God’s Holiness (II)
Good evening everyone! (Good evening Almighty God!) Today, brothers and sisters, let us sing a hymn. Find one that you like and that you have sung regularly before. (We’d like to sing a hymn of God’s word “Pure Love Without Blemish.”)
Refrain: “Love” refers to a pure emotion without blemish, where you use your heart to love, to feel, and to be thoughtful. In love there are no conditions, no barriers, and no distance. In love there is no suspicion, no deceit, no deal, and no cunning. In love there is no choice and nothing impure.
1. If you have such love, then you do not deceive, complain, betray, rebel, take, or ask to receive anything or a certain amount. If you love, then you gladly sacrifice.
2. If you have such love, then you gladly endure hardship, and cooperate with God. You would give up your all for God: your family, your future, your youth, and your marriage. Otherwise your love is not love at all, but deceit and betrayal!
This was a good song to select. Do you like singing this song? (Yes.) What do you feel after singing this song? Are you able to feel this kind of love within yourselves? (Not quite yet.) Which words from within the song move you the deepest? (That would be: In love there are no conditions, no barriers, and no distance. In love there is no suspicion, no deceit, no deal, and no cunning. In love there is no choice and nothing impure. But within myself I still see impurities and I also see where I try to make deals with God, areas where I fall short, so when I think about myself today I really haven’t attained a type of love that is pure and without blemish.) If you haven’t attained a type of love that is pure and without blemish, what type of love do you have? What level of love do you have within yourself? (I am merely at the stage where I am willing to seek and I am yearning.) Based on your own stature and using your own words from your own experiences, what level have you attained? Do you have deceit, do you have complaints? (Yes.) Do you have demands within your heart, are there things that you want and desire from God? (Yes, there are these adulterated things.) In what circumstances do they come out? (When the situation that God has arranged for me doesn’t match up with my ideas of what it should be, or when my desires have not been met, I will show this type of corrupt disposition.) Do you often sing this song? Could you discuss how you understand “pure love without blemish”? And why God defines love this way? (I really like this song myself because I can really see that this love is a complete love. However, I feel quite distant from that standard. Now I am merely at the stage where I am willing to sacrifice certain things and endure some expense in the pursuit of truth, but as soon as something impacts my own future and destiny, I feel conflicted inside. I see that within myself I have little confidence in God.) (I now feel that I am still very far away from attaining true love, but there are some areas where I have been able to make progress toward it, one way I do this is through the strength God’s words give me and another way is that in these situations I cooperate with God through prayer. However, when it involves my views on existence, I feel that sometimes I can’t overcome them.) Have you ever thought about the things that might be blocking you during those times you can’t overcome them? Have you been introspective on these issues? (Yes, I have been introspective and for the most part it’s my own pride and vanity as well as expectations for my future and destiny that are a great obstruction.) When expectations of your future and destiny are a great obstruction, have you ever thought about why it’s such a great hindrance? How could this future and destiny become a hindrance? What do you want from your future and destiny? (I am not fully clear on this issue, sometimes I fall into situations where I feel I don’t have future and destiny or sometimes I even feel that I don’t have a destination in what God has revealed to me. In these times I feel very weak and I feel that this has become my own great hindrance. However, after a period of experience and through prayer, the situation can reach a turning point, but I still often feel disturbed by this issue.) What are you truly referring to when you say “future and destiny”? (It means that when God has arranged some circumstances for me, I feel very far away from His requirements. Sometimes I wonder whether or not God reveals me and I feel that I have no destiny or destination, and I feel very weak.) What are you truly referring to when you say “future and destiny”? Is there something you can point to? Is it a picture or something you imagined or is it something you could actually see? Is it a real thing? (It is destination.) What is destination? What is your future? In each of your hearts you should think, what does the concern you have in your heart about your future and your destiny refer to? (It’s to be saved and to survive, and the hope to gradually become fit for use by God and perform my duty up to the standard through the process of doing my duty. These things are often revealed by God, and I feel that I fall short.) Other brothers and sisters should discuss, how do you understand “pure love without blemish”? (There is nothing impure from the individual and they are not controlled by their future and destiny. Regardless of how God treats them, they are able to fully obey God’s work, as well as obey God’s orchestrations and follow Him to the very end. Only this kind of love for God is pure love without blemish. Only when I compare myself to that do I discover that in the few years that I have believed in God I may have, on the surface, sacrificed certain things or endured some expense, but I have not been able to truly give my heart to God. When God reveals me, I feel as if I have been characterized as someone who can’t be saved, and I dwell in those negative circumstances. I see myself performing my duty, but at the same time trying to make deals with God, and unable to love God with all my heart, and that my destination, my future, and my destiny are always on my mind. I remember the man’s fellowship once said that we should repay God’s love in performing our duty, that love must be truly expressed, and not just empty words. In comparison I feel very far away from this love.)
It seems that you have often sung this song and have some understanding of it and that there are some connections to your actual experiences. However, almost everyone has different levels of acceptance of each of the phrases in the song “Pure Love Without Blemish.” Some people are willing, some people are seeking to set aside their future, some people are seeking to set aside their families, some people are not seeking to receive anything. Still others are requiring themselves to have no deceit, no complaints, and not rebel against God. Why would God want to suggest this kind of love and require that people love Him this way? Is this a type of love that people can attain? That is to say, are people able to love this way? People may see that they cannot, because they do not at all possess this type of love, and when they do not possess it, and they fundamentally do not know about love, God speaks these words, which are unfamiliar to them. Because people live in this world, live in their corrupt disposition, if people had this type of love or if one could possess this type of love, having no requests and no demands, being willing to devote themselves and willing to endure suffering and give up everything they own, how would someone who possesses this type of love be viewed in the eyes of other people? Wouldn’t that be a perfect person? (Yes.) Does a perfect person like that exist in this world? He doesn’t exist, does he? This type of person absolutely does not exist in this world, unless they were to live in a vacuum, right? Therefore, some people—through their experiences—expend great effort to be like what these words described. They deal with themselves, restrain themselves, and they even constantly forsake themselves: They endure suffering and give up misconceptions they have held. They give up the ways they have been rebellious to God, give up their own desires and wants. But in the end they still can’t meet those requirements. Why does that happen? God says these things to provide a standard for people to follow, so people will know the standard demanded by God for them. But does God ever say that people must achieve this right away? Does God ever say in how much time people have to achieve this? (No.) Does God ever say that people have to love Him this way? Does this passage say that? No, it does not. God is just telling people about the “love” He was referring to. As for people being able to love God this way and treat God this way, what are God’s requirements? It’s not necessary to reach them instantly, or right away because people can’t do that. Have you ever thought about what sort of conditions people need to meet in order to love this way? If people frequently read these words will they gradually have this love? (No.) What are the conditions then? First, how can people be free from suspicions about God? (Only honest people can achieve that.) What about being free from deceit? (They also have to be honest people.) To be one who does not want to make deals with God? That also has to be an honest person. What about having no cunning? What does it refer to in saying there is no choice in love? Are they all referring to being an honest person? There are a lot of details in there; God’s ability to bring up this type of love or God’s ability to define this type of love, to say it this way, what does this confirm? Can we say that God possesses this kind of love? (Yes.) Where do you see this? (In the love God has for man.) Is God’s love for man conditional? (No.) Are there barriers or distance between God and man? (No.) Does God have suspicions about man? (No.) God observes man, understands man, right? (Yes.) Mm, He truly understands man. Is God deceitful toward man? (No.) Since God speaks so perfectly of this love, would His heart or His substance be so perfect? Have people ever defined love in this way? (No.) In what circumstances has man defined love? How does man speak of love? Isn’t it giving or offering? (Yes.) Man’s definition of love is simple, and is lacking in substance.
God’s definition of love and the way God speaks of love are connected to an aspect of His substance, but what aspect of His substance? Last time we fellowshiped about a very important subject, it is a subject people have often discussed and brought up before, and it is a word that often comes up in the course of believing in God, yet it is a word that seems both familiar and strange to people, but why is that? It is a word that comes from the languages of man, among man its definition is both distinct and vague, but what is this word? (Holiness.) Ah, holiness: that was the subject the last time we fellowshiped. We fellowshiped a bit about this subject, but our fellowship was incomplete. Based on the part we did fellowship about last time, did everyone get a new understanding about the substance of God’s holiness? (Yes.) What do you think was the new understanding? That is, what in that understanding or in those words made you feel that your understanding of God’s holiness was different or varied from what I fellowshiped about God’s holiness? Do you remember? Did it leave an impression? (God says what He feels in His heart; it is pure. This is one aspect of holiness.) This is part of it, is there anything else to add? (There is holiness when God is wrathful toward man, it is without blemish.) (I see in God’s authority His perfection, His faithfulness, His wisdom and His dominion over all things. I understand these things.) “Dominion over all things,” that is about God’s authority, now we are talking about God’s holiness. (As for God’s holiness, I understand there is God’s wrath and mercy in His righteous disposition, this left a very strong impression on me. It also brought up that God’s righteous disposition is unique, which in the past I did not have such an understanding of or such a definition for it. But in Your fellowship You discussed that God’s wrath is different from man’s anger. It is something no creation possesses. God’s wrath is a positive thing and it is principled; it is sent forth due to the inherent substance of God. It is because He sees something negative and so God releases His wrath. In God’s mercy, I also see that it is something no creation possesses. Even though man has good deeds or righteous actions that are considered similar to mercy, they are impure and there is a motive behind them. Some types of so-called mercy are even fake and empty. But I have seen God’s salvation when He shows mercy to people, and this mercy puts man directly on the path to being saved. It puts people on the right track of believing in God so that they receive their beautiful destination and hope. So God’s mercy is possessed in His substance. Therefore, even if God would destroy a city due to His wrath, because He has merciful substance, He could at any time or place show mercy to save and protect the people of that city. This is my understanding.) You have some understanding of God’s righteous disposition.
