God Himself, the Unique VII
An Overview of God’s Authority, God’s Righteous Disposition, and God’s Holiness
When you have finished your prayers, do your hearts feel calm in the presence of God? (Yes.) If a person’s heart can be calmed, they will be able to hear and understand the word of God and they will be able to hear and understand the truth. If your heart is unable to be calmed, if your heart is always adrift, or always thinking of other things, this will affect you when you attend gatherings to hear the word of God. What is at the heart of the matters we have been discussing? Let us all think back a little on the main points. Regarding knowing God Himself, the unique, in the first part, we discussed God’s authority. In the second part, we discussed God’s righteous disposition, and in the third part, we discussed God’s holiness. Has the specific content we discussed each time left an impression on you? In the first part, “God’s authority,” what left the deepest impression on you? Which part had the strongest impact on you? (God first communicated the authority and might of the word of God; God is as good as His word and His word shall become true. This is the inherent essence of God.) (God’s command to Satan was that it may only tempt Job, but may not take his life. From this we see the authority of God’s word.) Is there anything else to add? (God used words to create the heavens and the earth and everything in them, and He spoke words to make a covenant with man and to put His blessings upon man. These are all examples of the authority of God’s word. Then, we saw how the Lord Jesus commanded Lazarus to walk out from his tomb—this shows that life and death are under God’s control, that Satan has no power to control life and death, and that whether God’s work is done in flesh or in Spirit, His authority is unique.) This is an understanding you gained after hearing the fellowship, right? Speaking of God’s authority, what is your understanding of the word “authority”? Within the scope of God’s authority, what do people see of what God does and reveals? (We see God’s almightiness and wisdom.) (We see that God’s authority is ever-present and that it truly exists. We see God’s authority on the large scale in His dominion over all things, and we see it on the small scale as He takes control of each individual human life. God actually plans and controls the six junctures of human life. Furthermore, we see that God’s authority represents God Himself, the unique, and no created or non-created being may possess it. God’s authority is a symbol of His status.) Your understanding of the “symbols of God’s status and God’s position” seems to be somewhat doctrinal. Do you have any essential understanding of God’s authority? (God has watched over us and protected us since we were young, and we see God’s authority in that. We were not aware of the dangers that lurked over us, but God was always protecting us behind the scenes. This is also God’s authority.) Very good. Well said.
When we speak about God’s authority, what is our focus, our main point? Why do we need to discuss this? The first purpose in discussing this is to establish in people’s hearts God’s status as the Creator and His position among all things. This is what people, at first, can be brought to know, to see, and to feel. What you see and what you feel come from God’s actions, God’s words, and God’s control of all things. So, what true understanding do people gain from all that they see, learn, and know through God’s authority? We have already discussed the first purpose. The second is to let people see God’s power and wisdom through all that God has done and said and controlled with His authority. It is to allow you to see how powerful and how wise God is in His control of everything. Was this not the focus and the main point of our prior discussion of God’s unique authority? Not much time has passed since that discussion and yet some of you have forgotten this, which proves that you have not gained deep understanding of God’s authority. It could even be said that man has not seen the authority of God. Do you now have some understanding? When you see God exercising His authority, what do you truly feel? Have you truly felt God’s power? (Yes.) When you read His words about how He created all things, you feel His power and you feel His omnipotence. When you see God’s dominion over the fate of men, what do you feel? Do you feel His power and His wisdom? If God did not possess this power, if He did not possess this wisdom, would He be qualified to have dominion over all things and over the fate of men? God possesses the power and the wisdom, and so He has the authority. This is unique. Among all creation, have you ever seen a person or creature with power like God’s? Is there anyone or anything with the power to create the heavens and earth and all things, to control them and have dominion over them? Is there anyone or anything that can rule over and lead all of humanity, that can be present everywhere at all times? (No, there is not.) Do you now understand the true meaning of God’s unique authority? Do you now have some understanding of this? (Yes.) This concludes our look back at the topic of God’s unique authority.
In the second part, we talked about God’s righteous disposition. We did not discuss much within this topic, because, at this stage, God’s work consists primarily of judgment and chastisement. In the Age of Kingdom, God’s righteous disposition is revealed clearly and in great detail. He has spoken words He has never spoken from the time of creation; and in His words all people, all who read and experience His word, have seen His righteous disposition revealed. So, what is the main point of our discussion about God’s righteous disposition? Do you comprehend it deeply? Do you understand it from experience? (God burned Sodom because the people at that time were deeply corrupt and provoked God’s wrath. From this, we see God’s righteous disposition.) First, let’s take a look: If God had not destroyed Sodom, would you be able to know of His righteous disposition? You still would, correct? You can see it in the words God has expressed in the Age of Kingdom, and in the judgment, chastisement, and curses He has directed at man. Can you see God’s righteous disposition in His sparing of Nineveh? (Yes.) In the current age, people can see some of God’s mercy, love, and tolerance, and people can see it, too, in God’s change of heart that follows man’s repentance. Having raised these two examples to introduce our discussion of God’s righteous disposition, it is quite clear to see that His righteous disposition has been revealed, yet in reality, the essence of God’s righteous disposition is not limited to what is revealed in these two Bible stories. From what you have learned and seen and experienced in God’s word and His work, what is God’s righteous disposition as you see it? Speak from your own experiences. (In the environments God created for people, when people are able to seek out truth and act in accordance with God’s will, God guides them, enlightens them, and enables them to feel brightened in their hearts. When people go against God and resist Him and do not act in accordance with His will, then there is great darkness inside them, as if God has forsaken them. Even when they pray, they do not know what to say to Him. But when they put aside their own notions and imaginings and become willing to cooperate with God and strive to better themselves, then they gradually become able to see God’s smiling countenance. From this we experience the holiness of God’s righteous disposition. God appears in the holy kingdom, but He conceals Himself in impure places.) (I see God’s righteous disposition in the way He treats people. Our brothers and sisters are different in stature and caliber, and what God requires from each of us differs also. We are all able to receive the enlightenment of God to varying degrees, and in this, I see God’s righteousness, because we humans are not capable of treating man in this way, but God is.) Now, you all have some practical knowledge that you can articulate.
