41. How God’s Chosen Ones Should Stand Firm in Their Testimony During the Last Days
It is necessary to fellowship what will happen when God’s work comes to an end.
“Do you truly hate the great red dragon? Do you truly, sincerely hate it? Why have I asked you so many times? Why do I keep asking you this question, again and again? What image is there of the great red dragon in your heart? Has it really been removed? Do you truly not consider it your father? All people should perceive My intention in My questions. It is not to provoke the anger of the people, nor to incite rebellion among man, nor so that man may find his own way out, but is to allow all people to liberate themselves from the bondage of the great red dragon. Yet no one should worry. All will be accomplished by My words; no man may partake, and no man can do the work that I will carry out. I will wipe clean the air of all lands and eradicate all trace of the demons on earth. I have already begun, and I will commence the first step of My work of chastisement in the dwelling place of the great red dragon. Thus it can be seen that My chastisement has befallen the entire universe, and that the great red dragon and all kinds of unclean spirits will be powerless to escape My chastisement, for I look upon all lands. When My work on earth is completed, that is, when the era of judgment comes to an end, I will formally chastise the great red dragon. My people will see My righteous chastisement of the great red dragon, they will pour forth their praise because of My righteousness, and will forever extol My holy name because of My righteousness. Hence you will formally perform your duty, and will formally praise Me throughout the lands, forever and ever!
When the era of judgment reaches its peak, I will not hasten to conclude My work, but will integrate into it the evidence of the era of chastisement and allow this evidence to be seen by all My people; and in this will be borne greater fruit. This evidence is the means by which I chastise the great red dragon, and I will cause My people to behold it with their own eyes so that they will know more of My disposition. The time that My people enjoy Me is when the great red dragon is chastised. Causing the people of the great red dragon to rise up and revolt against it is My plan, and the method by which I make perfect My people, and is a great opportunity for all My people to grow in life.”
We’ve all experienced these words. They were spoken when God began the work of the last days; how many years has it been since then? Over twenty. Throughout this time, we’ve been hunted and persecuted by the great red dragon, and have suffered its cruel oppression and restraint. It is fair to say that we have been hunted and persecuted by the great red dragon ever since we began following Almighty God. Having experienced up until today, most people have truly seen through the great red dragon; in particular, those who have experienced the profound affliction of being arrested and tortured by the great red dragon clearly see its evil nature and the true face of this demon, and hate has well and truly arisen from their hearts. This hate has produced in them the resolve to fully rebel against the great red dragon, truly follow God, and pursue the truth to be gained by God; their resolve has been set. When people have this resolve—when they fully rebel against the great red dragon, pursue the truth, and forsake darkness for light to be gained by God—they begin to enter onto the right track of belief in God. In the country of the great red dragon, this is precisely the standard for entering onto the right track of the belief in God. Today, our experiences have brought us to this point, and we have seen that the great red dragon truly is God’s bitter enemy, that it really does resist God and is diametrically opposed to God, that the substance of the great red dragon truly is the substance of Satan. It neglects its real duty, and it puts aside all of the country’s priority duties to do all it can to oppose God and hunt God’s chosen ones, focusing all its efforts on attacking God and interfering in God’s work; it is clear that when Satan is on earth, all that Satan does is work that opposes God and corrupts mankind—and this is all determined by the nature and substance of Satan. Today, all of God’s chosen ones who understand the truth have clearly seen this fact.
God said, “When the era of judgment reaches its peak, I will not hasten to conclude My work.” These words refer to today; today, the era of judgment has reached its peak. What does it mean that the era has “reached its peak”? It means that all of God’s chosen ones know themselves, they all know their satanic nature and substance, they all know their own corruption, ugliness, and lack of humanity, they all know that they are devoid of the slightest truth, they have all begun to feel regret, and they are all willing to pursue the truth to be saved by God—which is sufficient to show that this era has reached its peak. Against this background, God said: “I will not hasten to conclude My work, but will integrate into it the evidence of the era of chastisement and allow this evidence to be seen by all My people; and in this will be borne greater fruit. This evidence is the means by which I chastise the great red dragon….” From God’s words we see that when God’s work ends, God will manipulate the great red dragon so that it performs its last act of service: its final frenzied attack and contest with God, which is also the evidence of God’s chastisement of the great red dragon. God said, “I will cause My people to behold it with their own eyes so that they will know more of My disposition.” The knowing more of God’s disposition mentioned here is in order to achieve that favorable effect. And so, in the end, God shall make the great red dragon perform one last act of service: the frenzied attack and final contest with God. This “final contest” begins now! The great red dragon has grown hysterical, and has started to mobilize all of its forces to hunt God’s chosen ones. In many places, secret arrests have already begun. It is said that people who were previously arrested will be detained and interrogated once more and continue to be tormented. Right now, the great red dragon intends to catch God’s chosen ones in The Church of Almighty God in one fell swoop, which is the final proof of its hostility to God and rabid opposition to God. As a result, God has now begun to do His work. And once the great red dragon has made its move, God’s chosen ones will face wide-ranging arrests and persecution—which are also God’s great inspection of all those who believe in Almighty God, and shall ultimately result in each being classed according to kind. Those who are possessed of testimony and those who are not, those who have the truth and those who do not, those who hate the great red dragon and rebel against it, and those who belong to Satan, the great red dragon, and betray God—they shall all be entirely exposed. And so God said: “It is My plan, and the method by which I make perfect My people, and is a great opportunity for all My people to grow in life.” This is God’s plan; when the work of God ends, God begins to separate the wheat from the chaff. And what is most necessary when the wheat is separated from the chaff? The wind! Without the wind, the chaff could not be separated from the wheat. So what is this “wind”? The forces of Satan, the forces of the great red dragon, the frenzied attack of the great red dragon. Today, the great red dragon is beset by troubles both at home and abroad, it is scorched and battered—yet it still puts everything to one side in order to carry out the work of opposing God. Is this not the nature of Satan? At a time when the country faces extinction, the great red dragon pays no heed to national security, it is heedless of whether its people live or die, and it uses all its strength to counter Almighty God—which shows its evil nature.
At this crucial moment, the time of the great red dragon’s frenzied attack, why does God speak of “the method by which I make perfect My people, and is a great opportunity for all My people to grow in life”? This recalls another passage of God’s words, when Almighty God says: “God intends to use a portion of evil spirits’ work to perfect a portion of man, so that these people can completely see through demons’ deeds, and allow everyone to truly understand their ancestors. Only then can humans completely break free, not only forsaking the posterity of the demons, but even more so their ancestors. This is the original intent of God completely defeating the great red dragon, to make it so that all of man knows the great red dragon’s true form, completely tearing off its mask, and seeing its true form. This is what God wants to achieve, and it is His final goal on earth for which He has done so much work; He aims to accomplish this in all of man. This is known as the maneuver of all things for God’s purpose” (“Interpretation of the Forty-first Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). This passage clearly states that “God intends to use a portion of evil spirits’ work to perfect a portion of man.” The “evil spirits’ work” here chiefly refers to the work of the great red dragon, as well as to the work of the antichrists and evil spirits within the church. In these words are said, “so that these people can completely see through demons’ deeds”; “demons’ deeds” refers to the great red dragon’s and, of course, also includes the antichrists’. These words of God show that when God’s work comes to an end during the last days, the great red dragon shall perform the service of the great revelation of God’s chosen ones.
Today, many people say, “We already hate the great red dragon. Why must it be permitted to thoroughly expose people once again?” Are these words justified? Do you dare say that all people truly hate the great red dragon and rebel against it? You shouldn’t rely on your imagination when you speak. You must speak according to the facts, for no one is more practical than God when doing things; God uses facts to expose, He uses reality to prove, and this is the righteous disposition of God. Thus, during the great red dragon’s frantic, wide-ranging campaign to encircle and suppress God’s chosen ones, they will only be saved by God and fully belong to God if they truly stand firm in their testimony; if they do not, God will eliminate them and let them return to their ancestors. The great revelation of the last days, then, is of the utmost importance! The great revelation of the last days is the moment when the separation of wheat from chaff arrives; God begins the all-encompassing separation of wheat from chaff, and the wheat is stored in the grain house, while the chaff is blown away on the wind.
