X. One Must Fellowship Clearly on the Truths Concerning How to Know God
4. How has God led and provided for mankind up to the present day?
Relevant Words of God:
The work of God’s management began at the creation of the world, and man is at the core of this work. God’s creation of all things, it can be said, is for the sake of man. Because the work of His management stretches over thousands of years, and is not carried out in the space of mere minutes or seconds, or a blink of an eye, or over one or two years, He had to create more things necessary for the survival of man, such as the sun, moon, all sorts of living creatures, and food and a living environment for mankind. This was the start of God’s management.
from “Man Can Only Be Saved Amidst the Management of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What work has God done to distribute the races? First, He prepared the larger geographical environment, allocating different locations for people, and then generation after generation survive there. This is settled—the scope for their survival is settled. And their lives, what they eat, what they drink, their livelihoods—God long since settled all of that. And when God was creating all beings, He made different preparations for different types of people: There are different soil compositions, different climates, different plants, and different geographical environments. Different places even have different birds and beasts, different waters have their own special types of fish and aquatic products. Even the types of insects are determined by God. … The differences in these various aspects may not be seen or perceived by people, but when God was creating all beings, He delineated them and prepared different geographical environments, different terrains, and different living things for different races. That’s because God created different types of people and He knows what each of them needs and what their lifestyles are.
from “God Himself, the Unique IX” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What are the basic conditions for these different human lifestyles? Don’t they require basic maintenance of their environments for survival? That is to say, if hunters were to lose the mountain forests or the birds and the beasts, they would no longer have their livelihood. So if people who subsist on hunting lost the mountain forests and no longer had the birds and the beasts, if they no longer had a source for their livelihood, then the direction that kind of ethnicity would head in and where that kind of people would go is an unknown quantity, and they could even just disappear. And what do those who herd for their livelihood rely on? What they truly depend on is not their livestock, but it is the environment in which their livestock survive—the grasslands. If there were no grasslands, where would they graze their livestock? What would the cattle and sheep eat? Without the livestock, the nomadic peoples would have no livelihood. Without a source for their livelihood, where would such peoples go? Ongoing survival would become very difficult; they wouldn’t have a future. With no water sources, rivers and lakes would dry up. Would all those fish that rely on water for their lives still exist? Those fish would not exist. Would those people who rely on the water and the fish for their livelihood continue to survive? If they didn’t have food, if they didn’t have the source of their livelihood, those peoples would not be able to continue to survive. That is, if there is a problem with their livelihood or their survival, those races would no longer continue, and they could disappear, be obliterated from the earth. And if those who farm for their livelihood lost their soil, if they couldn’t plant things and get their food from various plants, what would the outcome be? Without food, wouldn’t people starve to death? If people starved to death, wouldn’t that type of human be wiped out? So this is God’s purpose in maintaining various environments. God only has one purpose in maintaining various environments and ecosystems, maintaining the different living beings within each environment—it is to nurture all kinds of people, to nurture people with lives in different geographical environments.
If all beings lost their own laws, they would no longer exist; if the laws of all beings were lost, then the living beings amongst all beings would not be able to continue on. Humans would also lose their environments for survival that they depend upon for survival. If humans lost all of that, they would not be able to continue to live and multiply generation after generation. The reason humans have survived until now is because God has supplied mankind with all beings to nurture them, to nurture mankind in different ways. It is only because God nurtures mankind in different ways that they have survived until now, that they have survived until the present day.
from “God Himself, the Unique IX” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Jehovah created mankind, that is to say, He created the ancestors of mankind, Eve and Adam, but He did not bestow upon them any further intellect or wisdom. Although they were already living on earth, they understood almost nothing. And so, Jehovah’s work in creating mankind was only half finished, and was far from complete. He had only formed a model of man from clay and given it His breath, but without bestowing unto man sufficient willingness to revere Him. In the beginning, man was not of a mind to revere Him, or to fear Him. Man only knew how to listen to His words but was ignorant of the basic knowledge for life on earth and of the proper rules of human life. And so, although Jehovah created man and woman and finished the project of seven days, He by no means completed the creation of man, for man was but a husk, and lacked the reality of being human. Man only knew that it was Jehovah who had created mankind, but he had no inkling of how to abide by the words or the laws of Jehovah. And so, after mankind came into being, the work of Jehovah was far from over. He still had to fully guide mankind to come before Him, so that they might be able to live together on earth and revere Him, and so that they might be able, with His guidance, to enter upon the right track of a normal human life on earth. Only in this way was the work that had been principally conducted under the name of Jehovah fully completed; that is, only in this way was Jehovah’s work of creating the world fully concluded. And so, having created mankind, He had to guide mankind’s life on earth for several thousand years, in order that mankind might be able to abide by His decrees and laws, and partake in all the activities of a normal human life on earth. Only then was Jehovah’s work fully complete.
