Interpretation of the Thirty-sixth Utterance
It is said that God has now begun to chastise man, but no one can say for sure, no one can give a clear answer as to whether the original intention of this chastisement has befallen man. For God says, “Man has never discovered anything in My chastisement, for he does nothing but grasp the yoke around his neck with both hands, both eyes fixed on Me, as if keeping an eye on an enemy—and only at this moment do I sense how emaciated he is. It is because of this that I say ‘none has ever stood firm amid trials.’” God tells man of the facts of the chastisement that has yet to befall him, and He does so in great detail, without missing anything out. It is as if they have entered chastisement and are truly unable to stand firm—and God provides a vivid, lifelike depiction of the ugly features of man, which makes them feel under pressure: Since God says that man has never stood firm amid trials, how could I be the one to break the world record, to be accepted despite convention? At this moment, they begin to reflect. In reality, it is just as God says: “Have I brought them to the end of the road?” Indeed, God has brought all people to the end of the road, and so, in their consciousness, people always believe that God is cruel and inhumane. God has fished all people out of the sea of worldly affliction, after which, “to prevent any accidents, I killed all the fish that had been caught, after which the fish became obedient, and had not the slightest complaint.” Is this not fact? God has pulled all people from the bitter sea of death into another abyss of death, He has dragged all of them onto the executioner’s block, He has forced them to the end of the road—why does He not do this to the other sons and people of God? What is His intention in carrying out such work in the country of the great red dragon? Why is the hand of God so malicious? No wonder “When I need man, he is always hidden. It is as if he’s never seen astonishing scenes, as if he was born in the countryside and knows nothing of city matters.” In fact, inside themselves people ask: “What is God’s plan in doing this? Does He not put us to death? And what is the point? Why do the steps of His work come thick and fast, and why is He not the slightest bit lenient toward us?” Yet people don’t dare to say this, and because God’s words cause them to cast away such thoughts, stripping them of the chance to think further, they have no choice but to put aside any more such thoughts. It’s just that God reveals all of man’s conceptions, and so people force back their conceptions, not allowing them to come forth. It was previously said that these people are the progeny of the great red dragon. In fact, to be clear, they are the embodiment of the great red dragon. When God forces them to the end of the road and slaughters them, then—without a doubt—the spirit of the great red dragon has no further chance to work in them. In this way, when people walk to the end of the road is also when the great red dragon ends up dead. It can be said that it is using death to repay God’s “great kindness”—which is the aim of God’s work in the nation of the great red dragon. When people are ready to sacrifice their lives, everything becomes trifling, and no one can get the better of them. What could be more important than life? Thus, Satan becomes incapable of doing any more in people, there’s nothing it can do with man. Although, in the definition of the “flesh” it is said that the flesh is corrupted by Satan, if people truly give themselves over, and are not driven by Satan, then no one can get the better of them—and at this moment, the flesh will perform its another function, and begin to officially receive the direction of the Spirit of God. This is a necessary process, it must happen step-by-step; if not, God would have no means of working in the stubborn flesh. Such is the wisdom of God. In this way, all people have unconsciously entered the circumstances of today. And is it not God who has led man to the “end of the road”? Could it be a new road opened up by man? Looking at your experiences, it appears that in you, God employs methods of the utmost cruelty, from which can be seen God’s righteousness. How could you not give praise? What God does in you allows people to behold the righteous disposition of God; does this not merit your admiration of God? Today, at the crossroads when the old era still exists and the new era has yet to materialize, how do you bear testimony to God? Is such a serious issue not worthy of deep consideration? Do you still contemplate other, extraneous matters? Why does God say “Although people once cried ‘Long live the understanding,’ no one has spent much time analyzing the word ‘understanding,’ showing that people have no desire to love Me”? If God did not say such things, could you not try to understand God’s heart of your own volition?
