By Meng’en, Japan
My Dream of the Heavenly Kingdom
Since I was baptized and returned to the Lord in 1993, the pastor had often told us that as long as we believed in the Lord Jesus, the Lord would give us His righteousness without asking for anything in return, and that we would be raptured into the kingdom of heaven when He came again. After that I had been expecting the Lord to come to rapture us soon. Later, I read these words in the Bible, “And from the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). Then I pondered: How should I make efforts? Should I not take some practical action? For the sake of having a better chance to enter the heavenly kingdom, I must expend myself and work for the Lord based on acknowledging in my mouth and believing in Him in my heart.
Several years later, by the Lord’s grace, I was chosen to be a worker of the church. From that point onward, my sacrifices for the Lord had greatly increased in strength. Whichever meeting place needed to be supported I would get there immediately; whatever difficulty my brothers and sisters had, I would go give them support amid rains and storms, heat and cold, and sometimes I even put aside my own household affairs to help them. Every time I heard them praise my loyalty to the Lord, I was especially happy. I thought: Since I can win the admiration of my brothers and sisters, I must also be approved by the Lord. Because of my active labor and sacrifice for the Lord, I was especially blessed by Him—My son’s study, work, and marriage all were very satisfactory. This made me even more see that toiling for the Lord was not in vain.
However, the only thing that troubled me was that though I had believed in the Lord and known that the Lord requested us to love others as ourselves, when my husband had a disagreement with me, I could still quarrel with him and even resent him in my heart. The Bible said, “Whoever hates his brother is a murderer: and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him” (1 John 3:15). I knew that my behaviors were not approved by the Lord, so I confessed my sins to Him every night. Yet when we encountered something afterward, we would still get into arguments. For this, I felt quite helpless and had no idea how I could practice the Lord’s teachings.
One time when studying the Bible, I read the following words of the Lord, “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 7:21). Then a question came into my mind: “The Lord said that only by doing the will of the heavenly Father can we enter the kingdom of heaven. That is to say, merely saying words of acknowledgment and believing in the Lord in our hearts doesn’t qualify us to enter the heavenly kingdom. Then what is doing the will of the heavenly Father?” Later, I sought from my co-workers on this issue, but their opinions were different. Since I found no answer, I thought of a compromise—working and spending to atone for my sins. Thereby, I attended the small group meetings more often and never missed a duty that I should fulfill.
In a blink, over twenty years passed by, and I had kept expending myself like this all along. Although I still committed sins, and couldn’t obey the way of the Lord, I believed that as long as I put all my efforts in working for the Lord, He would surely commemorate my good deeds and that when He came, I definitely could be brought into the kingdom of heaven.
Hearing the Gospel in a Foreign Land
In February, 2018, I came to Japan to visit my son. After a few days, a relative of mine said to me: “There is a brother surnamed Wu, who preaches very well. Would you like to listen to his sermons?” “Of course!” I agreed with joy. On that day, hearing that Brother Wu would fellowship with us about the Book of Revelation, I got enthusiastic. In China, what we often talked about was Paul or how to work and spread the gospel, which I was sick of hearing. I didn’t imagine that I could hear something new in Japan. In the meeting, Brother Wu talked about the little scroll prophesied in the Book of Revelation and said that it could only be opened by the returned God. Then he communicated about the words of the Holy Spirit to the churches, God’s sheep hearing the voice of God, and so on. The more I listened, the more I became interested in it, and I thought: “It turns out that there are so many mysteries in the Book of Revelation. In the past, I have heard so many boring sermons, but Brother Wu’s sermon today is truly fresh and I am finally quenched.”
At this moment, Brother Wu read me several verses of scripture, “And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21). “But that you may know that the Son of man has power on earth to forgive sins” (Luke 5:24). “Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luke 24:46-47).
Brother Wu communed, “From these scriptures, we can see that what the Lord Jesus did is the work of forgiving sins and saving people from under the laws. Our knowledge of God’s work can only go as far as what God has performed. In the Age of Law, Jehovah God decreed laws, so men knew what sin is and what punishment they would receive when they committed sins; in the Age of Grace, because the Lord Jesus was crucified and did the work of redemption, we are capable of being absolved of our sins and coming before God. However, the Lord Jesus didn’t do the work of eliminating sins. This is why people in the Age of Grace still live in the state of committing sins and confessing sins. Just as Paul said, ‘For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwells no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not. For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do. Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwells in me’ (Romans 7:18-20). Sister, is this not so?”
