God’s Holiness (III)
How do you feel after saying your prayers? (Very excited and moved.) Let us begin our fellowship. What topic did we fellowship last time? (The holiness of God.) And which aspect of God Himself does the holiness of God concern? Does it concern the essence of God? (Yes.) So what exactly is the subject that concerns God’s essence? Is it the holiness of God? (Yes.) The holiness of God: this is the unique essence of God. What was the main theme we fellowshiped last time? (Discerning the evil of Satan.) And what did we fellowship last time regarding the evil of Satan? Can you remember? (How Satan corrupts mankind. It uses knowledge, science, traditional culture, superstition, and social trends to corrupt us.) Correct, this was the main topic that we discussed last time. Satan uses knowledge, science, superstition, traditional culture, and social trends to corrupt man; these are the ways in which Satan corrupts man. How many ways are these altogether? (Five.) Which five ways? (Science, knowledge, traditional culture, superstition, and social trends.) Which do you think Satan uses most to corrupt man, the thing that corrupts them most deeply? (Traditional culture.) Some brothers and sisters think it is traditional culture. Anyone else? (Knowledge.) Looks like you have a high level of knowledge. Any others? (Knowledge.) You share the same view. The brothers and sisters who said traditional culture, can you tell us why you think this? Do you have any understanding of it? Do you not want to explain your understanding? (The philosophies of Satan and the doctrines of Confucius and Mencius are deeply ingrained in our minds, so we feel these corrupt us very deeply.) Those of you who think it is knowledge, can you explain why? Speak your reasons. (Knowledge can never let us worship God. It denies the existence of God, and denies the rule of God. That is, knowledge tells us to study from a young age, and that only through studying and gaining knowledge is our future and destiny assured. In this way it corrupts us.) So Satan uses knowledge to control your future and destiny, then it leads you along by the nose; this is how you think Satan corrupts man most deeply. So most of you think Satan uses knowledge to corrupt man most deeply. Are there any others? What about science or social trends, for example? Does anyone agree with these? (Yes.) Today I will fellowship again about the five ways in which Satan corrupts man and, once I am finished, I will still ask you some questions to see in exactly which aspect Satan corrupts man most deeply. You understand this topic, don’t you?
Satan’s corruption of man primarily manifests in five aspects; these five aspects are the five ways in which Satan corrupts man. The first of these five ways we mentioned is knowledge, so let us first take knowledge as the topic for fellowship. Satan uses knowledge as bait. Listen closely: It is just a type of bait. People are enticed to “study hard and improve every day,” to arm themselves with knowledge, as with a weapon, then to use knowledge to open the gateway to science; in other words, the more knowledge you gain, the more you will understand. Satan tells people all this. Satan tells people to foster lofty ideals as well, at the same time as they are learning knowledge, telling them to have ambitions and ideals. Unbeknownst to people, Satan conveys many messages like this, causing people to unconsciously feel that these things are correct, or beneficial. Unknowingly, people walk this kind of road, unknowingly led onward by their own ideals and ambitions. Step by step, people unknowingly learn from the knowledge given by Satan the thinking of great or famous people, and accept these ideas. They also learn one thing after another from the deeds of some whom people regard as “heroes.” You may know some of what Satan is advocating for man in the deeds of these “heroes,” or what it wants to instill in man. What does Satan instill in man? Man must be patriotic, have national integrity, and be heroic. What does man learn from some historical stories or from some biographies of heroic figures? To have a sense of personal loyalty, or to do anything for one’s pal or for a friend. Within this knowledge of Satan, man unknowingly learns many things, and learns many nonpositive things. In the midst of unawareness, seeds prepared for them by Satan are planted in their immature minds. These seeds make them feel that they ought to be great people, ought to be famous, ought to be heroes, to be patriotic, be people who love their families, or be people who will do anything for a friend and have a sense of personal loyalty. Seduced by Satan, they unknowingly walk the road it has prepared for them. As they walk this road, they are forced to accept Satan’s rules of living. Unknowingly and themselves completely unaware, they develop their own rules of living, when these are nothing more than Satan’s rules forcefully instilled in them. During the learning process, Satan causes them to foster their own goals, to determine their own life goals, rules of living, and direction in life, all the while instilling in them things of Satan, using stories, using biographies, using all means possible to get people to, little by little, take the bait. In this way, people develop their own hobbies and pursuits during the course of their learning: Some come to like literature, some economics, some astronomy or geography. Then there are some who come to like politics, some who like physics, some chemistry, and even some who like theology. These are all a part of knowledge and you have all come into contact with them. In your hearts, each of you know how it goes with these things, each one has had contact with them before. Regarding these kinds of knowledge, anyone can talk endlessly about a certain one of them. And so it is clear how deeply this knowledge has entered the mind of man, it shows the position occupied by this knowledge in man’s mind and how deep an effect it has on man. Once someone likes a facet of knowledge, when in their heart a person has fallen deeply in love with one, they then unknowingly develop ideals: Some people want to be authors, some want to be writers, some want to make a career out of politics, and some want to engage in economics and become business people. Then there is a group of people who want to be heroes, to be great or famous. Regardless of what kind of person someone wants to be, their goal is to take this method of learning knowledge and use it for their own ends, to realize their own desires, their own ideals. No matter how good it sounds—they want to achieve their dreams, to not live this life in vain, or they want to engage in a career—they foster these lofty ideals and ambitions but, essentially, what is it all for? Have you thought of this before? Why does Satan want to do this? What is Satan’s purpose, instilling these things in man? Your hearts must be clear on this question.