Do you know what knowledge is the key to understanding God’s righteous disposition? There is much that may be said from experience on this topic, but first there are a few main points that I must tell you. To understand God’s righteous disposition, one must first understand God’s feelings: what He hates, what He loathes, what He loves, to whom He is tolerant and merciful, and on what type of person He bestows that mercy. This is one main point. One must also understand that no matter how loving God is, no matter how much mercy and love He has for people, God does not tolerate anyone offending His status and position, nor does He tolerate anyone offending His dignity. Even though God loves people, He does not pamper them. He gives people His love, His mercy, and His tolerance, but He has never coddled them; God has His principles and His limits. Regardless of how much of God’s love you have felt, regardless of how deep that love may be, you must never treat God as you would treat another person. While it is true that God treats people with the utmost intimacy, if a person views God as just another person, as if He were just another created being, like a friend or an object of worship, then God will hide His face from them and forsake them. This is His disposition, and people must not take this issue thoughtlessly. So, we often see words such as this spoken by God about His disposition: It does not matter how many roads you have traveled, how much work you have done or how much suffering you have endured, once you offend God’s disposition, He will repay each of you based on what you have done. What this means is that God treats people with the utmost intimacy, yet people must not treat God as a friend or a relative. Do not call God your “pal.” No matter how much love you have received from Him, no matter how much tolerance He has given you, you must never treat God as your friend. This is God’s righteous disposition. Do you understand? Do I need to say more about this? Do you have any prior understanding of this matter? Generally speaking, this is the easiest mistake for people to make, regardless of whether they understand the doctrines or if they have never before contemplated this issue. When people offend God, it might not be because of one event or one thing they said, but rather because of an attitude they hold and a state they are in. This is a very frightening thing. Some people believe that they have an understanding of God, that they have some knowledge of Him, and they might even do some things that satisfy God. They begin to feel equal to God and that they have cleverly maneuvered themselves into a friendship with God. These types of feelings are terribly wrong. If you do not have a deep understanding of this—if you do not understand this clearly—then you will very easily offend God and offend His righteous disposition. You understand this now, yes? Is not God’s righteous disposition unique? Could it ever be the equivalent of the character or the moral standing of a man? It never could. So, you must not forget that, no matter how God treats people nor how He thinks of people, God’s position, authority, and status do not ever change. For mankind, God is always the Lord of all things and the Creator.
What have you learned about the holiness of God? In that part about “God’s holiness,” besides the fact that Satan’s wickedness is used as a foil, what was the main content of our discussion about the holiness of God? Is it not what God has and is? Is what God has and is unique to God Himself? (Yes.) It is that which created beings do not possess. This is why we say the holiness of God is unique. This is something that you should be able to understand. We held three meetings on the subject of the holiness of God. Can you describe in your own words, with your own understanding, what you believe God’s holiness is? (The last time God communicated with us we bowed down before Him. God fellowshiped the truth to us about prostrating and bowing down to worship Him. We saw that bowing down to worship Him before meeting His requirements was not in accord with His will, and from this we saw the holiness of God.) Very true. Is there anything else? (In God’s words to mankind, we see that He speaks plainly and clearly. He is straight and to the point. Satan speaks in a roundabout way and is full of lies. From what happened last time when we lay prostrate before God, we saw that His words and His actions are always principled. He is always clear and concise when He tells us how we should act, how we should observe, and how we should practice. But people are not this way. Since mankind’s corruption by Satan, they have acted and spoken with their own personal motives and objectives and their own personal desires in mind. From the way God looks after, cares for and protects mankind, we see that all that God does is positive and clear. It is in this way that we see the essence of God’s holiness revealed.) Well put! Does anyone else have anything to add? (Through God’s exposure of Satan’s evil essence, we see God’s holiness, we gain more knowledge of Satan’s evil, and we see the source of mankind’s suffering. In the past, we were unaware of man’s suffering under the domain of Satan. Only after God revealed this did we see that all the suffering that comes from the pursuit of fame and fortune is the work of Satan. Only then did we feel that the holiness of God is the true salvation of mankind.) Is there anything else to add to that? (Mankind, which is corrupt, lacks true knowledge of and love for God. Because we don’t understand the essence of God’s holiness, and because, when we prostrate and bow down before Him in worship, we do so with impure thoughts and ulterior motives and purposes, God is displeased. We can see that God is different from Satan; Satan wants people to adore and flatter it, to prostrate and bow down to worship it. Satan has no principles. From this too, I am made aware of God’s holiness.) Very good! Now that we have fellowshiped about God’s holiness, do you see God’s perfection? (We do.) Do you see how God is the source of all positive things? Are you able to see how God is the embodiment of truth and justice? Do you see how God is the source of love? Do you see how all that God does, all that He expresses, and all that He reveals is flawless? (We do.) These are the main points of what I have said about the holiness of God. Today, these words may seem like mere doctrine to you, but one day, when you experience and witness the true God Himself from His word and His work, you will say from the bottom of your heart that God is holy, that God is different from mankind, and that His heart, disposition, and essence are all holy. This holiness allows man to see God’s perfection and to see that the essence of God’s holiness is immaculate. The essence of His holiness determines that He is God Himself, the unique, and it also both allows man to see and proves that He is the unique God Himself. Is this not the main point? (It is.)
Today we have conducted an overview of several topics from previous fellowships. This concludes today’s overview. I hope that all of you will take to heart the main points of each item and topic. Do not think of them as mere doctrine; when you have some spare time, really read through them and ponder them. Remember them in your heart and bring them into reality—then you will truly experience all that I have said about the reality of God’s revealing His disposition and revealing what He has and is. However, if you only jot them down in your notebook and do not read through them or think them over, then you will never gain them for yourself. You understand now, yes? After having communicated on these three topics, once people have gained a general—or even specific—understanding of God’s status, essence, and disposition, will their understanding of God be complete? (No.) Now, in your own understanding of God, are there any other areas where you feel you need a deeper understanding? That is to say, now that you have gained an understanding of God’s authority, His righteous disposition, and His holiness, perhaps His unique status and position are established in your mind; yet it remains for you to see, understand, and deepen your knowledge of His actions, His power, and His essence through your own experience. Now that you have listened to these fellowships, in your hearts an article of faith is more or less established: God truly exists, and it is a fact that He administers all things. No one may offend His righteous disposition; His holiness is a certainty that no one may question. These are facts. These fellowships allow the status and position of God to have a foundation in the hearts of man. Once this foundation has been established, people must try to understand more.
