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What the Eastern Lightning Believe
Eastern Lightning theology appears to evolve year by year, but according to respected China church expert Tony Lambert, it can be broken down into three or four main categories. This information is taken from one of the cult’s own books, summarized from Tony Lambert’s, “Lightning from the East a New Cult,” China Insight, OMF International, March-April 1998. All quotes from the next three points are taken from Lambert’s valuable essay.
(1) The Female MessiahThe cult believes God has appeared in three different eras throughout history, using different names. The first era was the Age of the Law, when God’s name was Jehovah. “He did not possess all the attributes of God, as there were some things He did not know.... When the Law of Moses was given, his work was done.”
Next was the Age of Grace. Lambert notes that during this second era, the EL believe “God changed His name to Jesus. Eastern Lightning denies the deity of Christ, stating that ‘Jesus is a created being’” and that the Trinity is “an ancient falsehood.”
The Third Age is the present “age of the Kingdom,” and God has changed His name yet again, this time to “Lightning.” In this Age, the cult claims there is “only judgment and punishment, without any grace.” This age is superior to the others. Only those who believe in the female messiah of the Third Age can be saved. Lambert notes, “Blasphemously they assert that ‘now that we have entered the Kingdom Age all the words spoken by Jesus are worthless.’”
The Eastern Lightning twists Scripture to “prove” that Jesus Christ has already returned, as a 30-year-old plain-looking Chinese woman living in Henan Province! They claim Christ already returned “as a thief in the night” in 1990, and entered the churches of China with great power. Ironically, the identity and location of the Eastern Lightning’s new messiah is unknown by members of the cult. It seems this woman named Lightning is only a fictional character rather than an actual person alive in China today.
(2) The Five Kinds of People
Eastern Lightning (EL) divides all of mankind into five categories. The Many Elder Sons are those who come from God. They were somehow “born of God before creation.” They have the same nature as God and have the power to judge, punish and curse. In the Age of the Kingdom they will judge the nations. The Many Sons were originally sinners, but they readily accepted the female messiah when they heard about her. They are believed to have now attained ten standards, including having a pure understanding, a sensitive conscience, a willing submission, and a deep love for God. They “spend all their good” and “expend all their energy” for the female messiah. The “People” are a category of the earth’s inhabitants who heard the proclamation of the Word of God (EL style), converted, and are actively seeking to attain the ten standards.
The “Servants” are those who only believe in Jesus and resist the female messiah. “All the apostles and prophets down the ages are in this category. These people are the children of Satan.... None will receive a portion in the Kingdom. After death they will be reborn [reincarnated] and only then will become effective servants of God.” It seems all Christians who refuse to join this cult would fall under this category.
Finally, the fifth category of people the EL believes exists are The Damned. They will never believe in the female messiah, strongly oppose her teaching, and will be thrown into the lake of fire to suffer eternal damnation.
(3) Attacks on the Bible
Like all cults, the EL refuses to accept the authority of the Bible, and attack it at every opportunity. They claim the Scriptures were dreamed up by Moses and other Old Testament writers who were not inspired by the Holy Spirit. Lambert notes, “They deride the Scripture, so beloved by Chinese believers. [The EL states] ‘No one has the qualifications to study Scripture. No one can understand that book. All who follow the female Christ must throw aside the Bible.’”
Now that we have read about some of the beliefs of the Eastern Lightning, you may be wondering how they have managed to convince so many Chinese Christians to join them. Surely most believers in China are not so Biblically illiterate to be sucked into this obvious trap?
The EL themselves discovered that the great majority of Christians would not join their movement and could easily see through their deception, so around 1996 they launched a new phase. They turned to violence to convert believers to their ways.
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