Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “Many Are Called, but Few Are Chosen”
Let’s start our meeting. Let’s first read a passage of God’s word, “Many Are Called, but Few Are Chosen.”
“I have sought many on earth to be My followers. Among them are those who serve as priests, those who lead, those who form the sons, those who constitute the people, and those who do service. I draw these distinctions in accordance with the loyalty man has to Me. When all men are differentiated according to kind, that is, when the nature of each kind of man has been made clear, then I shall number each man among their rightful kind and put each kind into their fitting place so that I may realize My aim of salvation for mankind. In turn, I call groups of those I wish to save to return to My house, then I ask them all to accept My work in the last days. At the same time, I differentiate man according to kind, then reward or punish each on the basis of their deeds. Such are the steps that comprise My work.
I live now on earth and live among men. All men are experiencing My work and watching My word, and with this I bestow all the truths to each of My followers so that they may receive life from Me and thus have the way to follow. For I am God, Giver of life. During My many years of work, man has received much and given up much, yet I still assert that man does not truly believe in Me. For man merely acknowledges on the surface that I am God and does not agree with the truth I speak, much less practice the truth that I ask of him. That is to say, man acknowledges only the existence of God, but not that of the truth; man acknowledges only the existence of God, but not that of life; man only acknowledges God’s name, but not His substance. Owing to his zealousness, man is abhorrent to Me. For man just uses words pleasing to the ear to deceive Me, and none worship Me with a true heart. Your words carry the temptation of the serpent. And your words are haughty to the extreme, simply as if the archangel had expressed them. Moreover, your deeds are worn out; your immoderate desires and covetous intentions are offensive to hear. You have all become moths in My house and objects of My detestation and rejection. For none of you are lovers of the truth, only men who favor blessings, who wish to ascend to heaven, and whom it pleases to see the magnificence of Christ wielding His power on earth. Have you ever thought how a man so deeply corrupted as you, who knows not at all what God is, can be worthy to follow God? How can you ascend to heaven? How can you be worthy to see the unprecedented beauty of the magnificence? Your mouths are filled with words of deceit and filth, of betrayal and haughtiness. Never have you spoken words of sincerity and holiness to Me, nor the words of experiencing My word and obeying Me. What faith is this? Your hearts are filled with desires and wealth; your minds are filled with material things. Every day, you calculate how to gain from Me, assessing how much wealth and how many material things you have gained from Me. Every day, you await ever more blessings to come down upon you so that you may enjoy more and greater pleasurable things. That which is in your thoughts every moment is not Me or the truth that comes from Me, but rather your husband (wife), sons, daughters, or what you eat and wear, and how you can enjoy even better, greater pleasure. Even if you stuff your stomach to the brim, are you not still little more than a corpse? Even if you adorn your form gloriously, are you not still a walking corpse that has no life? You toil for the sake of your stomach until gray hairs are upon you, yet none are willing to sacrifice a single hair for My work. You journey, toil, and rack your brain for your flesh, and for your sons and daughters, yet none worry about or give thought to what is in My heart and mind. What do you wish to gain from Me?
I am never hurried in My work. No matter how man follows Me, I do My work in accordance with each step, as in My plan. Therefore, though you may rebel against Me so much, I do not stop My work and continue to speak the word I wish. I call to My house all those I predestined to listen to My word, then place all who obey and long for My word before My throne. Those who betray My word, those who do not obey and submit to Me, and those who openly defy Me, shall all be cast off to the side to await their final punishment. All men live in corruption and under the hand of the evil one, so not many of those who follow Me actually long for the truth. That is to say, most do not worship Me with a true heart or with the truth, but try to gain My trust through corruption, rebellion, and deceitful measures. It is for this reason I say, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” All those called are deeply corrupted and live in the same age, but those who are chosen are only that part which believes in and acknowledges the truth and that which practices the truth. These men are merely a very minor part of the whole, and from among these men I shall receive more glory. Measured against these words, do you know if you are among the chosen? What will be your end?
I have already said that those who follow Me are many but those who love Me with a true heart are few. Perhaps some may say, “Would I sacrifice so much if I did not love You? Would I follow You still if I did not love You?” You indeed have many reasons. Your love, indeed, is very great, but what is the essence of your love for Me? “Love” as it is called, refers to a pure emotion without blemish, where you use your heart to love, to feel, and to be thoughtful. In love there are no conditions, no barriers, and no distance. In love there is no suspicion, no deceit, and no cunning. In love there is no distance and nothing impure. If you love, then you do not deceive, complain, betray, rebel, take, or ask to receive anything or a certain amount. If you love, then you gladly sacrifice, endure hardship, and are compatible with Me. You would give up your all for Me: your family, your future, your youth, and your marriage. Otherwise your love is not love at all, but deceit and betrayal! What kind of love is yours? Is it a true love? Is it false? How much have you given up? How much have you sacrificed? How much love have I gained from you? Do you know? Your heart is filled with evil, betrayal, and deceit. So then how much of your love is impure? You believe that you have already given up enough for Me; you believe that your love for Me is already enough, yet why do your words and actions always carry with them rebellion and deceit? You follow Me, yet do not acknowledge My word. Is this considered love? You follow Me, yet then cast Me aside. Is this considered love? You follow Me, yet are mistrustful of Me. Is this considered love? You follow Me, yet cannot accept My existence. Is this considered love? You follow Me, yet do not treat Me as befits who I am and make things difficult for Me at every turn. Is this considered love? You follow Me, yet treat Me as a fool and deceive Me in every matter. Is this considered love? You serve Me, yet do not fear Me. Is this considered love? You oppose Me in all respects and all things. Is this all considered love? You have sacrificed much, this is true, yet you have never practiced what I ask of you. Can this be considered love? Careful reckoning shows that there is not the slightest hint of love for Me within you. After these many years of work and so many words I have supplied, how much have you actually received? Does this not merit a careful look back? I admonish you: Those I call are not those who have not been corrupted, but those I choose are those who truly love Me. Therefore, you ought to be vigilant with your words and deeds, and examine your intentions and thoughts so that they do not cross the line. At the time of the end, do your utmost to present your love before Me, lest My wrath never depart from you!”
Let’s start fellowshiping about the words of God. “I have sought many on earth to be My followers. Among them are those who serve as priests, those who lead, those who form the sons, those who constitute the people, and those who do service.” These words are spoken very clearly. They are saying that God has searched on earth for many men to be His followers; in every stage of God’s work He has searched for men to be His followers. In the Age of Grace during the work of the Lord Jesus, why did He not go into the synagogues? Because the religious leaders of the synagogues persecuted Him. The Pharisees, chief priests and scribes were the ones that held power in the synagogues, and the followers in the synagogues all listened to the chief priests and scribes. It was these religious leaders who did not accept Christ, who defied Christ. So, when the Lord Jesus came, He did not go into the synagogues. Instead, He wandered among the people, among those in the lower strata of society that sought the truth and loved the truth, searching for those who would follow Him. The 12 apostles were followers personally sought out by the Lord. The Lord called out to them saying, “Follow me,” and Peter and the rest of them all followed the Lord Jesus. But for this stage of work, why does Almighty God still not go into the religious churches in search of people? Because the religious leaders of the churches do not accept Christ, they even go so far as to condemn Christ, isn’t this a fact? If those of us who spread the gospel go to the churches to bear witness to the returned Lord Jesus, who is Almighty God incarnate, what then will be the consequence of bearing witness like this? At best the religious people will banish you, at worst they will report you to the police and have you arrested. Furthermore, every sect and denomination follows the great red dragon in condemning Almighty God. The great red dragon frantically suppresses the Church of Almighty God, and how do the various sects and denominations feel about this? “Those that hold power are able to persecute and repress, certainly that is not the true way.” This is the way they think, so they too follow them to condemn and blaspheme Almighty God. There are many religious people that witness pastors and elders condemning Almighty God, and they see that there are many negative things online and that propaganda is disseminated via the web condemning Almighty God, so they don’t look to investigate the true way. If you bear witness to Almighty God among them, they will immediately forsake you, saying, “That is false, our pastors and our elders are telling us, that is heresy! Get away from us! We will not listen to anything you say!” What problem is this? What is this able to prove? This is sufficient enough to prove that people in the churches and other religious people only believe in some vague and unseen God up in heaven. The Lord Jesus has ascended into heaven. Can these people see Him now? They cannot. They say: “We believe that Jehovah God created the heavens and earth and all things, we believe that the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross for us, as a sin offering, and that Jehovah God and the Lord Jesus are what’s real.” This really is not false, yet God has come again, and He has expressed many truths. How could you not know this? You say that Jehovah God and the Lord Jesus are real, but do you know Them? You do not know Them at all. I have spoken to some Christians, saying: “What kind of God is this Lord Jesus that you all believe in?” And they replied: “The Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross for us, He is a God that loves us.” To which I said: “If the Lord Jesus really comes, will you be able to recognize Him? If you were born in the time that the Lord Jesus preached sermons and carried out His work, would you still be able to believe in Him? You would not necessarily be able to believe, it’s very possible that you might follow the Jews to defy and condemn the Lord Jesus, right? So then what is the reason that you believe in the Lord Jesus? Because the words spoken and the work carried out by the Lord Jesus are recorded very clearly in the Bible. Even though the Lord Jesus has already ascended into heaven, when you prayed in the name of the Lord Jesus, you had the work of the Holy Spirit, your sins were forgiven and you received a lot of grace from God. Therefore, you became certain about the Lord Jesus. However, do you have knowledge of the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, of the essence of the Lord Jesus and that the Lord Jesus is the truth, the way and the life? You do not have this knowledge. So is your believing in the Lord Jesus the same as believing in a vague God? You believe in no more than the two words ‘Lord Jesus,’ you only believe in the name ‘Lord Jesus,’ you simply have no knowledge of the essence of the Lord Jesus, the Spirit of the Lord Jesus and the truth expressed by the Lord Jesus.” Regardless of how many years you have believed in the Lord Jesus or how lovable you think the Lord Jesus is, and even regardless of how much faithfulness you are able to hold in your heart for the Lord Jesus or how much you are able to love Him, is any of this able to show that you have knowledge of the Lord Jesus? Does any of this show that you are completely compatible with the Lord Jesus? This is something that is even more impossible to prove. So how can your faith in the Lord Jesus show that you have knowledge of the Lord Jesus? Say that one day the Lord Jesus comes and appears in another flesh, but as soon as He speaks, you can recognize that this is the voice coming from the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, these words and these truths are the same as the truths that were expressed by the Lord Jesus. The source is one. They are all expressed by the Holy Spirit! If you can recognize this, then your faith is true. How many religious people possess this kind of faith? How many do you all think? Some say not many. Why do you say not many? Since what religious people search for is not the truth, the majority of them have faith because they have witnessed a miracle or in order to obtain good fortunes. Those that seek the truth, that experience the work of the Lord Jesus through His words, there are very few of these kinds of people. Isn’t this so? Many people who believe in the Lord say this: The Lord Jesus is the true God, whenever I pray, God is with me in the spirit; whenever I confess my sins to the Lord, they will be forgiven, and then I will feel peace and joy in my heart. Whenever I pray, the grace of God befalls me, so I believe without a doubt that the Lord Jesus is the true God. This is how much faith I have. So then, in order to obtain blessings, in order to enter the kingdom of heaven, in order to obtain all that the Lord Jesus has promised, I expend myself for the Lord Jesus, do some work for the Lord Jesus, spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus and bear witness to Him. Even if one day I shall suffer or be imprisoned, I still will not deny the name of the Lord Jesus. In this way, I will be able to obtain the praise of the Lord Jesus. When the Lord comes again, I will be able to be raptured and enter into the kingdom of heaven. This is the faith of religious people. Isn’t this the way that religious people practice their faith? They all practice their faith in this way, and I too had this kind of faith for the eight years when I was in the religion. So then, if you practice your faith in this way, will this kind of faith receive the praise of God? Is this an eligible way to practice one’s faith? Is it able to satisfy God?