Now let us talk about how Satan uses knowledge to corrupt man. From what we have talked about so far, have you begun to recognize Satan’s sinister motives? (A little.) Why does Satan use knowledge to corrupt man? What does it want to do to man using knowledge? Lead man to follow what kind of road? (To resist God.) It certainly is to resist God. This is the effect you can see of people learning knowledge, and the consequence you see after the learning of knowledge—resistance of God. So what are Satan’s sinister motives? You aren’t clear, are you? During the process of man’s learning of knowledge, Satan will employ any method so people satisfy their own lusts and realize their own ideals. Are you clear on exactly what road Satan wants to lead you to? Putting it mildly, people think there is nothing wrong with learning knowledge, that it is the natural course. They think that to foster lofty ideals or to have ambitions is just called having aspirations, and that this should be the right road for people to follow in life. If people can realize their own ideals, or make a go of a career in life—is it not more glorious to live that way? To not only honor one’s ancestors in that way but to also leave one’s mark on history—is this not a good thing? This is a good and proper thing in the eyes of worldly people. Does Satan, however, with its sinister motives, take people to this kind of road and then decide it is done? Certainly not. In fact, no matter how lofty man’s ideals are, no matter how realistic man’s desires are or how proper they may be, all that man wants to achieve, all that man seeks for is inextricably linked with two words. These two words are vitally important to the life of every person, and these are things Satan intends to instill in man. Which two words are these? One is “fame” and one is “gain”: They are fame and gain. Satan uses a very subtle kind of way, a way very much in concert with people’s notions; it is not any kind of radical way. In the midst of unawareness, people come to accept Satan’s way of living, its rules of living, establishing life goals and their direction in life, and in doing so they also unknowingly come to have ideals in life. No matter how high-sounding these ideals in life seem, they are just a pretext that is inextricably linked to fame and gain. Any great or famous person, all people in fact, anything they follow in life relates only to these two words: “fame” and “gain.” Is this not so? (Yes.) People think that once they have fame and gain, they can then capitalize on them to enjoy high status and great wealth, and to enjoy life. Once they have fame and gain, they can then capitalize on them in their pleasure-seeking and unscrupulous enjoyment of the flesh. People willingly, albeit unknowingly, take their bodies, minds, all that they have, their futures and their destinies and hand them all over to Satan in order to attain the fame and gain they desire. People do this without ever a moment’s hesitation, ever ignorant of the need to recover it all. Can people still have any control over themselves once they go over to the side of Satan in this way and become loyal to it? Certainly not. They are completely and utterly controlled by Satan. They are also completely and utterly unable to free themselves from the quagmire they have sunk down into. Once someone is mired in fame and gain, they no longer seek that which is bright, that which is righteous or those things that are beautiful and good. This is because the seductive power that fame and gain have over people is too great, and they become things for people to pursue throughout their lives and even for all eternity without end. Is this not true? Some people will say that learning knowledge is nothing more than reading books or learning a few things that they do not already know, saying they do this so as not to be behind the times or not to be left behind by the world. They will say that knowledge is only learned so they can put food on the table, for their own future or for the basic necessities. Now can you tell Me whether there is any person who will endure a decade of hard study just for the basic necessities, just to resolve the issue of food? (No, there is not.) There are no people like this! So what is it that he suffers these hardships and suffers all these years for? It is for fame and gain: Fame and gain are waiting up ahead for him, calling him, and he believes only through his own diligence, hardships and struggle can he follow that road and thereby attain fame and gain. He must suffer these hardships for his own future path, for his future enjoyment and a better life. Can you tell Me what on earth this so-called knowledge really is? Is it not rules of living and a road through life instilled in people by Satan, taught to them by Satan in the course of their learning knowledge? Is it not life’s lofty ideals instilled into man by Satan? Take, for example, the ideas of great people, the integrity of the famous or the brave spirit of heroic figures, or take the chivalry and kindness of the protagonists and swordsmen in martial arts novels; these ideas are influencing one generation after another, and the people of each generation are brought to accept these ideas, to live for these ideas and to pursue them endlessly. This is the way, the channel, in which Satan uses knowledge to corrupt man. So after Satan has led people to the road of fame and gain, is it still possible for them to believe in God, to worship Him? (No, it is not.) Do the knowledge and rules for living instilled in man by Satan contain any thought of worshiping God? Do they hold any thought that belongs to the truth? (No, they do not.) Do they contain any reality of fearing God and shunning evil? (No, they do not.) You seem to speak a little uncertainly, but no matter. Seek out the truth in all things and you will get the right answers; only with the right answers can you then walk the right road.
Let us briefly recap again: What does Satan use to keep man penned in and controlled? (Fame and gain.) So Satan uses fame and gain to control man’s thoughts until all they can think of is fame and gain. They struggle for fame and gain, suffer hardships for fame and gain, endure humiliation for fame and gain, sacrifice everything they have for fame and gain, and they will make any judgment or decision to both maintain and obtain fame and gain. In this way, Satan binds man with invisible shackles. These shackles are borne on people’s bodies, and they have not the strength nor courage to throw them off. So people trudge ever onward in great difficulty, unknowingly bearing these shackles. For the sake of this fame and gain, mankind becomes estranged from God and betrays Him. With each passing generation, mankind becomes more and more wicked, more and more darkened, and so in this way one generation after another is destroyed in the fame and gain of Satan. Looking now at Satan’s actions, what exactly are its sinister motives? It’s clear now, isn’t it? Is Satan not abominable? (Yes!) Maybe today you still cannot see through Satan’s sinister motives because you think that there is no life without fame and gain. You think that, if people leave fame and gain behind, then they will no longer be able to see the way ahead, no longer be able to see their goals, their future becomes dark, dim and gloomy. But, slowly, you will all one day recognize that fame and gain are monstrous shackles that Satan uses to bind man. Until the day you come to recognize this, you will thoroughly resist Satan’s control and thoroughly resist the shackles Satan brings to bind you. When the time comes for you to wish to throw off all the things Satan has instilled in you, you will then make a clean break with Satan and will also truly loathe all that Satan has brought to you. Only then will you have a real love and yearning for God; only then can you walk the right road of life in pursuit of the truth.
We have just talked about how Satan uses knowledge to corrupt man, so next let us fellowship about how Satan uses science to corrupt man. Firstly, in using science to corrupt man, Satan uses the name of science to satisfy man’s curiosity, satisfying man’s desire[a] to explore science and probe into mysteries. Also in the name of science, Satan satisfies man’s material needs and man’s demand to continually raise their quality of life. Satan therefore, in this name, uses the way of science to corrupt man. Is it only man’s thinking or man’s minds that Satan corrupts using this way of science? Amongst the people and things in our surroundings that we can see and that we come into contact with, what else does Satan use science to corrupt? (The natural environment.) You are right. It looks like you have been deeply harmed by this, and are also deeply affected by it. Besides using science to deceive man, using all the various findings and conclusions of science to deceive man, Satan also uses science as a means to carry out wanton destruction and exploitation of the living environment that was bestowed on man by God. It does this under the pretext that if man carries out scientific research, then man’s living environment will get better and better and man’s living standards will continually improve, and furthermore that scientific development is done to cater to man’s daily increasing material needs and continual need to raise their quality of life. If not for these reasons, then it asks what you are doing developing science at all. This is the theoretical basis of Satan’s development of science. What consequences, however, does science have for mankind? What does our immediate environment consist of? Has not the air mankind breathes been polluted? Is the water we drink still truly pure? (No.) So what about the food we eat, is the majority of it natural? (No.) So what is it then? It is grown using fertilizer and cultivated using genetic modification, and there are also mutations produced using various scientific methods, so that even the vegetables and fruit we eat are no longer natural. It is not easy now for people to find unmodified food products to eat. Even eggs no longer taste the way they used to, having already been processed by Satan’s so-called science. Looking at the big picture, the entire atmosphere has been destroyed and polluted; mountains, lakes, forests, rivers, oceans, and everything above or below ground have all been ruined by so-called scientific achievements. In other words, the entire ecology, the entire living environment bestowed on mankind by God has been polluted and ruined by so-called science. Although there are many people who have obtained what they expected in terms of the quality of life they seek, satisfying both their lusts and their flesh, the environment man lives in has essentially been destroyed and ruined by the various “achievements” brought by science. Even outdoors or in our homes we now no longer have a right to breathe one breath of clean air. You tell Me, is this mankind’s sorrow? Is there still any happiness to speak of for man to live in this living space? Man lives in this living space and, from the very beginning, this living environment was created by God for man. The water people drink, the air people breathe, the food people eat, plants, trees, and the oceans—this living environment was all bestowed on man by God; it is natural, operating in accordance with a natural law laid down by God. If there was no science, and people could enjoy what was bestowed on man in accordance with the way of God, they would have been happy and could have enjoyed everything at its most pristine. Now, however, all of this has been destroyed and ruined by Satan; man’s fundamental living space is no longer at its most pristine. But no one is able to recognize what caused this kind of consequence or how this came about, and furthermore even more people comprehend and approach science by using the ideas instilled in them by Satan, and by viewing science with earthly eyes. Is this not so very hateful and pitiful? With Satan now having taken the space in which mankind exists and their living environment and corrupted them into this state, and with mankind continuing to develop in this way, is there any need for the hand of God to extinguish this mankind on earth that has been so deeply corrupted and that has become hostile to Him? Is there any need for the hand of God to destroy mankind? (No.) If mankind continues to develop in this way, what direction will it take? (Ruination.) How will mankind be ruined? In addition to man’s greedy search for fame and gain, they continually carry out scientific exploration and in-depth research, then ceaselessly they satisfy their own material needs and lusts; what then are the consequences for man? First of all there is no longer any ecological balance and, hand in hand with this, mankind’s bodies have all been tainted and damaged by this kind of environment, and various infectious diseases, plagues, and haze spread everywhere. This is a situation that man now has no control over, is that not right? Now that you understand this, if mankind does not follow God, but always follows Satan this way—using knowledge to continually enrich themselves, using science to ceaselessly explore the future of human life, using this kind of method to continue living—are you able to recognize what the natural end of mankind will be? What will be the natural final result? (Ruination.) It will be ruination: approaching ruination one step at a time. Approaching ruination one step at a time! It now looks as though science is a kind of magic potion or slow-acting poison that Satan has prepared for man, so that when you try to discern things you do so in a foggy haze; no matter how hard you look, you cannot see things clearly, and no matter how hard you try, you cannot figure them out. Satan, however, still uses the name of science to whet your appetite and to lead you by the nose, one foot in front of the other, toward the abyss and toward death. Is this not so? (Yes.) This is the second way.