God Is the Source of Life for All Things (I)
Today I will fellowship about a new topic with you. What is this topic? Its title is: “God Is the Source of Life for All Things.” Does this topic sound slightly too big? Does it feel a little beyond your reach? “God Is the Source of Life for All Things”—this topic may strike people as somewhat remote, but it must be understood by all who follow God, because it is inextricably linked to each person’s knowledge of God and their being able to satisfy and revere Him. That is why I am going to fellowship about this topic. It is quite possible that people have a simple, prior understanding of this topic, or perhaps they are aware of it on some level. This knowledge or awareness may, in some people’s minds, be accompanied by a simple or shallow degree of understanding. Others may have had some special experiences in their hearts that led them to a deep, personal encounter with this topic. But such prior knowledge, whether deep or superficial, is one-sided and not sufficiently specific. So, this is why I have chosen this topic for fellowship: to help you arrive at a deeper and more specific understanding. I will use a special method to fellowship with you about this topic, a method we have not used before, one that you may find a bit unusual, or a bit uncomfortable. You will know what I mean afterward. Do you like stories? (We do.) Well, it seems My choice to tell stories is a good one, since you all like them so much. Now, let us begin. There is no need for you to take notes. I ask that you be calm, and not fidget. You may close your eyes if you feel you may be distracted by your surroundings or the people around you. I have a wonderful story to tell you. This is a story about a seed, the earth, a tree, the sunlight, the birds, and man. Who are its main characters? (A seed, the earth, a tree, the sunlight, the birds, and man.) Is God one of them? (No.) Even so, I’m sure you will feel refreshed and satisfied once you’ve heard this story. Now, please listen quietly.
A small seed fell to the earth. A great rain fell, and the seed grew a tender sprout, while its roots delved slowly into the soil below. The sprout grew tall in time, enduring cruel winds and harsh rains, witnessing the changing of the seasons as the moon waxed and waned. In the summer, the earth brought forth gifts of water so that the sprout might endure the season’s scorching heat. And because of the earth, the sprout was not overwhelmed by heat, and thus the worst of the summer heat passed. When winter came, the earth enveloped the sprout in its warm embrace, and earth and sprout held one another tightly. The earth warmed the sprout, and thus it survived the season’s bitter cold, unharmed by wintry gales and snowstorms. Sheltered by the earth, the sprout grew brave and happy; nurtured selflessly by the earth, it grew healthy and strong. Happily it grew, singing in the rain, dancing and swaying in the wind. The sprout and the earth depend on one another …
Years passed, and the sprout grew into a towering tree. It stood strong upon the earth, with stout branches tipped with countless leaves. The tree’s roots still dug into the earth as they had before, and they now plunged deep into the soil below. The earth, which had once protected the tiny sprout, was now the foundation for a mighty tree.
A ray of sunlight shone down on the tree. The tree swayed its body and stretched its arms out wide and breathed deeply of the sunlit air. The ground below breathed in time with the tree, and the earth felt renewed. Just then, a fresh breeze blew forth from among the branches, and the tree trembled in delight, rippling with energy. The tree and the sunlight depend on one another …
People sat in the cool shade of the tree and basked in the brisk, fragrant air. The air cleansed their hearts and lungs, and it cleansed the blood within them, and their bodies were no longer torpid or constrained. People and the tree depend on one another …
A flock of little chirping birds alighted on the branches of the tree. Perhaps they landed there to evade a predator, or to breed and raise their young, or perhaps they were just resting for a while. Birds and the tree depend on one another …
The roots of the tree, twisted and tangled, dug deep into the earth. With its trunk, it sheltered the earth from the wind and rain, and it stretched out its limbs to protect the earth beneath its feet. The tree did so because the earth was its mother. They strengthen each other and rely on each other, and they shall never part …
And so, this story ends. The story I told was about a seed, the earth, a tree, the sunlight, the birds, and man. It had only a few scenes. What feelings did it leave you with? When I speak in this way, do you understand what I am saying? (We understand.) Please, talk about your feelings. What did you feel after hearing this story? I shall first tell you that all the characters in the story can be seen and touched; they are real things, not metaphors. I want you to consider what I said. There was nothing esoteric within My story, and its main points could be expressed in a few sentences from the story. (The story we heard paints a beautiful picture: A seed comes to life and as it grows, it experiences the four seasons of the year: spring, summer, fall, and winter. The earth nurtures the sprouting seed as a mother would. It warms the sprout in winter so that it may survive the cold. After the sprout has grown into a tree, a ray of sunshine touches its branches, bringing it much joy. I see that among the multitude of God’s creation, the earth too is alive, and that it and the tree depend on each other. I also see the great warmth that sunlight bestows on the tree, and I see birds, common creatures though they are, coming together with the tree and with human beings in a picture of perfect harmony. These are the feelings I had in my heart as I heard this story; I realize that all these things are indeed alive.) Well said! Does anyone have something else to add? (In this story of a seed sprouting and growing into a towering tree, I see the wonder of God’s creation. I see that God made all things reinforce and depend on one another, and that all things are connected and serve one another. I see God’s wisdom, His wonder, and I see that He is the source of life for all things.)
