By Chang Jie
Editor’s Note: She’d believed in the Lord for over 50 years and, for all that time, she believed that thewas the one and only Redeemer of mankind, and she looked forward to the Lord returning to receive her up into the kingdom of heaven. When someone preached to her that the Lord had returned and was performing a new work, she couldn’t accept it and believed that to accept this new work would be to betray the Lord. But was she right to believe this? This article, “After Waiting for the Second Coming of the Lord for Over 50 Years, My Wish Finally Comes True,” will give you the answer.
I Begin Believing in the Lord at a Young Age and I Long for His Return for 50 Years
I was a Catholic and my family had believed in the Lord for generations. When I was 15 or 16, I began going to church to attend Mass and to take the sacramental bread. Back then, the priest would say to us in his sermons, “The Lord Jesus we trust in is our one and only Savior and He was crucified to redeem us. Only by staying faithful to Him will we be raised up to the heavenly kingdom when He returns in. If we give up in our belief halfway and leave the Lord, then we will be betraying the Lord, and we will be punished and sent to hell.” When I heard the priest say this, I made a resolution to myself: To trust in the Lord in earnest, to confess and repent my sins more and to keep the Lord Jesus’ way, so that when the Lord returns He would lead me up into the heavenly kingdom.
Later, I got married, gave birth to a son, and then had a grandson, and yet I never abandoned the Lord. I ended up moving in with my son’s family in the city. Because there was no Catholic church nearby, I persevered with reading scriptures and saying my prayers at home. But because my life was different there and I had nothing in common with my daughter-in-law, plus the fact that my husband had passed away, I had no one to tell my feelings to. I felt incredibly lonely and I often wept in secret. During that time, an old stomach complaint returned to trouble me and it became really painful. My spirit also felt weak and powerless, and so I would often kneel before God, crying and beseeching Him, “O Almighty Holy Father, when will You come to take me up into the kingdom of heaven? I feel so weak and powerless right now and my spirit is parched and dark. I cannot feel You with me and I’ve lost my faith in life. Dear God, I don’t know what Your will is, but I ask You to show me the way.” I called on God in my distress, and I prayed in this way for several months. I still couldn’t feel His presence, however, and my spirit still felt dark and hopeless—I felt as though He had abandoned me.
An Unexpected Knock on the Door—the Lord Has Returned
A woman named Sister Li came to my home out of the blue one day and, with a beaming face, she said, “Sister, I hear you believe in the Lord. I do too, so I’ve come to your home today to fellowship with you about belief in our Lord.” When I heard her say she believed in the Lord as well, I felt as though I was looking at someone I’d known for a long time, and I spoke to her a lot about my feelings. I said, “Sister, when I believed in the Lord before, my family was peaceful and everything went smoothly for us, and the Lord watched over us and protected us. Now, my husband has passed away, my daughter-in-law dislikes and belittles me, and I don’t like her either. Though I may appear tolerant and patient with her on the outside, now and again I feel like losing my temper, and I live in a constant state of sinning and confessing. Now, I can’t feel the Lord’s presence, my spirit is parched and dark and I can’t keep the Lord’s way. We are now in the last days and the Lord will soon return. I’m now wondering whether the Lord has abandoned me, and whether or not He will still lead me into the kingdom of heaven.”
Sister Li comforted me by saying, “Sister, don’t get upset. I’ve come today to tell you some wonderful news: The Lord Jesus, whom we have longed for day and night, has returned. His name is Almighty God, and He has been expressing His words since 1991. He has brought the Age of Grace to a close, He has launched the Age of Kingdom and He is performing the work of judgment beginning in the house of God. The Holy Spirit is no longer working within the churches of the Age of Grace but has shifted His work onto a group of people who accept and follow Almighty God—this is the real reason why our spirits feel so dark and parched! Now, all who keep up with Almighty God’s work of the last days are able to attend the feast of the Lamb, to be watered with the living water of life, and to obtain.” After listening to Sister Li’s fellowship, I felt amazed, and I thought to myself: “What? The Lord has returned, He is called Almighty God, and He is performing a new work? Can this be true? But my priest enjoined us to stay faithful to the Lord, or else He would not lead us up into the heavenly kingdom. I’d better tread carefully.” So as to save face, however, and seeing how warm and sincere she was toward me and how kindly she spoke, I did not refute her claims. We talked for more than two hours, and then she left.
