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Classic Words From Almighty God, Christ of the Last Days

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IV Classic Words on the Bible

1. For many years, people’s traditional means of belief (that of Christianity, one of the world’s three major religions) has been to read the Bible; departure from the Bible is not the belief in the Lord, departure from the Bible is an evil cult, and heresy, and even when people read other books, the foundation of these books must be the explanation of the Bible. Which is to say, if you say you believe in the Lord, then you must read the Bible, you must eat and drink the Bible, and outside the Bible you must not worship any book that does not involve the Bible. If you do, then you are betraying God. From the time when there was the Bible, people’s belief in the Lord has been the belief in the Bible. Instead of saying people believe in the Lord, it is better to say they believe in the Bible; rather than saying they have begun reading the Bible, it is better to say they have begun believing in the Bible; and rather than saying they have returned before the Lord, it would be better to say they have returned before the Bible. In this way, people worship the Bible as if it were God, as if it were their lifeblood and losing it would be the same as losing their life. People see the Bible as being as high as God, and there are even those who see it as higher than God. If people are without the work of the Holy Spirit, if they cannot feel God, they can carry on living—but as soon as they lose the Bible, or lose the famous chapters and sayings from the Bible, then it is as if they have lost their life. And so, as soon as people believe in the Lord they begin reading the Bible, and memorizing the Bible, and the more of the Bible they are able to memorize, the more this proves that they love the Lord and are of great faith. Those who have read the Bible and can speak of it to others are all good brothers and sisters. For all these years, people’s faith and loyalty to the Lord has been measured according to the extent of their understanding of the Bible. Most people simply don’t understand why they should believe in God, nor how to believe in God, and do nothing but search blindly for clues to decipher the chapters of the Bible. They have never pursued the direction of the work of the Holy Spirit; all along, they have done nothing but desperately study and investigate the Bible, and no one has ever found newer work of the Holy Spirit outside of the Bible, no one has ever departed from the Bible, nor have they ever dared to depart from the Bible. People have studied the Bible for all these years, they have come up with so many explanations, and put in so much work; they also have many differences of opinion about the Bible, which they debate endlessly, such that over two thousand different denominations have been formed today. They all want to find some special explanations, or more profound mysteries in the Bible, they want to explore it, and to find in it the background to Jehovah’s work in Israel, or the background to Jesus’ work in Judea, or more mysteries that no one else knows. People’s approach to the Bible is one of obsession and faith, and no one can be completely clear about the inside story or substance of the Bible. Thus, the result is that today, people still have an indescribable sense of magicalness when it comes to the Bible; even more than that, they are obsessed with it, and have faith in it. Today, everyone wants to find the prophecies of the work of the last days in the Bible, they want to discover what work God does during the last days, and what signs there are for the last days. In this way, their worship of the Bible becomes more fervent, and the closer it gets to the last days, the more credence they give to the prophecies of the Bible, particularly those about the last days. With such blind belief in the Bible, with such trust in the Bible, they have no desire to seek the work of the Holy Spirit. In people’s conceptions, they think that only the Bible can bring the work of the Holy Spirit; only in the Bible can they find the footsteps of God; only in the Bible are hidden the mysteries of God’s work; only the Bible—not other books or people—can clarify everything of God and the entirety of His work; the Bible can bring the work of heaven to earth; and the Bible can both begin and conclude the ages. With these conceptions, people have no inclination to search for the work of the Holy Spirit. So, regardless of how much of a help the Bible was to people in the past, it has become an obstacle to God’s latest work. Without the Bible, people can search for the footsteps of God elsewhere, yet today, His footsteps have been contained by the Bible, and extending His latest work has become double difficult, and an uphill struggle. This is all because of the famous chapters and sayings from the Bible, as well as the various prophecies of the Bible. The Bible has become an idol in people’s minds, it has become a puzzle in their brains, and they are simply incapable of believing that God can work exclusive of the Bible, they are incapable of believing that people can find God outside of the Bible, much less are they able to believe that God could depart from the Bible during the final work and start anew. This is unthinkable to people; they can’t believe it, and neither can they imagine it. The Bible has become a great obstacle to people’s acceptance of God’s new work, and has made it difficult to broaden this new work.

from “Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

2. What kind of book is the Bible? The Old Testament is the work of God during the Age of Law. The Old Testament of the Bible records all the work of Jehovah during the Age of Law and His work of creation. All of it records the work done by Jehovah, and it ultimately ends the accounts of Jehovah’s work with the Book of Malachi. The Old Testament records two pieces of work done by God: One is the work of the creation, and one is decreeing of the law. Both were the work done by Jehovah. The Age of Law represents God’s work under the name of Jehovah; it is the entirety of the work carried out primarily under the name of Jehovah. Thus, the Old Testament records the work of Jehovah, and the New Testament records the work of Jesus, work which was carried out primarily under the name of Jesus. Most of the significance of Jesus’ name and the work He did are recorded in the New Testament. In the time of the Old Testament, Jehovah built the temple and the altar in Israel, He guided the life of the Israelites on earth, proving that they were His chosen people, the first group of people that He selected on earth and who were after His own heart, the first group that He had personally led; which is to say, the twelve tribes of Israel were Jehovah’s first chosen ones, and so God always worked in them, right up until the work of Jehovah of the Age of Law was concluded. The second stage of work was the work of the Age of Grace of the New Testament, and it was carried out among the tribe of Judah, one of the twelve tribes of Israel. That the scope of the work was smaller was because Jesus was God become flesh. Jesus worked only throughout the land of Judea, and only did three-and-a-half years of work; thus, what is recorded in the New Testament is far from able to surpass the amount of work recorded in the Old Testament. The work of Jesus of the Age of Grace is primarily recorded in the Four Gospels. The path walked by the people of the Age of Grace was that of the most superficial changes in their life disposition, most of which is recorded in the epistles.

