Chinese Cults: Eastern Lightning Part IV

“Now read this aloud,” repeated XiaoHong.

I glanced down. I couldn’t bring myself to read from the book aloud. Scanning the page, my heart sank. I realized the evening wasn’t going to be the time of fellowship I had hoped for. There were a lot of words on the page that started connecting the dots in my mind.

Jehovah. Jesus. Almighty God.

Age of Law. Age of Grace. Age of Kingdom.

Christ already returned. Christ in China. Freedom from a “corrupt disposition”.

It clicked. They aren’t normal house church members. They aren’t even Christians. They are a cult – they are Eastern Lightning!

I thought back to the conversation with Tam a couple of years back and how he described Eastern Lightning to me.

The blackmail. The danger. The violence.

How could this happen? How could I have allowed Eastern Lightning into my apartment? How could I have let them get to know me so well?

I thought back to Onion’s birthday party at Havana just weeks previous.

Coffee. Cheesecake. Rabbit. Atheist. Christian wife. Church friends.

It was all a set up!

Rabbit wasn’t an atheist. He worked for Eastern Lightning. He recruited targets. He met Christians, introduced them to his “Christian wife” and her “church friends”, wined and dined them for a time, and then let them corner those Christians he sent their way in their own homes.

It was the perfect blackmail set up. They knew me, had my phone number, knew where I worked, and had my address. Had I had family in China at the time, they would have known that, too.

Suddenly, “Rabbit” seemed less and less appropriate a nickname. “Wolf in sheep’s clothing” was much more fitting.

Lord, help me! I silently prayed. Please get me through thisI need wisdom and boldness!

I looked up, XiaoHong had a wry smile on her face, her finger still pointing into this mystery book before me. I glanced over at XiaoZhang. He was looking at XiaoHong, but sensing I had looked up, he too glanced my way.

Could they tell I was on to them?

You could cut the tension with a knife. I didn’t know what to do. Up to this point they had been so polite, typical of wolves in sheep’s clothing, I suppose.

Thinking it unwise to jump to accusing them of heresy at the risk of some sort of retaliation, I decided it was best to stay calm and try to slowly diffuse the impending situation. If things began to seem threatening, I could always threaten to call the police.

How often do cult members encounter the truth of God’s Word? I needed to show them truth.

This book in XiaoHong’s hands obviously wasn’t truth. It wasn’t the Bible. The Bible was now next to XiaoZhang on the couch. What’s with the brown paper book jacket on this volume? They are hiding the fact that it’s not the Bible.

Taking the book into my hands, I slowly closed it to look at the cover.

Just a brown book jacket. What was underneath?

“Is there a problem?” asked XiaoHong.

“Yeah. What book is this?” I managed after a gulp. I began to remove the book jacket. “Is this the Bible?”

“Yes, it’s God’s Word,” interjected XiaoZhang.

I noticed an image of a lamb laying at the foot of a cross on the cover, but hadn’t pulled the book jacket far back enough to read what was written.

I pointed at the Bible on the couch. “Then why is it seperate from what we were just reading from?” I asked.

XiaoZhang elbowed XiaoHong in the side. Not violently, but certainly hard enough to communicate she should persist in her original request.

Reaching for the book in my hands, she took it, reopened it to where she had originally flipped, and repeated, “Now read here please.”

“I can’t do that.”

“What do you mean? Why not?” They were becoming frustrated.

“We have spent the last half hour reading from the Bible. Now you swap it out for this and ask me to read it like it’s the Bible as well. I don’t know what this book is, but me reading it now would mean I think it’s God’s Word too. I can’t do that.”

“But it is God’s Word,” insisted XiaoZhang.

There was an awkward silence. It couldn’t have been more than three or four seconds. But they felt like an eternity.

XiaoZhang, who had been for the most part silent up until this mystery book had been produced from a plastic bag laying behind XiaoHong’s purse, suddenly was taking a more active role in the conversation.

“No. It’s not.” Hands trembling, I reached for my Bible, still sitting on the coffee table, and flipped it open. They weren’t the only ones who could play “point and read”. Now it was my turn.

To be continued…

This is part four in a series of posts about Eastern Lightning, also known as The Church of the Almighty God, which is a cult in China that stands in opposition to true believers there.

Posts in this series: | 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 |

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