Interpretation of the Fourth Utterance
To stop all people having their heads turned and getting carried away after their transition from negative to positive, in the last passage of God’s utterance, once God has spoken of His highest requirements of His people—once God has told people of His will in this stage of His management plan—God gives them the opportunity to ponder His words, to help them make up their minds to satisfy God’s will in the end. When people’s conditions are positive, God immediately begins to ask people questions about the other side of the issue. He asks a string of questions that are difficult for people to figure out: “Was your love for Me tainted by impurity? Was your loyalty to Me pure and wholehearted? Was your knowledge of Me true? How much of a place did I hold within your hearts?” And so on. In the first half of this paragraph, with the exception of two reprimands, the remainder is all questions. In particular, “Have My utterances struck you at your Achilles’ heel?” is a very fitting question, and one that truly strikes at the most secret things in the depths of people’s hearts, causing them to unconsciously ask themselves: Am I truly loyal in my love of God? In their hearts, people unconsciously recall their past experiences in serving: They were consumed by self-forgiveness, self-righteousness, self-importance, self-satisfaction, complacency, and pride. They were like a big fish caught in a net—and after falling into these nets, it was not easy for them to free themselves. And furthermore, they were frequently unrestrained, they often deceived God’s normal humanity, and put themselves first in all they did. Prior to being called “service-doers,” they were like a newborn tiger cub, filled with energy. Though they somewhat focused their attention on life, sometimes they only went through the motions; like a slave, they were perfunctory toward God. During the time of being exposed as service-doers, they were negative, they fell behind, they were filled with sorrow, they complained about God, they hung their heads in dejection, and so on. Each step of their own wonderful, touching stories lingers in their minds. It even becomes difficult for them to sleep, and they spend the daytime in a stupor. They seem to have been eliminated a second time by God, fallen into Hades, and are incapable of escaping. Though God did nothing more than pose a few difficult questions in the first paragraph, read closely, they show that God’s aim is more than just to ask these questions for their own sakes; in them is contained a deeper level of meaning, one that must be explained in greater detail.
Why did God once say that today, after all, is today, and since yesterday has already passed, there is no point in nostalgia—whereas in the first sentence here, He asks people questions, and makes them think back to the past? Have a think: Why does God ask that people not be nostalgic about the past, but also think back on it? Could there be a mistake in God’s words? Could the source of these words be wrong? Naturally, those who pay no attention to God’s words would not ask such profound questions. But for the moment, there’s no need to speak of this. First, let Me explain the “why” above. Of course, everybody is aware that God has said He does not speak empty words. If words are uttered from God’s mouth, then there is an aim and significance to them—and this touches upon the heart of the issue. People’s biggest failing is their inability to change their evil ways and the intractability of their old nature. To allow all people to know themselves more thoroughly and realistically, God first leads them in thinking back upon the past, in order that they may reflect upon themselves more deeply, and thus come to know that not a single one of God’s words is empty, and that all of God’s words are fulfilled in different people to different degrees. In the past, the way God dealt with people gave them a little knowledge of God and made their sincerity toward God a little more heartfelt. The word “God” occupies but 0.1 percent in people and their hearts. Achieving this much shows God has carried out a tremendous amount of salvation. It is fair to say that God’s accomplishment of this much in this group of people—a group that is exploited by the great red dragon and possessed by Satan—is such that they dare not do as they please. That is because it is impossible for God to occupy one hundred percent of the hearts of those who have been possessed by Satan. To increase people’s knowledge of God during the next step, God compares the conditions of the service-doers of the past with that of God’s people of today, thus creating a clear contrast that increases people’s sense of shame. Just as God said, there is “nowhere to hide your shame.”
So, why did I say that God is not merely asking questions for their own sakes? A close reading from start to finish shows that, though the questions posed by God are somewhat penetrating, they all refer to the extent of people’s loyalty toward God and knowledge of God; they refer, in other words, to people’s actual conditions, which are pitiable, and difficult for them to open up about. From this can be seen that people’s stature is too meager, that their knowledge of God is too superficial, and their loyalty toward Him too tainted and impure. As God said, almost all people fish in murky waters and are only there to make up the numbers. When God says “Do you truly believe that you are unqualified to be My people?” the true meaning of these words is that among all people, none are fit to be God’s people. But in order to achieve a greater effect, God uses the method of asking questions. This method is far more effective than the words of the past, which ruthlessly attacked, hacked, and killed people, to the point of piercing their hearts. Suppose God had directly said something dull and insipid like “You are not loyal to Me, and your loyalty is tainted, I do not hold an absolute place in your hearts…. I’m going to leave you no place to hide from yourselves, for none of you are sufficient to be My people.” You might compare the two: Their content is the same, but the tone of each is different. Using questions is much more effective. Thus, the wise God employs the first tone, which shows the artistry with which He speaks. This is unachievable by man, and so no wonder that God said, “People are but utensils that are used by Me, the only difference between them is that some are lowly, and some are precious.”