Let us read again about the fact of God’s work of revelation during the last days. “I have said: ‘In the last days, the beast will emerge to persecute My people and those who are fearful of death will be marked with a seal to be carried off by the beast. Those that have seen Me will be killed by the beast.’ The ‘beast’ in these words undoubtedly refers to Satan which deceives people, that is to say that when I return to Zion, a large group of service-doers will withdraw, namely, be carried off by the beast. These creatures will all return to the bottomless pit to receive My eternal chastisement. ‘Those that have seen Me’ indicates those loyal service-doers who have been conquered by Me. ‘Having seen Me’ refers to them having been conquered by Me. ‘Killed by the beast’ refers to Satan, having been conquered by Me, daring not to rise up to resist Me, that is to say, Satan will not dare to perform any work upon these service-doers. Therefore, the souls of these people will have been saved, and this goes to their ability to be loyal to Me, which is to say that those loyal service-doers will be able to receive My grace and My blessing. Therefore, I say that their souls will have been saved (this does not refer to ascension to the third heaven, which is only a conception of man). But those evil servants will be bound up again by Satan and then they will be thrown into the bottomless pit. This is My punishment of them, it is the retribution for them, and it is what their crimes deserve” (Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning). What is the beast that shall “carry people off”? It is, unquestionably, the great red dragon. Today, this beast has already emerged and begun to persecute God’s chosen ones—which is to say, during the last days, this beast has come forth once again, and this is the last instance of its sweeping persecution. People have heard this before, and they have seen it, but this time there is the chance that they will behold it with their own eyes and personally taste it. Before, many people said: “I know that the great red dragon represses God, I know that it persecutes God’s chosen ones.” Have you experienced this? You have not. This “knowing” is actually hearsay. You’ve heard that in mainland China, the great red dragon persecutes God, that it devotes all its efforts to arresting and persecuting God’s chosen ones, that many of them have been hunted, tortured and abused by it—but you have not personally experienced this, which means it is but hearsay to you. Today, it is time for you to experience this by yourself. When you have only heard that the great red dragon oppresses God and persecutes His chosen ones, and feel some degree of hatred toward it, does this count as truly despising it? It does not. Because this has not happened to you, this hate of yours never feels very real—and so it does not count. When you have not experienced the great red dragon’s persecution and torture, are you able to see through to its nature and substance? When you have only heard of these things, are you capable of knowing its nature and substance? You cannot. Only having heard of this means you half believe and are half skeptical, or else that you 50% believe, or 70%, or at best 99% believe. But what is that 1% of unbelief because of? Because you have not personally experienced. When others were tortured by the great red dragon, you saw it, and heard about it—but without having suffered it, your hate is different from theirs. When you have not been tortured by the great red dragon, can you see through to how evil it is? Can you see just what its nature and substance are? When you have not been tortured, no matter what you say, your hate is not very real. When they experience being brainwashed by the great red dragon, some people feel revulsion as soon as they hear it speak! Nothing is more sickening to them, it makes them nauseous! The more they hear, the more repulsed they become. Listening to it makes them so repulsed that they have to try hard not to vomit! This is not something that those who were not there can have any sense of. Hearing the words that the great red dragon reads out, and the theories it speaks when it brainwashes people, those people are repulsed, sickened, they feel they’re ridiculous! Those words and theories are absurd, ridiculous in the extreme! Hearing the words of the great red dragon, words that oppose and blaspheme against God, makes them feel that it truly is a demon, a devil, and evil spirit—that there is nothing false about that! Thus, when you have not experienced the great red dragon’s brainwashing, when you have not experienced its persecution, everything you say about its evil nature is nothing but theory, and empty words, and not real. People who have experienced these things are different. They have personally seen them, undergone them, and these things have long since been etched in their minds, engraved in their bones and imprinted in their hearts, engraved in the depths of their souls, never to be forgotten. Because they know the great red dragon and have seen through it, they are able to speak from the heart when they say: “This gang of evil things, this band of filthy demons and evil spirits is so wicked! They’re so unclean! They’re so vicious!” And they despise them from their hearts, and rebel against them from their hearts.
Next, let us commune another passage of God’s words: “It was previously said that these people are the progeny of the great red dragon. In fact, to be clear, they are the embodiment of the great red dragon. When God forces them to the end of the road and slaughters them, then—without a doubt—the spirit of the great red dragon has no further chance to work in them. In this way, when people walk to the end of the road is also when the great red dragon ends up dead. It can be said that it is using death to repay God’s ‘great kindness’—which is the aim of God’s work in the nation of the great red dragon. When people are ready to sacrifice their lives, everything becomes trifling, and no one can get the better of them. What could be more important than life? Thus, Satan becomes incapable of doing any more in people, there’s nothing it can do with man. Although, in the definition of the “flesh” it is said that the flesh is corrupted by Satan, if people truly give themselves over, and are not driven by Satan, then no one can get the better of them—and at this moment, the flesh will perform its another function, and begin to officially receive the direction of the Spirit of God. This is a necessary process, it must happen step-by-step; if not, God would have no means of working in the stubborn flesh. Such is the wisdom of God” (“Interpretation of the Thirty-sixth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). What does this passage show? When it comes to the Satan-types, who have been so profoundly corrupted, only by working thus can God achieve His aims of saving man. When someone gets cancer, does it stand to reason that they face certain death? So for those who face certain death, by what means does God save them? By making them go onto the operating table and having surgery—there is no other way. What do they experience during surgery? The pain of death. And so, when experiencing the persecution of the great red dragon, people must experience the same pain as death; they must come within an inch of their life. We have all seen how, when people are arrested by the great red dragon and tortured, they narrowly escape death. A bunch of thugs surrounding someone who is unarmed, beating them as hard as they can, kicking them with all their might, punching them with all their strength, using all manner of implements to torture them—that really is coming within an inch of death! When the thugs ram stun batons into them, or strike them with iron bars, or whip them with their shoes or belts, does the person not come within an inch of their life? They do. And what is exposed by the pain and suffering of narrowly escaping death? Whether a person is sincere toward God. Do you truly believe in God? Could you give your life for God? Only if you are truly capable of sacrificing your life for God will you gain the life; if you are one of those who cannot bear to lose their life, then you will be eliminated, you will be exposed. Isn’t it so? Ultimately, when people give their lives for God, they swear to God and say: “O God! I’d rather die than betray You! I would rather die than give in to Satan! Even if I die, I’ll still believe in You, I cannot leave You!” At such times, God is seen to perform another kind of work: People are directly controlled by the Spirit of God, and God allows them to enjoy the bliss and happiness of the liberation of their spirit. Their pain is immediately dispelled, and they feel that they are with God, they feel as if they’re living in another world, and have no pain. What is it called when people experience the work of God and this effect is achieved? They are people who have been saved. Having experienced such work of God, they have come to know it. They say: “I truly understand how God saves people. God’s work of saving man is so practical! It is so true! And it does indeed bring shame upon Satan!” God’s words spoke of this: “at this moment, the flesh will perform its another function, and begin to officially receive the direction of the Spirit of God. This is a necessary process, it must happen step-by-step; if not, God would have no means of working in the stubborn flesh. Such is the wisdom of God.” From this we see the method in which God works, the means by which He saves people, and it is so wondrous! It is so wise! And so real! Can this effect, then, be achieved if people are not repressed and persecuted by the great red dragon, if they always hide? Truly, it cannot; they would be incapable of experiencing this work of the Holy Spirit. Thus do I say that the experience of being tortured and standing firm is so precious! These people are heedless of death, and even in death, they do not depart from God. God’s work has reached its apex in them, and at that moment, they have come to enjoy the presence of God, and enjoy being directed by the Spirit of God, they feel as if they live in another realm, they feel no pain, they feel as if their spirit has truly been set free, and transcended Satan, and even in prison they feel no suffering. When their experiences reach this point, when they have experienced this, the effects of God’s work, these words of God have been fully become a reality—and only then are they people who have truly been saved. So just how many such people are there? But a few. There are others who, when they experience torture, can’t stand the pain. They betray God, and deny God, and thus are taken by Satan. These Judases who betray God are taken by Satan, they are snatched away by the beast, they are eliminated.
Today, is it a simple matter to obtain salvation? God’s work of ultimately exposing the end of different types of people involves a difficult process. It doesn’t just take a few words—He must speak using the facts. How does He expose people? When you are taken by the great red dragon, you are exposed; and when you are not taken by the great red dragon, and stand firm in your testimony, you are also exposed. People must go through this ordeal; they cannot not pass across it, they cannot not go through it. Reading and listening to these stories during your life in the church doesn’t count as having experienced it; you must actually go through this ordeal, you must. It is the experience of narrowly escaping death. The great red dragon’s frenzied attack and persecution of God’s chosen ones has begun once again. Many more will be arrested, and let’s see how many are able to stand firm in their testimony when they are arrested. God gives all of them to the great red dragon and then sees who stands firm in their testimony. Those who do, return to God. Those who don’t, who become Judases, who have sold out, who deny God have been snatched away by the beast. They are returned to the beast, and to Satan—God does not want them. Thus do we observe a fact: most people are taken by the beast, most turn back. This seems unbearable to people: “All those people used to be such good believers in God! They used to be so passionate! They gave up everything for God—how can they suddenly have been taken by Satan in the space of a day? And all become betrayers of God?” Can people not get their heads round this? If they cannot, there is nothing to be done, for it is fact. Who can twist the fact? Such things are very common. Before, the great red dragon’s crackdowns were on a small scale: grabbing one one day, and two the day after, but in the future it will seize whole groups of people. How terrible that will be! Of the three it grabs, one stands firm, and the other two become Judases. After these two turn back, everyone says, “That means nothing, there are still dozens of other people in our church!” When, on one day, dozens of people are arrested, and most of them turn back and deny God, there will be sorrow in your heart, it will be unbearable to you, you will feel awful and painful, and you’ll say: “How could they have all turned back?” Will it not bring you great pain when that happens? Outwardly, it appears that Satan has defeated God and snatched these people away; in fact, God long since predestined this, He arranged it thus, and spoke of it in the beginning. Is all this clear now?