The issue of how Satan uses traditional culture to corrupt man also needs explanation. There are many similarities between traditional culture and superstition, only traditional culture has certain stories, allusions, and sources. Satan has fabricated and invented many folk stories or stories in history books, leaving people with deep impressions of traditional cultural or superstitious figures. Take China’s The Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea, Journey to the West, The Jade Emperor, Nezha Conquers the Dragon King, and Investiture of the Gods, for example. Have these not become deeply rooted in the minds of man? Even if some people do not know all the details, they still know the general stories, and it is this general content that sticks in your heart and sticks in your mind, and you cannot forget it. These are things Satan set up for man long ago, having disseminated at different times its various ideas and life philosophies. These things directly harm and erode people’s souls and put people under one spell after another. That is to say that once you have accepted these things that arise from traditional culture, stories or superstition, once these things are established in your mind, once they are stuck in your heart, it is just like a spell—you become enmeshed and influenced by these cultures, these ideas and traditional stories. They influence your life, your outlook on life and they also influence your judgment of things. Even more so they influence your pursuit for the true path of life: This is indeed a spell! You try but you cannot shake them off; you chop at them but you cannot chop them down; you beat at them but you cannot beat them down. Is this not so? (Yes.) Furthermore, after man is unknowingly put under this kind of spell, they unknowingly begin to worship Satan, fostering the image of Satan in their hearts. In other words, they set Satan up as their idol, an object for them to worship and look up to, even going so far as to treat it the same way they would God. Unknowingly, these things are in people’s hearts controlling their words and deeds. You unknowingly acknowledge the existence of these stories, making of them real figures, turning them into real existing objects. In unawareness, you subconsciously receive these ideas and the existence of these things. You also subconsciously receive devils, Satan and idols into your own home and into your own heart—this is indeed a spell! Do you feel the same? (Yes.) Are there any among you who have burned incense and worshiped Buddha? (Yes.) So what was the purpose of burning incense and worshiping Buddha? (Praying for peace.) Is it absurd to pray to Satan for peace? Does Satan bring peace? (No.) Thinking about it now, were you ignorant back then? (Yes.) That kind of manner is absurd, ignorant and naive, isn’t it? Satan cannot give you peace. Why? Satan only ponders how to corrupt you and cannot give you peace; it can only give you a temporary respite. But you must take a vow and if you break your promise or break the vow you have made to it, then you will see how it torments you. In making you take a vow, it actually wants to control you, doesn’t it? When you prayed for peace, did you obtain peace? (No.) You did not obtain peace, but on the contrary it brought misfortune, unending disasters and a whole host of calamities—truly a boundless ocean of bitterness. Peace is not within Satan’s domain, and this is the truth. This is the consequence for mankind of feudal superstition and traditional culture.
The issue of Satan taking advantage of social trends to corrupt man also needs specific explanation. These social trends include many things. Some people say: “Are they about the clothes we wear? Are they about the latest fashions, cosmetics, hairdressing and gourmet food?” Are they about these things? These are a part of trends, but we do not wish to talk about these here. We only wish to talk about the ideas that social trends bring about for people, the way they cause people to conduct themselves in the world, the life goals and outlook that they bring about in people. These are very important; they can control and influence man’s state of mind. One after another, all these trends carry an evil influence that continually degenerates man, that lowers their morals and their quality of character more and more, to the extent that we can even say the majority of people now have no integrity, no humanity, neither do they have any conscience, much less any reason. So what are these trends? You cannot see these trends with the naked eye. When the wind of a trend blows through, perhaps only a small number of people will become the trendsetters. They start off doing this kind of thing, accepting this kind of idea or this kind of perspective. The majority of people, however, in the midst of their unawareness, will still be continually infected, assimilated and attracted by this kind of trend, until they all unknowingly and involuntarily accept it, and are all submerged in and controlled by it. For man who is not of sound body and mind, who never knows what is truth, who cannot tell the difference between positive and negative things, these kinds of trends one after another make them all willingly accept these trends, the life view, the life philosophies and values that come from Satan. They accept what Satan tells them on how to approach life and the way to live that Satan “bestows” on them. They have not the strength, neither do they have the ability, much less the awareness to resist. So what on earth are these trends? I have picked a simple example that you may come to understand. For example, people in the past ran their business in a way that cheated neither old nor young, and which sold items at the same price regardless of who was buying. Is a hint of conscience and humanity not conveyed here? When people used this kind of credo when conducting their business, can we say that they still had some conscience, some humanity at that time? (Yes.) But with man’s demand for ever increasing amounts of money, people unknowingly came to love money, love gain and love enjoyment more and more. So did people come to view money as more important? When people view money as more important, they unknowingly neglect their reputation, their renown, prestige, and integrity; they neglect all these things, don’t they? When you engage in business, you see someone else taking different approaches and using various means to swindle people and get rich. Although the money earned is ill-gotten gains, they get richer and richer. Their whole family engages in the same business as you, but they enjoy life more than you do, and you feel bad, saying: “Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I earn as much as they do? I must think of a way to get more money, to make my business prosper.” You then ponder this through. According to the usual method of making money, cheating neither old nor young and selling things at the same price for all, the money you make is in good conscience, but it cannot get you rich quick. However, under the urge to make a profit, your thinking undergoes a gradual transformation. During this transformation, your principles of conduct also begin to change. When you first cheat someone, when you first defraud someone, you have your reservations, saying “This is the last time I cheat someone and I will not do it again. I cannot cheat people. Cheating people will only earn retribution and bring disaster upon me! This is the last time I cheat someone and I will not do it again.” When you first deceive someone, your heart has some scruples; this is the function of man’s conscience—to have scruples and to reproach you, so that it feels unnatural when you cheat someone. But after you have successfully deceived someone you see that you now have more money than you did before, and you think this method can be very beneficial for you. Despite the dull ache in your heart, you still feel like congratulating yourself on your “success,” and you feel a little pleased with yourself. For the first time, you approve of your own behavior and approve of your own deception. Afterward, once man has been contaminated by this cheating, it is the same as someone who gets involved in gambling and then becomes a gambler. In unawareness, he approves of his cheating behavior and accepts it. In unawareness, he takes cheating to be a legitimate commercial behavior, and takes cheating to be the most useful means for his survival and his life; he thinks that by doing this he can get rich quick. At the beginning of this process people cannot accept this type of behavior, they look down on this behavior and this way of going about things, until they try it out and experiment with it in their own way, personally and firsthand, and then their hearts begin to gradually transform. So what is this transformation? It is an approval and admission of this trend, an admission and approval of this type of idea instilled in you by the social trend. In unawareness, you feel that if you do not cheat in business then you will suffer losses, that if you do not cheat then you will have lost something. Unknowingly, this cheating becomes your very soul, your mainstay, and also becomes a type of behavior that is an indispensable rule for your life. After man has accepted this behavior and this thinking, does the heart of man undergo a change? Your heart has changed, so has your integrity changed? Has your humanity changed? (Yes.) So has your conscience changed? (Yes.) Man’s entirety undergoes a qualitative change, from their heart to their thoughts, to such an extent that they are changed from the inside out. This change puts you further and further from God, and you become more and more in conformity with Satan, more and more similar to it.