Continue reading. God’s words come thick and fast, barely giving people the chance to take a breath, for God does not go easy on man at all. When people feel the utmost regret, God once more warns them: “If you are completely oblivious to the questions above, then this shows that you are fishing in murky waters, that you are only there to make up the numbers, and at the time preordained by Me, you will surely be eliminated and cast into the bottomless pit for a second time. These are My words of warning, and any who take them lightly will be struck by My judgment, and, at the appointed time, will be assailed by disaster.” Reading such words, people can’t help but think of when they were cast into the bottomless pit: Threatened by catastrophe, governed by God’s administrative decrees, their own end awaiting them, for a long time feeling distressed, depressed, ill at ease, unable to speak of the melancholy within their hearts to anyone—compared to this, they were better off having their flesh purged…. Thinking this, they can’t help but feel distressed. Thinking of how they were in the past, how they are today, and how they will be tomorrow, the sorrow in their hearts grows, they unconsciously begin to shiver, and thus they become more fearful of God’s administrative decrees. As it occurs to them that the term “God’s people” might also be a means of speaking, the cheer in their hearts immediately turns to distress. God is using their fatal weakness to strike at them, and at this point, He is beginning the next step of His work, constantly provoking people’s minds, and increasing their sense that God’s deeds are unfathomable, that God is unreachable, that God is holy and pure, and that they are not fit to be one of God’s people. As a result, they redouble their efforts to improve themselves, not daring to fall behind.
Next, to teach people a lesson, and make them know themselves, revere God, and fear God, God begins His new plan: “From the time of creation until today, many people have disobeyed My words and thus been cast out and eliminated from My stream of recovery; ultimately, their bodies perish and their spirits are cast into Hades, and even today they are still subjected to grievous punishment. Many people have followed My words, but they have gone against My enlightenment and illumination … and some….” These are real examples. In these words, God not only gives all God’s people a real warning to make them know of God’s deeds throughout the ages, but also provides an oblique depiction of part of what is happening in the spiritual world. This allows people to know that nothing good can come of their disobedience toward God. They will become an everlasting mark of shame, and they will become the embodiment of Satan, and a copy of Satan. In God’s heart, this aspect of meaning is of secondary importance, for these words have already left people trembling and at a loss. The positive side of this is that, as people tremble with fear, they also acquire some details of the spiritual world—but only some, so I must provide a little explanation. From the gate of the spiritual world it can be seen that there are all kinds of spirits. Some, however, are in Hades, some are in hell, some are in the lake of fire, and some are in the bottomless pit. I have something to add here. Superficially speaking, these spirits can be divided according to place; specifically speaking, however, some are directly dealt with by God’s chastisement, and some are in the bondage of Satan, which is used by God. More specifically, their chastisement differs according to the severity of their circumstances. At this point, let Me explain a little more. Those who are directly chastised by God’s hand have no spirit on earth, which means they have no chance of being reborn. The spirits under the domain of Satan—the enemies of which God speaks when He says “become My enemies”—are connected to earthly matters. The various evil spirits on earth are all the enemies of God, the servants of Satan, and their reason for existence[a] is serving to set off the deeds of God. Thus, God says, “These people have not only been taken captive by Satan, but have become eternal sinners and become My enemies, and they directly oppose Me.” Next, God tells people of the end of this kind of spirit: “Such people are the objects of My judgment at the height of My wrath.” God also clarifies their present conditions: “today they are still blind, still within the dark dungeons.”
