When all people take heed, when all things are renewed and revived, when every person submits to God without qualms, and is willing to shoulder the heavy responsibility of God’s burden—this is when the eastern lightning issues forth, illuminating all from the East to the West, terrifying all of earth with the arrival of this light; and at this moment, God once again begins His new life. Which is to say, at this moment God begins the new work on earth, proclaiming to people of the entire universe that “When lightning issues forth from the East—which is also precisely the moment that I begin to speak—at the moment the lightning comes forth, the whole empyrean is illuminated, and all the stars begin to transform.” So, when is the time that lightning issues forth from the East? When the heavens darken and the earth grows dim is also when God hides His face from the world, and the very moment when all beneath the heavens is about to be beset by a mighty storm. At this time, all people are stricken by panic, fearful of the thunder, afraid of the brilliance of the lightning, and even more terrified of the onslaught of the deluge, such that most of them shut their eyes and wait for God to unleash His wrath and strike them down. And as various states come to pass, the eastern lightning issues forth immediately. Which is to say, in the world’s East, from when testimony to God Himself begins, to when He begins to work, to when divinity begins to wield sovereign power across the earth—this is the glowing shaft of the eastern lightning, which has ever shone out to the whole universe. When the countries on earth become the kingdom of Christ is when the whole universe is illuminated. Now is the time when the eastern lightning issues forth: God incarnate begins to work, and, furthermore, speaks directly in divinity. It can be said that when God begins to speak on earth is when the eastern lightning comes forth. More precisely, when living water flows from the throne—when the utterances from the throne begin—is precisely when the utterances of the seven Spirits formally begin. At this time, the eastern lightning begins to come forth, and because of the difference in time, the degree of illumination also varies, and there is, too, a limit to the scope of radiance. But as God’s work moves, as His plan changes—as the work on the sons and people of God varies—the lightning increasingly performs its inherent function, such that all throughout the universe is illuminated, and no dregs or dross remain. This is the crystallization of God’s 6,000-year management plan, and the very fruit enjoyed by God. “The stars” does not refer to the stars in the sky, but to all the sons and people of God who work for God. Because they bear testimony to God in God’s kingdom, and represent God in God’s kingdom, and because they are creatures, they are called “the stars.” “To transform” refers to changes in identity and status: They change from people on earth to people of the kingdom, and, furthermore, God is with them, and God’s glory is in them. As a result, they wield sovereign power in God’s stead, and the venom and impurities in them are cleansed because of God’s work, ultimately making them fit for use by God and after God’s heart—which is one aspect of these words’ meaning. When the shaft of light from God illuminates all the land, all things in heaven and on earth will change to varying degrees, and the stars in the sky will also change, the sun and moon will be renewed, and the people on earth will be subsequently renewed—which is all the work done by God between heaven and earth, and of no surprise.
When God saves people—which, naturally, does not include those who are not the chosen ones—is the very time that God cleanses and judges people, and all people weep bitterly, or fall stricken upon their beds, or are struck down and plunged into the hell of death because of God’s words. It is only thanks to God’s utterances that they begin to know themselves. If not, theirs would be the eyes of a toad—looking up, none convinced, none of them knowing themselves, ignorant of how many stones they weigh. People are truly corrupted by Satan to a point. It is precisely because of God’s omnipotence that the ugly face of man is depicted so vividly, causing man, after reading it, to compare it to his own true face. People all know that how many brain cells they have in their heads seems crystal clear to God, to say nothing of their ugly faces