from “Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

3. The Bible is a historical record of God’s work in Israel, and documents many of the foretellings of ancient prophets as well as some of the utterances of Jehovah in His work at that time. Thus, people all look upon this book as holy (for God is holy and great). Of course, this is all a result of their reverence for Jehovah and their adoration for God. People refer to this book in this way only because the creatures of God are so adoring of their Creator, and there are even those who call this book a heavenly book. In fact, it is merely a human record. It was not personally named by Jehovah, nor did Jehovah personally guide its creation. In other words, the author of this book is not God, but men. The Holy Bible is only the respectful title given to it by man. This title was not decided by Jehovah and Jesus after they had a discussion amongst each other; it is nothing more than a human idea. For this book was not written by Jehovah, much less by Jesus. Instead, it is the accounts of many ancient prophets, apostles, and seers, which were compiled by later generations into a book of ancient writings that, to people, seems especially holy, a book that they believe contains many unfathomable and profound mysteries that are waiting to be unlocked by future generations. As such, people are even more disposed to believe that this book is a heavenly book. With the addition of the Four Gospels and the Book of Revelation, people’s attitude toward it is particularly different from any other book, and thus no one dares to dissect this heavenly book—because it is too sacred.

from “Concerning the Bible (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

4. Today, people believe the Bible is God, and that God is the Bible. So, too, do they believe that all the words of the Bible were the only words God spoke, and that they were all said by God. Those who believe in God even think that although all of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament were written by people, they were all given by inspiration of God, and a record of the utterances of the Holy Spirit. This is the erroneous interpretation of people, and it does not completely accord with the facts. In fact, apart from the books of prophecy, most of the Old Testament is historical record. Some of the epistles of the New Testament come from people’s experiences, and some come from the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit; the Pauline epistles, for example, arose from the work of a man, they were all the result of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, and they were written for the churches, were words of exhortation and encouragement for the brothers and sisters of the churches. They were not words spoken by the Holy Spirit—Paul could not speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit, and neither was he a prophet, much less did he see visions. His epistles were written for the churches of Ephesus, Philadelphia, Galatia, and other churches. … All he said that was edifying and positive to people was right, but it did not represent the utterances of the Holy Spirit, and he could not represent God. It is an egregious understanding, and a tremendous blasphemy, for people to treat the records of a man’s experiences and a man’s epistles as the words spoken by the Holy Spirit to the churches! That is particularly true when it comes to the epistles that Paul wrote for the churches, for his epistles were written for the brothers and sisters based on the circumstances and situation of each church at the time, and were in order to exhort the brothers and sisters in the Lord, so that they could receive the grace of the Lord Jesus. His epistles were in order to rouse the brothers and sisters of that time. It can be said that this was his own burden, and was also the burden given to him by the Holy Spirit; after all, he was an apostle who led the churches of the time, who wrote epistles for the churches and exhorted them—that was his responsibility. His identity was merely that of a working apostle, and he was merely an apostle who was sent by God; he was not a prophet, nor a foreteller. So to him, his own work and the lives of the brothers and sisters were of the utmost importance. Thus, he could not speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit. His words were not the words of the Holy Spirit, much less could they be said to be the words of God, for Paul was nothing more than a creature of God, and was certainly not the incarnation of God. His identity was not the same as that of Jesus. The words of Jesus were the words of the Holy Spirit, they were the words of God, for His identity was that of Christ—the Son of God. How could Paul be His equal? If people see the epistles or words like Paul’s as the utterances of the Holy Spirit, and worship them as God, then it can only be said that they are too indiscriminating. … The Pauline epistles and the other epistles of the New Testament are equivalent to the memoirs of the more recent spiritual figures. They are on a par with the books of Watchman Nee or the experiences of Lawrence, and so on. It’s simply that the books of recent spiritual figures are not compiled into the New Testament, yet the substance of these people is the same: They were people who were used by the Holy Spirit during a certain period, and they could not directly represent God.

from “Concerning the Bible (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

5. 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 select 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?

from “Concerning Appellations and Identity” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

6. If the Four Gospels all came from the Holy Spirit, then why was it that Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each said something different about the work of Jesus? If you don’t 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. … Carefully read the Four Gospels; read what they recorded about the things that Jesus did, and the words He spoke. Each account was, quite simply, different, and each had 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?

from “Concerning Appellations and Identity” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

