After Experiencing Two Spiritual Battles, I See Clearly the Modern Day Pharisees
By Anna, Italy
“See what you’re believing in?” said my husband, brandishing his cell phone to show me the online information.
“I believe in Almighty God, the one, true God, the One who holds sovereignty over all things, and the God who expresses the truth and guides us along the right path in life!”
“Fine, I can’t convince you! But I’m going to contact our priest. See if he can talk some sense into you.”
I Welcome the Return of the Lord and Become Embroiled in a Fierce Spiritual Battle
I was originally a Catholic. In early October 2018, Sister Huang and Sister Lin in my church testified to me that the Lord had returned already as the incarnated Almighty God. Through reading Almighty God’s words, I came to understand many truths and mysteries I hadn’t previously understood, such as the mystery of God’s six-thousand-year management plan, and such truths and mysteries as God’s name and His incarnation. These truths opened my eyes and my heart was shaken to its core. I saw that Almighty God was revealing God’s own work and heavenly mysteries, and I felt it to be very likely that Almighty God was indeed the Lord Jesus returned. In this way, after three months of seeking and investigating, I became certain that Almighty God is the second coming of the Lord Jesus, and I joyfully accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. I’d never expected for my husband to try to stop me from believing in Almighty God after reading some lies online, and that he would also get our priest to try and talk me out of it….
Sure enough, my husband got the priest to agree to see me. Agitated, I thought: “Should I go? If the priest is a good servant, then when I tell him the news of the Lord’s return, wouldn’t he then lead the congregation to accept the Lord’s new work together? I understand too few truths right now, however, so if he asks me some questions, I won’t be able to answer them. How then will I be able to bear witness for God?” That night, I tossed and turned in bed, unable to sleep, and my heart was in turmoil. The next day, I decided to meet with the priest. I said a prayer to God: “O God! No matter what happens, I will go see the priest and tell him the good news of Your coming. As to whether or not he will accept it, that will depend on whether or not he is a lover of truth.”
Battle One: My Contest With the Priest
The next day, as my husband and I made our way to see the priest, I prayed constantly to the Lord in my heart, asking Him to guide me and give me the right words to say. When we got to the church, the priest smilingly welcomed us into a meeting room, and a nun beside him warmly beckoned for us to sit. The priest then gently said to me, “How have you been? How come you don’t come to church anymore? Have you been busy?”
I replied, “I’m good, thank you. I’ve not been busy.”
The priest looked at me and said, “Lately, I’ve heard that people from Eastern Lightning are preaching everywhere. This is a heretical church, so you’d best be careful!”
I thought to myself: “You’ve clearly been talking with my husband behind my back. You know that I now believe in Almighty God and you want to try and stop me, but you still want to beat around the bush.” I therefore cut straight to the point, and said, “We can’t judge what kind of church The Church of Almighty God is without first seeking and investigating — this is something the Lord teaches us. When the Lord came to perform His work, didn’t the Pharisees at that time judge the Lord’s work to be heresy? Although they were constantly waiting for the coming of the Messiah, when the Messiah actually came and was called Jesus, His work was at odds with their notions and so they denied the Lord. Though they heard the truth in the words of the Lord, they still did not seek it, but instead they relied on their own notions and imaginings to wildly resist the Lord. They used the fact that the Lord didn’t keep the Sabbath and didn’t go to temple as excuses to condemn His work, until finally they nailed Him to the cross, and thus they were cursed and punished by the Lord. This is a lesson written in blood, and we have to learn it! In recent months, I have read the words of Almighty God and I am certain that Almighty God is the second coming of the Lord. He has opened the book mentioned in Revelation, revealed all the secrets of the Bible, and shown us the path to get into the kingdom of heaven. Moreover, Almighty God’s words have been published online for many years now, and there are many people who sincerely believe in the Lord and who yearn for Him to appear who have read Almighty God’s words and have recognized them as the voice of the Lord. They now follow the Lord’s footsteps and have returned before Almighty God. Now, not only has Almighty God’s work of the last days spread throughout the Chinese mainland, but it has also extended throughout the entire universe, so why don’t you seek and investigate it? Why do you have to condemn it so arbitrarily? You should be a good servant, and the duty the Lord has given you is to lead the faithful to know the Lord and to accept His salvation of the last days. Do you really want to be like the Pharisees and resist the Lord?”
Is the Second Coming of the Lord Still Named Jesus?
The priest haughtily raised his head and looked disdainfully at me, saying, “You say that the Lord has returned and is called Almighty God. Is there a biblical basis for this claim?”
