X. One Must Fellowship Clearly on the Truths Concerning How to Know God
1. What exactly is knowing God? Can an understanding of Bible knowledge and theological theory be considered knowledge of God?
Relevant Words of God:
What does it mean to know God? It means that man knows God’s joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness; this is knowing God. You say that you have seen God, yet you do not understand God’s joy, anger, sorrow, and happiness, you do not understand His disposition, nor do you understand His righteousness. You have no understanding of His mercifulness, and you do not know what He likes or what He loathes. This is not knowledge of God. If you know Him, understand Him, and are able to comprehend some of His will, then you can truly believe in Him, truly submit to Him, truly love Him, and truly worship Him. If you do not understand these things, then you are only following along, someone who just runs along and follows the crowd. That cannot be called true submission or true worship. How does true worship come about? There are none who truly know and see God who do not worship Him, who do not revere Him. They must all bow down and worship Him. At present, in the time of the work of God incarnate, the more understanding that people have of the essence of God’s divinity, of His disposition and of what He has and is, the more they treasure them and revere Him. Generally, less understanding means more carelessness, and that God is treated as human. If people really know God and see Him, they will tremble with fear. Why did John say, “He that comes after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear”? Though the understanding in his heart was not very deep, he knew that God is awesome. How many people are able to revere God now? Without knowing His disposition, how could one revere Him? If people do not know the essence of Christ and do not understand the disposition of God, they are not able to truly worship the practical God. If people see only the ordinary and normal outward appearance of Christ and do not know His essence, it is easy for them to treat Christ as an ordinary man. They may adopt an irreverent attitude toward Him, can cheat Him, resist Him, disobey Him, and cast judgment on Him. They may think themselves as right and take His word and work as insignificant, harbor notions of God, and condemn and blaspheme Him. To resolve these issues one must know the essence of Christ, the divinity of Christ. This is the main aspect of knowing God; it is what all believers must achieve.
from “How to Know God Incarnate” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Knowledge of the practical God includes knowing and experiencing His words, and grasping the rules and principles of the work of the Holy Spirit, and how the Spirit of God works in the flesh. So, too, does it include knowing that every action of God in the flesh is governed by the Spirit, and that the words He speaks are the direct expression of the Spirit. Thus, if you wish to know the practical God, you must primarily know how God works in humanity and in divinity; this, in turn, concerns the expressions of the Spirit, which all people engage with.
from “You Should Know That the Practical God Is God Himself” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The process of coming to know the word of God is the process of coming to know God, and also the process of coming to know the work of God. And so, knowing visions not only refers to knowing the humanity of God incarnate, but also includes knowing the word and the work of God. From the word of God people come to understand God’s will, and from the work of God they come to know God’s disposition and what God is. Belief in God is the first step to knowing God. The process of advancing from this initial belief in God to the most profound belief in Him is the process of coming to know God, and the process of experiencing the work of God. … Knowing God includes knowing His disposition, understanding His will, and knowing what He is. Yet whichever aspect one comes to know, each one requires man to pay a price, and requires the will to obey, without which no one would be able to continue following to the end.
from “Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Knowing God’s practical actions, knowing the reality of God and His omnipotence, knowing the true identity of God Himself, knowing what He has and is, knowing what He has demonstrated among all things—these are very important to every single person who pursues knowledge of God. These have a direct bearing on whether people can enter into the reality of the truth. If you limit your understanding of God to just words, if you limit it to your own little experiences, God’s grace that you count, or your little testimonies to God, then I say that the God you believe in is absolutely not the true God Himself, and it can also be said that the God you believe in is an imaginary God, not the true God. This is because the true God is the One that rules over everything, that walks among everything, that manages everything. He is the One that holds the fate of all of mankind—the One that holds the fate of everything. The work and actions of the God that I am talking about are not just limited to a small portion of people. That is, it’s not limited to just the people who currently follow Him. His actions are demonstrated among all things, in the survival of all things, and in the laws of change of all things.