7. At the time, Jesus had done much work that was incomprehensible to His disciples, and had not provided any explanation. After He left, the disciples began to preach and work everywhere, and for the sake of that stage of work, they began writing the epistles and the books of gospel. The books of gospel of the New Testament were recorded twenty to thirty years after Jesus was crucified. Before, the people of Israel only read the Old Testament. That is to say, in the Age of Grace people read the Old Testament. The New Testament only appeared during the Age of Grace. The New Testament didn’t exist when Jesus worked; the people after He was resurrected and ascended to heaven recorded His work. Only then were there the Four Gospels, in addition to which were also the epistles of Paul and Peter, as well as the Book of Revelation. Only over three hundred years after Jesus ascended to heaven, when subsequent generations collated their records, was there the New Testament. Only after this work had been completed was there the New Testament; it had not existed previously. God had done all that work, the apostle Paul had done all that work, and afterward the epistles of Paul and Peter combined, and the greatest vision recorded by John in the island of Patmos was put the last, for it prophesied the work of the last days. These were all the arrangements of later generations, and they are different to the utterances of today. What is recorded today is according to the steps of God’s work; what people engage with today is the work personally done by God, and the words personally uttered by Him. You don’t need to interfere—the words, which come directly from the Spirit, have been arranged step by step, and are different from the arrangement of man’s records. What they recorded, it can be said, was according to their level of education and human caliber. What they recorded was the experiences of men, and each had their own means of recording and knowing, and each record was different. Thus, if you worship the Bible as God you are extremely ignorant and stupid! Why do you not seek the work of the God of today? Only the work of God can save man. The Bible cannot save man, it has not changed at all for several thousands of years, and if you worship the Bible you will never gain the work of the Holy Spirit.

from “Concerning the Bible (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

8. Not everything in the Bible is a record of the words personally spoken by God. The Bible simply documents the previous two stages of God’s work, of which one part is a record of the foretellings of the prophets, and one part is the experiences and knowledge written by people used by God throughout the ages. Human experiences are tainted with human opinions and knowledge, which is unavoidable. In many of the books of the Bible are human conceptions, human biases, and human absurd interpretations. Of course, most of the words are the result of the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and they are correct interpretations—yet it still cannot be said that they are entirely accurate expressions of the truth. Their views on certain things are nothing more than the knowledge of personal experience, or the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. The foretellings of the prophets were personally instructed by God: The prophecies of Isaiah, Daniel, Ezra, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel came from the direct instruction of the Holy Spirit, these people were seers, they had received the Spirit of prophecy, they were all prophets of the Old Testament. During the Age of Law these people, who had received the inspirations of Jehovah, spoke many prophecies, which were directly instructed by Jehovah.

from “Concerning the Bible (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

9. Many people believe that understanding and being able to interpret the Bible is the same as finding the true way—but in fact, are things really so simple? No one knows the reality of the Bible: that it is nothing more than a historical record of God’s work, and a testament to the previous two stages of God’s work, and offers you no understanding of the aims of God’s work. Everyone who has read the Bible knows that it documents the two stages of God’s work during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. The Old Testament chronicles the history of Israel and Jehovah’s work from the time of creation until the end of the Age of Law. The New Testament records Jesus’ work on earth, which is in the Four Gospels, as well as the work of Paul; are they not historical records? Bringing up the things of the past today makes them history, and no matter how true or real they might be, they are still history—and history cannot address the present. For God does not look back on history! And so, if you only understand the Bible, and understand nothing of the work God intends to do today, and if you believe in God but do not seek the work of the Holy Spirit, then you do not understand what it means to seek God. If you read the Bible in order to study the history of Israel, to research the history of God’s creation of all the heavens and earth, then you do not believe in God. But today, since you believe in God, and pursue life, since you pursue the knowledge of God, and do not pursue dead letters and doctrines, or an understanding of history, you must seek God’s will of today, and must look for the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work.

from “Concerning the Bible (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

10. During the time of Jesus, Jesus led the Jews and all those who followed Him according to the Holy Spirit’s work in Him at the time. He didn’t take the Bible as the basis of what He did, but spoke according to His work; He paid no heed to what the Bible said, nor did He search in the Bible for a path to lead His followers. Right from when He began to work, He spread the way of repentance—a word of which there was absolutely no mention in the prophecies of the Old Testament. Not only did He not act according to the Bible, but He also led a new path, and did new work. Never did He refer to the Bible when He preached. During the Age of Law, no one had ever been able to perform His miracles of healing the sick and casting out demons. His work, His teachings, His authority—no one had done this during the Age of Law. Jesus simply did His newer work, and even though many people condemned Him using the Bible—and even used the Old Testament to crucify Him—His work surpassed the Old Testament; if this were not so, why did people nail Him to the cross? Was it not because it said nothing in the Old Testament of His teaching, and His ability to heal the sick and cast out demons? His work was in order to lead a new path, it was not to deliberately pick a fight against the Bible, or to deliberately dispense with the Old Testament. He simply came to perform His ministry, to bring the new work to those who yearned for and sought Him. He didn’t come to explain the Old Testament or uphold its work. His work was not in order to allow the Age of Law to continue developing, for His work gave no consideration to whether it had the Bible as its base; Jesus simply came to do the work that He ought to do. … To people, it appeared as if His work had no basis, and there was much of it that was at odds with the records of the Old Testament. Is this not folly? Does doctrine need to be applied to the work of God? And must it be according to the foretellings of prophets? After all, which is greater: God or the Bible? Why must God’s work be according to the Bible? Could it be that God has no right to exceed the Bible? Can God not depart from the Bible and do other work? Why did Jesus and His disciples not keep the Sabbath? If He were to keep the Sabbath and practice according to the commandments of the Old Testament, why did Jesus not keep the Sabbath after He came, but instead washed feet, covered head, broke bread, and drank wine? Isn’t this all absent from the commandments of the Old Testament? If Jesus honored the Old Testament, why did He defy these doctrines? You should know which came first, God or the Bible! Being the Lord of the Sabbath, could He not also be the Lord of the Bible?