“When all is in order, that is the day that I will return to Zion, and this day will be commemorated by all peoples. When I return to Zion, all things on earth will fall silent and all things on earth will be at peace. When I have returned to Zion, all will resume their original appearance. At that time, I will commence My work in Zion, I will punish the wicked and reward the good, I will bring into force My righteousness and I will carry out My judgment. I will use My words to accomplish everything and make everyone and everything experience My hand that chastises. I will make all people see My entire glory, see My entire wisdom, see My entire bountifulness. No person will dare to rise up to pass judgment as all is completed with Me. In this, everyone will see My entire honor and all will experience My entire victory as everything is manifested with Me. From this, one is well able to see My great power, and to see My authority. No one will dare to offend Me, no one will dare to obstruct Me. All is made public with Me, who would dare to hide anything? I am certain to show him no mercy! Such wretches must receive My severe punishment and such scum must be removed from My sight. I will rule them with an iron rod and I will use My authority to judge them, without the slightest politeness and without sparing their feelings at all, for I am God Himself who is without emotion and who is majestic and cannot be offended. This should be understood by all and seen by all so as to avoid “without cause or reason” being struck down by Me, being annihilated by Me, when the time comes, for My rod will strike down all who offend Me. It will not matter to Me whether they know My administrative decrees or not; that will be of no consequence to Me as My person cannot tolerate the offense of anyone. This is the reason that it is said that I am a lion; whoever I touch, I will strike you down. That is why it is said that now to say that I am the God of compassion and lovingkindness is to blaspheme Me. I am not in essence a lamb but a lion. No one dares to offend Me and whosoever offends I will immediately punish with death, with no feeling at all! From this, one is well able to see My disposition. Therefore, in the final age should a large group of people withdraw, that is something that is hard for men to bear, but I am relaxed and happy and I don’t see this as a difficult task at all, such is My disposition” (Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning).
“On the firstborn sons, I have paid all costs … but you only understand this from the outside, and not one person can clearly see this in the spirit” (Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning).
After reading these two passages, what should we have understood from God’s words? When the wheat is separated from the chaff is, above all, when each is classed according to kind, and when each is classed according to kind is chiefly when those who possess the life are differentiated from those who do not. The people who have the life are the wheat, and those that don’t are the tares. How is the wheat separated from the tares? Each is exposed by throwing them up into the air. Today, the wheat has begun to be separated from the tares, and just those who have gained the truth and the life are revealed during the great tribulation of the last days. How is this revealed? Those who stand firm in their testimony are the people who have gained the truth and the life, and they are the wheat; those who do not stand firm in their testimony and have been eliminated are without the reality of the truth, and are the husks that have been scattered by the wind; they are the tares. God has now begun to carry out this work! The beast has emerged to torment God’s chosen ones—do you see this fact? The wide-scale persecution of the great red dragon has begun, not just in one province, but in many. In each case it is carried out furtively, completely in secret, and in different ways in each province.
Now we see the severity of this spiritual battle, yes? These are dire straits! It is no joke. During a previous assembly, God spoke of when Satan persecuted Job. It was so cruel: In the space of day, all of Job’s property—all of his cattle, sheep, camels, donkeys—were taken away, and he was left with nothing but his life. So cruel! So do not underestimate the persecution of the great red dragon, it really is cruel! In substance, this bunch of thugs are evil spirits, filthy demons. They kill in the blink of an eye, they eat people and don’t even spit out the bones, they’re beasts! Now that we have seen this fact, we are aware of the fact of this spiritual war, and that it is so cruel—what lessons should we learn from this? What truths should we equip ourselves with? This is of the utmost importance! If you don’t learn a lesson and properly equip yourself with the truth, is it easy to bear testimony? Will you find it easy to wage this war? You will not. Some people say, “It’s enough to be wise.” Is it alright to just be wise? There’s no use in just being wise. What truth is it most important to equip yourself with? God’s work is practical; He releases the beast to expose you, just as Daniel was thrown into a lion’s den, where there was a pride of lions—real lions, not fake ones. When you stand face-to-face with a real lion, what is manifested in you? If people do not have God’s presence, then they are paralyzed by fear at once. Try as they might, they cannot stand firm; no one of them has any way of standing firm. The lion is immensely powerful, it bites with several hundred pounds of force, enough to crack the bones of a bull. With a single bite—“crack,” it snaps the arms and legs of a human. So if you’re bitten by a lion, it’s all over for you. And after a lion kills a bull, it picks it up and drags it away. Given how powerful, how ferocious, lions are, who wouldn’t be afraid when they encountered one? But Daniel had God’s presence, and he was not afraid, and the lion did not dare to bite him—which was the deed of God. So, if you are equipped with the truth, if you have gained the truth, and have true faith in God, and can rely on God anywhere and at any time, and cry out to God, then you are directed by God’s Spirit, you have the work of the Holy Spirit, and when the time comes you will stand firm. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, no one can stand firm. And so, what is most important now is equipping yourself with the truth.
How can people equip themselves with the truth? This requires knowing just how real God’s work is! God must give you to Satan to reveal whether or not you possess the life, and the truth, and whether or not you are able to stand firm—this is fact. Some have not been given to Satan but are hunted by the great red dragon. They are hunted for one, two or three years, until they can run no more, and surrender themselves, and thus some cease to believe. What’s happening here? Do such people possess the truth? After a few years of suffering, they collapse, and stop believing, and this shows that they are without the truth. Some people say after a few years of hardship: “Why bother! People who don’t believe in God have such easy lives, yet here we are suffering all this to believe in God—it’s not worth it! I’m not going to believe in God anymore!” And so they turn back. Have these people been exposed? They have—they have been scattered on the wind, blown away; they were unable to stand firm. Before the great red dragon had even caught them, they were scared off and exposed. They are useless trash. Some people are arrested by the great red dragon seven or eight times, and they still don’t fall down; once they are out of prison, they still believe in God. Ultimately, when they’re arrested once again, the police ask them; “Do you still believe in God?” “I do!” “Give us some money and we won’t charge you. Hand over 2,000 yuan and you can go free.” The police don’t charge them, because it is of no use to charge them—they’d still believe in God after coming out of prison. They’ll believe to the very end, while they still have one breath in their body.” What does this show? That their belief is true. Some people are arrested and asked, “Do you still believe in God?” “I do.” “Aren’t you afraid of being charged?” “No. There’s only one way you can make me stop believing: shoot me dead. After you’ve shot me dead, I won’t be able to believe in God; if you don’t, I’ll still believe in God.” Seeing this, there’s nothing Satan can do. What of this kind of person? Do they bear testimony? They’re willing to sacrifice their life. When people sacrifice their lives, they fear nothing. Nothing can control them, or constrain them, or frighten them, or drag them down; they are willing to sacrifice their lives, and there’s nothing Satan can do. And so, during the final great trial, if you do not give your life, you will likely be unable to stand firm. First, think about what it means to give your life. Giving your life does not just involve praying and surrendering yourself to God; it’s not just something you say with your mouth. It means being willing to die in the face of torture, it means awaiting death, being unflinching before death. When Satan tortures you, how should you pray? You should say: “O God, I give You my life. I give my life to You no matter what Satan does! If I die, so be it. Even if I die, I shall obey You; even if I die, I shall be thankful to God.” This is what it means to give your life to God. It does not mean secretly praying that you’ll give your life to God. Merely praying is useless; what’s key is if you can give your life to God when tortured, whether you are unflinching before death, and whether you can await death. If you are able to await death, and be unflinching before death, then you have truly given your life to God. If, when faced with torture, you still think about it and say to yourself, “How am I going to make it out of this alive? How am I going to survive? How could I not die? Living comes first! Nothing is more important than escaping with my life!” What happens as soon as someone has these thoughts? Do they give their life? They value their life over God! And in this, they betray God. All who value their lives over God in the face of torture betray God! They will surely be captured by Satan, they will surely be taken by the beast. Those who value God over their own lives stand firm, and gain the life, and there’s nothing the beast can do. Such “desperadoes” are what the beast fears most. Valuing God above one’s own life is formidable, it leaves the beast with nothing it can do to you. This proves that you are victorious, that you have overcome the influence of Satan! And what do you give to overcome the influence of Satan? You give your life. And thus are fulfilled the words that God spoke long ago during the Age of Grace: “For whoever will save his life shall lose it: and whoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” These words are fulfilled. When God became flesh for the first time, He explained what it means to gain the life, and what it means to lose one’s life. He clearly explained them at that time. And what about now? When the work of the last days ends, these words begin to be fulfilled, to be brought to completion! This is the lesson that God’s chosen ones ought to learn; it is a truth they must equip themselves with, a lesson that they must learn. God’s chosen ones must clearly see that if they do not equip themselves with the truth, then when trials befall them in the future, they will likely be incapable of standing firm. They must equip themselves with some key truths, with the most important truths of all, and have insight into life and death, into the secret of gaining the life. After gaining these insights, you will not shrink back when you are required to sacrifice yourself and pay a price, but will face these things boldly—which is of the utmost importance.