When I asked you some questions just now, the majority of you recognized that God’s love is so great and so real, but you lack a knowledge of God’s holy substance. On our current topic, I will discuss this area, which is the knowledge of God’s holiness. People often connect God’s righteous disposition with His holiness and they all know and have heard some details about His righteous disposition. Furthermore, many people often combine God’s holiness and righteous disposition in their fellowship, saying that God’s righteous disposition is holy. Everyone is familiar with the word “holy” and it’s a commonly used word, but in regard to the connotations of that word, what expressions of God’s holiness are people able to see? What has God revealed that people can recognize? I am afraid this is something that no one knows. We say that God’s disposition is righteous, but then if you take God’s righteous disposition and say it’s holy, that seems a little vague, a little confusing; why is this? You say God’s disposition is righteous, or you say His righteous disposition is holy, so in your hearts how do you characterize God’s holiness, how do you understand it? That is to say, what has God revealed or what is it about all that God has and is that people would recognize as holy? Have you thought about this before? What I have seen is that people often say commonly used words or have phrases that have been said over and over again, yet they don’t even know what they’re saying. That is just how everyone says it, and they say it habitually, so it becomes a set phrase. However, if they were to investigate and really study the details, they would find that they don’t know what the real meaning is or what it refers to. Just like the word “holy,” no one knows exactly what aspect of God’s substance is being referred to in regard to His holiness. As far as reconciling the word “holy” with God, no one knows and the hearts of the people are confused, and they are broad in how they recognize God is holy. But when you get down to it, how is God holy? Does anyone know? I’m afraid no one is quite clear on the issue. Today we will fellowship on the topic to reconcile the word “holy” with God so that people can see the actual content of the substance of God’s holiness, and this will prevent some people from habitually using the word carelessly and saying things randomly when they don’t know what they mean, or even if they are correct and accurate or not. People have always said it this way; you’ve said it, I’ve said it, and it has become a manner of speaking and people have thereby inadvertently tarnished the word “holy.”
As for the word “holy,” on the surface it seems very easy to understand, right? At the very least people believe the word “holy” means clean, unsoiled, sacred, and pure, just like in the hymn we just sang “Pure Love Without Blemish,” where “holy” and “love” are put together, which is correct; this is part of it, God’s love is part of His substance, but it is not the entirety of it. However, in people’s views, they see the word and tend to associate it with things that they themselves view as pure and clean, or with things they personally think are unsoiled or unblemished. For example, some people say the lotus flower is clean, how did people come to define the lotus flower this way? (“The lotus flower grows in the mud yet blooms unblemished.”) It blooms unblemished from dirty water, so people began to apply the word “holy” to the lotus flower. Some people also viewed love stories others made and the content therein as holy, or they’d view some made-up worthy protagonists as holy. Furthermore, some considered people from the Bible, or others written about in spiritual books—such as saints, apostles, or others who had once followed God while He did His work—as having had spiritual experiences that were holy. These are all things that were conceived of by people and these are conceptions held by people. Why do people hold conceptions like this? There is one reason and it is very simple: It is because people live amongst corrupt disposition and dwell in a world of evil and filth. Everything they see, everything they touch, everything they experience is Satan’s evil and Satan’s corruption as well as the scheming, infighting, and war that occur among the people under the influence of Satan. Therefore, even when God performs His work in people, or even when He speaks to people and His disposition and substance are demonstrated to people, they are not able to see or accept what holiness is. What’s more, this is the reason why people often say God is holy. Because people live among filth and corruption and are under the domain of Satan, they do not see the light and do not know the positive matters or things and furthermore, do not know the truth. Therefore, no one truly knows what holy is. Having said that, are there any holy things or holy people among this corrupt humanity? (No.) We can say with certainty that no, there are not, because only God’s substance is holy. Regarding the holiness of God’s substance, last time we fellowshiped a bit about it and that served as inspiration for people’s knowledge of God’s holiness, but it is not enough. It cannot sufficiently help people fully know God’s holiness, nor can it sufficiently help them understand that God’s holiness is unique. Furthermore, it cannot sufficiently allow people to understand the aspect of the true meaning of holiness as it is completely embodied in God. Therefore, it is necessary that we continue our fellowship in this subject. In the third section our fellowship discussed three topics, so we should now discuss the fourth, and we will begin reading the scriptures.
4. The Temptation of Satan
(Matt 4:1-4) Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.
These are the words with which the devil first tried to tempt the Lord Jesus. What is the content of what the devil said? Go ahead and read it. (“If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”) The devil said these words, which were quite simple, but is there a problem with the essential content of these words? (Yes.) What is the problem? It said, “If you be the Son of God,” so in its heart, did it know that the Lord Jesus was the Son of God? Did it know that He was Christ? (Yes.) Then why did it say “If you be”? (It was trying to tempt God.) Of course, it was trying to tempt God, but what was its purpose in doing so? It said, “If you be the Son of God.” In its heart it knew Jesus Christ was the Son of God, this was very clear in its heart, but despite this, did it submit to Him or did it worship Him? (No.) What did it want to do? It wanted to do this and say these words to make the Lord Jesus angry and then entice Him to take the bait, and to fool the Lord Jesus into doing things according to its way of thinking and rising to its hook. Isn’t this what was meant? In its heart it clearly knew this was the Lord Jesus Christ, but it still said this anyway. Isn’t this Satan’s nature? What is Satan’s nature? (To be sly, evil, and have no reverence for God.) It has no reverence for God. What is the negative thing it was doing here? Didn’t it want to attack God? It wanted to use this method to attack God, it said: “If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread”; isn’t this Satan’s evil intention? (Yes.) What was it really trying to do? Its purpose is very clear: It was trying to use this method to refute the position and identity of the Lord Jesus Christ. It said, “If You are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread. If You don’t, then You aren’t the Son of God and You just don’t do this work.” Is this what was meant here? It wanted to use this method to attack God, it wanted to dismantle and destroy God’s work; this is the malevolence and cunning of Satan. Its malevolence is a natural expression of its nature. Even though it knew the Lord Jesus Christ was the Son of God, the very incarnation of God Himself, it could not help itself but do this kind of thing, tailing God from behind and continuing to attack Him and take great pains to disturb and destroy God’s work and make an enemy of God.
Now, let us analyze this phrase that Satan used: “command that these stones be made bread.” To turn stones into bread—does this mean anything? It has no meaning. If there is food, why not eat it? Why is it necessary to turn stones into food? Is there meaning here? (No.) Although He was fasting at the time, surely the Lord Jesus had food to eat? Did He have food? (He did.) So, here, we see the preposterousness of Satan’s use of this phrase. For all its treachery and malice, we see its preposterousness and absurdity, right? Satan does a number of things. You see its malicious nature and you see it destroy God’s work. It’s hateful and exasperating. But, on the other hand, do you find a childish, absurd nature behind its words and actions? (Yes.) This is a revelation about Satan’s nature; it has this kind of nature and it will do this kind of thing. To men, the phrase is preposterous and laughable. But such words can indeed be uttered by Satan. Can we say that it is ignorant? Absurd? Satan’s evil is everywhere and is constantly being revealed. And how does the Lord Jesus answer it? (“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”) Do these words have any power? (They do.) Why do we say that they have power? (They are the truth.) Right. These words are the truth. Now, does man live by bread alone? The Lord Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights. Did He starve to death? (No.) He didn’t starve to death, so Satan approached Him, prompting Him to turn the stones into food by saying things of this sort: “If You turn the stones into food, won’t You then have things to eat? Won’t You then not have to fast, not have to go hungry?” But the Lord Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone,” which means that, although man lives in a physical body, what gives him life, what allows his physical body to live and breathe, is not food, but all the words uttered by the mouth of God. On the one hand, man regards these words as truth. The words give him faith, make him feel that he can depend on God, that God is truth. On the other hand, is there a practical aspect to these words? (There is.) Why? Because the Lord Jesus has fasted for 40 days and nights and He is still standing there, still alive. Is this an illustration? The point here is that He has not eaten anything, any food for 40 days and nights. He is still alive. This is the powerful evidence behind His phrase. The phrase is simple, but, as far as the Lord Jesus is concerned, was His phrase taught to Him by someone else, or did He think of it only because of what Satan had said to Him? Think about it. God is truth. God is life. Was God’s truth and life a late add-on? Was it born of experience? (No.) It is innate in God, meaning that truth and life reside in God’s substance. Whatever befalls Him, what He reveals is truth. This truth, this phrase—whether its content is long or short—it can let man live, give him life; it can enable man to find, within itself, truth, clarity about life’s journey, and enable him to have faith in God. This is the source of God’s use of this phrase. The source is positive, so is this positive thing holy? (Yes.) Satan’s phrase comes from Satan’s nature. Satan reveals its evil nature, its malicious nature, everywhere, constantly. Now, these revelations, does it make them naturally? (Yes.) Does anyone incite it? Does anyone help it? Does anyone coerce it? (No.) It issues them all of its own accord. This is Satan’s evil nature. Whatever God does and however He does it, Satan follows on His heels. The substance and the true features of these things that Satan says and does are Satan’s substance—evil substance, malicious substance. Now, reading on, what else does Satan say? Let’s carry on reading down.
