IV. Questions and Answers on the Conditions for Entering the Kingdom of Heaven
Question 1: We have believed in the Lord for so many years. Although we can preach and work for the Lord and suffer a lot, we can still always lie, deceive and defraud. Every day, we speak in defense of ourselves. So often, we are arrogant, opinionated, ostentatious, and condescending to others. We live under the situation of sinning and repenting, unable to escape the binding of the flesh, let alone experience and practice the Lord's word. We haven’t lived out any reality of the Lord’s word. In our case, can we be brought into the kingdom of heaven at all? Some people say, no matter how we sin, how we are bound by the flesh, the Lord sees us as sinless. They go by Paul's word: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1Co 15:52). And assume that the Lord will instantly change our form when He comes and bring us into the kingdom of heaven. Some people believe that those who receive salvation by faith but still constantly sin are unqualified to enter the kingdom of heaven. It is mainly based on God’s word: “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Mat 7:21). “… you shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Lev 11:45). These are two competing viewpoints that no one can say clearly, please communicate for us.
Answer: In the past, we used to treat the words of apostles like Paul as the word of God and go by Paul's word to believe in the Lord and work for the Lord. We went by Paul’s word even with the matter of the Lord’s return, but cast aside the Lord Jesus’ word. Wasn’t this a problem after all? When we believe in God, should we listen to the word of God or man? As for the word of Paul in the Bible, was it the word of God or man? As far as how to distinguish whether it is the word of God or man, let us first set it aside. But we can be certain that the words of Jehovah and the Lord Jesus in the Bible are the words of God. No one can deny this. The words of apostles like Paul were definitely the words of man. Even with the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, those were still the words of man, absolutely not the word of God. It is because neither the Lord Jesus nor the Holy Spirit had witnessed that the word of apostles, like Paul, was the word of God. Even the apostles themselves did not say what they had written was the word of God. Isn’t this the fact? The words of man in the Bible are the words of man and cannot be regarded as the word of God, let alone be used as the basis as if they were God’s word because some of man’s words originated from the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit while some were mixed with human will. They were not the expression of the truth. If we treat the word of man as the truth, it is easy to cause confusion and lead to nowhere for man. Why did thousands of denominations appear throughout the religious community? The root cause is because man has interpreted the word of man in the Bible as the word of God, giving rise to such serious confusion. About the matter of entering into the kingdom of heaven, we should only go by the Lord Jesus’ word as final because the Lord Jesus is the incarnate Christ. Only the Lord Jesus is the Savior. The word of the Lord Jesus is the truth. Only the word of the Lord Jesus has authority. Paul was only a man. He was not Christ. He could not express the truth. So it was unavoidable that his word was blended with man’s will and imagination. Even Paul dared not say his word was inspired by God, not to mention his letters being the word of God. Wouldn’t it be absurd if we regard the word of Paul as God’s word? So whether we are obedient to God’s will or qualified to be brought into the kingdom of heaven or not, we should go by the Lord Jesus’ word alone for introspection and pursuit of the truth in order to find the right answer.
