The Most Common Pitfall Regarding the Lord’s Return
In 2018, I finally welcomed the Lord’s return and attended the wedding feast of the Lamb, enjoying the watering and sustenance of the living waters. But I’m filled with regret every time I think of how time after time I rejected God’s work of, nearly missing out on my chance to meet with the Lord.
- Quick Navigation
- Missing a Wonderful Opportunity Due to My Notions
- Hearing the Gospel Again by God’s Grace
- Hindered Again, I Succumb to Indecisiveness
- Fellowship on the Truth Rids Me of My Notions and My Heart Is Set Free
- By Letting Go of My Notions I Find the Path to Eternal Life
Missing a Wonderful Opportunity Due to My Notions
Ten years ago when I was in China, there was a sister who shared the gospel with me, saying that the Lord had returned. At the time it all sounded reasonable to me, but then I thought about how in services the pastor would often say that we couldn’t listen to just any sermon, for fear of being misled. So I adopted the pastor’s policy of the “Three Don’ts”—don’t read, don’t listen, don’t contact. I turned that sister down. That’s how I let my first chance at the Lord’s salvation of the last days pass me by.
In 2015 I came to South Korea and someone from my hometown also shared the gospel of Almighty God’s work in the last days with me. She also gave me a book and told me that everything in it had been expressed by Almighty God and it was all the truth. She told me I should read it carefully, and she hoped I would look into it. Even though I felt that what she shared with me about God’s three stages of work was really novel and reasonable, in church services the pastor would often say that all of the Lord’s work and words was in the Bible, so anything outside of that was heresy. He said that we had to be very cautious so that we wouldn’t betray the Lord. I was concerned about misplacing my faith, so in order to determine whether the Lord really had returned, I gave that book to my pastor to have him act as the gatekeeper. But he just casually flipped through a few pages of it and then took it away from me. He also warned me, saying, “The words in this book are outside of the Bible. You can’t read this. You’re lacking in discernment, so that’s a sin; it’s betraying the Lord.” After hearing him say this I lacked the courage to investigate it, so I once again rejected Almighty God’s gospel of the kingdom.
Hearing the Gospel Again by God’s Grace
Once, I went hiking in the hills and made the acquaintance of a fellow believer. She invited me to church to listen to a sermon and said that I’d certainly reap some benefit from it. This aroused my curiosity, so I decided to go to church with her. Their interpretation of the Bible really was original; they fellowshiped on things such as the parable of the sower, the parable of the ten virgins, and what kind of person can get into the kingdom of heaven. Everything was new, and nothing I had ever heard before. The more I heard the more I wanted to hear. But when they started talking about the Bible verse “Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think notcomes” (Matthew 24:44) and said that when the Lord returns in the last days He’ll become flesh, appearing as the Son of man, I suddenly thought of what the pastor had said: “Don’t listen to anyone who says that the has returned because what they’re preaching is outside the scope of the Bible, and anything outside the Bible is heresy.” I realized that they were most likely from The Church of Almighty God, so I immediately got my guard up and didn’t want to listen any longer. I made my excuses and left.
When I got home I continued to think about their fellowship. They had shared really clear fellowship on parables from the Bible, what kind of person can get into the kingdom of heaven, and more. They were enlightening things I had never heard before and I really wanted to hear more, but I was really concerned about going astray in my belief and betraying the Lord. I thought and I thought, and then shared my concerns with that sister. I also told her I didn’t want to go to their church anymore. She had this fellowship to share with me: “The Lord’s coming is a huge deal; it’s something we have to approach with caution. The Lord Jesus once said, ‘Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear My voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with Me’ (Revelation 3:20). When the Lord comes He will knock on the door for us. That is, He’ll have the gospel shared with us through other people, and if we don’t seek or investigate, if we don’t focus on listening for the Lord’s voice, when will we be able to welcome Him? We should have a heart of seeking regarding the second coming of the Lord. We can’t just blindly listen to what the pastor says and then miss out on the Lord’s coming! We should pray to the Lord and seek more; I believe that He will guide us to discern between true and false ways.” I felt that what she said was well-reasoned, and that if I rejected it without really looking into it and ended up missing the Lord’s second coming, wouldn’t it be the case that my regrets would come too late? I figured I should go again the following day.
