In Studying the True Way, I Gained Discernment of the Pastor’s Essence

By Adi, Indonesia

I invited the pastor to investigate the true way together, only to suffer his obstruction.

In October 2018, while I was surfing online, I unintentionally viewed the website of The Church of Almighty God, on which the movies drew me in. Through watching some videos, I understood many aspects of the truth, such as the difference between being saved and being fully saved, the difference between the work of God and man, the inside story of the Bible, and the mystery of God’s six-thousand-year management plan. Almighty God’s words are bountiful and have unveiled all truths and mysteries. They allowed me to understand the truths I had never understood before during my belief in the Lord and I felt like my spirit had gained a lot of provision. Having watched many movies of The Church of Almighty God, I dialed the gospel hotline. Through fellowship with the brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God, I finally learned that the Lord Jesus we’ve long yearned for has descended in secret long ago as the incarnated Almighty God and is doing His new work. I was extremely excited to hear the news and wanted to investigate Almighty God’s work in the last days immediately.

One time, I watched a film called The Bible and God, and only after watching it did I understand the reasons for the desolation in the religious world. It was because the Lord had returned to do new work, and the Holy Spirit’s work had shifted. God’s work was focusing on those who had accepted His work of the last days, but we hadn’t followed the steps of God’s work, and that’s why we had no enlightenment or illumination of the Holy Spirit, and the preachers had nothing worthy of preaching. At the time I thought: “If I show this film to our pastor, he will understand the causes of desolation in religion and will then keep pace with God’s work. He has status and prestige in the church and many brothers and sisters listen to him; it’ll be great if he leads them to investigate together!”

Therefore, at a church meeting, I played this film for the pastor and fellowshiped with him about the reasons behind the church’s desolation. I had barely got my last word out when the pastor said unhappily: “It’s an Eastern Lightning film. They testify that the Lord has once again become flesh and returned, yet Revelation 1:7 says: ‘Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.’ This verse makes it very clear that the Lord will come in a spiritual body riding on a cloud, and that at that time, the Lord will appear to us in the sky and all people will see Him. So, how could the Lord become incarnate again? God only becomes flesh once, and so I won’t accept the Lord Jesus who has returned in the flesh and you shouldn’t continue studying Eastern Lightning. You have to listen to me.”

I retorted: “Pastor, you’re telling me to listen to you, but is this in accordance with God’s teachings? In believing in God, we should magnify God. You’re saying God becomes flesh only once, but can you dare be certain that such thinking is right? Can you fathom God’s work? In the Bible, besides the prophecies of the Lord coming openly in a spiritual body with clouds, there are also prophecies that the second coming of the Lord is through incarnation. For example, ‘For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be’ (Matthew 24:27). ‘For as the lightning, that lightens out of the one part under heaven, shines to the other part under heaven; so shall also the Son of man be in His day. But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation’ (Luke 17:24–25). These verses say that God’s return is as the Son of man, and the ‘Son of man’ mentioned here refers to an ordinary person born of a human who possesses normal humanity and lives among us. Because God incarnates as an ordinary, normal person, and people don’t know His substance but only look at His outward appearance, they will resist and forsake Him. If God came in a spiritual body riding on a cloud, then that would be a great and powerful scene, and everyone would accept His return and bow down before Him and nobody would dare to resist and reject Him. So, how would God suffer? And this prophecy would not then be able to come to pass. As can be seen, God will return in two different ways in the last days: He first incarnates as the Son of man and comes in secret and then descends openly on a cloud and appears to all. There are also prophecies in the Bible of God’s hidden advent. For instance, ‘Behold, I come as a thief’ (Revelation 16:15). ‘For in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes.’ (Matthew 24:44). ‘But of that day and that hour knows no man, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father’ (Mark 13:32). God first comes in secret, and makes complete a group of overcomers before the disasters arrive. Then the great disasters will come upon the world and God will begin to reward the good and punish the wicked. After the disasters, God will then descend openly on a cloud and appear in great honor to all nations and peoples. Now God has incarnated and come in secret and is performing the work of judgment beginning from the house of God. He has expressed millions of words and revealed all mysteries. This precisely fulfills the prophecy in the Bible that states: ‘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). Now many brothers and sisters of all nations who truly believe in God are investigating online Almighty God’s work in the last days. Shouldn’t we seek it?—”

But before I could even finish what I was saying, the pastor interrupted impatiently: “Don’t tell me about it. I don’t acknowledge that God will return in the flesh.” He then spoke condemningly and blasphemously about The Church of Almighty God. Just as I was about to refute him, he continued to say: “You must think it over thoroughly. If you go astray, then all the price that you’ve paid will be in vain. I urge you not to watch online The Church of Almighty God’s movies again.”

