Serve As the Israelites Did
These days, many people do not pay attention to what lessons should be learned while coordinating with others. I have discovered that many of you cannot learn lessons at all while coordinating with others; most of you stick to your own views. When working in the church, you say your piece and someone else says theirs, and the one has no relation to the other; you do not actually cooperate at all. You are all so absorbed in merely communicating your own insights or in releasing the “burdens” you bear inside you, without seeking life in even the smallest way. You appear to only be doing the work perfunctorily, always believing that you should walk your own path regardless of what anyone else says or does; you think you should fellowship as the Holy Spirit guides you, no matter what the circumstances of others may be. You are not able to discover the strengths of others, and nor are you capable of examining yourselves. Your acceptance of things is really deviant and erroneous. It can be said that even now you still exhibit a lot of self-righteousness, as if you have relapsed into that old illness. You do not communicate with each other in a way that achieves complete openness, for example, about what kind of outcome you have attained from work in certain churches, or about the recent condition of your inner states, and so on; you simply never communicate about such things. You have absolutely no engagement in practices such as dropping your own notions or forsaking yourselves. Leaders and workers think only of how to keep their brothers and sisters from being negative and how to make them able to follow vigorously. However, all of you think following vigorously by itself is enough, and fundamentally, you have no understanding of what it means to know yourself and forsake yourself, much less do you understand what it means to serve in coordination with others. You think only of having the will yourselves to repay God for His love, of having the will yourselves to live out the style of Peter. Apart from these things, you think of nothing else. You even say that, no matter what other people do, you will not submit blindly, and that no matter what other people are like, you yourself will seek perfection by God, and that will be sufficient. The fact is, however, that your will has not in any way found a concrete expression in reality. Is all of this not the sort of behavior you exhibit nowadays? Each of you holds fast to your own insight, and you all desire to be perfected. I see that you have served for such a long time without having made much progress; in particular, in this lesson of working together in harmony, you have achieved absolutely nothing! When going down into the churches you communicate in your way, and others communicate in theirs. Seldom does harmonious coordination occur, and this is even more true of the followers who are below you. That is to say, rarely do any among you understand what serving God is, or how one should serve God. You are muddled and treat lessons of this sort as trifling matters. There are even many people who not only fail to practice this aspect of the truth, but who also knowingly do wrong. Even those who have served for many years fight and scheme against each other and are jealous and competitive; it is every man for himself, and they do not cooperate at all. Do all these things not represent your actual stature? You people serving together on a daily basis are like the Israelites, who directly served God Himself every day in the temple. How can it be that you people, who serve God, have no idea how to coordinate or how to serve?
Back then, the Israelites served Jehovah directly in the temple, and they had the identity of priests. (Of course, not every person was a priest; only some who served Jehovah in the temple had that identity.) They would wear crowns bestowed upon them by Jehovah (meaning that they made these crowns according to Jehovah’s requirements; not that Jehovah gave the crowns directly to them). They would also wear priestly robes bestowed upon them by Jehovah and directly serve Him in the temple, barefoot, from morning to night. Their service to Jehovah was not at all haphazard, and it did not involve rushing around blindly; rather, it was all done according to rules that no one who served Him directly could violate. They all had to abide by these regulations; otherwise, they would be prohibited from entering the temple. If any of them broke the temple’s rules—that is, if anyone disobeyed the commands of Jehovah—then that person had to be treated according to the laws He had issued, and no one was allowed to object to this or to protect the transgressor. No matter how many years they had served God, all were required to abide by the rules. For this reason, so many priests donned priestly robes and continuously served Jehovah in this fashion, all year round, even though He had not given them any special treatment. They would even spend their entire lives before the altar and in the temple. This was a manifestation of their loyalty and submission. It was no wonder that Jehovah bestowed such blessings upon them; it was all because of their loyalty that they received favor and saw all of Jehovah’s deeds. Back then, when Jehovah worked in Israel among His chosen people, He placed quite severe demands on them. They were all very obedient and were restricted by the laws; these laws served to safeguard their ability to revere Jehovah. All these were Jehovah’s administrative decrees. If any of those priests did not keep the Sabbath or violated Jehovah’s commandments, and if they were discovered by the common people, then that person would be carried immediately before the altar and stoned to death. It was not allowed for those corpses to be placed in or around the temple; Jehovah did not permit that. Anyone who did so would be treated as a person who offers “profane sacrifices,” and thrown into a large pit and put to death. Of course, all such people would lose their lives; none would be spared. There were even those who offered “profane fire”; in other words, people who did not sacrifice on the days allocated by Jehovah would be burned by His fire along with their sacrificial items, which were not allowed to remain at the altar. The requirements on the priests were as follows: They were not allowed to enter the temple, or even its outer courtyard, without first washing their feet; they could not enter the temple unless wearing