The work done by Jesus during the time of the New Testament opened up new work: He did not work according to the work of the Old Testament, nor did He apply the words spoken by Jehovah of the Old Testament. He did His own work, and He did newer work, and work that was higher than the law. Thus, He said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.” Thus, in accordance with what He accomplished, much doctrine was broken with. He took the disciples to the grain fields to pick and eat the heads of grain, He did not keep the Sabbath, and said “the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.” At the time, according to the rules of the Israelites, whosoever didn’t keep the Sabbath would be stoned to death. Jesus, however, neither entered the temple nor kept the Sabbath, and His work had not been done by Jehovah during the time of the Old Testament. Thus, the work done by Jesus exceeded the law of the Old Testament, it was higher than it, and was not in accordance with it. During the Age of Grace, Jesus did not work according to the law of the Old Testament, He had defied those doctrines. Today there are still people who adhere to the Bible, and the law of the Old Testament in particular—does this not deny the work of Jesus? Some people say the Bible is a holy book, that it must be read, and some people say that God’s work must be upheld forever, that the Old Testament is God’s covenant with the Israelites, and cannot be dispensed with, and the Sabbath must always be kept! Are they not ridiculous? Why didn’t Jesus keep the Sabbath? Was He sinning? Who can see through to such things? No matter how you read the Bible, it will be impossible to know the work of God using man’s powers of comprehension. Not only will you not gain a pure knowledge of God, but your conceptions will become ever more egregious, such that you begin to oppose God. If it were not for the incarnation of God today, people would be forfeited by their own conceptions, and they would die amid God’s chastisement.

from “Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

11. In ancient times, prior to the Age of Grace people read the Bible, but at that time there was only the Old Testament; there was no New Testament. Since there was the Old Testament of the Bible, people began reading the holy scriptures. After Jehovah’s guidance of him had finished, Moses wrote Genesis, Exodus, and Deuteronomy…. He recalled Jehovah’s work at the time, and wrote it down. The Bible is a book of history. Of course, it also contains some of the foretellings of prophets, and of course, these foretellings are by no means history. The Bible includes several parts—there is not just prophecy, or only the work of Jehovah, nor are there only the Pauline epistles. You must know how many parts the Bible includes; the Old Testament contains Genesis, Exodus…, and there are also the books of prophecy that they wrote. At the end, the Old Testament finishes with the Book of Malachi. It records the work of the Age of Law, which was led by Jehovah; from Genesis to the Book of Malachi, it is a comprehensive record of all the work of the Age of Law. Which is to say, the Old Testament records all that was experienced by the people who were guided by Jehovah in the Age of Law. During the Old Testament Age of Law, the great number of prophets raised up by Jehovah spoke prophecy for Him, they gave instructions to various tribes and nations, and foretold the work that Jehovah would do. These people who had been raised up had all been given the Spirit of prophecy by Jehovah: They were able to see the visions from Jehovah, and hear His voice, and thus they were inspired by Him and wrote prophecy. The work they did was the expression of the voice of Jehovah, it was the work of prophecy that they did on behalf of Jehovah, and Jehovah’s work at the time was simply to guide people using the Spirit; He did not become flesh, and people saw nothing of His face. Thus, He raised up many prophets to do His work, and gave them oracles that they passed on to every tribe and clan of Israel. Their work was to speak prophecy, and some of them wrote down Jehovah’s instructions to them to show to others. Jehovah raised these people up to speak prophecy, to foretell the work of the future or the work still to be done during that time, so that people could behold the wondrousness and wisdom of Jehovah. These books of prophecy were quite different from the other books of the Bible; they were words spoken or written by those who had been given the Spirit of prophecy—by those who had gained the visions or voice from Jehovah. Apart from the books of prophecy, everything else in the Old Testament is records made by people after Jehovah had finished His work. These books can’t stand in for the foretellings spoken by the prophets raised up by Jehovah, just as Genesis and Exodus can’t be compared to the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Daniel. The prophecies were spoken before the work had been carried out; the other books, meanwhile, were written after it had been finished, which was what people were capable of.

from “Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

12. The things that are recorded in the Bible are limited; they cannot represent the work of God in its entirety. The Four Gospels have fewer than one hundred chapters altogether, in which are written a finite number of happenings, such as Jesus cursing the fig tree, Peter’s three denials of the Lord, Jesus appearing to the disciples following His crucifixion and resurrection, teaching about fasting, teaching about prayer, teaching about divorce, the birth and genealogy of Jesus, Jesus’ appointment of the disciples, and so forth. However, man values them as treasures, even verifying the work of today against them. They even believe that all the work Jesus did in His life amounted only to so much, as if God were only capable of doing this much and nothing further. Is this not absurd?

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

13. If you wish to see the work of the Age of Law, and to see how the Israelites followed the way of Jehovah, then you must read the Old Testament; if you wish to understand the work of the Age of Grace, then you must read the New Testament. But how do you see the work of the last days? You must accept the leadership of the God of today, and enter into the work of today, for this is the new work, and no one has previously recorded it in the Bible. Today, God has become flesh and selected other chosen ones in China. God works in these people, He continues on from His work on earth, continues on from the work of the Age of Grace. The work of today is a path that man has never walked, and a way that no one has ever seen. It is work that has never been done before—it is God’s latest work on earth. … How could the Bible contain explicit records of such work? Who could have recorded every single bit of today’s work, without omission, in advance? Who could record this mightier, wiser work that defies convention in the moldy old book? The work of today is not history, and as such, if you wish to walk the new path of today, then you must depart from the Bible, you must go beyond the books of prophecy or history in the Bible. Only then will you be able to walk the new path properly, and only then will you be able to enter into the new realm and the new work. You must understand why, today, you are asked not to read the Bible, why there is another work that is separate from the Bible, why God does not look for newer, more detailed practice in the Bible, why there is instead mightier work outside of the Bible. This is all what you should understand.

