Concerning Appellations and Identity
If you wish to be fit for use by God, you must know the work of God, you must know the work that He did previously (in the New and Old Testaments), and, moreover, you must know His work of today; which is to say, you must know the three stages of God’s work performed over 6,000 years. If you are asked to spread the gospel, then you will not be able to do so without knowing the work of God. Someone may ask you about what your God has said about the Bible, the Old Testament, and Jesus’ work and words of that time. If you cannot speak of the inside story of the Bible, then they will not be convinced. At that time, Jesus talked much of the Old Testament with His disciples. Everything they read was from the Old Testament; the New Testament was only written several decades after Jesus was crucified. To spread the gospel, you should principally grasp the inner truth of the Bible, and God’s work in Israel, which is the work done by Jehovah, and you also have to understand the work done by Jesus. These are the issues that all people are most concerned about, and the inside story of those two stages of work is what they have not heard. When spreading the gospel, first put aside talk of the Holy Spirit’s work of today. This stage of work is beyond their reach, because what you pursue is that which is most lofty of all—a knowledge of God, and a knowledge of the work of the Holy Spirit—and nothing is more exalted than these two things. If you first talk about that which is lofty, it will be too much for them, for no one has experienced such work by the Holy Spirit; it has no precedent, and it is not easy for man to accept. Their experiences are old things from the past, with some occasional work by the Holy Spirit. What they experience is not the Holy Spirit’s work today, or God’s will today. They still act according to old practices, with no new light, and no new things.
In the age of Jesus, the Holy Spirit mainly did His work in Jesus, whilst those who served Jehovah wearing priestly robes in the temple did so with unwavering loyalty. They also had the work of the Holy Spirit, but were unable to grasp God’s present will, and merely remained faithful to Jehovah in accordance with the old practices, and were without new guidance. Jesus came and brought new work, yet those who served in the temple did not have new guidance, nor did they have new work. Serving in the temple, they could merely uphold the old practices, and without leaving the temple, they were simply incapable of having any new entry. The new work was brought by Jesus, and Jesus did not go into the temple to do His work. He only did His work outside the temple, for the scope of God’s work had changed long ago. He did not work within the temple, and when man served God there it served only to keep things as they were, and could not bring about any new work. Likewise, religious people today still worship the Bible. If you spread the gospel to them, then they will argue with you about the Bible; and if, when they talk about the Bible, you are at a loss for words and have nothing to say, then they will think that you are foolish in your faith. They will say, “You don’t even know the Bible, the word of God, so how can you say that you believe in God?” Then they will look down on you, and will also say, “Since the One you believe in is God, why doesn’t He tell you all about the Old and New Testament? Since He has brought His glory from Israel to the East, why doesn’t He know the work done in Israel? Why doesn’t He know the work of Jesus? If you don’t know, then that proves that you haven’t been told; since He is the second incarnation of Jesus, how could He not know these things? Jesus knew the work done by Jehovah; how could He not?” When the time comes, they will all ask you such questions. Their heads are full of such things; how could they not ask? Those of you who are within this stream do not focus on the Bible, for you have kept abreast of the step-by-step work done by God today, you have witnessed this step-by-step work with your own eyes, and you have clearly beheld the three stages of work, and so you have had to put down the Bible and cease to study it. But they cannot not study it, for they have no knowledge of this step-by-step work. Some people will ask, “What is the difference between the work done by God incarnate and that of the prophets and apostles of times past? David was also called the Lord, and so too was Jesus; although the work they did was different, they were called the same thing. Tell me, why were their identities not the same? What John witnessed was a vision, one that also came from the Holy Spirit, and he was able to say the words that the Holy Spirit intended to say; why was the identity of John different from that of Jesus?” The words spoken by Jesus were able to fully represent God, and they fully represented the work of God. What John saw was a vision, and he was incapable of completely representing the work of God. Why is it that John, Peter, and Paul spoke many words, as Jesus did, and yet they did not have the same identity as Jesus? It is chiefly because the work they did was different. Jesus represented the Spirit of God and was the Spirit of God working directly. He did the work of the new age, the work that no one had done before. He opened up a new way, He represented Jehovah, and He represented