Everything I just spoke of is a thing you have seen before. Seeds, for instance—they grow into trees, and though you may not be able to see every detail of the process, you know that it happens, do you not? You know, too, about the earth and the sunlight. The image of birds perched on a tree is something everyone has seen, yes? And the image of people cooling themselves in the shade of a tree—this is something you have all seen, yes? (Yes.) So, when all of these things are in a single image, what feeling does that image produce? (A feeling of harmony.) Does each of the things in such an image come from God? (Yes.) Since they come from God, God knows the value and significance of the earthly existence of all these different things. When God created all things, when He planned and created each thing, He did so with intent; and when He created those things, each was imbued with life. The environment He created for the existence of mankind, as just described in our story, is one where seeds and the earth depend on each other, where the earth can nourish seeds and seeds are bound to the earth. This relationship was ordained by God at the very beginning of His creation. A scene of a tree, sunlight, birds, and humans is a depiction of the living environment God created for mankind. First, the tree cannot leave the earth, nor can it be without sunlight. So, what was God’s purpose in creating the tree? Can we say that it is only meant for the earth? Can we say that it is only meant for the birds? Can we say that it is only meant for people? (No.) What is the relationship between them? The relationship between them is one of mutual strengthening, interdependence and inseparability. That is to say, the earth, the tree, the sunlight, the birds and people rely on one another for existence and nurture one another. The tree protects the earth, and the earth nurtures the tree; the sunlight provides for the tree, while the tree gains fresh air from the sunlight and lessens the scorching heat of the sun upon the earth. Who benefits from this in the end? It is mankind, is it not? This is one of the principles that underlies the environment in which mankind lives, which God created; it is how God intended it to be from the first. Even though this image is a simple one, we can see within it God’s wisdom and His intention. Mankind cannot live without the earth, or without trees, much less without the birds and the sunlight. Is this not so? Though this is just a story, what it portrays is a microcosm of God’s creation of the heavens and earth and all things and His gift of an environment in which mankind may live.
It was for mankind that God created the heavens and earth and all things, as well as an environment to inhabit. First, the main point our story addressed is the mutual strengthening, the interdependence, and the coexistence of all things. Under this principle, the environment of mankind’s existence is protected; it can exist and be sustained. Because of this, mankind can thrive and reproduce. The image we saw was one of a tree, the earth, sunlight, birds, and people together. Was God in this image? One did not see Him there, right? But one did see the rule of mutual strengthening and interdependence between the things in the scene; in this rule, one can see the existence and sovereignty of God. God uses such a principle and such a rule to preserve the life and existence of all things. In this way, He provides for all things and for mankind. Is this story connected to our main theme? On the surface, it seems not to be, but in reality, the rule with which God created all things and His mastery over all things are intimately related to His being the source of life for all things. These facts are inseparable. Now you are beginning to learn something!
God commands the rules that govern the operation of all things; He commands the rules that govern the survival of all things; He controls all things, and sets them to both reinforce and depend on each other, so that they do not perish or disappear. Only thus can mankind live on; only thus can they live under God’s guidance in such an environment. God is the master of these rules of operation, and no one can interfere with them, nor can they change them. Only God Himself knows these rules and only God Himself manages them. When the trees will sprout; when it will rain; how much water and how many nutrients the earth will give to the plants; in what season the leaves will fall; in what season the trees will bear fruit; how many nutrients the sunlight will give to the trees; what the trees will exhale after having been fed by the sunlight—all these things were preordained by God when He created all things, as rules that no one can break. The things that God created, whether living or, in the eyes of man, non-living, sit in His hand, where He controls them and reigns over them. No one can change or break these rules. This is to say, when God created all things, He predetermined that without the earth, the tree could not set down roots, sprout, and grow; that if the earth had no trees, then it would dry out; that the tree should become the home of the birds and a place where they may shelter from the wind. Can a tree live without sunlight? (No.) Nor could it live with only the earth. All of these things are for mankind, for mankind’s survival. From the tree, man receives fresh air, and man lives upon the earth, which is protected by the tree. Man cannot live without sunlight or various living beings. Though these relationships are complex, you must remember that God created the rules that govern all things so that they may strengthen each other, depend on each other, and exist together. In other words, every single thing He created has value and significance. If God created something without significance, God would have it disappear. This is one of the methods God uses to provide for all things. What do the words “provide for” refer to in this story? Does God water the tree every day? Does the tree need God’s help to breathe? (No.) “Provide for” refers here to God’s management of all things after their creation; it is enough for God to manage them after establishing the rules that govern them. Once a seed is planted in the earth, the tree grows by itself. The conditions for its growth were all created by God. God made the sunlight, the water, the soil, the air, and the surrounding environment; God made the wind, frost, snow, and rain and the four seasons. These are the conditions that the tree needs in order to grow, and these are things that God prepared. So, is God the source of this living environment? (Yes.) Does God have to count each leaf on the trees every day? No! Nor does God need to help the tree breathe or to wake up the sunlight every day, saying, “It is time to shine on the trees now.” He does not have to do that. The sunlight shines on its own when it is time for it to shine, in accordance with the rules; it appears and shines on the tree and the tree absorbs the sunlight when it needs to, and when it does not, the tree still lives within the rules. You may not be able to explain this phenomenon clearly, but it is nonetheless a fact, which everyone can see and acknowledge. All you need to do is recognize that the rules that govern the existence of all things come from God, and know that God is sovereign over the growth and survival of all things.
Now, does this story contain what people refer to as a “metaphor”? Is it a personification? (No.) I have told a true story. Every sort of living thing, everything that has life, is ruled over by God; each living thing was imbued with life by God when it was created; the life of every living thing comes from God and follows the course and laws that direct it. This does not require man to alter it, nor does it require man’s help; it is one of the ways in which God provides for all things. You understand, do you not? Do you think it is necessary for people to recognize this? (Yes.) So, does this story have anything to do with biology? Is it related in some way to a field of knowledge or a branch of learning? We are not discussing biology, and we certainly are not conducting biological research. What is the main idea of our talk? (God is the source of life for all things.) What have you seen within creation? Have you seen trees? Have you seen the earth? (Yes.) You have seen the sunlight, have you not? Have you seen birds perched in the trees? (We have.) Is mankind happy to live in such an environment? (Yes.) That is to say, God uses all things—the things He created—to maintain and protect mankind’s home, their life environment. In this way, God provides for mankind and for all things.