from “Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

14. Although the Bible is a history book that was written by men, it also documents many of the principles by which the ancient saints and prophets served God, as well as the recent apostles’ experiences in serving God—all of which were really seen and known by these people, and can serve as reference for the people of this age in pursuing the true way. Thus, in reading the Bible people can also gain many ways of life that cannot be found in other books. These ways are the ways of life of the work of the Holy Spirit experienced by prophets and apostles in ages past, and many of the words are precious, and can provide what people need. Thus, people all like to read the Bible. Because there is so much hidden in the Bible, people’s views toward it are unlike those toward the writings of great spiritual figures. The Bible is a record and collection of the experiences and knowledge of people who served Jehovah and Jesus in the old and new age, and so later generations have been able to gain much enlightenment, illumination, and paths to practice from it. The reason why the Bible is higher than the writings of any great spiritual figure is because all of their writings are drawn from the Bible, their experiences all come from the Bible, and they all explain the Bible. And so, although people can gain provision from the books of any great spiritual figure, they still worship the Bible, for it seems so high and profound to them! Although the Bible brings together some of the books of the words of life, such as the Pauline epistles and Petrine epistles, and although people can be provided for and assisted by these books, these books are still out of date, they still belong to the old age, and no matter how good they are, they are only suitable for one period, and are not everlasting. For God’s work is always developing, and it can’t simply stop at the time of Paul and Peter, or always remain in the Age of Grace in which Jesus was crucified. And so, these books are only suitable for the Age of Grace, not for the Age of Kingdom of the last days. They can only provide for the believers of the Age of Grace, not for the saints of the Age of Kingdom, and no matter how good they are, they are still obsolete.

from “Concerning the Bible (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

15. All men wish to gain God yet are unable to tolerate any changes in God’s work. Those who do not accept the new work of God believe that the work of God is changeless, and that the work of God forever remains at a standstill. In their belief, all that is needed to gain eternal salvation from God is to keep the law, and as long as they repent and confess their sins, the heart of God will be forever satisfied. They are of the opinion that God can only be the God under the law and the God who was nailed on the cross for man; it is their opinion too that God should not and cannot exceed the Bible. It is precisely these opinions that have shackled them firmly to the law of old and kept them fettered by rigid regulations. Even more believe that whatever the new work of God, it must be substantiated by prophecies, and that in each stage of such work, all those who follow Him with a true heart must also be shown revelations, else that work could not be that of God. It is already no easy task for man to come to know God. Taken in addition to man’s absurd heart and his rebellious nature of self-importance and conceit, then it is all the more difficult for man to accept the new work of God. Man neither studies the new work of God with care nor accepts it with humility; rather, man adopts an attitude of contempt, waiting for the revelations and guidance of God. Is this not the behavior of a man who rebels against and opposes God? How can such men gain the approval of God?

from “How Can Man Who Has Defined God in His Conceptions Receive the Revelations of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

16. At that time, Jesus stated that the work of Jehovah had fallen behind in the Age of Grace, much as I say today that the work of Jesus has fallen behind. If there had been only the Age of Law and not the Age of Grace, Jesus could not have been crucified and could not have redeemed all mankind; if there had only been the Age of Law, could mankind possibly have developed until this day? History advances forward; is not history the natural law of God’s work? Is this not a depiction of His management of man within the entire universe? History progresses forward, so does the work of God, and the will of God continuously changes. It would be impractical for God to maintain a single stage of work for six thousand years, for all of man knows that He is always new and never old. He could not possibly continue to sustain work akin to the crucifixion, and once, twice, three times … be nailed to the cross. This is the perception of an absurd man. God does not sustain the same work, and His work is ever-changing and always new, much as how I daily speak to you new words and do new work. This is the work I do, the key of which lies in the words “new” and “wondrous.”

from “How Can Man Who Has Defined God in His Conceptions Receive the Revelations of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

17. 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 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 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 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 came to open 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’s just that I don’t hold up that “yellowed old almanac,” that’s all. For there is more work that I must do, there are more words that I must speak to you, and this work and 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?

from “Concerning Appellations and Identity” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

18. The Jews of the time all read from the Old Testament and knew of Isaiah’s prophecy that a male infant would be born in a manger. Why then, with this knowledge, did they still persecute Jesus? Is this not because of their rebellious nature and ignorance of the work of the Holy Spirit? At that time, the Pharisees believed that the work of Jesus was unlike what they knew of the prophesied male infant; man of today rejects God because the work of the incarnate God does not conform to the Bible. Is not the substance of their rebelliousness against God one and the same? Can you be such that you accept without question all the work of the Holy Spirit? If it is the work of the Holy Spirit, then it is the right stream. You should accept it without the slightest misgivings, rather than picking and choosing what to accept. If you gain some knowledge from God and exercise some caution against Him, is this not an act truly uncalled for? What you ought to do is accept, without the need for further substantiation from the Bible, any work so long as it is that of the Holy Spirit, for you believe in God to follow God, not to investigate Him. You should not search out further proof for Me to show that I am your God. Rather, you ought to discern whether I am of benefit to you; that is the key. Even if you have found out much irrefutable proof within the Bible, it cannot bring you fully before Me. You are one who lives within the confines of the Bible, and not before Me; the Bible cannot help you know Me, nor can it deepen your love for Me. … The work of God in each age has clear boundaries; He does only the work of the current age and never does He carry out the next stage of work in advance. Only in this way can His representative work of each age be brought to the fore. Jesus had spoken only of the signs of the last days, of how to be patient and how to be saved, how to repent and confess, as well as how to bear the cross and endure suffering; never did He speak of what man in the last days should enter into or how to seek to satisfy God’s will. As such, would it not be an act of fallacy to search within the Bible for God’s work of the last days? What can you discern merely holding the Bible in your hands? Be it an interpreter of the Bible or a preacher, who can foreknow the work of today?