their priestly robes; they could not enter the temple unless they had their priestly crowns on; they could not enter the temple if soiled by a corpse; they could not enter the temple after touching the hand of an unrighteous person, unless they first washed their own hands; and they could not enter the temple after defiling themselves with women (for three months, not forever), nor were they allowed to see Jehovah’s face. When time was up—meaning that only after three months would they be allowed to don clean priestly robes—they then had to serve in the outer courtyard for seven days before they could enter the temple to see Jehovah’s face. They were permitted to wear any of this priestly attire only within the temple, and never outside, so as to avoid defiling Jehovah’s temple. All those who were priests had to bring criminals who had violated Jehovah’s laws before His altar, where they would be put to death by the common people; otherwise, fire would befall the priest who had witnessed the crime. Thus, they were unfailingly loyal to Jehovah, because His laws were so severe to them, and they would absolutely never dare to casually violate His administrative decrees. The Israelites were loyal to Jehovah because they had seen His flame, and had seen the hand with which He chastised people, and also because they had originally harbored such reverence for Him. Therefore, what they obtained was not only Jehovah’s flame, but His care, His protection, and His blessings. Their loyalty was that they abided by Jehovah’s words in all their actions, and no one disobeyed. If any disobedience were to occur, the others would still carry out Jehovah’s words, putting to death anyone who went against Jehovah, and not hide that person away from Him at all. Those who violated the Sabbath, those guilty of promiscuity, and those who stole offerings to Jehovah would be punished with particular severity. The ones who violated the Sabbath were stoned to death by them (the common people), or they were whipped to death, with no exceptions. Those who committed fornication—even those who lusted after attractive women or who gave rise to lecherous thoughts upon seeing wicked women, or who became lustful upon seeing young women—would all be put to death. If any young woman who did not wear a covering or a veil tempted a man into illicit conduct, that woman would be put to death. If the man was a priest (one who served in the temple) who violated laws of this sort, he would be crucified or hanged. No such person would be allowed to live, and not a single one would find favor before Jehovah. The relatives of this kind of man would not be allowed to offer sacrifices to Jehovah before the altar for three years after his death, nor would they be allowed to share in the sacrifices granted by Jehovah to the common people. Only once that time was up could they place top-quality cattle or sheep upon Jehovah’s altar. If any other transgressions were committed, they had to fast for three days in front of Jehovah, supplicating for His grace. They worshiped Jehovah not only because His laws were so severe and so strict; they did so as a result of His grace and their loyalty to Him. As such, to this day, they have remained similarly loyal in their service, and they have never backtracked on their supplications before Jehovah. Nowadays, the people of Israel still receive His care and protection, and He is still the grace among them, abiding with them always. They all know how they should revere Jehovah, and how they should serve Him, and they all know how they must act in order to receive His care and protection; this is because they all revere Him in their hearts. The secret to the success of all of their service is nothing other than reverence. So, what are you all like nowadays? Do you bear any resemblance to the people of Israel? Do you think that serving nowadays is akin to following the leadership of a great spiritual figure? You simply do not have any loyalty and reverence. You receive considerable grace, and are equivalent to the Israelite priests in that you are all serving God directly. Though you do not enter the temple, what you receive and what you see is a lot more than what the priests who served Jehovah in the temple received. However, you rebel and resist many times more than they did. Your reverence is minuscule, and as a result, you receive very little grace. Though you dedicate very little, you have received a lot more than those Israelites ever did. In all of this, are you not treated benevolently? While the work in Israel was being done, people did not dare to judge Jehovah at will. What about you, though? Were it not for the sake of the work I am currently doing to conquer you, how could I tolerate your having so outrageously brought shame to My name? If the age in which you live were the Age of Law, then given your words and actions, not a single one of you would remain alive. Your reverence is minuscule! You are always blaming Me for not having bestowed much favor upon you, and you even claim that I do not give you enough words of blessing, and that I have only curses for you. Do you not know that with such little reverence of Me it is impossible for you to accept My blessings? Do you not know that I constantly curse and cast judgment upon you due to the sorry state of your service? Do you all feel that you have been wronged? How can I bestow My blessings upon a group of people who are rebellious and do not submit? How can I casually grant My grace to people who bring dishonor to My name? You have already been treated with extreme kindness. Had the Israelites been as rebellious as you are today, I would have annihilated them long ago. However, I treat you with nothing but lenience. Is this not benevolence? Do you wish for greater blessings than this? Jehovah only blesses those who revere Him. He chastises people who rebel against Him, never forgiving a single one of them. Are you people of today, who do not know how to serve, not more in need of chastisement and judgment, that your hearts might be fully turned around? Are such chastisement and judgment not the best sorts of blessings to bestow upon you? Are they not your best protection? Without them, would any of you be able to endure the burning fire of Jehovah? If you could truly serve as loyally as the Israelites, would you not also have grace as your constant companion? Would you not also often have joy and sufficient favor? Do you all know how you should serve?