Some people say: “Every time we gather we study the Bible, our knowledge and understanding of the Bible is not lacking, and especially for those of us who have practiced our faith for three or four decades, we know all the sections and key words of the Bible by heart.” Is this regarded as them having knowledge of the Lord Jesus, the true God? It is not. Why is it not? Can you explain it clearly? Pastors explain the Bible every day, they have to explain the Bible at every gathering of religious worship. Before each time they explain the Bible, they pray for four or five days and fast for one or two days, just in order to deal with the two-hour sermon they will give on that Sunday. Year after year this goes on, every Sunday is like this. Is this regarded as having knowledge of God? When you explain the Bible those are all dead words, without the work of the Holy Spirit it is of no use. Some people refuse to accept this and say: “What you are saying is not true!” So let’s give an example: Did the Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees understand the Bible? The Bible originally refers to the Old Testament, during the time of the work of the Lord Jesus there was only the Old Testament, and the Old Testament was called the Scripture. The Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees, those were the ones who specialized in studying the Old Testament, they had studied it from generation to generation, so when it comes to who truly understood the Bible, that would be these Jewish people. However, there is a fact that has occurred. When Jehovah God became flesh as the Lord Jesus, the Jewish people nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross. What does this fact illustrate? If they truly knew that the Lord Jesus was Jehovah God, they should have said, “God has truly arrived, He has arrived in the flesh, He has arrived to be our Savior, He has arrived to rescue and redeem us!” Would they still have nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross? Who was it that nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross? It was the religious world at that time that nailed Him to the cross; isn’t that right? The religious leaders, the Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees incessantly and fanatically condemned the Lord Jesus. Then, believers in the Jewish faith all followed the religious leaders of Judaism, no one stood by the side of the Lord Jesus. In this way the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross. It was the leaders of Judaism that plotted the crucifixion, but who were those that spoke in unanimous approval and support, yelling out, “Nail Jesus to the cross, we would rather have a criminal than have Jesus, we would rather free a robber than free Jesus”? It was the ordinary believers of Judaism that yelled this out. If these believers of Judaism truly believed that the Lord Jesus was sent here by God, that He was Christ, the Son of God, then they ought to have betrayed those Jewish chief priests, scribes and Pharisees, they ought to have stood by the side of the Lord Jesus. But the fact is, they went along with the religious leaders of Judaism, they all stood by the side of those chief priests, scribes and Pharisees, in unanimous approval and consent, yelling out in unison to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross. Thus, when I say it was the Jewish faith that nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross, is there any basis in these words? Do they conform to the facts? But then what if some people say: “These things you say are incorrect, it was the leaders of Judaism that decided to nail the Lord Jesus to the cross, but you shouldn’t put the blame for this sin on the religion, you should say it was the leaders of Judaism, it was the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees that nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross, there’s no connection to this with the believers of Judaism.” Are these words tenable? Can you say that there is no connection? They could not escape their responsibility, because they raised their hands, they shouted out those words, because they did not accept the Lord Jesus, and because they did not make a stand and declare, “In this spiritual war, I will not stand on the side of Judaism, nor will I stand on the side of Jesus, I will stand in the middle ground.” Were those kind of people there? They could not be found, isn’t that so? There was one named Nicodemus—a Jewish official, who came to the Lord Jesus in the middle of the night, and he asked Him what rebirth was. What was the intention of him asking this? On one hand it was to feel things out, “I’m seeing if You really are the Lord, if You really are God; if You can answer my questions clearly and make me convinced in heart and by word, then perhaps I may be able to acknowledge You.” In addition, he came to Him in the middle of the night because he was afraid that people would see him, for if he was seen he would have been condemned and captured. It’s like nowadays when some people spread the gospel in the religious community, they also do it secretly. Do they dare to publicly say, “I am a believer in Almighty God, I have come to your church now to listen to the sermon, and perhaps there are those among you who are seeking the true way, so I will bear witness of Almighty God to you”? Some people say they are afraid to say such things. If you want to conduct yourself in a just and honorable way, then why are you afraid to do this? To be a truthful person you must speak truthful words, so why are you afraid to do this? Because it will cause trouble! If you actually speak and act in that way, then religious people will take you away and report you to the police. So many people from the Church of Almighty God that spread the gospel have been captured, why is that? It’s because religious people have reported them to the police.
Now we can see these things clearly. Why does God hate and curse the religion? How did the Lord Jesus say it? “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! … Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! …” (See Matthew 23: 13-33). How many times were these words spoken in the Bible? At least five or six times. These words were continuously repeated. Why would the Lord Jesus need to say these words? Because these Pharisees were the enemy of the Lord Jesus, they continuously condemned the Lord Jesus, they incessantly disparaged and judged the Lord Jesus. As a result, even though the Lord Jesus saw that there were some in the synagogues that truly believed in God, He could not contact them, for as soon as He contacted them He would be captured, and as soon as He was captured He would be nailed to the cross. In His final three years the Lord Jesus knew that He could be captured and nailed to the cross. So, He hid Himself several times, and did not go into the synagogues. Isn’t that how it was? Then the Lord Jesus said, “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” Why did He say this so many times? It’s sufficient to show and to prove that the Lord Jesus hated these Pharisees. He hated these Pharisees, for they were His enemies. He hated them, for everyday they would judge and condemn Him. Isn’t that how it was? Now, for this matter, what purpose did the Lord Jesus have in mind when He condemned the Pharisees? First, to curse those who resisted Him; but second, what was the primary result He wanted to attain? Was it enough to simply curse them and call it quits? What was the ultimate goal? To make religious people discern the Pharisees, abandon them, and no longer follow them, “What you all believe in is the Lord, God, it is not the Pharisees, and it definitely is not the chief priests and scribes. You must distinguish yourselves clearly from them, do not worship them or superstitiously believe in them, do not ask for their opinions on everything. They are not your ancestors, and they certainly are not your Lord, so why do you always listen to them? If you believe in the Lord you ought to follow the Lord, listen to the word of the Lord and seek the truth!” Was this what was meant? So then was the Lord Jesus mistaken in cursing the Pharisees? Some people say: “We cannot judge people!” So was the Lord Jesus wrong in cursing the Pharisees? Could it be that because of this the Lord Jesus is not a loving and merciful Lord? We must distinguish these things.
Today we believe in Almighty God, which is different from believing in God within a religion. God has serious requirements for us. How is He serious with us? God has issued forth many truths. God has issued forth many truths that man must fulfill if he is to enter into the kingdom of heaven. If you carelessly believe in God like you did in the Age of Grace, and do not seek the truth, will you be able to understand the will of God? Will you be able to achieve true obedience to God? If you do not understand any of the truths issued forth by God, will your accomplishments keep to the intention of God? Will you be able to achieve a true love of God? Will you be able to achieve true obedience to God? Every day Jewish leaders explained the Bible to followers of Judaism. They explained the laws of the Old Testament. They had been explaining for decades, for centuries, even for two thousand years, but what was the result? When the Lord Jesus came they nailed the Lord to the cross. What is the problem with this? They explained the Bible for two thousand years, but finally they were not able to recognize God. When God spoke, they responded by condemning Him. God said: “Truly, truly, I say to you, He that hears my word, and believes on him that sent me, has everlasting life…” (John 5:24). It was these words, these words that included the word “I,” these words that had the most authority of God, it was these words that were condemned by them. “You? Who are You? You dare say that You are God? You dare say that You have been sent by God? These are words of blasphemy! We shall condemn You because of this.” But if God didn’t speak in this way, what else could He say? Should God say, “I created the heavens and earth and all things,” or should He have phrased it as “You created the heavens and earth and all things”? God created them Himself. God commands all things, but would it be okay to say that you command all things, would that satisfy you? Are you able to command them? Are you able to create the heavens and earth and all things? The Lord Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you.” Can you say these words “Truly, truly”? You always tell lies to deceive others, you could never utter these words “Truly, truly.” When God speaks in this way it is very real and true, but when using the first person “I” people condemned Him. What is the problem with this? Putting aside how people resist God, or how bad or evil one’s nature is, most importantly, regardless of how much knowledge you have of the Bible, regardless of how many years you have studied the Bible, it does not mean that you have knowledge of God. Isn’t that so? What kind of behavior would a person have if they possessed true knowledge of God? They would hear the words from the Lord Jesus and say, “Wow, these words have authority and power! These words are the truth, I have not heard them spoken before. If what He issues forth is the truth, then He must have been sent by God, He must be the Son of man, for if He didn’t come from God He could not issue forth the truth! Wow, you don’t say, maybe Jesus was sent here by God, how else otherwise could He issue forth so many truths, how else could these words have such authority and power? I accept!” The Lord Jesus said: “I am the One sent by God, I am the Messiah who you thirst and long for and whose appearance you seek.” “I accept! Based on these words You have issued forth, I firmly believe that You are the Messiah!” Could this kind of person be regarded as having knowledge of God? They absolutely could be considered as having knowledge of God. Were there these kinds of people? Were there any within Judaism? There was not. Except for those few people approved by God—Abraham had knowledge of God, Job had knowledge, Noah had some knowledge—you could say there are not many people that have knowledge of God. Noah built his ark for one hundred years and did not doubt the word of God. He said: “The word of God will surely become true, let’s build, we cannot not build.” He had faith in the word of God within himself. Abraham did not doubt the word of God. God bestowed upon him a son and then demanded him back as a sacrifice. He did not doubt God, he obeyed. People that have true knowledge of God have knowledge of the word of God and recognize the voice of God. They believe in the word of God without a doubt, they absolutely will not go back on it. They are sure the word of God must be fulfilled. They believe the word of God can accomplish all. These people have true faith, and they have knowledge of God. True faith is established on the basis of knowledge of God. Isn’t that so?
If within some people’s faith there is no true knowledge of God, can that still be regarded as true faith? It cannot. Non-believers believe in the existence of the Old Man in the Sky—“Of course there is the Old Man in the Sky”—but is that true faith in God? If all you do is admit that God exists, that is not true faith, right? To believe that God is the truth, to believe that God presides over everything, to believe that God is almighty, this can only be achieved by acquiring knowledge and understanding of the truth. Only this kind of faith is true faith. True faith is established on the basis of understanding the truth and having knowledge of God, only this kind of faith is up to the standard and will receive God’s approval. There are many believers in the Lord who do not seek the return of the Lord Jesus but look up to the sky and observe which cloud the Lord Jesus will come upon. This is what they mull over. Is this a person that has knowledge of God? This is a fool. When people that have true knowledge of God hear someone bear witness to God’s return, they will say, “Tell me carefully, what is the return of God all about? What work has God done upon His return? What words have been issued forth? Can you tell me?” “Since God has returned, then certainly there must be His words and work to evidence it. If there are no words, if all you heed is His outward appearance, then how could you recognize Him?” When seeking the appearance of God, you must listen to the voice of God, not seek to see Him. God incarnate doesn’t have any marks in appearance, people must listen to His voice to recognize Him as the manifestation of God. Isn’t that so? When you show someone the words issued forth from God, as soon as they read them, as soon as their eyes see them, their eyes will light up, and they will think, “There’s no way that a person could speak these words, this was issued forth from the Spirit of God, this was issued forth from the Spirit of truth, this is the voice of God!” The more they read these words the more they will feel that these words have authority and truth. The more they read them, the more they will see these words are the voice of God. “Wow, God has issued forth so many words! For how long?” “Many years.” “I didn’t know this for so many years! How much of the truth do I lack?” Some people might ask: “How many years has God been working?” “He started in 1991.” “That’s more than twenty years, how am I just now finding this out?” But it is not late to just now be finding this out, there are many people who have heard many times of people bearing witness to God’s arrival, but they refuse to listen, they continuously pass judgment. How do you feel about these kinds of people? God has searched on earth for many people to be His followers, isn’t this a fact?