from “How Can Man Who Has Defined God in His Conceptions Receive the Revelations of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

19. The Bible comprises the words of God told by the prophets and the words written by the men God used at the time; only God Himself can explain those words, only the Holy Spirit can make known the meaning of those words, and only God Himself can break the seven seals and open the scroll. You are not God, and neither am I, so who dares lightly to explain the words of God? Do you dare to explain those words? Even if the prophets Jeremiah, John and Elijah were to come, they would not dare to try and explain those words, for they are not the Lamb. Only the Lamb can break the seven seals and open the scroll, and none other can explain His words.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

20. 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 in 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.

from “Concerning Appellations and Identity” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

21. Almighty God is all-powerful, all-achieving and utterly complete true God! He not only carries the seven stars, bears the seven Spirits, has seven eyes, opens the seven seals and opens the scroll, but more than that He administers the seven plagues and the seven bowls and opens the seven thunders; long ago He has sounded the seven trumpets! All things created and made complete by Him should praise Him, give glory to Him and exalt His throne.

from “The Thirty-fourth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

22. As for the visions of the work in this entire six-thousand-year plan of management, no one is able to gain insight or understanding, and these visions remain riddles. In the last days, only the work of the word is carried out in order to usher in the Age of Kingdom, but it is not representative of all the ages. The last days are no more than the last days and no more than the Age of Kingdom, which do not represent the Age of Grace or the Age of Law. It is just that, during the last days, all the work in the six-thousand-year plan of management is revealed to you. This is the unveiling of the mystery. This kind of mystery is something that can be unveiled by no man. No matter how great an understanding man has of the Bible, it remains nothing more than words, for man does not understand the substance of the Bible. In reading the Bible, man may understand some truths, explain some words, or subject some famous passages and chapters to his petty scrutiny, but he will never be able to extricate the meaning contained within those words, for all man sees are dead words, not the scenes of the work of Jehovah and of Jesus, and man has no way of unraveling the mystery of this work. Therefore, the mystery of the six-thousand-year plan of management is the greatest mystery, the most profoundly hidden, and wholly unfathomable to man. No one can directly grasp the will of God, unless He Himself explains and opens it up to man; otherwise, these things will forever remain riddles to man, remaining forever sealed mysteries.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

23. The Bible is a historical book, and if you had eaten and drunk the Old Testament during the Age of Grace—if you had put into practice what was required in the time of the Old Testament during the Age of Grace—Jesus would have rejected you, and condemned you; if you had applied the Old Testament to the work of Jesus, you would have been a Pharisee. If, today, you put the Old and New Testament together to eat and drink, and practice, then the God of today will condemn you; you will have fallen behind the Holy Spirit’s work of today! If you eat the Old Testament, and eat the New Testament, then you are outside the stream of the Holy Spirit!

from “Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

24. Since there is a higher way, why study that low, outdated way? Since there are newer utterances, and newer work, why live amid old historical records? The new utterances can provide for you, which proves that this is the new work; the old records can’t sate you, or satisfy your current needs, which proves that they are history, and not the work of the here and now. The highest way is the newest work, and with the new work, no matter how high the way of the past, it is still the history of people’s reflections, and no matter its value as reference, it is still the old way. Even though it is recorded in the “holy book,” the old way is history; even though there is no record of it in the “holy book,” the new way is of the here and now. This way can save you, and this way can change you, for this is the work of the Holy Spirit.

from “Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

25. Those of you who keep obstinately to the Bible and cling tightly onto Jesus—have you followed the work of Jesus and His words? How faithful are you to Jesus? The greatest book of prophecy of Isaiah in the Old Testament never mentioned that a child named Jesus would be born in the age of the New Testament, merely that a male infant would be born by the name of Emmanuel. Why did he not specify the name Jesus? Nowhere in the Old Testament does this name appear, so why then do you still believe in Jesus? Surely you did not see Jesus with your own eyes before you came to believe in Him? Or did you begin to believe upon receiving a revelation? Would God really show you such grace? And bestow upon you such a great blessing? On what basis did you believe in Jesus? Why then do you not believe that God has become flesh this day? Why do you say that the absence of a revelation to you from God proves that He has not become flesh? Must God tell man prior to commencing His work? Must He first receive the approval of man? Isaiah only proclaimed that a male infant would be born in a manger but never prophesied that Mary would give birth to Jesus. Why then did you believe in Jesus whom Mary gave birth to? Surely your belief is not one of uncertainty and confusion!

from “How Can Man Who Has Defined God in His Conceptions Receive the Revelations of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