In the passages of God’s words we just read, when the beast comes forth to persecute God’s chosen ones is the last step of God’s work. The final step of God’s work is that of separating the wheat from the chaff, and that of revelation—and when man is exposed is more or less also when God’s chosen ones are exposed—and so it is time for there to be turmoil. After the chaos is when God returns to Zion, and departs the earth. Today, has God’s work come to an end? Having reached this stage, it ought to have, yes? How does it come to an end? With the separation of the wheat from the chaff, with the classing of each according to kind thanks to the beast’s arrival to persecute God’s chosen ones, and the trials of the last days that expose people. When each is classed according to kind is when those who have the life are differentiated from those who don’t, when the wheat is separated from the tares. Once this distinction is made, God’s work is over. The completion of God’s work is precisely the time that the country is thrown into strife; when the country is thrown into strife is when the great red dragon’s service comes to an end; when the great red dragon’s service comes to an end is when God leaves the earth; and when God leaves the earth, and returns to Zion, is when China shall be immediately destroyed. Observe this process, and then think back upon each step of God’s work up until today. What of this step, the completion of God’s work? Is this reasonable? Do you now see it? Is God’s work practical? God’s work is so practical! God is so righteous! People should not imagine God’s work to be so simple. How does God defeat Satan? Through making a group of people complete. These people are turned into overcomers by God, they bear victorious testimonies, and through their testimonies they defeat Satan. And so, when there is strife in China is also the time of the great red dragon’s downfall. Many will stand up to bear victorious testimonies for God, and these are the ones who are made perfect by God. Those who are without testimony are eliminated, and they will likely weep and gnash their teeth. Is such testimony borne easily? Let us look at another passage of God’s words: “After I have returned to Zion, those on earth will continue to praise Me as in the past. Those loyal service-doers remain waiting to render service to Me … it will immediately be fulfilled in reality, and this is the true meaning of My word being spoken and its fulfillment taking place at the same time, because what I say is authority of itself” (Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning). What do you feel after reading this passage of God’s words? Do you feel that God will leave the earth and return to Zion? You can’t stand for Him to leave, yes? The emergence of the beast means that God’s work has come to an end and God shall begin to expose people. After the beast’s persecution finishes, man shall be all revealed; turmoil shall begin in the country of the great red dragon, and during this turmoil, God shall depart the earth; when God departs the earth, He shall destroy China soon after, He shall lay waste to the great red dragon, shall completely obliterate it. Such are the steps of God’s work of the last days, from beginning to end. Today, you clearly see each of these steps, yes? God’s work has now come to an end—this is fact. After God’s work comes to an end, the internal strife begins, and God uses the great red dragon’s work of repression and persecution during its death throes to expose people; after they have been exposed, the internal strife commences, and when that is over God returns to Zion; and after returning to Zion, God carries out the next step of work. What ought the next step of work to be? God says: “On My return to Zion, I will begin to turn toward each nation in the world; I will bring to salvation the Israelites and chastise the Egyptians. This is the next step in My work. My work at that time will not be the same as in the present day: It will not be work in the flesh but it will completely transcend the flesh, and since I have spoken, it will be done, and as I have commanded, it will stand fast. As long as it has been said by Me, it will immediately be fulfilled in reality, and this is the true meaning of My word being spoken and its fulfillment taking place at the same time, because what I say is authority of itself.” God’s work has now come to an end—you see what’s happening, yes? Before, it was only said that His work has ended—but how does it end? Does it simply end like that? What do you see now? When it ends, how does it end? Through the great red dragon’s exposure of people! The great red dragon’s brutal persecution exposes all people, and brings God’s work to an end by classing each according to kind. When God’s work is over, there will be a small portion of people who stand firm in their testimony, and many who turn back: “something that is hard for men to bear” occurs. So what will it look like to people when God’s work comes to an end? What will happen to The Church of Almighty God? Looking from the outside, the great red dragon will have arrested most of the Christians of The Church of Almighty God, and the Church will appear no more—it will have “disappeared,” it will have been “outlawed,” and to all appearances it will seem as if the great red dragon has won. In fact, it has lost. By exposing people, this act of service by the great red dragon carries out God’s will; it exposes and eliminates the portion of people who do not belong to God, and separates the very best, those who have been made perfect by God. What the great red dragon does looks like repression and persecution, but the effect that is actually achieved is to separate and expose two types of people: those who belong to God, and those who do not. So in terms of the significance of this effect, do the great red dragon’s actions not serve God? Thus, the great red dragon is a service-doer—in name and fact. In performing this final act of service by the great red dragon, the effect of God’s work has wholly been accomplished, allowing people to see that God really has made a group of overcomers in China—this is fact. What’s more, the repression and persecution of the great red dragon lays bare those in the church who are troublemakers and unbelievers, who do not love the truth; they are all wiped away, they are all exposed, and are all eliminated. To those who do not understand the truth, it seems wrong for the great red dragon to do that; how could it be good that it has forced all those people to give up their beliefs? Making all of them suffer, and tearing families apart—that’s not something good. How does it seem now? The great red dragon has truly performed one act of service for God’s will, it is truly manipulated by God. How truly “loyal” it is for the great red dragon to take the time to render service for God as it is busily beset by troubles both at home and abroad, as it is scorched and battered! So what do you feel when we read of God’s return to Zion today? God has secretly arrived in China and done twenty-four years of work—and after He returns to Zion, His work of the last days will be finished! He has made a group of overcomers! And among these overcomers, some are the firstborn sons of God, some are the sons of God, some are the people of God, and some are the loyal service-doers; there are all of these, and they make up a group of overcomers. Thus, God’s work of the last days ends in glory; this is a fact, a fact that is seen by all of God’s chosen ones.
What truths, would you say, must God’s chosen ones understand if they are to stand firm in their testimony? What truths is it crucial to understand? Now that storm has come, and the beast has emerged and begun to act; what truths must God’s chosen ones comprehend to bear glorious, resounding testimony to God? First, they must solve the problem of how to deal with death. How to deal with death—is this important? The persecution of the great red dragon must be met with the conviction that death is inevitable. If you always think, “I must live, staying alive is more important than anything else,” then you will be taken by the beast. And when the great red dragon has you in its grasp, the first thing it does is to take your life. It uses your life to force you to turn back, to make you deny God; it uses your life to threaten you, to make you deny and betray God. What do you do? If you acknowledge and obey God, then you must give your life. Is it a transaction? For the great red dragon, it is. If you can’t see this, then it’s completely over for you. And so, the first thing you must do is address the problem of how to treat death. If you have the right view of death, have a pure understanding of it, and are able to sacrifice your life, then you will be able to obey unto death. When you are able to obey unto death, you can stand firm; if you can’t obey unto death, and still cherish your life—still want to live—then you’re in danger, and it won’t be easy for you to stand firm. As such, only obedience unto death can become testimony. There is no question that obeying unto death means giving your life, sacrificing your life, and being willing to believe unto the very end even if that results in death—this is standing firm. You must equip yourself with this truth; it is what’s most important. When you’re put in prison, someone will ask you: “Have you thought things through?” “I have.” “Speak, then!” “I must be wise. I won’t say what I shouldn’t, I’ll say nothing.” Is this the right mentality? Is this what it means to have thought things through? It is not! If you say you don’t know anything, that won’t be the end of it—they’ll torture you. What does it mean to have thought it through? “I’ll sacrifice my life, I’ll believe in God even if it means dying.” Saying these words proves that you’ve thought things through, that you’re prepared. The moment you’re put in prison, you’ll say: “Well, I give my life, I’ll face this with the conviction of certain death!” This is the right thing to say, there’s hope for you. First, you must be clear about death. Is that easy to do? How is one clear about death? If you are willing to sacrifice your life but you can’t bear to die, then there’s a contradiction here. What’s more, other things start to occur to you: Will I be saved if I die? Will I enter the kingdom? In fact, it is better to die than live and be a Judas; if you die, at least your soul will be saved—but if you don’t want to die, and you betray God and become a Judas, your soul will not be saved, you will be destroyed! You understand this, yes? Your view must be that it is better to die than live. If you can see this clearly, then you understand, the truth is clear to you. Is this what’s key? It is. When matters of life and death are clear to you, you will see that those who live, and are Judases, are punished, and you’re better off dead. Which is to say, obedience unto death—real death—is better than living and being a Judas. At the very least, your soul will be saved; in death you will not have brought shame upon God. Dying is 10,000 times better than living and being a Judas. If you look at it this way, these things will be clear, you will have the right approach to the problem of death, you will be emancipated from death. Is life and death determined by God? All is in God’s hands, so what are you afraid of? If you die in God’s hands, you will still be born again; but if you are truly destroyed by God’s hands, then you are beyond redemption and no one can save you—not even God.