Unflustered and unhurried, I said, “There is a prophecy in the Bible about God’s new name.” Totally heedless of what I’d just said, the nun then said, “Find proof in the Bible and show it to me.” I took the Bible and flipped through to Revelation, chapter 1 verse 8: “I am Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, saith the Lord God, who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” I found the words “the Almighty” and showed them to her. She glared at me and said gravely, “I’ll only believe it when you can find the exact two words of ‘Almighty God.’” Still remaining calm, I said, “The Almighty mentioned in the Bible is in fact Almighty God. Jehovah, Jesus and Almighty God — these three are all God’s names and are all the different names adopted by God in different ages. God has no name, really, but only takes names because of the needs of His work. What’s more, God uses His name to begin a new age and He uses His name to represent His disposition and His work in that age. For example, God took the name ‘Jehovah’ in the Age of Law, and He used that name to lead the Israelites of that age in their lives on earth; in the Age of Grace, God incarnate took the name ‘Jesus’ to perform the work of redeeming mankind; and in the Age of Kingdom, God will perform the work to end the age, and He uses the name of Almighty God, to bring the old age to a close and begin a new age. From this, we can see that God changes His name each time He performs a new stage of work, and He asks mankind in different ages to call upon His name in that particular age and so obtain the work of the Holy Spirit, and thereby achieves His goal of saving mankind. Although God takes different names in different ages, no matter how His name may change, His essence never changes; He is forever the Creator, and He is God Himself, yesterday, today, and forever.”
The priest then spoke to me contemptuously, saying, “You really understand a lot, don’t you? Is that what you think?”
I didn’t know what to say to this, and after calling on the Lord in my heart, I said bravely, “I’m a created being that has been corrupted by Satan, too, and I am just a speck of dust. What I’ve just fellowshiped with you is only what I’ve understood by reading Almighty God’s words. The Lord once said: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:3). As long as we are willing to be humble and are willing to seek the truth, then God will enlighten us so that we can hear and understand His voice….”
Before I’d even finished speaking, the expression on the normally courteous and affable priest’s face suddenly changed, and he stabbed his finger at me and said, “We priests study theology for four years and we serve as deacons for a few years after that. We remain unmarried for the Lord, so would I really not know if the Lord had returned?”
The priest then took out his cell phone and showed me the notice from the Pope telling all churches to resist The Church of Almighty God. I couldn’t believe it; I’d explained so much, but he hadn’t listened to a word, and was now using a man’s words to condemn the work of God. I felt a note of sadness pass through my heart. I never would have thought that a priest who bore the Bible in his hands every day and who seemed so pious on the outside would be so arrogant and rigid when faced with God’s new work, without any thought to seek or yearn for it at all. Angry now, I asked him, “Do you believe in a man or in the Lord?”
He had nothing to say to this, but banged the table in his fury, and said, “How could the Lord Jesus have returned?”
It was the first time I’d seen the priest so angry and I was a little afraid, so I prayed to Almighty God: “O Almighty God! Please rid me of my fearful, quaking heart. No matter what the priest says, my resolve to follow You shall not change.” I said calmly, “The Word Appears in the Flesh contains the words expressed by Almighty God Himself; it is the Bible of the Age of Kingdom and it is the scroll that was prophesied in Revelation. Whether you believe it or not, the Lord has indeed come upon the earth, and He is expressing the truth and performing the work of judgment beginning in the house of God.”
The priest saw that I wasn’t listening to him, so he said helplessly to my husband, “She can’t come to church anymore unless you’re with her. And even if she does come, you mustn’t let her shoot her mouth off.” He then turned to me and gave me a warning. “If I see anyone preaching the gospel of Almighty God, then I’ll call the police!”
My husband saw that the priest could not convince me, and his face reddened, and he burst into tears. We’d been married for so many years and this was the first time I’d ever seen him cry. He had been so good to me all these years and seeing him cry for my sake now made my heart falter…. Just then, I thought of God’s words which say: “At all times, My people must be on guard against the cunning schemes of Satan … which will stop you falling into Satan’s trap, at which time it will be too late for regrets.” I suddenly realized that this was Satan’s cunning scheme. Satan saw that the priest had failed to bring me over to his side, and so it was now using my emotions to control me. I must not fall into its trap, I thought, but must keep to the true way no matter what!