Though, in recent times, some people may have come to know a little of the aims and point of God’s incarnation, I can say for sure that if God did not speak plainly to man, no one would be able to guess the aims and point of God’s incarnation. This is absolute. Is it still not clear to you? Everything God does in people is part of His management plan—yet they are incapable of accurately grasping God’s will. This is the deficiency of man, but God does not require that people be capable of doing anything, He merely asks that they listen to the “doctor’s admonishments.” This is God’s requirement. He asks all people to know true human life, for “in their hearts, the words ‘human life’ don’t exist, they have no regard for them, and merely despise My words, as if I have become a rambling old lady.” In people’s eyes, God’s words are like an everyday utensil, they don’t treat them as important at all. Thus, people cannot put God’s words into practice—they have become miserable wretches who are aware of the truth but don’t put it into practice. This fault of man alone is therefore sufficient to cause disgust in God for a period of time, and thus He says multiple times that people pay no heed to His words. Yet in their conceptions, people think the following: “Each day we study and analyze God’s words, how could it be said we pay them no heed? Is this not doing us an injustice?” But let Me dissect a little for you—people will be red-faced. When they read God’s words, they nod their heads, they bow and scrape, like a pug slavering to the words of its master. Thus, at this moment, people feel unfit, tears stream down their faces, it is as if they wish to repent and start anew—but once this time has passed, their sheepishness immediately disappears, to be replaced by wolfishness, they put God’s words to one side, and always believe that their own affairs take precedence, that matters of God come last, and because of these actions of theirs, they are never able to put God’s words into action. When the facts arrive, they stretch their elbows outward[a]—this is double-crossing their own people—no wonder God says, “he ‘runs the other way’ while relying on Me for sustenance.” Only from this can it be seen that there is not the slightest falsehood in God’s words, they are entirely true, and contain not the slightest exaggeration, yet they do seem to have been understated somewhat, for man’s stature is too small, he is incapable of acceptance. God’s words have already provided a crystal clear depiction of the things of man, both inside and out, they have etched them with utter clarity, portraying a vivid likeness that is exactly the original face of Satan. It’s just that in the present stage, people have yet to see everything clearly, and thus it is said that they have not come to know themselves. It is because of this that I say this lesson must continue, it cannot stop. When people have come to know themselves will be when God is glorified. This is easy to understand—there’s no need for Me to go into detail. There is, however, one thing that I’ll remind you of, though first must be read these words of God: “In today’s times, people have never treasured Me, I have no place in their hearts. Could they show a true love for Me in the days of suffering to come?” What is the meaning of these words? God is saying that chastisement has yet to befall man, which shows that there is yet an inner meaning to the words “knowing yourself”—did you see this? Without undergoing hardship and refinement, how can people know themselves? Are these not empty words? Do you really trust in all that is spoken by God? Are you able to discern God’s words? Why does God repeatedly say things like “Seeing man’s actions, My only choice is to leave,” and also says “Only when the mountains topple and the earth is rent asunder do people think of My words, only then are they awoken from their dreams, but the time has already come, they are engulfed in the great flood, their corpses floating on the surface of the water”? Why does God say, “people think of” and not “people obey My words”? Is it true that the mountains topple and the earth is rent asunder? People pay no heed to such words, they let them slip by, and so they suffer much “hardship” in God’s words. This is because they are too thoughtless. Because of this failing of man, God says “I, this ‘freak’ without tear ducts, have cried many tears for man. Man, however, knows nothing of this.” Because people pay no attention to God’s words, God uses this means to remind them and get their “help.”
For now, I shall not prophesy about world developments, but will foretell something of man’s fate. Have I not asked that people know themselves? How can this be explained? How should people know themselves? When God torments people so much that they hover between life and death, they begin to understand something of the meaning of human life, and they detest human life, believing that a person’s entire life is nothing more than a dream. They believe that man’s life is one of anguish, that they will die without ever having achieved anything, that their life is pointless and without worth. Human life is but a dream, a dream in which grief and happiness come and go. Today, people live for God, but because they live in the world of man, their daily lives remain empty and without worth, causing all people to know that the enjoyment of God is but a passing comfort—but if, when they don’t enjoy God, they still live in the flesh even though they believe in God, what’s the point? In the flesh, all is empty for man. Having experienced the vicissitudes of human life, with the arrival of old age man’s hair turns white, his face is full of wrinkles, his hands are covered with callouses. Although he has paid a great price, he has gained practically nothing. Thus, My words go a step further: Everything is empty for those who live in the flesh. This is beyond doubt, and there is no need for you to examine this in detail. This is the original face of human life that God has talked of time and time again. God does not eschew these words as a result of man’s weakness, but simply acts according to His original plan. Perhaps, some words provide support and understanding to people, and perhaps some do precisely the opposite, deliberately causing people to live in an atmosphere of death—and it is precisely because of this that they suffer. Thus, perhaps God sets out the “empty city strategy” to deliberately confuse people, but they can’t see this at all, they remain in the dark. And yet, all is in God’s hands, and even though people know this, how could they guard against it? Thus, no one is able to escape from the threat of chastisement—what could they do? They can but submit to God’s arrangements—and isn’t that because God has grabbed them and won’t let them go? Only under God’s threats are all people able to follow nature’s course—is this not the case? If not for the arrangements of God, how could people willingly admit defeat? Wouldn’t that be a joke? Although human life is empty, who is willing, when their lives are comfortable, to silently leave behind the world of man and try to satisfy God? People die amid helplessness—who has ever died amid abundance, when they have all they could want? Only a “star” that descended from the sky would be an exception to this. Compared to the life of the third heaven it enjoyed, life on earth would be like living in hell—only under such a circumstance might it be willing to die. Yet who today is a star in heaven? I, too, am “unclear” about this. Let us search around and see if we can find one. If he is found, I ask people to help Me inquire if he is willing to act according to My words above. Yet I have a warning for each of you: None of you must play the “hero” and volunteer to die, do you understand?
a. “Stretch one’s elbow outward” is a Chinese idiom, which means a person is helping others at the expense of people close to that person, for example parents, children, relatives or siblings.