What’s more, you must have a clear knowledge of God’s work. If your faith has not reached the level of obedience unto death, then you shall not be saved. God uses death to test each person, and without this faith, you will not be able to stand firm. When the time comes, what kind of constraints will those who are foolish likely fall prey to? “What will my husband do if I die?” Is there any merit to these words? What’s wrong with them? Her husband has become her God; she sees her husband as a God—which is going too far! Her husband is a demon, what does he matter? Faced with death, she still worries about her husband. She gives no thought to the name of God, or the glory of God, and thinks only of her husband. Are such people not demons? Others say: “What will my child do if I die?” What of these words? There is no testimony in this, God has no place in the hearts of such people. She did not say: “Will God’s name be glorified after I die, will His will be done?” Instead, she asked who would look after her husband or child. People like this lack the truth, they have lost their testimony. Others say: “After I die, God will be glorified, but I won’t see it. I will not behold that unprecedented marvel of the kingdom’s expansion.” What of these words? Also wrong! Will seeing such things address the issue of your salvation? Those are matters of God; if you are allowed to see them, then you will—and if you are not, you won’t. Now is the time of people’s revelation, and it is not necessary for you to think of these things. Now is the time for you to bear testimony; what use is there in considering these things? Even if you do see, you won’t understand. If you are always constrained by such things, ought this not to be solved? Some people say: “If I die, who will get my assets? I haven’t written my will yet!” What of these words? There are others who say: “I’ve still got some property there, who will the money from that go to? I’ve also got a lot of savings in the bank.” Is there any use in thinking about such things? There is not. After you die, you’ll have nothing, and those things are meaningless. There’s no need in thinking about anything. What should be the only thing in your heart? Standing firm in your testimony, giving your life to God, obeying unto death and leaving yourself at the mercy of God without complaint, and praising God in the face of death—these are what’s most important. If this is the extent to which you have equipped yourself with the truth, then you will have been successful; if it is not—if you lack such knowledge and conviction—then, unfortunately, you’ll be in danger when trials befall you, and it won’t be easy for you to stand firm.
Now that God’s work has truly come to an end, there shall immediately ensue great trials to expose people. The beast shall emerge to persecute God’s chosen ones, and the fact that shall be beheld will be God’s return to Zion, which people will observe with their own eyes. You’re clear, now, about how God’s work comes to an end, yes? We previously said that God’s work had come to an end, but no one knew what the state there was before it did, what the state was on earth. Now we’ve seen it. When God’s work ends, Satan is employed to perform one final act of service. The beast emerges to persecute God’s chosen ones, to class each according to kind. Ultimately, the majority will turn back, and only a minority will stand firm in their testimony. To outward appearances, it will seem as if the church has fallen into ruin, and people have deserted it. Something else happens when it is deserted—what is that? Let us read the following passage of God’s words: “Countries are in great chaos, because God’s rod has begun to play its role on earth. God’s work can be seen in the state of the earth. When God says ‘the waters will roar, the mountains will topple, the great rivers will disintegrate,’ this is the rod’s initial work on earth, with the result that ‘All households upon earth will be torn apart; no more will mother and son meet again, never again will there be the coming together of father and daughter. All that used to be on earth will be smashed by Me.’ Such will be the general state of families on earth. Naturally, it could not possibly be the state of all of them, but it is the state of most of them. On the other hand, it is referring to the circumstances experienced by the people of this stream in the future. It foretells that, once they have undergone the chastisement of words and the unbelievers have been subjected to catastrophe, there will no longer be familial relations among the people on earth; they will all be the people of Sinim, and will all be faithful in God’s kingdom. Thus, gone will be the days of the reunion between husband and wife, no more will mother and son meet again, never again will there be the coming together of father and daughter. And so, the families of people on earth will be torn apart, ripped to pieces, and this will be the final work that God does in man. And because God shall spread this work throughout the universe, He takes the opportunity to clarify the word ‘emotion’ for people, thus allowing them to see that God’s will is to tear apart all people’s families, and showing that God uses chastisement to resolve all the family disputes among mankind. If not, there would be no way of bringing the final part of God’s work on earth to a close. The final part of God’s words lays bare mankind’s greatest weakness—they all live in emotion—and so God does not avoid a single one of them, and exposes the secrets hidden in the hearts of all mankind. Why is it so hard for people to separate themselves from emotion? Is it higher than the standards of conscience? Can conscience accomplish God’s will? Can emotion help people through adversity? In God’s eyes, emotion is His enemy—has this not been clearly stated in God’s words?” (“Interpretation of the Twenty-eighth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). What is this passage saying? Has disaster arrived? Every country is in disarray, not just China; the situation in China is severe, but in the future every country shall be thrown into tumult, because God’s rod has begun to play its role on earth. What does “God’s rod” refer to? It refers to the words that chastise all mankind, it is when the authority of the rod begins to play its role. In the future, great destruction shall befall every country: “Waters will roar, the mountains will topple, the great rivers will disintegrate.” This will be the first work that the rod does on earth, and it will lead to the tearing apart of every family on earth. What does “tearing apart” mean? Below, it is said that “no more will mother and son meet again.” The relationship between mother and son is the closest of all, but there will be no reunion of mother and son—they shall be separated. What will be the extent of this “separation”? They may only be parted in flesh, or it could be that one dies and the other remains, and there will never be a day when they meet again. “No more will mother and son meet again, never again will there be the coming together of father and daughter. All that used to be on earth will be smashed by Me.’ Such will be the general state of families on earth. Naturally, it could not possibly be the state of all of them, but it is the state of most of them.” Where are people’s emotions manifested most? Is it in their family? Family is most important to people’s emotions. In a family, there is the relationship between husband and wife, as well as between mother and son, and father and daughter—and it is these relationships that constrain people. Ultimately, if you can sever these relationships, and if, no matter what happens to you, you are able to not stray from God, and follow and serve God, believing in God, following God, and performing your duty as before, then you shall be saved. Is it easy to get rid of these emotions? It is not. In an instant, the person you love most is dead. Will you get rid of your emotions? Can you fall? You cannot. How do you pray? How many times do you sob, how many tears do you shed? This is what exposes people. Before their loved one dies, some people say: “When he dies, I’ll pray, and I’ll be recovered in a day, I’ll have just shed a couple of tears.” But what happens when their loved one really does die? They’re still crying after two days! It’s not as simple as they say. If your loved one were really to die, you would fall down because of this, you would be eliminated. What’s the issue here? This shows that you belong to your emotions, not God. Emotions are the enemy of God. You do not love God; your love for your family exceeds your love for God, and you are not fit to be one of God’s disciples. What attitude should you have toward the death of a family member? If one dies, you’ll bury them; if two die, you’ll bury both of them—and that’s all. Your duty is this: “When you die, I’ll bury you, and when I die, you’ll bury me.” This is the relationship and responsibility between family members. The only relationship between family members is burying each other. Is this the right way to understand this? What did the Lord Jesus say about family? The Lord Jesus said: “I have no family. Who is My brother? Who is My sister? Only those who do God’s will are My parents, brothers, and sisters.” It’s enough that you are able to say such words when the time comes. When your belief in God and understanding of the truth has reached a certain point, you’ll say to yourself: “Only God and those who do His will are my closest family. Except for them, I have no family, no one else is my family.” If the unbelievers accuse you of betraying your closest family, you will reply to them: “I renounce all my relatives, not just the closest ones.” Are you capable of that? It’s not easy for some people. Then they’ll say: “You renounce all your relatives, not just the closest ones—is this normal humanity?” This is normal humanity: You raise God upon high, you exalt Him, and you have no family or emotions, nothing but the principles of the truth. If this is not normal humanity, what is it? Is it right to live by your feelings? It is wrong to live by your feelings. That is the flesh; those who live in the principles of the truth are the people of Sinim, and when the time comes, the overcomers who are made perfect will all be the people of Sinim. What are the “people of Sinim”? Why are they not called the “people of God”—why are they called the “people of Sinim”? Let us read this passage of God’s words: “So what is ‘Sinim’? God’s meaning here is not the kingdom on earth which is corrupted by Satan, but rather is an assembly of all the angels who came from God. The words ‘resolute and unwavering’ imply that the angels will break through all of Satan’s forces and so Sinim will be established in the entire universe. So the real meaning of Sinim is an assembly of all the angels on earth; here it refers to those on earth. So the kingdom that exists later on earth will be called ‘Sinim,’ and not the ‘kingdom.’ There is no real meaning to the ‘kingdom’ on earth, and it is in substance Sinim. So only upon linking it to the meaning of Sinim can one know the true meaning of the words ‘you will surely irradiate within the entire universe with My glory.’ This demonstrates the grading of all people on earth in the future. The people of Sinim will all be kings governing all peoples on earth after they have suffered chastisement. Everything on earth will operate normally because of the management of the people of Sinim. This is nothing more than a rough sketch of the situation. All men will remain within the kingdom of God, meaning that they will be left within Sinim. Men on earth will be able to communicate with the angels. So, heaven and earth will be connected, or in other words, all men on earth will submit to and love God as the angels in heaven do. At that time, God will appear openly to all people on earth and allow them to see His true face with their naked eyes, and He will appear to men at any time” (“Interpretation of the Nineteenth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Now you’re clear about what Sinim is. What will the kingdom on earth be called? Will it be called the kingdom of Christ? It will actually be called Sinim. The Sinim will be a kingdom that belongs to God; it will be the kingdom of Christ, and so its name will be Sinim. What people will Sinim be made up of? It will be an assembly of all the angels. As explained, these people who are made perfect by God are the spirits of these angels; those who are the reincarnations of angels are made perfect by God, and they shall reign as kings on earth. All who belong to Sinim are kings. Why, then, does God use such grievous trials and chastisement to make people perfect? Finally we understand: God does not make His ordinary chosen ones perfect, He makes perfect those who are kings. No wonder God employs such severe trials to refine people and make them perfect! It turns out that those who are made perfect are the kings. Is the work that God does most meaningful of all? It was previously said that “You will surely be resolute and unwavering in the land of Sinim.” What is “Sinim”? No one knew then, but now you understand. So today, what is the point of asking people to get rid of their emotions? Will it be acceptable for those who are made perfect to be emotional when they become kings on earth? The role they play in the future must not be tainted with the word “emotion”—this is a very strict requirement. Thus, there is practical significance to God’s work. People must not have conceptions, or imaginings. Do not always use conceptions to measure the work of God—that is wrong. Everything God does is measured and meaningful. When you don’t understand this, you must not be rash in what you say; if you are, then ten or twenty years later, when you do understand, you’ll regret having passed judgment on God’s work.
Let us read another passage of God’s words: “Despite the fact that construction of the kingdom has formally begun, the salute to the kingdom has yet to formally ring out—now it is but a prophecy of what is to come. When the people have all been made complete and all the nations of earth become Christ’s kingdom, then will be the time when the seven thunders peal. The current day is a stride forth in the direction of that stage, the charge has been unleashed on the coming time. This is God’s plan—in the near future it will be realized. However, God has already accomplished all which He has said. Thus, it is clear that the nations of earth are but castles in the sand trembling as high tide nears: The last day is imminent and the great red dragon will topple under God’s word. To ensure that God’s plan is carried out successfully, the angels of heaven have descended upon earth, doing their utmost to satisfy God. The incarnate God Himself has deployed to the field of battle to wage war on the enemy. Wherever the incarnation appears, so the enemy is destroyed from that place. China is the first to be annihilated, to be laid to waste by the hand of God. God gives absolutely no quarter to China. Proof of the great red dragon’s progressive collapse can be seen in the continued maturation of the people. This can be obviously seen by anyone. The maturation of the people is a sign of the enemy’s demise” (“Interpretation of the Tenth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). From this passage we clearly see one fact: “However, God has already accomplished all which He has said.” These words are crucial; if you can understand them, then you will have faith. There are those who say, “Some of the words spoken by God have not come true, does this mean God has carried them out?” Some of God’s words have been fulfilled, and some have not; so, if the ones that have been fulfilled have been carried out, have the ones that have not been fulfilled been carried out? In all of the facts accomplished by God, by what means did He carry them out? In some places in God’s words, it is said that God is as good as His word, and His word shall be accomplished, and that which is accomplished lasts forever; in some places, it is said that God used words to create the heavens and the earth and everything in them, that once spoken, these words came true; and in other places it is said that God commands all things by His thoughts, that when God thinks thus, the thing is accomplished. So, too, are there some things that God does with His own hands. In actuality, everything in the universe plays out according to God’s thoughts and words. They are not produced by nature; they play out according to God’s words and thoughts, they operate according to God’s words and thoughts, and this is the law of all that there is in the universe. You must see this fact. Sometimes, God speaks before acting. For some simple things, they occur thus as soon as God thinks them, that is how they play out. God’s omnipotence lies in His use of thoughts to command, His use of utterances to command, and His use of utterances to arrange and decree. To God, then, all that He says has already been carried out—so when He allows people to see it, He is giving you a repeat performance, He is playing the movie for you; this is what’s happening. In fact, in the spiritual realm, it has already been done, it has already been accomplished. In the spiritual realm, it has become a well-established fact; in the world of man, people are merely being shown a film of it. Take shooting a movie, for example: During filming, you have to film the development of objective things and events—and once you have finished, is filming complete? It is. Have you seen it? Before the film is shown, how can you say it is complete? When God finishes speaking is actually like when the movie has finished shooting. When the time comes, how can you see this? You’re given a replay—that’s the process. For this is how God created the heavens and the earth and everything in them; God used His thoughts to direct the operation of all there is. And so to God, it has all already been completed—but to people, because people are part of the material world, and their eyes can only see the things in proximity to them in the material world, this fact is replayed to you, and when you see it, you know that it has been accomplished. But you’re too slow; the matter has actually long since been accomplished in the spiritual realm. Are there, then, any of God’s words that have yet to be fulfilled? God is so almighty! God is as good as His word, and His word shall be accomplished, and that which is accomplished lasts forever—none of His words are not fulfilled. God said let there be light, and there was light. God said let there be water, and the water appeared. How much light? How big are the sun and moon? They are planets and stars, and when God spoke, they existed! And is this not even more the case for these things in the world of man, these things directed by God’s thoughts? How great must God’s omnipotence be, that He accomplished something so big with but a few words? How can you describe it? People couldn’t even do such a thing with their hands, and yet God accomplished it with but a few words—what could there be that He is incapable of achieving? How big the earth is! With a word from God, it emerged. Human matters on earth are matters between ants, between dust—are such matters not equivalent to a micro-organism on a planet? The planets were accomplished with God’s thoughts. With a few words, the planets were created; could it be hard for God to manage matters concerning micro-organisms? They do whatever God makes them do. Thus, you must be clear about God’s omnipotence. He creates all with words, and commands everything with His thoughts, making all things function according to His thoughts. For God, nothing is unachievable! And so people must be clear about just how God’s words are fulfilled, about whether the words from His mouth have already been done. When you’re clear about this, you will know God’s wisdom and omnipotence, and so you will have faith in God, and this faith will be true. When you have true faith in God, trust that all is in God’s hands, and give up your life for God, you will gain the life. Some people say: “If I give up my life for God, will I still live after I die?” When you have faith in God, there’ll be nothing wrong with death, there’ll be nothing wrong with anything—you just need to trust that all is arranged by God! It is right to obey God’s rule and arrangements! It will never be wrong!