Now these social trends are easy for you to understand. I just chose a simple example, a commonly seen example that people will be familiar with. Do these social trends have a big influence on people? (Yes!) So do these social trends have a deeply harmful effect on people? (Yes!) A very deeply harmful effect on people. Satan uses one of these social trends after another to corrupt man’s what? (Conscience, reason, humanity, morals.) What else? (Man’s view on life.) Do they cause a gradual degeneration in people? (Yes.) Satan uses these social trends to lure people one step at a time into a nest of devils, so that people caught up in social trends unknowingly advocate money and material desires, as well as advocate wickedness and violence. Once these things have entered man’s heart, what then does man become? Man becomes the devil Satan! This is because of what psychological leaning in the heart of man? What does man advocate? Man begins to like wickedness and violence. They do not like beauty or goodness, much less peace. People are not willing to live the simple life of normal humanity, but instead wish to enjoy high status and great wealth, to revel in the pleasures of the flesh, sparing no effort to satisfy their own flesh, with no restrictions, no bonds to hold them back, in other words doing whatever they desire. So when man has become immersed in these kinds of trends, can the knowledge that they have learned help them get free? Can the traditional culture and superstitions they know help them cast off this dire predicament? Can the traditional morals and traditional ceremony that man comprehends help them exercise restraint? Take the Three Character Classic, for example. Can it help people pull their feet out of the quicksand of these trends?[b] (No, it cannot.) In this way, man becomes more and more what? More and more evil, arrogant, condescending, selfish, and malicious. There is no longer any affection between people, no longer any love between family members, no longer any understanding between relatives and friends; human relations have become full of cheating, full of violence. Every single person wants to use cheating means and violent methods to live in amongst their fellow man; they lie, cheat and become violent in order to seize their own livelihood; they win their positions and obtain their own profits using violence and they do anything they want using violent and evil ways. Is this humanity not terrifying? (Yes.) After hearing Me talk about these things just now, do you not think it terrifying to live in amongst this kind of crowd, in this world and in this environment that Satan has corrupted? (Yes.) So have you ever felt yourselves to be pitiful? You must feel it a little now. (Yes.) Hearing your tone, it seems as though you are thinking “Satan uses so many different ways to corrupt man. It seizes every opportunity and is everywhere we turn. Can man still be saved?” Is there still any hope for mankind? Can man save themselves? (No.) Can the Jade Emperor save man? Can Confucius save man? Can Guanyin Bodhisattva save man? (No.) So who can save man? (God.) Some people, however, will raise in their hearts such questions as: “Satan harms us so wildly, so frantically that we have no hope of living, nor any confidence in living. We all live in the midst of corruption and every single person resists God anyway, so that our hearts have now all completely grown cold. So whilst Satan is corrupting us, where is God? What is God doing? Whatever God is doing for us we never feel it!” Some people inevitably suffer some loss, and inevitably feel somewhat disheartened. To you, this sensation, this feeling is very deep because all that I have been saying has been to make people slowly come to understand, to feel more and more that they are without hope, to feel more and more that they have been forsaken by God. But do not worry. Our fellowship topic for today, “the evil of Satan,” is not our real theme. To talk about the essence of the holiness of God, however, we must first talk about how Satan corrupts man and the evil of Satan to make it clearer to people what kind of condition mankind is now in and to exactly what extent man has been corrupted. One aim of talking about this is to allow people to know the evil of Satan, while the other is to allow people to understand more deeply what true holiness is. You understand now, don’t you?
Are these things I have just talked about a lot more detailed than last time? (Yes.) So is your understanding now a little deeper, then? (Yes.) I know that a lot of people now are expecting Me to say what exactly the holiness of God is, but when I talk about the holiness of God I will first talk about the deeds God does. You should all listen attentively, then I will ask you what exactly the holiness of God is. I will not tell you directly, but instead let you try to figure it out, give you room to figure it out. What do you think of this method? (It’s good.) So listen carefully.
Whenever Satan corrupts man or engages in unbridled harm, God does not stand idly by, neither does He brush aside or turn a blind eye to those He has chosen. All that Satan does is perfectly clear and understood by God. No matter what Satan does, no matter what trend it causes to arise, God knows all that Satan is trying to do, and God does not give up on those He has chosen. Instead, without attracting any attention, secretly, silently, God does everything that is necessary. When He begins work on someone, when He has chosen someone, He does not proclaim it to anyone, nor does He proclaim it to Satan, much less make any grand gesture. He just very quietly, very naturally does what is necessary. First, He selects a family for you; what kind of background the family has, who your parents are, who your ancestors are—all this was already decided by God. In other words, these were not spur of the moment decisions made by Him, but rather this was a work begun long ago. Once God has chosen a family for you, He also chooses the date on which you will be born. Presently, God watches as you are born crying into the world, watches your birth, watches as you utter your first words, watches as you stumble and toddle your first steps, learning how to walk. First you take one step and then you take another … now you can run, now you can jump, now you can talk, now you can express your feelings. During this time, as you grow up, Satan’s gaze is fixed on each of you, like a tiger eyeing its prey. But in doing His work, God has never suffered any limitations of people, events or things, of space or time; He does what He should and does what He must. In the process of growing up, you may encounter many things that are not to your liking, encounter illnesses and frustrations. But as you walk this road, your life and your future are strictly under God’s care. God gives you a genuine guarantee to last all your life, for He is right there beside you, guarding you and looking after you. Unaware of this, you grow up. You begin to come into contact with new things and start to get to know this world and this mankind. Everything is fresh and new to you. You like doing your own thing and you like doing what you like. You live within your own humanity, you live within your own living space and you have not the slightest perception about the existence of God. But God watches you every step of the way as you grow, and watches you as you make every forward stride. Even when you are learning knowledge, or studying science, not for one step has God ever left your side. You are just the same as other people in that, in the course of getting to know and coming into contact with the world, you have established your own ideals, you have your own hobbies, your own interests, and you also harbor lofty ambitions. You often ponder your own future, often sketching the outline of how your future should look. But no matter what happens along the way, God sees all with clear eyes. Maybe you yourself have forgotten your own past, but to God, there is no one who can understand you better than He. You live under God’s eye, growing up, maturing. During this period, God’s most important task is something that no one ever perceives, something no one knows. God certainly does not tell you about it. So what is this most crucial thing? Do you know? (Bringing people before Him.) So what does God do to bring people before Him? At what time does He bring people before Him? Do you know? Is this God’s main task? Is this the most important thing God does? We can say that it is a guarantee that God will save a person. This means that God wants to save this person, so He must do this, and this task is vitally important to both man and God. Do you know this? It seems like you do not have any feeling about this, or any concept of it, so I will tell you. From the time you were born all the way up to now, God has carried out much work on you, but He did not tell you every time He did something. You were not to know, so you were not told, right? (Yes.) To man, everything He does is important. To God, it is something He must do. But in His heart there is something important He needs to do that far exceeds any of these things. What is that? That is, from the time you were born up to now, God must guarantee the safety of each one of you. You may feel as though you do not fully understand, saying “Is this safety so important?” So what is the literal meaning of “safety”? Maybe you understand it to mean peace or maybe you understand it to mean never experiencing any disaster or calamity, to live well, to live a normal life. But in your hearts you must know that it is not that simple. So what on earth is this thing that I have been talking about, that God has to do? What does it mean to God? Is it really a guarantee of your safety? Just like right now? No. So what is it that God does? This safety means you not being devoured by Satan. Is this important? You are not devoured by Satan, so does this concern your safety, or not? This does concern your personal safety, and there can be nothing more important. Once you have been devoured by Satan, neither your soul nor your flesh belongs to God any longer. God will no longer save you. God forsakes souls like that and forsakes people like that. So I say the most important thing that God has to do is to guarantee your safety, to guarantee that you will not be devoured by Satan. This is pretty important, isn’t it? So why can you not answer? Seems like you cannot feel God’s great kindness!