The requirement made of you today—to work together in harmony—is similar to the service Jehovah required of the Israelites: Otherwise, just stop doing service. Because you are people who serve God directly, at the very minimum you must be capable of loyalty and submission in your service, and must also be able to learn lessons in a practical way. For those of you working in the church especially, would any of the brothers and sisters below you dare to deal with you? Would anyone dare to tell you of your mistakes to your face? You stand high above everyone else; you do reign as kings! You do not even study or enter into these sorts of practical lessons, yet you still talk of serving God! At present, you are asked to lead a number of churches, but not only do you not give up yourself, but you even cling to your own notions and opinions, saying things like, “I think this thing should be done this way, as God has said that we should not be restrained by others and that nowadays we should not submit blindly.” Therefore, each of you holds to your own opinion, and no one obeys each other. Though you clearly know that your service is at an impasse, you still say, “As I see it, my way is not far off the mark. In any case, we each have a side: You talk of yours, and I will talk of mine; you fellowship about your visions, and I will speak of my entry.” You never take responsibility for the many things that should be dealt with, or you simply make do, each of you venting your own opinions and prudently protecting your own status, reputation, and face. None of you is willing to humble yourself, and neither side will take the initiative to give yourself up and make up for each other’s deficiencies so that life may progress more rapidly. When you are coordinating together, you should learn to seek the truth. You may say, “I do not have a clear understanding of this aspect of truth. What experience do you have with it?” Or, you may say, “You have more experience than I with regard to this aspect; could you please give me some guidance?” Would that not be a good way of going about it? You have listened to a lot of sermons, and have some experience with doing service. If you do not learn from each other, help each other, and make up for each other’s shortcomings when doing work in the churches, then how can you learn any lessons? Whenever you encounter anything, you should fellowship with each other so that your lives can benefit. Moreover, you should carefully fellowship about things of any sort before making any decisions. Only by doing so are you taking responsibility for the church rather than simply acting perfunctorily. After you visit all the churches, you should gather together and fellowship about all the issues you discover and any problems encountered in your work, and then you should communicate about the enlightenment and illumination that you have received—this is an indispensable practice of service. You must achieve harmonious cooperation for the purpose of the work of God, for the benefit of the church, and so as to spur your brothers and sisters onward. You should coordinate with one another, each amending the other and arriving at a better work outcome, so as to care for God’s will. This is what true cooperation is, and only those who engage in it will gain true entry. While cooperating, some of the words you speak may be unsuitable, but that does not matter. Fellowship about it later, and gain a clear understanding of it; do not neglect it. After this sort of fellowship, you can make up for your brothers’ or sisters’ deficiencies. Only by moving ever deeper in your work like this can you achieve better outcomes. Each of you, as people who serve God, must be able to defend the interests of the church in everything you do, instead of simply considering your own interests. It is unacceptable to act alone, undermining each other. People who behave like that are not fit to serve God! Such people have a terrible disposition; not an ounce of humanity remains in them. They are one hundred percent Satan! They are beasts! Even now, such things still occur among you; you even go so far as to attack one another during fellowship, intentionally seeking pretexts and becoming all red in the face while arguing over some trivial matter, neither person willing to put himself aside, each person concealing his inner thoughts from the other, watching the other party intently and always being on guard. Does this sort of disposition befit service to God? Can such work as yours supply your brothers and sisters with anything? Not only are you unable to guide people onto a correct life course, but you actually inject your own corrupt dispositions into your brothers and sisters. Are you not hurting others? Your conscience is horrible, and it is rotten to the core! You do not enter reality, nor do you put the truth into practice. In addition, you shamelessly expose your devilish nature to others. You simply know no shame! These brothers and sisters have been entrusted to you, yet you are taking them to hell. Are you not someone whose conscience has become rotten? You have absolutely no shame!