Let us read a few passages of Almighty God’s word to know it more clearly. Almighty God says, “Today, people believe the Bible is God, and that God is the Bible. So, too, do they believe that all the words of the Bible were the only words God spoke, and that they were all said by God. Those who believe in God even think that although all of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament were written by people, they were all given by inspiration of God, and a record of the utterances of the Holy Spirit. This is the erroneous interpretation of people, and it does not completely accord with the facts. In fact, apart from the books of prophecy, most of the Old Testament is historical record. Some of the epistles of the New Testament come from people’s experiences, and some come from the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit; the Pauline epistles, for example, arose from the work of a man, they were all the result of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, and they were written for the churches, were words of exhortation and encouragement for the brothers and sisters of the churches. They were not words spoken by the Holy Spirit—Paul could not speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit, and neither was he a prophet, much less did he see visions that John beheld. His epistles were written for the churches of Ephesus, Philadelphia, Galatia, and other churches. And thus, the Pauline epistles of the New Testament are epistles that Paul wrote for the churches, and not inspirations from the Holy Spirit, nor are they the direct utterances of the Holy Spirit. … All he said that was edifying and positive to people was right, but it did not represent the utterances of the Holy Spirit, and he could not represent God. It is an egregious understanding, and a tremendous blasphemy, for people to treat the records of a man’s experiences and a man’s epistles as the words spoken by the Holy Spirit to the churches! … His identity was merely that of a working apostle, and he was merely an apostle who was sent by God; he was not a prophet, nor a foreteller. So to him, his own work and the lives of the brothers and sisters were of the utmost importance. Thus, he could not speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit. His words were not the words of the Holy Spirit, much less could they be said to be the words of God, for Paul was nothing more than a creature of God, and was certainly not the incarnation of God. His identity was not the same as that of Jesus. The words of Jesus were the words of the Holy Spirit, they were the words of God, for His identity was that of Christ—the Son of God. How could Paul be His equal? If people see the epistles or words like Paul’s as the utterances of the Holy Spirit, and worship them as God, then it can only be said that they are too indiscriminating. To speak more harshly, isn’t this nothing but blasphemy? How could a man talk on behalf of God? And how could people bow down before the records of his epistles and of the words he spoke as if they were a holy book, or a heavenly book? Could the words of God be casually uttered by a man? How could a man talk on behalf of God?” (“Concerning the Bible (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“The word of God cannot be spoken as the word of man, much less can the word of man be spoken as the word of God. A man used by God is not the incarnate God, and the incarnate God is not a man used by God; in this, there is a substantial difference. … The words of God incarnate initiate a new age, guide the whole of mankind, reveal mysteries, and show man the direction ahead in a new age. The enlightenment obtained by man is but simple practice or knowledge. It cannot guide the whole of mankind into a new age or reveal the mystery of God Himself. God, after all, is God, and man is man. God has the substance of God, and man has the substance of man. If man views the words spoken by God as simple enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, and takes the words of the apostles and prophets as words personally spoken by God, then man is wrong. Regardless, you should never turn right into wrong, or speak of the high as the low, or speak of the profound as the shallow; regardless, you should never deliberately refute what you know to be the truth.” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Surely, many believers of the Lord go by the word of Paul while waiting for the Lord to appear: “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1Co 15:52). This is a very absurd and preposterous thing. Because man's word does not represent God's word, and man's word is blended with human intentions. Even if some of its meanings marginally touch upon God's word, it is absolutely not God's word. Did the Lord Jesus say anything similar to this statement of Paul? Did the prophets make similar statements? Did the Holy Spirit witness that Paul's letters were God's word? Did the revelation of the Holy Spirit tell man to go by Paul's word to meet the Lord Jesus upon His second coming? Not at all! We can neither find such fact nor testimony. So, Paul's word can only be used as a reference, but not a basis. On the matter of waiting for the Lord to rapture us and bring us into the kingdom of heaven, if we go by Paul's word instead of the Lord's word as the basis, embracing our fantasy and waiting for the Lord to come and instantly change our images, it is very easy to make mistakes and we'll risk being abandoned by the Lord. In fact, as far as what kind of work the Lord Jesus will do when He returns in the last days, how the Lord will transform man into holiness, these were prophesied in the Bible. Let’s read some verses.
“For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1Pe 4:17).
“And if any man hear my words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects me, and receives not my words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (Jhn 12:47-48).
“I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will show you things to come” (Jhn 16:12-13).
“I pray not that you should take them out of the world, but that you should keep them from the evil. … Sanctify them through your truth: your word is truth. … And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth” (Jhn 17:15, Jhn 17:17, Jhn 17:19).