(Matt 4:5-6) Then the devil takes him up into the holy city, and sets him on a pinnacle of the temple, And said to him, If you be the Son of God, cast yourself down: for it is written, He shall give his angels charge concerning you: and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone.
Let’s first talk about this phrase of Satan. It said, “If you be the Son of God, cast yourself down,” and then it quoted from the Scriptures, “He shall give his angels charge concerning you: and in their hands they shall bear you up, lest at any time you dash your foot against a stone.” How do you feel when you hear Satan’s words? Aren’t they very childish? They are childish, preposterous, and disgusting. Why would I say this? Satan is always up to something foolish, it believes itself to be very smart; and it often quotes the scriptures—even the very word of God—it tries to turn these words against God to attack Him and to tempt Him. Its purpose in doing this is to destroy the plan of God’s work. Nonetheless, do you notice anything in what Satan said? (There are sinister intentions in it.) Satan has always been a tempter; it doesn’t speak straightforwardly, it speaks in a roundabout way using temptation, beguilement, and seduction. Satan tempts both God and man alike: It thinks that God and man are both so ignorant, foolish, and unable to clearly distinguish things as they are. Satan thinks that God and man alike won’t see through to its substance and that God and man alike won’t see through its craftiness and sinister intent. Isn’t this where Satan gets its foolishness? (Yes.) Furthermore, Satan overtly quotes the scriptures; it thinks that doing so lends it credibility, and that you won’t be able to pick out any flaws in this or avoid being fooled by this. Isn’t this where Satan is being absurd and childish? (Yes.) This is just like when some people spread the gospel and bear witness to God, won’t non-believers say something similar to what Satan said? Have you heard people say something similar? (Yes.) Do you feel disgusted when you hear things like that? (Yes.) When you feel disgusted, do you also feel repulsed and revolted? (Yes.) When you have these feelings are you able to recognize that Satan and the corrupt disposition Satan works into man are wicked? In your hearts do you ever have a realization like, “God never speaks like that. Satan’s words bring attacks and temptation, its words are absurd, laughable, childish, and disgusting. However, in the speech of God and the actions of God, He would never use methods like this to speak or perform His work, and He has never done so”? Of course, in this situation people only have a modicum of feeling to go on and they do not have a realization of God’s holiness; they can only admit that God’s word is truth, but they do not know that truth is holiness in itself. With your current stature, you are merely feeling this: “Everything God says is the truth, it is beneficial to us, and we must accept it”; regardless of whether you are able to accept this or not, without exception you say that God’s word is truth and that God is truth, but you don’t know that truth is holiness in itself and that God is holy. So, what was Jesus’ response to Satan’s words?
(Matt 4:7) Jesus said to him, It is written again, You shall not tempt the Lord your God.
Is there truth in this phrase that Jesus said? (Yes.) There is truth in it. On the surface it seems like a commandment for people to follow, it is a very simple phrase, but it is one that both man and Satan have often violated. So, the Lord Jesus said to it, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God,” because this is what Satan often did and it made every effort to do so, you could even say that Satan shamelessly did so. It is Satan’s essential nature to not be in fear of God and not have reverence for God in its heart. So even when Satan was beside God and could see Him, Satan couldn’t help itself but tempt God. Therefore, the Lord Jesus said to Satan, “You shall not tempt the Lord your God.” This is a phrase that God has often said to Satan. Isn’t it appropriate to use this phrase even today? (Yes.) Why? (Because we also often tempt God.) People often tempt God, but why do people often do so? Is it because people are full of corrupt satanic disposition? (Yes.) So what Satan said above is something people often say? (Yes.) In what situations? One could say that people have been saying things like this and revealing them naturally irrespective of time and place. This proves that the disposition of people is exactly the same as the corrupt disposition of Satan. The Lord Jesus said a simple phrase, one that represents truth and one that people need. However, in this situation was the Lord Jesus arguing with Satan? Was there anything confrontational in what He said to Satan? (No.) How did the Lord Jesus view Satan’s temptation in His heart? Did He feel disgusted and repulsed? (Yes.) The Lord Jesus felt repulsed and disgusted but He did not argue with Satan, much less did He speak about any grand principles, isn’t that right? (Yes.) Why is that? (The Lord Jesus did not wish to acknowledge Satan.) Why didn’t He wish to acknowledge Satan? (Because Satan is always like this, it can never change.) Could we say that Satan is unreasonable? (Yes, we could.) Can Satan recognize that God is truth? Satan will never recognize that God is truth and never admit that God is truth; this is its nature. Furthermore, there is something else about Satan’s nature that is repulsive to people, what is it? In its attempts to tempt the Lord Jesus, what did it believe in its heart? Even if it tempted God and it would not succeed, yet Satan tried anyway. Even though it would be punished, it did it anyway. Even though it would get nothing good out of doing so, it did it anyway, and persisted and stood against God to the very end. What sort of nature is this? Isn’t that evil? (Yes.) He who gets infuriated when God is mentioned, have they seen God? He who gets angry when God is mentioned, do they know God? He does not know who God is, does not believe in Him, and God has not spoken to him. God has never disturbed him, so why would he be angry? Could we say that this person is evil? (Yes.) Would this be someone with an evil nature? Whatever trends are happening in the world, whether it is fun, food, famous people, beautiful people, none of these would bother them, but one mention of the word “God” and they get upset; wouldn’t this be an example of an evil nature? This serves as satisfactory proof of man’s evil nature. Now, speaking for yourselves, are there times when truth is mentioned, or when God’s tests for mankind are brought up or when God’s words of judgment against man are mentioned, and you feel annoyed, repulsed, and you don’t want to hear about it? Your heart may think: How is this truth? Didn’t people all say that God is truth? This isn’t truth, this is clearly just God’s words of admonishment toward man! Some people might even feel disgusted in their hearts: This is brought up every day, His tests for us are mentioned every day as is His judgment; when’s all this going to end? When will we receive the good destination? It isn’t known where this unreasonable anger comes from. What sort of nature is this? (Evil nature.) It is prompted by the evil nature of Satan. As for God in regard to the evil nature of Satan and the corrupt disposition of man, He never argues or bickers with people, and He never makes a fuss when people act out of ignorance. You will not see God hold similar views on things that people have, and moreover you will not see Him use men’s viewpoints, their knowledge, their science or their philosophy or man’s imagination to handle things. Instead, everything God does and everything He reveals is connected to truth. That is, every word He has said and every action He has taken concerns the truth. This truth is not some baseless fantasy; this truth and these words are expressed by God due to God’s substance and His life. Because these words and the substance of everything God has done are truth, therefore we can say that God’s substance is holy. In other words, everything God says and does brings vitality and light to people; it allows people to see positive things and the reality of those positive things and it points humanity toward the road of light so that they may walk the right path. These things are determined because of God’s substance and they are determined due to the substance of His holiness. You have seen it, right? We will continue with a reading of the scriptures.
(Matt 4:8-11) Again, the devil takes him up into an exceeding high mountain, and shows him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And said to him, All these things will I give you, if you will fall down and worship me. Then said Jesus to him, Get you hence, Satan: for it is written, You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve. Then the devil leaves him, and, behold, angels came and ministered to him.
Satan, the devil, having failed at its previous two tricks, tried yet another: It showed all the kingdoms in the world and the glory of them to the Lord Jesus and asked Him to worship the devil. What do you see about the true features of the devil from this situation? Isn’t Satan the devil absolutely shameless? (Yes.) How shameless can it be? Everything was created by God, yet Satan turns it around and shows it to God saying, “Look at the wealth and glory of all of these kingdoms. If You worship me I’ll give them all to You.” Isn’t this a role reversal? Isn’t Satan shameless? God made everything, but was it for His enjoyment? God gave everything to mankind, but Satan wanted to seize it all and afterward it said, “Worship me! Worship me and I’ll give this all to You.” This is the ugly face of Satan; it is absolutely shameless, right? Satan doesn’t even know the meaning of the word “shame,” and this is just another example of its evil. It doesn’t even know what “shame” is. Satan clearly knows that God created everything and that He manages it and has dominion over it. Everything belongs to God, not to man, much less to Satan, yet Satan the devil brazenly said that it would give everything to God. Isn’t Satan once again doing something absurd and shameless? God hates Satan even more now, right? Yet no matter what Satan tried to do, did the Lord Jesus fall for it? (No.) What did the Lord Jesus say? (“You shall worship the Lord your God.”) Does this phrase have a practical meaning? (Yes.) What sort of practical meaning? We see Satan’s evil and shamelessness in its speech. So if man worshiped Satan, what would the conclusion be? Would they receive the wealth and glory of all of the kingdoms? (No.) What would they receive? Would mankind become just as shameless and laughable as Satan? (Yes.) They would be no different from Satan then. Therefore, the Lord Jesus said this phrase which is important for each and every person: “You shall worship the Lord your God, and him only shall you serve,” which states that except for the Lord, except for God Himself, if you serve another, if you worship Satan the devil, then you wallow in the same filth as Satan. You would then share Satan’s shamelessness and its evil, and just like Satan you would tempt God and attack God. Then what would your end be? You would be loathed by God, struck down by God, and destroyed by God, isn’t that right? After Satan had tempted the Lord Jesus several times without success, did it try again? Satan did not try again and then it left. What does this prove? It proves that Satan’s evil nature, its malice, and its absurdity and preposterousness is not worth a mention before God because the Lord Jesus defeated Satan in only three sentences, after which it scurried away with its tail between its legs, too ashamed to show its face again, and it never tempted Him again. Since the Lord Jesus had defeated this temptation of Satan, He could now easily continue the work that He had to do and assume the tasks that lay before Him. Does everything that the Lord Jesus said and did in this situation carry some practical meaning for everyone if it is applied now? (Yes.) What sort of practical meaning? Is defeating Satan an easy thing to do? (No.) What would it be then? Must people have a clear understanding of Satan’s evil nature? Must people have an accurate understanding of Satan’s temptations? (Yes.) If you ever experience Satan’s temptations in your own life, and if you are able to see through to Satan’s evil nature, will you be able to defeat it? If you know about Satan’s absurdity and preposterousness, would you still stand by Satan and attack God? (No, we wouldn’t.) If you understand how Satan’s malice and shamelessness are being revealed through you—if you clearly recognize and know these things—would you still attack and tempt God in this way? (No, we wouldn’t.) What will you do? (We will rebel against Satan and abandon it.) Is that an easy thing to do? (No.) This is not easy, to do this, people must frequently pray, they must often place themselves before God, and they must always examine themselves. They must submit to God’s discipline and His judgment and chastisement and only in this way shall people gradually remove themselves from Satan’s domain and control.
