56. Why do people always use the Bible to define God? Why is it wrong if one constrains God within the Bible?
The Answer from God’s Word:
This is because the Bible followed several thousand years of human history and people all treat it like God to the point that people in the last days replace God with the Bible. This is something that God really hates. So in His spare time, He had to clarify the inside story and the origin of the Bible. Otherwise, the Bible would still be able to replace God’s place in people’s hearts and they could condemn and measure God’s actions based on the words in the Bible. God’s explanation of the essence, the construction, and the flaws of the Bible is absolutely not denying the existence of it, nor is it condemning the Bible. Rather, it is to provide a reasonable and appropriate explanation, to restore the original image of the Bible, and to correct the misunderstandings people have toward the Bible so that all people have a correct view of it, no longer worship it, and are no longer lost—they erroneously take their blind faith in the Bible as believing in and worshiping God, and they even do not dare to face its true background and its weak points. After everyone has a pure understanding of the Bible they will be able to cast it aside without hesitation and bravely accept God’s new words. … The truth that God wants to tell people here is that no theory or fact can replace God’s present work or words, and there is nothing that can replace God’s position. If people are not able to cast off the net of the Bible, they will never be able to come in front of God. If they want to come in front of God, they must first cleanse their hearts of anything that could replace Him—this way God will be satisfied. Although God only explains the Bible here, do not forget that there are many other erroneous things that people truly worship aside from the Bible, and the only things that they do not worship are those that truly come from God. God just uses the Bible as an example to remind everyone not to take the wrong path and not to go to extremes again and fall into confusion when they believe in God and accept His words.
from Introduction to Part Two of The Word Appears in the Flesh
For many years, people’s traditional means of belief (that of Christianity, one of the world’s three major religions) has been to read the Bible; departure from the Bible is not the belief in the Lord, departure from the Bible is an evil cult, and heresy, and even when people read other books, the foundation of these books must be the explanation of the Bible. Which is to say, if you say you believe in the Lord, then you must read the Bible, you must eat and drink the Bible, and outside the Bible you must not worship any book that does not involve the Bible. If you do, then you are betraying God. From the time when there was the Bible, people’s belief in the Lord has been the belief in the Bible. Instead of saying people believe in the Lord, it is better to say they believe in the Bible; rather than saying they have begun reading the Bible, it is better to say they have begun believing in the Bible; and rather than saying they have returned before the Lord, it would be better to say they have returned before the Bible. In this way, people worship the Bible as if it were God, as if it were their lifeblood and losing it would be the same as losing their life. People see the Bible as being as high as God, and there are even those who see it as higher than God. If people are without the work of the Holy Spirit, if they cannot feel God, they can carry on living—but as soon as they lose the Bible, or lose the famous chapters and sayings from the Bible, then it is as if they have lost their life. And so, as soon as people believe in the Lord they begin reading the Bible, and memorizing the Bible, and the more of the Bible they are able to memorize, the more this proves that they love the Lord and are of great faith. Those who have read the Bible and can speak of it to others are all good brothers and sisters. For all these years, people’s faith and loyalty to the Lord has been measured according to the extent of their understanding of the Bible. Most people simply don’t understand why they should believe in God, nor how to believe in God, and do nothing but search blindly for clues to decipher the chapters of the Bible. They have never pursued the direction of the work of the Holy Spirit; all along, they have done nothing but desperately study and investigate the Bible, and no one has ever found newer work of the Holy Spirit outside of the Bible, no one has ever departed from the Bible, nor have they ever dared to depart from the Bible. People have studied the Bible for all these years, they have come up with so many explanations, and put in so much work; they also have many differences of opinion about the Bible, which they debate endlessly, such that over two thousand different denominations have been formed today. They all want to find some special explanations, or more profound mysteries in the Bible, they want to explore it, and to find in it the background to Jehovah’s work in Israel, or the background to Jesus’ work in Judea, or more mysteries that no one else knows. People’s approach to the Bible is one of obsession and faith, and no one can be completely clear about the inside story or substance of the Bible. Thus, the result is that today, people still have an indescribable sense of magicalness when it comes to the Bible; even more than that, they are obsessed with it, and have faith in it. Today, everyone wants to find the prophecies of the work of the last days in the Bible, they want to discover what work God does during the last days, and what signs there are for the last days. In this way, their worship of the Bible becomes more fervent, and the closer it gets to the last days, the more credence they give to the prophecies of the Bible, particularly those about the last days. With such blind belief in the Bible, with such trust in the Bible, they have no desire to seek the work of the Holy Spirit. In people’s conceptions, they think that only the Bible can bring the work of the Holy Spirit; only in the Bible can they find the footsteps of God; only in the Bible are hidden the mysteries of God’s work; only the Bible—not other books or people—can clarify everything of God and the entirety of His work; the Bible can bring the work of heaven to earth; and the Bible can both begin and conclude the ages. With these conceptions, people have no inclination to search for the work of the Holy Spirit. So, regardless of how much of a help the Bible was to people in the past, it has become an obstacle to God’s latest work.
from “Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Bible is a historical book, and if you had eaten and drunk the Old Testament during the Age of Grace—if you had put into practice what was required in the time of the Old Testament during the Age of Grace—Jesus would have rejected you, and condemned you; if you had applied the Old Testament to the work of Jesus, you would have been a Pharisee. If, today, you put the Old and New Testament together to eat and drink, and practice, then the God of today will condemn you; you will have fallen behind the Holy Spirit’s work of today! If you eat the Old Testament, and eat the New Testament, then you are outside the stream of the Holy Spirit! 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. He didn’t come to explain the Old Testament or uphold its work. His work was not in order to allow the Age of Law to continue developing, for His work gave no consideration to whether it had the Bible as its base; Jesus simply came to do the work that He ought to do. Thus, He did not explain the prophecies of the Old Testament, nor did He work according to the words of the Old Testament Age of Law. He ignored what the Old Testament said, He cared not whether it agreed with His work or not, and cared not what others knew of His work, or how they condemned it. He simply kept doing the work that He ought to do, even though many people used the foretellings of the prophets of the Old Testament to condemn Him. To people, it appeared as if His work had no basis, and there was much of it that was at odds with the records of the Old Testament. Is this not folly? 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