26. This is because the Bible followed several thousand years of human history and people all treat it like God to the point that people in the last days replace God with the Bible. This is something that God really hates. So in His spare time, He had to clarify the inside story and the origin of the Bible. Otherwise, the Bible would still be able to replace God’s place in people’s hearts and they could condemn and measure God’s actions based on the words in the Bible. God’s explanation of the essence, the construction, and the flaws of the Bible is absolutely not denying the existence of it, nor is it condemning the Bible. Rather, it is to provide a reasonable and appropriate explanation, to restore the original image of the Bible, and to correct the misunderstandings people have toward the Bible so that all people have a correct view of it, no longer worship it, and are no longer lost—they erroneously take their blind faith in the Bible as believing in and worshiping God, and they even do not dare to face its true background and its weak points. After everyone has a pure understanding of the Bible they will be able to cast it aside without hesitation and bravely accept God’s new words. This is God’s goal in these several chapters. The truth that God wants to tell people here is that no theory or fact can replace God’s present work or words, and there is nothing that can replace God’s position. If people are not able to cast off the net of the Bible, they will never be able to come in front of God. If they want to come in front of God, they must first cleanse their hearts of anything that could replace Him—this way God will be satisfied.

from Introduction to Part Three of The Word Appears in the Flesh

27. When God carried out His new work, He no longer clung to the past, and He was no longer concerned about the regulations of the Age of Law. Neither was He affected by His work in the previous age, but He worked as usual on the Sabbath and when His disciples were hungry, they could pick ears of corn to eat. This was all very normal in God’s eyes. God could have a new beginning for much of the work that He wants to do and the things that He wants to say. Once He has a new start, He neither mentions His previous work again nor continues it. For God has His principles in His work. When He wants to begin new work, it is when He wants to bring mankind into a new stage of His work, and when His work has entered a higher phase. If people continue to act according to the old sayings or regulations or continue to hold fast to them, He will not commemorate or praise this. This is because He has already brought new work, and has entered a new phase of His work. When He initiates new work, He appears to mankind with a completely new image, from a completely new angle, and in a completely new way so that people can see different aspects of His disposition and what He has and is. This is one of His goals in His new work. God does not hold on to the old or take the beaten path; when He works and speaks it’s not as prohibitive as people imagine. In God, all is free and liberated, and there is no prohibitiveness, no constraints—what He brings to mankind is all freedom and liberation. He is a living God, a God who genuinely, truly exists. He is not a puppet or a clay sculpture, and He is totally different from the idols that people enshrine and worship. He is living and vibrant and what His words and work bring to humans is all life and light, all freedom and liberation, because He holds the truth, the life, and the way—He is not constrained by anything in any of His work.

from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh

28. If you use conceptions to measure and delineate God, as if God were an unchanging clay statue, and if you delimit God within the Bible, and contain Him within a limited scope of work, then this proves that you have condemned God. Because, in their hearts, the Jews of the age of the Old Testament cast God in the mold of idol, as if God could only be called the Messiah, and only He who was called the Messiah was God, and because they served and worshiped God as if He were a (lifeless) clay statue, they nailed the Jesus of that time to the cross, sentencing Him to death—condemning innocent Jesus to death. God had committed no crime, yet man did not spare God, and unwaveringly sentenced Him to death. Thus, Jesus was crucified. Man always believes that God is unchanging, and defines Him according to the Bible, as though man has seen through to God’s management, as though all that God does is in the hands of man. People are ridiculous to the extreme, they are possessed of the utmost arrogance, and they all have a flair for turgid eloquence. Regardless of how great your knowledge of God, still I say that you do not know God, that there are none who are more opposed to God, and that you condemn God, for you are utterly incapable of obeying the work of God and walking the path of being made perfect by God. Why is God never satisfied with the actions of man? Because man does not know God, because he has so many conceptions, and because, instead of complying with reality, all of his knowledge of God is cut from the same cloth, and rigid and inflexible.

from “The Wicked Must Be Punished” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

29. The Jewish Pharisees used the law of Moses to condemn Jesus. They did not seek compatibility with the Jesus of that time, but diligently followed the law to the letter, to the extent that they ultimately nailed the innocent Jesus to the cross, having charged Him with not following the law of the Old Testament and not being the Messiah. What was their essence? Was it not that they didn’t seek the way of compatibility with the truth? They obsessed over each and every word of the Scripture, while paying no heed to My will and the steps and methods of My work. They were not people who sought the truth, but people who rigidly followed the words of Scripture; they were not people who believed in God, but people who believed in the Bible. Essentially, they were watchdogs of the Bible. In order to safeguard the interests of the Bible, and uphold the dignity of the Bible, and protect the reputation of the Bible, they went so far as to nail the merciful Jesus onto the cross. This they did merely for the sake of defending the Bible, and for the sake of maintaining the status of each and every word of the Bible in people’s hearts. So they preferred to forsake their future and the sin offering to condemn Jesus, who did not conform to the doctrine of Scripture, to death. Were they not lackeys to each and every word of Scripture?

from “You Should Seek the Way of Compatibility With Christ” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

30. And what of people today? Christ has come to release the truth, yet they would rather expel Him from among man in order to gain entry into heaven and receive grace. They would rather completely deny the coming of the truth in order to safeguard the interests of the Bible, and would rather nail the Christ returned to flesh to the cross again in order to ensure the everlasting existence of the Bible. How can man receive My salvation, when his heart is so malicious, and his nature so antagonistic toward Me? I live among man, yet man does not know of My existence. When I shine My light upon man, he still remains ignorant of My existence. When I unleash My wrath upon man, he denies My existence with even greater vigor. Man searches for compatibility with words, with the Bible, yet not a single person comes before Me to seek the way of compatibility with the truth. Man looks up to Me in heaven, and devotes particular concern to My existence in heaven, yet no one cares about Me in the flesh, for I who live among man am simply too insignificant. Those who only seek compatibility with the words of the Bible, and who only seek compatibility with a vague God, are a wretched sight to Me. That is because what they worship are dead words, and a God that is capable of giving them untold treasures. What they worship is a God that lays himself at the mercy of man, and which doesn’t exist. What, then, can such people gain from Me?

