Question 29: For the last two thousand years man’s belief in the Lord has been based on the Bible, and the coming of the Lord Jesus did not negate the Old Testament Bible. After Almighty God has done His work of judgment in the last days, everyone who accepts Almighty God will focus on reading His words and will seldom read the Bible. What I would like to seek is, after accepting the work of Almighty God in the last days, what exactly is the correct approach one should have to the Bible, and how should one make use of it? What should a person’s belief in God be based on in order to walk the path of faith and attain God’s salvation?
The Bible is a genuine record of the first two stages of God’s work. In other words, it is the testimony of the first two stages of God’s work, which conclude the guidance and redemption of mankind after the creation of the heavens and earth and all things, as well as of mankind. From reading the Bible, everyone can see how God led humans in the Age of Law and taught them to live before Him and worship Him. We can also see how God redeemed mankind in the Age of Grace and forgave them for all their past sins while bestowing upon them peace, joy, and all manner of grace. Not only can people see that God created mankind and has constantly guided them, but also that He then redeemed them. Meanwhile, God has also provided for and protected mankind. Moreover, we can read from the biblical prophecies that in the last days, God’s words will burn like fire to judge and cleanse His people. They will save mankind from all sins and help us to escape from Satan’s dark influence so that we may completely return to God and ultimately inherit His blessings and promise. This is what God meant when He said, “they are they which testify of Me.” Therefore, anyone who has conscientiously read the Bible can see some of God’s actions and recognize His existence and the almightiness and wisdom with which He created, dominates, and rules over everything in heaven and on earth. Thus, the Bible is deeply meaningful to people in believing in God, knowing God, and walking the proper path of faith. Anyone who sincerely believes in God and loves the truth can find a goal and direction in life by reading the Bible, and learn to believe in Him, rely on Him, obey Him, and worship Him. These are all the effects of the Bible’s testimony of God; this is an undeniable fact.
The value of the Bible lies entirely in its record of the first two stages of God’s work. If people can read God’s utterances and work in it, and can have faith and knowledge of the almightiness and wisdom with which He created and rules over everything, this will have profound significance for people in knowing, following, and worshiping God. For this reason, the Bible is simply a testimony of God’s work, and can help believers build a foundation. Of course, it also is a necessary book for everyone who believes in God. The Bible can help people understand the first two stages of God’s work to save mankind, and is extremely beneficial to their understanding of the truth and their entry into life. However, it cannot take the place of God’s work in the last days, let alone His present-day utterances; it can only help us to comprehend the first two stages of God’s work and know His disposition, almightiness, and wisdom. This is the only way of viewing the Bible which is after God’s heart, and we should believe this is also the common intention of each of the Bible’s authors and compilers.
from “All Who Fail to Know Christ as the Truth, the Way and the Life Will Never Enter the Kingdom of Heaven” in Sermons and Fellowship From the Man Used by God (Selections)
The Bible is merely a record of God’s work, and a testimony to God; although it is very useful for the edification of mankind, it is nonetheless unable to replace the work of the Holy Spirit under any circumstances. For those of us with faith in God, obtaining salvation must be based on the work of the Holy Spirit. If we were to merely follow the Bible without the work of the Holy Spirit, we would be going down our own path. The failure of the Pharisees believing in God but resisting Him serves as a good illustration that it is wrong to only base one’s faith on the Bible and not on the work of the Holy Spirit. Many people have researched the Bible over the years, but they have lacked the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and in the end they have been unable to achieve understanding of the truth or knowledge of God. Therefore, we who have faith in God must approach and use the Bible appropriately. We must never put blind faith in nor worship the Bible. We can see God’s word in the Bible as well as how God does His work to save man, but our understanding of it will always be too limited, particularly regarding the word of God. Without the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, we can memorize God’s word to the letter, but we still won’t understand the truth. This has been affirmed by countless saints throughout history who have experienced God’s work. There are quite a number of religious people who have blind faith in and worship the Bible, but in their hearts they do not revere God, and they delimit God within their own notions and imaginings. When the incarnate Almighty God of the last days performs His work of judgment and expresses the truths that will cleanse and save man, these people do not recognize God’s voice. Instead, they condemn and resist God, carelessly judging and blaspheming God. When they see that members of The Church of Almighty God eat and drink of Almighty God’s word in their gatherings and consulting the Bible has become something for their free time, they condemn and judge even more. Do they really understand the truth or know God? Absolutely not! They are Bible worshipers who resist God, just like the Pharisees. When the Pharisees saw that the followers of the Lord Jesus fellowshiped only on the work and words of the Lord Jesus in their gatherings, the Pharisees judged them, saying that they didn’t read the Scriptures, but only the words of the Lord Jesus. This is similar to what modern-day pastors and elders say; they all condemn God’s work without knowing what it means to follow God or what it means to experience God’s work. And all they can do is explain the Bible, hold religious ceremonies, and observe religious regulations. If, during the Age of Grace, believers in the Lord had only read the Old Testament when they gathered, would they have been able to gain the approval of the Lord Jesus? Now the Lord Jesus has returned, expressed the truth, and does the work of judgment of the last days. Can we cast aside God’s words and work of the last days while clinging to the rituals and rules of the Bible? What does it really mean to believe in God? If a believer does not eat, drink, and experience the current word of God, is this really faith in God? Many religious people lack even the most basic knowledge and truths about belief in God. They feel that all the Bible is the word of God and that generation after generation must forever follow the Bible, and that holding fast to the Bible is equivalent to faith in God. Is that in line with the truth of faith in God? God’s work is always moving forward and developing, and even in the Age of Millennial Kingdom, God will still use His word to lead all of mankind. God does not follow regulations—God is always new and never old, and His words and work move ever forward, never stopping, yet many fail to understand this point. Aren’t they absurd? There are many who, after accepting the work of God in the last days, are still unclear on how to deal with the Bible in accordance with God’s will. The truth on this issue is clearly expressed by Almighty God, so let us read a few passages of His word.