So, I went back to The Church of Almighty God the next day where I was received warmly by the brothers and sisters. One brother played a video of a recitation of God’s words, Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God for me. Watching this was astonishing for me—it really clearly explained God’s 6,000-year management plan for saving mankind as well as His will to save mankind. It was something that no regular person could express. Only God Himself is able to open up the mysteries of God’s work; those words contained the truth and they seemed to be God’s voice. Shortly after that, that brother put on hymns in praise of God and dance videos by The Church of Almighty God. I was most deeply impacted by the choral video The Kingdom—the brothers and sisters in it were all bursting with energy and their eyes were blazing with strength. There was this unshakeable vigor emanating from deep within them in the performance that really deeply moved me, making me see The Church of Almighty God in a new light. I thought to myself, “I’ve heard the pastor say bad things about The Church of Almighty God in the past, but in my actual interactions with them I’ve found that not only can these brothers and sisters share fellowship on the Bible that contains light, but their performances are also really moving.” My guarded heart then relaxed a bit and I started attentively listening to their sermons. They later got a book out called God’s Sheep Hear the Voice of God and said that it contained new words spoken to the churches by the returned Lord. When I heard them say “the churches” my heart leapt, as it reminded me of this Bible verse: “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7). I thought to myself, “Could it be that what they’re reading really is the word of God? Could it come from the Holy Spirit? Is Almighty God the return of the Lord Jesus? If He really is, I absolutely have to look into this.”
Hindered Again, I Succumb to Indecisiveness
Three days after that my older sister invited me to go out shopping with her. I eagerly told her about my investigation into The Church of Almighty God and told her she should do the same. Hearing this, she immediately told me sternly, “All of God’s work and words are in the Bible. He absolutely would not do new work or utter new words outside of that, so anything outside of the Bible is heresy. If you believe in the wrong thing that’s a betrayal of the Lord, and then all these years of faith would be for nothing! Don’t look into it anymore.” Hearing her say this, I couldn’t help but once again think about what the pastor had told me before. I started to feel some hesitation. I did think that what the brother and sisters with The Church of Almighty God fellowshiped was really enlightening and didn’t seem to be heretical as the pastor had said, but it was true that Almighty God’s work and words were outside the scope of the Bible. So then what really was going on? I didn’t know if I should keep looking into it or not. I just could not make my mind up, and I sunk into a state of indecisiveness.
It just so happened that the brothers and sisters at The Church of Almighty God saw that I hadn’t been going to church over that period of time, so they sent me a lot of gospel films and words of God. They also urged me to watch the films and look for answers to anything I didn’t understand in God’s words. I watched a few of the films and read several passages of God’s words all in one go, and the more I watched, the more I felt that all these words are so right, so authoritative. I wanted to go look into whether the Lord really has returned or not, but I felt afraid of believing in the wrong thing. I was so upset that I was driven to tears; all I could do was urgently pray to the Lord, hoping that He would guide me to come back before Him.
One day while I was taking a hike in the hills I saw a sister with The Church of Almighty God. I learned from our chat that she had been really concerned about me since I hadn’t been to the church for a while, and she’d been coming to the hills every day hoping to run into me. As I looked at this sister, covered in sweat, a feeling came over me that I can’t quite describe—I was really moved by her heartfelt care for me. After catching up with each other for a bit, she invited me to her home the following day. I wondered, had the Lord arranged for me to see this sister with The Church of Almighty God again? I then silently prayed to the Lord.
The plot of a gospel movie I had seen, Deadly Ignorance, came to mind for me. The main character gives up on his investigation into the true way because he believes what his pastor says, but later on, through fellowship on the truth from brothers and sisters with The Church of Almighty God he comes to understand that only thelisten to the voice of God. Without seeking the truth, there’s no way to hear God’s voice and be taken up before His throne—that can only lead to being misled and controlled by Satan and dying in its net. The movie also talked about how the most basic principle of investigating the true way is to see whether it contains the truth, and if what is expressed is God’s voice. Any way that expresses the truth has to be the appearance and work of , because no one among corrupt humanity can express the truth. Thinking through all of this, I decided that I could continue to seek and investigate; I happily accepted her invitation.