“Yes, it is.” I nodded. “My situation is just like this. I know that the Lord has taught us to love others as ourselves, yet I often can’t practice it.”
“Do you know why this is?” asked Brother Wu.
“Even the co-workers and pastors of my church don’t know the reason, not to speak of me,” I replied to him.
Brother Wu smiled and said, “The reason that we can’t help committing sins is because the work of redemption done by the Lord Jesus only absolved our sins, but the root of our committing sins still exists. It is recorded in 1 Peter 1:5, ‘Who are kept by the power of God through faith to salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.’ So in the last days, the Lord will come again to express words to let us obtain God’s salvation of the last days, which is the work of judgment beginning with God’s house mentioned by Peter. Only when we receive God’s salvation of the last days, can we break free of the bondage of sins and be purified.”
After hearing Brother Wu’s fellowship, I was immediately clear: “The reason why I always live in the situation of committing sins and confessing is because there is the root of sins within me. It turns out that God will do another stage of work in the last days and that only by accepting God’s salvation of the last days, can we be cleansed.”
Meeting With the Lord But Not Knowing Him
Then, Brother Wu fellowshiped other aspects of the truth, such as the way of the Lord’s return, the mystery of the incarnation, and so on. I had never heard such a clear sermon and I felt very bright in my heart. In the end, Brother Wu said, “Actually, the Lord Jesus has returned and He is Almighty God incarnate. God has begun to utter words since 1991 and has carried out the work of judgment beginning from God’s house, which has fulfilled the Lord’s words, ‘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).”
At this point I was shocked: “It turns out that what they are spreading is Eastern Lightning. How can Eastern Lightning be the second coming of the Lord?” Then I thought of the negative propaganda about Eastern Lightning from the Chinese Communist Party and the religious world. For a moment, I couldn’t accept it, nor dared I believe that God had come and that He was Eastern Lightning condemned by the Chinese Communist Party.
Seeing that my expression changed, my relative asked me, “Having heard so much from Brother Wu, do you think there is truth to seek?”
“All Brother Wu fellowshiped is in accordance with the truth and I have nothing to refute,” I replied.
“The Lord’s return is a great thing,” my relative said. “Since it conforms to the truth, then we should listen. What do you think?”
I said nothing and thought: “My relative’s words make sense. Brother Wu’s fellowship is enlightening and what he said is in line with the Bible, not at all like how the rumors portrayed it to be. No matter what, I should listen more first before making a decision.”
Deeply Sleeping in the Dream
After dinner, my daughter-in-law and her parents were listening to the sermon, and I also had a listen. In listening, I suddenly heard: No matter how ardently you pursued or how much you have spent and worked for God in the past, as long as you don’t accept God’s work in the last days and have no change in your disposition, you will never be able to enter the kingdom of heaven.
Hearing this, I became anxious: “What? I’ll never be able to enter the kingdom of heaven if I don’t accept this stage of work? I have spent for the Lord for decades; will this be in vain?” I resisted it so much that I couldn’t listen to a word anymore. That night, I tossed and turned in bed and was unable to fall asleep. I continuously thought: “Over these years, I have been spending and working for the Lord with all my heart. Could my efforts be futile? There are so many people who toil tirelessly and sacrifice for the Lord. Will their spending all be in vain, too?” No matter what, I just couldn’t accept this kind of statement.
The next day, the brothers and sisters came to meet with me, but I didn’t want to listen in the slightest and turned my back on them. Seeing this, a sister asked me about my situation. I didn’t reply to her. Then she communicated with me and said: “Sister, we can seek together if you have any difficulties or questions. The Lord said: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:3). In regard to the word and work of the Lord, we should carefully seek and investigate.”
At that moment, my daughter-in-law and her parents were all there. In front of them, I was embarrassed to argue with her, so I said, “There are so many people who work hard for the Lord in the Age of Grace. Could it be that they all can’t enter the heavenly kingdom if they don’t accept this stage of work? I can’t understand this issue.”
Calling With Love
Brother Wu said, “Sister, we human beings have no say in which people are able to enter the kingdom of heaven. About this let’s look at the Lord Jesus’ words.” So saying, he opened the Bible and read, “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven. Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:21-23).
After he finished reading, I said, “Previously, I have read these verses of scripture, and also discussed them with my co-workers. But our opinions are different on what kind of people are those who abide by the will of the Father in heaven. Most of my brothers and sisters think sacrificing and laboring for the Lord is abiding by the will of the Father in heaven, and is what the Lord praises.”
