Interpretation of the Sixteenth Utterance
To people, God is too great, too abundant, too wondrous, too unfathomable; in their eyes, God’s words rise upon high, and appear as a great masterpiece of the world. But because people have too many failings, and their minds are too simple, and, furthermore, because their abilities of acceptance are too meager, regardless of how clearly God speaks His words, they remain seated and unmoving, as if suffering from mental illness. When they’re hungry, they don’t understand that they must eat, when they’re thirsty, they don’t understand that they must drink; they just keep on shouting and screaming, as if there is indescribable hardship in the depths of their spirits, yet they are unable to talk about it. When God created mankind, His intention was for man to live in normal humanity and accept God’s words as befits his instinct. But because, at the very beginning, man succumbed to the temptation of Satan, today he remains incapable of extricating himself, and is yet incapable of recognizing the deceitful schemes carried out by Satan over thousands of years, added to which he lacks the faculties to fully know God’s words—all of this has led to the present situation. As things stand today, people still live in danger of Satan’s temptation, and so remain incapable of the pure appreciation of God’s words. In the dispositions of normal people there is no crookedness or deceitfulness, people have a normal relationship with each other, they do not stand alone, and their lives are neither mediocre nor decadent. So, too, is God exalted among all, His words permeate among man, people live in peace with one another and under the care and protection of God, the earth is filled with harmony, without the interference of Satan, and the glory of God holds the utmost importance among man. Such people are like angels: pure, vibrant, never complaining about God, and devoting all their efforts solely to God’s glory on earth. Now is the time of the black night, all are groping about and searching, the pitch black night makes their hair stand on end, and they can’t help but tremble; listening closely, the howls of gust after gust of northwesterly wind seem accompanied by the mournful sobs of man. People grieve and weep for their destiny. Why is it that they read God’s words but are incapable of understanding them? It is as if their lives are on the verge of hopelessness, as if death is about to befall them, as if their last day is before their eyes. Such miserable circumstances are the very moment when the fragile angels call out to God, telling of their own hardship in one mournful cry after another. It is for this reason that the angels who work among the sons and the people of God will never again descend upon man; this is to prevent them being caught in the manipulation of Satan whilst in the flesh, unable to extricate themselves, and so they work only in the spiritual world that is invisible to man. Thus, when God says “when I ascend to the throne in man’s heart will be when My sons and people rule over the earth,” He is referring to when the angels on earth enjoy the blessing of service to God in heaven. Because man is the expression of the spirits of angels, God says that for man, being on earth is like being in heaven, him serving God on earth is like the angels serving God in heaven directly—and thus, during his days on earth, man enjoys the blessings of the third heaven. This is what is actually being said in these words.
There is so much meaning hidden in God’s words. “When the day comes, people will know Me in the depths of their hearts, and will remember Me in their thoughts” is directed at man’s spirit. Because of the frailty of the angels, they always depend on God in all things, and have always been attached to God and adored God. But because of Satan’s disturbance, they can’t help themselves, can’t control themselves, they wish to love God but are incapable of loving Him with all their hearts, and so they suffer pain. Only when God’s work reaches a certain point can these poor angels’ desire to truly love God come true, which is why God spoke those words. The nature of the angels is to love, cherish, and obey God, yet they have been incapable of achieving this on earth, and have had no choice but to endure until the present time. You might look upon the world of today: There is a God in the hearts of all people, but they are incapable of telling the difference between the true God and the false gods, and although they love this God of theirs, they are incapable of truly loving God, by which is meant they have no control of themselves. The ugly face of man revealed by God is the true face of Satan in the spiritual realm. Man was originally innocent, and without sin, and thus all of the corrupt, ugly manners of man are Satan’s actions in the spiritual realm, and are a faithful record of the developments of the spiritual realm. “Today, people have become qualified, and believe they can strut about in front of Me, and laugh and joke with Me without the slightest inhibition, and address Me as an equal. Still man does not know Me, still he believes that in essence we are about the same, that we are both of flesh and blood, and both dwell in the human world.” This is what Satan has done in man’s heart. Satan uses the conceptions and naked eyes of man to oppose God, yet without equivocation God tells man of these happenings in order that man might avoid catastrophe here. The mortal weakness of all people is that they only see “a body of flesh and blood, and do not perceive the Spirit of God.” This is the basis of one aspect of Satan’s enticement of man. People believe that only the Spirit in this flesh can be called God. No one believes that today, the Spirit has become flesh and actually appeared before their eyes; people see God as two parts—“the clothing and the flesh”—and none look upon God as the incarnation of the Spirit, none see that the nature of the flesh is the disposition of God. In people’s imagination, God is especially normal, but do they not know that hidden in this normality is one aspect of the profound significance of God?