God does much more besides guaranteeing people’s safety, guaranteeing that they will not be devoured by Satan; He also does a great deal of work in preparation for choosing someone and for saving them. Firstly, what kind of character you have, what kind of family you will be born into, who your parents are, how many brothers and sisters you have, what your family situation and economic status are, what the conditions of your family are—this is all painstakingly arranged for you by God. Do you know what kind of family God’s chosen people are mostly born into, as far as most people are concerned? Are they prominent families? There may be some. We cannot say for sure that there are none, but they are very few. Are they families of exceptional wealth, such as billionaires or multimillionaires? They are almost never this kind of family. So what kind of family does God most arrange for people? (Ordinary families.) So which families are ordinary families? They are predominantly working families and farming families. Workers rely on their salary to live and can afford the basic necessities. They will not allow you to go hungry in any case, but you cannot expect to have all your material needs met. Farmers rely on planting crops for their food, they have grain to eat and, come what may, you will not go hungry, but you cannot have very nice clothes. Then there are some families that are engaged in business or who run small businesses, and some where the parents are intellectuals, and these can also be counted as ordinary families. There are also some parents who are office workers or minor government officials at most, who cannot be counted as being prominent families either. More people are born into ordinary families, and this is all arranged by God. That is to say, first of all this environment that you live in is not the family of substantial means that you imagine, but rather this is a family decided on for you by God, and the majority of people will live within the limits of this kind of family; we will not discuss the exceptions here. So what about social status? The economic conditions of the majority of parents are average and they don’t have high social status—for them it is good just to have a job. Are there any who are governors? Are there any who are presidents? (No.) At most they are people such as small business managers or small-time bosses, all with average social status, all living in average economic conditions. Another factor is the family living environment. First of all, there are no parents who would clearly influence their children into walking the path of divination and fortune telling; these are also very few. Most parents are pretty normal and are similar to you. God sets up this kind of environment for people at the same time as choosing them, and it is greatly beneficial to His work in saving people. From the outside, it looks like God has done nothing earthshaking for man; He just does everything secretly, humbly and in silence. But in fact, all that God does is done to lay a foundation for your salvation, to prepare the road ahead and to prepare all necessary conditions for your salvation. Straight away at each person’s specified time, God brings them back before Him—when the time comes for you to hear God’s voice, that is the time you come before Him. At the time this happens, some people have already become parents themselves, whilst others are just somebody’s child. In other words, some people have gotten married and had children whilst some are still single, not yet having started their own families. But regardless of people’s situations, God has already set the times when you will be chosen and when His gospel and words will reach you. God has set the circumstances, decided on a certain person or a certain context through which the gospel will be passed onto you, so that you may hear the words of God. God has already prepared for you all the necessary conditions so that, unknowingly, you come before Him and are returned to God’s family. You also unknowingly follow God and enter into His step-by-step work, entering into God’s way of work that He has, step by step, prepared for you. The very least of all that God does and gives to man at this time is first and foremost the care and protection that man enjoys, and this is indeed real. So what kinds of ways does God use? God sets out various people and things so that man may see His existence and His deeds within them. For example, there are some people who believe in God because someone in their family is sick, and they say “One of my family is sick, whatever shall I do?” Some people then say “Believe in Jesus!” So they start believing in God, and this belief in God has come about because of the situation. So who arranged this situation? (God.) By means of this situation they turn to God. There are some families like this where all are believers, young and old, while there are some where belief is individual. So you tell Me, what does the believer obtain from God? Apparently illness befalls, but it is in fact a condition bestowed on him so that he comes before God—this is the kindness of God. Because the family life of some people is tough and they can find no peace, a chance opportunity comes along where someone will pass on the gospel and will say “Your family has it tough. Believe in Jesus. Believe in Jesus and you will have peace.” Unconsciously, this person then comes to believe in God under very natural circumstances, so is this not a type of condition? (Yes.) And is his family not being at peace a grace granted him by God? (Yes.) There are then some who come to believe in God for other reasons, but no matter what reason brings you to believe in Him, it is all actually arranged and guided by God, without a doubt.
At first, God employed various ways to choose you and to bring you into His family. This is the first thing He does and is a grace He grants to each and every person. Now with God’s work in the last days, He no longer just bestows grace and blessings on man like He did in the beginning, nor does He coax people onward—this is because of the foundation of the work in the Age of Grace. During the work of these last days, what has man seen from all the aspects of God’s work that they have experienced? They have not only seen God’s love, but also God’s judgment and chastisement. At this time, God furthermore provides, supports, enlightens and guides man, so that they gradually come to know His intentions, know the words He speaks and the truth He bestows on man. When man is weak, when they are dispirited, when they have nowhere to turn, God will use His words to comfort, advise and encourage them, so that man of small stature can gradually find their strength, rise up in positivity and become willing to cooperate with God. But when man disobeys God or resists Him, or when they reveal their own corruption and oppose God, God will show no mercy in chastening them and disciplining them. To man’s foolishness, ignorance, weakness and immaturity, however, God will show tolerance and patience. In this way, through all the work God does for man, man gradually matures, grows up, and comes to know God’s intentions, to know some truth, to know what are positive things and what are negative things, to know what evil is and what darkness is. God does not always chasten and discipline man, nor does He always show tolerance and patience. Rather He provides for each person in different ways, at their different stages and according to their different statures and caliber. He does many things for man and at great cost; man perceives nothing of this cost or these things God does, yet all that He does is in reality carried out on every single person. God’s love is real: Through the grace of God man avoids one disaster after another, whilst to man’s weakness, God shows His tolerance time after time. The judgment and chastisement of God allows people to gradually come to know mankind’s corruption and their corrupt satanic essence. That which God provides, His enlightenment of man and His guidance all allow mankind to know more and more the essence of truth, and to increasingly know what people need, what road they should take, what they live for, the value and meaning of their lives, and how to walk the road ahead. All these things that God does are inseparable from His one original purpose. What, then, is this purpose? Do you know? Why does God use these ways to carry out His work on man? What result does He want to achieve? In other words, what does He want to see in man and get from them? What God wants to see is that man’s heart can be revived. In other words, these ways that He uses to work on man are to continually awaken the heart of man, awaken man’s spirit, letting man know where they came from, who is guiding them, supporting them, providing for them, and who has allowed man to live up till now; they are to let man know who is the Creator, whom they should worship, what kind of road they should walk, and in what way man should come before God; they are used to gradually revive the heart of man, so man knows God’s heart, understands God’s heart, and comprehends the great care and thought behind His work to save man. When man’s heart is revived, they no longer wish to live the life of a degenerate, corrupt disposition, but instead wish to seek out the truth in the satisfaction of God. When man’s heart has been awakened, they are then able to make a clean break with Satan, no longer to be harmed by Satan, no longer to be controlled or fooled by it. Instead, man can cooperate in God’s work and in His words in a positive way to satisfy the heart of God, thus attaining fearing God and shunning evil. This is the original purpose of God’s work.