Some people say: “God is searching for people? God has not come knocking on my door, He has not spoken with me, He has not led me. Where should I go in search of God? Right now it is I, a man, who is searching for God. If God was searching for people, then how come He hasn’t come to me in a dream? How come God has not given me a revelation? How come God has not led me?” But these words: “I have sought many on earth to be My followers,” do you believe them to be the words of God? They do not conform to people’s conceptions and imagination. In a situation where they do not conform to your conceptions and imagination, would you still recognize them as the words of God? These words were not spoken by you and they were not spoken by me, but rather they were spoken by Christ, so they are the words of God. “These are the words of God, so why do they not conform to my conceptions and imagination? God has sought many people? Certainly there are many of us who are searching for God.” Later we fellowship with others, and say: “Based on our experience as verification, would you say that really people are searching for God or that God is searching for people?” There are some with experience who say: “Based on my experience, it seems that every step I take is part of God’s plan, it’s all under the guidance of God. Some people have spread the gospel to me once before, and I didn’t respond. So, God arranged for it again, and I came across another person who spread the gospel to me. In this way, I felt the need to respond, so I said, ‘Since you come witnessing the coming of God, speak. If I listen and understand then I will accept, but if you speak and I do not understand I will not accept,’ and so I let them speak. So this person spoke a few words, and as soon as I started listening it was making sense, these truths were not in the Bible, this was the first time I was hearing them. It felt very likely that this was the word of God, that God had arrived, and that I must go back and search out these things again. As I searched through these things, this person once again spoke very clearly, but I still had some questions, which were resolved through fellowshiping with them. So I accepted it.” So what do you think, how did this all come about? Are people searching for God or is God searching for people? God is the One searching for people, because many circumstances are set up by God. There are these words in the word of God: “From the time of creation, I began the predestination and selection of this group of people—of you, this group today. Your disposition, caliber, appearance, stature, the family in which you were born, your work, marriage—your everything, even the color of your hair, your skin, and your date of birth—these are all arranged by My hand. Whatever you do and whoever you meet each day are also subject to My arrangement, to say nothing of bringing you before Me today, which is even more the subject of My arrangement. Do not cause upset for yourself, but proceed calmly.” If these are all things arranged by God, then there’s a basis here for us to say that God searches for people, because the circumstances are arranged by God. If He weren’t making the arrangements, would you be able to come before God? Since God makes the arrangements, God has given every believer in Him many opportunities to receive the true way. Some people miss these many opportunities, but finally there’s one opportunity where they nearly miss but then they receive it. Or, because of some matter or another, they receive it. So would you say that this is man searching for God or God searching for man? If you think it is man searching for God, first of all, you have not actively sought this out and you have not actively searched. Someone spreading the gospel has continuously called on you, has continuously sought you out, but you passively listened, you passively responded, you passively sought, and finally you passively received. Is this God seeking out man or man seeking out God? Would you say you actively sought out God? Then did you search the word of God? How many times have you read the word of God? Do you have proof? How many times have you prayed to God and sought out the true way? Do you have proof? Your faith in Almighty God, is it an active faith or was it spread to you through someone who tried to spread the gospel to you many times, who explained and debated the gospel many times, and finally you reluctantly believed and came to have faith? You were being passive in every aspect except this: After receiving the gospel, you actively came to the meetings. Nobody kidnapped you. Nobody forced you. Right? Finally you came to understand some of the truth, and you were willing to forsake. You forsook your family and your job. Now with heart and soul you expend yourself for God. This is the result you have attained through understanding the truth. Your faith has risen. Isn’t this a fact? If you are not aware of the truth, then how could you forsake everything? Even if your father and your mother want you to forsake, you won’t forsake it. This is all part of the result you have attained through being aware of the truth. If you were passive toward everything, if it was always others seeking you out, asking you to fellowship, asking you to come to the meetings and asking you to listen to sermons, and then if these people didn’t call you, you would not do it. If they didn’t call you once, you’d give it up one time. If they didn’t call you twice, you’d give it up two times. If they didn’t call you three times, you would not come to the meetings, and you would not come back again. So, we can say that all of this is God seeking out people!
What do we mean when we say that people search for God? People at the very least must pay some sort of price. Someone said: “I have traveled across oceans and throughout the land, I have traveled through churches in every place searching for the work of God, but it wasn’t until I arrived at the Church of Almighty God that I found the appearance of God. I searched all over the internet, and I found the website of the Church of Almighty God. As soon as I read the word of Almighty God, I saw God appear, I saw the work of God. Finally, I wanted to attend meetings. I wanted to actively seek out and gather together with my brothers and sisters from the Church of Almighty God. I wanted to actively participate in church life.” All of the steps in this process were active, so if you again say, “This is me seeking out God,” you are basically correct. Isn’t that so? There are very few examples of people seeking out God like this, right? But some people say: “We thirst in our hearts for the appearance of God! We hope to find the true way.” This is no lie. Regardless of how thirsty you are, it is God who actively knocks on your door. When you listen to the voice of God the door will be opened, and then God and you, you and God, will feast together. This is God searching for man, this is God actively knocking on the door. Nowadays there are many people spreading the gospel that want to fellowship with you, to find you and talk to you, and give you witness to Almighty God. Is this not God knocking at your door? This is God knocking at your door. When God comes knocking at your door, how will He knock? Do you think that the Lord Jesus personally comes to knock on the door of your home? No. It is through people who spread the gospel, “Ding Dong,” “Brother/sister, let us fellowship. We will give you testimony to the work of God in the last days.” Then you say: “I’m not listening!” You refuse. God’s first ‘knock at your door’ is not successful. So He knocks again for a second time through someone, “Brother/sister, we have a book of the word of God for you to look at, God has come.” “I’m not listening!” The second knock at your door is also a failure. For some people, God “knocks” ten or more times, and finally they answer the door reluctantly. Isn’t this God searching for people? But some other people say: “I am an exception, I actively seek out God.” And we believe this kind of person, we don’t need to talk about this in detail. We don’t need to debate over this question of “Is it really God searching for people or people searching for God?” We will wait for you to experience more, and then you will understand. After three more years, when you again fellowship about this matter, then you will see if it is God seeking you out, or if it is you seeking out God. God says: “Nor, moreover, a single person who will willingly seek the appearance of God.” Don’t these words exist? God says: “None can truly love God.” Don’t these words exist? It is all in the word of God. Many people say: “I truly love God, I am truly looking for God.” Every person that says these words has true faith in God, but are there impurities in your search for God, your love of God, and your obedience to God? Are you trying to make a trade? If there are impurities you don’t need to say it like this, God will not acknowledge it. Only if you get rid of the impurities will you receive the approval of God.
Some people say: “There are a lot of us believers in the Lord who are old, we have never gone on the internet. So if God had come to us here, if He had been born in our country, we long ago would have believed.” Are these words true? They are not. Some people say: “I have not accepted Him because I haven’t seen Him. If God incarnate came to my house, if He was passing by my window, then I would be able to discover Him. As soon as I saw Him then I could believe.” Can this saying stand? It cannot stand. So now you can see, do you believe? Do you believe that these words are the truth? You believe in the Christ of the last days, but which of the truths issued forth from the Christ of the last days do you believe in? You believe His word is the truth, but which words are the ones that you do not listen to, that stick a needle in your heart, that cause you to have conceptions, that you dislike, that you don’t receive? Why do you receive the Christ of the last days? Why is it that you receive? How many of the truths issued forth from the Christ of the last days do you accept? How many parts of the truth do you accept? Isn’t this something that ought to be summed up? Some people say: “I have accepted over two months, over three months.” So in these two or three months, how many of the truths issued forth from Almighty God have you really accepted? How many of these truths have you accepted in heart and by word, and that you submit? How many of these truths have been refused by you and condemned by you because they do not conform to your conceptions? These things ought to be summed up. Some people talk big: “I have received, I have received the best, I can now submit to God, and be compatible with God.” Are these words real? I was among the earliest to receive this stage of God’s work, I was part of the first batch. Up to now I have come to understand many truths, but I still cannot say it goes deep enough. It is still shallow. There are many of my corruptions that have been cleansed, I have not done anything evil, but I don’t dare say that I don’t have any corruption within me. I fear that if I say that humiliation will fall over me. If God exposes me once again, I will again be humiliated. So, I say conservatively that I’ve been cleansed, but I don’t dare say I am without corruption; I understand some truths, but I don’t dare say that everything I do completely conforms to the truth. We have some knowledge of God, but we still carry some of our conceptions and imagination along with the knowledge. Isn’t this the reality of the situation? This is the reality. After believing for over 30 years, this is what I can say. Someone believes for one or two years, and they say: “I am compatible with God, I now have knowledge of God, I am an obedient person to God, I am a man that loves God.” You could say things as you please, but I would not dare say that. I have long ago received judgment and chastisement for these things. I know that God looks deep into man’s heart. You see people within the religion say: “I love God the most. I have the most faithfulness in God. No matter who retreats, I will not retreat. No matter who falls, I will not fall.” In the Age of Grace all men boasted in this way, and no one was serious with you. But it is not that same in the Age of Kingdom. The judgment and revelation of God’s word have befallen you, causing you to feel ashamed and unable to show your face, and you wish there would be a crack in the earth that you could hide yourself in! So people within the religion have said every kind of arrogant thing there is to say. Why is that? Isn’t it because God has not done the work of judgment on them and isn’t serious with them? They have shouted out, they have praised themselves, they have boasted shamelessly, but God has not paid attention to them. Isn’t that so? Do you see why that is?
Among those that are followers there are several groups of people. It is very important to remember this. God says, “Among them are those who serve as priests….” Those who serve as priests, that is one type. But the priest is not just a single person, in the future there will be many priests, but not a whole lot. You can compare it to where you are now, there are a fixed number of God’s chosen people, and among these people there are some that serve as priests; in another place there are many that are God’s chosen people, so among them there are also some that serve as priests. There is not just one priest for the entire world, there are many. There are priests spread out throughout every nation and place. Do you understand? “Those who lead.” Do you know what is meant by “lead”? Among the Israelites there were commanders of hundreds, commanders of thousands that were all classified as leaders. Nowadays, in the Church of Almighty God, among the names of different levels of leaders are church leader, district leader and regional leader. These are all leaders. God also says, “Those who form the sons, those who constitute the people, and those who do service.” The sons are part of a hierarchy, a ranking. The status of the sons is slightly higher than that of the people. Look at the priests, the leaders, the sons, the people and the service-doers, these five grades, these five levels, these five ranks! So, among all the followers there are these five groups of people. So then, how are they divided up into these five groups? God later on said, “I draw these distinctions in accordance with the loyalty man has to Me.” This is a very important sentence. So what is the basis for the amount, the degree of loyalty man has toward God? It is based on the different statures of people and their understanding of the truth and their knowledge of God. Those who have deep knowledge of God, who possess the truth and are able to bear witness to God, these people are able to love God to the highest level, and obey God to the death. To love God to the highest level and obey Him to the death, this degree of loyalty has to be the highest, right? This is what is meant to be a priest. Slightly below this level are the leaders; slightly below them are the sons; slightly below them are the people; and at the lowest level are the service-doers. They have loyalty to the end, do not shirk their duties halfway through or become passive, and do not issue complaints. These are the five types of people that will enter the kingdom. So how are they chosen, how is it decided? God decides based on their level of loyalty. Think of it as some people having a loyalty level of 99%, these are the priests; a loyalty level of 90%, these are the leaders; a loyalty level of 80%, these are the sons; a loyalty level of 70%, these are the people; a loyalty level of 60%, these are the service-doers; a loyalty level of 50%, these people are eliminated, they are not approved. So tell me, among those who have loyalty to God, is there any distinction in their ranks and levels of loyalty? Among those who love God, is there any distinction made between their respective degrees of love for God? There are always distinctions. God ranks and divides people up based on these distinctions. From this can’t you see the righteousness and justness of God? God is righteous and just toward all people, and in the future He will divide people in this way into the ranks in His kingdom. Is that clear? You see that for some people when they have nothing to worry about they have loyalty, but whenever they are in tribulation they don’t have loyalty. “The great red dragon is closing in on us, many people have been snatched up, we need to hide ourselves away at this time, we can’t perform our duties. At this time, we might as well not come together.” Does this kind of person have loyalty? As soon as there is talk of danger they bury their head in the sand. They do not dare to perform their duty. For some people, as soon as they are captured by the great red dragon they will shout out, “I just believe! God is the true God! I have no doubts in my faith!” “Okay, you hold fast to your faith, so you shall be tortured soon at hand.” Then they will be tortured until they cannot take it anymore. “Do you still believe?” “I don’t believe.” “Sign your name!” “Okay, I’ll sign.” What do you think about this level of loyalty? Without torture their lips are sealed tight, they hold strong, but as soon as they are tortured they can’t stand it. So, their degree of loyalty is revealed under this adverse environment. If there is no adversity, people’s faith in God would always be burning brightly, and nobody would be able to make out any differences. But as soon as people are put into an adverse situation, differences always come about. Isn’t that so?