How do you like the style of this talk, the way I am fellowshiping? (It is easy to understand, and there are many real-life examples.) These are not empty words I speak, are they? Do people need this story to understand that God is the source of life for all things? (Yes.) In that case, let us move on to our next story. The next story is a bit different in content, and the focus is a bit different as well. Everything that appears in this story is something people can see with their eyes in God’s creation. Now, I will begin My next narration. Please listen quietly and see if you can figure out My meaning. After the story, I will ask you some questions to see how much you have learned. The characters in this story are a great mountain, a little stream, a fierce wind, and a gigantic wave.
There was a little stream that meandered to and fro, finally arriving at the foot of a great mountain. The mountain blocked the tiny stream’s path, so the stream said to the mountain in its weak, little voice, “Please let me pass. You are standing in my way and blocking my path forward.” “Where are you going?” the mountain asked. “I am looking for my home,” the stream responded. “Alright, go ahead and flow right over me!” But the tiny stream was too weak and too young, so it had no way to flow over such a great mountain. It could only continue to flow there against the foot of the mountain …
A fierce wind swept by, carrying sand and detritus to where the mountain stood. The wind bellowed at the mountain, “Let me pass!” “Where are you going?” the mountain asked. “I want to go over to the other side of the mountain,” howled the wind in response. “Alright, if you can break through my waist, then you can go!” The fierce wind howled this way and that, but no matter how furiously it blew, it could not break through the mountain’s waist. The wind grew tired and stopped to rest—and on the other side of the mountain, a breeze began to blow, pleasing the people there. This was the mountain’s greeting to the people …
At the seashore, the ocean spray rolled gently against the rocky shore. Suddenly, a gigantic wave arose and roared its way toward the mountain. “Move over!” shouted the gigantic wave. “Where are you going?” the mountain asked. Unable to stop its advance, the wave bellowed, “I am expanding my territory! I want to stretch out my arms!” “Alright, if you can pass over my peak, I will let you through.” The great wave retreated some distance, then once again surged toward the mountain. But no matter how hard it tried, it could not get over the mountain’s peak. The wave could only roll slowly back out to sea …
For thousands of years, the little stream trickled gently around the foot of the mountain. Following the mountain’s directions, the little stream made its way back home, where it joined a river, which in turn joined the sea. Under the mountain’s care, the little stream never lost its way. The stream and the mountain reinforced each other and depended on each other; they strengthened each other, counteracted each other, and existed together.
For thousands of years, the fierce wind howled, as was its habit. It still came often to “visit” the mountain, with great swirls of sand spun into its gusts. It threatened the mountain, but never broke through its waist. The wind and the mountain reinforced each other and depended on each other; they strengthened each other, counteracted each other, and existed together.
For thousands of years, the gigantic wave never stopped to rest, and it marched relentlessly forward, continuously expanding its territory. It roared and surged time and again toward the mountain, yet the mountain never moved an inch. The mountain watched over the sea, and in this way, the creatures in the sea multiplied and thrived. The wave and the mountain reinforced each other and depended on each other; they strengthened each other, counteracted each other, and existed together.
So our story ends. First, tell Me, what was this story about? To begin, there were a great mountain, a little stream, a fierce wind, and a gigantic wave. What happened in the first passage, with the little stream and the great mountain? Why have I chosen to talk about a stream and a mountain? (Under the mountain’s care, the stream never lost its way. They relied on each other.) Would you say the mountain protected or obstructed the little stream? (It protected it.) But did it not obstruct it? It and the stream watched out for each other; the mountain protected the stream and obstructed it, too. The mountain protected the stream as it joined the river, but obstructed it to keep it from flowing where it would, causing floods and bringing disaster to the people. Is this not what the passage was about? By protecting the stream and by blocking it, the mountain safeguarded the homes of the people. The little stream then joined the river at the foot of the mountain and flowed on into the sea. Is this not the rule that governs the stream’s existence? What enabled the stream to join the river and the sea? Was it not the mountain? The stream relied on the mountain’s protection and its obstruction. So, is this not the main point? Do you see in this the importance of mountains to water? Did God have His purpose in making every mountain, great and small? (Yes.) This short passage, with nothing but a little stream and a great mountain, lets us see the value and significance of God’s creation of those two things; it shows us, too, the wisdom and purpose in His rule over them. Is that not so?
What was the story’s second passage about? (A fierce wind and the great mountain.) Is wind a good thing? (Yes.) Not necessarily—sometimes the wind is too strong and causes disaster. How would you feel if you were made to stand in the fierce wind? It depends on its strength, no? If it were a level three or four wind, it would be tolerable. At most, a person might have trouble keeping their eyes open. But if the wind fiercened and became a hurricane, would you be able to withstand it? You would not. So, it is wrong for people to say that the wind is always good, or that it is always bad, because this depends on its strength. Now, what is the mountain’s function here? Is its function not to filter the wind? What does the mountain reduce the fierce wind to? (A breeze.) Now, in the environment that humans inhabit, do most people experience gales or breezes? (Breezes.) Was this not one of God’s purposes, one of His intentions in creating mountains? How would it be if people lived in an environment where sand flew wildly in the wind, unimpeded and unfiltered? Might it be that a land beset by flying sand and stone would be uninhabitable? The stones might strike people, and the sand might blind them. The wind might sweep people off their feet or carry them into the air. Houses might be destroyed, and all manner of disasters would happen. Yet is there value in the existence of fierce wind? I said it was bad, so one might feel it has no value, but is that so? Does it not have value once it has turned into a breeze? What do people need most when the weather is humid or stifling? They need a light breeze, to blow on them gently, to refresh them and clear their heads, to sharpen their thinking, to repair and improve their state of mind. Now, for example, you all sit in a room with many people and stuffy air—what do you need most? (A light breeze.) Going to a place where the air is turbid and filthy can slow one’s thinking, reduce one’s circulation, and diminish one’s clarity of mind. However, a bit of movement and circulation freshen the air, and people feel differently in fresh air. Though the little stream could cause disaster, though the fierce wind could cause disaster, as long as the mountain is there, it will turn that danger into a force that benefits people. Is that not so?