We can sum up the things that make up the substance of Satan from these things that it has said. Firstly, Satan’s substance can generally be said to be evil, which stands in contrast to the holiness of God. Why do I say Satan’s substance is evil? One must look at the consequences of what Satan does to people in order to see this. Satan corrupts and controls man, and man acts under the corrupt disposition of Satan, and inhabits a world that is corrupted by Satan and lives among corrupt people. The masses are unwittingly possessed and assimilated by Satan and man therefore has the evil nature of Satan. From everything Satan has said and done, we can see its arrogance and we see its craftiness and malice. How is Satan’s arrogance primarily displayed? Does Satan always want to occupy God’s position? Satan always wants to tear down God’s work and God’s position and take it for itself so that people will follow, support, and worship Satan; this is the arrogant nature of Satan. But when Satan corrupts people, it does so in a sly and treacherous way: When Satan does its work on people, it does not directly tell people how to refuse and oppose God. When Satan tempts God, it does not come out and say, “I am tempting You, I am going to attack You,” so what method does Satan use? (Seduction.) It seduces, tempts, attacks, and sets its traps, and even by quoting the scriptures. Satan speaks and acts in various ways to achieve its sinister motives. After Satan has done this, what can be seen from what’s manifested in man? Aren’t people arrogant? Man has suffered from Satan’s corruption for thousands of years and so man has become arrogant and extraordinarily conceited, and he has become sly, malicious, and unreasonable, right? All these things are brought about due to Satan’s nature. Since Satan’s nature is evil, it has given man this evil nature and brought man this evil corrupt disposition. Therefore man lives under the corrupt satanic disposition and, like Satan, man goes against God, attacks God, and tempts Him to the extent that man does not worship God and does not revere Him in their hearts. Is that right?
Regarding God’s holiness, even though it may be a familiar topic, in discussion it might become a bit abstract for some people, and the content might be a bit deep. In the past, people rarely dealt with the topic of God’s holiness, so they don’t understand it. But don’t worry, I will help you understand what God’s holiness is. I see that this is a little hard for you to absorb, let us say this first: If you want to get to know someone, just look at what he or she does and the results of his or her actions, and you will be able to see the substance of the person. So let us fellowship on God’s holiness from this perspective first. We said that the substance of Satan is evil and malicious, and so Satan’s actions toward man have been to endlessly corrupt them. Satan is evil, so the people it has corrupted are certainly evil, right? Would anyone say, “Satan is evil, perhaps someone it corrupted is holy”? What a joke, right? Is this even possible? (No.) So don’t think about it like that, let’s talk about it from this aspect: Satan is evil, this is its substance and this is real, this is not just empty talk. We are not trying to libel Satan; we are merely fellowshiping about truth and reality as well as about the facts surrounding it. This might hurt some people or a certain section of people, but there is no malicious intent here; perhaps you will hear this today and feel a bit uncomfortable, but someday soon, when you are able to recognize it, you will despise yourselves, and you will feel that what we talked about today is very useful to you and very valuable.
The substance of Satan is evil, so the results of Satan’s actions are inevitably evil, or at the very least, are connected with its evil, could we say that? (Yes.) So how does Satan go about corrupting man? First we must take a look in particular at the evil wrought by Satan in the world and among humanity that is visible, that we can feel; have you ever thought about this before? You might not have given it much thought, so let Me bring up several main points so that you can see how Satan corrupts man. There is a theory called evolution; everyone knows about this, right? This evolution and materialism, aren’t these areas of knowledge studied by man? (Yes.) So, Satan first uses knowledge to corrupt man, and then it uses science to arouse people’s interest in knowledge, science, and mysterious things, or in things people desire to explore; this is to say, Satan uses scientific knowledge to corrupt man. The next things Satan uses to corrupt man are traditional culture and superstition, and following that, it utilizes social trends. These are all things that people come into contact with in their daily lives and these are all connected to things close to people, what they see, what they hear, what they touch and what they experience. One could say that they surround everyone, they are inescapable and inextricable. Mankind has no way to avoid being influenced, infected, controlled, and bound by these things; they are powerless to push them away.
First we will talk about knowledge. Wouldn’t everyone consider knowledge a positive thing? Or at the very least, people think that the connotation of the word “knowledge” is positive rather than negative. So why are we mentioning here that Satan uses knowledge first to corrupt man? Isn’t the theory of evolution an aspect of knowledge? Aren’t Newton’s scientific laws part of knowledge? The gravitational pull of the earth is part of knowledge, right? (Yes.) So why is knowledge listed among the content that Satan uses to corrupt mankind? What is your take on this? Does knowledge have even a shred of truth in it? (No.) Then what is the substance of knowledge? (It goes against truth.) On what basis is the knowledge that man studies learned? Is it based on the theory of evolution? Isn’t the knowledge that man has explored, the summation of it, based on atheism? (Yes.) So, does any of this knowledge have a connection to God? Is it connected with worshiping God? Is it connected to truth? (No.) How does Satan use knowledge to corrupt man? I just said that none of this knowledge is connected with worshiping God or with truth. Some people think about it like this: “It might not have anything to do with truth, but it doesn’t corrupt people.” What’s your take on this? Were you taught by knowledge that people’s happiness depended on what they created with their own hands? Did knowledge ever teach you that man’s fate was in his own hands? (Yes.) What is this kind of talk? (It’s nonsense.) Spot on! It is nonsense! Knowledge is complicated to discuss. You may put it simply that a field of knowledge is nothing more than knowledge. That is a field of knowledge that is learned on the basis of atheism and lack of understanding that God created all things. When people study this type of knowledge, they do not see God as having dominion over all things, they do not see God as being in charge of or managing all things. Instead, all they do is endlessly research, explore, and seek out scientific answers in that area of knowledge. However, if people do not believe in God and instead only pursue research, they will never find the true answers, right? Knowledge only gives you a livelihood, it only provides a job, it only provides income so that you don’t go hungry, but it will never help you know God, it will never help you believe in Him, obey Him, and knowledge will never keep you far from evil. The more you study knowledge, the more you will desire to rebel against God, to research God, to tempt God, and to go against God. So now, what do we see that knowledge is teaching people? It is all the philosophy of Satan. Do Satan’s philosophies and rules of survival found in corrupt men have any connection to truth? (No.) They have nothing to do with truth and, in fact, are the opposite of the truth. People often say, “Life is motion”; what kind of talk is this? (Nonsense.) People also say, “Man is iron, rice is steel, man feels famished if he skips a meal”; what is this? (Nonsense, Satan’s words.) It’s an even worse fallacy and it’s disgusting to hear it. So knowledge is something that perhaps everyone knows about. In man’s so-called knowledge, Satan has imbued quite a bit of its philosophy of life and its thinking. And as Satan does this, Satan allows man to borrow its thinking, philosophy, and point of view so that man may deny the existence of God, deny God’s dominion over all things and dominion over man’s fate. So as man’s studies progress, he feels the existence of God become vague when he gains more knowledge, and man might even feel that God doesn’t exist because of the viewpoints, concepts, and thoughts that Satan has added into the mind of man. As Satan puts these thoughts into the mind of man, aren’t people corrupted by this? (Yes.) What does man base his life on now? Is he really depending on this knowledge? No; man is basing his life on the thoughts, views and philosophies of Satan that are hidden in this knowledge. This is where the core of Satan’s corruption of man occurs, this is Satan’s goal and its method for corrupting man.