or innermost thoughts. In the words “It seems as though the entire human race is subjected to a proper cleaning and sorting out. Under the glow of this shaft of light from the East, all of mankind is revealed in their original form, eyes dazzled, stymied in confusion” can be seen that one day when God’s work ends, all mankind will have been judged by God. No one will be able to escape, God will handle the people of all mankind one by one, not overlooking a single one of them, and only then shall God’s heart be satisfied. And so, God says, “Again, they are like unto animals fleeing from My light for refuge in mountain caves; yet, not one among them can be effaced from within My light.” People are lowly and inferior animals. Living in the hands of Satan, it is as if they have taken refuge in ancient forests deep within the mountains—but because all things cannot escape the incineration by God’s flames, even whilst under the “protection” of the forces of Satan, how could they be forgotten by God? When they accept the arrival of God’s words, the various bizarre forms and grotesque states of all people are depicted by God’s pen; God speaks as befits the needs and mentality of man. Thus, to people, God appears well-versed in psychology. It is as if God is a psychologist, but also as if God is a doctor of internal medicine—no wonder He has such an understanding of man, who is “complex.” The more people think this, the greater their sense of God’s preciousness, and the more they feel that God is profound and unfathomable. It is as if, between man and God, there is an uncrossable celestial boundary, but also as if the two regard each from each bank of the Chu River,[a] neither able to do nothing more than watch the other. Which is to say, the people on earth only look at God with their eyes, they have never had the chance to study Him closely, and all that they have is a feeling of attachment. In their hearts, they always have a sense that God is lovely, but because God is so “heartless and unfeeling,” they’ve never had the chance to speak of the anguish in their hearts before Him. They’re like a beautiful young wife before her husband—who, because of the probity of her husband, has never had the opportunity to divulge her true feelings. People are self-despising wretches, and so, because of their fragility, because of their lack of self-respect, My hate of man unconsciously increases somewhat, and the fury in My heart bursts forth. In My mind, it is as if I have suffered a trauma. I have long since lost hope in man, but because “Once again, My day is pressing close upon the human race, once again arousing the human race, giving humanity a point from which to make a new beginning,” I once again summon the courage to conquer all mankind, to capture and defeat the great red dragon. God’s original intention was as follows: to do nothing more than conquer the spawn of the great red dragon in China; only this could be considered the defeat of the great red dragon, the vanquish of the great red dragon, and only this would be sufficient to prove that God reigns as King across the earth, proving the accomplishment of God’s great enterprise, and that God has a new beginning on earth, and is glorified on earth. Because of the final beautiful scene, God can’t help but express the passion in His heart: “My heart beats and, following the rhythms of My heartbeat, the mountains leap for joy, the waters dance with joy, and the waves, keeping time, beat upon the rocky reefs. It is difficult to express what is in My heart.” From this can be seen that what was planned by God is what God has already accomplished, that it was predetermined by God, and is precisely what God makes people experience and behold. The prospect of the kingdom is beautiful, the King of the kingdom is the victor, from head to toe there is not a trace of flesh and blood, all of Him is sacred. His whole body glows with sacred glory, utterly untainted by human ideas, His entire body, from top to bottom, brims with righteousness and the aura of heaven, and exudes a captivating fragrance. Like the beloved in Song of Songs, He is yet more beautiful than all the saints, higher than the ancient saints, He is the exemplar among all people, and incomparable to man; people are not fit to look upon Him directly. No one can attain God’s glorious countenance, God’s appearance, or God’s image, no one can compete, and no one can easily praise them with their mouths.