Can God make the dead live again? He can! Can they live again if they’ve been dead for a day? Can they live again if they’ve been dead for ten days? Can they live again if they’ve been dead for several thousand years? You have to be clear about these things. Some people say, “Lazarus would have started to smell after being dead for four days—could he still live?” His body had started to smell, but it did not smell when he came alive. For God, nothing is unachievable. Thus, faith is when you sacrifice everything to God, when you give your life to God. Do not ask for anything else; it is right to obey God in everything! Do not say to God, “O God! I’ll dedicate my life to You so that You can bring me back to life after I die.” You’ll be in trouble if you pray for such things. When people have no faith, they dare not give anything up—and even when they do, they make sure there’s a contract: “If I give this up for You, You must give me something in return; if You don’t, I won’t give anything up.” Are there those who try to make such trades with God? We have seen how robbers stole all of Job’s property and left him with nothing. With these things gone, Job would have to start from zero; he’d have to work for another fifty or sixty years to get that much again. Yet blessed by God, Job attained twice as much as he’d had before! Before he had seven thousand, and later he had fourteen thousand! When God blesses people, things happen quickly, and don’t play out according to normal laws in which one times two is two, two times two is four, and four times four is sixteen! They increase exponentially! And increasing exponentially, they’re difficult to calculate. Let’s take an example: In one of the miracles performed by the Lord Jesus, five thousand people ate their fill from five loaves and two fish. There were just five loaves and two fish, and after the Lord Jesus gave thanks, the loaves and fish were distributed for all to eat. By what process were they distributed? Imagine that, at the start, five loaves were given to five people and broken into ten pieces shared among ten people, and the two fish were broken into four pieces, and these four pieces were given to four people—so after fourteen people had eaten, there’d be nothing left. But in fact, after five thousand people had finished eating, twelve baskets remained. How does this work? It trips up mathematicians, because there’s no way of working it out. When God blesses, miracles happen! As everyone passed the food to one another, how could it be that the more food they passed, the more there was? For example, I have two fish and two loaves in my hand and I give these loaves and fish to others, but now there are even more of them in my hands, they’ve turned into four loaves and four fish. And when the people I gave them to pass them onto others, the loaves and fish in their own hands increase, too—with the result that the more that is passed on, the more there is, on and on, until five thousand people have eaten their fill, and there are still twelve baskets left at the end. It’s like during years of famine: The families of some of the brothers and sisters were down to half a bag of grain, and there arrived some other brothers and sisters, those who received them prayed to God, and what happened after they prayed to God to bless them? They had no end of grain and oil to eat. Why is this so? This is something miraculous: no end of grain and oil to eat. This is God’s blessing. There are many such miracles of God—we don’t need to talk of them here. What happens to people if they are without God’s blessings? After earning a bit of money, someone falls ill, or money has to be spent on the home: there are always holes, gaps that need filling, the money’s never enough. But those who are blessed by God are not disposed to spending money; every month they save and have money left over, no one gets ill, they never feel there’s anything they have to spend their money on, they feel they eat well, dress well, that everything is good. There’s a difference. Is this the case? Some people have a lot of money, but they have a lot of holes that need fixing, they always get ill, they always have to spend money, there’s always some misfortune, they always have to plug holes, and as they do, the more they plug the more holes appear—with the result that, as the days go by, they end up in debt. Some people, however, never get ill. They can eat their fill of whatever they have, and there’s always more left over: When they buy a bag of grain it’s still not finished after two months, when they buy vegetables, after several days they still haven’t eaten them all, there’s always some left, and, ultimately, they want for nothing in their lives. See how this is different. In all of this can be seen the wondrousness of God’s deeds. People are different when they have been blessed by God, when they are with God. They have strength, their souls are set free, no person or thing can constrain them, there are principles to their actions, and there is not the slightest darkness within them. When people are without the work of the Holy Spirit, they’re filled with darkness, they don’t know what to do when something happens to them, they can never find the path, they can’t feel God when they pray, they have not the slightest path, they are lost, at a loss—this is what those who are without the work of the Holy Spirit are like. So what are the experiences of those with faith? They are made perfect by the Holy Spirit, and after pursuing the truth and reading God’s words, they achieve understanding of the truth, and the more they hear the more they understand, the more they are enlightened. Why is this so? Because they have the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit. And what about those who remain confused no matter what they hear, who become more confused and glassy-eyed the more they listen? For those who have not been made perfect by the work of the Holy Spirit, making even an inch of progress is difficult.
Many people used to say: “When you start believing in God, you should read Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning. It explains all mysteries—you don’t need to read anything else. You don’t have to read the part of God’s words about entering into life. Just read Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning, and when you’ve understood all the mysteries, you’ll gain the life.” What do you think of such statements now? If you only read Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning and don’t pursue the truth, don’t read the part of God’s words about entering into life, then you will end up with nothing. Today, now that we have experienced God’s work and words, and accepted God’s judgment and chastisement, when, ultimately, God’s work ends, we go back and read Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning and see that the words that God spoke at the beginning have all been fulfilled; when we read them today, we understand everything. Thus, there are some of God’s words that you don’t need to study. There’s no use in studying them; just experience them properly, focus only on pursuing the truth, until the day comes when the Holy Spirit enlightens you and you understand everything. Look at the passages we just read about God’s return to Zion and the emergence of the beast—have not all of these words been fulfilled? When God’s work ends, many turn back. This seems unbearable to people, but it happens. Many scratch their heads and ask themselves, “God worked so hard for all those years, gained all these people, how could so many of them have turned back in one go? What’s going on? Satan is so cruel! Is God omnipotent?” People blindly ruminate and pass judgment, they blindly speak according to their conceptions. This was arranged by God; when people do not understand the truth, do they not spout nonsense? Seeing that all these people have turned back, you stand there crying: “O God, why don’t You do something? They are being taken by Satan. Open Your eyes and look: The church has fallen into ruin.” Is this not nonsense? This is absurd! Nonsense! It was all predestined by God—you should praise Him. Look at Job, who had so many cattle, camels, and donkeys taken. Did he say, “O God, Satan has taken all of the property You gave me, do You see? Take a look, I’m having a terrible time.” Job knew that what happened to him came from God, and so he said: “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah.” He knew that this had been permitted by God, and did not speak foolish words. Only a fool would stand there crying and say: “O God, do You see? Open Your eyes and look—everything I had, everything You blessed me with has been taken by Satan. Get it back for me, kill them!” Job did not make such foolish prayers. People can’t bear to see this. In the future, you’ll all see the church laid to waste, and when the time comes, there will be those who don’t understand, and say, “There used to be fifty or sixty people in the church, it was really flourishing, and the brothers and sisters were so happy when they held assembly together, it was so wonderful to praise God! How could there be only a few left now? And they’re all so frail—what should we do?” This was all arranged by God. You should understand God’s will; these are all the steps of God’s work, and slowly you will see this. When you don’t understand, don’t be careless with your words—understand? All this is about to happen. These things were predestined over twenty years before their occurrence; these words were spoken long ago, and prior to God’s utterance of them twenty or so years ago, they were predestined several thousand years before that. The work of God is indeed over. The great trial and emergence of the beast class each according to kind, God’s work comes to an end, and afterward the country is thrown into strife, and God returns to Zion. When it finishes, it seems to people and to all outward appearances, as if the world has fallen into ruin, but after several days have passed, some people—people who truly want God, and are possessed of the work of the Holy Spirit and the truth—assemble to praise God, and to give thought to the circumstances of God’s being on earth. During the trials of the service-doers, everyone saw off God back to Zion on earth, they sang hymns of praise, they praised God, and were moved to tears. That was just a rehearsal; the words had come upon them, but they were actually referring to today, and those words have only begun to be fulfilled today. Is there anything more fortunate than experiencing God’s work? This is something really fortunate! There has been such meaning to their lives over the last twenty years! They’ve led unforgettable lives! When God’s work began, I’d believed in Jesus for eight years. At that time I entered this stream, and became a leader in it. I’ve experienced all the way up to today, so I’m clear about all of the steps that came before and after. There is such meaning to God’s work! I have gained so much. Some people have only believed for one or two years; their experiences are so paltry, there’s nothing that can be done with them, they should just listen. Those who have believed for ten years or so are much better, they understand these words.