Talking about the evil of Satan just now made everyone feel as though people live so unhappily and that the life of man is beset with misfortune. But how do you feel now that I have talked about the holiness of God and the work that He performs on man? (Very happy.) We can see now that everything God does, all that He painstakingly arranges for man is immaculate. Everything God does is without error, meaning it is faultless, needing no one to correct, give advice or make any change. All that God does for every individual is beyond doubt; He leads everyone by the hand, looks after you at every moment and has never left your side. As people grow up in this kind of an environment and grow up with this kind of background, could we say that people in fact grow up in the palm of God’s hand? (Yes.) So now do you still feel a sense of loss? (No.) Does anyone still feel dispirited? (No.) So does anyone feel that God has forsaken mankind? (No.) So what on earth has God done then? (He keeps mankind.) The great thought and care behind everything God does is beyond question. What is more, while God carries out this work, He has never laid any condition or requirement on anyone to know the price He pays for them, so they therefore feel deeply grateful to Him. Has God ever done anything like this before? (No.) Throughout your long lives, basically every individual has encountered many dangerous situations and undergone many temptations. This is because Satan is right there beside you, its eyes fixed on you constantly. It likes it when disaster strikes you, when calamities befall you, when nothing goes right for you, and likes it when you are caught in Satan’s net. As for God, He is protecting you constantly, keeping you from one misfortune after another and from one disaster after another. This is why I say that everything man has—peace and joy, blessings and personal safety—is in fact all under God’s control, and He guides and decides the life and fate of every individual. But does God have an inflated notion of His position, as some people say? Telling you “I am the greatest of all, it is I that take charge of you, you must all beg Me for mercy and disobedience will be punished by death.” Has God ever threatened mankind in this way? (No.) Has He ever said “Mankind is corrupt so it does not matter how I treat them, any arbitrary treatment will do; I do not need to arrange things very well for them.” Does God think this way? (No.) So has God acted in this way? (No.) On the contrary, God’s treatment of each and every person is earnest and responsible, more responsible even than you are to yourself. Is this not so? God does not speak idly, neither does He stand on high putting on airs nor does He make do with fooling people. Instead He is honestly and silently doing the things He Himself needs to do. These things bring blessings, peace and joy to man, they bring man peacefully and happily before the sight of God and into His family and they bring to man the right reason, right thinking, right judgment and the right frame of mind they need to come before God and receive God’s salvation. So has God ever been duplicitous with man in His work? (No.) Has He ever shown a false display of kindness, placating man with a few pleasantries, then turned His back on man? (No.) Has God ever said one thing and then done another? (No.) Has God ever made empty promises and boasted, telling you He can do this for you or help do that for you, and then vanished? (No.) There is no craftiness in God, no falsity. God is faithful and everything He does is both true and real. He is the only thing that people can count on and the only thing that people can entrust their lives and their all to. As there is no craftiness in God, could we say that God is the most sincere? (Yes.) Of course we can, right? Although, talking about this word now, when applied to God it is too feeble, too humanized, there is nothing we can do about it as these are the limits of human language. It is slightly improper here to call God sincere, but we will use this word for the time being. God is faithful and sincere, isn’t He? (Yes.) So what do we mean by talking about these aspects? Do we mean the differences between God and man and the differences between God and Satan? We can say this because man cannot see one trace of Satan’s corrupt disposition in God. Am I correct in saying this? Can I get an Amen for this? (Amen!) We see none of Satan’s evil revealed in God. All that God does and reveals is wholly beneficial and helpful for man, is wholly done to provide for man, is full of life and gives man a road to follow and a direction to take. God is not corrupt and, furthermore, looking now at everything God does, can we say that God is holy? (Yes.) As God has none of the corruption of mankind and has nothing even remotely like the corrupt disposition of mankind or the essence of Satan, from this point of view we can say that God is holy. God reveals no corruption, and the revelation of His own essence in His work is all the confirmation we need that God Himself is holy. Do you see this now? That is to say, to know God’s holy essence, for the time being let us look at these two aspects: 1) There is no corrupt disposition in God; 2) the essence of God’s work on man allows man to see God’s own essence and this essence is both entirely positive and entirely real. For what are the things that every manner of God’s work brings to man? They are all positive things, they are all love, all truth and all reality. Firstly, God requires man to be honest—isn’t this positive? God gives man wisdom—isn’t this positive? God makes man able to discern between good and evil—isn’t this positive? He allows man to understand the meaning and value of human life—isn’t this positive? He allows man to see into the essence of people and things in accordance with truth—isn’t this positive? (Yes.) And the result of all this is that man is no longer deceived by Satan, no longer to continue to be harmed by Satan or controlled by it. In other words, they allow people to completely free themselves from the corruption of Satan, and therefore gradually walk the path of fearing God and shunning evil. How far have you already walked on this path now? It is hard to say, isn’t it? But at the very least do you now have an initial understanding of how Satan corrupts man, which things are evil and which things are negative? (Yes.) With this initial understanding, you are at the very least now walking the right path, have begun to know the truth, to see life’s light, and so your faith in God is greater.
We will finish now talking about the holiness of God, so who among you, from all that you have heard and received, can say what the holiness of God is? What does the holiness of God that I talk about refer to? Think about it for a second. What is the holiness of God? Is the truthfulness of God His holiness? (Yes.) Is the faithfulness of God His holiness? (Yes.) Is the selflessness of God His holiness? (Yes.) Is the humility of God His holiness? (Yes.) Is the love of God for man His holiness? (Yes.) God freely bestows truth and life on man—is this His holiness? (Yes.) All this that God reveals is unique; it does not exist within corrupt humanity, nor can it be seen there. Not the slightest trace of it can be seen during the process of Satan’s corruption of man, neither in the corrupt disposition of Satan nor in the essence or nature of Satan. So all that God has and is is unique and only God Himself has this kind of essence, only God Himself possesses this kind of essence. Having discussed this so far, have any of you seen anyone this holy in mankind? (No.) So is there anyone this holy amongst the famous people, the great people and the idols you worship in mankind? (No.) There is absolutely no one who can be called holy! The so-called “saints” of the unbelievers are all hypocritical charlatans and are the most cunning, the most insidious devil Satan. This is nothing less than the absolute truth. We can only say now that God alone is truly holy, that God’s holiness is unique and only He can embody this in name as well as in truth. Furthermore, there is also its practical side. Is there any discrepancy between the holiness I speak of now and the holiness that you previously thought of and imagined? (Yes.) Then how big is this discrepancy? (Very big!) Using your own words, what do people often mean when they talk about holiness? (Some external behavior.) Behavior or when describing something, they say it is holy. So is this description of “holiness” a theory? It is just something that looks clean and pretty, something that looks or sounds good to people, nothing with any real substance of holiness. There is nothing real about what people imagine holiness to be. Besides this, what exactly does the “holiness” people think of refer to? Is it what they imagine or judge it to be? For example, some Buddhists pass away whilst practicing, departing while they sit there asleep. Some people say they are holy and have flown to heaven. This is also a kind of imagination. Then there are some who think that a fairy floating down from heaven is holy. There are also some who think that never to marry, to eat and dress poorly and to suffer all one’s life is holy. Actually, people’s concept of the word “holy” has always been just a kind of hollow imagination and theory with fundamentally no real substance to it, and moreover nothing to do with the essence of holiness. The essence of holiness is true love, but more than this it is the essence of truth, righteousness and light. The word “holy” is only appropriate when applied to God; nothing in creation can be worthy to be called holy. Man must understand that. To not know what true holiness is is to not know God. Only God is holy, and this is an incontrovertible truth.
Let us go back to talk about what means Satan employs to corrupt man. We have just talked about the various ways in which God works on man which every one of you can experience for yourselves, so I will not go into too much detail. But in your hearts you are perhaps hazy about the means Satan employs to corrupt man, or at the very least it is lacking in detail, so it will benefit you to talk about it. Do you want to understand it? (Yes.) Maybe some of you will ask: “Why talk about Satan again? We have already seen that Satan is evil and we loathe Satan already, so can Satan still corrupt us?” In fact, although you may loathe Satan, you do not see completely through it. There are some things you still need to face, otherwise you cannot really break away from the influence of Satan.