At that time, I was still studying God’s work of the last days and was not too clear about the truths concerning God’s incarnation. Subjected to the pastor’s disruption, I couldn’t help but have some worries, afraid that I had taken the wrong path. After returning home, my heart felt very ill at ease as I thought: “Should I keep on looking into Almighty God’s work? Have I gone astray?” But then I thought: “The Lord’s coming is a big thing. I mustn’t sit and wait for death for fear of taking the wrong path; if I miss the chance to welcome the Lord’s return, it’ll be too late for regrets. I must continue seeking and studying. Through this period of investigating, I’ve come to know that God will certainly become flesh to do His work in the last days. But I must figure out how to confirm that Almighty God is God in the flesh.” So, I decided to seek online with the brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God.

Understanding the truth freed my heart.

Early the next morning, I, through Skype, got in touch with the brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God, and couldn’t wait to ask: “Through this period of studying, I see that Almighty God’s work fits with the biblical prophecies, and believe that God first appears and works in the flesh. I’d still like to ask, however, how can I confirm that Almighty God is God incarnate?”

A sister replied: “This is a good question. When God incarnates as an ordinary person, His humanity is not supernatural in the slightest. If we don’t have truth or know the path to knowing God, it’s indeed impossible for us to determine who is God incarnate. As for how to confirm whether someone is God in the flesh, let’s read two passages of Almighty God’s words: ‘To study such a thing is not difficult, but requires each of us to know this truth: He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the substance of God, and He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He must do, and since God becomes flesh, He shall express what He is, and shall be able to bring the truth to man, bestow life upon man, and show man the way. Flesh that does not contain the substance of God is surely not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt. To investigate whether it is God’s incarnate flesh, man must determine this from the disposition He expresses and the words He speaks. Which is to say, whether or not it is God’s incarnate flesh, and whether or not it is the true way, must be judged from His substance. And so, in determining[a] whether it is the flesh of God incarnate, the key is to pay attention to His substance (His work, His words, His disposition, and many more), rather than external appearance. If man sees only His external appearance, and overlooks His substance, then that shows the ignorance and naivety of man.’ ‘As for how God was incarnated to be a man, how the Spirit gave revelations at that time, and how the Spirit descended upon a man to do work, these are matters that man cannot see or touch. It is utterly impossible for these truths to serve as proof that He is the incarnate God. As such, distinction can only be made upon the words and work of God, which are tangible to man. Only this is real. This is because matters of the Spirit are not visible to you and are known clearly only by God Himself, and not even God’s incarnate flesh knows all; you can only verify whether He is God[b] from the work He has done. From His work, it can be seen that, first, He is able to open up a new age; second, He is able to supply the life of man and show man the way to follow. This is sufficient to establish that He is God Himself. At the very least, the work He does can fully represent the Spirit of God, and from such work it can be seen that the Spirit of God is within Him. As the work done by the incarnate God was mainly to usher in a new age, lead new work, and open up new circumstances, these few conditions alone are sufficient to establish that He is God Himself.