The nun then seized her chance to speak and said, “We believers in the Lord have to first make sure that our families are happy. You two are both believers and yet you’re always arguing. Your husband is so upset over what you’re doing and that shows that your belief is wrong. You’d best think carefully about whether what you believe in is right or wrong.”
I retorted justly yet sternly, “I haven’t argued with him. He’s crying because he wants to try and stop me from believing in God, and there’s nothing I can do about it.”
The priest saw that I was resolved and that there was nothing left to discuss, and he was at a loss as to what to do about it. He therefore stood and went along with what the nun had said, saying, “Go home and think hard on it.” Then the conversation was over.
This Experience Allows Me to See the Priest’s True Colors
When we’d left the church, I took a deep breath and felt all the tension leave my body. I thanked God for protecting me, for keeping me from being constrained by the priest and for enabling me to stand my ground. I also thanked God for enabling me to gain discernment of the true colors of the priest and the nun by means of this practical situation. I had thought that they were God’s kindhearted servants who understood the Bible and that they would be able to accept God’s work of the last days. I never expected that, when they heard the news of the Lord’s return, they would be so hostile, without the slightest desire to seek or investigate it, and had even gone so far as to threaten to call the police so that brothers and sisters preaching the gospel would be arrested. This truly allowed me to see their true colors very clearly. They seemed so pious on the outside, yet their essence was incredibly truth-hating and God-defying — they were the wicked servants exposed by God’s work of the last days! I decided I would never again look to them for anything and that I would never be deceived by them again.
My husband saw that the talk had done no good, and he spoke indignantly to me, saying, “If you don’t listen to the priest then I’ll tell your parents.” I replied, “Do what you want.” After saying this, however, I was a little worried. The CCP frantically arrests and persecutes Christians in The Church of Almighty God in China, so I was afraid that if my mom and dad found out that I was now believing in Almighty God, then they would travel overseas to try and stop me. Just then, God’s words came to mind: “I am your support and your shield, and all is in My hands, so what are you afraid of?” God’s words gave me faith and strength. “Yes!” I thought. “God is the Master of all things, and whether my husband tells my parents or not and whether my parents will try to stop me or not is all in God’s hands. If they do end up coming here, then God’s good will will be behind it. With God as my support, there is no need to worry. Anyway, whatever happens and no matter who tries to stop me from believing in Almighty God, I’ll follow God till the very end.”
Over the days that followed, my husband confiscated my cell phone in an attempt to stop me from believing in Almighty God, and he kept his eye on me every day. I was unable to attend regular meetings with my sisters in the church, nor was I able to read God’s words. I felt very anxious and I was afraid that, without the provision of God’s words, I would slowly grow apart from God. I therefore prayed constantly to God: “O Almighty God! I ask that You open up a way out for me so that I may read Your words and attend church meetings.”
The Truth Behind the Battles in the Spirit World Is Revealed and My Faith Strengthens to Bear Witness for God
Thanks be to God for hearing my prayers. One day, my husband just happened to be out when a sister came looking for me. After I’d told her about the priest’s and the nun’s attempts to harass me, she read me a passage of God’s words: “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?”
She then gave fellowship, saying, “We can see from God’s words that when we accept God’s work of the last days, Satan then comes to try to stop us. Because Satan wants to destroy God’s work and prevent God from gaining us, it therefore uses all manner of people, events and things to harass us. Its goal in doing this is to make us deny and betray God, and ultimately to leave God, to be under its domain once again and be devoured by it. For example, the priest was using the letter of the Bible to try to deceive you, and even went so far as to threaten you with calling the police. Your husband is also using emotions to harass you, and these are all the cunning schemes Satan uses to stop you from turning to God. Therefore, only by thoroughly understanding the battles in the spirit world, by praying and relying on God more, and by correcting our motives and standing our ground can we obtain God’s guidance and protection, and not get stolen away by Satan.”
After listening to the sister’s fellowship, I understood that the attempts made by the priest and the nun to obstruct my belief, as well as my husband’s attempts to coerce me, were all part of a spiritual battle, and they were all cunning schemes enacted by Satan to stop me from accepting the true way. Thanks be to God for protecting me and for preventing me from falling into Satan’s trap. Once I’d understood God’s will, my resolution became firm: No matter who might try to harass me, I would stand on the side of God and never leave Him!
When the sister left, she gave me a book of God’s words. I was overjoyed. Every day, when my husband went out to collect our child from school, I would secretly read God’s words. With the guidance of God’s words, I felt my heart strengthen and become energized. Although I still didn’t know what the future might hold, I had the faith to rely on God and experience whatever may come.
