Interpretation of the Thirty-fifth Utterance
Nowadays, all humans, to differing degrees, have entered a state of chastisement. Just as God said, “I go forth with humans side by side.” This is absolutely true, but people still are unable to thoroughly understand this point. As a result, part of the work they have done has been unnecessary. God said, “I support and provide for them in accordance with their stature. Because humans are the protagonists of My entire management plan, I devote more guidance to those in this role of ‘humanity’ so that they may play it wholeheartedly and to the best of their ability,” as well as, “However, I refuse to criticize their consciences directly; rather, I continue to guide them patiently and systematically. After all, humans are weak, and unable to carry out any work.” God’s thinking is this: Even if He ends up exterminating all these humans, His work on earth will still continue in accordance with His original plan. God is not doing useless work; everything He does is good. As Peter said, “Even if God were playing with humans like they were toys, how would humans be able to complain? What right would they have?” Is this not what God has wished to achieve with humanity today?[a] Can humans really have this view? Why was the Peter of a couple thousand years ago able to say such a thing, while “Peters” in the high-tech, modernized era of today cannot? I am unable to say for sure whether history is progressing or regressing. Whether science has taken a step forward or backward is, so far, still a question no one can answer. Everything God has done in humanity has been to make them positive and allow them to grow up in life. Can people not comprehend this? Everything that causes you to be negative is a weak point of yours; it is a vital point of vulnerability, open to Satan’s attacks. Do you understand this? Why did God speak this way? “I am imploring them in all earnestness and sincerity. Are they truly unable to do what I ask?” What do these words mean? Why did God ask this question? It shows that there are too many negative aspects of humanity, and just one kind of negative factor is enough to cause humans to stumble. You might as well have a look and see what continuing in your negative ways will bring you. All that God does goes toward perfecting humanity. Does this require any further explanation? I don’t think so! The point can be made that humans have been possessed by Satan, but it would be much better to say that humans have been possessed by negativity. This is a way humans express themselves; it is an appendage of their flesh. Therefore, they have all unconsciously fallen into negativity, and along with it, chastisement. This is a trap prepared for humanity by God, and this is when humans find things most upsetting. Because people dwell in negativity, it is difficult for them to break away from chastisement. Is this not exactly how things are these days? But how can humans ignore God’s words: “Nowadays, Satan is rampant to the extreme. Why do I not take this opportunity to show off the focus of My work in order to reveal My power?” As soon as I say something to remind them, people from the churches immediately fall into chastisement. This is because after two months of God’s work, people still do not undergo any significant transformation within. They simply analyze God’s words with their own minds. However, in actual fact, their states have not changed at all; they are still negative. This being the case, when God mentions that the times of chastisement are at hand, people immediately grow distressed, thinking:[b] “I don’t know whether or not I am predestined by God, nor do I know if I can stand firm under this chastisement. It is even harder to know what methods God will use to chastise people.” Humans are all terrified of chastisement, yet are unable to change. They just suffer in silence, but are also afraid that they won’t be able to stand firm. In this absence of chastisement and torture of words, humans have all unconsciously slipped into chastisement. Thus, they are all nervous and unsettled. This is called “reaping what they have sown,” because humans do not understand God’s work at all. Actually, God does not have the inclination to waste any further words on these people; it seems God has adopted a different way of dealing with them that is not true chastisement. It’s like when a person catches a chick and picks it up to see if it’s a hen or a rooster; this might not seem like a big deal, but the little chick will be so frightened it will struggle to get free, as if terrified the human is going to kill it and eat its meat, because the chick has no knowledge of itself. How can someone kill and eat a chick that only weighs a few ounces? Wouldn’t that be nonsense? It’s exactly as God said: “Why, then, do people constantly avoid Me? Is it because I will treat them like baby chicks, to be killed as soon as they are caught?” Therefore, human suffering is all “selfless” devotion, and can be said to be a useless price to pay. It is because they do not know themselves that they feel afraid; as a result, they cannot throw all caution to the wind. This is humanity’s weakness. Are the words spoken by God, “In the end, let humans know themselves. This is My final goal,” out of date? Who really knows themselves? If one does not know themselves, then what gives them the right to be chastised? Take lambs for example. How can they be slaughtered if they have not grown into sheep? How can a tree that has not borne fruit be enjoyed by humans? Everyone places too much importance on “vaccination.” Thus, people are all doing the work of fasting, and then are hungry. This is an example of reaping what they have sown; they are being self-destructive. It is not that God is brutal or inhumane. If one day humans suddenly know themselves and tremble in fear before God, then God will begin to chastise them. Only this way will humans submissively and willingly embrace hardship. What about today, though? People all receive chastisement against their will, like children being made to cook a meal. How can people like that not feel uncomfortable? Everyone thinks, “Oh well! As long as I’m being chastised, I might as well bow my head and plead guilty! What can I do? Even if I’m crying, I still have to satisfy God, so what can I do? Who told me to walk straight into this path? Oh well! I’ll just consider myself unlucky!” Isn’t this how people think?