Fellowship on the Truth Rids Me of My Notions and My Heart Is Set Free
The next day I went to the sister’s house as planned and shared the confusion within my heart with her. “Sister, our pastor says that God’s work and words are all in the Bible, so anything outside of the Bible is heresy. But you and the others bear witness that the Lord has returned and has expressed the truth to do a new stage of work. Even though I’ve read Almighty God’s words and feel that they do seem to be the voice of God, and that they contain truth that can be sought, when I think of what the pastor says I feel afraid that I’ll believe the wrong thing. That’s why I haven’t been looking into it. Could you explain this?”
She heard me out and then said, “As for what your pastor said, that all of God’s work and words are in the Bible and anything outside of that is heresy, is there a basis for that in the Lord’s own words? Has the Holy Spirit said that? That’s clearly not the case. Everyone who understands the Bible knows that there are 66 books in the Bible, divided into the Old Testament and the New Testament. The Old Testament is a record of Jehovah God’s work in Israel, while the New Testament is a record of the Lord Jesus’ work in Judea. When the Lord Jesus came to earth to work there was only the Old Testament; there was no New Testament. The New Testament was compiled by human beings after A.D. 300. Because of disputes between the people involved and omissions they made, some of Jehovah God’s words communicated by the prophets were not fully included in the Old Testament—this is a commonly recognized fact. On top of that, in the Age of Grace the Lord Jesus worked and spoke for three and a half years; during that time, we don’t know how much He said and worked, but the Four Gospels of the New Testament only record a limited portion of His work and words. It’s just the tip of the iceberg. That’s why the apostle John said, ‘And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written’ (John 21:25). We can see from this that God’s work and words have not been recorded in the Bible in their entirety—some of them are outside of the Bible. God is the Ruler of all things, and He’s the eternal source of the waters of life—what comes from Him is inexhaustible. How could it then be possible that He has only said or done the limited things that are in the Bible? If we delimit God within the scope of the Bible and say that He doesn’t work or speak outside of that, isn’t that delimiting and devaluing God?”
I was astounded by her fellowship. “That’s true! The Lord Jesus never said that God’s work and words are all included in the Bible. When I consider that the Lord Jesus worked for three and a half years and said all sorts of things and performed all sorts of miracle, it’s just not possible that everything could be recorded in just one book. I can see that what the pastor said about all of His work and words being in the Bible has no basis in the Scripture!”
As I was thinking this over, this sister went on to say, “Sister, let’s take a look at something Almighty God said, and then we’ll understand it better. God’s words say: ‘The Bible is a historical book, and if you had eaten and drunk the Old Testament during the Age of Grace—if you had put into practice what was required in the time of the Old Testament during the Age of Grace—Jesus would have rejected you, and condemned you; if you had applied the Old Testament to the work of Jesus, you would have been a Pharisee. … During the time of Jesus, Jesus led the Jews and all those who followed Him according to the Holy Spirit’s work in Him at the time. He did not take the Bible as the basis of what He did, but spoke according to His work; He paid no heed to what the Bible said, nor did He search in the Bible for a path to lead His followers. Right from when He began to work, He spread the way of repentance—a word of which there was absolutely no mention in the prophecies of the Old Testament. Not only did He not act according to the Bible, but He also led a new path, and did new work. Never did He refer to the Bible when He preached. During the Age of Law, no one had ever been able to perform His miracles of healing the sick and casting out demons. So, too, were His work, His teachings, and the authority and power of His words beyond any man in the Age of Law. Jesus simply did His newer work, and even though many people condemned Him using the Bible—and even used the Old Testament to crucify Him—His work surpassed the Old Testament; if this were not so, why did people nail Him to the cross? Was it not because it said nothing in the Old Testament of His teaching, and His ability to heal the sick and cast out demons? His work was done to lead a new path, it was not to deliberately pick a fight against the Bible, or to deliberately dispense with the Old Testament. He simply came to perform His ministry, to bring the new work to those who yearned for and sought Him. … To people, it appeared as if His work had no basis, and there was much of it that was at odds with the records of the Old Testament. Was this not man’s error? Does doctrine need to be applied to the work of God? And must God work according to the foretelling of prophets? After all, which is greater: God or the Bible? Why must God work according to the Bible? Could it be that God has no right to exceed the Bible? Can God not depart from the Bible and do other work? Why did Jesus and His disciples not keep the Sabbath? If He were to keep the Sabbath and practice according to the commandments of the Old Testament, why did Jesus not keep the Sabbath after He came, but instead washed feet, covered head, broke bread, and drank wine? Is this not all absent from the commandments of the Old Testament? If Jesus honored the Old Testament, why did He break with these doctrines? You should know which came first, God or the Bible! Being the Lord of the Sabbath, could He not also be the Lord of the Bible?’”
