Question 28: For two thousand years, man’s belief in the Lord has been based on the Bible, and the coming of the Lord Jesus did not negate the Old Testament Bible. After Almighty God has done His work of judgment in the last days, everyone who accepts Almighty God will focus on eating and drinking the words of Almighty God and will seldom read the Bible anymore. What I would like to pursue is, after one accepts the work of Almighty God in the last days, what exactly is the correct approach one should have to the Bible, and how should one use it? What must one’s belief in God be based on in order for one to walk the path of belief in God and to attain God’s salvation?
The Bible is a genuine record of the first two stages of God’s work. In other words, it is the testimony of the first two stages of God’s work, which conclude the guidance and redemption of mankind after the creation of the heavens and earth and all things, as well as of mankind. From reading the Bible, everyone can see how God led humans in the Age of Law and taught them to live before Him and worship Him. We can also see how God redeemed mankind in the Age of Grace and forgave them for all their past sins while bestowing upon them peace, joy, and all manner of grace. Not only can people see that God had created mankind, but also that He had constantly guided them and then redeemed them. Meanwhile, God has also provided for and protected mankind. Moreover, we can read from the biblical prophecies that in the last days, God’s words will burn like fire to judge and cleanse His people. They will save mankind from all sins and help us to escape from Satan’s dark influence so that we may completely return to God and ultimately inherit His blessings and promise. This is what God meant when He said, “they are they which testify of me.” Therefore, anyone who has conscientiously read the Bible can see some of God’s actions and recognize His existence and the almightiness and wisdom with which He created, dominates, and controls everything in heaven and on earth. Thus, the Bible is deeply meaningful to people in believing in God, knowing God and setting foot on the path of faith—the proper path of life. Anyone who sincerely believes in God and loves the truth can find a goal and direction in life by reading the Bible, and learn to believe in Him, rely on Him, obey Him, and worship Him. These are all the effects of the Bible’s testimony to God; this is an undeniable fact.
The value of the Bible completely lies in its record of the first two stages of God’s work. If people can read God’s utterances and deeds in it, and can have faith and knowledge of the almightiness and wisdom with which He created and rules over everything, this will have profound significance for people in knowing God, following and worshiping Him. For this reason, the Bible is simply a testimony of God’s work, and can help believers to build a foundation. Of course, it also is a must-read book for everyone who believes in God. The Bible can help people to understand and recognize the first two stages of God’s work to save mankind, and is extremely beneficial to their understanding of the truth and their entry into life. However, it cannot take the place of God’s work in the last days, let alone His present-day utterances; it can only help us to comprehend the first two stages of God’s work and know His disposition and almightiness and wisdom. This is the only way of viewing the Bible that is after God’s heart, and I believe this was the common intention of each of the Bible’s authors and compilers.
from “Those Who Are Unable to Know Christ as the Truth, the Way and the Life Will Never Enter the Kingdom of Heaven” in Collection of Sermons—Supply for Life
The Bible is merely a record of God’s work, a testimony to God and although it is significant in edifying mankind, the Bible is nonetheless unable to replace the work of the Holy Spirit. For those of us with faith in God, we must obtain salvation through the work of the Holy Spirit. If we were to merely follow the Bible without the work of the Holy Spirit, we would be turning to our own way. The failures of the Pharisees, who believed in God but resisted Him, serve as a good illustration that it is wrong to believe in God merely based on the Bible and not based on the work of the Holy Spirit. Many people have been conducting research on the Bible over the years, but they lack the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and in the end they do not understand the truth or know God. Therefore, we who have faith in God must treat and use the Bible appropriately, we must never put blind faith in nor worship the Bible. We can see God’s word in the Bible, we see how God does His work to save man, but our understanding of it will always be too limited, especially regarding the word of God; if we do not have the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, no matter if we have the word of God memorized from back to front, we still won’t understand the truth. This has been testified to by countless saints throughout history who have experienced God’s work. There are numerous religious people who have blind faith in and worship the Bible, but in their hearts they do not revere God and they define God in their conceptions and imaginations. When the incarnate Almighty God of the last days performs His judgment work and expresses the truths that will cleanse and save man, these people do not recognize God’s voice. Instead, they condemn and resist God, they judge and blaspheme God as they please. When they see members of The Church of Almighty God eat and drink of Almighty God’s word in their meetings and consult the Bible in their free time, these blind worshipers of the Bible condemn and judge. Do they really understand the truth and truly know God? Absolutely not! They are Bible worshipers who resist God and they are just like the Pharisees. When the Pharisees saw the followers of the Lord Jesus fellowshiping only about the work and words of the Lord Jesus, the Pharisees judged them, saying that they didn’t read the Bible but only the words of the Lord Jesus. This is similar to what modern-day pastors and elders have said; they all condemn God’s work without knowing what it means to follow God, or what it means to experience God’s work. Instead, all they can do is explain the Bible, hold religious ceremonies, and observe religious regulations. If during the Age of Grace the believers in the Lord only read the Old Testament, would they have been able to gain the praise of the Lord Jesus? Now the Lord Jesus has returned and He has expressed the truth and does the work of judgment of the last days, but can we just abandon God’s words and work of the last days while keeping the rituals and rules of the Bible? What does it really mean to believe in God? For a believer to not eat, drink, and experience the current word of God, is this what faith in God means? There are many religious people who do not have a basic knowledge about the truth of what having faith in God means. They feel that the Bible is the word of God and that each generation must forever follow the Bible, and that so long as they hold fast to the Bible, that is the same as faith in God. Is that in line with the truth of faith in God? God’s work is always moving forward and becoming more profound, even in the Age of Millennial Kingdom, God still uses His word to lead all of humanity. God does not follow regulations; God is always new and never old, and His words and work move ever forward, never stopping. Many people do not understand this point, aren’t they absurd? There are many who after accepting the work of God in the last days, are still unclear about how to treat the Bible in accordance with God’s wishes. The truth about this issue has been clearly expressed in the words of Almighty God, so let us read a few passages of His word.