“These words tell us that to verify whether this person is God incarnate, we must determine this from His words, His work and the disposition He expresses. Since God becomes flesh, His words shall be the truth and be able to supply us with life and supply our spiritual needs. Since God becomes flesh, His work shall be able to open up a new age and end the old age, and shall bring us the paths of practice for the new era. Since God becomes flesh, He shall reveal His disposition through His work so that we will have a new understanding of Him. Just like when the Lord Jesus came, He brought the way of repentance and taught people to love one another and forgive seventy times seven times, etc. He led people out of the rules of the law and gave them new ways to practice. Furthermore, the Lord Jesus acted as man’s sin offering by being nailed to the cross and took on all of humanity’s sins, so that they were no longer subject to the punishment of the Law. After that, whenever someone sinned, as long as they prayed to the Lord, confessed their sins and repented, their sins could then be forgiven. The coming of the Lord Jesus began the Age of Grace and concluded the Age of Law. The disposition God expressed in this age was entirely different from that in the Age of Law; the Lord Jesus’ disposition is loving and merciful and whoever followed Him could deeply feel His motherly love and concern. It was through the truth expressed, the work done and disposition expressed by the Lord Jesus that people recognized Him as the coming Messiah and began to follow and bear witness to Him. Now, Almighty God has come in the last days and is doing the work of judging and purifying mankind, based on the foundation of Lord Jesus’ work of redemption, so that man will completely escape the bondage of sin. He started the Age of Kingdom and ended the Age of Grace. He has expressed a disposition that is primarily righteous; He has expressed many truths, such as the mystery of incarnation, the mystery of God’s names, and the inside truth of the work of God’s management plan, as well as the truths that reveal the substance and truth about man’s corruption and the truths about how to achieve dispositional change. These truths are all mysteries that mankind never knew and are also something urgently needed by us corrupt mankind, who are living within a vicious cycle of sinning and confessing. Through reading Almighty God’s words, we’re able to feel God’s authority and power, and feel His righteousness, majesty and inviolable disposition. We therefore can confirm that Almighty God’s words are God’s way of judgment in the last days. Almighty God’s work has fulfilled the prophecies in the Bible, such as, ‘He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (John 12:48). ‘However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth’ (John 16:13). Therefore, from Almighty God’s work and words as well as the disposition He expresses, we have recognized Him as God incarnate, the reappearance of the Lord Jesus, and thus have followed His footsteps and returned before His throne. As can be seen, as long as we distinguish Him by His words, His work and the disposition that He expresses, we’ll be able to ascertain if He is God in the flesh. As long as we grasp these principles by which we can differentiate, we will have a definite view, and then no matter who disturbs us, we’ll not be swayed.”

By reading Almighty God’s words and listening to the sister’s fellowship, I had a way to seek and investigate. I came to understand that since God would come in the flesh this time, He would surely express many truths and do a stage of new work, so I should determine whether it is the flesh of God incarnate from His words and work. Only this is the correct way. Almighty God’s words pointed out to me the practical path to knowing God; I felt greatly happy. Only God loves us so much and tells us how to know Him. At that time, I was much more reassured. I thought of how because I had read little of God’s word and hadn’t had a clear understanding of the truth, I became confused once the pastor disturbed me. Now I had a measurable criterion and would continue to investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days.

The pastor used all sorts of tactics to hinder me from accepting the true way.

Through a period of investigating, I became sure that Almighty God is Christ of the last days and is God Himself in the flesh. In November 2018, I officially accepted Almighty God’s kingdom gospel. After that, I still wanted to preach God’s work of the last days to our pastor and elder so that they could also be completely saved. I therefore went to my old church once more to attend a small group meeting. When I had just talked about what true salvation was, the elder demanded to know where I had heard that. I told him that I understood that through watching the Eastern Lightning movies. Hearing this made him very angry, and he said some things that convicted God’s work of the last days and forbade me from talking about the content of Eastern Lightning movies again in the church. Seeing how the elder condemned God’s work of the last days and had no God-fearing and truth-seeking heart whatsoever, I didn’t continue to fellowship with him. Since then, I no longer went there to attend meetings.

Seeing that I didn’t go to meetings, the pastor often called me, saying some things condemning and blaspheming Almighty God. He also said that as long as I didn’t believe in Eastern Lightning, I would be given whatever I wanted and wouldn’t have to worry about money. Hearing his words, I realized that he wanted to use status and money to entice me and get me to distance myself from God. As a result, I said to him: “What I need is not money or material things but the truth. In our church, I haven’t obtained life nourishment. Now the Lord has returned and I’ve found the spring of living water. I cannot go back.” Hearing this, he then claimed that as a pastor he was responsible for protecting me and exhorted me to give up believing in Eastern Lightning. I replied: “If you are really taking responsibility for me, you should give me the right to freely study Almighty God’s work of the last days. I’ve now found the church that has the work of the Holy Spirit, and you should feel happy for me, but how come you’ve been trying to drag me back to the church where I cannot gain any sustenance? Regardless of what you say, I’m not going to give up the true way.” After hanging up, I thought of the Lord Jesus’ words of imprecation against the Pharisees: “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in” (Matthew 23:13). The pastor did everything in his power to prevent me from studying the true way and used money and material things to tempt me so that I wouldn’t accept the Lord Jesus’ return. The actions and deeds of the pastor were precisely the same as the Pharisees of the past—he obstructed people from following God in order to protect his status and livelihood. Not only did he himself not accept the true way, but he also stopped other believers from accepting it.

In the spiritual war, I forsook the fleshly emotions and satisfied God.