As God said, “Everyone is well-behaved, and there is no one who dares to resist. All are under My guidance, doing their tasks which I assigned to them.” Evidently, not a single human willingly receives chastisement, and furthermore, this comes from God, because humans all want to live in leisure rather than turmoil and chaos. God said, “Who is unafraid of death? Are people truly willing to sacrifice themselves?” This is absolutely right; everyone is afraid to die unless, of course, when consumed with anger or despair. This is human substance, and is the most difficult to get around. Today God has come precisely to resolve this predicament. Humans are all powerless, so God has gone out of His way to come among them to set up a specialist hospital to cure them of this sort of disease. People cannot extricate themselves from this entangling illness, which is why they are all so anxious they develop mouth inflammation, and their bellies expand. Over time the volume of gas they contain grows, resulting in an increase of pressure. Finally, their stomachs rupture and they all die. Therefore, at that point, God has treated this serious human ailment, because everyone has died. Isn’t this curing the human condition? God has deliberately come to do this work. Because people are overly afraid of death, God Himself has come to partake of the same job as humans; because they have so little courage, He has started by giving a demonstration for them to watch. Only after seeing this precedent does anyone become willing to obey. For this reason, God said, “Because no one could carry out My work, I have set foot upon the battleground in person to engage in a struggle of life and death with Satan.” This is a decisive battle, so either the fish dies or the net breaks.[c] This is certain. Because the spirit will triumph in the end, the flesh must be the target of death. Do you understand the implications of this? However, don’t be oversensitive. Maybe this sentence is simple, or maybe it is complex. Regardless, humans still cannot fathom it. This is for certain. Humans can, from within their suffering, accept the refinement of God’s word; then one could say this is their good fortune. Yet it could also be said to be unfortunate for them. I still would like to remind everyone, however, that God’s intention is correct, after all—unlike the intentions of humans, which are always about making plans and arrangements for themselves. You should be clear about this, and not sink into unending contemplation. Is this not precisely a weakness of humans? They are all like this; rather than loving God to a certain degree, they love themselves to a certain degree. Because He is a God that is jealous of humans, He always places demands on them. The more people love themselves, the more God requires them to love Him, and the stricter His requirements of them become. It’s as if God is intentionally teasing people. If people truly love Him, then it seems He does not care about it. Because of this, people are all scratching their heads and tweaking their ears as they fall into contemplation. This is a narrative of God’s disposition, just a brief mention of one or two things. This is God’s will. It is what God requires people to know; it is imperative. It is a new task that requires you people to be able to work hard to break through and make some new progress. Do you understand this? Do you need Me to say more on the subject?
As for previous eras, God said, “not a single person was ever chosen by Me; everyone was turned down by My silence. This is because those people in the past did not serve Me with single-minded devotion; I therefore did not love them exclusively, either. They had taken Satan’s ‘presents’ and then turned around and offered them to Me; in doing so, was this not slanderous against Me?” How can these words be explained? It’s as God said: “All gifts originate from Satan.” Past generations of apostles and prophets were entirely reliant on their gifts while doing their work, and down through the ages, God has used their gifts to conduct His work. This is why it is said that the service of all people with gifts comes from Satan. However, as God says,[d] “I use Satan’s ruse as My foil,” due to His wisdom. Thus, God has named the service of people with gifts as presents from Satan. Because they belong to Satan, God calls them slanderous. This is not a baseless accusation against humans; it is a well-founded and appropriate explanation. For this reason, He said, “I did not reveal My disgust; rather, I tried to turn their scheme to My own use by adding these ‘presents’ to the materials being used in My management. Later, once they had been processed by machine, I would burn off all the resulting waste.” This is what is so wonderful about God’s work. This point is least in line with human notions, because no one would think that those reign as kings are not people with gifts, they are the gift-less people whom God loves. As can be seen, the ideas or hopes of Witness Lee and Watchman Nee have all turned to ash—and gift-bearing people in the present day are no exception. Now God has begun this work, and He is gradually taking back all the work of the Holy Spirit in humans who serve as a foil to His work. When God’s work is completely finished, these people will all return to their original place. However, I urge humans not to act recklessly as a result of what I have said. You should go with the flow, following the steps of God’s work so as to avoid interrupting it. Do you understand this point? Because this is the step and method of God’s work. When God “processes” these “presents” into “finished products,” all of His intentions will become obvious, and the presents that render service for Him will all be eliminated; however, God will have the finished products to enjoy. Do you understand this? What God wants is finished products, not rich presents offered by humans. Only when everyone has taken their proper place, meaning when God has returned to His original position and the devil, too, has sat in its own seat, so have the angels, without exception—only then will a gratified smile appear on God’s face, because His intentions will have been satisfied, His goal achieved. God will no longer seek “assistance” from the “devil,” because God’s intentions will have been openly revealed to humans, and humans will never again be made to convey them. At this time, their fleshly bodies will become one with their spirits. This is what God reveals to humans; it is the final destination of the spirit, soul, and body. It is a summarization of the original idea of “humanity.” This does not need to be researched in detail; it is enough to know one or two things about it. Do you understand?
a. The original text reads “Is this not what God achieves with humanity today?”
b. The original text omits “thinking.”
c. Either the fish dies or the net breaks: a Chinese idiom, meaning “a life and death struggle.”
d. The original text omits “as God says.”