from “The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
After the work of Jehovah in the Age of Law, God began His new work of the second stage: assuming the flesh—being incarnated as man for ten, twenty years—and speaking and doing His work among believers. Yet without exception, no one knew, and only a small number of people acknowledged that He was God become flesh after the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross and resurrected. … As soon as the second stage of God’s work was completed—after the crucifixion—God’s work of recovering man from sin (which is to say, recovering man from the hands of Satan) was accomplished. And so, from that moment onward, mankind had only to accept the Lord Jesus as the Savior for his sins to be forgiven. Nominally speaking, the sins of man were no longer a barrier to his achieving salvation and coming before God and were no longer the leverage by which Satan accused man. That is because God Himself had done real work, had become in the likeness and foretaste of sinful flesh, and God Himself was the sin offering. In this way, man descended from the cross, being redeemed and saved thanks to the flesh of God, the likeness of this sinful flesh. And so, after being taken captive by Satan, man came one step closer to accepting salvation before God. Of course, this stage of work was the management of God that was one step on from the Age of Law, and of a deeper level than the Age of Law.
And then came the Age of Kingdom, which is a more practical stage of work and yet is also the hardest for man to accept. That is because the closer that man comes to God, the nearer God’s rod approaches man, and the more clearly God’s face appears before man. Following the redemption of mankind, man officially returns to the family of God. Man thought that now was the time for enjoyment, yet he is subjected to a full-frontal assault by God, the likes of which no one has foreseen: As it turns out, this is a baptism that the people of God have to “enjoy.” Under such treatment, people have no choice but to stop and think to themselves, I am the lamb, lost for many years, that God spent so much to buy back, so why does God treat me like this? Is it God’s way of laughing at me, and revealing me? … After years have passed, man has become weather-beaten, having experienced the hardship of refinement and chastisement. Although man has lost the “glory” and “romance” of times past, he has unconsciously come to understand the truth of being a man, and has come to appreciate God’s years of devotion to saving mankind. Man slowly begins to loathe his own barbarousness. He begins to hate how feral he is, and all the misunderstandings toward God, and the unreasonable demands he has made of Him. Time cannot be reversed; past events become the regretful memories of man, and the words and love of God become the driving force in man’s new life. Man’s wounds heal day by day, his strength returns, and he stands up and looks upon the face of the Almighty … only to discover that He has always been at my side, and that His smile and His beautiful countenance are still so stirring. His heart still holds concern for the mankind He created, and His hands are still as warm and powerful as they were at the beginning. It is as if man returned to the Garden of Eden, yet this time man no longer listens to the enticements of the serpent, no longer turns away from the face of Jehovah. Man kneels before God, looks up at God’s smiling face, and offers his most precious sacrifice—Oh! My Lord, my God!
from “Man Can Only Be Saved Amidst the Management of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Since the existence of God’s management, He has always been fully dedicated to carrying out His work. Despite veiling His person from them, He has always been by man’s side, doing work on them, expressing His disposition, guiding all of humanity with His essence, and doing His work on every single person through His might, His wisdom, and His authority, thus bringing the Age of Law, the Age of Grace, and now the Age of Kingdom into being. Though God conceals His person from man, His disposition, His being and possessions, and His will toward mankind, are unreservedly revealed to man for man to see and to experience. In other words, though human beings cannot see or touch God, the disposition and essence of God that humanity has been in contact with are absolutely expressions of God Himself. Isn’t that the truth? Regardless of in what method or from what angle God does His work, He always treats people with His true identity, doing what He is supposed to do and saying what He is supposed to say. No matter what position God speaks from—He could be standing in the third heaven, or standing in the flesh, or even as an ordinary person—He always speaks to man with all His heart and all His mind, without any deception or concealment. When He carries out His work, God expresses His word and His disposition, and expresses what He has and is, without any reservation whatsoever. He guides mankind with His life and His being and possessions.
