brother’s fellowship, I thought, “This sounds reasonable!” However, another thought about a “fallacy” of “the Eastern Lightning” suddenly came to mind: I heard they had changed the name of Jesus. “Good! This time, I’ll see how you can get out of this predicament!” Then, I, “on just grounds,” retorted, “Can God’s name be changed?” Seeing that I had a stiff attitude and was still somewhat unconvinced, the brother said gently, “In the beginning, God had no name. He was directly called God. God’s names were taken because of the work of salvation that God has been doing. In the Old Testament age, God did the work of issuing the laws, and he took the name Jehovah, which originally means the God of the Israelites who can have mercy on people, curse people, and lead people to live. When it came to the New Testament age, God no longer did the work of the Age of the Law but did the work of redeeming sinners and bestowing grace. He took the name Jesus, which originally means the sin offering to redeem people that is full of love and mercy. At that time, the name of Jehovah was no longer mentioned, because the age had changed, God’s work had changed, and so his name had also changed. When God comes the second time, he will do the work of judgment and will bring people into the kingdom. So, his name is changed to the Almighty God, who is God Godself full of authority, honor, and glory. This is the fulfillment of Revelation 1:8: ‘I am … who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.’ Although God’s name has changed, God’s substance never changes.” After hearing his words, I was convinced in heart and in mouth and could not help starting to doubt my views on “the Eastern Lightning.” I thought to myself, “If what he preaches is a ‘heresy,’ why can’t I get anything on him for such a long time? If he preaches a ‘cult,’ how can he speak a way so reasonable and substantiated?” Just when I was lost in thought, the brother asked, “Brother, whose words do you think Jesus spoke when he did the work at that time, Jehovah’s or his own?” “Both,” I answered. Hearing my words, he continued, “According to what is recorded in Matthew 5:17-48, after Jesus finished speaking the words in the Old Testament to his disciples, he always added a word ‘But I tell you….’ Why was that? For example, Matthew 5:38-39 says: ‘You have heard that it was said, “Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.” But I tell you, Do not resist an evil person. If someone strikes you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also.’ From these verses we can see that Jehovah’s words were directed at the Age of the Law. In the Age of the Grace, Jesus spoke new words to his followers and told them to practice according to his present requirements rather than continue keeping the old laws. This is because Jesus’ words were the mainstream and were that which guided the age, whereas Jehovah’s words were only for reference. God’s work always progresses forward, and the more it progresses, the higher, deeper, and newer it becomes. The Bible only records the two stages of works that God did in the Age of the Law and the Age of the Grace, and it doesn’t record the work he wants to do in the last days. The Bible only prophesies that the sealed little scroll will be opened in the last days, but there is no content of the little scroll in the Bible. If the Bible covers all the truths, then when will the prophecies in the Bible be fulfilled? To accomplish his entire management, God has come among men today, has done a work of conquering man with his word, and has opened the sealed little scroll to the people in the last days. As long as we follow the pace of his working, we will be able to gain the truth that foregoers never gained, and gain God’s full salvation.”

After I finished listening to the brother’s meticulous, thorough, and outstanding fellowship, my last ray of hope of finding flaws was shattered. I had nothing to refute and no word to say in reply. However, I, arrogant and crafty, still had some misgivings: “Is this the true way? Is ‘the Eastern Lightning’ really God’s work? Has God really expressed other truths outside the Bible? I can’t be rash. I must read that ‘little scroll’ first before making any conclusion.” So, I asked eagerly, “According to what you have said, the little scroll has been opened. Where is it? Can I have a look?” The brother excitedly took a book called The Trumpet Call of the Truth out of his bag and handed it to me with both hands. “You are finally willing to come back to God’s family. This is God’s personal word. Do treat it seriously!” I accepted the book and read it carefully page after page. God’s word was sometimes full of love and mercy and sometimes full of majesty and wrath; sometimes it was unfathomable, and sometimes it was clear and transparent; sometimes it made me thrilled and excited, and sometimes it made me disgraced and ashamed.

When I finished the whole book of God’s word, enlightened by the truth, I finally bowed my proud head. I clenched my fists and really wanted to give myself several punches. I truly hated myself for being so arrogant and ignorant and for not knowing God and blindly condemning God’s work without seeking. God had silently come among men for so many years, but I, under the banner of belief in God, resisted God and scrambled for God’s “sheep” many times in the vain hope of taking them for myself. I even haughtily preached how to resist God on the platform. But even so, I still shamelessly regarded that as my love for God. Besides, I believed the rumors and even changed the words “the Spirit” in the name of the book of God’s word to “the Evil Spirit,” holding a candle to the devil. I was simply a beast, no better than a swine or dog! Those evil deeds I had done were enough to make God sentence me to death. At that very moment, I fell down before God with remorse and gratefulness. “O Almighty God! Your love is so great and so deep. Although I am so arrogant and disobedient, you have not punished me for that but continued saving me silently. I really don’t deserve to receive such great grace of yours. Twenty years ago, I once swore to you that if it was for the sake of your work, I would climb a mountain of swords or cross a sea of flames. But today I have become a sinner resisting you. I took the books of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee as the truth but spurned and ignored your personal utterance. O Almighty God! I am really blind!”

After I returned to God’s family, I read these words of God: “In the practical experience of all of us, it can be seen that very often God personally makes a way out for us in order for the way under our feet to be more solid and practical. This way was opened up for us by God from the beginning of history, and after the lapse of tens of thousands of years, it is passed to our generation. So we are the ones to continue the journey foregoers did not finish, and we are the ones chosen by God to walk the final part of the journey. Hence, this way is prepared specially for us by God. No matter whether we will receive blessings or suffer calamities, in a word, no one else can take this way.” After reading these words, I felt waves of emotion. I could once again step onto the way ordained by God. I was really so blessed and honored! I had been walking on this way enthusiastically for over twenty years, but I did not know God. And when God did the new work, I even ran counter to him. But God, who is full of love, still brought me before him in the end, which made me especially feel his kindness and loveliness. Today, the prodigal son has returned home at last!

Dear brothers and sisters, maybe we have never met before, maybe we have prayed in tears together, or maybe we have talked with each other uninhibitedly. But anyway, we are all believers in God and have a common wish and goal. I sincerely hope that in the near future, I can see a “familiar” and “brand new” you in God’s family.

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