Some people ask: “What decides who is in which of these five groups?” First, it is based on people’s pursuits; second, it is also based on the predestination and plan of God. So are there any exceptions to the rule? Yes, there are some exceptions, some people pursue the truth very diligently, and they will go from a service-doer to one of the people, they will become one of the people. You see, an exception will be made for this kind of person. This shows that God does not show favoritism toward certain people, there is no favoritism in the truth. If you pursue the truth, if you understand the truth, and if you perform your duties to the level required, then you will be one of the people! Some people do not pursue the truth. They just simply perform their duty. They do not handle affairs in a principled way, they just simply exert themselves and serve as much as they can, but after exerting all of their efforts they do not understand anything about the truth, they do not act according to principle. But, they are not the wicked and their work is not in resistance to God. They are just service-doers with loyalty. These people only perform services. They are loyal service-doers. There are some that serve as sons. As soon as you say sons, you think of their position within the house of God. They are able to serve as leaders or workers, they are sons of God. They have a close relationship with God. They are able to submit unconditionally to God and consider the intentions of God. They have a true communion with God. This is what it means to be one of the sons. To be one of the leaders is to take the work upon oneself, to be able to lead God’s chosen people, to be able to use the truth to help out God’s chosen people no matter what difficult situation they may be in. They are able to fairly set up the duties that God’s chosen people are to perform. This is what it means to be a leader. This kind of person understands the truth and handles affairs in a principled manner, they are able to arrange the work, and they have a certain inner quality. Finally, there are the priests. These are men who have been perfected. These men, first of all, are people who love God; second, they are able to bear witness to God and they surely understand the truth; and third, they can accurately fellowship about the truth, without any confusion. These people are qualified to convey the word of God. These are the real levels of life, the different degrees of maturity for these five types of people.
Now there are some people that may ask: “Those who do not seek the truth will be eliminated, but who will eliminate them?” Are they eliminated by the church, or by the leaders in the house of God, or by God? These people do not understand who it is that eliminates them. This is something we need to talk about. Let’s compare it to the Age of Grace, when there were some people who had the work of the Holy Spirit. The numbers were very few. There were very few people within each church that had the work of the Holy Spirit. This is accepted as fact, right? If you ask how few there were, you could say at best about 10% of people. But some people don’t believe this, they don’t accept it. “It’s at least 50%. There’s no way it’s that few, I’ve seen that most people have it.” We will not dispute over the amount, so long as someone has the work of the Holy Spirit, they will ascend to heaven when they die. What kind of place is heaven like is something we will not say. On what basis is this determined? Of course God knows. God knows who has the work of the Holy Spirit, but do the pastors in the church know? Are they able to determine this? Do they have authority to determine this? “I draw these distinctions in accordance with the loyalty man has to Me.” This is the word of God, so of course God can make this determination, but can pastors determine what ends which people will face? They do not know, they don’t even know if they are a Pharisee, or whether or not they are actually resisting God. They aren’t even clear about this with themselves. They are like the Pharisees who condemned the Lord Jesus and nailed Him to the cross. They thought they had loyalty to Jehovah God. So, do pastors have any right to determine if someone lives or dies or what someone’s outcome will be after they die? They don’t have any authority, this is determined by God. Some people ask: “How does God decide this? How do you know that?” This is based on the word of God, it is done however God said it is done. “Then how is this said by God, how do people know this?” God has already issued forth the standards and principles by which He will divide people up in the last days. Then we know this. But if He does not speak it out then nobody can know it. The Lord Jesus has said many words, but what are the mysteries within these words? Sometimes the Lord Jesus would speak to His believers in this way, and sometimes He would speak figuratively, that’s all there is to it. In the last days Almighty God has come and brought out the word of the Lord Jesus, saying many things about its implied meaning. He has spoken out on all of the implied meanings and substance of the broad and generalized words spoken by the Lord Jesus, and He has explained all of these things clearly. The word of God has been spoken out in this way, and we must look at things the same way based on His word. By looking at things based on the word of God, there certainly will be no mistake on which groups of people within each church will have a destination after death and which will not. In the Age of Grace it was so, and in the Age of Kingdom it too will be so. Only those that have the work of the Holy Spirit will have a good destination. Those that do not have the work of the Holy Spirit will not have a good destination. God knows best and is most clear about who does not have the work of the Holy Spirit, but people who understand the truth can also see this, they can also confirm it.
Some people say: “What is the basis for your faith today in Almighty God? In His outer appearance He is just a normal person, so how can you say that He is God’s incarnation? What are you basing this on?” “Our basis is that the words He speaks are the voice of God, they are issued forth by God, and they are all the truth, so therefore we have determined that He is God’s incarnation.” This is correct. You see, when you listen to the word of God, you are able to acknowledge that it is the voice of God, that it is the truth, so why is it that so many people do not acknowledge or accept it? They cannot realize it. They cannot discern it. In other words, God did not give these people the faculty by which to discern it, they do not have that perception in their spirit. But we have it, isn’t this the grace of God? Some people say: “I don’t know, I cannot see, I just follow the religious pastors and elders. If the religious pastors and elders say, ‘This is the voice of God,’ then I too accept that this is the voice of God; if the religious pastors and elders say that this isn’t the truth, this isn’t the voice of God, then I also don’t believe that He is Christ incarnate.” Is this kind of person going down the right path? Can the pastors and the elders see these things clearly? If they could truly see these things clearly, then why would the chief priests, scribes and Pharisees from the Age of Grace still condemn the Lord Jesus? Didn’t they have a higher position and understand the Bible more than the pastors and elders of today? They cannot see these things. Some people say: “All of the pastors and elders cannot see this, so who is able to realize it?” How should we reply to these words? “I … will be gracious to whom I will be gracious” (Exodus 33:19). Aren’t these words in the Bible? We can only say there are some people that are able to see, this is the grace of God. Some people whom God is gracious to can see that the word of Almighty God is the voice of God, it is the truth. These people are not pastors, and they are not elders, nor are they preachers. So how are they able to hear this? This is the grace of God. God is willing to be gracious to whom He will be gracious. Do you feel jealous when you see who God is gracious to? Do you have any objections? Some confused people, when they hear someone say, “The word of Almighty God is the voice of God, it is the truth,” they will say, “Okay, then I will accept it.” After accepting it, they will read the words of Almighty God, and some of them will not conform to their conceptions, so they wonder: “Why do some of these words not conform to my conceptions, are the words that don’t conform to my conceptions actually the word of God? Are they really the truth? That’s not okay, I cannot understand it clearly, I ought to ask the pastors and the elders.” When they ask this, the pastors and the elders will slander, judge and discredit these words, and they will no longer believe. Do you think that these people that asked the pastors and elders have accepted good or accepted adversity? Some people say they have accepted adversity. Why have they accepted adversity for asking the pastors and the elders? Why would they deny the Christ of the last days? Is this kind of person wise, or are they foolish? They are foolish, they are stupid.
The Lord Jesus predicted in the Bible that at the time of His return there would be two types of people, He used wise virgins and foolish virgins as a parable for all of the believers in the Age of Grace: All who are able to hear the voice of God are wise virgins; all who are not able to hear the voice of God, who listen and still deny and do not believe it, these are the foolish virgins. Do you all think that the foolish virgins can be raptured? Of course not, right? So how can these foolish and wise virgins be revealed? By using the word of God. “There’s a book called The Word Appears in the Flesh, look at these words and see what you think, look over it.” After some ordinary believers finish reading it, they say, “Wow, such deep words, these words contain the truth.” “Read it again carefully.” “This is not something that a normal person can talk about, it seems like this has come from God.” “Read it again carefully.” “Wow, this is the voice of God, there’s no way these words come from a man!” You see, this person is blessed, they are a wise virgin. As for the foolish virgins, some are pastors, some are elders, some are preachers, and some are confused believers that only want to eat their fill. How do they feel after they finish reading the word of God? “Hmm, these words do not conform to my conceptions and imagination, I do not accept them.” And after carefully reading over them again: “Hmm, some of the words seem as if they are the truth, but that’s not possible, this could not be the work of God.” So once again it does not conform to their conceptions and imagination. After saying “Hmm” a few more times, they will say: “This is not the word of God, I cannot accept it. This is a counterfeit. A false Christ is trying to confuse people, do not believe it!” What kind of person is this? This is a Pharisee, a foolish virgin, right? How do the wise and foolish virgins get brought to the light? It is the word of God that brings them to light. It is the word of God in the last days that will classify and divide them into the categories they belong to, and then God will start to reward the good and punish the wicked. How will He reward the good? The wise virgins will be brought face to face with God and feast alongside Him. In the end they will be cleansed and perfected. This is receiving the reward, it is the reward and the grace of God. It doesn’t matter how many years the foolish virgin believes in the Lord, or how much they expend themselves for God, or how many hardships they suffer. Since they deny and refuse the word of God, and do not accept the work of God in the last days, since they do not recognize their Groom when He arrives, they will be eliminated and fall into the darkness weeping and gnashing their teeth. What is this called? It is called the punishment of the wicked. All of those who refuse, deny and resist the work of God in the last days will be left in darkness by God. They will be in the great disasters. Isn’t this their punishment? Today we all have come face to face with Almighty God, every day we eat and drink the word of God, every day we listen to and talk about the way of God, and fellowship about the truth. Isn’t this the reward and blessing that God has bestowed upon us? This is the reward that God has given these wise virgins.
Nowadays those wicked people are still waiting, “When will the Lord descend among us? The Lord will publicly descend so certainly we will witness it.” You say that you certainly will witness it, so then why don’t you wait! You will see at what time you will witness it. Of course, you will not witness it before the great disasters, you will witness it after the great disasters. Isn’t that how it is? There’s one piece in the word of God, how does it go? “When You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus Will Be When God Has Made Anew Heaven and Earth.” When will heaven and earth be made anew? It will be after the great disasters, that is when God will make the heaven and earth anew. The great disasters will destroy all unbelievers and all the satanic and devilish people, so then won’t the heaven and earth be made anew? After the great disasters, corrupt mankind, with the exception of those who believe in Almighty God, will be completely destroyed. This is one aspect of the renewal. Mankind will be renewed. What about the renewal of heaven? Many stars will fall from the sky, and many new stars will appear. These will be stars newly created by God. Astronomers will look and remark, “Wow, there are a lot of new stars in the sky, where did these new stars come from? Where did they come from?” They were created by God. They did not see this, so they do not know this. The stars have been made anew. One day the moon and the sun will be darkened, and so too will the moon and the sun be made anew. Astronomers will say: “That old sun is no more, a new sun has emerged. Where did it come from? Where did it come from?” God created it. They did not see this. When God creates this will you be able to witness it? Will God allow you to witness how He creates the sun? How does He create the stars? How are these celestial bodies made? Today’s scientists have made another discovery: “Wow, how has this protective layer appeared 10,000 kilometers in the space above the earth’s surface? Where did this come from? Who put it there?” They do not know how this happened. God created it, for He feared that some objects might come from outer space and harm the earth or attack the earth, so God created this protective layer. Those foolish virgins will not acknowledge God until they witness the spiritual body of God, without seeing Him they will not acknowledge Him. Isn’t this foolish? This is called being a fool.
Let’s continue to look at God’s words, “When all men are differentiated according to kind, that is, when the nature of each kind of man has been made clear, then I shall number each man among their rightful kind and put each kind into their fitting place so that I may realize My aim of salvation for mankind.” God has differentiated man into their proper categories. What is the purpose of this? The purpose is to achieve God’s goal of salvation. In the end, what is the purpose of saving man? Once each person is divided into his own specific category, those who are saved by God will also be revealed. These people receive God’s work in the last days. They are cleansed and perfected and they have obtained the truth. These people enter God’s kingdom with an appropriate placement. Some serve as priests, others lead. Some form the sons, others constitute the people and others do service. Those who do service and those who constitute the people say, “Why have I not been appointed as a priest? Why am I not one of the sons?” They have not obtained enough of the truth. This is a lot like applications for university. Those who have 90% are accepted into the best schools. Those who have 80% are accepted into slightly less prestigious schools. Those who have 70% get into even less prestigious schools and those who get 60% go to mediocre universities. There is a verse in the Bible that reads, “the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force” (Matthew 11:12). Some people say, “How is it that accepting God’s work in the last days is so complicated? Not only do you have to seek the truth, the Almighty God’s words are too many, even more than all the words in the Bible. If I knew that believing in God was so complicated, I would not have believed. I would just concentrate on living my life happily in the world!” Are there any of you who have said this? Those who say these things, are they clever or are they stupid? These people are stupid. Do you think that the world is fun and games? Do you think wantonly living in the midst of sin is happiness? When the great disaster is upon us, “pow,” people will die instantly. They won’t even know how they died. Some people will be crushed and their head will split open. Some people will have their arms and legs broken and die after several hours of agony. All kinds of disasters will befall mankind. Once your body perishes, do you think that it is the end? Just because your body dies, do you think that your soul will not be punished? Your soul will suffer endlessly in hell, “Where their worm dies not, and the fire is not quenched” (Mark 9:48). Doesn’t the Bible contain this verse? This verse is in the Bible. If you do not believe in God today, you will suffer in hell for eternity. I won’t say how much your body will suffer or how much it will be punished. Your body will eventually perish but your soul will suffer forever in hell. This kind of suffering is many times greater than the suffering of receiving God’s work, enduring judgment and chastisement and going through trials and refinement.