God Himself, whereas with Peter, Paul, and David, regardless of what they were called, they only represented the identity of a creature of God, and were sent by Jesus or Jehovah. So no matter how much work they did, no matter how great the miracles they performed, they were still just creatures of God, and incapable of representing the Spirit of God. They worked in the name of God or worked after being sent by God; furthermore, they worked in the ages begun by Jesus or Jehovah, and they did no other work. They were, after all, merely creatures of God. In the Old Testament, many prophets spoke predictions, or wrote books of prophecy. No one said that they were God, but as soon as Jesus started to work, the Spirit of God bore testimony to Him as God. Why is that? At this point you should already know! Before, the apostles and prophets wrote various epistles, and made many prophecies. Later on, people chose some of them to put in the Bible, and some were lost. Since there are people who say that everything spoken by them came from the Holy Spirit, why is some of it considered good, and some of it considered bad? And why were some chosen, and others not? If they were indeed the words spoken by the Holy Spirit, would it be necessary for people to choose them? Why are the accounts of the words spoken by Jesus and the work He did different in each of the Four Gospels? Is this not the fault of those who recorded them? Some people will ask, “Since the epistles written by Paul and the other authors of the New Testament and the work that they did partly arose from the will of man, and were adulterated by the notions of man, then does there not exist human impurity in the words that You (God) speak today? Do they really contain none of the notions of man?” This stage of the work done by God is completely different from that done by Paul and the many apostles and prophets. Not only is there a difference in identity, but, principally, there is a difference in the work that is carried out. After Paul was struck down and fell before the Lord, he was led by the Holy Spirit to work, and he became one who had been sent. He therefore wrote epistles to the churches, and these epistles all followed the teachings of Jesus. Paul was sent by the Lord to work in the name of the Lord Jesus, but when God Himself came, He did not work in any name, and represented none but the Spirit of God in His work. God came to do His work directly: He was not perfected by man, and His work was not carried out upon the teachings of any man. In this stage of work God does not lead by talking of His personal experiences, but instead carries out His work directly, according to what He has. For example, the trial of service-doers, the time of chastisement, the trial of death, the time of loving God…. This is all work that has never been done before, and is work that is of the present age, rather than of the experiences of man. In the words I have spoken, which are the experiences of man? Do they not all come directly from the Spirit, and are they not issued forth by the Spirit? It is just that your caliber is so poor that you are unable to see through to the truth! The practical way of life that I speak of is to guide the path, and has never been spoken by anyone before, nor has anyone ever experienced this path, or known of this reality. Before I uttered these words, no one had ever spoken them. No one had ever talked of such experiences, nor had they ever spoken such details, and, furthermore, no one had ever pointed out such states to reveal these things. No one had ever led the path that I lead today, and if it were led by man, then it would not be a new way. Take Paul and Peter, for example. They did not have their own personal experiences before Jesus led the path. It was only after Jesus led the path that they experienced the words spoken by Jesus, and the path led by Him; from this they gained many experiences, and they wrote the epistles. And so, the experiences of man are not the same as the work of God, and the work of God is not the same as the knowledge described by the notions and experiences of man. I have said, time and again, that today I am leading a new path, and doing new work, and My work and utterances are different from those of John and all the other prophets. Never do I first gain experiences and then speak of them to you—that is not the case at all. If it was, would that not have delayed you long ago? In the past, the knowledge that many spoke of was also exalted, but all of their words were only spoken based upon those of the so-called spiritual figures. They did not guide the way, but came from their experiences, came from what they had seen, and from their knowledge. Some were of their notions, and some consisted of experience that they had summarized. Today, the nature of My work is totally different from theirs. I have not experienced being led by others, nor have I accepted being perfected by others. Furthermore, all that I have spoken and fellowshiped is unlike that of anyone else and has never been spoken by anyone else. Today, regardless of who you are, your work is carried out upon the basis of the words I speak. Without these utterances and work, who would be capable of experiencing these things (the trial of service-doers, the time of chastisement…), and who would be able to speak of such knowledge? Are you really incapable