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The hardship suffered by Job was not the work of messengers sent by God, nor was it caused by God’s own hand. Instead, it was personally caused by Satan, the enemy of God.
Job’s Love of the Way of God Surpasses All Else | Amid Extreme Suffering, Job Truly Realizes God’s Care for Mankind | Another Manifestation of Job’s Fear of God and Shunning of Evil Is His Extolling of God’s Name in All Things
After Noah accepted God’s instructions and built the ark and lived through the days God used a flood to destroy the world, his whole family of eight survived.
God looked after their living and also took care of their basic necessities. Here, God appears as a parent of Adam and Eve.
God gave man intelligence and man used his God-given intelligence to do things. If what man does is positive in the eyes of God, then it is affirmed, acknowledged, and accepted by God
This is God’s first command, and it is also the first time God worries about man. That is to say, God has had a responsibility toward man since the moment He created him.
During the work of His abiding provision and support of man, God tells the entirety of His will and requirements to man, and shows His deeds, disposition, and what He has and is to man. The objective is to equip man with stature, and to allow man to gain various truths from God while following Him—truths that are the weapons given to man by God with which to fight Satan. Thus equipped, man must face God’s tests. God has many means and avenues for testing man, but every one of them requires the “cooperation” of God’s enemy: Satan. Which is to say, having given man the weapons with which to do battle with Satan, God hands man over to Satan and allows Satan to “test” man’s stature. If man can break out from Satan’s battle formations, if he can escape Satan’s encirclement and still live, then man will have passed the test. But if man fails to leave Satan’s battle formations, and submits to Satan, then he will not have passed the test. Whatever aspect of man God examines, the criteria for His examination are whether or not man stands firm in his testimony when attacked by Satan, and whether or not he has forsaken God and surrendered and submitted to Satan while ensnared by Satan. It may be said that whether or not man can be saved depends on whether he can overcome and defeat Satan, and whether or not he can gain freedom depends on whether he is able to lift up, on his own, the weapons given to him by God to overcome Satan’s bondage, making Satan completely abandon hope and leave him alone. If Satan abandons hope and relinquishes someone, this means that Satan will never again try to take this person from God, will never again accuse and interfere with this person, will never again wantonly torture or attack them; only someone such as this will truly have been gained by God. This is the entire process by which God gains people. » Further reading about Job:
(Mat 22:37-39) Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself. Below, let’s talk about loving the Lord and loving your neighbor as yourself. Is this something that’s directly expressed in divinity? Clearly not! These were all things that the Son of man said in humanity; only people would say something like “Love your neighbor as yourself. Loving others is the same as cherishing your own life,” and only people would speak in this manner. God has never spoken that way. At the very least, God does not have this type of language in His divinity because He doesn’t need this kind of tenet, “Love your neighbor as yourself” to regulate His love for mankind, because God’s love for mankind is a natural revealing of what He has and is. When have you ever heard that God said anything like “I love mankind as I love Myself”? Because love is in God’s essence, and in what He has and is. God’s love for mankind and the way He treats people and His attitude are a natural expression and revealing of His disposition. He does not need to deliberately do this a certain way, or deliberately follow a certain method or a moral code to achieve loving His neighbor as Himself—He already possesses this type of essence. What do you see in this? When God worked in humanity, many of His methods, words, and truths were all expressed in a human way. But at the same time God’s disposition, what He has and is, and His will were expressed for people to know and understand them. What they knew and understood was exactly His essence and what He has and is, which represent the inherent identity and status of God Himself. That is to say, the Son of man in the flesh expressed the inherent disposition and essence of God Himself to the greatest extent possible and as accurately as possible. Not only was the Son of man’s humanity not a hindrance or a barrier to man’s communication and interaction with God in heaven, but it was actually the only channel and the only bridge for mankind to connect to the Lord of creation. At this point, don’t you feel that there are many similarities between the nature and methods of the work done by the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace and the current stage of work? This current stage of work also uses a lot of human language to express God’s disposition, and it uses a lot of language and methods from mankind’s daily life and human knowledge to express God’s own will. Once God becomes flesh, no matter if He is speaking from a human perspective or a divine perspective, lots of His language and methods of expression are all through the medium of human language and methods. That is, when God becomes flesh, it is the best opportunity for you to see God’s omnipotence and His wisdom, and to know every real aspect of God. When God became flesh, while He was growing up, He came to understand, learn, and grasp some of mankind’s knowledge, common sense, language, and methods of expression in humanity. God incarnate possessed these things that came from the humans that He had created. They became tools of God in the flesh for expressing His disposition and His divinity, and allowed Him to make His work more pertinent, more authentic, and more accurate when He was working amidst mankind, from a human perspective and using human language. It made it more accessible and more easily understood for people, thus achieving the results that God wanted. Isn’t it more practical for God to work in the flesh this way? Isn’t it God’s wisdom? When God became flesh, when God’s flesh was able to take on the work that He wanted to carry out, it is when He would practically express His disposition and His work, and this was also the time that He could officially begin His ministry as the Son of man. This meant that there was no longer a gulf between God and man, that God would soon cease His work of communicating through messengers, and that God Himself could personally express all the words and work in the flesh that He wanted to. It also meant that the people God saves were closer to Him, and that His management work had entered new territory, and that all of mankind was about to be faced with a new era.