After she’d gone, I felt agitated for a long time, and so I hurriedly prayed before God. “O God, You are all-knowing, all-powerful and all-righteous. Could it be that You have heard my? Have you sent Sister Li to me to tell me that You have returned, that Your name is Almighty God and that You are performing a new work using words to judge and chastise mankind? O God, when I heard the news of Your second coming, I felt so thrilled, but I don’t know whether it is true or not. My priest always said that only the Lord Jesus is our Savior, so if I go on to believe in Almighty God, would I be betraying You? O God, is Almighty God really Your second coming? I pray that You enlighten and guide me on this matter.”
I Calm Myself and Hear God’s Words, and I Find the Footsteps of the Lamb
On the third day after her visit, Sister Li came again, and she asked me, “Sister, I told you last time that God had incarnated and returned in the last days and that He had come again into the world to perform a new work. How do you feel about that?” I said, “This is a great and wonderful thing! I’ve thought about it a lot since I saw you last, and your fellowship was certainly quite enlightening. But I’m still a little concerned because my priest always used to say that we had to always stay faithful to the Lord and that we must always keep the Lord’s way. He said that if we left the Lord Jesus halfway through our belief, then that would be a serious betrayal and we would go down to hell. I’ve believed in the Lord for over 50 years, and I’m afraid of going astray.”
Sister Li then patiently gave me fellowship. “Sister, we believe that only by keeping faith in the Lord Jesus can we be faithful to Him, and that if we stop believing in the Lord Jesus and begin believing in Almighty God, this is a betrayal of the Lord Jesus. Sister, does this belief we hold accord with the will of God? We’ll understand once we’ve read two passages of Almighty God’s words.” As she said this, she opened her book of God’s words, and began to read: “The work of today has pushed forward the work of the Age of Grace; that is, the work under the entire six-thousand-year management plan has moved forward. Though the Age of Grace has ended, there has been progress in God’s work. Why do I say time and again that this stage of work builds upon the Age of Grace and the Age of Law? Because the work of this day is a continuation of the work done in the Age of Grace, and an advance over that done in the Age of Law. The three stages are tightly interconnected, with each link in the chain closely tied to the next. Why do I also say that this stage of work builds on that done by Jesus? Supposing that this stage did not build on the work done by Jesus, another crucifixion would have to take place in this stage, and the redemptive work of the previous stage would have to be done all over again. This would be meaningless. And so it is not that the work is completely finished, but that the age has moved forward and the level of the work has been raised higher than before. It can be said that this stage of work is built on the foundation of the Age of Law and upon the rock of Jesus’ work. God’s work is built stage by stage, and this stage is not a new beginning. Only the combination of the three stages of work may be deemed the six-thousand-year management plan. … Jesus and I come from one Spirit. Even though We are unrelated in Our fleshes, Our Spirits are one; even though the content of what We do and the work that We take on are not the same, We are alike in essence; Our fleshes take different forms, but this is due to the change in era and the differing requirements of Our work; Our ministries are not alike, so the work We bring forth and the dispositions We reveal to man are also different. That is why what man sees and understands this day is unlike in the past, which is because of the change in era.” “I was once known as Jehovah. I was also called the Messiah, and people once called Me Jesus the Savior because they loved and respected Me. But today I am not the Jehovah or Jesus that people knew in times past—I am the God who has returned in the last days, the God who shall bring the age to an end. I am the God Himself that rises up at the ends of the earth, replete with My entire disposition, and full of authority, honor and glory.”