of seeing this? Regardless of the step of work, as soon as My words are spoken, you begin to fellowship in accordance with My words, and work according to them, and it is not a way that any one of you has thought of. Having come this far, are you incapable of seeing such a clear and simple question? It is not a way that someone has thought up, nor is it based on that of any spiritual figure. It is a new path, and even many of the words once spoken by Jesus no longer apply. What I speak is the work of opening a new epoch, and it is work that stands alone; the work that I do, and the words that I speak, are all new. Is this not the new work of today? The work of Jesus was also like this. His work was also different from that of the people in the temple, and so too did it differ from the work of the Pharisees, nor did it bear any resemblance to that done by all the people of Israel. After witnessing it, people could not make up their minds: “Was it really done by God?” Jesus did not hold to the law of Jehovah; when He came to teach man, all that He spoke was new and different to what was said by the ancient saints and prophets of the Old Testament, and because of this, people remained uncertain. This is what makes man so hard to deal with. Prior to accepting this new stage of work, the path that the majority of you walked was to practice and enter upon the foundation of that of those spiritual figures. But today, the work that I do is greatly different, and so you are unable to decide whether it is right or not. I care not what path you walked before, nor am I interested in whose “food” you ate, or whom you took as your “father.” Since I have come and brought new work to guide man, all who follow Me must act in accordance with what I say. No matter how powerful the “family” you hail from, you must follow Me, you must not act according to your former practices, your “foster father” should step down, and you should come before your God to seek your rightful share. The entirety of you is in My hands, and you should not devote too much blind belief to your foster father; he cannot completely control you. The work of today stands alone. All that I say today is obviously not based upon a foundation from the past; it is a new beginning, and if you say that it is created by the hand of man, then you are one who is so blind as to be beyond saving!
Isaiah, Ezekiel, Moses, David, Abraham, and Daniel were leaders or prophets among the chosen people of Israel. Why were they not called God? Why did the Holy Spirit not bear testimony to them? Why did the Holy Spirit bear testimony to Jesus as soon as He began His work and started to speak His words? And why did the Holy Spirit not bear testimony to others? They, men who were of flesh, were all called “Lord.” Regardless of what they were called, their work represents their being and substance, and their being and substance represent their identity. Their substance is not related to their appellations; it is represented by what they expressed, and what they lived out. In the Old Testament, there was nothing out of the ordinary in being called Lord, and a person might be called in any which way, but his substance and inherent identity were immutable. Among those false Christs, false prophets, and deceivers, are there not also those who are called “God”? And why are they not God? Because they are incapable of doing the work of God. At root they are human, deceivers of people, not God, and so they do not have the identity of God. Was David not also called Lord among the twelve tribes? Jesus was also called Lord; why was Jesus alone called God incarnate? Was Jeremiah not also known as the Son of man? And was Jesus not known as the Son of man? Why was Jesus crucified on behalf of God? Is it not because His substance was different? Is it not because the work that He did was different? Does a title matter? Although Jesus was also called the Son of man, He was the first incarnation of God, He had come to assume power, and accomplish the work of redemption. This proves that the identity and substance of Jesus were different from others who were also called the Son of man. Today, who among you dare to say that all the words spoken by those who were used by the Holy Spirit came from the Holy Spirit? Does anyone dare to say such things? If you do say such things, then why was Ezra’s book of prophecy discarded, and why was the same thing done to the books of those ancient saints and prophets? If they all came from the Holy Spirit, then why do you dare to make such capricious choices? Are you qualified to choose the work of the Holy Spirit? Many stories from Israel were also discarded. And if you believe that these writings of the past all came from the Holy Spirit, then why were some of the books discarded? If they all came from the Holy Spirit, they should all have been kept, and sent to the brothers and sisters of the churches to read. They should not have been chosen or discarded by human will; it is wrong to do that. Saying that the experiences of Paul and John were mixed with their personal insights does not mean that their experiences and knowledge came from Satan, but only that they had things that came from their personal experiences and insights. Their knowledge was according to the background of their actual experiences at the time, and who could confidently say that all of it came from the