(Mat 4:1-4) Then was Jesus led up of the spirit into the wilderness to be tempted of the devil. And when he had fasted forty days and forty nights, he was afterward an hungered. And when the tempter came to him, he said, If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread. But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. These are the words with which the devil first tried to tempt the Lord Jesus. What is the content of what the devil said? Go ahead and read it. (“If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread.”) The devil said these words, which were quite simple, but is there a problem with the essential content of these words? (Yes.) What is the problem? It said, “If you be the Son of God,” so in its heart, did it know that the Lord Jesus was the Son of God? Did it know that He was Christ? (Yes.) Then why did it say “If you be”? (It was trying to tempt God.) Of course, it was trying to tempt God, but what was its purpose in doing so? It said, “If you be the Son of God.” In its heart it knew Jesus Christ was the Son of God, this was very clear in its heart, but despite this, did it submit to Him or did it worship Him? (No.) What did it want to do? It wanted to do this and say these words to make the Lord Jesus angry and then entice Him to take the bait, and to fool the Lord Jesus into doing things according to its way of thinking and rising to its hook. Isn’t this what was meant? In its heart it clearly knew this was the Lord Jesus Christ, but it still said this anyway. Isn’t this Satan’s nature? What is Satan’s nature? (To be sly, evil, and have no reverence for God.) It has no reverence for God. What is the negative thing it was doing here? Didn’t it want to attack God? It wanted to use this method to attack God, it said: “If you be the Son of God, command that these stones be made bread”; isn’t this Satan’s evil intention? (Yes.) What was it really trying to do? Its purpose is very clear: It was trying to use this method to refute the position and identity of the Lord Jesus Christ. It said, “If You are the Son of God, turn these stones into bread. If You don’t, then You aren’t the Son of God and You just don’t do this work.” Is this what was meant here? It wanted to use this method to attack God, it wanted to dismantle and destroy God’s work; this is the malevolence and cunning of Satan. Its malevolence is a natural expression of its nature. Even though it knew the Lord Jesus Christ was the Son of God, the very incarnation of God Himself, it could not help itself but do this kind of thing, tailing God from behind and continuing to attack Him and take great pains to disturb and destroy God’s work and make an enemy of God. Now, let us analyze this phrase that Satan used: “command that these stones be made bread.” To turn stones into bread—does this mean anything? It has no meaning. If there is food, why not eat it? Why is it necessary to turn stones into food? Is there meaning here? (No.) Although He was fasting at the time, surely the Lord Jesus had food to eat? Did He have food? (He did.) So, here, we see the preposterousness of Satan’s use of this phrase. For all its treachery and malice, we see its preposterousness and absurdity, right? Satan does a number of things. You see its malicious nature and you see it destroy God’s work. It’s hateful and exasperating. But, on the other hand, do you find a childish, absurd nature behind its words and actions? (Yes.) This is a revelation about Satan’s nature; it has this kind of nature and it will do this kind of thing. To men, the phrase is preposterous and laughable. But such words can indeed be uttered by Satan. Can we say that it is ignorant? Absurd? Satan’s evil is everywhere and is constantly being revealed. And how does the Lord Jesus answer it? (“Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.”) Do these words have any power? (They do.) Why do we say that they have power? (They are the truth.) Right. These words are the truth. Now, does man live by bread alone? The Lord Jesus fasted for 40 days and nights. Did He starve to death? (No.) He didn’t starve to death, so Satan approached Him, prompting Him to turn the stones into food by saying things of this sort: “If You turn the stones into food, won’t You then have things to eat? Won’t You then not have to fast, not have to go hungry?” But the Lord Jesus said, “Man shall not live by bread alone,” which means that, although man lives in a physical body, what gives him life, what allows his physical body to live and breathe, is not food, but all the words uttered by the mouth of God. On the one hand, man regards these words as truth. The words give him faith, make him feel that he can depend on God, that God is truth. On the other hand, is there a practical aspect to these words? (There is.) Why? Because the Lord Jesus has fasted for 40 days and nights and He is still standing there, still alive. Is this an illustration? The point here is that He has not eaten anything, any food for 40 days and nights. He…