Right now, our bodies go through suffering. What kind of suffering? Sometimes God’s word makes your corrupt states known. There is some pain in your heart, and you suffer a loss of face. Sometimes, you are arrogant and conceited. You say arrogant things, run amok, and you endure some dealing. You lose face and you have pain in your heart … Is this suffering great? Is it very heavy? Can you endure this kind of suffering? Some people say that they can. When you go through judgment and chastisement, you feel humiliated and you lose face. At the most, you feel dejected and depressed. Afterward, your head is lowered. Everyone else does not want to look at you. Your heart gets refined a little. Don’t you just endure this little bit of suffering? Is this suffering very intense? Can man endure this? Isn’t this something that man should endure? Moreover, God is not exposing just one person individually. He is exposing the corruption of the entire human race. Who is laughing at you? Who is looking down upon you? Isn’t this the case? When God dealt with me, when He exposed me, He did this in my face, pointing out my corruption, and everyone else was sitting on the side listening. How do you think my heart was feeling at that time? Do you think it suffered more or less than when you are receiving judgment from God’s word? This suffering was greater. When I endured this kind of suffering, I did not dare run away. I could not face anyone. So much so that if there had been a crack on the ground, I would have without hesitation bored my way into it so that everybody would not look at me. In that instance, my heart was suffering greatly! However, this suffering is nothing compared to what you would experience in hell, am I right? What kind of suffering can you endure? Can you suffer what I have endured? The suffering I have endured is a little bit more intense, however, when compared to Christ, it is very insignificant. Christ has experienced man’s pain. The suffering He has endured is truly great. None of us would be able to endure it. This is why, when we suffer, sometimes we will feel like we have been wronged, we feel hurt, yet this is nothing when you look at what Christ is going through. It is nothing. We start to feel, “This is God treating us with grace. He is blessing us. God allows us to feel this pain so that we can be cleansed and cured.” If you have a disease and you have to go to a hospital, would you say that you will suffer? Of course. If you go to the hospital and they simply prescribe you some medicine, this is the situation with the least amount of suffering. You suffer a little more if they give you an injection or put an IV into you. You suffer even more if you have to go through surgery. The worst case scenario is that they cannot cure you and they tell you that you have cancer. Cancer—they do not have any medicine or injections to give you. Afterward, your heart is filled with dread. Isn’t this a great deal of suffering? When you hear that diagnosis, how does your heart feel? Do you feel a lot of pain? “Doesn’t this mean I am going to die? Oh no, how much longer do I have to live? Three months? Five months?” You ponder over these three to five months. You ponder over dying. The more you ponder, the more you are unable to eat. The more you ponder, the more difficult it is to accept this. A cancer patient has no hope. He or she is filled with despair. The despair frightens him or her to death. Now, today, as we receive God’s judgment and chastisement, is the most intense suffering that we will experience that of cancer? No matter how humiliated you feel, your heart still has hope, “God, You let me endure the suffering of these words, endure the suffering of judgment and chastisement. This is your kindness to me. This is all for the purpose of cleansing me. This is so that I can gain eternal life and enter the kingdom.” Look at how this person has hope. He or she will not think this kind of suffering is too great to bear.
There is a verse in the Bible that reads as follows, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2 Corinthians 4:17). What do you think about this verse? “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment.” Why does it say that it is “but for a moment”? This is similar to the Bible where it says “in a moment we shall be changed.” What does “in a moment” mean? It means, in a blink of an eye. How can “in a blink of an eye” be explained? From God’s point of view, a blink of an eye is twenty to thirty years. To God, one thousand years is a single day. The concept of time is different for God and humans. When God does the work of cleansing and perfecting man in the last days, from His point of view, it is a split second or a blink of an eye. Would you say twenty to thirty years is a long or a short period of time? To be honest, it is quite short! It feels like time is going by too quickly! The pain you go through will be over in a blink of an eye. It is only a slight momentary affliction. Is this what the definition is? What kind of suffering have I gone through in these 30 years of experiencing God’s work? I’ve suffered in the past, how do I forget it now? When I reflect on what kind of pain I’ve been through, I feel that it is not actually very painful, it is actually okay. I can’t believe, God has led me for 30 years now, I’ve experienced God’s word for 30 years and I’ve gone through trials and refinement for 30 years. How is it that in a blink of an eye, 30 years have passed? My heart feels like it has been only 10 years. That is why it doesn’t matter how much pain you go through, once time passes, it is over and all that is left is peace and joy. Am I right? So, here it says, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” Now, once this light affliction is over and done, do you keep it in your heart? No, it is forgotten, it is gone. Once this pain has passed, you have finished enduring it and you have changed because of it. What kind of pain was it? It was like you did not suffer it. You can see that there are some brothers and sisters, especially the workers and leaders, when God’s family deals with them, they may end up crying. However, after a few years have passed, they end up having changed a lot. When you ask them, “These past few years, have you experienced a great deal of suffering?” “No, I have not experienced a great deal of suffering.” “Do you forget the time when you were sniveling?” “When I was sniveling, I was going through some suffering, but after it passed, there is nothing left, I do not feel the pain anymore.” So, when the pain of the past is forgotten, what is left? Peace and joy and a person who is extremely grateful to God, “God has shown me grace. He let me experience so much these past 30 years. I feel like I truly have a bit of an understanding of God. This is 1,000 times better than chasing reputation and status in the world, 10,000 times better. God has truly treated me with grace. He has led me on this road of faith. I cannot live if I leave God. Even if you offered me a position as the president, I would not dare abandon God.” Actually, it is not a matter of whether or not we would be offered a position as the president. Our hearts are fed up with things like that. If you seek things that have no meaning, then it is purely suffering, is it not?
Have you ever been afraid of suffering? Some people have suffered from God’s words of judgment and then afterward become afraid, “I absolutely cannot suffer this kind of pain. I do not want to suffer any pain.” Does this kind of person love the truth? They do not love the truth. So, today, what does it mean to believe in God? Firstly, you must believe God’s words. Secondly, you must believe in God’s work. Thirdly, you must believe that all situations have been permitted by God. “God has treated me with grace. He allowed me to go through these situations and experience His work. He allowed me to be in this environment and through praying and seeking the truth, live under His guidance. God has provided me with this environment to train me and allow me to understand Him.” To put it bluntly, isn’t this the case? Now would you say that God has set up this environment regardless if people feel that it is bitter or sweet? In the end, what kind of results can we hope to achieve? This is all arranged so that we can understand God, the truth, God’s loveliness, God’s disposition, the fact that God is the almighty Ruler and that He truly loves humanity. During the Age of Grace, the love God gave to man was to absolve man’s sin. During the Age of Kingdom, the judgment and chastisement that God brought is the most solid form of His love. It thoroughly cleanses, saves and blesses man. How great is His love during the Age of Kingdom! It is 100 times greater than the love in the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. It is 1,000 times greater, even 10,000 times greater. From an external point of view, during the Age of Kingdom, the work God does is the work of judgment and chastisement. When people hear judgment and chastisement, they think, “It’s over! I do not want to accept this stage of the work! There is nothing good about this stage! If it’s not judgment, then it is chastisement and in the end it is condemnation and elimination. This stage of work is very dangerous. I’d rather believe in the stage of work during the Age of Grace.” This is silly. The stage of work during the Age of Kingdom is the stage that can perfect man. Only after experiencing this stage can man obtain the truth and eternal life! Superficially, it seems that this stage does not conform with man’s notions. In actuality, it is God’s greatest blessing and greatest love. It is His most genuine love. If you can see this clearly, then you are a wise virgin, absolutely clever.
Let’s continue holding fellowship over God’s words, “In turn, I call groups of those I wish to save to return to My house.” What can we learn from these words? During the last days, man returns to the front of God’s throne. Not all at once, but in groups. First, God gathered a group from mainland China. A few million returned before Almighty God. This group of a couple million from mainland China are quite amazing. They continue to gather to eat and drink God’s word and communicate the truth. Their foundation has been laid. In the end, God handed these people over to Satan and the great red dragon so they could go through trials. Then the great red dragon began to search the entire country to capture those that believe in Almighty God. It is under these hostile conditions that the Church of Almighty God stands firm, and very few people have fallen away. When those that do not love the truth see this, they say, “The environment is too hostile, I cannot believe, there is no way to keep the faith. This is the real way. I’ll wait until the great red dragon collapses before I believe.” Those who have some courage and faith will say, “Are you coercing me? Even if you beat me to death, I will still believe.” However, you must be wise while you believe in God. If you have not obtained the truth, you cannot let them beat you to death. Once you have a grasp of the truth, then you have it. The great red dragon started the crackdown in 1996 and it has lasted all the way until now. It has been almost 20 years. Each year the crackdown gets more and more severe and extreme. Now, the Chinese Communist Party has issued another document. It has convened a conference to do research on its religious policies. Voice of America reports, “A severe winter has arrived for the family churches.” As we hear this, what does this mean? Has a “severe winter” just arrived now? We have endured a “severe winter” for so many years. Even with this so called “severe winter,” who has left the Church of Almighty God? Let me share a fact with you. Each year, the number of Christians in the Church of Almighty God increases by at least 100,000. Take a look, what does this tell you? This is the Holy Spirit doing His work. This is God’s work. No one is able to tear it down. The great red dragon’s forces are the strongest when compared to the ruling political party of every country in the world. They are second to none, their forces are quite powerful. They are one of the world’s hegemons, the hegemon of the east. This is an evil force that overturns the entire country to repress the Church of Almighty God. What is the result of this? They have failed and reached the end of the road. It has been confirmed now, Almighty God has already triumphed over Satan. He has Satan right under His feet. Where is the evidence for this? Firstly, the Church of Almighty God continues to grow in strength. Secondly, a group of overcomers has been made complete. Thirdly, the Church of Almighty God is expanding throughout the entire world and the kingdom gospel is expanding through the universe. There is nothing the great red dragon can do now. They say, “We have tried to suppress them for more than 20 years now. Not only have we been unable to exterminate the Church of Almighty God, they have expanded and their numbers have grown. They have expanded overseas and now every country and every corner of the world has a church of Almighty God.” Doesn’t this confirm that the great red dragon has failed? Not only is the great red dragon unable to exterminate the churches of Almighty God overseas, they cannot even exterminate the domestic members. Haven’t they already failed at this point? The Church of Almighty God grows by at least 100,000 members every year. 100,000! Even under the great red dragon’s relentless surveillance and capture of our church’s members, we are still able to grow by 100,000 each year in this kind of hostile environment. If there were no coercion or persecution from the great red dragon, how much faster would our church grow? Would you say we would grow by one million or ten million?