Holy Spirit? If the Four Gospels all came from the Holy Spirit, then why is it that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each said something different about the work of Jesus? If you do not believe this, then look at the accounts in the Bible of how Peter denied the Lord three times: They are all different, and they each have their own characteristics. Many who are ignorant say, “God incarnate is also a man, so can the words He speaks completely come from the Holy Spirit? If the words of Paul and John were mixed with human will, then are the words that He speaks really not mixed with human will?” People who say such things are blind and ignorant! Carefully read the Four Gospels; read what they recorded about the things that Jesus did, and the words He spoke. Each account is quite simply different, and each has its own perspective. If what was written by the authors of these books all came from the Holy Spirit, then it should all be the same and consistent. Why then are there discrepancies? Is man not extremely foolish, to be unable to see this? If you are asked to bear testimony to God, what kind of testimony can you provide? Can such a way of knowing God bear testimony to Him? If others ask you, “If the records of John and Luke were mixed with human will, then are the words spoken by your God not mixed with human will?” would you be able to give a clear answer? After Luke and Matthew had heard the words of Jesus, and seen the work of Jesus, they spoke of their own knowledge, in the manner of reminiscences detailing some of the facts of the work done by Jesus. Can you say that their knowledge was completely revealed by the Holy Spirit? Outside of the Bible, there were many spiritual figures with a higher knowledge than them, so why were their words not taken up by later generations? Were they not also used by the Holy Spirit? Know that in the work of today, I am not speaking of My own insights based upon the foundation of Jesus’ work, nor am I speaking of My own knowledge against the background of Jesus’ work. What work did Jesus do at that time? And what work am I doing today? What I do and say have no precedent. The path that I walk today has never been trodden before, it has never been walked by the people of ages and generations past. Today, it has been launched, and is this not the work of the Spirit? Even though it was the work of the Holy Spirit, the leaders of the past all carried out their work upon the foundation of others; however, the work of God Himself is different. The stage of Jesus’ work was the same: He opened up a new way. When He came, He preached the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, and said that man should repent and confess. After Jesus completed His work, Peter and Paul and others began to carry on the work of Jesus. After Jesus was nailed to the cross and ascended to heaven, they were sent by the Spirit to spread the way of the cross. Even though the words of Paul were exalted, they were also based upon the foundation laid by what Jesus had said, such as patience, love, suffering, head-covering, baptism, or other doctrines to be followed. All this was spoken upon the foundation of the words of Jesus. They were incapable of opening a new way, for they were all men used by God.
Jesus’ utterances and work at the time did not hold to doctrine, and He did not carry out His work according to the work of the law of the Old Testament. It was carried out according to the work that should be done in the Age of Grace. He labored according to the work that He had brought forth, according to His own plan, and according to His ministry; He did not work according to the law of the Old Testament. Nothing that He did was according to the law of the Old Testament, and He did not come to work to fulfill the words of the prophets. Each stage of God’s work was not performed expressly in order to fulfill the predictions of the ancient prophets, and He did not come to abide by doctrine or deliberately realize the predictions of the ancient prophets. Yet His actions did not disrupt the predictions of the ancient prophets, nor did they disturb the work that He had previously done. The salient point of His work was not abiding by any doctrine, and instead doing the work that He Himself should do. He was not a prophet or a seer, but a doer, who actually came to do the work He was supposed to do, and He came to launch His new era and carry out His new work. Of course, when Jesus came to do His work, He also fulfilled many of the words spoken by the ancient prophets in the Old Testament. So too has the work of today fulfilled the predictions of the ancient prophets of the Old Testament. It is just that I do not hold up that “yellowed old almanac,” that is all. For there is more work that I must do, there are more words that I must speak to you, and this work and these words are of far greater importance than explaining passages from the Bible, because work such as that has no great significance or value for you, and cannot help you, or change you. I intend to do new work not for the sake of fulfilling any passage from the Bible. If God only came to earth to fulfill the words of the ancient prophets of the Bible, then who is greater, God incarnate or those ancient prophets? After all, are the prophets in charge of God, or is God in charge of the prophets? How do you explain these words?