During a gathering, I told the brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God that I had left my old church and that the pastor was still harassing me, trying to drag me back. They were all very concerned for me and fellowshiped: “Brother, on the surface, it appears as though your pastor is keeping calling to disturb you, but behind all this, it is a spiritual battle taking place. Satan wants to make you abandon the true way and betray God through the pastor’s disruption. With regard to this aspect, let’s read a passage of Almighty God’s words and we’ll understand better. Almighty God says: ‘God works, God cares for a person, looks upon a person, and Satan dogs His every step. Whoever God favors, Satan also watches, trailing along behind. If God wants this person, Satan would do everything in its power to obstruct God, using various evil ways to tempt, harass and wreck the work God does in order to achieve its hidden objective. What is its objective? It does not want God to have anyone; it wants all those that God wants, to occupy them, control them, to take charge of them so they worship it, so they commit evil acts alongside it. Is this not Satan’s sinister motive?’ From these words, we can understand why, you encounter harassment from your pastor soon after you accept Almighty God’s work of the last days. It’s because while God works to save people, Satan doesn’t want God to gain people, so it tries absolutely everything and employs all manner of deceitful schemes to obstruct us, in an attempt to keep us forever under its domain and have us serve and worship it. Brother, when your pastor heard you testifying that the Lord has returned to do new work, he had no desire whatsoever to seek and investigate but blindly held to the words of the Bible about the Lord descending on a cloud, and condemned God’s work of the last days. Not only does he not seek the true way but he also keeps calling to disturb you and entices you with status and money. This is Satan imprisoning and devouring people. That you don’t fall for his schemes is God’s protection. But we should know that Satan is full of cunning tricks and won’t let you go easily. At this critical time, we have to read God’s words more, keep constant vigil and pray to God lest we fall for Satan’s schemes. Just as God’s words say: ‘At all times, My people must be on guard against the cunning schemes of Satan, protecting the gate of My house for Me, able to support each other and provide to each other, which will stop you falling into Satan’s trap, at which time it will be too late for regrets.’ God’s words tell us to guard against Satan’s cunning schemes at all times, and if we practice according to God’s words, then we won’t lose our way.”

Through the sister’s fellowship, I understood that when God wants to gain a person, Satan will fight with God over him and not allow God to obtain him. In my pastor disturbing me, externally it appeared to be matters between people, but in reality, it was a spiritual battle and a means Satan used to force me to depart from the true way. Satan’s purpose was to take me back from God and place me under its domain forever. The pastor was so sinister and vicious! I mustn’t fall for his deceitful schemes. I then secretly made the inward determination, that no matter how the pastor disrupted me, I would stand witness and would absolutely not betray God.

In the following three months, the pastor still kept calling to disturb me and also encouraged the brothers and sisters from my old church to drag me back, but I wasn’t impacted but continued to follow Almighty God. Seeing how I stood firm, the pastor told the brothers and sisters to abandon me, whose telephone numbers in my phone were all deleted by him. All this left me feeling very distressed and sad—I had associated with these brothers and sisters for over five years and we were like family; with the numbers deleted, I wouldn’t be able to contact them nor preach the gospel of the last days to them. In my pain, I opened the app from The Church of Almighty God and happened to see the movie called The Bible and God. In it, the pastors and elders, adhering to the Bible, didn’t study Almighty God’s work of the last days, but hindered believers from investigating it. What they did was exactly the same as what the Pharisees did. They believed in God yet resisted Him. This was a true portrayal of my pastor. Because I had accepted God’s new work, the pastor forsook me. With this in mind, I couldn’t sleep that night and kept reading God’s words till dawn. However, I still felt deeply upset. Later, the sister sent me a passage of Almighty God’s words pertaining to my situation: “In the future, great trials may befall you—but today, if you love God with a true heart, and if regardless of how great the trials ahead, irrespective of what happens to you, you are able to stand firm in your testimony, and able to satisfy God, then your heart will be comforted, and you will be unafraid no matter how great the trials you encounter in the future. You can’t see what will happen in the future; you can only satisfy God during today’s circumstances. You are incapable of doing any great work, and should focus on satisfying God by experiencing His words in real life, and bearing strong and resounding testimony that brings shame upon Satan. Although your flesh will remain unsatisfied and have suffered, you will have satisfied God and brought shame upon Satan.