“Today, I am dissecting the Bible in this way and it does not mean that I hate it, or deny its value for reference. I am explaining the inherent value and origins of the Bible to you to stop you being kept in the dark. For people have so many views about the Bible, and most of them are wrong; reading the Bible in this way not only prevents them from gaining what they ought to, but, more important, it hinders the work I intend to do. It is a tremendous nuisance for the work of the future, and offers only drawbacks, not advantages. Thus, what I am teaching you is simply the substance and inside story of the Bible. I’m not asking that you don’t read the Bible, or that you go around proclaiming that it is totally devoid of value, but that you have the correct knowledge and view of the Bible. Don’t be too one-sided! Although the Bible is a history book that was written by men, it also documents many of the principles by which the ancient saints and prophets served God, as well as the recent apostles’ experiences in serving God—all of which were really seen and known by these people, and can serve as reference for the people of this age in pursuing the true way” (“Concerning the Bible (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“This is because the Bible followed several thousand years of human history and people all treat it like God to the point that people in the last days replace God with the Bible. This is something that God really hates. So in His spare time, He had to clarify the inside story and the origin of the Bible. Otherwise, the Bible would still be able to replace God’s place in people’s hearts and they could condemn and measure God’s actions based on the words in the Bible. God’s explanation of the essence, the construction, and the flaws of the Bible is absolutely not denying the existence of it, nor is it condemning the Bible. Rather, it is to provide a reasonable and appropriate explanation, to restore the original image of the Bible, and to correct the misunderstandings people have toward the Bible so that all people have a correct view of it, no longer worship it, and are no longer lost—they erroneously take their blind faith in the Bible as believing in and worshiping God, and they even do not dare to face its true background and its weak points. After everyone has a pure understanding of the Bible they will be able to cast it aside without hesitation and bravely accept God’s new words. … The truth that God wants to tell people here is that no theory or fact can replace God’s present work or words, and there is nothing that can replace God’s position. If people are not able to cast off the net of the Bible, they will never be able to come in front of God. If they want to come in front of God, they must first cleanse their hearts of anything that could replace Him—this way God will be satisfied” (Introduction to Part Two of The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“If you wish to walk the new path of today, then you must depart from the Bible, you must go beyond the books of prophecy or history in the Bible. Only then will you be able to walk the new path properly, and only then will you be able to enter into the new realm and the new work. You must understand why, today, you are asked not to read the Bible, why there is another work that is separate from the Bible, why God does not look for newer, more detailed practice in the Bible, why there is instead mightier work outside of the Bible. This is all what you should understand. You must know the difference between the old and new work, and even though you do not read the Bible, you must be able to dissect it; if not, you will still worship the Bible, and it will be difficult for you to enter into the new work and undergo new changes. Since there is a higher way, why study that low, outdated way? Since there are newer utterances, and newer work, why live amid old historical records? The new utterances can provide for you, which proves that this is the new work; the old records can’t sate you, or satisfy your current needs, which proves that they are history, and not the work of the here and now. The highest way is the newest work, and with the new work, no matter how high the way of the past, it is still the history of people’s reflections, and no matter its value as reference, it is still the old way. Even though it is recorded in the ‘holy book,’ the old way is history; even though there is no record of it in the ‘holy book,’ the new way is of the here and now. This way can save you, and this way can change you, for this is the work of the Holy Spirit” (“Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
From God ending His work in the Age of Law we got the Old Testament and when the Lord Jesus ended His work of redemption we got the New Testament. In the last 2,000 years, nothing has been published more or more widely read than the Bible and the edification that all of humanity has gotten from the Bible is tremendously significant. It is because the Bible records God’s words that He expressed during His work as well as serves as a written account of some of the experiences and testimonies of people used by God, therefore within the Bible people can see that God exists, and can see God’s appearance and His work; they can acknowledge the fact that God is the Creator and Ruler of all things; they can come to know about the two stages of work of the Age of Law and the Age of Grace that God did after mankind’s creation. This is especially true in regard to the Bible’s record of the Age of Grace where the Lord Jesus personally conducted His work of redemption, bestowed His abundant grace upon humanity, and expressed many truths; it allows us to see the true love that God has for mankind, and we may understand that man must have faith in God and submit to God to be on the correct life path, and that only when we gain truth as our life may we receive salvation from God and obtain God’s praise. This is all because of the result that these two stages of God’s work have achieved on humanity. If the record provided by the Bible did not exist, then mankind would have a difficult time understanding God’s