What was the story’s third passage about? (The great mountain and the gigantic wave.) The great mountain and the gigantic wave. This passage is set at the seashore at the foot of the mountain. We see the mountain, the ocean spray, and a huge wave. What is the mountain to the wave in this instance? (A protector and a barrier.) It is both a protector and a barrier. As a protector, it keeps the sea from disappearing, so that the creatures that live in it may multiply and thrive. As a barrier, the mountain keeps the sea’s waters from overflowing and causing disaster, from causing harm and destroying people’s homes. So, we can say that the mountain is both a protector and a barrier.
This is the significance of the interconnection between the great mountain and the little stream, the great mountain and the fierce wind, and the great mountain and the gigantic wave; this is the significance of their strengthening and counteracting each other, and of their coexistence. These things, which God created, are governed in their existence by a rule and a law. So, what deeds of God did you see in this story? Has God been ignoring all things since He created them? Did He create rules and design the ways that all things function, only to ignore them after that? Is that what happened? (No.) Then what did happen? God is still in control. He controls the water, the wind, and the waves. He does not let them run rampant, nor does He let them cause harm or destroy the homes people live in. Because of this, people can live on and multiply and thrive on the land. This means that when He created all things, God had already planned their rules for existence. When God made each thing, He ensured it would benefit mankind, and He took control over it, so that it might not trouble mankind or cause him disaster. Were it not for God’s management, would the waters not flow without restraint? Would the wind not blow without restraint? Do the water and the wind follow rules? If God did not manage them, no rules would govern them, and the wind would howl and the waters would be unrestrained and cause floods. If the wave had been higher than the mountain, would the sea be able to exist? It would not. If the mountain were not as high as the wave, the sea would not exist, and the mountain would lose its value and significance.
Do you see God’s wisdom within these two stories? God created everything that exists, and He is sovereign of everything that exists; He manages all of it and He makes provision for all of it, and within all things, He sees and scrutinizes every word and action of everything that exists. So, too, does God see and scrutinize every corner of human life. Thus, God knows intimately each detail of everything that exists within His creation, from each thing’s function, its nature, and its rules for survival to the significance of its life and the value of its existence, all of this is known to God in its entirety. God created all things—do you think He needs to study the rules that govern them? Does God need to study human knowledge or science to learn about and understand them? (No.) Is there one among mankind with the learning and erudition to understand all things as God does? There is not, right? Are there any astronomers or biologists who truly understand the rules by which all things live and grow? Can they truly understand the value of the existence of each thing? (No, they cannot.) This is because all things were created by God, and no matter how much or how deeply mankind studies this knowledge, or how long they endeavor to learn it, they will never be able to fathom the mystery or the purpose of God’s creation of all things. Is that not the case? Now, from our discussion thus far, do you feel that you have gained a partial understanding of the true meaning of the phrase: “God Is the Source of Life for All Things”? (Yes.) I knew that when I discussed this topic—God Is the Source of Life for All Things—many people would immediately think of another phrase: “God is truth, and God uses His word to provide for us,” and nothing beyond that level of the topic’s meaning. Some might even feel that God’s provision of human life, of daily food and drink and every daily necessity does not count as His providing for man. Are there not some who feel this way? Yet, is not God’s intent in His creation obvious—to allow mankind to exist and live normally? God maintains the environment in which people live and He provides all of the things needed by mankind for their survival. Furthermore, He manages and holds sovereignty over all things. All of this allows mankind to live and thrive and multiply normally; it is in this way that God provides for all of creation and for mankind. Is it not true that people need to recognize and understand these things? Perhaps some may say, “This topic is too far from our knowledge of the true God Himself, and we do not want to know this because we do not live by bread alone, but instead live by the word of God.” Is this understanding correct? (No.) Why is it incorrect? Can you have a complete understanding of God if you only have knowledge of the things God has said? If you only accept God’s work and accept God’s judgment and chastisement, can you have a complete understanding of God? If you only know a small part of God’s disposition, a small part of God’s authority, would you consider that enough to achieve an understanding of God? (No.) God’s actions began with His creation of all things, and they continue today—God’s actions are apparent at all times, from moment to moment. If one believes God exists only because He has chosen a group of people to perform His work upon and to save, and that nothing else has anything to do with God, neither His authority, His status, nor His actions, then can one be considered to have a true knowledge of God? People who have this so-called “knowledge of God” have only a one-sided understanding, according to which they confine His deeds to one group of people. Is this a true knowledge of God? Are people with this kind of knowledge not denying God’s creation of all things and His sovereignty over them? Some people do not wish to engage with this point, instead thinking to themselves: “I haven’t seen God’s sovereignty over all things. The idea is so removed, and I don’t care to understand it. God does what He wants, and it has nothing to do with me. I only accept God’s leadership and His word so that I can be saved and made perfect by God. Nothing else matters to me. The rules God made when He created all things and what He does to provide for all things and for mankind have nothing to do with me.” What kind of talk is this? Is this not an act of rebellion? Are there any among you with an understanding like this? I know, even without your saying so, that a great many of you here do. By-the-book people like this look at everything from their own “spiritual” point of view. They want only to limit God to the Bible, limit God by the words He has spoken, to the sense derived from the literal written word. They do not wish to know God more and they do not want God to split His attention by doing other things. This type of thinking is childish, and it is also excessively religious. Can people who hold these views know God? It would be very difficult for them to know God. Today I have told two stories, each addressing a different aspect. You might feel, having just come into contact with them, that they are profound or a bit abstract, difficult to comprehend and understand. It might be difficult to connect them with God’s actions and God Himself. However, all of God’s actions and all He has done within creation and among mankind should be known, clearly and accurately, by every person, by everyone who seeks to know God. This knowledge will give you surety in your belief in the true existence of God. It will also give you accurate knowledge of God’s wisdom, His power, and the manner by which He provides for all things. It will allow you to clearly conceive God’s true existence and see that His existence is not fictional, not a myth, not vague, not a theory, and certainly not a sort of spiritual consolation, but a real existence. Furthermore, it will allow people to know that God has always provided for all creation and for mankind; God does this in His own way and in accordance with His own rhythm. So, it is because God created all things and gave them rules that they are each able, under His preordination, to perform their allotted tasks, fulfill their responsibilities, and perform their own roles; under His preordination, each thing has its own use in service of mankind and the space and environment mankind inhabits. If God had not done so and mankind had no such environment to inhabit, then believing in God or following Him would be impossible for mankind; it would all amount to nothing more than empty talk. Is that not so?