At the beginning, when Jesus had yet to officially perform His ministry, like the disciples that followed Him, sometimes He also attended meetings, and sang hymns, gave praise, and read the Old Testament in the temple. After He was baptized and arose, the Spirit officially descended upon Him and began to work, revealing His identity and the ministry that He was to undertake. Prior to this, no one knew His identity, and apart from Mary, not even John knew. Jesus was 29 when He was baptized. After His baptism was completed, the heavens were opened, and a voice said: “This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” Once Jesus had been baptized, the Holy Spirit began to bear testimony to Him in this way. Before being baptized at the age of 29, He had lived the life of an ordinary person, eating when He was supposed to eat, sleeping and dressing normally, and nothing about Him was different from others, though of course, this was only to the fleshly eyes of man. Sometimes He too was weak, and sometimes He too could not discern things, just as it is written in the Bible: His intelligence grew together with His age. These words merely show that He had an ordinary and normal humanity, and that He was not especially different from other ordinary people. He had also grown up as a normal person, and there was nothing special about Him. Yet He was under the care and protection of God. After being baptized, He began to be tempted, after which He began to perform His ministry and to work, and became possessed of power, wisdom, and authority. This is not to say that the Holy Spirit did not work in Him, or was not inside Him before His baptism. Before His baptism the Holy Spirit also dwelt inside Him but had not officially begun to work, for there are limits to when God does His work and, moreover, normal people have a normal process of growing up. The Holy Spirit had always lived within Him. When Jesus was born, He was different from others, and a morning star appeared; prior to His birth, an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him that Mary was to give birth to a male infant, and that the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit. After Jesus was baptized, the Holy Spirit began His work, but this did not mean that the Holy Spirit had only just descended upon Jesus. The saying that the Holy Spirit descended like a dove upon Him is in reference to the official start of His ministry. The Spirit of God had been within Him before, but He had not yet begun to work, for the time had not arrived, and the Spirit did not begin to work rashly. The Spirit bore testimony to Him through baptism. When He arose from the water, the Spirit began to officially work in Him, which signified that God’s incarnate flesh had begun to fulfill His ministry, and had begun the work of redemption, that is, the Age of Grace had officially begun. And so, there is a time to God’s work, no matter what work He does. After His baptism, there were no particular changes in Jesus; He was still in His original flesh. It was just that He started His work and revealed His identity, and He was full of authority and power. In this regard He was different from before. His identity was different, which is to say that there was a significant change in His status; this was the testimony of the Holy Spirit and was not the work done by man. At the beginning, people did not know, and they only came to know a little once the Holy Spirit bore testimony to Jesus in such a way. If Jesus had done great work before the Holy Spirit bore testimony to Him, but without the testimony of God Himself, then regardless of how great His work, people would never have known of His identity, for the human eye would have been incapable of seeing it. Without the step of the Holy Spirit’s testimony, no one could have recognized Him as God incarnate. If, after the Holy Spirit had borne testimony to Him, Jesus had continued to work in the same way, without any difference, then it would not have had that effect, and in this is mainly demonstrated the work of the Holy Spirit. After the Holy Spirit bore testimony, the Holy Spirit had to show Himself, so that you could clearly behold that He was God, that there was the Spirit of God within Him; God’s testimony was not wrong, and this could prove that His testimony was correct. If His work before and after the Holy Spirit’s testimony had been the same, then His incarnate ministry and the work of the Holy Spirit would not have been accentuated, and thus man would have been incapable of recognizing the work of the Holy Spirit, for there would have been no clear difference. After bearing testimony, the Holy Spirit had to uphold this testimony, and so He had to manifest His wisdom and authority in Jesus, which was different from in times past. Of course, this was not the effect of the baptism—baptism is merely a ceremony—it is just that baptism was the way to show that