When God began to cover the entire world, it became pitch black, and as people slept, God took this opportunity to descend among man, and officially commenced issuing the Spirit to all corners of the earth, embarking upon the work of saving mankind. It can be said that when God began to assume the image of the flesh, God personally worked on earth. Then the work of the Spirit began, and there officially commenced all work on earth. For two thousand years, the Spirit of God has worked throughout the universe. People neither know nor sense this, but during the last days, at the time when this age is soon to conclude, God has descended to earth to work in person. This is the blessing of those who were born during the last days, who are able to personally behold the image of God who lives in the flesh. “When the entire face of the deep was murky, among man I began to taste the bitterness of the world. My Spirit travels throughout the world and looks upon the hearts of all people, yet so, too, do I conquer mankind in My incarnate flesh.” Such is the harmonious cooperation between God in heaven and God on earth. Ultimately, in their thoughts people will believe that the God on earth is the God in heaven, that the heavens and the earth and everything in them were created by the God on earth, that man is controlled by the God on earth, that the God on earth does the work in heaven on earth, and that the God in heaven has appeared in the flesh. This is the ultimate objective of God’s work on earth, and so, this stage is the highest standard of work in the period of the flesh, and it is carried out in divinity, and causes all people to become sincerely convinced. The more people search for God in their conceptions, the more they feel that the God on earth is not real. Thus, God says that people search for God among empty words and doctrines. The more people know God in their conceptions, the more adept they become at speaking these words and doctrines, and the more admirable they become; the more people speak words and doctrines, the further they stray from God, and the more incapable they become of knowing the essence of man, and the more they disobey God, and the further they depart from God’s requirements. God’s requirements of man are not as supernatural as people imagine, yet never has anyone ever truly understood God’s will, and thus God says, “people seek only in the boundless sky, or upon the rolling sea, or upon the placid lake, or among empty letters and doctrines.” The more requirements God makes of man, the more people feel that God is unreachable, and the more they believe that God is great. Thus, in their consciousness, all of the words spoken from God’s mouth are unattainable by man, leaving God no choice but to personally act; man, meanwhile, has not the slightest inclination to cooperate with God, and merely persists in bowing his head and confessing his sins, trying to be humble and obedient. As such, without realizing it, people enter into a new religion, into religious ceremony that is stricter than in the religious churches. This requires that people return to normal conditions through transforming their negative state into one that is positive; if not, man shall become ever more deeply ensnared.