Let us look again at the story of the great mountain and the little stream. What is the function of the mountain? Living things flourish on the mountain, so its existence has inherent value, and it also obstructs the little stream, preventing it from flowing as it will and bringing disaster to the people. Is that not the case? The mountain exists in its own way of being, allowing the myriad living things upon it to flourish—the trees and grasses and all the other plants and animals on the mountain. It also directs the course of the little stream’s flow—the mountain gathers up the waters of the stream and guides them naturally around its foot where they may flow into the river and eventually the sea. These rules did not occur naturally, but were put in place especially by God at the time of creation. As for the great mountain and the fierce wind, the mountain, too, needs the wind. The mountain needs the wind to caress the living things that live upon it, while at the same time restricting the fierce wind’s force so that it does not blow wantonly. This rule embodies, in a certain respect, the duty of the great mountain; so, did this rule regarding the mountain’s duty take form on its own? (No.) It was made by God. The great mountain has its duty and the fierce wind has its duty as well. Now, let us turn to the great mountain and the huge wave. Without the mountain’s existence, would the water find a direction of flow on its own? (No.) The water would flood. The mountain has its own existential value as a mountain, and the sea has its own existential value as a sea; however, under circumstances in which they are able to exist together normally and do not interfere with one another, they also confine one another—the great mountain confines the sea so that it does not flood, thereby protecting the people’s homes, and confining the sea also allows it to nurture the living things that dwell within it. Did this landscape take form on its own? (No.) It too was created by God. We see from this image that when God created all things, He predetermined where the mountain would stand, where the stream would flow, from which direction the fierce wind would begin to blow and where it would go, and how high the huge waves should be. All of these things contain God’s intentions and purpose—they are God’s deeds. Now, can you see that God’s deeds are present in all things? (Yes.)
What is our purpose in discussing these things? Is it to make people study the rules by which God created all things? Is it to encourage interest in astronomy and geography? (No.) Then what is it? It is to make people understand the deeds of God. In God’s actions, people can affirm and verify that God is the source of life for all things. If you can understand this, then you will be truly able to confirm God’s place in your heart, and you will be able to confirm that God is God Himself, the unique, the Creator of the heavens and earth and all things. So, is it useful to your understanding of God to know the rules of all things and to know God’s deeds? (Yes.) How useful is it? First of all, when you have understood the deeds of God, can you still be interested in astronomy and geography? Can you still have the heart of a skeptic and doubt that God is the Creator of all things? Can you still have the heart of a researcher and doubt that God is the Creator of all things? (No.) When you have confirmed that God is the Creator of all things and understood some of the rules of God’s creation, will you truly believe in your heart that God provides for all things? (Yes.) Does “provision” here have a particular significance, or does its use refer to a specific circumstance? “God provides for all things” is a phrase with very broad significance and scope. God does not merely provide people with their daily food and drink; He provides mankind with everything they need, including everything that people can see, but also things that cannot be seen. God upholds, manages, and reigns over this living environment, which is essential to mankind. That is to say, whatever environment mankind needs for each season, God has prepared it. God also manages the type of air and the temperature so that they may be suitable for human survival. The rules that govern these things do not occur by themselves or at random; they are the result of God’s sovereignty and His deeds. God Himself is the source of all of these rules and the source of life for all things. Regardless of whether or not you believe it, whether or not you can see it, or whether or not you can understand it, this remains an established and unassailable fact.
I know that the vast majority of people only have faith in the words and work of God that are included in the Bible. For a minority of people, God has revealed His deeds and allowed people to see the value of His existence. He has also let them have some understanding of His status and confirmed the fact of His existence. However, for many more people, the fact that God created all things and that He manages and provides for all things seems vague or unspecific; such people may even maintain an attitude of doubt. This attitude causes them to consistently believe that the laws of the natural world formed spontaneously, that nature’s changes, transitions, phenomena, and the very laws that govern it arose out of nature itself. People cannot conceive in their hearts of how God created all things and reigns over them; they cannot understand how God manages and provides for all things. Under the limits of this premise, people cannot believe that God created, reigns over, and provides for all things; even those who believe are limited in their belief to the Age of Law, the Age of Grace and the Age of Kingdom: They believe that God’s deeds and His provisions for mankind are exclusively for His chosen people. This is something I am most loath to see, and something that causes so much pain, because even as mankind enjoys all that God brings, they deny all He does and all He gives them. People only believe that the heavens and earth and all things are governed by their own, natural rules and their own, natural laws for survival, and that they are without any ruler to manage them or sovereign to provide for them and keep them. Even if you believe in God, you might not believe that all these are His deeds; indeed, this is one of the things most often neglected by every believer in God, everyone who accepts God’s word, and everyone who follows God. So, as soon as I begin discussing something that is unrelated to the Bible or so-called spiritual terminology, some people become bored or weary or even uncomfortable. They feel that My words seem disconnected from spiritual people and spiritual things. That is a terrible thing. When it comes to knowing the deeds of God, though we do not mention astronomy, nor do we research geography or biology, yet we must understand God’s sovereignty over all things, we must know of His provision for all things, and that He is the source of all things. This is a necessary lesson and one that must be studied. I believe you have understood My words!
The two stories I just told, though slightly unusual in content and manner of expression, told, as they were, in a somewhat special way, were My attempt to use straightforward language and a simple approach to help you gain and accept something more profound. This was My only goal. In these little stories and the pictures they paint, I wanted you to see and believe that God is sovereign over all creation. The goal of telling these stories is to allow you to see and know the infinite deeds of God within the finite confines of a story. As to when you will fully realize and achieve this result in yourselves—that depends on your own experiences and your own pursuit. If you are someone who pursues the truth and seeks to know God, then these things will serve as an ever more forceful reminder; they will grant you a deep awareness, a clarity in your understanding, which will gradually draw close to God’s actual deeds, with a closeness that will be without distance and without error. However, if you are not someone who seeks to know God, then these stories cannot do you any harm. Just consider them true stories.