God’s words have no end, like water gushing from a spring they will never run dry, and thus no one can fathom the mysteries of God’s management plan—yet to God, such mysteries are endless. Using different means and language, God has spoken several times of His renewal and transformation of the whole universe, each time more profound than the last: “I want all unclean things to burn up into ashes under My gaze, I want all the sons of disobedience to disappear from before My eyes, never more to linger on in existence.” Why does God repeatedly say such things? Is He not fearful people will grow weary of them? People merely grope amidst God’s words, wishing to know God this way, but never remembering to examine themselves. Thus, God employs this means to remind them, to make them know themselves, so that from themselves they can come to know the disobedience of man, and thus eradicate their disobedience before God. Reading that God wishes to “clean and sort out,” their mood grows anxious at once, and their muscles, too, seem to stop moving. They immediately return before God to criticize themselves, and so come to know God. After this—after they make up their minds—God uses the opportunity to show them the essence of the great red dragon; thus, people engage with the spiritual realm directly, and because of the part played by their resolve, their minds also begin to play a role, which increases the sentiment between man and God—which is of greater benefit to God’s work in the flesh. In this way, people unconsciously wish to look back on times gone by: In the past, for years people believed in the vague God, for years they were never set free in their hearts, they were incapable of great enjoyment, and although they believed in God, there was no order to their lives. It was as if there was no difference with before they were believers, their lives still felt empty and hopeless, it was as if their belief at that time was a kind of entanglement, and as if they would have been better off not believing. Since they beheld the practical God Himself of today, it is as if heaven and earth have been renewed; their lives have become radiant, they are no longer without hope, and because of the arrival of the practical God, they feel steadfast in their hearts and peaceful within their spirits. No longer do they chase the wind and clutch at shadows in all they do, no more is their pursuit aimless and no more are they flailing about. The life of today is even more beautiful, people have unexpectedly entered the kingdom and become one of God’s people, and afterward…. In their hearts, the more people think, the greater the sweetness, the more they think, the happier they are, and the more they are inspired to love God. Thus, without them realizing it, the friendship between God and man is enhanced. People love God more, and know God more, and God’s work in man becomes increasingly easy, and it no longer forces or compels people, but follows the course of nature, and man performs his own unique function—only then will they gradually be able to know God. Only this is God’s wisdom—it does not entail the slightest effort, and it is brought to bear as befits man’s nature. Thus, at this moment God says, “At the time of My incarnation in the human world, mankind arrived unwittingly at this day with the help of My guiding hand, came unwittingly to know Me. But, as for how to walk the path that lies ahead, no one has any inkling, no one is aware, and still less does anyone have a clue as to the direction in which that path will take him. Only with the Almighty watching over him will anyone be able to walk the path to the end; only guided by the lightning in the East will anyone be able to cross over the threshold leading to My kingdom.” Is this not a summary of what I have described in man’s heart above? Herein lies the secret of God’s words. The thoughts in man’s heart are what is spoken by God’s mouth, and what is spoken by God’s mouth is wished for by man, and this is precisely what God is most adept at in exposing man’s heart; if not, how could all be sincerely convinced? Is this not the effect God wishes to achieve in conquering the great red dragon?
In fact, as was God’s original intention, the meaning of many of His words does not lie in their superficial meaning. In many of His words, God is simply deliberately changing people’s conceptions and diverting their attention. God does not attach any importance to these words, and thus many words are not worthy of explanation. When man’s conquest by God’s words has arrived at the point it has today, people’s strength has reached a certain point, and so God subsequently utters more words of warning—the constitution He issues forth to the people of God: “Although the human beings that populate the earth are as numerous as the stars, I know them all as clearly as I see the palm of My own hand. And, though the human beings that ‘love’ Me are also as innumerable as the sands of the sea, only a few are chosen by Me: only those that pursue the bright light, who are apart from those who ‘love’ Me.” Indeed, there are many who say they love God, but there are few who love Him in their hearts—which, it would seem, can be known clearly even with eyes closed. This is the actual situation of the entire world of those who believe in God. In this, we see that now God has turned to the work of expunging people, which shows that what God wants, and what satisfies God, is not the church of today, but the kingdom after the expunging. At this moment, He further gives a warning to all the “dangerous goods”: Unless God does not act, as soon as God begins to act, these people shall be wiped from the kingdom. God never does things perfunctorily, He always acts according to the principle of “one is one and two is two,” and if there are those He does not wish to look upon, He does everything possible to wipe them away to stop them from causing trouble in the future. This is called “taking out the rubbish and thoroughly cleaning.” When God announces the administrative decrees to man is the very moment that He presents His miraculous deeds and all that is within Him, and thus He subsequently says: “There are wild beasts without number in the mountains, but they are all as tame as sheep before Me; unfathomable mysteries lie underneath the ocean, but they present themselves to Me as clearly as all things upon the face of the earth; in the empyrean above are realms that man can never reach, yet I walk about freely in those inaccessible realms.” God’s meaning is this: Although the heart of man is deceitful above all things, and seemingly as endlessly mysterious as the hell of people’s conceptions, God knows man’s actual states like the back of His hand. Among all things, man is an animal more fierce and brutal than a wild beast, yet God has conquered man to the point that none dare to rise up and resist. In fact, as is God’s meaning, what people think in their hearts is more complex than all things among all things, it is unfathomable, yet God has no regard for man’s heart, He merely treats it as a little worm before His eyes; with a word from His mouth, He conquers it, at any time He wishes, He strikes it down, with the slightest movement of His hand, He chastises it, and He condemns it at will.