Brother Wu said, “The people mentioned here who cast out devils and did wonderful work in the Lord’s name were the ones who sacrificed and labored for Him. However, the Lord said that they were evildoers. This shows that sacrificing and laboring for the Lord doesn’t mean obeying God’s will. We all know that the Pharisees were familiar with the Bible, toiled for God, and compassed land and sea spreading the gospel. Externally, they were expending for God and had some good deeds, but they did this only for position and power. When they expounded the Scripture in meetings they exalted themselves and bore witness to themselves. In the end, they brought people before themselves. When the Lord Jesus incarnate came to perform His work, the Pharisees heard authority and power in the Lord’s words, and saw many Jewish people followed the Lord Jesus. This aroused their scare. In order to protect their status and living, they conspired with the Roman government to crucify the Lord Jesus. Their behaviors exposed their essence of resisting God and hating God. Thereupon, not only were they not the ones who abided by God’s will, but instead, they were those who opposed God and were cursed by God.”
While listening, I was pondering: “Right! The Pharisees had a strong knowledge of the Bible, ran around spreading the gospel and expended for God, but they finally opposed the Lord Jesus. It seems that whether one is a person who obeys God’s will cannot be judged only from his outward work and spending.”
Brother Wu continued, “Then which people are the ones who abide by the will of the Father in heaven? They are those who can practice and obey God’s word, who love God with all their heart, all their soul, and all their mind, and who have no individual ambition or desire, and do not seek repayment regardless of how much work they have done for God or how much suffering they have endured. Peter is an example. Why could he obtain God’s approval and why did the Lord give him the key to the kingdom of heaven? Let’s read 1 Peter 5:1-4, ‘The elders which are among you I exhort, who am also an elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, and also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, you shall receive a crown of glory that fades not away.’ From these scriptures, we can see that Peter pursued to shepherd God’s sheep according to God’s will, and that he did this out of his own will without trying to make deals. He pursued to be an example for others to honor the Lord, and pursued to love God and satisfy God. Even when he was nailed upside down on the cross, he could obey onto death and love God to the utmost. So he is the one who follows the will of the heavenly Father and is praised by God. In fact, we are creatures who enjoy everything bestowed by God. So expending for the Lord is the duty that we should do, just like the filial responsibilities of sons and daughters to their parents. If we treat our hard work as the bargaining chips for entering the kingdom of heaven, is this not using God, cheating God, and making deals with God? Can we win the Lord’s praise with such spending and work?”
Gradually Awaking From the Dream
At the same time as listening to Brother Wu’s fellowship, I reflected on my intention of expending for the Lord. That was when I discovered that I supported the church and helped my brothers and sisters actually all in order to be accepted by God. Especially when I obtained God’s blessings, I even more thought that working for God wouldn’t be in vain. I believed that I had done so much work, so I was surely one of those whom the Lord loved most, and that it was no doubt that I could enter into the kingdom of heaven. Today, I realized that over so many years of hard work, I had been conducting a transaction with God and taking advantage of God to exchange for the blessings of the heavenly kingdom.
At that moment, Brother Wu read me a passage of God’s words, “A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must personally do the work of changing and cleansing you; if you are only redeemed, you will be incapable of attaining sanctity. In this way you will be unqualified to share in the good blessings of God, for you have missed out a step in God’s work of managing man, which is the key step of changing and perfecting. And so you, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance.”
He communed, “From God’s words, we can see that although we have obtained the forgiveness of the Lord Jesus through His redemption, our satanic nature such as selfishness, greed, arrogance, conceitedness, crookedness, and treachery still resides. These satanic natures are the origin of our committing sins. Dominated by the arrogant and conceited nature, when others don’t act as we desire, we will reveal hot blood and always want them to listen to us and act according to our desires, and in working and preaching, we often show off ourselves, attempting to obtain the high regard and admiration of others. Dominated by the selfish and mean nature, we always consider our own interests in everything. Even though we expend for God, we make deals with Him for the sake of obtaining blessings and entering the heavenly kingdom. Dominated by the crooked and deceitful nature, we frequently have suspicions about others, and frequently tell lies and cheat. If we don’t resolve these satanic dispositions, we still can’t stop ourselves from committing sins and resisting God. The Bible says, ‘Holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord’ (Hebrews 12:14). God is righteous and holy. How can we, such filthy and corrupt people, be fit to enter His kingdom? So, only if we accept God’s work of judgment by the word in the last days, can we cast off the control and bonds of satanic nature, and attain cleansing to become a person who obeys God and loves God. Only then can we be approved by God and enter into His kingdom.”