previous work, so this is why the Bible has become a must-read scripture for those of us with faith in God. However, despite how precious the Bible is, we must not place it on par with God and moreover we must not use it to represent God or replace God’s work. We must therefore treat the Bible appropriately and never put blind faith in or worship the Bible. Furthermore, on the issue of which are God’s words and which are the words of man, even though the Bible clearly indicates what God says and what man says and it is obvious at a glance, when it comes to the epistles of the apostles and the parts that are man’s experiences and testimonies, many people are not able to differentiate these things. Some people even think that anything enlightened by the Holy Spirit, or any words that are in accordance with the truth are the words of God. Isn’t that just nonsense? Can man express the word of God? When the Holy Spirit enlightens and illuminates man and man receives a modicum of light, does it mean that the Holy Spirit reveals or inspires God’s word to man? The intended effect of the Holy Spirit’s work is to make man understand the truth and enter into the reality, could it be that the testimony of man understanding the truth and entering into reality is precisely the words expressed by God? We must be very clear that even when the words of man are in accordance with the truth, they are not in fact the truth, they are not the words of God. The words of man and the words of God must not be considered the same because only God’s words are the truth, only God’s words can redeem and save man and be man’s life. Man’s words can merely represent their own experiences and understanding and are merely for reference; they can be helpful to man, they can help edify man, but they absolutely cannot replace God’s words. God’s words are never contradictory in the Bible and if you compare man’s words with God’s words in the Bible, it is inevitable that contradictions arise, but the work that God has done through the ages and all He has said never contradict. The words of Jehovah God and the words of the Lord Jesus recorded in the Bible and the words of Almighty God of the last days: the source of these is the work of one God, they arise from the words of the Holy Spirit. This is a fact that no one can refute. However, many religious people often take the words of man spoken in the Bible and compare them to the current words of God. The Pharisees did this as well and they were always using the words in the Bible to research and compare them to the words of the Lord Jesus. The result of all of this is that the Pharisees found various reasons to reject the Lord Jesus, and even resisted and condemned Him, even going so far as to crucify the Lord Jesus, so what is the problem here? There are many today who do not understand this clearly. God’s work has never been done based on the Bible and moreover God is not constrained by the Bible. If we are always researching God based on the Bible, or measuring God’s actual work that way, then it’s hard to avoid being defeated again and again and our fall will become ever more grim. Nowadays many religious people use the words from the Bible to research Almighty God and His work of the last days, even going so far as to quote the Bible out of context to condemn and resist Almighty God. They take some words from the Bible, especially the words of man, which they take as a replacement for the words of God. Moreover, they misinterpret God’s words and misuse man’s words to condemn and resist the work of God in the last days. This is exactly what the Pharisees did in resisting the Lord Jesus, so what will the result be? They are also cursed by God. Almighty God says: “Woe to those who crucify God” (“The Wicked Must Be Punished” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). If we continue to use the Bible to resist God, we will be revealed as antichrists and be cursed by God, isn’t that a fact?
We can see from the lessons of the failures of religious Pharisees to have faith in God, that when God does new work, man should look outside of the Bible and accept and submit to God’s current words and work. This is just like how in the Age of Law man had to follow the laws and commandments issued forth from Jehovah God in order to obtain God’s blessing. In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus came to do His redemptive work, and man had to move outside the law to accept and submit to the Lord Jesus’ words and work in order to receive His praise. In the last days, Almighty God does the work of judgment beginning at the house of God, He ends the Age of Grace and begins the Age of Kingdom. We must therefore accept Almighty God’s work of the last days, and put into practice and experience Almighty God’s words in order to obtain the work of the Holy Spirit, gain the truth as our life, and become someone who knows God, submits to God and reveres God, and someone who is gained by God through His salvation; it is only through these things that man gains entry into His kingdom. From this we can see that our faith in God must follow the pace of God’s work and we must obtain the work of the Holy Spirit, only then can we understand the truth and know God and enter into the reality of the truth. If our faith is based only on the Bible by rigidly adhering to the text, we will be eliminated by God’s work, just like the Pharisees, who only adhered to the Bible but resisted God, incurring curses of God. Is adhering to the Bible the basis for our faith in God? If our faith in God lacks the work of the Holy Spirit, then we have already deviated from the true way and there is no way to gain God’s salvation. Therefore, our faith in God cannot be based on rigidly adhering to the Bible; we must follow the pace of God’s work as well as eat, drink, and enjoy the current words of God and obtain the work of the Holy Spirit. This is the foundation of faith in God and is the crucial aspect of it. As to how we who have faith in God should treat the Bible and what road we should take with our faith in order to receive God’s praise: We should now be very clear.
from Answers to Screenplay Questions