To show people the truthfulness of God’s words, God uses a real example as proof (the case of Paul of which He speaks) so that His warning leaves a deeper impression on people. To stop people from treating what is said about Paul as a story, and to prevent them from thinking of themselves as bystanders—and, furthermore, to stop them from going about boasting of the things that happened thousands of years ago that they learned from God, God does not concentrate on Paul’s experiences throughout his life. Instead, God focuses on the consequences and end for Paul, the reason why Paul opposed God, and how Paul ended up as he did. What God focuses on is stressing His denial of the glorious hopes of Paul in the end, and directly laying bare his situation in the spiritual realm: “Paul is directly chastised by God.” Because people are numb and they are incapable of grasping anything of God’s words, God adds an explanation (the next part of the utterance), and begins speaking of the issue of another area: “whoever opposes Me (by opposing not only My flesh but more importantly, My words and My Spirit), receives My judgment in their flesh.” Although, superficially speaking, these words seem unrelated to the ones above, and there doesn’t appear to be any correlation between the two, don’t panic: God has His own aims; the simple words of “the example above proves that” organically combine two seemingly unrelated issues—which is the ingeniousness of God’s words. Thus, people are enlightened through the account of Paul, and so, because of the connection between the text above and below, their pursuit of knowing God is increased through the lesson of Paul, which is precisely the effect God wished to achieve in speaking those words. Next, God speaks some words that provide assistance and enlightenment for people’s entry into life. There is no need for Me to go into that. You will feel that they’re easy to understand. What I must explain, however, is when God says, “when I worked in normal humanity, most people had already measured themselves against My wrath and majesty, and already knew a little of My wisdom and disposition. Today, I speak and act directly in divinity, and there are still some people who will see My wrath and judgment with their own eyes; moreover, the main work of the second part of the era of judgment is to make all of My people know My deeds in the flesh directly, and to make all of you behold My disposition directly.” These few words conclude God’s work in normal humanity and officially commence the second part of God’s work of the era of judgment, which is carried out in divinity, and foretell the end of a portion of people. At this point, it is worth explaining that God did not tell people that this was the second part of the era of judgment when they became God’s people. Instead, only after telling people of God’s will and the aims that God wishes to achieve during this period, and of God’s final step of work on earth does He explain that this is the second part of the era of judgment. Needless to say, there is also God’s wisdom in this. When people have just got up from their sickbeds, the only thing they care about is whether or not they’re going to die, or whether or not their illness can be banished from them. They pay no heed to whether they will put on weight, or whether they dress up in the right clothes. Thus, it is only when people completely believe they are one of God’s people that God speaks of His requirements, step-by-step, and tells people what the era it is today. That is because people only have the energy to concentrate on the steps of God’s management a few days after they have recovered, and so this is the most suitable time to tell them. Only after people understand do they start to analyze: Since this is the second part of the era of judgment, God’s requirements have become stricter, and I have become one of God’s people. It is right to analyze thus, it is attainable by man, and so God employs this method of speaking.
Once people understand a little, God once more enters the spiritual realm to speak, and so they once more fall into the ambush. During this series of questions, everyone scratches their heads, confused, not knowing where God’s will lies, not knowing which of God’s questions to answer, and, moreover, not knowing what language to use to reply to God’s questions. One wonders whether to laugh or cry. To people, these words seem as if they might contain very profound mysteries—but the facts are precisely the opposite. I may as well add a little explanation for you here. It’ll give your brain a rest, you’ll feel[b] it’s something simple that doesn’t require a lot of thought. In fact, though there are many words, they contain only one aim of God: gaining people’s loyalty through these questions. But it’s not expedient to say this directly, so God once again employs questions. The tone, however, is especially soft, much unlike at the beginning. Though they are being questioned by God, this kind of contrast brings people a measure of relief. You might as well read each question one by one; were these things not often referred to in the past? In these few questions, there is rich content. Some are a description of people’s mentality: “Are you willing to enjoy a life on earth which is akin to that in heaven?” Some are people’s “warrior’s oath” before God: “Are you truly able to allow yourselves to be put to death by Me, and led by Me, like a sheep?” And some of them are God’s requirements of man: “If I did not speak directly, could you forsake everything around you and allow yourself to be used by Me? Is this not the reality that I require? …” Or God’s exhortations and reassurances for man: “Yet I ask that you no longer be weighed down by misgivings, that you be proactive in your entry and grasp the most profound depths of My words. This will prevent you misunderstanding My words, and being unclear as to My meaning, and thus violating My administrative decrees.” Finally, God talks of His hopes for man: “I hope that you grasp My intentions for you in My words. Think no more of your own prospects, and act as you have resolved before Me that all should be at the mercy of God.” The final question has profound meaning. It is thought-provoking, it impresses itself on people’s hearts and is difficult to forget, ceaselessly ringing out like a bell hanging by their ears …
The above are a few words of explanation for you to use as reference.
a. The original text omits “for existence.”
b. The original text omits “you’ll feel.”