We have previously discussed the five ways in which Satan corrupts man, haven’t we? Within these five ways are the means it employs, which man must see through. The ways in which Satan corrupts man are just a kind of cover; most insidious are the means hiding behind this façade and it wants to use these means to achieve its goals. What are these means? Summarize them for Me. (It cheats, seduces and threatens.) The more you list, the closer you get. It looks as though you have been deeply harmed by it and have strong feelings on the subject. (It also uses sweet talk and lies, it influences, deceives and forcefully occupies.) Forcefully occupies—this gives an extremely deep impression, doesn’t it? People are afraid of Satan’s forceful occupation. Any others? (It violently harms people, uses both threats and inducements, and it lies.) Lies are the substance of its actions and it lies in order to cheat you. What is the nature of lying? Is lying not the same as cheating? The goal of telling lies is in fact to cheat you. Any others? Speak out. Tell Me all the ones that you know of. (It induces, harms, blinds and deceives.) Most of you feel the same way about this deception, don’t you? (It uses fawning flattery, controls man, takes hold of man, terrorizes man and keeps man from believing in God.) I pretty much know what you mean and they are all similarly good. You all know something about this, so let us now summarize them.
There are six primary means that Satan employs to corrupt man.
The first is control and coercion. That is, Satan will do everything possible to take control of your heart. What does “coercion” mean? (It means compulsion.) It threatens you and forces you to heed it, making you think of the consequences if you do not obey. You are afraid and dare not defy it, so you then have no choice but to be under its influence.
The second is cheating and tricking. What does “cheating and tricking” entail? Satan makes up some stories and lies, tricking you into believing them. It never tells you that man was created by God, but neither does it say directly that you were not made by God. It does not use the word “God” at all, but instead uses something else as a substitute, using this thing to deceive you so that you basically have no idea of the existence of God, and it never allows you to know just who God really is. This tricking of course includes many aspects, not just this one.
The third is forceful indoctrination. Is there forceful indoctrination? (Yes.) Forceful indoctrination of what? Is forceful indoctrination done by man’s own choice? Is it done with man’s consent? (No.) It does not matter if you do not consent to it. In your unawareness it pours into you, instilling in you Satan’s thinking, its rules of life and its evil essence. In fact, all that Satan instills in you are lies, specious fallacies and are indeed heresies and fallacies that Satan uses to corrupt man. These satanic poisons are planted in people’s brains and in their minds, and this truly does brainwash people. Once someone has accepted these satanic poisons, they become neither man nor ghost, without one shred of humanity.
The fourth is threats and inducements. That is, Satan employs various means so that you accept it, follow it, work in its service; it tries to achieve its goals by any means necessary. It sometimes bestows small favors on you but still lures you into committing sin. If you do not follow it, it will make you suffer and punish you and it will use various ways to attack and ensnare you.
The fifth is deception and paralysis. “Deception and paralysis” is that Satan makes up some sweet-sounding statements and ideas that are in concert with people’s conceptions to make it seem as though it is taking people’s flesh into consideration or thinking about their lives and futures, when actually it is just to fool you. It then paralyzes you so that you do not know what is right and what is wrong, so that you unknowingly follow its road and thereby come under its control.
The sixth is the destruction of body and mind. Satan destroys man’s what? (Their mind, their whole being.) Satan destroys your mind, making you powerless to resist, meaning that very slowly your heart turns toward Satan in spite of yourself. It instills these things in you every day, every day using these ideas and cultures to influence and nurture you, very slowly ruining your will, making you not want to be a good person any longer, making you no longer wish to persevere standing up for what you call righteousness. Unknowingly, you no longer have the willpower to swim upstream against the tide, but instead flow down along with it. “Destruction” means Satan torments people so much that they become like neither man nor ghost, then it seizes the opportunity to devour them.
Each one of these means that Satan employs to corrupt man can render man powerless to resist; any one of them can be fatal for people and leave them with no room to resist at all. In other words, anything Satan does and any means it employs can cause you to degenerate, can bring you under Satan’s control and can mire you in a quagmire of evil so that you cannot escape. These are the means Satan employs to corrupt man and they are extremely cruel, malicious, insidious and despicable. Everyone has personally tasted the bitterness of these means, so man’s heart can then hate Satan bitterly and resolve to rebel against this evil demon.
We can say Satan is evil, but in order to confirm it we must look at what the consequences of Satan’s corruption of man are and which dispositions and essences it brings to man. You all know some of this, so speak about it. Once Satan has corrupted man, which satanic dispositions do they express and reveal? (Arrogant and haughty, selfish and despicable, crooked and crafty, insidious and malicious, and with no humanity.) On the whole, we can say they have no humanity, right? Let other brothers and sisters speak. (Arrogant, crafty, malicious, selfish, greedy, superficial, false.) Don’t say what is revealed by some aspect’s disposition; you must say what the essence of that disposition is. You understand? (Once man has been corrupted by Satan, they are most typically arrogant and conceited, proud and haughty, greedy and selfish. These are the most serious.) (After man has been corrupted by Satan, they act unscrupulously both materially and spiritually. They then become hostile to God, resist God, disobey God, and they lose the conscience and reason that man should have.) What you have said is all basically the same with only minor differences, with some of you concerned more with minor details. To summarize, “arrogant” has been the word most often mentioned—arrogant, crafty, malicious and selfish. But you have all overlooked the same thing. People with no conscience, who have lost their reason and who have no humanity—there is yet something just as important that none of you have said. So what is that? (Betraying.) Correct! No one had said “Betraying.” The ultimate consequence of these dispositions that exist in any man once they have been corrupted by Satan is their betrayal of God and their no longer recognizing Him. No matter what God says to man or what work He does on them, they do not acknowledge what they know to be the truth, and it can be seen that they no longer recognize God and they betray Him: This is the consequence of Satan’s corruption of man and it is the same for all the corrupt dispositions of man. Among the ways Satan uses to corrupt man—the knowledge man learns, the science they know, the superstitions, traditional cultures and social trends they comprehend—is there any that man can use to tell what is righteous and what is unrighteous? Are there any standards to work from here? (No.) Is there anything that can help man to know what is holy and what is evil? (No.) There are no standards and no foundation that can help man. Even if people know the word “holy,” there is no one who actually knows what is holy. So can these things that Satan brings to man allow them to know the truth? They can never allow man to know the truth. Can they allow man to live with increasing humanity? Can they allow man to live in increasing understanding of how to truly worship God? (No.) It is obvious that they cannot allow man to worship God, nor can they allow man to know what holiness and evil are. Conversely, man becomes more and more degenerate, further and further from God, more and more evil, more and more perverted. This is the core reason behind why we say Satan is evil. Having dissected so many of Satan’s evil qualities, have you seen Satan have any element of holiness either in its qualities or in your understanding of its essence? (No.) That’s for sure, isn’t it? So have you seen any essence of Satan that shares any similarity with God? (No.) Does any expression of Satan share any similarity with God? (No.) So now I want to ask you, using your own words, what exactly is the holiness of God? First of all, what is the holiness of God said in connection with? Is it said in connection with the essence of God? Or is it said in connection with some aspect of His disposition? (It is said in connection with the essence of God.) We must gain a clear foothold in our desired topic. It is said in connection with the essence of God. First of all, we have used Satan’s evil as a foil to the essence of God, so have you seen any of Satan’s essence in God? (No.) What about any of mankind’s essence? (No.) Someone tell Me. (The holiness of God is unique, it is faithful, sincere and there is no corrupt disposition in God. God is entirely positive, as is everything He brings to man.) (All of God’s essence is positive, all that He reveals is for the salvation of man and for man to live out a normal human likeness. It is so He can truly protect man and so that man can live out normal humanity.) Is it only to live out normal humanity? (It is so man can truly know the truth; His holiness is His true love and salvation of mankind.) (All that is revealed by the essence of God is positive. God’s truthfulness, His faithfulness, His selflessness, His humility and His love for mankind all express the essence of the holiness of God.) (God is not arrogant, not selfish and does not betray, and in this aspect the holy essence of God is also seen to be revealed.) Mm. Any others to add? (God has no trace of the corrupt disposition of Satan. What Satan has is entirely negative, while what God has is nothing but positive. We can see that God is always by our side. From when we were very small up to now, especially when we had lost our way, He was always there, watching over us and keeping us safe. There is no craftiness in God, no deceit. He speaks clearly and plainly, and this is also the true essence of God.) Very good! (We can see none of the corrupt disposition of Satan in the work of God, no duplicity, no boasting, no empty promises and no craftiness. God is the only thing that man can believe in and God’s work is faithful and sincere. From the work of God we can see God telling people to be honest, to have wisdom, to be able to tell good from evil and to have discernment. In this we can see God’s holiness.) Any others to add? Have you finished? (Yes.) Are you satisfied with what you have said? Exactly how much understanding is really in your hearts? And how much do you comprehend the holiness of God? I know that each and every one of you has in your heart some level of perceptual understanding, because every individual can feel God’s work on them and, in varying degrees, they obtain many things from God; they obtain grace and blessings, they are enlightened and illuminated, and they receive God’s judgment and chastisement so that man may have some simple understanding of the essence of God.