from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself I” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When God begins work on someone, when He has chosen someone, He does not proclaim it to anyone, nor does He proclaim it to Satan, much less make any grand gesture. He just very quietly, very naturally does what is necessary. First, He selects a family for you; what kind of background the family has, who your parents are, who your ancestors are—all this was already decided by God. In other words, these were not spur of the moment decisions made by Him, but rather this was a work begun long ago. Once God has chosen a family for you, He also chooses the date on which you will be born. Presently, God watches as you are born crying into the world, watches your birth, watches as you utter your first words, watches as you stumble and toddle your first steps, learning how to walk. First you take one step and then you take another … now you can run, now you can jump, now you can talk, now you can express your feelings. As man grows up, Satan’s gaze is fixed on every one of them, like a tiger eyeing its prey. But in doing His work, God has never suffered any limitations of people, events or things, of space or time; He does what He should and does what He must. In the process of growing up, you may encounter many things that are not to your liking, encounter illnesses and frustrations. But as you walk this road, your life and your future are strictly under God’s care. God gives you a genuine guarantee to last all your life, for He is right there beside you, guarding you and looking after you. Unaware of this, you grow up. You begin to come into contact with new things and start to get to know this world and this mankind. Everything is fresh and new to you. You like doing what you like. You live within your own humanity, you live within your own living space and you have not the slightest perception about the existence of God. But God watches you every step of the way as you grow, and watches you as you make every forward stride. Even when you are learning knowledge, or studying science, not for one step has God ever left your side. You are just the same as other people in that, in the course of getting to know and coming into contact with the world, you have established your own ideals, you have your own hobbies, your own interests, and you also harbor lofty ambitions. You often ponder your own future, often sketching the outline of how your future should look. But no matter what happens along the way, God sees all with clear eyes. Maybe you yourself have forgotten your own past, but to God, there is no one who can understand you better than He. You live under God’s eye, growing up, maturing. … From the time you were born all the way up to now, God has carried out much work on you, but He does not give you a blow-by-blow account of everything He’s done. God did not allow you to know, and He did not tell you. However, to man, everything He does is important. To God, it is something He must do. In His heart there is something important He needs to do that far exceeds any of these things. That is, from the time man was born up to now, God must guarantee the safety of them. After hearing these words, you may feel as though you do not fully understand, saying “Is this safety so important?” So what is the literal meaning of “safety”? Maybe you understand it to mean peace or maybe you understand it to mean never experiencing any disaster or calamity, to live well, to live a normal life. But in your hearts you must know that it is not that simple. So what on earth is this thing that I have been talking about, that God has to do? What does safety mean to God? Is it really a guarantee of your safety? No. So what is it that God does? This safety means you not being devoured by Satan. Is this important? You are not devoured by Satan, so does this concern your safety, or not? This concerns your personal safety, and there can be nothing more important. Once you have been devoured by Satan, neither your soul nor your flesh belongs to God any longer. God will no longer save you. God forsakes souls like that and forsakes people like that. So I say the most important thing that God has to do is to guarantee your safety, to guarantee that you will not be devoured by Satan. This is pretty important, isn’t it? So why can you not answer? Seems like you cannot feel God’s great kindness!
God does much more besides guaranteeing people’s safety, guaranteeing that they will not be devoured by Satan; He also does a great deal of work in preparation for choosing someone and for saving them. Firstly, what kind of character you have, what kind of family you will be born into, who your parents are, how many brothers and sisters you have, and what the situation, economic status and conditions of the family you are born into are—this is all painstakingly arranged for you by God. … From the outside, it looks like God has done nothing earthshaking for man; He just does everything secretly, humbly and in silence. But in fact, all that God does is done to lay a foundation for your salvation, to prepare the road ahead and to prepare all necessary conditions for your salvation. Straight away at each person’s specified time, God brings them back before Him—when the time comes for you to hear God’s voice, that is the time you come before Him. At the time this happens, some people have already become parents themselves, whilst others are just somebody’s child. In other words, some people have gotten married and had children whilst some are still single, not yet having started their own families. But regardless of people’s situations, God has already set the times when you will be chosen and when His gospel and words will reach you. God has set the circumstances, decided on a certain person or a certain context through which the gospel will be passed onto you, so that you may hear the words of God. God has already prepared for you all the necessary conditions so that, unknowingly, you come before Him and are returned to God’s family. You also unknowingly follow God and enter into His step-by-step work, entering into God’s way of work that He has, step by step, prepared for you. … There are different reasons and different ways of belief, but no matter what reason brings you to believe in Him, it is all actually arranged and guided by God. At first, God employs various ways to choose you and to bring you into His family. This is the grace God bestows on every single person.