Today, all people exist amid darkness, but because of God’s arrival, people come to know the substance of the light as a result of having seen God. Throughout the world it is as if a great black pot has been upturned over the earth; no one can draw a breath, they all want to reverse the situation, yet no one has ever lifted off the black pot. It is only because of God’s incarnation that people’s eyes have suddenly been opened, and they have beheld the practical God, and thus, God asks them with a questioning tone: “Man has never recognized Me in the light, but has only seen Me in the world of darkness. Are you not in exactly the same situation today? It was at the climax of the great red dragon’s rampages that I formally put on the flesh to do My work.” God does not hide what’s going on in the spiritual realm, nor does He hide what’s happening in the heart of man, and thus He repeatedly reminds people: “I do this not only to enable My people to know the incarnate God, but also in order to cleanse My people. Due to the severity of My administrative decrees, a great majority of people are still in danger of being eliminated by Me. Unless you make every effort to deal with yourself, to subdue your own body, unless you do this, you will assuredly become an object that I despise and reject, to be cast down into hell, just as Paul received chastisement from My hands, from which there was no escape.” The more God says such things, the more people are cautious of their own footsteps, and the more they are fearful of God’s administrative decrees, and only then can God’s authority be brought to bear and His majesty made plain. Here, Paul is once again mentioned in order to make people understand God’s will: They must not be those who are chastised by God, but be those who are mindful of God’s will. Only this can make people, amidst their fear, look back upon the past inability of their resolve before God to completely satisfy God, which gives them even greater regret, and gives them more knowledge of the practical God, and thus only then can they have no doubts about God’s words.
“It is not merely that man does not know Me in My flesh; even worse, he has failed to understand his own self that resides in a fleshly body. How many years has it been, and all this time human beings have deceived Me, treating Me as a guest from outside? How many times…?” These “How many times” list the reality of man’s opposition to God, showing people real examples of chastisement; this is proof of sin, and no one can refute it again. All people use God like some everyday item, as if He is some household essential that they can use as they wish. No one cherishes God, no one has tried to know the fineness of God, and the glorious countenance of God, much less does anyone have the intention to submit to God. Nor has anyone ever looked upon God as something beloved in their heart; they all drag Him over when they need Him, and toss Him to one side and ignore Him when they don’t. It is as if, to man, God is a puppet, one that man may manipulate at will, and make demands of howsoever he wishes or desires. But God says, “If, during the period of My incarnation, I had not cared for man’s frailty, then all of humanity would, solely on account of My incarnation, have been frightened out of their wits and, as a result, fallen into Hades,” which shows just how great the significance of God’s incarnation is: In the flesh, He has come to conquer mankind, instead of destroying all mankind from the spiritual realm. Thus, when the Word became flesh, nobody knew. If God were not caring of man’s frailty, if heaven and earth were turned upside down when He became flesh, all people would have been annihilated. Because it is in people’s nature to like the new and hate the old, and they often forget the bad times when things are going well, and none of them know how blessed they are, thus God repeatedly reminds them that they must treasure how hard fought today is; for the sake of tomorrow, they must treasure today even more, and must not, like an animal, climb upon high and not recognize the master, and not be ignorant of the blessings they live among. Thus, they become well-behaved, no longer are they boastful or arrogant, and they come to know that it is not the case that man’s nature is good, but that God’s mercy and love has come upon man; they fear chastisement, and so dare do nothing more.
a. In Chinese, “Chu River” is a term from a historical event which is used to refer to a country’s borders or the lines of battle.