If you cannot see or recognize any actions of God among all things, then you cannot bear witness to any of His actions. If you cannot bear any witness for God, if you continue to speak of the small so-called God that you know, that God who is limited to your own ideas, and is within your narrow mind, if you continue to speak of that kind of God, then God will never praise your faith. When you bear witness for God, if you only use how you enjoy God’s grace, accept God’s discipline and His chastening, and enjoy His blessings in your witness for Him, that is hugely inadequate, and is far from satisfying Him. If you want to bear witness for God in a way that is in line with His will, bear witness for the true God Himself, then you must see what God has and is from His actions. You must see God’s authority from His control of everything, and see the truth of how He provides for all of mankind. If you only acknowledge that your daily food and drink and your necessities in life come from God, but you don’t see the truth that God provides for all of mankind by means of all things, that He leads all of mankind by means of His rule of all things, then you will never be able to bear witness for God.
from “God Himself, the Unique IX” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Now what all men lack is the knowledge of God’s work. Man neither comprehends nor understands exactly what constitutes the deeds of God in man, all the work of God, and the will of God since the creation of the world. This inadequacy is not merely seen throughout the religious world, but moreover in all believers of God. When the day comes that you truly behold God and realize the wisdom of God; when you behold all the deeds of God and recognize what God is and has; when you behold His abundance, wisdom, wonder, and all His work in man, it is then that you will have attained successful faith in God. When God is said to be all-encompassing and greatly abundant, what is meant by all-encompassing? And what is meant by abundance? If this you do not understand, then you cannot be deemed a believer of God.
from “All Who Do Not Know God Are Those Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
No matter how great an understanding man has of the Bible, it remains nothing more than words, for man does not understand the substance of the Bible. In reading the Bible, man may understand some truths, explain some words, or subject some famous passages and chapters to his petty scrutiny, but he will never be able to extricate the meaning contained within those words, for all man sees are dead words, not the scenes of the work of Jehovah and of Jesus, and man has no way of unraveling the mystery of this work. Therefore, the mystery of the six-thousand-year plan of management is the greatest mystery, the most profoundly hidden, and wholly unfathomable to man. No one can directly grasp the will of God, unless He Himself explains and opens it up to man; otherwise, these things will forever remain riddles to man, remaining forever sealed mysteries. Never mind those in the religious world; if you had not been told today, you would not have grasped it either.
from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Many people believe that understanding and being able to interpret the Bible is the same as finding the true way—but in fact, are things really so simple? No one knows the reality of the Bible: that it is nothing more than a historical record of God’s work, and a testament to the previous two stages of God’s work, and offers you no understanding of the aims of God’s work. Everyone who has read the Bible knows that it documents the two stages of God’s work during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. The Old Testament chronicles the history of Israel and Jehovah’s work from the time of creation until the end of the Age of Law. The New Testament records Jesus’ work on earth, which is in the Four Gospels, as well as the work of Paul; are they not historical records? Bringing up the things of the past today makes them history, and no matter how true or real they might be, they are still history—and history cannot address the present. For God does not look back on history! And so, if you only understand the Bible, and understand nothing of the work God intends to do today, and if you believe in God but do not seek the work of the Holy Spirit, then you do not understand what it means to seek God. If you read the Bible in order to study the history of Israel, to research the history of God’s creation of all the heavens and earth, then you do not believe in God. But today, since you believe in God, and pursue life, since you pursue the knowledge of God, and do not pursue dead letters and doctrines, or an understanding of history, you must seek God’s will of today, and must look for the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work. If you were an archeologist you could read the Bible—but you are not, you are one of those who believe in God, and you’d best seek God’s will of today.
from “Concerning the Bible (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Some people say, “The Bible is a holy book, and it must be read.” Some people say, “God’s work must be upheld forever, the Old Testament is God’s covenant with the Israelites, and cannot be dispensed with, and the Sabbath must always be kept!” Are they not ridiculous? Why didn’t Jesus keep the Sabbath? Was He sinning? Who can see through to such things? No matter how you read the Bible, it will be impossible to know the work of God using man’s powers of comprehension. Not only will you not gain a pure knowledge of God, but your conceptions will become ever more egregious, such that you begin to oppose God. If it were not for the incarnation of God today, people would be ruined by their own conceptions, and they would die amid God’s chastisement.