A. How Satan Uses Knowledge to Corrupt Man
We will first talk about the most superficial aspect of this topic. When you were having Chinese lessons in school, were the language and writing able to corrupt people? They couldn’t. Can words corrupt people? (No.) Words do not corrupt people; they are a tool that allows people to speak with and a tool with which people communicate with God. Furthermore, language and words are how God communicates with people now, they are tools, they are a necessity. One plus one equals two, this is knowledge, right? Two multiplied by two equals four, this is knowledge, right? But can this corrupt you? This is common sense and a rule so it cannot corrupt people. So what knowledge does corrupt people? It’s knowledge that has Satan’s viewpoints and thoughts mixed in with it, Satan seeks to imbue these viewpoints and thoughts into humanity through knowledge. For example, in an essay, is there anything wrong with the written words? (No.) So, where would the problem be? The viewpoints and intent of the author when he wrote the essay as well as the content of his thoughts—these are spiritual things—are able to corrupt people. For example, if you were watching a television show, what sort of things in it could change your view? Would what the performers said, the words themselves, be able to corrupt people? (No.) What sort of things would corrupt people? It would be the core thoughts and content of the show, which would represent the director’s views, and the information carried in these views could sway people’s hearts and minds. Is that right? (Yes.) Do you know what I am referring to in My discussion of Satan using knowledge to corrupt people? (Yes, we do.) You won’t misunderstand, right? So when you read a novel or an essay again, can you evaluate whether or not the thoughts expressed in the essay corrupt mankind or contribute to humanity? (We can do so a little bit.) This is something that must be studied and experienced at a slow pace, it’s not something that’s easily understood right away. For example, when researching or studying an area of knowledge, some positive aspects of that knowledge may help you understand some common sense about that field, and what people should avoid. For example, take “electricity,” this is a field of knowledge, right? You would be ignorant if you didn’t know that electricity can shock people, right? But once you understand this area of knowledge, you won’t be careless about touching something electrical and you’ll know how to use electricity. These are both positive things. Are you clear on what we are discussing about how knowledge corrupts people? (Yes, we are.) If you understand we will not continue to speak about it further because there are many types of knowledge studied in the world and you must take your time to differentiate them yourselves.
B. How Satan Uses Science to Corrupt Man
What is science? Isn’t science held in high prestige and considered profound in just about everyone’s mind? (Yes, it is.) When science is mentioned, don’t people feel, “This is something regular folks can’t grasp, this is a topic that only scientific researchers or experts can touch upon. It doesn’t have any connection with us regular folks”? Does it have a connection though? (Yes.) How does Satan use science to corrupt people? We won’t talk about other things except the things that people frequently encounter in their own lives. You have heard of “genes,” right? (Yes.) You are all familiar with this term, right? Were genes discovered through science? What exactly do genes mean to people? Don’t they make people feel that the body is a mysterious thing? When people are introduced to this topic, won’t there be people—especially the curious—who will want to know more or want more details? These curious people will focus their energy on this subject and when they aren’t busy they will look up information in books and on the internet to learn more details about it. What is science? To speak plainly, science is the thoughts and theories of things man is curious about, things that are unknown, and not told to them by God; science is the thoughts and theories of the mysteries man wants to explore. What do you think the scope of science is? You could say that it encapsulates all things, but how does man do the work of science? Is it through research? It involves researching the details and the laws of these things and then putting forth dubious theories about which everyone thinks, “These scientists are really terrific! They know so much and have so much knowledge to understand these things!” They have so much admiration for those people, right? People that research science, what sort of views do they hold? Don’t they want to research the universe, to research the mysterious things in their area of interest? What is the final outcome of this? Some sciences have people drawing their conclusions by conjectures, others have people relying on human experience for their conclusions and yet another field of sciences will have people coming to their conclusions based on experience or historical and background observations. Is that right? (Yes.) So what does science do for people? What science does is that it only allows people to see the objects in the physical world and merely satisfies man’s curiosity; it does not allow man to see the laws by which God has dominion over all things. Man seems to find answers from science, but those answers are puzzling and bring only temporary satisfaction, a satisfaction that only serves to confine the heart of man to the physical world. Man feels that they have already gotten the answers from science so whatever issue arises, they firmly believe in their scientific views to prove or accept it. Man’s heart becomes possessed by science and seduced by it to the point where man no longer has the mind to know God, worship God, and believe that all things come from God and man should look to Him for answers. Isn’t this true? You can see that the more a person believes in science, the more absurd they become, believing that everything has a scientific solution, that research can solve anything. They do not seek God and they do not believe He exists; even some people who have followed God for many years will go and research bacteria on a whim or look up some information for answers. Such a person does not look at the issues from the perspective of truth and in most cases they want to rely on scientific views and knowledge or scientific answers to solve problems; but they don’t rely on God and they do not seek God. Do people like this have God in their hearts? (No.) There are even some people who want to research God in the same way as they study science. For example, there are many religious experts who have gone to where the ark came to rest after the great flood. They have seen the ark, but in the appearance of the ark they do not see the existence of God. They only believe in the stories and the history and this is the result of their scientific research and study of the physical world. If you research material things, whether it be microbiology, astronomy, or geography, you will never find a result that says God exists or that He has dominion over all things. Is this right? (Yes.) So what does science do for man? Doesn’t it distance man from God? Isn’t this allowing people to study God? Doesn’t this make people more doubtful about God’s existence? (Yes.) So how does Satan want to use science to corrupt man? Doesn’t Satan want to use scientific conclusions to deceive and benumb people? Satan uses the ambiguous answers to hold on to people’s hearts so that they won’t seek out or believe in God’s existence, and thus they will be suspicious of God, deny God and be distanced from Him. So this is why we say it is one of the ways Satan corrupts people.
C. How Satan Uses Traditional Culture to Corrupt Man
Are there many things that are considered part of traditional culture? (Yes.) What does this traditional culture mean? (It is passed down from ancestors.) It is passed down from ancestors, this is one aspect. Families, ethnic groups and even the human race have passed down their ways of life from the beginning, or they have passed down customs, sayings, and rules, which have become instilled into people’s thoughts. What do people make of these things? People consider them inseparable from their lives. They take these things and regard them as rules and life to be observed, and they are always unwilling to change or abandon these things because they were passed down from their ancestors. There are other aspects of traditional culture, like that which was passed down from Confucius or Mencius, or the things taught to people by Chinese Daoism and Confucianism which have become part of each person down to their very bones. Isn’t this right? (Yes.) What does this traditional culture include? Does it include the holidays people celebrate? For example, from the top there is the Spring Festival, the Lantern Festival, Tomb Sweeping Day, the Dragon Boat Festival, and there’s International Labor Day, Children’s Day, Mid-Autumn Festival, and National Day. Some families even celebrate other holidays, or celebrate when seniors achieve a certain age, or when children achieve 1 month of age and when they are 100 days old. These are all traditional holidays. Don’t the backgrounds of these holidays consist of traditional culture? What is the core of traditional culture? Does it have anything about worshiping God? Does it have anything about telling people to practice the truth? (No.) Are there any holidays for people to offer sacrifice to God, go to God’s altar and receive His word? Are there holidays like this? (No.) What do people do on all of these holidays? (Worshiping Satan. Eating, drinking and leisure activities.) In modern times they are seen as occasions for eating, drinking, and fun. Then what is the source behind traditional culture? Who is traditional culture from? (Satan.) It’s from Satan. In the background of these traditional holidays, Satan instills things in man, what are these things? Ensuring that people remember their ancestors, is that one of them? For example, during the Tomb Sweeping Festival people tidy up graves and offer sacrifices to their ancestors. So people won’t forget their ancestors, right? Also, Satan ensures that people remember to be patriotic, like with the Dragon Boat Festival. What about the Mid-Autumn Festival? (Family reunions.) What is the background of family reunions? What’s the reason for it? (To put family first, and emotions.) To communicate and connect emotionally, right? Of course, whether it’s celebrating Lunar New Year’s Eve or the Lantern Festival, there are many ways of describing the background reasons. However one describes the reason behind them, each one is Satan’s way of instilling its philosophy and its thinking in people, so that they stray from God and do not know there is God, and that they offer sacrifices either to their ancestors or to Satan, or that it’s just an excuse to eat, drink, and have fun for the sake of desires of the flesh. As each of these holidays is celebrated, Satan’s thoughts and views are planted deep within the minds of the people and they don’t even know it. When people reach middle age or older, these things, these thoughts and viewpoints of Satan are already rooted deep in their hearts. Moreover, people do their utmost to transmit these ideas, whether right or wrong, down to the next generation without reservation. Is this right? (Yes.) So how do traditional culture and these holidays corrupt people? (People become constrained and bound by the rules of these traditions such that they have no time or energy to seek God.) This is one aspect. For example, everyone celebrates during Lunar New Year, if you didn’t wouldn’t you feel sad? Wouldn’t you feel, “Aiya, I didn’t celebrate the New Year. This day of the Lunar New Year was awful, and it has not been celebrated; will this whole year be bad”? Wouldn’t you feel ill at ease? (Yes.) And perhaps a bit afraid, right? There are even some people who haven’t made sacrifices to their ancestors in years and they suddenly have a dream where a deceased person asks them for money, what will they feel inside? “How sad that this dead person needs money to spend! I’ll burn some paper money for them, if I don’t that just wouldn’t be right. We living people may run into some trouble if I don’t burn some paper money, who can say when tragedy will strike?” They will always have this little cloud of fear and worry in their hearts. So who gives them this worry? (Satan.) Satan brings it. Isn’t this one of the ways that Satan corrupts man? It uses different means and excuses to control you, to threaten you, and to bind you, to the extent that you fall into a daze and yield and submit to it; this is how Satan corrupts man. Often times when people are weak or when they aren’t fully aware of the situation, they may inadvertently do something in a muddle-headed way, that is, they unwittingly fall under Satan’s grasp and they might unwittingly do something and they don’t know what they are doing. This is the way Satan corrupts man. There are even quite a few people now who are reluctant to part with deep-rooted cultural traditions and they just can’t give them up. It is especially when they are weak and passive that they wish to celebrate these kinds of holidays and they wish to meet Satan and satisfy Satan again, through which they can also comfort themselves inside. Isn’t this how it goes? (Yes.) What is the background for these cultural traditions? Is the black hand of Satan pulling the strings behind the scenes? Is Satan’s evil nature manipulating and controlling things? Is Satan controlling all these things? (Yes.) When people live in a traditional culture and celebrate these kinds of traditional holidays, could we say that this is an environment where they are being fooled by Satan and corrupted by Satan? Aren’t they happy to be corrupted by Satan? Isn’t this the way it is? (Yes.) This is something we all acknowledge, right? And something we all know about.