Battle Two: I Counter the Blows of the Pastor and Elder
At noon one day, a pastor and an elder from my mother-in-law’s church suddenly paid us a visit. I tensed at once and hurriedly prayed to Almighty God in my heart: “O Almighty God, I don’t know what this pastor and elder are doing here, and I don’t know what will happen. No matter what, I ask that You give me the right words to say and make me able to stand witness for You.” After praying, my restless heart calmed down.
All smiles, the elder introduced them both and then, pretending to be curious, said, “You’re a Catholic, aren’t you? Let me see your Bible.” My husband then passed my Bible to him. He flipped through the pages and said, “Faith in the Lord is the only correct faith. We mustn’t believe in anything else, especially Eastern Lightning, or The Church of Almighty God as it is also called. The CCP government is now doing all it can to oppose that church, and it has also stated that when someone starts to believe in Almighty God, then their family ends up broken. You must not believe in Almighty God, otherwise what will become of your family in the future?”
Hearing him say this, I replied indignantly, “You say that believing in Almighty God can break one’s family, but this is a rumor and an outright lie put about by the CCP, pure and simple! Have you forgotten how the CCP destroys crosses, how it forces various big online sellers to stop selling Bibles, and how it even goes so far as to arrest and imprison defenseless Christians? The CCP is atheist, it hates God and resists God, and it opposes God in all things. Over the past two years, in particular, the CCP’s persecution of Christians has only gained in intensity. To stop people from believing in God, it frantically arrests and persecutes Christians which has resulted in countless numbers of Christians having to flee their homes and live in homelessness. The CCP is the real reason behind the breaking up of families, and it is the chief culprit behind the destruction of family harmony! And yet it shamelessly fabricates rumors saying that belief in Almighty God destroys families. The CCP turns the truth on its head and it is utterly without shame!” After listening to me, for the moment the elder had nothing he could say to me.
The True Meaning Behind Jesus Saying, “It Is Consummated” Upon the Cross
The pastor, who had been standing to the side, then said, “The Bible says: ‘Jesus therefore, when he had taken the vinegar, said: It is consummated. And bowing his head, he gave up the ghost’ (John 19:30). When the Lord Jesus said, ‘It is consummated’ upon the cross, He meant that God’s work to save us was finished. When the Lord comes again in the last days, He comes to raise us up into the kingdom of heaven. And yet The Church of Almighty God states that the Lord has come again and is performing a new work to save man. How can that be possible?”
Hearing him say this, I prayed and sought in silence, asking how I should bear witness to God. Thanks be to God, I thought of a sister in a meeting I had previously attended who had given me fellowship on just this aspect of the truth, and so I said, “When the Lord Jesus said, ‘It is consummated,’ He meant that the work of the Age of Grace was finished, that is, God’s work to redeem mankind was finished. He did not mean that God’s entire management plan to save mankind was finished. Because the Lord Jesus performed the work of redemption, that is that He saved us from the law, our sins were then forgiven. This did not mean, however, that we became totally purified. Because we are often still capable of frequently committing sin involuntarily, and we live within our corrupt dispositions such as being selfish and contemptible, arrogant and self-important, insidious and deceitful, we are not holy and are therefore not able to meet the Lord, and our sinful nature yet remains. When the Lord appears openly, then, how will we be able to look upon His face and get into the kingdom of heaven? Therefore, as long as our sinful nature remains unresolved, God’s work to save mankind is not yet over. That is why the second coming of Jesus must perform another stage of work, that of judgment and purification. Only by accepting God’s work of the last days and accepting God’s judgment and chastisement will we be able to rid ourselves of our satanic nature, cast off the bonds of sin, be purified and enter into the kingdom of heaven.”
After listening to me speak, the pastor made no response. I was about to continue speaking when he turned his head and showed that he wouldn’t listen to any more. Just then, the elder said urgently, “This week, we will tell our entire congregation not to install any software on their cell phones that might allow them to make contact with The Church of Almighty God. We have to enact a strict embargo on this church.” The elder then spoke hypocritically to my husband, saying, “We’ll leave now and will pray for her. You should also keep a close eye on your wife and not let her continue to believe in Almighty God.” They then took their leave.