The Chinese people that believe in God are really something, especially those that believe in Almighty God. They are even more amazing. Whatever God says, they obey. Whatever God says, they will do! These people have the courage to do it. Some people say, “I can make an effort. Whatever dangerous duties the church has to deal with, just hand them to me.” “Let you take care of them? Are your bones strong enough?” “Don’t worry, I’ve already been in jail twice and they beat me silly. They did not break my bones, God would not let them.” Whatever dangerous duties there are, there are people who would do them. Wouldn’t you say that this is faith? This is witnessing! When the Chinese Communist Party’s police beat people, they really beat people. We have a sister who was responsible for printing books and distributing them. The police caught her and beat her face until it was bruised and her mouth was off to one side. Their beatings are extremely cruel, as if they were in a war fighting an enemy. In a war, you use knives and guns. The Chinese Communist Party police do not use knives or guns. They use their fists, feet and torture instruments to harm you. They will beat you to death. We have some brothers and sisters who suffered tremendously in prison, yet they stood firm and bore witness. Those that God wishes to save are separated into groups to be brought back. The first group are those from mainland China. The second group are those who are overseas. Right now, those that are overseas are beginning to return to God. The third group are those that, after the great disaster arrives, in the midst of the disaster, come to their senses and return to God. Those that are called back to God prior to the disaster are many. There are many in this group! Right now, the work of rapture that needs to be done before the great disaster is quickly coming to an end. Why would I say this? What is “quickly coming to an end” referring to? The great disaster is arriving soon. If the great disaster arrives in two years, those that return to God in the two years will also be considered in the group that is raptured before the disaster. There will also be those that do not return to God during these two years. Other people spread the gospel to them and bear witness to Almighty God’s work in the last days, yet they say, “This is incorrect! This is not it! I have not seen it with my own eyes, I will not believe.” No matter how others explain it, they still deny it. God will place these people right in the middle of the disaster. He will use the disaster to refine and punish them. They will be in the middle of the disaster, in the darkness, weeping and gnashing their teeth.
Why does the great red dragon frantically suppress and capture Christians in China? God wants to make complete a group of overcomers in this environment. This is why He needs the great red dragon to be the foil. This is the foil’s use. Some people say, “If the great red dragon were destroyed, this would allow the Church of Almighty God to spread the gospel and expand the church vigorously. Those that would accept the gospel in China would then number more than 100 million.” Is this a good situation? From the point of view of man, it is very good. So, why doesn’t God do this? Why does God not do this? You do not know. Here, there has to be a truth that we must seek. This must contain a mystery. What is this mystery? If the environment that the great red dragon created did not exist, of the people that believe in God, would it be clear which ones truly believe in God, which ones are false believers, which ones are timid and which ones are unyielding? First of all, this aspect would not be clear. Additionally, there are many intellectuals, scholars and people who do not love the truth that will come in. Would they affect the overcomers being perfected? Intellectuals and scientists seek knowledge. Their acceptance of the truth is too slow. In accepting each truth, they must go through many instances of fellowship, failure, setbacks, dealing and pruning before they can advance a single step. Imagine what would happen if you take those that do not love or believe in the truth, those that seek knowledge and science and you bring them into the church. These people rely on gifts and they have a high chance to be elected as leaders or preachers. These people just preach and spread empty words in the church. Would those that truly seek the truth be able to obtain shepherding, supplies and watering? They will affect the fruits of God’s work. That is why once these people seize power in the church the work of perfecting the overcomers will be delayed and become more difficult. That is why God guards this door very closely. Who is the first group of people that can enter? God makes use of the environment to control for this. Look at what God uses to prevent the sea from flooding outwards. The first thing He uses is huge mountains. Second, He uses sea sand. The sea sand blocks the sea water. God blocks those that do not love the truth from entering the church. What methods does He use to do this? He makes use of a hostile environment—the great red dragon’s capture and suppression, the ruling party’s persecution. In this way, He keeps these people outside. Those who only like knowledge and science along with people who do not love the truth, once they see this, they exclaim, “The great red dragon’s forces are truly great. It captures and suppresses people. It would not be good if I get captured. I better not believe.” It blocks those that are cowardly and do not love the truth from entering the church. Is this not God’s wisdom? Doesn’t this make clear God’s almightiness and sovereignty? This makes clear God’s almightiness and sovereignty.
There are some people who do not know how to understand this situation. What would those that do not understand the spirit say? “If God is called Almighty God, why doesn’t He destroy the great red dragon in one mighty swoop?” It is not ideal to have the great red dragon destroyed too early. This would interfere with God’s plan because He still needs to make use of the great red dragon, am I right? How long will this foil be used? Once this group of overcomers have been made complete, once they have been perfected, once they have obtained the truth and can bear witness, the service of the great red dragon will come to an end. At this time, God will destroy it. He will use disasters to get rid of it. When God came to do His work, He said that He brings all sorts of disasters. This can be compared to one of His hands bringing all of the truth while the other hand brings all of the disasters. Once all of the truth has been expressed and His work has achieved a certain result, that is when He must get things started—He will send disasters and get rid of the unbelievers. As a result, how does God deal with the unbelievers? He uses disasters to get rid of them. Colloquially, He uses force to resolve this issue. Look at how the great red dragon hunts down God’s chosen people. They come in police cars and they carry machine guns and torture instruments. God will use disasters to exterminate them. Do you think their police cars, machine guns and torture instruments will be able to stop these disasters? God will use disasters to exterminate them. This is why, when the day comes that God will punish the great red dragon, He will send China disasters. Once God’s chosen people see this, they will be wild with joy and loudly praise God, “God is righteous!” They will be moved to tears. The idiom, “wild with joy,” describes this situation very well, am I right? God is not rushed as He goes about His business. He is not like man, “Right now the great red dragon’s persecution is so extreme and severe. Wouldn’t it be perfect if God delivers a calamity to them at this moment?” This is the way that man does things. When the Lord Jesus was being nailed to the cross, did God send a disaster to the Israelites? No. Was God’s heart aching at the time? It was aching so much. However, this was something that God had predestined. He needed to use this situation to complete His redemptive work. That is why as the Lord Jesus was breathing His last breath on the cross, He said, “Finished.” God’s redemptive work was finished and it was successfully accomplished. After He proclaimed it was finished, how many years was it until God brought His punishment and wrath upon Israel? About thirty years. Titus of Rome sent an army to wipe out Israel. The nation of Israel was wiped out and it did not recover all the way until 1948. After they recovered their country, the Israelis still have not been able to have peace. Right now, they are endlessly experiencing war.
During the time of the second world war, the monster Adolf Hitler emerged and he massacred six million Israelites. The Israelites believe in Jehovah God each and every generation. Why would they encounter such gigantic disasters and punishment? What is the reason for this? They nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross and the consequences have been devastating. Some people say, “It was some individuals who did it. Those few people nailed Him to the cross.” Those people represented Israel, that is why God destroyed Israel. None of them believed in the Lord Jesus. After the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross, the Israelites tried to kill His apostles and disciples. They could no longer stay in Israel and had to flee to other countries in Europe. That is why God’s wrath on Israel has been heavy-handed. Afterward, there have been many Christians who have said, “Oh, how is it that the Israelites believe in God yet have encountered this kind of situation? Where is Jehovah God? Why does Jehovah God not look out for them? Why does Jehovah God not release His anger upon Hitler?” It is not appropriate to use man’s notions and imagination to judge God. Do you know how God thinks? Do your notions represent that you are holy? Do they represent your mercy and love? Do they show that you have the truth? Are you the Lord of creation or is God the Lord of creation? Are you almighty? Do you have a righteous disposition? If you continue to rely on your notions to judge God, then you are resisting God! Isn’t this the case? When the Israelites opposed the Lord Jesus, they were opposing Jehovah God. That is why God vented His wrath. However, He waited 30 years or so before He destroyed the nation of Israel. Now, based on this example, if someone says, “The great red dragon is frantically persecuting God’s chosen people. If God sees this, He should bring down a disaster. He should quickly bring down a disaster. He cannot even wait for one minute.” Is this kind of thinking in accordance with God’s intentions? It is not. God’s wisdom is higher than that of man. God’s thoughts and ideas are different than those of man. Do not use man’s thoughts and ideas to draw conclusions about and judge God. This is a mistake. God deliberates carefully before He takes action. He gives you ample time to repent and reflect so that you can understand. Once you understand, if you still do not repent, that is when a disaster comes. This is just right. God does not rush when He does things. God’s hand is very stable and steady. In those thirty or so years, if they repented, it would have been okay. God would not have brought a disaster. However, what did they do in those thirty years? The Israelites tried to kill the apostles and disciples of the Lord Jesus. Believers had to flee the country and go to Europe and other countries. Aren’t these the facts? This confirms that they had resisted God’s work. This is definite proof that they had resisted the Lord Jesus. They did not repent. After God brought down a disaster upon them, could they blame anyone else? Not only did they not acknowledge the Lord Jesus, they cracked down on His disciples that were spreading the gospel and bearing witness in Judea. God unleashed His wrath upon them about thirty years after the Lord Jesus was nailed on the cross. God destroyed them and demolished their temple. Look at how great God’s timing is. It’s great. Why is it great? God does not punish people right away if they do something wrong. God will give you a chance to reflect and see how you react. They stubbornly continued to carry out repression, slaughter the disciples and apostles of the Lord Jesus and prevent them from spreading the gospel. When their persecution of God reached its peak, God brought down His wrath. In those thirty years, they did not repent and did not concede. They had cruelly slaughtered so many apostles and disciples of the Lord Jesus. This is why Hitler massacred the Israelites. It was retribution indeed! Some people say, “Why does God not destroy the great red dragon?” God has His own plans. Do not be anxious. Once God finishes this stage of His work, He will destroy the great red dragon. You do not need to wait long. God does things according to His schedule. God’s time and man’s time, the time man imagines, are different. God’s time contains His mercy, leniency and wisdom. It is also based on a comprehensive arrangement that is reasonable and fair. This is why God’s time is a mystery. There is a truth that must be sought. Man’s time will not do, it has no meaning. Do you understand?
Let’s continue fellowshiping about God’s words. God said, “Then I ask them all to accept My work in the last days. At the same time, I differentiate man according to kind, then reward or punish each on the basis of their deeds. Such are the steps that comprise My work.” “Then, I ask them all to accept My work in the last days.” They will accept Almighty God and His judgment and chastisement. “At the same time, I differentiate man according to kind, then reward or punish each on the basis of their deeds.” What verse in the Book of Revelation do these words fulfill? “And my reward is with me, to give every man according as his work shall be” (Revelation 22:12). This verse has been fulfilled, has it not? God will repay each person according to what they have done. What does this verse mean? It is not based on how many virtuous actions you do in religion or how many evil actions you take. This is not important. It is also not based on how much corruption you expose. This is not important. The most important thing is whether or not you obey Almighty God’s work, what kind of attitude you have toward the truth expressed by Almighty God. This is challenging! If you only acknowledge Almighty God’s name and you do not acknowledge that what He says is the truth, also, if you do not accept all of the words that Almighty God says and you rely on your own notions to reject and judge Almighty God’s words, God will peg you as a wicked person. Since you judge God’s words, not only do you not accept the truth, acknowledge the truth, but you reject the truth and judge the truth, this makes you a wicked person. God will deal with you as a wicked person. This is dealing with each according to their kind. How will God reveal each according to their kind? By God’s word and God’s work in the last days, He will reveal all the religious people and all the unbelievers. Those who do not believe will be condemned and all of them will be punished. For those who verbally acknowledge, He will look at whether or not they accept the truth, what kind of attitude they have toward the truth and whether or not they can obey God’s work. It is based on these conditions that man will be divided according to their kind. This phrase means that good people will be placed to one side, and wicked people will be placed on another side. Goats will be placed on the goat’s side and sheep will be placed on the sheep’s side. Systematically speaking, those who only believe in the Lord Jesus will be placed on the side that believes in the Lord Jesus; those who only believe in Jehovah God will be placed on the side that believes in Jehovah God; those who say “We believe in Almighty God,” these people will be placed on the side that believes in Almighty God. Those that say, “I do not believe in anything. I do not believe in God,” they are unbelievers and it has been preordained that they will be exterminated. This is what it means to divide man according to their kind.