She then shared this fellowship: “Doesn’t reading Almighty God’s words clarify this issue? The Bible is just a historical record of the first two stages of God’s work and words, but it does not represent all of God’s work to save mankind. God’s work came first, and only then did the Bible come to be, so every time God does work He absolutely does not do it in accordance with the Bible, and of course He does not refer to the Bible. He particularly does not look in the Bible for the path to guide His followers on—God’s work is always moving forward and developing. God is not only the Lord of the Sabbath but also the Lord of the Bible. He has every right to step outside the confines of the Bible, to perform even newer and higher work in accordance with His own plan and humanity’s needs at the time, to lead people onto a new path, to bestow higher truths upon mankind, and to allow people to gain even greater grace and salvation. Just like in the Age of Law—God issued the law through Moses and had all people keep the commandments and observe the Sabbath. But when the Lord Jesus came to work in the Age of Grace, He didn’t work according to the Old Testament. He preached the way of repentance and taught people to love others as themselves, to forgive others seventy times seven times, and on the Sabbath He took His disciples into a field to pick ears of corn to eat. He also performed many miracles and was crucified for the sake of mankind. He brought a new path of practice for the people at the time who were living under the law and redeemed humanity from sin. The words and work of the Lord Jesus entirely exceeded the Old Testament, so could we delimit that as heresy because it went outside of the Scripture of the time? If we believed that, we would without a doubt be defying and blaspheming God! The Lord possesses both authority and power and is entirely able to go outside of the Bible. We, corrupt human beings, have no right to judge or delimit God’s work or words. And today, Almighty God, Christ of the last days, is expressing words and doing the work of judgment beginning with the house of God on the foundation of the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption and in accordance with the needs of corrupt humanity. Even though people were redeemed in the Age of Grace, we still have our sinful natures and often live within the cycle of sinning and confessing. That’s why God has come in the last days to do the stage of work of judging and chastising mankind with His words—it’s to fully save us from sin, to thoroughly rid us of our sinful natures, and to cleanse us from within of our satanic dispositions. Then we can be totally free of the shackles of sin, be purified and saved by God, and ultimately God can bring us into a beautiful destination. This new stage of work is loftier than His previous two stages of work, and even more, is His last stage of work to save mankind. This was prophesied in the Bible long ago: ‘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’ (John 16:12–13). ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches’ (Revelation 2:7). ‘And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not’ (Revelation 10:4). These verses show us that the Lord will come in the last days to utter more words and bestow all truths upon mankind. Since these are new words and new work, they must be outside of the Bible because no one could have recorded God’s work of the last days in the Bible ahead of time. Based on what the pastor said that anything outside of the Bible is heresy, isn’t that just condemning the work and words of the returned Lord? It’s clear that saying something like that doesn’t hold water at all, and it particularly can’t be our standard for considering welcoming the Lord’s coming. Sister, if we want to welcome the appearance of the Lord we have to leave our notions behind, be wise virgins, and focus on listening for the voice of God. That’s the only way we’ll be able to welcome the Lord’s second coming.”