Sister Li continued her fellowship. “We can see from Almighty God’s words that God has a six-thousand-year management plan which is completed in three stages—the Age of Law, the Age of Grace and the Age of Kingdom. In each age, God performs different work according to the needs of mankind and according to His own management plan, and His name also changes along with the age. In the Age of Law, for example, mankind understood nothing, and the work performed by Jehovah God was primarily that of leading nascent humanity in their lives on the earth, proclaiming His law for man to follow and teaching them how to worship Jehovah. But by the end of the Age of Law, mankind was becoming more and more sinful, they could not keep the law any longer and they were in danger of being condemned to death by the law. In order to save mankind, Jehovah became flesh and came into the world and, on the basis of the work of the Age of Law, He performed the work of redeeming mankind. All who accepted the work of the Lord Jesus were forgiven their sins and would no longer be condemned to death by the law. Although by believing in the Lord Jesus our sins are forgiven, our sinful nature remains. We still live in a constant state of sinning and confessing day after day and we cannot keep the Lord’s way. The Lord Jesus said, ‘You shall be holy, for I am holy’ (1 Peter 1:16). From this, we can see that the Lord Jesus required us to be pure, for only then could we enter into the heavenly kingdom. And yet still we live in sin even now and we simply cannot achieve that state of purity. If the Lord’s work had remained as the work of absolving us of our sins, when would we ever be able to truly be rid of our corruption? Therefore, we need the Lord Jesus to come again to perform the work of judging and purifying man with His words. The Lord Jesus has also said Himself that He would come again to tell us all the things we don’t know, to express more truths to us, to perform the work of judgment beginning in the house of God and to utterly purify and change us. Now, upon the basis of the work performed by the Lord Jesus, Almighty God is performing a new work. He has expressed many millions of words to judge and expose the truth of mankind’s corrupt essence, so that we may come to a true understanding of our own corrupt nature and truly come to hate it, and then practice in accordance with God’s words. When we do that, our corrupt dispositions can truly be purified and changed. It is therefore evident that these three stages of work are closely interlinked, with each stage of work at a higher level than the last. But no matter how God’s work or name may change, His work is always done by one God, and this precisely fulfills the words: ‘I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end’ (Revelation 22:13). Therefore, by accepting the new work performed by Almighty God, not only are we not betraying the Lord Jesus, but instead we are actually following closely the Lord’s footsteps and receiving the Lord’s salvation of the last days!”
After listening to God’s words and the sister’s fellowship, my mind was much illuminated. The Lord Jesus’ work to redeem mankind is over, and He long ago returned to the earth to perform His work of judging and purifying man with words, which is performed on the basis of the work of redemption, and this is a higher stage of work. Believing in Almighty God is not a betrayal of the Lord Jesus, but instead it is just keeping pace with God’s new work! And so, I said to Sister Li, “Sister, I’ve listened to God’s words that you’ve read out and also to your fellowship, and I’m beginning to understand. I hope you can come often to give me fellowship in the future.”
Through Fellowship, I Become Sure that Almighty God Is Indeed the Second Coming of the Lord Jesus
After the sister had left, I thought to myself: “The sister’s fellowship sounded pretty reasonable. Each of God’s three stages of work is at a higher level than the last. We now live in a constant state of sinning and confessing, and we do indeed need God to purify and save us. It seems possible that Almighty God is the second coming of the Lord Jesus but, after all, I have believed in the Lord Jesus for over 50 years and I am still a little worried about going astray in my faith.” Just to be sure, I paid a visit to church to tell the priest about the news of the Lord’s return, as I wanted to ask him what he thought of the second coming of the Lord. Before I’d even finished speaking, however, the priest interrupted me and said to me, “How could you listen to the way of Eastern Lightning and start believing in Almighty God? That is a betrayal of the Lord, and you will go to hell when you die! Only by staying faithful to the Lord will He raise us up into the heavenly kingdom when He returns, and you must absolutely not accept the way of Eastern Lightning.” When I heard him say this, I was disgusted, and I thought: “These priests only know to say we mustn’t believe in Almighty God, but they don’t fellowship about the truth with us, and I’m not convinced they know what they’re talking about.” And so, I spoke sternly to him and said, “I think it’s best to seek and investigate it before we judge its merits. What will we do if Almighty God really is the second coming of the Lord?” But no matter what I said, he wouldn’t listen to me. There was nothing else I could do, so I left.