Let us read another passage of God’s words: “China is the nation where Satan is most worshiped and so it has been cursed by Me, and it is also the nation that has done the most to persecute Me” (Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning). Why did God descend to work in China? Is it connected to these words? In every country throughout the world, no one knows that the Lord Jesus has returned and descended to China in the last days. A western prophet said, “The Savior shall come to China,” and foretold that, “The hope of mankind is in the East.” The “East” refers to China. God’s work in China will bring the hope of salvation for mankind. She also prophesied that there shall emerge in China a new religion, one akin to Christianity and perfectly-suited to mankind. This “new religion” is all the words expressed by the God incarnate in whom we believe, words which, in the next era, all mankind shall eat and drink. And so, in the 21st century, China is the center of the world; that is, the words of Almighty God shall appear in the East, and shall shine upon the West, and ultimately, the whole of the universe shall be illuminated. Today, testimony to The Word Appears in the Flesh has only just begun; in the future, all of mankind shall come to the light, and all shall eat and drink these words. In the new era, people shall begin to move forward under the leadership of these words. Naturally, God will also speak new words, for during the Age of Millennial Kingdom, God uses words to guide mankind. And so today, God first makes us complete, this group of people, and after we are made complete, during the next age—the Age of Millennial Kingdom—we begin to lead God’s chosen ones in every land, formally serving God. Why did God descend in China? China is the land where the great red dragon lies coiled. How to explain “the land where the great red dragon lies coiled”? Does “the land where the great red dragon lies coiled” refer to the land where Satan resides? It does. Thus, this land is the hub where Satan and various evil spirits assemble; China is their center, their lair. In China, there have been ceaseless battles and unending butchery for over three thousand years. Is this not the history of China? Why has there been this constant strife and killing throughout? Because China is the land where Satan dwells, it is the land where the great red dragon lies coiled, it is where evil demons assume fleshly form to foment disarray and spread pandemonium. These demons become flesh in every epoch, and when they do, they incite war. A look at China’s history shows that this truly is the land where the great red dragon lies coiled, it is the land where Satan resides. And so, there is nothing exaggerated about saying that today, the great red dragon is the world’s axis of evil. It is most terrible of all in its opposition to God, there is not the slightest righteousness to its actions, it puts everything else aside to oppose God, regardless of national security, heedless of whether people live or die, devoting all its strength to standing against God—is it not the devil? Is this not the embodiment of Satan? Thus, China shall become the first target of God’s destruction, and such destruction shall be well-deserved! Thus is seen God’s righteousness.
Let us move on to the next passage of God’s words. “When all is in order, that is the day that I will return to Zion, and this day will be commemorated by all peoples. When I return to Zion, all things on earth will fall silent and all things on earth will be at peace. When I have returned to Zion, all will resume their original appearance. At that time, I will commence My work in Zion, I will punish the wicked and reward the good, I will bring into force My righteousness and I will carry out My judgment. I will use My words to accomplish everything and make everyone and everything experience My hand that chastises” (Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning). At that time, all manner of catastrophe will occur, disaster will befall all the countries of the world, and each of them will be punished. All the various filthy demons and evil spirits that have passed judgment on God’s work and opposed God will be punished by death. Look at how those in the religious community who pass judgment on God’s work, the demons and pro-communists of the great red dragon, and those who vilify God’s work will ultimately all be punished by death. They will die badly, they will all be struck dead by God’s imprecations, never to rise again! They will get what they deserve. During the Age of Grace God said: “That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment.” No one pays any heed when you talk of the price per kilo of vegetables, or pork—yet when you pass judgment on the true God, you must give account of every word, the spiritual realm hears it all, and makes a note of it all for you. Thus God said: “I will wipe clean the air of all lands and eradicate all trace of the demons on earth.” These words say that God will “eradicate all trace of the demons on earth”; today, are those who oppose God not demons? They are all demons. All who pass judgment on God’s work of the last days in videos online are demons, and in the end they shall all be eliminated without trace—you see this, yes? Today, I have read God’s words to you, I have presented you with these words spoken by God, and next you will see how these words are accomplished, how these demons die, how they are tortured to death—and seeing this, you will know. All who have eyes will behold this with their own eyes, and at that time, you will praise God’s righteousness. There are several methods by which all those who are evil are annihilated during the last days. Some are eradicated by various natural disasters, which is straightforward. Most people also imagine the other methods to be so simple, too—but in fact they are not, destroying these demons isn’t so simple. Remember this. Ordinary unbelievers perish with the advent of disaster, but it’s not so straightforward with demons: They must be punished, and their punishment must be severe. We won’t go into the methods by which demons are punished. Suffice to say, at that time many angels and beings from the spiritual realm shall descend among man to act, and their actions shall be formidable. Thus, during the great devastation of the last days, all manner of strange things shall occur. Right now, there are some things that cannot be spoken of, it’s not possible to state them clearly, lucidly—but in any case, they’re not that simple. There is inner meaning to the words that those people will be eradicated without trace; you’ll just have to wait and observe the facts. In the last days, Satan shall be defeated, all of Satan’s acts shall be eradicated, all that is of Satan shall be dispelled, and at that time God’s inherent disposition—His majesty and wrath—shall be revealed. This will be different from the time of Noah, when floods destroyed the world. Destroying the world with floods is straightforward: It rains for many nights and days, the water accumulates, building up to the height of a mountain, and it drowns all living things—this is simple. In the time of the desolation of the last days, the destruction is wrought by fire, which is much more brutal. Such scenes were spoken of in the book of Revelation, when people called on the mountains to fall on them. Why must it fall on them? Because they could not stand to look upon God’s wrath, it was so terrible! When I watched the two towers collapse in Manhattan, many Americans were so terrified by the sight of it that they ran away; their voices high-pitched, they sobbed and said: It’s so terrible! It’s horrible! They felt it horrible when those great towers fell down, but during the last days, when God destroys the demons, it will be a hundred times worse! Do you understand?
Finally, let us read another passage of God’s words. “The kingdom is expanding in humanity’s midst, it is forming in humanity’s midst, it is standing up in humanity’s midst; there is no force that can destroy My kingdom. Of My people who are in the kingdom of today, which of you is not a human being among human beings? Which of you lies outside the human condition? When My new starting point is announced to the multitude, how will humanity react? You have seen with your own eyes the state of mankind; surely you do not still harbor hopes of enduring forever in this world? I am now walking abroad in the midst of My people, I live in the midst of My people. Today, those who bear genuine love toward Me, people like these are blessed; blessed are those who submit to Me, they will surely stay in My kingdom; blessed are those who know Me, they will surely wield power in My kingdom; blessed are those who seek after Me, they will surely escape from Satan’s bonds and enjoy blessing in Me; blessed are those who are able to forsake themselves, they will surely enter into My possession, and inherit My kingdom’s bounty. Those who run around for My sake I will commemorate, those who go to expense for My sake I will joyfully embrace, those who make offering to Me I will give enjoyments. Those who find enjoyment in My words I will bless; they will surely be the pillars that hold up the ridgepole in My kingdom, they will surely have matchless bounty in My house, and no one can compare with them. Have you ever accepted the blessings that you were given? Have you ever sought the promises that you were made? You will surely, under the guidance of My light, break through the stranglehold of the forces of darkness. You will surely not, in the midst of darkness, lose the light guiding you. You will surely be the master of all creation. You will surely be an overcomer before Satan. You will surely, at the downfall of the kingdom of the great red dragon, stand up amid the myriad throngs to bear witness to My victory. You will surely be resolute and unwavering in the land of Sinim. Through the sufferings you endure, you will inherit the blessing that comes from Me, and will surely irradiate within the entire universe with My glory” (“The Nineteenth Utterance” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh). This is God’s promise, and so too is it His blessing, and when they pursue the truth, God’s chosen ones ought to do so based on God’s promise; you should pursue being the kind of person that God blesses. Look—in these words, who are most blessed? “Those who bear genuine love toward Me, people like these are blessed; blessed are those who submit to Me.” They are sure to be blessed, they will be saved. “Surely stay in My kingdom”—they will surely enter the kingdom. After that it is also said that, “blessed are those who know Me, they will surely wield power in My kingdom”—are these people who know God more blessed than those who love and obey God? “Blessed are those who seek after Me, they will surely escape from Satan’s bonds and enjoy blessing in Me”—those who pursue God shall be gained by God and turn to God, and such people will thus be blessed. “Blessed are those who are able to forsake themselves, they will surely enter into My possession, and inherit My kingdom’s bounty.” What’s more, following this it is also said: “Those who find enjoyment in My words I will bless; they will surely be the pillars that hold up the ridgepole in My kingdom.” Those who enjoy God’s words shall be greatly blessed: “they will surely be the pillars that hold up the ridgepole in My kingdom, they will surely have matchless bounty in My house, and no one can compare with them.” Those who know God shall be blessed, and those who enjoy God’s words shall receive the greatest blessings of all. Of these blessings, who are blessed most? Those who enjoy God’s words and know God, who have been made perfect by God; this is the greatest blessing of all. Thus, most blessed are those who pursue the truth and the knowledge of God—you’re clear about this, yes? Some people are content to sacrifice everything to expend themselves for God; some are content with performing their duty properly and effectively; some are content to not betray God and stand firm in their testimony; and some are content to understand a little of the truth and not commit evil and be eliminated. Are such forms of pursuit more blessed? If people do not pursue the knowledge of God, then their blessings fall a little short. Those who pursue the knowledge of God and focus on enjoying the words of God gain the most. In the house of God, they receive unparalleled riches, no one can compare to them, they are the pillars of the house of God, and wield the power of kings in the house of God. Nothing is of greater worth than pursuing the knowledge of God and being able to enjoy the words of God. Only with the truth can you prevail over Satan, only with the truth can you bear glorious testimony—it is inevitable.
July 3, 2014