Almighty God says, “Today, I am dissecting the Bible in this way and it does not mean that I hate it, or deny its value for reference. I am explaining and clarifying the inherent value and origins of the Bible to you to stop you being kept in the dark. For people have so many views about the Bible, and most of them are wrong; reading the Bible in this way not only prevents them from gaining what they ought to, but, more important, it hinders the work I intend to do. It is a tremendous nuisance for the work of the future, and offers only drawbacks, not advantages. Thus, what I am teaching you is simply the substance and inside story of the Bible. I’m not asking that you don’t read the Bible, or that you go around proclaiming that it is totally devoid of value, but that you have the correct knowledge and view of the Bible. Don’t be too one-sided! Although the Bible is a history book that was written by men, it also documents many of the principles by which the ancient saints and prophets served God, as well as the recent apostles’ experiences in serving God—all of which were really seen and known by these people, and can serve as reference for the people of this age in pursuing the true way” (“Concerning the Bible (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“This is because the Bible followed several thousand years of human history and people all treat it like God to the point that people in the last days replace God with the Bible. This is something that God really hates. So in His spare time, He had to clarify the inside story and the origin of the Bible. Otherwise, the Bible would still be able to replace God’s place in people’s hearts and they could condemn and measure God’s actions based on the words in the Bible. God’s explanation of the essence, the construction, and the flaws of the Bible is absolutely not denying the existence of it, nor is it condemning the Bible. Rather, it is to provide a reasonable and appropriate explanation, to restore the original image of the Bible, and to correct the misunderstandings people have toward the Bible so that all people have a correct view of it, no longer worship it, and are no longer lost—they erroneously take their blind faith in the Bible as believing in and worshiping God, and they even do not dare to face its true background and its weak points. After everyone has a pure understanding of the Bible they will be able to cast it aside without hesitation and bravely accept God’s new words. This is God’s goal in these several chapters. The truth that God wants to tell people here is that no theory or fact can replace God’s present work or words, and there is nothing that can replace God’s position. If people are not able to cast off the net of the Bible, they will never be able to come in front of God. If they want to come in front of God, they must first cleanse their hearts of anything that could replace Him—this way God will be satisfied” (Introduction to The Words of Christ as He Walked in the Churches in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“If you wish to walk the new path of today, then you must depart from the Bible, you must go beyond the books of prophecy or history in the Bible. Only then will you be able to walk the new path properly, and only then will you be able to enter into the new realm and the new work. You must understand why, today, you are asked not to read the Bible, why there is another work that is separate from the Bible, why God does not look for newer, more detailed practice in the Bible, why there is instead mightier work outside of the Bible. This is all what you should understand. You must know the difference between the old and new work, and even though you do not read the Bible, you must be able to dissect it; if not, you will still worship the Bible, and it will be difficult for you to enter into the new work and undergo new changes. Since there is a higher way, why study that low, outdated way? Since there are newer utterances, and newer work, why live amid old historical records? The new utterances can provide for you, which proves that this is the new work; the old records can’t sate you, or satisfy your current needs, which proves that they are history, and not the work of the here and now. The highest way is the newest work, and with the new work, no matter how high the way of the past, it is still the history of people’s reflections, and no matter its value as reference, it is still the old way. Even though it is recorded in the ‘holy book,’ the old way is history; even though there is no record of it in the ‘holy book,’ the new way is of the here and now. This way can save you, and this way can change you, for this is the work of the Holy Spirit” (“Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The Old Testament came about after God ended His work in the Age of Law, and the New Testament when the Lord Jesus ended His work of redemption. In the last 2,000 years, nothing has been more widely published or read than the Bible, and humanity has received tremendous edification from the Bible. Because the words of God that He expressed during His work are recorded in the Bible, and it also serves as a written account of the experiences and testimony of those used by God, from it people can see God’s existence, as well as God’s appearance and work. From it, they can acknowledge the fact that God is the Creator and Ruler of all things, and also they can come to know the two stages of work in the Age of Law and the Age of Grace that God did after mankind’s creation. This is especially true in regard to the Bible’s record of the Age of Grace, when the Lord Jesus personally conducted His work of redemption, bestowed His abundant grace upon humanity, and expressed many truths. This allows us to see the true love that God has for mankind, understand that man must have faith in God and submit to God to be on the correct path in life, and that only when we gain the truth as our very life may we receive salvation from God and obtain God’s approval. These are the results that these two stages of God’s work achieved upon humanity. If it weren’t for the record provided by the Bible, it would be very difficult for mankind to understand God’s previous work. This is why