Although the “holiness of God” that we are discussing today may seem strange to most people, irrespective of how it may seem we have begun this topic, and you will have a deeper understanding as you walk your road ahead. It requires you to gradually come to feel and understand from within your own experience. Now your perceptual understanding of God’s essence still requires a long period of time to learn, to confirm, to feel and to experience it, until one day you will know the holiness of God from the very center of your heart to be the flawless essence of God, the selfless love of God, which is the selfless love of all God bestows on man, and you will come to know that God’s holiness is unblemished and irreproachable. These essences of God are not just words He uses to show off His identity, but instead God uses His essence to silently and sincerely deal with each and every individual. In other words, the essence of God is not empty, nor is it theoretical or doctrinal and is certainly not a kind of knowledge. It is not a kind of education for man, but instead is the true revelation of God’s own actions and is the revealed essence of what God has and is. Man should know this essence and comprehend it, as everything God does and every word He says is of great value and great significance to every single person. When you come to comprehend the holiness of God, you can then really believe in God; when you come to comprehend the holiness of God, you can then really realize the true meaning of the words “God Himself, the Unique.” You will no longer imagine that you can choose to walk other roads, and you will no longer be willing to betray everything that God has arranged for you. Because the essence of God is holy, that means that only through God can you walk the bright, right road through life; only through God can you know the meaning of life, only through God can you live out a real life, possess the truth, know the truth, and only through God can you obtain life from the truth. Only God Himself can help you shun evil and deliver you from the harm and control of Satan. Besides God, no one and nothing can save you from the sea of suffering so that you suffer no longer: This is determined by the essence of God. Only God Himself saves you so selflessly, only God is ultimately responsible for your future, for your destiny and for your life, and He arranges all things for you. This is something that nothing created or non-created can achieve. Because nothing created or non-created possesses an essence of God such as this, no person or thing has the ability to save you or to lead you. This is the importance of God’s essence to man. Perhaps you feel that these words I have said may indeed help a little in principle. But if you seek the truth, if you love the truth, in your experience hereafter these words will not only change your destiny, but more so will bring you to the right road through life. You understand this, don’t you? (Yes.) So do you now have some interest in recognizing the essence of God? (Yes.) It’s good to be interested. We will finish here discussing our topic today on recognizing the holiness of God.
I would like to talk to you about something that you did that surprised Me at the start of our gathering today. Some of you were perhaps harboring a sense of gratitude just now, or feeling thankful, and so you wanted to express physically what you had in your minds. This is beyond reproach, and is neither right nor wrong. But what is it that I would like to tell you? What you did is not wrong and I do not wish to reproach you in any way. I would like you to understand something. What is this? First I would like to ask you about what you did just now. Was it prostrating or kneeling to worship? Can anyone tell Me? (We believe it was prostrating. We prostrate this way.) You believe it was prostrating, so what then is the meaning of prostration? (Worship.) So what is kneeling to worship then? The reason I did not mention this to you straight away is because our topic for fellowship today is very important and I did not want to affect your mood. Do you prostrate at your usual gatherings? (No.) Do you prostrate when you say your prayers? (Yes.) Do you prostrate each time you pray, when conditions allow? (Yes.) That’s wonderful. But what is it that I would like you to understand today? It is the two types of people whose genuflections God accepts. We do not need to consult the Bible or the behaviors of any spiritual characters, and I will tell you something true here and now. Firstly, prostration and kneeling to worship are not the same thing. Why does God accept the genuflections of those who prostrate themselves? It is because God calls someone to Him and summons this person to accept God’s commission, so he prostrates himself for God. This is the first type of person. The second type is the kneeling to worship of someone who fears God and shuns evil. There are just these two types of people. So which type do you belong to? Are you able to say? This is factual truth, though it may hurt your feelings a little. There is nothing to say about people’s genuflections during prayer—this is proper and is as it should be, because when people pray it is mostly praying for something, opening their hearts to God and coming face to face with Him. It is communication and exchange, heart to heart with God. But when I meet in fellowship with you, I have not asked you to prostrate yourselves. I do not mean to reproach you for what you have done today. You know that I just want to make it clear to you so that you understand this principle, don’t you? (We know.) So that you do not continue to do this. Do people then have any opportunity to prostrate and kneel before the face of God? There will always be an opportunity. Sooner or later a day will come, but the time is not now. Do you see? (Yes.) Does this make you feel sad? (No.) That’s good. Maybe these words will motivate or inspire you so that you can know in your hearts the current plight between God and man and what kind of relationship exists now between them. Although we have recently talked and exchanged a lot, man’s understanding of God is still far from sufficient. Man still has a long way to go on this road to seeking to understand God. It is not My intention to make you do this urgently, or rush to express these kinds of aspirations or feelings. What you did today may reveal and express your true feelings, and I perceived it. So while you were doing it, I just wanted to stand up and give you My well wishes, because I wish you all to be well. So in My every word and every action I do My utmost to help you, to guide you, so that you can have the correct understanding and correct view of all things. You can understand this, right? (Yes.) That’s great. Although people have some understanding of God’s various dispositions, the aspects of what God has and is and the work God does, the majority of this understanding goes no further than reading words on a page, or understanding them in principle, or just thinking about them. What people are most lacking in are the real understanding and view that come from actual experience. Even though God uses various ways to awaken the hearts of man, there is still a long road to walk before the hearts of man are finally awakened. I do not want to see anyone feeling as though God has left them out in the cold, that God has abandoned them or turned His back on them. I would only like to see everyone on the road to seeking the truth and seeking to understand God, boldly marching onward with unfaltering will, with no misgivings, carrying no burdens. No matter what wrongs you have committed, no matter how far you have gone astray or how much you have transgressed, do not let these become burdens or excess baggage to carry with you in your pursuit to understand God: Continue marching onward. No matter when it occurs, the heart of God that is man’s salvation never changes: This is the most precious part of the essence of God. Do you feel a little better now? (Yes.) I hope that you can take the correct approach to all things and the words that I have spoken. Let us end this fellowship here, then. Goodbye everyone! (Goodbye!)
January 11, 2014
a. The original text reads “satisfying man’s exploration of science and probing into mysteries.”
b. The original text omits “the quicksand of.”