D. How Satan Uses Superstition to Corrupt Man
You’re familiar with the term “superstition,” right? In superstition, what are people often coming into contact with? (False gods.) There are some overlapping similarities with traditional culture here, but we won’t talk about those today, instead I will discuss the most commonly encountered: divination, fortune telling, burning incense, and worshiping Buddha. Some people do divination, others worship Buddha and burn incense, while others have their fortunes read or have their fortunes told by allowing someone to read their facial features. How many of you have had your fortunes told or had a face reading? This is something most people are interested in, right? (Yes.) Why is that? What sort of benefit do people get out of fortune telling and divination? What kind of satisfaction do they get out of it? (Curiosity.) Is it just curiosity? That can’t be it. What is the goal of divination? Why have it done? Isn’t it to see the future? Some people have their face read to predict the future, others do it to see if they’ll have good luck or not. Some people do it to see what their marriage will be like, and yet others do it to see what fortune the year ahead will bring. Some people have their face read to see what the prospects of their sons or daughters will be like and see all aspects of these things, and some business people do it to see how much money they’ll make so they can get some guidance on what they should do. Some people just want to know what their fortune will be like and what the future will bring. Is it just to satisfy curiosity? (No.) When people have their face read or do these sorts of things, it is for their own future personal benefit and they believe that all of this is closely connected with their own fate. Is any of this stuff useful? (No.) Why isn’t it useful? Isn’t it a good thing to know a bit about the future? This helps you know when trouble may strike, so you could avoid it if you knew about it beforehand, right? Having your fortune told might allow you to be guided around it, so that the year ahead may be good and you can get rich doing business. Isn’t that useful? (No.) Whether it’s useful has no connection with us, we won’t fellowship about it today; our discussion doesn’t involve this content and topic. How does Satan use superstition to corrupt man? What people know about things like divination, face reading, and fortune telling is so they can know about what their fortune will be like in the future and what the road ahead looks like, but in the end, whose hands are already controlling these things? (God’s hands.) They are in God’s hands. As for Satan, in using these methods, what does it want people to know? Satan wants to use face reading and fortune telling to tell people that it knows their fortunes ahead, and Satan wants to tell people that it knows these things and is in control of them. Satan wants to take advantage of this opportunity and use these methods to control people, such that people put blind faith in it and obey its every word. For example, if you have a face reading done, if the fortune telling man closes his eyes and tells you everything that’s happened to you in the last few decades with perfect clarity, how would you feel inside? You would suddenly feel, “I really admire this fortune teller, he’s so accurate! I’ve never told my past to anyone before, how did he know about it?” It wouldn’t be too hard for Satan to know your past, right? God has led you to today, and Satan has also corrupted people all along and it has followed you. Satan is an evil spirit; the passage of decades for you is nothing to Satan and it’s not difficult for it to know these things. When you know that what Satan said is accurate, aren’t you giving your heart to it? Your future and fortune, aren’t you depending on its control? In an instant, your heart will feel some respect or reverence for it, and for some people, their souls may already be snatched by it. And you’ll ask the fortune teller immediately: “What should I do next? What should I avoid in the coming year? What things must I not do?” And then, he will say: “You mustn’t go there, you mustn’t do this, don’t wear clothes of a certain color, you shouldn’t go to such and such places very often, and you should do more of certain things….” Won’t you take everything he says immediately to heart? (Yes.) You’d memorize it faster than the word of God. Why would you memorize it so quickly? (It’s beneficial to me.) Because you’d want to rely on Satan for good luck, isn’t this when it grabs a hold of your heart? When you do what it says and its words thereby come true as predicted, wouldn’t you want to go right back to it to find out what fortune the next year will bring? (Yes.) You’ll do whatever Satan tells you to do and you’ll avoid the things it says to avoid, aren’t you obeying everything it says? You will quickly be brought under its wing, led astray, and put under its control. This happens because you believe what it says is the truth and because you believe that it knows about your past lives, your life now, and what the future will bring; this is the method Satan uses to control people. But in reality, who is really in control? It is God Himself, not Satan. Satan is just using its tricks in this case to trick ignorant people, trick people who only see the physical world into believing and relying on it. Then, they will fall into Satan’s grasp and obey its every word. But does Satan ever let up when people want to believe in and follow God? Satan does not let up. In this situation, are people really falling under Satan’s grasp? (Yes.) Could we say that Satan’s behavior in this regard is really shameless? (Yes.) Why would we say that? (Satan uses trickery.) Hmm, because Satan’s tricks are fraudulent and deceitful. Satan is shameless and Satan misleads people into thinking it controls their everything and deceives people into thinking that it controls their fate. This makes ignorant people come to obey it completely and it swindles them with just a sentence or two and in their daze, people bow before it. Is this right? (Yes.) So, what sort of methods does Satan use, what does it say to get you to believe in it? For example, you might not have told Satan how many people are in your family, but it might say that there are three in your family, including a daughter who is 7, as well as the ages of your parents. If you had your suspicions and doubts at the beginning, wouldn’t you feel it’s a little more believable after hearing that? (Yes.) And then Satan might say, “Work has been difficult for you today, your superiors don’t give you the recognition you deserve and are always working against you.” After hearing that, you would think, “That’s exactly right! Things haven’t been going smoothly at work.” So you’d believe Satan a bit more. Then it would say something else to deceive you, making you believe it even more, and little by little, you would find yourself unable to resist or be suspicious of it anymore. Satan merely uses a few trivial tricks, even trifling little tricks, to mesmerize you. As you become mesmerized, you will be unable to get your bearings, you will be at a loss for what to do, and you’ll begin to follow what Satan says. This is the “oh so brilliant” method Satan uses to corrupt man where you unwittingly fall into its trap and are seduced by it. You see, Satan tells you a few things that people imagine to be good things, and then it tells you what to do and what to avoid and that’s how you unwittingly start down that path. Once you go down that path, it’s going to be nothing but trouble for you; you’ll constantly be thinking about what Satan said and what it told you to do, and you will unknowingly be possessed by it. Why is this? It’s because mankind lacks the truth and so they are unable to stand up against Satan’s temptation and seduction. Faced with Satan’s evil and its craftiness, treachery, and malice, mankind is so ignorant, naive and weak, right? Isn’t this one of the ways Satan corrupts man? (Yes.) Man is unwittingly deceived and tricked, little by little, by Satan’s various methods, because they lack the ability to differentiate between the positive and the negative. They lack this stature, and the ability to triumph over Satan.