it was time to perform His ministry. Such work was in order to make plain the great power of God, to make plain the testimony of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit would take responsibility for this testimony until the very end. Before performing His ministry, Jesus also listened to sermons, preached and spread the gospel in various places. He did not do any great work because the time had not yet come for Him to perform His ministry, and also because God Himself humbly hid in the flesh, and did not do any work until the time was ripe. He did not do work before the baptism for two reasons: One, because the Holy Spirit had not officially descended upon Him to work (which is to say, the Holy Spirit had not bestowed upon Jesus the power and authority to do such work), and even if He had known His own identity, Jesus would have been incapable of doing the work He intended to do later on, and would have had to wait until the day of His baptism. This was God’s time, and no one was capable of contravening it, even Jesus Himself; Jesus Himself could not interrupt His own work. Of course, this was the humbleness of God, and also the law of God’s work; if God’s Spirit did not work, none could do His work. Secondly, before He was baptized, He was just a very common and ordinary man, and no different from other normal and ordinary people; this is one aspect of how God incarnate was not supernatural. God incarnate did not contravene the arrangements of the Spirit of God; He worked in an orderly way and He worked very normally. It was only after the baptism that His work had authority and power. Which is to say, even though He was God incarnate, He did not carry out any supernatural acts, and He grew up in the same way as other normal people. If Jesus had already known His own identity, had done great work all over the land prior to His baptism, and had been different from normal people, showing Himself to be extraordinary, then not only would it have been impossible for John to do his work, but there would also have been no way for God to start the next step of His work. This would therefore have proved that what God did had gone wrong, and to man, it would have appeared that the Spirit of God and the incarnate flesh of God did not come from the same source. So, the work of Jesus recorded in the Bible is work that was carried out after He was baptized, work which was done over the course of three years. The Bible does not record what He did before He was baptized because He did not do this work before He was baptized. He was merely an ordinary man and represented an ordinary man; before Jesus began to perform His ministry, He was no different from ordinary people, and others could see no difference in Him. It was only after He reached 29 that Jesus knew He had come to complete a stage of God’s work; before, He Himself did not know this, for the work done by God was not supernatural. When He attended a meeting in the synagogue at the age of twelve, Mary was looking for Him, and He just said one sentence, in the same manner as any other child: “Mother! Do you not know that I must place My Father’s will above all else?” Of course, since He was conceived by the Holy Spirit, could Jesus not have been special in some way? But His specialness did not mean that He was supernatural, but merely that He loved God more than any other young child. Although He was human in appearance, His substance was still special and different from others. It was only after the baptism, however, that He really sensed the Holy Spirit working in Him, sensed that He was God Himself. It was only when He reached the age of 33 that He truly realized that the Holy Spirit intended to carry out the work of crucifixion through Him. At the age of 32, He had come to know some inside truths, just as it is written in the Gospel of Matthew: “And Simon Peter answered and said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. … From that time forth began Jesus to show to His disciples, how that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day.” He did not know beforehand what work He was to do, but at a specific time. He did not fully know that as soon as He was born; the Holy Spirit worked gradually in Him, and there was a process to the work. If, at the very beginning, He had known that He was God, and Christ, and the incarnate Son of man, that He was to accomplish the work of crucifixion, then why did He not work before? Why was it only after telling His disciples about His ministry that Jesus felt sorrow, and prayed earnestly for this? Why did John open the way for Him and baptize Him before He had come to understand many things that He had not understood? What this proves is that it was the work of God incarnated in the flesh, and so for Him to understand, and achieve, there was a process, for He was God’s incarnate flesh, whose work was different from that done directly by the Spirit.
Every step of God’s work follows one and the same stream, and so in God’s six-thousand-year management plan, each step has been closely followed by the next, from the foundation of the world right up until today. If there were no one to pave the way, then there would be no one to come after; since there are those who come after, there are those who pave the way. In this way the work has been passed down, step-by-step. One step follows the other, and without someone to open the way, it would be impossible to begin the work, and God would have no means of taking His work forward. No step contradicts the other, and each follows the other in sequence to form a stream; this is all done by the same Spirit. But regardless of whether someone opens the way or carries on the work of another, this does not determine their identity. Is this not right? John opened the way, and Jesus carried on his work, so does this prove that the identity of Jesus is lower than that of John? Jehovah carried out His work before Jesus, so can you say that Jehovah is greater than Jesus? Whether they paved the way or carried on the work of others is not important; what is most important is the substance of their work, and the identity that it represents. Is this not right? Since God intended to work among man, He had to raise up those who could do the work of paving the way. When John had just begun to preach, he said, “Prepare you the way of the Lord, make His paths straight.” “Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He spoke thus from the very beginning, and why was he able to say these words? In terms of the order in which these words were spoken, it was John who first spoke the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, and Jesus who spoke afterward. According to the notions of man, it was John who opened up the new path, and so of course John was greater than Jesus. But John did not say he was Christ, and God did not bear testimony to him as the beloved Son of God, but merely used him to open up the way and prepare the way for the Lord. He paved the way for Jesus, but he could not work on behalf of Jesus. All the work of man was also maintained by the Holy Spirit.
In the age of the Old Testament, it was Jehovah who led the way, and the work of Jehovah represented the entire age of the Old Testament, and all of the work done in Israel. Moses merely upheld this work on earth, and his labors are considered to be the cooperation provided by man. At the time, it was Jehovah who spoke, calling to Moses, and He raised Moses up among the people of Israel, and made him lead them into the wilderness and on to Canaan. This was not the work of Moses himself, but that which was personally directed by Jehovah, and so Moses cannot be called God. Moses also set down the law, but this law was personally decreed by Jehovah. It was just that He had Moses express it. Jesus also made commandments, and He abolished the law of the Old Testament and set out the commandments for the new age. Why is Jesus God Himself? Because there is a difference. At the time, the work done by Moses did not represent the age, nor did it open a new way; he was directed ahead by Jehovah and was merely one who was used by God. When Jesus came, John had carried out a step of work of paving the way and had begun to spread the gospel of the kingdom of heaven (the Holy Spirit had started this). When Jesus came, He directly did His own work, but there was a great difference between His work and Moses’ work. Isaiah also spoke many prophecies, yet why was he not God Himself? Jesus did not speak so many prophecies, yet why was He God Himself? No one dared to say that the work of Jesus at that time all came from the Holy Spirit, nor did they dare to say it all came from the will of man, or that it was totally the work of God Himself. Man had no way of analyzing such things. It can be said that Isaiah did such work, and spoke such prophecies, and they all came from the Holy Spirit; they did not come directly from Isaiah himself, but were revelations from Jehovah. Jesus did not do a great amount of work, and did not say many words, nor did He speak many prophecies. To man, His preaching did not seem particularly exalted, yet He was God Himself, and this is inexplicable by man. No one has ever believed in John, or Isaiah, or David, nor has anyone ever called them God, or David the God, or John the God; no one has ever spoken thus, and only Jesus has ever been called Christ. This classification is made according to God’s testimony, the work He undertook, and the ministry He performed. With regard to the great men of the Bible—Abraham, David, Joshua, Daniel, Isaiah, John and Jesus—through the work they did, you can tell who is God Himself, and which kinds of people are prophets, and which are apostles. Who was used by God, and who was God Himself, is differentiated and determined by the substance and kind of work they did. If you are unable to tell the difference, then this proves that you do not know what it means to believe in God. Jesus is God because He spoke so many words, and did so much work, in particular His demonstration of many miracles. Likewise, John, too, did much work, and spoke many words, as did Moses; why were they not called God? Adam was created directly by God; why was he not called God, instead of only being called a creature? If someone says to you, “Today, God has done so much work, and spoken so many words; He is God Himself. Then, since Moses spoke so many words, he too must have been God Himself!” you should ask them in return, “At that time, why did God bear testimony to Jesus, and not John, as God Himself? Did John not come before Jesus? Which was greater, the work of John or Jesus? To man, John’s work appears greater than Jesus’, but why did the Holy Spirit bear testimony to Jesus, and not John?” The same thing is happening today! At that time, when Moses led the people of Israel, Jehovah spoke to him from amongst the clouds. Moses did not speak directly, but instead was guided directly by Jehovah. This was the work of the Israel of the Old Testament. Within Moses there was not the Spirit, nor God’s being. He could not do that work, and so there is a great difference between the work done by him and the work done by Jesus. And that is because the work they did was different! Whether someone is used by God, or is a prophet, an apostle, or God Himself, can be discerned by the nature of his work, and this will put an end to your doubts. In the Bible it is written that only the Lamb can open the seven seals. Throughout the ages, there have been many expositors of the scriptures among those great figures, and so can you say that they are all the Lamb? Can you say that their explanations all come from God? They are merely expositors; they do not have the identity of the Lamb. How could they be worthy to open the seven seals? It is true that “Only the Lamb can open the seven seals,” but He does not only come to open the seven seals; there is no necessity to this work, it is done incidentally. He is perfectly clear about His own work; is it necessary for Him to spend much time interpreting the scriptures? Must “the Age of the Lamb Interpreting the Scriptures” be added to the six thousand years of work? He comes to do new work, but He also provides some revelations about the work of times past, making people understand the truth of six thousand years of work. There is no need to explain too many passages from the Bible; it is the work of today that is key, that is important. You should know that God does not come to especially break the seven seals, but to do the work of salvation.
You only know that Jesus shall descend during the last days, but how exactly will He descend? 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 you 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. You, a sinner who has just been redeemed, are therefore incapable of directly inheriting God’s inheritance.
Without the start of this new stage of work, who knows how far you evangelists, preachers, expositors and so-called great spiritual men would go! Without the start of this new stage of work, what you talk of would be obsolete! It is either about ascending to the throne, or preparing the stature of becoming a king; either denying the self or subduing one’s body; either being patient or learning lessons from all things; either humility or love. Is this not singing the same old tune? It is just a case of calling the same thing by a different name! Either covering one’s head and breaking bread, or laying hands and praying, and healing the sick and casting out demons. Could there be any new work? Could there be any prospect of development? If you continue to lead in this way, you will blindly follow doctrine, or abide by convention. You believe your work to be so lofty, but do you not know that it was all passed and taught by those “old men” of ancient times? Is all that you say and do not the last words of those old men? Is it not what was charged by these old men before they passed away? Do you think that your actions surpass those of the apostles and prophets of past generations, and even surpass all things? The beginning of this stage of work has brought an end to your adoration of Witness Lee’s work of seeking to become a king and ascend to the throne, and it has arrested your arrogance and bluster, so that you are unable to meddle in this stage of work. Without this stage of work, you would sink ever deeper until you were irredeemable. There is too much that is old among you! Fortunately, the work of today has brought you back; otherwise, who knows what direction you would take! Since God is a God who is always new and never old, why do you not seek new things? Why do you always stick to the old things? And so, knowing the work of the Holy Spirit today is of the utmost importance!