After reading Almighty God’s words and listening to this sister’s fellowship, I rejoiced that I had barely escaped the danger of blindly listening to what my pastor and older sister had said, and thus condemning Almighty God’s work of the last days. If I had done that, not only would I have missed my chance to welcome the Lord’s coming but I would have committed a terrible sin of blaspheming God! When I had thought this through, I said to this sister, “I’m grateful to God that the concerns I had in my heart have been dispelled through your fellowship. I’ve understood that the Bible is just a record of God’s first two stages of work, but the work He had yet to do could not possibly have been written in the Bible ahead of time. Considering God’s work and words only on the basis of the Bible really is not in line with God’s will.”
By Letting Go of My Notions I Find the Path to Eternal Life
Smiling and nodding, she responded, “Yes! The Bible is a historical record of God’s first two stages of work; the Lord’s work and words cannot be confined to just the Bible, and we particularly can’t base our faith in the Lord on it. The Bible is the Bible, and the Lord is the Lord—the Bible cannot be put on par with the Lord. The Lord Jesus said: ‘Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And you will not come to Me, that you might have life’ (John 5:39–40). Only if we come before God, and accept and submit to God’s work and words of the last days can we gain the truth and the life. Just as the words of Almighty God say, ‘Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path by which man gains life, and it is the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God.’ ‘Since there are newer utterances, and newer work, why live amid old historical records? The new utterances can provide for you, which proves that this is the new work; the old records cannot sate you, or satisfy your current needs, which proves that they are history, and not the work of the here and now. The highest way is the newest work, and with the new work, no matter how high the way of the past, it is still the history of people’s reflections, and no matter its value as reference, it is still the old way. Even though it is recorded in the “holy book,” the old way is history; even though there is no record of it in the “holy book,” the new way is of the here and now. This way can save you, and this way can change you, for this is.’”
She went on in fellowship: “Almighty God, Christ of the last days has now expressed all truths for our salvation. He has unveiled the hidden mysteries since the creation of the world such as the mysteries of God’s names, His incarnations, and the inside story of His three stages of work. He has also revealed mankind’s essence of defying God and our rebellious natures to judge our corrupt dispositions, pointing out a path of practice for us to cast off our corruption and be cleansed. These truths are the path to eternal life that also provide sustenance for our lives. Only by gaining the path of eternal life that God grants us in the last days can we fully escape from influence of Satan, no longer sin or defy God, develop true understanding of Him, and become people God approves of who obey and revere Him. But on the contrary, if we continue to stick to God’s past work and cling to the Bible, we will just be eliminated through God’s new work. Those of us who are fortunate enough to hear God’s voice and accept His work of judgment of the last days are the most blessed of all!”
I was thrilled to hear this fellowship from her and I said, “So God’s work of the last days reveals all these mysteries of the truth. Now I understand that only God can express truths to save mankind while the Bible cannot fully save us. Only by stepping outside of the Bible, letting go of our notions, and accepting God’s work and words of the last days can we enter into God’s kingdom!”
I was overwhelmed with a mix of emotions and cried tears of joy. I felt joy because I realized that the Lord Jesus who I had been longing for is Almighty God who has expressed millions of words and I could finally welcome the Lord’s return. I was upset because I hated the fact that I had been so foolish and cowardly, that I had believed in the notions spread by the pastor, believing the absurdity that God’s words were all in the Bible, that anything outside of the Bible was heresy. I had also approached God’s work of the last days with the pastor’s policy of “Three Don’ts” which led to me passing by the chance to return to the Lord’s side multiple times. I give thanks to God for not casting me aside, but allowing me to come into God’s house through this sister’s patient fellowship on the truth with me. I then excitedly told her that I was willing to accept God’s gospel of the last days—she was so happy to hear this!
From then on I started going to church nearly every day, and by reading God’s words and living a life of the church with my brothers and sisters, I’ve come to understand so many truths that I never understood before. I feel really full and at peace in my soul. Now I’m fulfilling the duty that I’m able to in the church, and whenever I see a new face come in to seek and investigate I feel moved in a way that I can’t explain. I feel that we really are an incredibly fortunate group of people, that we’ve managed to catch the very last “train” of God’s work. This is God’s greatest elevation and love for us! Thank Almighty God for saving me! May all the glory belong to Almighty God!