I See Clearly the Modern Day Pharisees and My Determination to Follow God Is Strengthened
After they’d gone, I kept thanking God in my heart for protecting me and for enabling me to fellowship about the truth to counter Satan’s cunning scheme. Thinking over the harassment I’d been put under by the priest, the nun, the pastor and the elder, I saw clearly the true faces of these church leaders who pretended to serve God and yet actually resisted Him. God’s words say: “Do you wish to know the root of why the Pharisees opposed Jesus? Do you wish to know the substance of the Pharisees? They were full of fantasies about the Messiah. What’s more, they believed only that the Messiah would come, yet did not seek the truth of life. And so, even today they still await the Messiah, for they have no knowledge of the way of life, and do not know what the way of truth is. How, say you, could such foolish, stubborn and ignorant people gain God’s blessing? How could they behold the Messiah? They opposed Jesus because they did not know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work, because they did not know the way of truth spoken by Jesus, and, furthermore, because they did not understand the Messiah. And since they had never seen the Messiah, and had never been in the company of the Messiah, they made the mistake of paying empty tribute to the name of the Messiah while opposing the substance of the Messiah by any means. These Pharisees in substance were stubborn, arrogant, and did not obey the truth. The principle of their belief in God is: No matter how profound Your preaching, no matter how high Your authority, You are not Christ unless You are called the Messiah. Are these views not preposterous and ridiculous?” “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?”
Almighty God exposes the root cause behind the resistance to God of the leaders of the religious world, and they are just the same as the Pharisees who resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus in olden times. Although the Pharisees believed in God and served God and were well-versed in the Bible and appeared pious on the outside, when the Lord Jesus appeared and performed His work, they had no desire whatsoever to seek the truth. They saw instead that the Lord Jesus’ work was at odds with their own notions, and so they used the letter of the Bible to condemn His work. Although they could clearly see that the Lord Jesus’ work and words were possessed of authority and power, they still didn’t let go of their notions and seek with an open heart, but instead when they saw the ever increasing numbers of people who followed the Lord Jesus, they became afraid that no one would follow them anymore. Therefore, so as to keep their positions and livelihoods, they did all their utmost to find any excuse to oppose the Lord Jesus, and finally they colluded with the Roman authorities and had the Lord Jesus crucified upon the cross. And now that tragedy is playing out all over again. When the Lord Jesus returns to express the truth and perform His work of judging, chastising and purifying mankind, these sanctimonious religious leaders reveal their true colors. The priests and pastors believe that just because they understand a little theological knowledge then they must understand the truth, and they even believe that by working hard, being self-restrained and staying celibate their whole lives they must then have the capital to get into the kingdom of heaven. When someone testifies to them of the new work being performed by the Lord, they become arrogant and self-righteous, they stubbornly cling to the Bible and to their own notions and imaginings, and they resist and condemn the second coming of Jesus. Not only that, but they also try frantically to stop the faithful from welcoming the second coming of Jesus, and I saw that they were not people who loved the truth or knew God at all. So as to control the faithful and for the sake of their own positions and livelihoods, they seal off the church, and even call the police to arrest brothers and sisters who preach Almighty God’s gospel. They forbid the faithful from accepting the true way and from attaining God’s salvation of the last days. Their every action and deed is just as the Lord Jesus said: “But woe to you scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites; because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men, for you yourselves do not enter in; and those that are going in, you suffer not to enter” (Matthew 23:13). I saw that the pastors and elders are simply not lovers of the truth but are instead the hypocritical Pharisees and are the wicked servants trying to stop us from investigating and accepting the true way — they are the antichrists exposed by God in the last days.
Recollections of My Experiences
Through these experiences, I came to recognize the almightiness and wisdom of God. God moves heaven and earth to perfect people and, through the harassment of the priest, the pastor and the elder, He allowed me to see clearly their antichrist essence, and I came to have true faith in God. Thinking back over this time, I know that God has always been protecting me and watching over me. When the priest’s threats frightened and disturbed me into weakness, God’s words came to my rescue and gave me faith and strength, and they enabled me to stand firm; when the pastor and elder tried to use religious notions to deceive me and I didn’t know how to respond, God enlightened me and guided me just in time. He gave me the right words to say to refute their fallacies and to shame Satan into retreating. Through these experiences, I saw that my desire to follow God was strengthened, and I came to appreciate with my entire being that God is right beside me and that He is my support at need. I truly came to feel that only God is our Lord and having God beside us is the greatest blessing. I feel satisfied and joyful, and the name of Almighty God is worthy of eternal praise.
Although my husband still opposes my belief in Almighty God, I rely on the wisdom and faith that God bestows on me, and I continue to attend meetings, preach the gospel and perform my duty. My husband no longer has the power to constrain me and I have made a resolution to unswervingly follow Almighty God and never look back!