57. What exactly is the relationship between God’s work and the Bible? Did God’s work come first or did the Bible come first?
The Answer from God’s Word:
It is nothing more than a historical record of God’s work, and a testament to the previous two stages of God’s work, and offers you no understanding of the aims of God’s work. Everyone who has read the Bible knows that it documents the two stages of God’s work during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. The Old Testament chronicles the history of Israel and Jehovah’s work from the time of creation until the end of the Age of Law. The New Testament records Jesus’ work on earth, which is in the Four Gospels, as well as the work of Paul; are they not historical records? … By reading the Bible, at most you’ll understand a little of the history of Israel, you’ll learn about the lives of Abraham, David, and Moses, you’ll find out about how they revered Jehovah, how Jehovah burned those who opposed Him, and how He spoke to the people of that age. You’ll only find out about God’s work in the past. The records of the Bible relate to how the early people of Israel revered God and lived under the guidance of Jehovah. Because the Israelites were God’s chosen people, in the Old Testament you can see all the people of Israel’s loyalty to Jehovah, how all those who obeyed Jehovah were cared for and blessed by Him, you can learn that when God worked in Israel He was full of mercy and love, as well as possessed of consuming flames, and that all the Israelites, from the lowly to the mighty, revered Jehovah, and so the whole country was blessed by God. Such is the history of Israel recorded in the Old Testament.
from “Concerning the Bible (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The work of creation happened before there was mankind, but the Book of Genesis only came after there was mankind; it was a book written by Moses during the Age of Law. It’s like the things that happen among you today: After they happen, you write them down to show to people in the future, and for the people of the future, what you recorded are things that happened in times past—they are nothing more than history. The things recorded in the Old Testament are Jehovah’s work in Israel, and that which is recorded in the New Testament is the work of Jesus during the Age of Grace; they document the work done by God in two different ages. The Old Testament documents the work of God during the Age of Law, and thus the Old Testament is a historical book, while the New Testament is the product of the work of the Age of Grace. When the new work began, these books became out of date—and thus, the New Testament is also a historical book. Of course, the New Testament is not as systematic as the Old Testament, nor does it record as many things. All of the many words spoken by Jehovah of the Old Testament are recorded in the Bible, whereas only some of the words of Jesus are recorded in the Four Gospels. Of course, Jesus also did a lot of work, but it wasn’t recorded in detail. That less is recorded in the New Testament is because of how much work Jesus did; the amount of His work during three-and-a-half years on earth and that of the apostles was far less than the work of Jehovah. And thus, there are less books in the New Testament than the Old Testament.
… During the time of Jesus, Jesus led the Jews and all those who followed Him according to the Holy Spirit’s work in Him at the time. He didn’t take the Bible as the basis of what He did, but spoke according to His work; He paid no heed to what the Bible said, nor did He search in the Bible for a path to lead His followers. Right from when He began to work, He spread the way of repentance—a word of which there was absolutely no mention in the prophecies of the Old Testament. Not only did He not act according to the Bible, but He also led a new path, and did new work. Never did He refer to the Bible when He preached. During the Age of Law, no one had ever been able to perform His miracles of healing the sick and casting out demons. His work, His teachings, His authority—no one had done this during the Age of Law. Jesus simply did His newer work, and even though many people condemned Him using the Bible—and even used the Old Testament to crucify Him—His work surpassed the Old Testament; if this were not so, why did people nail Him to the cross? Was it not because it said nothing in the Old Testament of His teaching, and His ability to heal the sick and cast out demons? His work was in order to lead a new path, it was not to deliberately pick a fight against the Bible, or to deliberately dispense with the Old Testament. He simply came to perform His ministry, to bring the new work to those who yearned for and sought Him. … Does doctrine need to be applied to the work of God? And must it be according to the foretellings of prophets? After all, which is greater: God or the Bible? Why must God’s work be according to the Bible? Could it be that God has no right to exceed the Bible? Can God not depart from the Bible and do other work? Why did Jesus and His disciples not keep the Sabbath? If He were to keep the Sabbath and practice according to the commandments of the Old Testament, why did Jesus not keep the Sabbath after He came, but instead washed feet, covered head, broke bread, and drank wine? Isn’t this all absent from the commandments of the Old Testament? If Jesus honored the Old Testament, why did He defy these doctrines? You should know which came first, God or the Bible! Being the Lord of the Sabbath, could He not also be the Lord of the Bible?
from “Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Before, the people of Israel only read the Old Testament. That is to say, in the Age of Grace people read the Old Testament. The New Testament only appeared during the Age of Grace. The New Testament didn’t exist when Jesus worked; the people after He was resurrected and ascended to heaven recorded His work. Only then were there the Four Gospels, in addition to which were also the epistles of Paul and Peter, as well as the Book of Revelation. Only over three hundred years after Jesus ascended to heaven, when subsequent generations collated their records, was there the New Testament. Only after this work had been completed was there the New Testament; it had not existed previously. God had done all that work, the apostle Paul had done all that work, and afterward the epistles of Paul and Peter combined, and the greatest vision recorded by John in the island of Patmos was put the last, for it prophesied the work of the last days. These were all the arrangements of later generations…. Thus, if you worship the Bible as God you are extremely ignorant and stupid! Why do you not seek the work of the God of today? Only the work of God can save man. The Bible cannot save man, it has not changed at all for several thousands of years, and if you worship the Bible you will never gain the work of the Holy Spirit.
from “Concerning the Bible (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh