Let’s continue to look at God’s words, “When all men are differentiated according to kind, that is, when the nature of each kind of man has been made clear, then I shall number each man among their rightful kind and put each kind into their fitting place so that I may realize My aim of salvation for mankind.” God has differentiated man into their proper categories. What is the purpose of this? The purpose is to achieve God’s goal of salvation. In the end, what is the purpose of saving man? Once each person is divided into his own specific category, those who are saved by God will also be revealed. These people receive God’s work in the last days. They are cleansed and perfected and they have obtained the truth. These people enter God’s kingdom with an appropriate placement. Some serve as priests, others lead. Some form the sons, others constitute the people and others do service. Those who do service and those who constitute the people say, “Why have I not been appointed as a priest? Why am I not one of the sons?” They have not obtained enough of the truth. This is a lot like applications for university. Those who have 90% are accepted into the best schools. Those who have 80% are accepted into slightly less prestigious schools. Those who have 70% get into even less prestigious schools and those who get 60% go to mediocre universities. There is a verse in the Bible that reads, “the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). Some people say, “How is it that accepting God’s work in the last days is so complicated? Not only do you have to seek the truth, the Almighty God’s words are too many, even more than all the words in the Bible. If I knew that believing in God was so complicated, I would not have believed. I would just concentrate on living my life happily in the world!” Are there any of you who have said this? Those who say these things, are they clever or are they stupid? These people are stupid. Do you think that the world is fun and games? Do you think wantonly living in the midst of sin is happiness? When the great disaster is upon us, “pow,” people will die instantly. They won’t even know how they died. Some people will be crushed and their head will split open. Some people will have their arms and legs broken and die after several hours of agony. All kinds of disasters will befall mankind. Once your body perishes, do you think that it is the end? Just because your body dies, do you think that your soul will not be punished? Your soul will suffer endlessly in hell, “Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48). Doesn’t the Bible contain this verse? This verse is in the Bible. If you do not believe in God today, you will suffer in hell for eternity. I won’t say how much your body will suffer or how much it will be punished. Your body will eventually perish but your soul will suffer forever in hell. This kind of suffering is many times greater than the suffering of receiving God’s work, enduring judgment and chastisement and going through trials and refinement.
Right now, our bodies go through suffering. What kind of suffering? Sometimes God’s word makes your corrupt states known. There is some pain in your heart, and you suffer a loss of face. Sometimes, you are arrogant and conceited. You say arrogant things, run amok, and you endure some dealing. You lose face and you have pain in your heart … Is this suffering great? Is it very heavy? Can you endure this kind of suffering? Some people say that they can. When you go through judgment and chastisement, you feel humiliated and you lose face. At the most, you feel dejected and depressed. Afterward, your head is lowered. Everyone else does not want to look at you. Your heart gets refined a little. Don’t you just endure this little bit of suffering? Is this suffering very intense? Can man endure this? Isn’t this something that man should endure? Moreover, God is not exposing just one person individually. He is exposing the corruption of the entire human race. Who is laughing at you? Who is looking down upon you? Isn’t this the case? When God dealt with me, when He exposed me, He did this in my face, pointing out my corruption, and everyone else was sitting on the side listening. How do you think my heart was feeling at that time? Do you think it suffered more or less than when you are receiving judgment from God’s word? This suffering was greater. When I endured this kind of suffering, I did not dare run away. I could not face anyone. So much so that if there had been a crack on the ground, I would have without hesitation bored my way into it so that everybody would not look at me. In that instance, my heart was suffering greatly! However, this suffering is nothing compared to what you would experience in hell, am I right? What kind of suffering can you endure? Can you suffer what I have endured? The suffering I have endured is a little bit more intense, however, when compared to Christ, it is very insignificant. Christ has experienced man’s pain. The suffering He has endured is truly great. None of us would be able to endure it. This is why, when we suffer, sometimes we will feel like we have been wronged, we feel hurt, yet this is nothing when you look at what Christ is going through. It is nothing. We start to feel, “This is God treating us with grace. He is blessing us. God allows us to feel this pain so that we can be cleansed and cured.” If you have a disease and you have to go to a hospital, would you say that you will suffer? Of course. If you go to the hospital and they simply prescribe you some medicine, this is the situation with the least amount of suffering. You suffer a little more if they give you an injection or put an IV into you. You suffer even more if you have to go through surgery. The worst case scenario is that they cannot cure you and they tell you that you have cancer. Cancer—they do not have any medicine or injections to give you. Afterward, your heart is filled with dread. Isn’t this a great deal of suffering? When you hear that diagnosis, how does your heart feel? Do you feel a lot of pain? “Doesn’t this mean I am going to die? Oh no, how much longer do I have to live? Three months? Five months?” You ponder over these three to five months. You ponder over dying. The more you ponder, the more you are unable to eat. The more you ponder, the more difficult it is to accept this. A cancer patient has no hope. He or she is filled with despair. The despair frightens him or her to death. Now, today, as we receive God’s judgment and chastisement, is the most intense suffering that we will experience that of cancer? No matter how humiliated you feel, your heart still has hope, “God, You let me endure the suffering of these words, endure the suffering of judgment and chastisement. This is your kindness to me. This is all for the purpose of cleansing me. This is so that I can gain eternal life and enter the kingdom.” Look at how this person has hope. He or she will not think this kind of suffering is too great to bear.
There is a verse in the Bible that reads as follows, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). What do you think about this verse? “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment.” Why does it say that it is “but for a moment”? This is similar to the Bible where it says “in a moment we shall be changed.” What does “in a moment” mean? It means, in a blink of an eye. How can “in a blink of an eye” be explained? From God’s point of view, a blink of an eye is twenty to thirty years. To God, one thousand years is a single day. The concept of time is different for God and humans. When God does the work of cleansing and perfecting man in the last days, from His point of view, it is a split second or a blink of an eye. Would you say twenty to thirty years is a long or a short period of time? To be honest, it is quite short! It feels like time is going by too quickly! The pain you go through will be over in a blink of an eye. It is only a slight momentary affliction. Is this what the definition is? What kind of suffering have I gone through in these 30 years of experiencing God’s work? I’ve suffered in the past, how do I forget it now? When I reflect on what kind of pain I’ve been through, I feel that it is not actually very painful, it is actually okay. I can’t believe, God has led me for 30 years now, I’ve experienced God’s word for 30 years and I’ve gone through trials and refinement for 30 years. How is it that in a blink of an eye, 30 years have passed? My heart feels like it has been only 10 years. That is why it doesn’t matter how much pain you go through, once time passes, it is over and all that is left is peace and joy. Am I right? So, here it says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Now, once this light affliction is over and done, do you keep it in your heart? No, it is forgotten, it is gone. Once this pain has passed, you have finished enduring it and you have changed because of it. What kind of pain was it? It was like you did not suffer it. You can see that there are some brothers and sisters, especially the workers and leaders, when God’s family deals with them, they may end up crying. However, after a few years have passed, they end up having changed a lot. When you ask them, “These past few years, have you experienced a great deal of suffering?” “No, I have not experienced a great deal of suffering.” “Do you forget the time when you were sniveling?” “When I was sniveling, I was going through some suffering, but after it passed, there is nothing left, I do not feel the pain anymore.” So, when the pain of the past is forgotten, what is left? Peace and joy and a person who is extremely grateful to God, “God has shown me grace. He let me experience so much these past 30 years. I feel like I truly have a bit of an understanding of God. This is 1,000 times better than chasing reputation and status in the world, 10,000 times better. God has truly treated me with grace. He has led me on this road of faith. I cannot live if I leave God. Even if you offered me a position as the president, I would not dare abandon God.” Actually, it is not a matter of whether or not we would be offered a position as the president. Our hearts are fed up with things like that. If you seek things that have no meaning, then it is purely suffering, is it not?
Have you ever been afraid of suffering? Some people have suffered from God’s words of judgment and then afterward become afraid, “I absolutely cannot suffer this kind of pain. I do not want to suffer any pain.” Does this kind of person love the truth? They do not love the truth. So, today, what does it mean to believe in God? Firstly, you must believe God’s words. Secondly, you must believe in God’s work. Thirdly, you must believe that all situations have been permitted by God. “God has treated me with grace. He allowed me to go through these situations and experience His work. He allowed me to be in this environment and through praying and seeking the truth, live under His guidance. God has provided me with this environment to train me and allow me to understand Him.” To put it bluntly, isn’t this the case? Now would you say that God has set up this environment regardless if people feel that it is bitter or sweet? In the end, what kind of results can we hope to achieve? This is all arranged so that we can understand God, the truth, God’s loveliness, God’s disposition, the fact that God is the almighty Ruler and that He truly loves humanity. During the Age of Grace, the love God gave to man was to absolve man’s sin. During the Age of Kingdom, the judgment and chastisement that God brought is the most solid form of His love. It thoroughly cleanses, saves and blesses man. How great is His love during the Age of Kingdom! It is 100 times greater than the love in the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. It is 1,000 times greater, even 10,000 times greater. From an external point of view, during the Age of Kingdom, the work God does is the work of judgment and chastisement. When people hear judgment and chastisement, they think, “It’s over! I do not want to accept this stage of the work! There is nothing good about this stage! If it’s not judgment, then it is chastisement and in the end it is condemnation and elimination. This stage of work is very dangerous. I’d rather believe in the stage of work during the Age of Grace.” This is silly. The stage of work during the Age of Kingdom is the stage that can perfect man. Only after experiencing this stage can man obtain the truth and eternal life! Superficially, it seems that this stage does not conform with man’s notions. In actuality, it is God’s greatest blessing and greatest love. It is His most genuine love. If you can see this clearly, then you are a wise virgin, absolutely clever.
Let’s continue holding fellowship over God’s words, “In turn, I call groups of those I wish to save to return to My house.” What can we learn from these words? During the last days, man returns to the front of God’s throne. Not all at once, but in groups. First, God gathered a group from mainland China. A few million returned before Almighty God. This group of a couple million from mainland China are quite amazing. They continue to gather to eat and drink God’s word and communicate the truth. Their foundation has been laid. In the end, God handed these people over to Satan and the great red dragon so they could go through trials. Then the great red dragon began to search the entire country to capture those that believe in Almighty God. It is under these hostile conditions that the Church of Almighty God stands firm, and very few people have fallen away. When those that do not love the truth see this, they say, “The environment is too hostile, I cannot believe, there is no way to keep the faith. This is the real way. I’ll wait until the great red dragon collapses before I believe.” Those who have some courage and faith will say, “Are you coercing me? Even if you beat me to death, I will still believe.” However, you must be wise while you believe in God. If you have not obtained the truth, you cannot let them beat you to death. Once you have a grasp of the truth, then you have it. The great red dragon started the crackdown in 1996 and it has lasted all the way until now. It has been almost 20 years. Each year the crackdown gets more and more severe and extreme. Now, the Chinese Communist Party has issued another document. It has convened a conference to do research on its religious policies. Voice of America reports, “A severe winter has arrived for the family churches.” As we hear this, what does this mean? Has a “severe winter” just arrived now? We have endured a “severe winter” for so many years. Even with this so called “severe winter,” who has left the Church of Almighty God? Let me share a fact with you. Each year, the number of Christians in the Church of Almighty God increases by at least 100,000. Take a look, what does this tell you? This is the Holy Spirit doing His work. This is God’s work. No one is able to tear it down. The great red dragon’s forces are the strongest when compared to the ruling political party of every country in the world. They are second to none, their forces are quite powerful. They are one of the world’s hegemons, the hegemon of the east. This is an evil force that overturns the entire country to repress the Church of Almighty God. What is the result of this? They have failed and reached the end of the road. It has been confirmed now, Almighty God has already triumphed over Satan. He has Satan right under His feet. Where is the evidence for this? Firstly, the Church of Almighty God continues to grow in strength. Secondly, a group of overcomers has been made complete. Thirdly, the Church of Almighty God is expanding throughout the entire world and the kingdom gospel is expanding through the universe. There is nothing the great red dragon can do now. They say, “We have tried to suppress them for more than 20 years now. Not only have we been unable to exterminate the Church of Almighty God, they have expanded and their numbers have grown. They have expanded overseas and now every country and every corner of the world has a church of Almighty God.” Doesn’t this confirm that the great red dragon has failed? Not only is the great red dragon unable to exterminate the churches of Almighty God overseas, they cannot even exterminate the domestic members. Haven’t they already failed at this point? The Church of Almighty God grows by at least 100,000 members every year. 100,000! Even under the great red dragon’s relentless surveillance and capture of our church’s members, we are still able to grow by 100,000 each year in this kind of hostile environment. If there were no coercion or persecution from the great red dragon, how much faster would our church grow? Would you say we would grow by one million or ten million?