Why does God focus on describing mountains and waters in His utterances of many times? Is there symbolic meaning in these words? God not only allows man to behold His deeds in His flesh, but also allows man to understand His powers in the firmament. In this way, at the same time as believing without doubt that this is God in the flesh, people also come to know the deeds of the practical God, and thus the God on earth is sent unto heaven, and the God in heaven is brought down to earth, only after which people are capable of more completely beholding all that God is and gaining a greater knowledge of the omnipotence of God. The more that God is able to conquer mankind in the flesh and transcend the flesh to travel across the entire universe, the more people are able to behold God’s deeds upon the basis of beholding the practical God, and thus know the verity of God’s work throughout the entire universe, that it is not fake but real, and so they come to know that the practical God of today is the embodiment of the Spirit, and not of the same kind of fleshly body as man. Thus, God says, “But when I unleash My wrath, the mountains are immediately torn asunder, the ground immediately begins to convulse, water immediately dries up, and man is immediately beset by disaster.” When people read God’s words, they associate them with the flesh of God, and thus, the work and words in the spiritual realm directly point to God in the flesh, which enhances the effectiveness. When God speaks, it is often from heaven to earth, and once more from earth to heaven, leaving all people incapable of grasping the motivations and origins of God’s words. “When I am among the heavens, never have the stars been thrown into panic by My presence. Instead, they put their hearts into their work for Me.” Such is the state of heaven. God methodically arranges everything in the third heaven, with all of the servants in service to God doing their own work for God. They have never done anything in disobedience to God, so they are not thrown into the panic spoken of by God, but instead put their hearts into their work, never is there any disarray, and thus all angels live in God’s light. Meanwhile, because of their disobedience, and because they do not know God, the people on earth all live in darkness, and the more they oppose God, the more they live in darkness. When God says, “The brighter the heavens, the darker the world beneath,” He is referring to how the day of God is drawing ever closer to all mankind. Thus, God’s 6,000-year busyness in the third heaven will soon be concluded. All things on earth have entered the final chapter, and shall soon each be cut away from God’s hand. The further people go into the time of the last days, the more they are able to taste the corruption in the world of man; and the further they go into the time of the last days, the more indulgent they are of their own flesh; there are even many who wish to reverse the miserable state of the world, yet they all lose hope amidst their sighs because of God’s deeds. Thus, when people sense the warmth of spring, God covers their eyes, and so they float upon the rolling waves, not one of them capable of reaching the far-off lifeboat. Because people are inherently weak, God says there are none who can turn things around. When people lose hope, God begins to speak to the entire universe, He begins to save all mankind, and it is only after this that people are able to enjoy the new life that comes once things have been turned around. The people of today are at the stage of self-deception. Because the road before them is so desolate and indistinct, and their future is “limitless” and “without borders,” the people of this age have no inclination to fight, and can only pass their days like a Hanhao bird.[a] Never has there been anyone who has seriously pursued life, and pursued the knowledge of man’s existence; instead, they await the day when the Savior in heaven suddenly descends to reverse the miserable state of the world, only after which will they be earnest in their attempts to live. Such is the true state of all mankind and the mentality of all people.
Today, God foretells man’s future new life in light of his mentality during this time, which is the glimmer of light of which God speaks. What God foretells is that which shall ultimately be achieved by God, and is the fruits of God’s victory over Satan. “I move above all men and am watching everywhere. Nothing ever looks old, and no person is as he used to be. I rest upon the throne, I recline across the whole universe….” This is the outcome of God’s present work. All of God’s chosen people return to their original form, because of which the angels, who have suffered for so many years, are released, just as God says, “the face like that of the holy one within man’s heart.” Because the angels work on earth and serve God on earth, and God’s glory spreads across the world, the heaven is brought to earth, and the earth is lifted up to the heaven. Therefore, man is the link that connects heaven and earth; heaven and earth are no longer apart, no longer separated, but connected as one. Throughout the world, only God and man exist. There is no dust or dirt, and all things are renewed, like a little lamb lying in a green grassland beneath the sky, enjoying all of God’s grace. And it is because of the arrival of this greenness that the breath of life shines forth, for God comes to the world to live alongside man for all eternity, just as it was said from God’s mouth that “I can peacefully reside within Zion once again.” This is the symbol of Satan’s defeat, it is the day of God’s rest, and this day shall be extolled and proclaimed by all people, and commemorated by all people. When God is at rest upon the throne is also when God concludes His work on earth, and is the very moment that all of God’s mysteries are shown to man; God and man will be forever in harmony, never apart—these are the beautiful scenes of the kingdom!
In mysteries are hidden mysteries, and God’s words are truly profound and unfathomable!
a. The story of the Hanhao bird is very similar to Aesop’s fable of the ant and the grasshopper. The Hanhao bird prefers to sleep instead of building a nest while the weather is warm—despite repeated warnings from his neighbor, a magpie. When winter arrives, the bird freezes to death.