Someone said, “We have believed in the Lord Jesus for generations. We have believed for many generations. God will not exterminate us!” Even if you have believed for generations, if you need to be exterminated, then you will be exterminated! Has God said that He would not exterminate you if your faith has existed for generations? Which part of God’s words says this? When God punished the Israelites, did He care how many years the Israelites believed in Jehovah God? He did not care. When Titus came, he exterminated everyone. He even destroyed the temple. When Hitler came, he killed everyone. It does not matter how many generations you have believed. If you resist God, these are the consequences. You will be dealt with according to kind. You will be handled according to category. Now, someone will say, “God is not merciful or loving.” Not only is God loving and merciful, the most important thing is that during the last days, He will reveal that His disposition is righteous, majestic and wrathful. If you accept the truth, God will be merciful to you. Who does God show love and mercy toward? Those that accept Almighty God’s work in the last days. These people accept the truth but their stature is small. They do not understand the truth, so they are able to expose their corruption. At certain times in their experience, they may resist and oppose God. However, afterward, they are able to receive the truth, admit to guilt and repent. God forgives, pardons and has mercy for these kinds of people. If someone does not seek the truth at all, God does not have any mercy for them. Someone said, “Those that have accepted Almighty God are not entirely pure and holy.” Even though these people are not entirely pure and holy, however, they have some reality of the truth and can enter the kingdom. Their corruptions have been forgiven and cleansed by the sin offering of the Lord Jesus. Someone who believes in the Lord Jesus might say, “That is wrong. We believe in the Lord Jesus so we are even more entitled to His forgiveness.” Is there any basis for this statement? What does the Lord Jesus say in the Bible about those who deny the work of God in the last days? “Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works? And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity” (Matthew 7:22-23). “Depart from me, you that work iniquity.” Who is saying this verse? The Lord Jesus is the One who said this. The Lord Jesus said this to His disciples before He ascended into heaven. He said this to everyone as well as all those who believe in Him. What does this mean if the Lord Jesus said these words to those who believe in Him? “One day, when I return, My name will change to ‘Almighty God.’ I will have the flesh of an Asian man. At that time, if you reject the words I say and the work that I do, I will deny you. I will say, you who work iniquity, I never knew you.” Now, would the Lord Jesus’ sin offering have any effect on these people? It won’t be effective. As it says in the Book of Hebrews, “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26). You know perfectly well that it is God that came to do His work and that what Almighty God expresses is the truth. Why do you not accept? Since you do not believe and do not accept, the Lord will designate you as evil-doers. These people know perfectly well the way of truth yet they deliberately resist God. They know perfectly well the way of truth yet they deliberately commit sins. There is no sacrifice for the sins of these people. If there is no sacrifice for their sins, what kind of people are they? They are unbelieving evil people and they will be dealt with as unbelievers.
What about those that believe in Almighty God? Many of you have small statures. You have believed for only a short period of time, and you have a bit of corruption to expose. You also have some transgressions. Upon these people, the Lord Jesus’ sin offering will have an effect. Why is this the case? This fulfills one of the Lord Jesus’ predictions, “For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whoever has not, from him shall be taken away even that he has” (Matthew 13:12). Many unbelievers have accepted this stage of God’s work. They have not believed in the Lord Jesus but His sin offering is effective on them because what these people have accepted is the return of the Lord Jesus. This is why the redemption work and the salvation work that God has done are absolutely effective on these people. Now, there are some people who say, “We have believed in Almighty God for a short period of time. We still have a lot of corruption that has not been cleansed. After the great disaster arrives, will we remain?” If you seek the truth and the Holy Spirit works on you, the corruption you expose will be covered by the Lord Jesus’ precious blood. His sin offering will be effective on you. So, what does it say in the Book of Revelation? “For the accuser of our brothers is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb” (Revelation 12:10-11). Look at Satan’s accusation, “You still haven’t received cleansing as you have just believed.” “The Lord Jesus’ blood was shed for us. His sin offering is effective on us. Satan, you cannot accuse us.” This is why those who believe in Almighty God are especially blessed. They have received blessings upon blessings. Is this not God’s profound love? God does not acknowledge those who believe in the Lord Jesus but do not accept Almighty God or who reject Almighty God. All that they have achieved has gone down the drain. They have basically given up halfway. Their sins have gotten them what they deserve, am I right? Why do you not accept the return of the Lord Jesus? You get confused because the same Spirit inhabits a different flesh. If you do not love the truth, who will you blame? It is the same Spirit that has been speaking and doing these things. When Jehovah God became flesh, He turned into the Lord Jesus. Those who believed in Jehovah God nailed the Lord Jesus to the cross. If the Lord Jesus became angry in heaven and brought down a disaster to destroy the people that believed in Jehovah God, why would Jehovah God not obstruct Him? Why would He not hinder this? If They were two Gods, then Jehovah God would not let this happen, “These are My people. They believe in Me.” Would Jehovah God do this? No way. So, what does this mean? This means that the Lord Jesus is Jehovah God and Jehovah God is the Lord Jesus. They are one God. This is what Jehovah God meant, “When you killed the Lord Jesus and nailed Him to the cross, this was equivalent to killing Me. Therefore, is it possible for Me not to hate you? You believe in Jehovah God and you are the chief priests yet I will still destroy you!” This is the situation. They are one God! If you deny Almighty God today, what will happen? The Lord Jesus would say, “This is the same as if you denied and betrayed Me. It is because you have not seen Me, that you believe in Me. If you had truly seen the work I have done in Judea, you would have also betrayed Me. You are a false believer. You only believe in Me in name. What you believe in is the Bible. You do not believe in the real Lord Jesus Christ.” Can it be said like this?
Today, we believe in Almighty God. If we really saw the work that the Lord Jesus did back then, if someone spread the gospel to us, we would be able to accept. There are people in the religious world who have seen someone bear witness to Almighty God, but they do not accept. If they were living in the Lord Jesus’ time, they definitely would not be able to accept the Son of man known as the Lord Jesus. Isn’t this the case? This is the case. I asked a religious person before, “If you saw the Lord Jesus come today with a Jewish appearance and He was preaching in the middle of a group of people, would you be able to truly believe in Him? Would you still say that He is God?” He replied, “Yes I could.” I then said, “This is not necessarily the case, if everyone really could, then how come so many Israelites refused to believe? You believe in the Bible. You only believe the name of the ‘Lord Jesus.’ The Lord Jesus came in the flesh, yet you do not acknowledge this. Even if you acknowledge it, you may not necessarily believe. You will say, ‘So, actually, as it turns out, You are a man. I was under the impression that if You ascended to heaven, then You are God.’ Look, you have a hundred reasons not to believe.” This is why if you believe in Christ, the ordinary human-form of God incarnate, this is the greatest faith. This is the biggest test that God has given to everyone who has faith in Him. This is why God said, “I lay in Zion a big stone. To believers, this stone is the foundation of their construction. To those that do not believe, this is a rock that stumbles them. To the sons of the devil, this is the stone that crushes them to death.” To all those who believe as well as those that do not believe, God incarnate is a stone. It is a stone of stumbling. It is a stone that reveals man. Only those who believe in Christ and believe in the utterances of God truly believe in God. Those who do not believe in Christ, do not believe in the Son of man, and do not believe God’s utterances, they do not truly believe in God. Are these words acceptable? You believe in Jehovah God in heaven, you believe in the Lord Jesus in heaven. Can you see Them? If you saw Them, you might not necessarily believe. That is why I say that you believe in a vague God. You have not seen Him, so you believe. If you truly see Him, you may not necessarily believe in Him. The Almighty God that we believe in today can be seen. He really exists as a man and He really has spoken these words. We believe that His words are the truth and the expression of God. That is why, no matter how ordinary and indistinguishable the Son of man is, how He is rejected by this generation, and how the religious world convicts Him, we still believe that He is Christ and He is God incarnate! This is what it means to have a true and real faith in God. This is the greatest faith, the most solid faith.
“Many are called, but few are chosen,” the Lord Jesus said this in the Bible. When Almighty God came, He also made this statement. However, when Almighty God said this, He was much more specific in terms of His intentions and His revelation of mankind. What does “many are called, but few are chosen” mean? It means, even though many people believe in God, very few of these people love God. This means the chosen are few. Who are those that are chosen? It is those who love God. Those who love God are small in number. Someone said, “Many are called, but few are chosen. Now, later on, just how many religious people will go to heaven after they die?” God has said, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Can this statement be used to explain man’s notions and imaginations? Just how many people can go to heaven? Does everyone who believes in God go to heaven? Or do only a few people go to heaven? It’s only a few that can go. As for the people who were full from eating the bread, did the Lord Jesus say even more to them? No, He didn’t. He fed 5,000 people with 5 loaves of bread and two fish. After the Lord fed and blessed those 5,000 people, He left. Which people did the Lord Jesus tell His disciples would be blessed? Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. What kind of people did God communicate and spread the truth to? What kind of people did He supply with His words and shepherd? Those who truly followed Him. Did the people who truly followed Him number as many as 5,000? Was it more than 4,000? No. There were only a few dozens of disciples. So, how many religious people will go to heaven after they die? Only those in the churches who have the work of the Holy Spirit, who are comparatively devout, and who have a loving heart for their brothers and sisters, these people’s souls will go to heaven. However, heaven is not the same as the kingdom of heaven. It is only a temporary sojourn for the soul. There is a paradise after death for those who believe in God. It is a place without suffering, but it is not the real heaven. So, where is the real heaven? It is in the third heaven. This is where God resides. Who else resides in this place? Peter, Abraham, Job, and some other saints. They are also there with God in the kingdom of heaven. Do you understand? After all those who believe in the Lord Jesus die, most of them will temporarily go on a sojourn in the spiritual realm. This place is called paradise. Why do they get placed in this area? This is temporary. This is because God’s work has not been concluded. Some of these people can be reincarnated and return to the world. At an appropriate time, God will send them back to the world to live amongst man. They will once again experience God’s work and experience some situations. Once they die, they will return to the paradise. Then they will be sent again to experience God’s work.
Elijah was sent back in the past. What did he come back to do? Elijah was the precursor to the Lord Jesus. He was the pioneer that prepared the road for the Lord Jesus. Who in the New Testament did Elijah’s spirit come back as? John the Baptist. He came once during the Age of Law. John’s prototype is Elijah. Isn’t this an example of reincarnating and coming back to the world? Yes, it is. When God’s Spirit comes in human form, it is called God becoming flesh. When man returns, it is called reincarnation. Will demons and evil spirits come back? Satan will also come back, the Satan that corrupts humanity. A good example is Confucius. He is an evil spirit. He is one of the evil spirits that follows Satan and he came once before. Li Laozi is also one of Satan’s evil spirits. Qin Shihuang, Mao Zedong and Marx are all evil spirits. These evil spirits were chased from heaven. They were chased down to earth. Sometimes, they can be reincarnated and return to earth. Yue Fei and Guan Yu were also spirits that were reincarnated and returned to earth. They did not believe in God and would not be saved by God. All that they did was for the mortal world. Do you understand? So, within human midst, there is God incarnate. God put on a human form and came into our midst. There are also the spirits of saints that reincarnated and returned. All sorts of demons have also reincarnated and returned along with the spirits of angels. Isn’t this the truth? They come into human midst and they have all sorts of origins. It’s very complicated. To us, it is not very clear. However, God’s work is the work of judgment and chastisement. He wants to make a group of overcomers. He did not come to say things that are not related to the truth. He did not come to reveal mysteries that are not related to saving humanity. God does not talk about these matters. It is useless to study these things because you will not be able to obtain life. You must understand that God does not say things that have no meaning! Remember, if your faith in God is true, you should believe that what God says is the truth. All of it is real. God does not say anything that is false. Since God is the Master of all things, the Lord of creation, the Ruler of all that is, whatever He says will be brought about. Everything that He says will come true. Only God understands all the mysteries of the universe. His creations do not even know their own origins, how would they know about other mysteries? That is why, no matter what it is, only God is the most knowledgeable of everything under the heavens and the entire universe. Aside from God, no one knows this completely. Demons and Satan are not the truth. They are not the Lord of creation, am I right? God is the Lord of creation. The rhythms of the entire universe and the whole world were ordained by God, they were set up by God. Each segment, every little detail has been arranged by God. It was all predestined. This is why all the prophesies that God made 3,000 years ago, 5,000 years ago, will be fulfilled according to God’s timing. It will be accurate down to the last minute and down to the last second. It will not be off by even a minute or a second.