from “Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
People, who have been corrupted, all live in Satan’s trap, they live in the flesh, live in selfish desires, and there is not a single one among them who is compatible with Me. There are those who say that they are compatible with Me, but who all worship vague idols. Although they acknowledge My name as holy, they tread a path that runs contrary to Me, and their words are full of arrogance and self-confidence, because, at root, they are all against Me, and incompatible with Me. Every day they seek traces of Me in the Bible, and find “suitable” passages at random that they read endlessly, and which they recite as scriptures. They do not know how to be compatible with Me, do not know what it means to be in enmity of Me, and merely read scriptures blindly. They constrain within the Bible a vague God that they have never seen, and are incapable of seeing, and take it out to look at during their spare time. They believe in My existence only within the scope of the Bible. For them, I am the same as the Bible; without the Bible there is no Me, and without Me there is no Bible. They pay no heed to My existence or actions, but instead devote extreme and special attention to each and every word of Scripture, and many of them even believe that I should not do anything I wish to do unless it is foretold by Scripture. They attach too much importance to Scripture. It can be said that they see words and expressions as too important, to the extent that they use verses from the Bible to measure every word I say, and to condemn Me. What they seek is not the way of compatibility with Me, or the way of compatibility with the truth, but the way of compatibility with the words of the Bible, and they believe that anything that does not conform to the Bible is, without exception, not My work. Are such people not the dutiful descendants of the Pharisees? The Jewish Pharisees used the law of Moses to condemn Jesus. They did not seek compatibility with the Jesus of that time, but diligently followed the law to the letter, to the extent that they ultimately nailed the innocent Jesus to the cross, having charged Him with not following the law of the Old Testament and not being the Messiah. What was their essence? Was it not that they didn’t seek the way of compatibility with the truth? They obsessed over each and every word of the Scripture, while paying no heed to My will and the steps and methods of My work. They were not people who sought the truth, but people who rigidly followed the words of Scripture; they were not people who believed in God, but people who believed in the Bible. Essentially, they were watchdogs of the Bible. In order to safeguard the interests of the Bible, and uphold the dignity of the Bible, and protect the reputation of the Bible, they went so far as to nail the merciful Jesus onto the cross. This they did merely for the sake of defending the Bible, and for the sake of maintaining the status of each and every word of the Bible in people’s hearts. So they preferred to forsake their future and the sin offering to condemn Jesus, who did not conform to the doctrine of Scripture, to death. Were they not lackeys to each and every word of Scripture?
And what of people today? Christ has come to release the truth, yet they would rather expel Him from among man in order to gain entry into heaven and receive grace. They would rather completely deny the coming of the truth in order to safeguard the interests of the Bible, and would rather nail the Christ returned to flesh to the cross again in order to ensure the everlasting existence of the Bible. … Man searches for compatibility with words, with the Bible, yet not a single person comes before Me to seek the way of compatibility with the truth. Man looks up to Me in heaven, and devotes particular concern to My existence in heaven, yet no one cares about Me in the flesh, for I who live among man am simply too insignificant. Those who only seek compatibility with the words of the Bible, and who only seek compatibility with a vague God, are a wretched sight to Me. That is because what they worship are dead words, and a God that is capable of giving them untold treasures. What they worship is a God that lays himself at the mercy of man, and which doesn’t exist. What, then, can such people gain from Me? Man is simply too lowly for words. Those who are against Me, who make limitless demands of Me, who have no love of the truth, who are rebellious toward Me—how could they be compatible with Me?
from “You Should Seek the Way of Compatibility With Christ” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Those who only care about the words of the Bible, who are unconcerned about the truth or seeking My footsteps—they are against Me, for they limit Me according to the Bible, and constrain Me within the Bible, and so are blasphemous in the extreme toward Me. How could such people come before Me? They pay no heed to My deeds, or My will, or the truth, but instead obsess over words, words that kill. How could such people be compatible with Me?
from “You Should Seek the Way of Compatibility With Christ” in The Word Appears in the Flesh