Have you gained any understanding from these two stories? Firstly, are these two stories set apart from our previous discussion of God’s concern for mankind? Is there an inherent connection? Is it true that within these two stories we see the deeds of God and the thorough consideration He gives to everything He plans for mankind? Is it true that everything God does and everything He thinks are for the sake of mankind’s existence? (Yes.) Is God’s careful thought and consideration for mankind not very evident? Mankind does not have to do anything. God has prepared for people the air—all they need to do is breathe it. The vegetables and fruits they eat are readily available. From north to south, from east to west, each region has its own natural resources. Different regional crops and fruits and vegetables have all been prepared by God. In the greater environment, God made all things mutually reinforcing, interdependent, mutually strengthening, mutually counteracting, and coexistent. This is His method and His rule to maintain the survival and existence of all things; in this way, mankind has been able to grow safely and serenely within this living environment, to multiply from one generation to the next, even unto the present day. This is to say, God brings balance to the natural environment. If God were not sovereign and in control, then the environment, even had it still been created by God, would be beyond anyone’s ability to maintain and keep in balance. In some places there is no air, and mankind cannot survive in such places. God will not allow you to go to them. So, do not go beyond the proper limits. This is for mankind’s protection—there are mysteries within. Each aspect of the environment, the length and breadth of the earth, every creature on the earth—both living and dead—were conceived and prepared by God in advance. Why is this thing needed? Why is that thing unnecessary? What is the purpose of having this thing here and why should that thing go there? God already thought through all of these questions, and there is no need for people to think about them. There are some foolish people who think always of moving mountains, but instead of doing that, why not move to the plains? If you do not like mountains, why do you live near them? Is that not foolish? What would happen if you moved that mountain? Hurricanes and huge waves would come and people’s homes would be destroyed. Would this not be folly? People are capable only of destruction. They cannot even maintain the only place they have to live, and yet they want to provide for all things. This is impossible.
God allows mankind to manage all things and have lordship over them, but does man do a good job? Man destroys whatever he can. He is not simply unable to keep everything God made for him in its original condition—he has done the opposite and destroyed God’s creation. Mankind has moved the mountains, reclaimed land from the seas, and turned the plains into deserts where no man can live. Yet it is in the desert that man has made industry and built nuclear bases, sowing destruction everywhere. Now rivers are no longer rivers, the sea no longer the sea…. Once mankind has broken the balance of the natural environment and its rules, his day of disaster and death is not far away; it is inevitable. When disaster comes, mankind will know the preciousness of everything God made for him and how important it is to mankind. For man, living in an environment whose winds and rains come in their time is like living in paradise. People do not realize that this is a blessing, but the moment they lose it all, they will see how rare and precious it is. And once it is gone, how would one get it back? What could people do if God were unwilling to create it again? Is there anything you could do? (No, there is nothing.) Actually, there is something you can do. It is very simple—when I tell you what it is, you will know immediately that it is feasible. How is it that man has found himself in his current state of existence? Is it because of his greed and destruction? If man ends this destruction, will his living environment not gradually right itself? If God does nothing, if God no longer wishes to do anything for mankind—that is to say, if He does not intervene in this matter—then mankind’s best solution would be to halt all the destruction and allow their living environment to return to its natural state. Putting an end to all this destruction means putting an end to the plunder and devastation of the things God has created. Doing so would allow the environment in which man lives to recover gradually, while failure to do so would result in an ever more odious environment for life whose destruction would quicken with time. Is My solution simple? It is simple and feasible, is it not? Simple indeed, and feasible for some people—but is it feasible for the vast majority of people on earth? (It is not.) For you, at the very least, is it feasible? (Yes.) What is it that causes you to say “yes”? Could it be said that it comes from a foundation of understanding God’s deeds? Could it be said that its condition is obedience to God’s sovereignty and plan? (Yes.) There is a way to change things, but that is not the topic we are discussing now. God is responsible for every single human life and He is responsible to the very end. God provides for you, and even if, in this environment destroyed by Satan, you have been sickened or polluted or violated, it does not matter—God will provide for you, and God will let you live on. Do you have faith in this? (Yes.) God does not lightly allow a human being to die.
Have you now come to feel something of the importance of recognizing God as the source of life for all things? (Yes, we have.) What feelings do you have? Tell Me. (In the past, we never thought to connect the mountains, seas, and lakes with the actions of God. It was not until hearing God’s fellowship today that we understood these things have God’s deeds and wisdom within them; we see that even when God began creating all things, He had already imbued each thing with a destiny and His good will. All things are mutually reinforcing and interdependent and mankind is the ultimate beneficiary. What we heard today feels very fresh and novel—we have felt how real God’s actions are. In the real world, in our daily lives, and in our encounters with all things, we see that this is so.) You have truly seen, have you not? God does not provide for mankind without a sound foundation; His provision is not just a few short words. God has done so much, and even the things you do not see are all for your benefit. Man lives in this environment, within all things that God created for him, where people and all things depend on each other. For example, plants exhale gases that purify the air, and people breathe the purified air and benefit from it; yet some plants are poisonous to people, while other plants counteract the poisonous plants. This is a wonder of God’s creation! But let us leave this topic for now; today, our discussion was mainly of the coexistence of man and the rest of creation, without which man cannot live. What is the importance of God’s creation of all things? Man cannot live without the rest, just as man needs air to live—if you were placed in a vacuum, you would soon die. This is a very simple principle that shows man cannot exist separately from the rest of creation. So, what attitude should man have toward all things? One that treasures them, protects them, makes efficient use of them, does not destroy them, does not waste them, and does not change them on a whim, for all things are from God, all things are His provision to mankind, and mankind must treat them conscientiously. Today we have discussed these two topics. Ponder them carefully and contemplate them well. Next time, we will discuss some things in more detail. This concludes today’s gathering. Goodbye! (Goodbye!)
January 18, 2014