From these verses we see, the Lord’s return in the last days is to express the truth, to perform the judgment work beginning with the house of God, and guide man to understand and enter all truths. Only by experiencing the judgment of God’s word can we understand the truth, receive cleansing, and qualify to enter God’s kingdom. Therefore, what Paul said, “In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed” (1Co 15:52), this statement is inaccurate; it is very misleading to man. There are many of those who believe in the Lord, who just wait like this for the Lord to come and change their images and bring them into the kingdom of heaven. They don’t practice the Lord’s word at all and don’t know how to follow God’s will. They only go by their own enthusiasm to expend and work for the Lord, live under the conditions of sinning and repenting every day without truly repenting after all or breaking away from the binding and control of sinful nature. These people are going by Paul’s word to wait for the Lord’s appearance and descent. Is this practical? Can the Lord act like this? Do you say there are any benefits in this “prophecy” of Paul for us in entering life? If we all go by this word of Paul to wait for the Lord's arrival, then will what the Lord said in His prophecy be fulfilled? “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Mat 25:6). “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me” (Jhn 10:27). How will this prophecy be fulfilled? Who can still be able to actively seek and study the true way, look for the footsteps of God, and hear the voice of God?
In experiencing the work of Almighty God in the last days, we all see one fact, that God has indeed made a group of overcomers before the catastrophe. The catastrophe is now imminent. From the appearance and work of God in the last days to the arrival of the catastrophe, there is a period of about thirty years. Although this period is not very long, it is not as what Paul said that in a blink of an eye, man will be transformed into holiness. The vaguely spoken word of Paul feels supernatural to people, in which the Lord Jesus’ prophecy about hearing the voice of God and being raptured to supper was not mentioned. The prophecies of the Lord Jesus are particularly practical, accurate and completely consistent with the facts. Barely when the prophecies come true do we understand. When Almighty God appears and begins to work and speak, many hear the voice of God and turn to Almighty God. The process of their experience of God’s judgment and chastisement completely fulfills the prophecies in the Book of Revelation: “Blessed are they which are called to the marriage supper of the Lamb” (Rev 19:9). But the “prophecy” of Paul has never been fulfilled. Moreover, Paul was not a prophet. His so-called “prophecy” was probably out of human ideas and imagination. The Lord Jesus’ prophecies are being fulfilled while Paul’s words have never come true. The difference between them is so big! This is the difference between man’s word and God’s word. So, Paul’s word cannot be the basis for us to enter the kingdom of heaven. I fear that if people in religion go by Paul’s word, wait for the Lord to come and instantly change their images and bring them into the kingdom of heaven, they will become foolish virgins that will be abandoned by the Lord.
All of us can see it. When the prophecies of the Bible come true, most believers of the Lord can see it. But there is no way for us to see how Paul’s words come true. It is enough to say that Paul’s word was absolutely not inspired by God. It absolutely cannot be regarded as God's word. We can all see that every statement of the Lord Jesus is coming true, none of which fails to come true. Isn’t this the fact? Almighty God has come in the last days and expressed many truths, which have been recorded in The Word Appears in the Flesh. The Word Appears in the Flesh has been published. It is after reading many words of Almighty God that many good sheep and head sheep of various denominations and sects discover Almighty God’s word to be the truth and the voice of God, so they all follow Almighty God. These are the wise virgins who are brought before the throne of God ahead of the catastrophe. They are all attending the marriage supper of the Lamb. This fulfills the prophecies of the Lord Jesus: “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth …” (Jhn 16:12) “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him.” (Mat 25:6) “Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.” (Rev 3:20) Have the prophecies of the Lord Jesus been fully fulfilled? Any word spoken by the Lord, any word of God conveyed by the prophets will be fulfilled without exception. It will not fail. Just as the Lord Jesus said, “Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away” (Mat 24:35). Then look at Paul’s words, which of them has come true? As for whether the words spoken by Paul were inspired by God, whether they are the word of God, isn’t it all clear now? If we only go by Paul’s word, and obsessively wait for the Lord to arrive on the clouds and instantly change our images instead of seeking and listening to the Lord’s voice, nor seeking the footsteps of God’s work, don't you think we are the foolish virgins? Can people like these meet the Lord and be brought before God?
from the movie Screenplay of The Moment Of Change