Now with God’s work in the last days, He no longer just bestows grace and blessings on man like He did in the beginning, nor does He coax people onward. During this stage of work, what has man seen from all the aspects of God’s work that they have experienced? They have seen God’s love and God’s judgment and chastisement. At this time, God furthermore provides, supports, enlightens and guides man, so that they gradually come to know His intentions, know the words He speaks and the truth He bestows on man. When man is weak, when they are dispirited, when they have nowhere to turn, God will use His words to comfort, advise and encourage them, so that man of small stature can gradually find their strength, rise up in positivity and become willing to cooperate with God. But when man disobeys God or resists Him, or they reveal their own corruption, God will show no mercy in chastening them and disciplining them. To man’s foolishness, ignorance, weakness and immaturity, however, God will show tolerance and patience. In this way, through all the work God does for man, man gradually matures, grows up, and comes to know God’s intentions, to know some truth, to know what are positive things and what are negative things, to know what evil is and what darkness is. God does not always chasten and discipline man, nor does He always show tolerance and patience. Rather He provides for each person in different ways, at their different stages and according to their different statures and caliber. He does many things for man and at great cost; man perceives nothing of this cost or these things God does, yet all that He does is in reality carried out on every single person. God’s love is real: Through the grace of God man avoids one disaster after another, whilst to man’s weakness, God shows His tolerance time after time. The judgment and chastisement of God allow people to gradually come to know mankind’s corruption and their satanic essence. That which God provides, His enlightenment of man and His guidance all allow mankind to know more and more the essence of truth, and to increasingly know what people need, what road they should take, what they live for, the value and meaning of their lives, and how to walk the road ahead. All these things that God does are inseparable from His one original purpose. What, then, is this purpose? Why does God use these ways to carry out His work on man? What result does He want to achieve? In other words, what does He want to see in man and get from them? What God wants to see is that man’s heart can be revived. These ways that He uses to work on man are to continually awaken the heart of man, awaken man’s spirit, letting man know where they came from, who is guiding them, supporting them, providing for them, and who has allowed man to live up till now; they are to let man know who is the Creator, whom they should worship, what kind of road they should walk, and in what way man should come before God; they are used to gradually revive the heart of man, so man knows God’s heart, understands God’s heart, and comprehends the great care and thought behind His work to save man. When man’s heart is revived, they no longer wish to live the life of a degenerate, corrupt disposition, but instead wish to pursue the truth in the satisfaction of God. When man’s heart has been awakened, they are then able to make a clean break with Satan, no longer to be harmed by Satan, no longer to be controlled or fooled by it. Instead, man can cooperate in God’s work and in His words in a positive way to satisfy the heart of God, thus attaining fear of God and the shunning of evil. This is the original purpose of God’s work.
from “God Himself, the Unique VI” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Several thousand years have passed, and mankind still enjoys the light and air bestowed by God, still breathes the breath exhaled by God Himself, still enjoys the flowers, birds, fish and insects created by God, and enjoys all the things provided by God; day and night still continually replace each other; the four seasons alternate as usual; the geese flying in the sky depart in this winter, and still return in the next spring; the fish in the water never leave the rivers and lakes—their home; the cicadas on the earth sing their hearts out during the summer days; the crickets in the grass gently hum in time to the wind during autumn; the geese gather into flocks, while the eagles remain solitary; the prides of lions sustain themselves by hunting; the elk don’t stray from the grass and flowers…. Every kind of living creature amongst all things departs and returns, and then departs again, a million changes occurring in the twinkling of an eye—but what doesn’t change are their instincts and the laws of survival. They live under the provision and nourishment of God, and no one can change their instincts, and neither can anyone impair their rules of survival. Although mankind, who lives among all things, has been corrupted and deceived by Satan, man still cannot forgo the water made by God, and the air made by God, and all things made by God, and man still lives and proliferates in this space created by God. The instincts of mankind have not changed. Man still relies on his eyes to see, on his ears to hear, on his brain to think, on his heart to understand, on his legs and feet to walk, on his hands to work, and so on; all the instincts that God bestowed upon man in order that he could accept the provision of God remain unaltered, the faculties through which man cooperates with God have not changed, mankind’s faculty for performing the duty of a created being has not changed, mankind’s spiritual needs have not changed, mankind’s desire to find his origins has not changed, mankind’s yearning to be saved by the Creator has not changed. Such are the current circumstances of mankind, who lives under the authority of God, and who has endured the bloody destruction wrought by Satan. Though mankind has been subjected to the oppression of Satan, and is no longer Adam and Eve from the beginning of creation, instead being full of things that are antagonistic to God, such as knowledge, imagination, notions, and so on, and full of the corrupt satanic disposition, in the eyes of God, mankind is still the same mankind that He created. Mankind is still ruled and orchestrated by God, and still lives within the course set out by God, and so in the eyes of God, mankind, who has been corrupted by Satan, is merely covered in grime, with a rumbling tummy, with reactions that are a little slow, a memory that’s not as good as it used to be, and of a slightly older age—but all the functions and instincts of man are completely undamaged. This is the mankind that God intends to save. This mankind has but to hear the call of the Creator, and hear the voice of the Creator, and he will stand up and rush to locate the source of this voice. This mankind has but to see the figure of the Creator and he will become heedless of all else, and forsake everything, in order to devote himself to God, and will even lay down his life for Him. When the heart of mankind understands the heartfelt words of the Creator, mankind will reject Satan and come to the side of the Creator; when mankind has completely washed the dirt from his body, and has once more received the provision and nourishment of the Creator, then the memory of mankind will be restored, and at this time mankind will have truly returned to the dominion of the Creator.
from “God Himself, the Unique I” in The Word Appears in the Flesh