After reading these words, I understood that in our belief in God we should seek to love God and satisfy Him. No matter what adverse environment may befall us, we should endure all suffering and stand firm and bear witness for God, for only in that way can we be able to shame Satan and satisfy God’s intentions, and only a pursuit like that accords with God’s will. According to the requirements of God’s words, I saw that I wasn’t someone who pursued to love and satisfy God. Now when I was rejected and shunned by the pastor and the brothers and sisters from my old church, I felt very pained. This meant that I was concerned with physical emotions instead of what to do to satisfy God’s will. Though I couldn’t bear great testimony for God now, in this situation, I had to betray my fleshy emotions to gain the truth and bring comfort to God’s heart. As I thought this, I didn’t feel so much pain. The Lord Jesus once said: “He that hears you hears Me; and he that despises you despises Me; and he that despises Me despises Him that sent Me” (Luke 10:16). From the outside, the pastor rejected me, but in fact he rejected God’s way. It was because he was unable to accept Almighty God’s work of last days that he abandoned me. I shouldn’t care about his attitude to me. There was nothing frightening about his forsaking me; it was fine as long as God didn’t abandon me. Under the guidance of God’s words, my heart became stronger little by little and I put this matter aside. After that, I continued to attend gatherings online and began to perform my duty, and I always prayed for those brothers and sisters who were deceived by the pastor, in the hope that I would get a chance to preach the kingdom gospel to them—bringing God’s sheep back to His house.

God’s words gave me discernment of the pastor’s essence.

Sometimes I couldn’t help thinking: “Now the religious churches are so desolate, and the spirits of the flock are parched and starved. But why don’t the pastors lead the brothers and sisters to seek God’s appearance but instead do they can to stop believers from seeking and investigating the true way? How come the pastors do it?” I felt confused. Afterward, in light of my confusion, the brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God read a passage of Almighty God’s words: “Those who read the Bible in grand churches recite the Bible every day, yet not one understands the purpose of God’s work. Not one is able to know God; moreover, not one is in accord with the heart of God. They are all worthless, vile men, each standing on high to teach God. Though they brandish the name of God, they willfully oppose Him. Though they label themselves believers of God, they are ones who eat the flesh and drink the blood of man. All such men are devils who devour the soul of man, head demons who purposefully disturb those who try to step onto the right path, and stumbling blocks that impede the path of those who seek God. Though they are of ‘robust flesh,’ how are their followers to know that they are antichrists who lead man in opposition to God? How are they to know that they are living devils who specially seek souls to devour?

After reading God’s words, a sister fellowshiped this: “God’s words have directly exposed the essence of the pastors and elders of the religious world resisting God. While they are familiar with the Bible, they only understand the letters of the Bible and theological theory but fail to know God and the purpose of God’s work. When God becomes flesh to do the judgment work of the last days, not only do they not seek or investigate, but instead cling to the literal words of the scripture and condemn and resist God’s work of the last days based on their notions and imaginings. They also employ all manner of means to obstruct believers from seeking and studying the true way. Their behavior is exactly the same as the Pharisees. The Pharisees, stubbornly holding on to the name Messiah, thought that man not called the Messiah was not God, so that no matter how profound the Lord Jesus’ preaching, no matter how many miracles He performed, they refused to recognize Him. Worse still, to preserve their status and livelihoods, they even bore false witness to trap the Lord Jesus and made up rumors about Him. They used every means to stop the common Jewish people from following the Lord Jesus. The tactics of the pastors and elders now in blocking believers from investigating the true way and their goals are the same as the Pharisees. They appear to be people who serve God yet are in essence antichrists who oppose God in the name of ‘protecting the flock and safeguarding the true way.’ They are stumbling blocks to people seeking the truth and demons who devour human souls. In disrupting and sabotaging God’s work like this, they have gravely offended God’s disposition and are destined to be punished. God uses these antichrists to allow us to discern them and see Satan’s ugly face, and finally thoroughly abandon Satan and return to God.”

After reading God’s words and listening to the sister’s fellowship, I recalled my experiences during this period of time. The pastor first used religious notions to bind me, then used status and money to entice me, and when seeing that I wasn’t tricked, he then let all the brothers and sisters abandon me, with the purpose of controlling me in his power and making me work for and serve him. His nature and essence were too vicious and evil. In the face of the facts, I saw clearly the pastor’s antichrist essence, which was resistant to God and which hated the truth, and knew that he was the evil servant exposed by God’s work of the last days. He won’t possibly accept the true way—this was also what I had understood in this spiritual war. Truly, thanks be to God!

Now I’ve escaped from the hands of the antichrists and my life has finally become peaceful again. I’m now living a life of the church in The Church of Almighty God, enjoying God’s words, and I’ve also settled my heart to fulfill my duty. I’m willing to properly follow Almighty God and pursue the truth to satisfy Him.

Footnotes:

a. The original text reads “as for.”

b. The original text does not contain the phrase “whether He is God.”

Extended reading:

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