the Bible is required reading for those of us with faith in God. However, no matter how precious the Bible is, we must not place it on par with God, and more importantly, we must not use it to represent God or replace God’s work. We must therefore treat the Bible appropriately, never putting blind faith in it or worshiping it. Furthermore, on the issue of which are God’s words and which are the words of man, the Bible clearly indicates what was said by God and what was said by man; it is obvious at a glance. However, many people lack discernment when it comes to the epistles of the apostles and the portions that are man’s experiences and testimonies. Some even believe that any words that spring from enlightenment by the Holy Spirit, or any words that are in accordance with the truth are the words of God. But isn’t that nonsense? Can man express the word of God? When the Holy Spirit enlightens and illuminates man and man receives a modicum of light, does it mean that the Holy Spirit is revealing God’s words to man or inspiring him with them? The intended effect of the Holy Spirit’s work is to make man understand the truth and enter into its reality. Could it be that the testimony of man understanding the truth and entering into its reality are in fact words expressed by God? We must be very clear that even when the words of man are in accordance with the truth, they cannot actually be considered the truth itself, or God’s words. The words of man and the words of God cannot be mentioned in the same breath because only God’s words are the truth; only God’s words can redeem and save man and be man’s life. Man’s words can only represent their own experiences and understanding, and are merely for reference. They can be helpful and edifying for people, but they absolutely cannot replace God’s words. God’s words in the Bible are never contradictory, and if you compare man’s words with God’s words in the Bible, it is inevitable that some contradictions will arise. However, there is no contradiction in God’s work or words through the ages. The words of Jehovah God, the words of the Lord Jesus recorded in the Bible, and the words of Almighty God of the last days: The source of all these is the work of one God. They all arise from the words of the Holy Spirit. This is a fact that no one can refute. However, many religious people often take the words of man within the Bible and compare them to the current words of God. The Pharisees did this as well, always using the words in the Scriptures to research and compare them to the words of the Lord Jesus. As a result, the Pharisees found a number of reasons to reject the Lord Jesus, and even resisted and condemned Him crazily, even going so far as to crucify the Lord Jesus. So, what is the problem here? There are many today who still do not understand this clearly. God’s work has never been done based on the Bible, and moreover God is not constrained by the Bible. If we always study God based on the Bible, or measure God’s present work that way, then we will fail time and again, and our falls will become ever more severe. Today many religious people use the words from the Bible to study Almighty God and His work of the last days, even going so far as to quote the Bible out of context to condemn and resist Almighty God. They take words from the Bible, particularly the words of man, and use them as replacements for the words of God. Moreover, they misinterpret God’s words and misuse man’s words to condemn and resist the work of God in the last days. This is exactly what the Pharisees did in resisting the Lord Jesus, so what will the outcome be? They will be cursed by God just the same. Almighty God says: “Woe be unto those who crucify God” (“The Wicked Will Surely Be Punished” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). If we continue to use the biblical doctrines to resist God, we will be revealed as antichrists and be cursed by God. Isn’t that a fact?
The failure of these religious Pharisees in their faith in God teaches us that when God performs new work, man must look outside of the existing scripture and accept and submit to God’s current words and work. This is the same as how, in the Age of Law, man had to follow the laws and commandments issued forth from Jehovah God to obtain God’s blessings. In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus came to do His work of redemption, and man had to move outside the law to accept and submit to the Lord Jesus’ words and work so that they could receive His approval. In the last days, Almighty God does the work of judgment beginning with the house of God. He has ended the Age of Grace and commenced the Age of Kingdom. We must therefore accept Almighty God’s work of the last days, and put into practice and experience Almighty God’s words so that we may obtain the work of the Holy Spirit, gain the truth as our life, and become someone who knows God, submits to and reveres God, and someone who is gained by God through His salvation. This is the only way that man can gain entry into His kingdom. From this we can see that our faith in God must keep pace with God’s work and we must obtain the work of the Holy Spirit, because only then can we understand the truth, know God, and enter into the reality of the truth. If our faith is based only on reading the Bible and rigid adherence to the text of the Bible, we will likely be eliminated and cast aside by God’s work, just like as the Pharisees were, who only adhered to the Scriptures but resisted God, thereby bringing God’s curses upon themselves. Is adhering to the Bible the basis for our faith in God? If our faith in God lacks the work of the Holy Spirit, then we have already deviated from the true way, and there is no way to gain God’s salvation. Therefore, our faith cannot be based on rigid adherence to the Bible; we must keep pace with God’s work, read the current words of God and obtain the work of the Holy Spirit. This is the foundation of faith in God and is its most crucial aspect. Now we should have clarity on how we as believers should approach the Bible and what one’s belief in God must be based on so that they can receive God’s approval in walking the path of faith, isn’t that so?
from Answers to Screenplay Questions