from “You Should Seek the Way of Compatibility With Christ” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

31. Those who only care about the words of the Bible, who are unconcerned about the truth or seeking My footsteps—they are against Me, for they limit Me according to the Bible, and constrain Me within the Bible, and so are blasphemous in the extreme toward Me. How could such people come before Me? They pay no heed to My deeds, or My will, or the truth, but instead obsess over words, words that kill. How could such people be compatible with Me?

from “You Should Seek the Way of Compatibility With Christ” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

32. There are those who say that they are compatible with Me, but who all worship vague idols. Although they acknowledge My name as holy, they tread a path that runs contrary to Me, and their words are full of arrogance and self-confidence, because, at root, they are all against Me, and incompatible with Me. Every day they seek traces of Me in the Bible, and find “suitable” passages at random that they read endlessly, and which they recite as scriptures. They do not know how to be compatible with Me, do not know what it means to be in enmity of Me, and merely read scriptures blindly. They constrain within the Bible a vague God that they have never seen, and are incapable of seeing, and take it out to look at during their spare time. They believe in My existence only within the scope of the Bible. For them, I am the same as the Bible; without the Bible there is no Me, and without Me there is no Bible. They pay no heed to My existence or actions, but instead devote extreme and special attention to each and every word of Scripture, and many of them even believe that I should not do anything I wish to do unless it is foretold by Scripture. They attach too much importance to Scripture. It can be said that they see words and expressions as too important, to the extent that they use verses from the Bible to measure every word I say, and to condemn Me. What they seek is not the way of compatibility with Me, or the way of compatibility with the truth, but the way of compatibility with the words of the Bible, and they believe that anything that does not conform to the Bible is, without exception, not My work. Are such people not the dutiful descendants of the Pharisees?

from “You Should Seek the Way of Compatibility With Christ” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

33. God Himself is life, and the truth, and His life and truth coexist. Those who are incapable of gaining the truth shall never gain life. Without the guidance, support, and provision of the truth, you shall only gain letters, doctrines, and, moreover, death. God’s life is ever-present, and His truth and life coexist. If you cannot find the source of truth, then you will not gain the nourishment of life; if you cannot gain the provision of life, then you will surely have no truth, and so apart from imaginations and conceptions, the entirety of your body shall be nothing but flesh, your stinking flesh. Know that the words of books do not count as life, the records of history cannot be feted as the truth, and the doctrines of the past cannot serve as an account of words presently spoken by God. Only that which is expressed by God when He comes to earth and lives among man is the truth, life, God’s will, and His current way of working. If you apply the records of words spoken by God during past ages to today, then you are an archaeologist, and the best way of describing you is as an expert on historical heritage. That is because you always believe in traces of the work that God did in times gone by, only believe in the shadow of God left from when He previously worked among man, and only believe in the way that God gave to His followers in former times. You do not believe in the direction of God’s work today, do not believe in the glorious countenance of God today, and do not believe in the way of truth presently expressed by God. And so you are undeniably a daydreamer who is completely out of touch with reality. If now you still cling to words that are incapable of bringing life to man, then you are a hopeless piece of deadwood,[a] for you are too conservative, too intractable, too impervious to reason!

from “Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

34. Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path through which man shall gain life, and the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. If you do not seek the way of life provided by Christ of the last days, then you shall never gain the approval of Jesus, and shall never be qualified to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven, for you are both a puppet and prisoner of history. Those who are controlled by regulations, by letters, and shackled by history will never be able to gain life, and will never be able to gain the perpetual way of life. That is because all they have is turbid water that has lain stagnant for thousands of years, instead of the water of life that flows from the throne. Those who are not supplied with the water of life will forever remain corpses, playthings of Satan, and sons of hell. How, then, can they behold God? If you only try to hold on to the past, only try to keep things as they are by standing still, and do not try to change the status quo and discard history, then will you not always be against God? The steps of God’s work are vast and mighty, like surging waves and rolling thunders—yet you sit and passively await destruction, sticking to your folly and doing nothing. In this way, how can you be considered someone who follows the footsteps of the Lamb? How can you justify the God that you hold on to as a God who is always new and never old? And how can the words of your yellowed books carry you across into a new age? How can they lead you to seek the steps of God’s work? And how can they take you up to heaven? What you hold in your hands is the letters that can provide but temporary solace, not the truths that are capable of giving life. The scriptures you read are that which can only enrich your tongue, not words of wisdom that can help you know human life, much less the ways that can lead you to perfection. Does this discrepancy not give you cause for reflection? Does it not allow you to understand the mysteries contained within? Are you capable of delivering yourself to heaven to meet God on your own? Without the coming of God, can you take yourself into heaven to enjoy family happiness with God? Are you still dreaming now?

from “Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Footnotes:

a. A piece of deadwood: a Chinese idiom, meaning “beyond help.”

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Next:V Classic Words on the Relationship Between Each Stage of God’s Work and the Name of God

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