When I got home, Sister Li arrived, and I told her about my visit to the priest. She smiled and said, “We’ve believed in the Lord all these years, so I understand when people cannot accept God’s new work straight away. Let’s read God’s words together. God is the truth, the way and the life, and His words can solve all our problems.” We then opened our books of God’s words and, at Sister Li’s bidding, I read: “In each period of time, God will begin new work, and in each period, there will be a new beginning among man. If man only abides by the truths that ‘Jehovah is God’ and ‘Jesus is,’ which are truths that only apply to a single age, then man will never keep up with the work of the Holy Spirit, and will forever be incapable of gaining the work of the Holy Spirit. Regardless of how God works, man follows without the slightest doubt, and he follows closely. In this way, how could man be eliminated by the Holy Spirit? Regardless of what God does, as long as man is certain that it is the work of the Holy Spirit, and cooperates in the work of the Holy Spirit without any misgivings, and tries to meet the requirements of God, then how could he be punished? The work of God has never ceased, His footsteps have never halted, and prior to the completion of His work of management, He has always been busy, and never stops.”
Sister Li then gave fellowship, saying, “Almighty God’s words tell us that God’s work moves ever onward, and that God is ever new and never old. Only those who accept the Lord’s new work are the ones who can genuinely keep pace with His footsteps. When the Lord Jesus came to perform His work, for example, the Pharisees blindly clung to their notion that ‘if He is not called Messiah, then He cannot be the Lord and He cannot be God,’ and they denied and resisted the Lord Jesus. They also condemned Him, saying that anyone who accepted the Lord’s gospel was an apostate. The result of this was that, not only did they themselves not accept the Lord’s gospel, but they also stopped the faithful from accepting it either. In the end, they crucified the Lord Jesus upon the cross, thus offending God’s disposition and becoming people who opposed God. People such as Peter and John, on the other hand, had always believed in Jehovah God, even before they’d heard the news of the Lord Jesus’ coming to perform His work. And yet when they heard someone preaching the Lord Jesus’ gospel, they were able to seek and investigate it and keep pace with the Lord’s footsteps. This was not a betrayal of Jehovah God but, quite the contrary, this was the only way to remain truly faithful to Him. We can see from this that we cannot approach God’s new work clinging to our own conceptions. Instead, we must take the initiative to seek and investigate it, for only then will we have the chance to welcome the second coming of the Lord. What’s more, we still don’t fully understand the vision of God’s three stages of work and so we may still be unsure of it in our hearts. But by incarnating this time, God reveals all the mysteries of His work, and by reading His words more, we can come to have a clearer understanding of the vision of His work.”
After listening to Almighty God’s words and the sister’s fellowship, my mind became even more illuminated and, deeply moved, I said, “Sister, God’s words are so practical. I’d believed that keeping the Lord’s way was being faithful to the Lord, and so I was unable at first to accept the new work of the second coming of the Lord. But now I understand that, only by keeping pace with the Lamb’s footsteps can I truly be faithful to the Lord. By listening to your fellowships and by reading Almighty God’s words, I feel certain in my heart that Almighty God is the second coming of the Lord, and I now wish to accept Almighty God’s work of the last days.” After I’d said this, we both laughed with joy and, simultaneously, we both said, “Thanks be to God!”
I later read many of Almighty God’s words, such as “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God,” “Do You Know? God Has Done a Great Thing Among Men” and “The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud.’” From reading these chapters, I came to understand such things as the purpose of God’s six-thousand-year management work, how God saves man and how Satan corrupts man, and I became even more certain that Almighty God is the second coming of the Lord Jesus.
At Last, I Keep Pace With the Footsteps of the Lamb and My Heart Is Filled With Sweetness and Joy
Afterward, I began to live the church life in The Church of Almighty God. Everyone in the church is able to be completely open with each other and to talk about our own individual experiences and knowledge. If someone has a problem, then everyone else helps them with compassion, and I feel close to my brothers and sisters in the church as though we were all one family. Over time, as I read more and more of Almighty God’s words, my spirit began to feel enriched and I joined the ranks of the gospel preachers so that I could perform my duty as one of God’s creations.
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