E. How Satan Uses Social Trends to Corrupt Man
Are social trends a new phenomenon? (No.) So when did they begin? Could one say that social trends came to be when Satan started corrupting people? (Yes.) What do social trends include? (Style of clothing and makeup.) This is something people often come into contact with. Clothing style, fashion, and trends, this is a small aspect. Is there anything else? Do the popular sayings that people often talk about count too? Do the lifestyles that people desire count? Do the music stars, celebrities, magazines, and novels that people like count? (Yes.) In your minds, which aspect of these trends is able to corrupt man? Which of these trends is most enticing to you? Some people say: “We’ve all reached a certain age, we are in our forties, fifties, sixties, seventies or eighties where we can’t fit in with these trends and they don’t really hold our attention anymore.” Is this correct? (No.) Others say: “We don’t follow celebrities, that’s something youngsters in their teens and twenties do; we also don’t wear fashionable clothes, that’s something image-conscious people do.” So which of these is able to corrupt you? (Popular sayings.) Can these sayings corrupt people? Here’s one, and you can see whether or not it corrupts people, “Money makes the mare go”; is this a trend? Isn’t this a much worse thing compared to the fashion and gourmet trends you mentioned? (Yes.) “Money makes the mare go” is the philosophy of Satan and it prevails among every human society. You could say that it is a trend because it has been imparted to everyone and is now affixed in their heart. People went from not accepting this saying to growing used to it so that when they came into contact with real life, they gradually gave tacit approval to it, acknowledged its existence and finally, they gave it their own seal of approval. Is this right? (Yes.) Isn’t this process that of Satan corrupting man? Perhaps those of you sitting here do not understand this saying to the same degree, but everyone has different degrees of interpretation and acknowledgment of this saying based on things that have happened around them and their own personal experiences, right? Regardless of how much experience someone has with this saying, what’s the negative effect that it can have on someone’s heart? (People would think money can do anything, and they would esteem money.) Something is revealed through the human disposition of the people in this world, including yourselves sitting here. How is this interpreted? It’s the worship of money. Is it hard to get this out of someone’s heart? It is very hard! It seems that Satan’s corruption of man is thorough indeed! Can we say that? (Yes.) So after Satan uses this trend to corrupt people, how is it manifested in them? Don’t you feel that you couldn’t survive one day in this world without any money, that even one day would just be impossible? (Yes.) People’s status is based on how much money they have as is their respectability. The backs of the poor are bent in shame, while the rich enjoy their high status. They stand tall and proud, speaking loudly and living arrogantly. What does this saying and trend bring to people? Don’t many people see getting money as being worth any cost? Don’t many people sacrifice their dignity and integrity in the pursuit of more money? Don’t many more people lose the opportunity to perform their duty and follow God for the sake of money? Isn’t this a loss for people? (Yes.) Isn’t Satan sinister to use this method and this saying to corrupt man to such a degree? Isn’t this a malicious trick? As you progress from objecting to this popular saying to finally accepting it as truth, your heart falls completely under Satan’s grasp, and therefore you unwittingly come to live by it. What degree has this saying affected you? You might know the true way, you might know truth, but you are powerless to pursue it. You might clearly know the word of God, but you are unwilling to pay the price, unwilling to suffer to pay the price. Instead, you would rather sacrifice your own future and destiny to go against God to the very end. No matter what God says, no matter what God does, no matter how much you realize that God’s love for you is deep and great, you would still stubbornly stay the course and pay the price for this saying. What this means is that this saying already controls your behavior and your thoughts, and you would rather have your fate controlled by this saying than give it all up. People do this, they are controlled by this saying and manipulated by it. Isn’t this the effect of Satan corrupting man? Isn’t this the philosophy and corrupt disposition of Satan taking root in your heart? If you do this, hasn’t Satan achieved its goal? (Yes.) Do you see how Satan has corrupted man in this way? (No.) You didn’t see it. Can you feel it? (No.) You didn’t feel it. Do you see Satan’s evil here? (Yes.) Satan corrupts man at all times and at all places. Satan makes it impossible for man to defend against this corruption and makes man helpless to it. Satan makes you accept its thoughts, its viewpoints and the evil things that come from it in situations where you are unwitting and when you have no recognition of what’s happening to you. People fully accept these things and take no exception to them. They cherish and hold these things like a treasure, they let these things manipulate them and toy with them, and this is how Satan’s corruption of man becomes deeper and deeper.
The several previously described methods that Satan uses to corrupt people are obvious and everyone has experienced them; Satan uses them and they are inescapable. Man has knowledge and some scientific theories, man lives with the influence of traditional culture, and everyone is an inheritor of traditional culture. Man is bound to carry on the traditional culture given to him from Satan as well as acts in concert with the social trends Satan provides to mankind. In spite of being inseparable from Satan, cooperating with all Satan does at all times, accepting its craftiness, arrogance, malice, and evil—after possessing these dispositions of Satan—is man happy or sorrowful in living among this mankind and in this world? (Sorrowful.) Why would you say that? (He is tied down by these things and his life is a bitter struggle.) Hmm. You might see someone who is bespectacled and who has the very appearance of wisdom; he might never shout, always be eloquent, reasonable, and moreover, because of his great age, he might have gone through many things and be very experienced; he might be able to speak in detail about matters great and small and have a solid foundation for what he says; he might also have a set of theories to assess the authenticity and reason of things; and people might look at his behavior, his appearance, and see how he conducts himself and see his integrity and his character and find no fault with him. People like this particularly cater to the current social trends and are never thought of as being outdated; he is instead avant-garde and stylish. Even though this person might be older, he is never behind the times and he is never too old to learn. On the surface, no one can find fault with him, yet inside he is utterly and completely corrupted by Satan. On the surface nothing is wrong, he is gentle, refined, possesses knowledge and a certain morality; he has integrity and the things he knows are comparable to what young people know. However, in regard to his nature and substance, this person is a full and living model of Satan, he is the spit and image of Satan. This is the “fruit” of Satan’s corruption of man. What I have said may be hurtful to you, but it is all true. The knowledge man studies, the science he understands, and the road he takes to fit in with social trends, without exception, are tools of Satan’s corruption. This is absolutely true. Therefore, man lives within a disposition that is completely corrupted by Satan and man has no way of knowing what God’s holiness is or what God’s substance is. This is because on the surface one cannot find fault with the ways Satan corrupts man; one cannot tell from someone’s behavior that anything is amiss. Everyone goes about their work normally and lives normal lives; they read books and newspapers normally, they study and speak normally; some people have even learned to have the facade of morality so that they can say their greetings, be polite, be courteous, be understanding of others, be friendly, be helpful to others, be charitable, and will avoid being fussy with others and avoid taking advantage of others. However, their corrupt satanic disposition is rooted deep within them; this substance cannot be changed by relying on external effort. Man is not able to know God’s holiness because of this substance, and despite the substance of God’s holiness being made public to man, man doesn’t take it seriously. This is because Satan has already come to completely possess man’s feelings, ideas, viewpoints and thoughts through various means. This possession and corruption is not temporary or occasional; it is present everywhere and at all times. Therefore, many people who have believed in God for three or four years—even five or six years—they still cling to the thoughts and views Satan has instilled in them as if they are clutching a treasure. Because man has accepted the evil, arrogant, and malicious nature of Satan, inevitably in man’s interpersonal relationships there is often conflict, often arguments and incompatibility, which is created as a result of Satan’s arrogant nature. If Satan had given mankind positive things—for example, if the Confucianism and Daoism of traditional culture that man accepted were considered good things—similar types of people should be able to get along with one another after accepting those things, right? So why is there such a great divide between people who have accepted the same things? Why is that? It’s because these things come from Satan and Satan creates division among people. The things Satan provides, no matter how dignified or great they appear on the surface, bring to man and bring out in man’s life only arrogance, and nothing more than the craftiness of Satan’s evil nature. Isn’t that right? Someone who could disguise themselves, possess a wealth of knowledge, or have good upbringing would have a hard time concealing their corrupt satanic disposition. No matter how many ways this person cloaked themselves, if you thought of them as a saint, or if you thought they were perfect, or if you thought they were an angel, no matter how pure you thought they were, what would their life be like behind the scenes? What substance would you see in the revelation of their disposition? Without a doubt you would see the evil nature of Satan. Could one say that? (Yes.) For example, say you know someone close to you who you think is a good person, or you have thought of as a good person, perhaps someone you idolized. With your current stature, what do you think of them? First, you look at whether or not this type of person has humanity, whether they are honest, whether they have true love for people, whether their words and actions benefit and help others. (No.) The so-called kindness, love or goodness being revealed here, what is it really? It is all a facade, it is all false. This behind-the-scenes facade has an ulterior evil purpose: It’s to make that person adored and idolized. Do you see this clearly? (Yes.)