Completely Awaking From the Dream
From Brother Wu’s fellowship I understood: I can often commit sins because there is satanic nature within me, and that if I don’t have it rooted out I can still resist God and can never see the Lord’s face. In the past, I only knew that I had sins, but didn’t know the root of sins. Today Brother Wu fellowshiped about this aspect of truth so clearly that the more I listen, the more I feel the way of Eastern Lightning extraordinary. Everything it reveals is a mystery. Could it be that the little scroll has really been opened? Has God really spoken words? I silently prayed to the Lord inside, “Oh, Lord! You led me to Japan and contact with The Church of Almighty God. Could it be that Almighty God is really Your return? Oh, my Lord! The time period on my visa is almost up. If what they said is truly the truth from You, please open up a path for me and open my heart, so that I can investigate it clearly and accept Your way from my heart.”
After that, I prayed to the Lord every day, and finally I was permitted to renew my visa for another three months. I silently gave thanks to God. Later, I began to attend meetings, and ordinarily I read God’s words carefully. Every time I read God’s words, I could gain much enlightenment, which slaked the thirst of my parched spirit. What’s more, Almighty God’s words turned around a lot of my wrong notions. Gradually my heart opened.
At one meeting, I asked a sister, “We all live in sins, and are controlled and restrained by corrupt dispositions. How then do Almighty God’s words judge and purify us?”
The sister read me a passage of Almighty God’s words, “In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, expose the essence of man, and dissect his words and deeds. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out the normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, those words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with just a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes it over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth that man does not possess at all. Only methods of this kind are deemed judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt substance and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God.”
The sister fellowshiped, “In the last days, Almighty God has expressed all the truths that mankind needs to gain salvation, and revealed our corrupt dispositions and erroneous views of pursuit hidden in the depth of our hearts, allowing us to have some knowledge of our own corrupt nature and the wrong path that we walk. For example, in the Age of Grace, we all thought that expending and working for God was obeying God’s will and that it was natural to exchange for the blessings of the heavenly kingdom. But after accepting the work of Almighty God, under the judgment and revelation of God’s words, we see that our nature is arrogant and conceited, selfish and mean, and that we always pursue the principle of how to take advantage of something and not be taken advantage of. As a creature, we only know to receive God’s grace and blessings, but never know how to repay His love. We even want to use the mere bit of spending to exchange for the blessings of the heavenly kingdom. We are truly lacking in reason. Then, we start putting aside our incorrect intentions and views, only pursuing to fulfill our duties as created beings. Meanwhile, when we undergo the judgment of God’s words, God reveals to us His righteous disposition that doesn’t tolerate offense, which makes us have a God-fearing heart. We no longer dare to live relying on satanic corrupt disposition and start forsaking our flesh to practice the truth. And in real life, God also prepares a variety of circumstances and events to test and reveal us, and to deal with, prune and discipline us in a practical manner. Only through truly experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement, dealing and pruning, can we have our satanic disposition changed bit by bit. In the end, we will achieve obedience and reverence to God. Today we are lucky to experience God’s work of judgment in the last days and this is God’s supreme love and salvation for us.”
Welcoming the Lord’s Return With Joy
The sister’s fellowship let me see that the truths expressed by Almighty God are too abundant. Not only have they resolved many of my conceptions, but they also made me know my own corruptions and God’s disposition, and pointed out the path to changes to disposition for me. Besides, God’s work of salvation in the last days is very practical. As long as we act according to God’s words, we can cast away our corrupt dispositions bit by bit to achieve purification. In the end, we can become the people who submit to God and obey His will, and be saved to enter God’s kingdom. Thinking of this, I felt very moved in my heart. I realized that my nature was too arrogant and too disobedient, so that I refused to seek and investigate God’s work for blindly believing the negative propaganda of Chinese Communist Party and the religious circles, and nearly missed God’s salvation of the last days. Thank Almighty God for overlooking my foolishness and ignorance, guiding me to come to Japan from China and trying His utmost to save me.
Now I have accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days for nearly three months. I feel that during this short three months, I have gained more than I did in my over twenty years’ faith in the Lord. God has revealed all the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, so I have been completely certain that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus whom I have been desperately waiting for. He is the Almighty who opened up the scroll and is the only true God who leads me to enter the kingdom of heaven. Thank Almighty God for letting me hear His voice in a foreign land and catch up with the footsteps of the Lamb. I have found the path to enter the kingdom of heaven and have the opportunity to realize my dream of the heavenly kingdom. Thanks be to Almighty God!
From: Grow in Christ