In God’s word it is said, “Man’s existence is predicated upon the soul’s incarnation, one after another.” Some people say, “I just can’t accept this!” How do you think I ought to reply? Should I say, “You must accept this!” Is this a good reply? No. Then how ought I to reply? I say, “This is God’s word, not mine.” If you only accept God’s name, that Almighty God is God incarnate, but you don’t acknowledge that all of Almighty God’s word is the truth, what wrong have you committed? What will the consequence be? Those who acknowledge that there is a God but fail to acknowledge that God’s word is the truth, can they obey God? Can they put God’s word into practice? Can they obediently follow God’s work? Can a person whose faith consists only in belief in God’s name attain truth and life? This kind of person will not attain anything at all. Only acknowledging God’s name without acknowledging that God’s word is truth—this is the mark of an unbeliever. This is equivalent to when unbelievers acknowledge the existence of the Old Man in the Sky, but do not believe that the Old Man in the Sky has come to the earthly realm, has become man and is speaking and working among humans. Does merely believing in the existence of the Old Man in the Sky constitute faith? This is just a nominal faith in God—at heart, such a person has no faith, they don’t acknowledge that God’s word is truth. I say, there is no need to worry about the fact that you possess certain conceptions and illusions. Every person is a member of the profoundly corrupt human race, including myself. When I was still new in the faith, I had all the same conceptions and illusions that now burden you. All the conceptions and illusions that you now hold, I too once held. How is it that I was able to purify and unburden myself of these things? This is because I was conquered by God’s word: God’s word is really the truth! These things within people are not the truth, they are just man’s conceptions and illusions, fallacies and misunderstandings. By reading God’s word, communing the truth and grasping the truth, all of these human conceptions, illusions, misunderstandings and fallacies are slowly expelled. Such is the process by which this all works. So now many new believers invariably hold certain conceptions and illusions: When they read God’s word they are immediately opposed, and say, “This isn’t right, I understand things in such-and-such way, this is how I think, this is my belief.” When they first read God’s word, they find that it is not in line with their thoughts, conceptions, understanding and belief and so their first reaction is to reject. They say, “God’s word is not right, I don’t accept God’s word. I don’t acknowledge that God’s word is truth.” What is the meaning behind their words? “My conceptions and illusions are the actual truth. My misunderstanding of God is also truth and my comprehension of this matter is utterly correct.” What kind of person is this? Is this not arrogant and conceited? Does this not constitute putting oneself up on a pedestal? Is this not a reflection of Satan’s disposition? If your illusions, conceptions and viewpoints are all the truth, then you might as well come out and say directly that you are the truth and let people believe in you. Do you dare try and testify that you are the truth? When such a person reads God’s word and finds that some aspect of God’s word does not align with his conceptions and illusions, he would deny God’s word before denying his own conceptions and illusions. What kind of problem is this exposing? This exposes the fact that he has a poor disposition, that he is too conceited and arrogant. Isn’t he who dares deny God’s word and openly resists and judges God’s word in clear resistance of God? He is, indeed, in clear resistance. So do new believers in Almighty God display many behaviors that are in resistance of God? The ways in which they resist God are many, indeed.
In experiencing God’s judgment and chastisement, people suffer much frustration and failure, their conceptions and illusions are conquered by God’s word and are resolved and, ultimately, their life disposition begins to undergo certain changes. What kind of changes? If someone asks, “What kind of person are you? Are you a good person?” Do you dare say you are a good person? You daren’t say. Why do you dare not say you’re a good person? Why is it that before you dared say you were good and now you don’t dare? Why is it you don’t dare? “After having been chastised and judged a few times, I felt the humiliation of failure and, as a result, I am not as confident in myself now. I don’t dare be so self-righteous, I’ve started to have self-knowledge. I am not the truth: Some aspects of my understanding are fallacious and some are in downright contradiction to the truth. At first, I thought myself to be quite right in certain ways, but after reading God’s word I came to understand that I am quite rebellious and resistant toward God and so I’ve stopped trusting my own feelings.” If after encountering some issue someone asks you to “voice your opinion” and afterward asks, “Do you dare say that your opinion is right?”, you invariably say, “I don’t dare.” They ask, “Then would you ask others to act in accord with your requests?” Again, you say, “I wouldn’t ask them to do so. If you wish to deny my viewpoint, I will obediently follow, I don’t mind.” What kind of change does this represent? Does this not represent that this person’s life disposition has changed to a degree? This indeed represents a change in life disposition. I’ve experienced such a change, and so I don’t dare trust my own beliefs. Ultimately, after you have experienced God’s work and have accepted much of His judgment and chastisement, someone asks: “What do you think of yourself? What kind of person were you before?” You reply, “In the past I was an utter scoundrel.” They ask, “Why would you call yourself a scoundrel? What is it that provokes you to call yourself a scoundrel?” You say, “I’ve suffered the humiliation of so many failures and frustrations; what else could I be but a scoundrel! To put it more elegantly, you could say I used to be a ‘detestable person.’ I hate the old corrupt ‘me’—I hate my old flesh. This is what I mean by ‘scoundrel.’” Should we consider this kind of person stupid or naïve? We should not. This kind of person is being reasonable and rational. Someone asks: “Do you have the reality of truth now?” To which you reply, “It seems I have a bit, but I daren’t say I really do. At most I can say I have more than before.” Is it self-righteous and arrogant to speak in this way? It is not. In fact, it is rational to speak in this way—this is exactly the effect that God is looking for.
In the past, you used to look down on other people when they spoke. You would think: “Are you up to snuff? How cultured are you? How cultivated are you? What kind of mind do you possess? You will have to exceed me in all these things for me to listen to you. If you don’t exceed me—if you’re not better than me—don’t even dream of telling me what to do!” Now, however, even if it is a little child who speaks something in line with the truth to you, you will obediently follow. No matter what kind of appearance or education level a person has, as long as what they say is in accordance with the truth, you will obey and follow. Wouldn’t you say this constitutes a change in life disposition? Some say it does. Why do you say thus? Would average corrupt humans act in this way? No corrupt human would act thus. Corrupt humans all obediently follow those they view as great—they follow those that they worship or those that they fear or presume to be wrathful. When someone with official authority comes by and says something to them, they immediately say, “Yes, yes of course. I’ll obey! I’ll do exactly as you command!” Why do they speak in this way? They speak thus because this person is in a place of high authority. “High-ranking officials crush all inferiors.” Now, however, when someone who grasps the truth comes upon such a situation, they say: “You do not have truth. Even if you were the king of devils I wouldn’t take orders from you. Even if you were the great red dragon armed with army tanks and atomic bombs I would not listen to you. I obey God! Even if you cut my head off I would still obey God!” What kind of change is this? Is this not a change in life disposition? How is such a change achieved? It is achieved through judgment and chastisement. I’ve gone through all of this personally. I, too, was once self-righteous, arrogant and condescending. I thought myself to be better and smarter than others. After putting my faith in God and serving God for so many years, through all of the countless frustrations, all the times I drove up against a wall, and through experiencing God’s dealing and pruning, the judgment and chastisement of His word and all the ensuing pain, I finally metamorphosed into who I am now. I speak not in platitudes, fakery or packaged phrases but with honesty and heart. Useless speech, grand theories, and bureaucratic jargon—I don’t say such things. What do you think is special about the way I speak? Some people say that I speak practically. Do I speak in bureaucratic jargon? Do I use platitudes and packaged phrases? Of course not. Am I an honest person or a crafty person? Do I seem like how the CCP has characterized me? How does the CCP characterize me? They call me a villain, a monster. In reality, is that who I am? I’m a hundred times better than them. I’m not trying to brag, I’m merely speaking in praise of God’s work. I’m an honest person: I never cheat, entrap or harm others. I am sympathetic to those who do not possess the truth. As for those who do not accept the work of God in the last days, I sometimes think to myself: “These people are just like how I used to be before I entered the church. If these people were to accept God’s work in the last days and accumulate ten to twenty years of experience, would they not be just like me? They too could attain the truth. How great that would be! What a pity. These are people of good caliber, why don’t they seek the true way?” Later, I found the answer. These people are not in God’s plan. There’s no hope for them, they weren’t lucky enough to be included. We are just ordinary people, but God exalts us and shows His grace upon us—this is what separates us from others.
Today, all those that come before Almighty God to eat and drink God’s word and seek the truth are extremely smart people. These people are all blessed. As of now, you don’t seem to have grasped much truth. After all, you’ve just entered into the faith. You are more cultivated and more knowledgeable than I and so you won’t need to experience for so many years. I have thirty-odd years of experience, but if you accumulate twenty years of experience you will be no different than me, I dare say. So, though, some have just entered into the faith—in a few years’ time they will be very different, they will have changed and understood some of the truth. This all happens in a brief period. For the first thirty years of one’s life, having just entered into society, one understands almost nothing. From the age of thirty to the age of sixty, one falls into a stable mode of being—one’s fate or path in life is clear. After sixty years old, one is weak and frail and so seeking comes slowly, does it not? So, if one does not accept the true way from the age of thirty to sixty, this is a great pity, is it not? Accepting the true way is truly great. I’ll tell you something real—this is the most real thing I can tell you: After you’ve accepted the true way, no matter how many years you practice, even if it’s just two or three years, and even if you just grasp a little of the truth, have just a little knowledge of God and gain a little bit of life, this will bring you immense contentment, hope and enjoyment. Are you aware of this? What I say is true, do you understand? You understand then? What do you understand? Can you estimate how great the benefits would be from practicing faith for three to five years, gaining a little true knowledge of God, beginning to obey God and fulfilling some of your duties? I’m speaking here of just three to five years—we needn’t speak of eight to ten years—in eight to ten years your attainments would obviously be even greater. After you build the foundation of your faith in the true way, acknowledge the reality of Almighty God, resolve to expend yourself for Him, and to seek and attain the truth, in just three years of experience, your conceptions and illusions will all recede. You’ll have real faith in God and make real expenditures for Him. Through your expenditures you come to experience what it is to be honest. Once you are honest, your love of God becomes real—you are devoid of hypocrisy or craftiness. There is no adulteration to your obedience to God—you don’t obey Him to attain blessings, but only to satisfy God and live a life of meaning. Once you have attained this level of true faith in God, when you meet with some trial or you are afflicted by torment, you never deny, leave or betray God: How great is the comfort you feel! You feel incredibly at peace in your heart: No matter what terrible calamities befall, you feel no fear—you are not afraid of death. How much money would you pay to have this kind of life, to possess this kind of feeling? What is the price of true happiness and joy? Even if you were to become president, you wouldn’t know such joy or peace of mind, right? Regardless of how much money you earn, could you ever buy such faith from God? You couldn’t buy such faith, so such a life is priceless. Why is it that we say that after you’ve attained the truth and have life, even if you’re left without a dollar to your name, even if you’re left starving and homeless, it is all still worthwhile? We say this because the delights of the heart are so very great. How much money would it cost to buy God’s company when disaster strikes? What could you possibly trade in for such a privilege? So, truth is a priceless treasure. Some people just don’t see its value, they have no feeling for it. You say to them: “Just renounce. You see you already grasp some of the truth now, so if you renounce and serve God all the time you will gain much more of the truth!” They reply, “It’s all the same. As I see it, practicing in my free time is enough. I’ll go to the meetings once a week—that’s how I’ll practice faith!” If you just attend one meeting a week, how much of God’s word can you take in? Others serve God and fulfill their duties all day every day. They are together all the time communing truth: How much do you think they’re taking in? Also, just being in the environment of truth influences and molds people very quickly, isn’t it so? Some people fail to see this. You see, there are some who, in meetings and when listening to sermons, can never get enough. Whenever I’m having a chat with someone, or holding a meeting, they want to listen in. The more they listen, the more they gain and the clearer is their grasp of the truth. This kind of person improves quickly, whereas those that only listen once a week progress slowly. Of course, they progress faster than those that don’t listen at all. If you listen to sermons in the old church for a whole year it’s useless, you won’t gain a thing. They preach stale theories that elicit not the slightest change in those that hear them—there is no change at all. You could relate it to washing clothes with clean water: It can’t get out the deep stains. God’s word has the way of the truth. Those who hear it will have their problems resolved. God’s word can expel all of your conceptions, fallacies, illusions and misunderstanding. All of your untoward, false and absurd aspects will be resolved. God’s word cloaks you in the truth, so that, ultimately, your words and thoughts are all in complete alignment with God’s word. In this way you are compatible with God. All of your thoughts, beliefs and understanding are completely in accordance with the truth. This is irrefutable evidence that you have become compatible with Christ. Once you have become compatible with Christ, you will never resist God and there will be a place left for you in the kingdom of heaven. Only as such will you be qualified to enter into the kingdom of heaven. Those religious people all full of conceptions, illusions and lavish hopes that still think they can enter into heaven haven’t a clue!
Today’s meeting has come to an end. See you again next time!