What do the methods Satan uses to corrupt people bring to mankind? Is there anything positive about it? (No.) First, can man differentiate between good and evil? (No.) You see, in this world, whether it’s some great person, or some newspaper, or on some radio station, they’ll say that this or that is good or evil, is that accurate? (No.) Is that correct? (No.) Are their assessments of events and people fair? (No.) Is there truth in it? (No.) Does this world or humanity assess positive and negative things based on the standard of truth? (No.) Why don’t people have that ability? People have studied so much knowledge and know so much about science, aren’t their abilities great enough? Why can’t they differentiate between positive and negative things? Why is this? (Because people don’t have truth; science and knowledge aren’t truth.) Everything Satan brings to humanity is evil and corruption and it lacks the truth, the life, and the way. With the evil and corruption Satan brings to man, can you say that Satan has love? Can you say that man has love? Some people might say: “You’re wrong, there are many people around the world who help the poor or homeless people. Aren’t those good people? There are also charitable organizations that do good works, isn’t all the work they do for good?” So what do we say about that? Satan uses many different methods and theories to corrupt man; is this corruption of man a vague concept? No, it is not vague. Satan also does some practical things, which includes a variety of false things masquerading as good things, as well as very deceitful actions, which Satan does with its own intention and purpose. Corrupted people and Satan are the same; they are also in this world and in society promoting a viewpoint or a theory. In every dynasty and in every epoch they promote a theory and instill some thoughts into men. These thoughts and theories gradually take root in the hearts of people, and then people begin to live by these theories and thoughts; don’t they unwittingly become Satan? Aren’t people one with Satan? When people have become one with Satan, what is their attitude toward God in the end? Isn’t it the same attitude Satan has toward God? No one dares to admit this, right? It’s very frightening! People are Satan, and their nature is the very nature of Satan. Why do I say that Satan’s nature is evil? This is determined and analyzed based on what Satan has done and the things Satan has revealed; it’s not without merit to say Satan is evil. If I just said Satan was evil, what would you think? You would think, “Obviously Satan is evil.” So I’ll ask you: “What aspect of Satan is evil?” If you say: “Satan’s resisting God is evil,” you still won’t be speaking with clarity. Now we’ve said the specifics this way; do you have an understanding about the specific content of the substance of Satan’s evil? (Yes.) Now that you’ve had this understanding of Satan’s evil nature, how much do you understand about yourselves? Are these things linked? (Yes.) Does this link hurt you? (No.) Is it helpful to you? (Yes.) How helpful is it? (A very big help!) Let’s talk specifics; I won’t hear ambiguous words. How much does this “very big” refer to? (We know the things that God hates, which things go against God; our hearts are a bit clear about these things.) Mm, is there anything else to add? When I fellowship about the substance of God’s holiness, is it necessary that I fellowship about the evil substance of Satan, what’s your opinion? (Yes, it is necessary.) Why? (Satan’s evil sets God’s holiness in high relief.) Is this how it is? This is partially right in that without Satan’s evil, people won’t know of God’s holiness; this is correct. However, if you say that God’s holiness only exists due to its contrast with Satan’s evil, is this right? This argument is wrong. God’s holiness is the inherent substance of God; even though God reveals it or God acts, He possesses this inherent substance and it is naturally revealed, it is intrinsic to God Himself and it has always existed, but man cannot see it. Man lives among the corrupt disposition of Satan and among its corrupt substance, and man does not know about holiness or about the specific content of God’s holiness. Is this right? So, do you think it is necessary that we fellowship first about Satan’s evil substance? (Yes, it is.) You see, we have fellowshiped about several aspects of God’s uniqueness and we didn’t mention the substance of Satan, right? Some people may express some doubt such as, “You are fellowshiping about God Himself, why are You always talking about how Satan corrupts people and how Satan’s nature is evil?” Have you put these doubts to rest? (Yes.) How did you put them to rest? (Through God’s fellowship, we differentiated that which is evil.) When people have discernment of evil and when they have an accurate definition of it, when people can clearly see the specific content and manifestation of evil, the source and substance of evil—when God’s holiness is discussed now—people will then clearly realize, or clearly recognize it as God’s holiness, as true holiness. If I don’t discuss the evil of Satan, some people will mistakenly believe that something people do in society and among people—or something in this world—may be related to holiness. Isn’t this viewpoint wrong? (Yes.) I have thusly fellowshiped on Satan’s substance. What sort of an understanding of God’s holiness have you achieved through your experiences in recent years, from your seeing the word of God and from experiencing His work? Go ahead and speak about it. You don’t have to use words pleasing to the ear, just speak from your own experiences, is God’s holiness just His love? Is it merely God’s love that we describe as holiness? That would be too one-sided, right? Wouldn’t that be one-sided? (Yes.) So besides God’s love, are there other aspects of God’s substance that you have seen? (Yes.) What have you seen? (God detests festivals and holidays, customs, and superstitions; this is God’s holiness.) You merely said that God detests certain things; God is holy so therefore He detests things, is that what it means? (Yes.) At the root of it, what is God’s holiness? God’s holiness has no substantial content, only that He detests things? In your minds are you thinking, “Because God hates these evil things, therefore one can say that God is holy”? Isn’t this speculation here? Isn’t this a form of deduction and judgment? What is the greatest taboo when it comes to understanding God’s substance? (To leave reality behind.) It’s when we leave reality behind to speak of doctrines, this is the most taboo thing to do. Anything else? (Speculation and imagination.) Speculation and imagination, these are also very strong taboos. Why are speculation and imagination not useful? Are things that you speculate about and imagine things you can truly see? (No.) Are they the true substance of God? (No.) What else is taboo? Is it taboo to just enumerate a bunch of nice sounding words about God’s substance? (Yes.) Isn’t this boastful and nonsensical? Judgment and speculation are nonsensical, as is just picking out nice sounding words. Is there anything else? Empty praise is also nonsensical, right? (Yes.) Does God enjoy listening to people talk this kind of nonsense? (No, He does not.) What’s a synonym for “not enjoying” something? (To feel uncomfortable.) He feels uncomfortable hearing it! God leads and saves a group of people, and after this group of people hear His words they never understand what He means. Someone may ask: “Is God good?” and they’d respond, “Good!” “How good?” “So, so good!” “Does God love man?” “Yes!” “How much?” “So, so much!” “Can you describe God’s love?” “It’s deeper than the sea, higher than the sky!” Isn’t this nonsense? Isn’t this nonsense similar to what you just said about, “God hates Satan’s corrupt disposition, therefore God is holy”? (Yes.) Isn’t what you just said nonsense? Where do the majority of nonsensical things that are said come from? (Satan.) They come from Satan. Nonsensical things that are said primarily come from people’s irresponsibility and irreverence to God. Could we say that? (Yes.) You didn’t have any understanding yet still talked nonsense, isn’t this being irresponsible? Isn’t this disrespectful to God? You have studied a bit of knowledge, understood a bit of reasoning and a bit of logic, which you have used here and, furthermore, done so in knowing God. Do you think God feels uncomfortable hearing that? How can you know God using these methods? Doesn’t that sound awkward? Therefore, when it comes to the knowledge of God, one must be very cautious; where you know God, speak only of that. Speak honestly and practically and do not adorn your words with routine compliments and do not use flattery; God does not need it and this sort of thing comes from Satan. Satan’s disposition is arrogant and Satan likes to be flattered and hear nice words. Satan will be pleased and happy if people list all the nice sounding words they have learned and use these words for Satan. But God does not need this; God does not need adulation or flattery and He does not require that people speak nonsense and praise Him blindly. God abhors and will not even listen to praise and flattery that is out of line with reality. So, when some people blindly praise God and what they say doesn’t match what’s in their heart and when they blindly make vows to God and carelessly pray to Him, God does not listen at all. You must take responsibility for what you say. If you don’t know something, just say so; if you do know something, express it in a practical way. Now, as to the actual content of God’s holiness, do you have a specific understanding of it? Now you won’t dare say nonsensical things, right? You’re not talking nonsense, but can’t stop speaking, so you should have some understanding, right? Are you thinking about it? You are handling it conscientiously, right? You may say a few things now. (When I revealed rebelliousness, when I had transgressions, I received God’s judgment and chastisement, and therein I saw God’s holiness. And when I fell into situations and environments that didn’t conform to my expectations, I prayed about these things and I sought God’s intentions and as God enlightened and guided me with His words, I saw God’s holiness.) Hmm, this is from your own experience, right? (When God leads people all along the way, and as He has dominion over people, in that I see God’s holiness. Actually, in what God just talked about how Satan corrupts man and man has been living under the corruption and affliction of Satan, man has no control over this, I truly see God’s holiness through God’s work in man.) (I have seen from what God has spoken that man is corrupted and harmed by Satan like this. Nonetheless, God has given everything to save us and from this I see God’s holiness.) This is a realistic manner of speaking and it is true knowledge. Are there any different takes on this? (I don’t know whether or not my understanding is correct. In the fellowship God just had with us, I see Satan’s evil in the things Satan says and does. In the first fellowship, it said that God told man what he could and could not eat, and that God’s words revealed cleanliness and directness; from this I see God’s holiness. That’s what I can add.) Mm. In what you have heard from these people say, whose words do you say Amen to the most? Whose speech, whose fellowship was closest to our fellowship topic today, whose was most realistic? How was the fellowship of the last sister? (Good.) You say Amen to what she said, what did she say that was right on target? You may be direct, say what you have to say and don’t worry about being wrong. (In the words the sister just spoke, I heard that God’s word is straightforward and very clear, it is not at all like Satan’s roundabout words. I saw God’s holiness in this.) Hmm, this is part of it. Did you all hear what was just said? (Yes.) Was it right? (Yes.) Let’s give the sister a round of applause. Very good. I see that you have gained something in these two recent fellowships, but you must continue to work hard. The reason you must work hard is because understanding the substance of God is a very profound lesson; it is not something one comes to understand overnight or can speak clearly in just a few words.
Every aspect of people’s corrupt satanic disposition, knowledge, philosophy, people’s thoughts and viewpoints, and the personal aspects hinder them greatly from knowing God’s substance; so when you hear these topics, some topics may be beyond your reach, some topics you may not understand, while some topics you may fundamentally not match up with reality. Regardless, I have heard about your understanding of God’s holiness and I know that in your hearts you are beginning to acknowledge what I have said and fellowshiped about God’s holiness. I know that in your hearts your desire to understand the substance of God’s holiness is starting to sprout. But what makes Me even happier? It is that some of you are already able to use the simplest words to describe your knowledge of God’s holiness. Even though this is a simple thing to say and I have said it before, in the hearts of the majority of you this has yet to be approved or make an impression. Nonetheless, some of you have taken these words to heart and this is quite good and this is a very good start. I hope on the topics that you think are profound—or on the topics that are beyond your reach—you will continue to engage in fellowship, and do more and more fellowship. For those issues that are beyond your reach there will be someone to give you more guidance. If you engage in more fellowship regarding the areas that are within your reach now, the Holy Spirit will do His work and you will come to greater understanding. Understanding the substance of God and knowing the substance of God provides immeasurable help to people’s life entry. I hope that you do not ignore this or see it as a game; because knowing God is the very essential basis and foundation for man’s faith in God and man’s pursuit of truth and salvation and something that must not be dispensed with. If man believes in God yet does not know God, and if man lives among some letters and doctrines, you will never achieve salvation even if you act and live in accordance with the superficial words of the truth. That is to say, if your faith in God is not based on knowing Him, then your faith means nothing. You understand, right? (Yes, we understand.) Our fellowship will end here for today.
January 4, 2014