The first is control and coercion. That is, Satan will do everything possible to take control of your heart. What does “coercion” mean? (It means compulsion.) It threatens you and forces you to heed it, making you think of the consequences if you do not obey. You are afraid and dare not defy it, so you then have no choice but to be under its influence. The second is cheating and tricking. What does “cheating and tricking” entail? Satan makes up some stories and lies, tricking you into believing them. It never tells you that man was created by God, but neither does it say directly that you were not made by God. It does not use the word “God” at all, but instead uses something else as a substitute, using this thing to deceive you so that you basically have no idea of the existence of God, and it never allows you to know just who God really is. This tricking of course includes many aspects, not just this one. The third is forceful indoctrination. Is there forceful indoctrination? (Yes.) Forceful indoctrination of what? Is forceful indoctrination done by man’s own choice? Is it done with man’s consent? (No.) It does not matter if you do not consent to it. In your unawareness it pours into you, instilling in you Satan’s thinking, its rules of life and its evil essence. In fact, all that Satan instills in you are lies, specious fallacies and are indeed heresies and fallacies that Satan uses to corrupt man. These satanic poisons are planted in people’s brains and in their minds, and this truly does brainwash people. Once someone has accepted these satanic poisons, they become neither man nor ghost, without one shred of humanity. The fourth is threats and inducements. That is, Satan employs various means so that you accept it, follow it, work in its service; it tries to achieve its goals by any means necessary. It sometimes bestows small favors on you but still lures you into committing sin. If you do not follow it, it will make you suffer and punish you and it will use various ways to attack and ensnare you. The fifth is deception and paralysis. “Deception and paralysis” is that Satan makes up some sweet-sounding statements and ideas that are in concert with people’s conceptions to make it seem as though it is taking people’s flesh into consideration or thinking about their lives and futures, when actually it is just to fool you. It then paralyzes you so that you do not know what is right and what is wrong, so that you unknowingly follow its road and thereby come under its control. The sixth is the destruction of body and mind. Satan destroys man’s what? (Their mind, their whole being.) Satan destroys your mind, making you powerless to resist, meaning that very slowly your heart turns toward Satan in spite of yourself. It instills these things in you every day, every day using these ideas and cultures to influence and nurture you, very slowly ruining your will, making you not want to be a good person any longer, making you no longer wish to persevere in standing up for what you call righteousness. Unknowingly, you no longer have the willpower to swim upstream against the tide, but instead flow down along with it. “Destruction” means Satan torments people so much that they become like neither man nor ghost, then it seizes the opportunity to devour them. Each one of these means that Satan employs to corrupt man can render man powerless to resist; any one of them can be fatal for people and leave them with no room to resist at all. In other words, anything Satan does and any means it employs can cause you to degenerate, can bring you under Satan’s control and can mire you in a quagmire of evil so that you cannot escape. These are the means Satan employs to corrupt man and they are extremely cruel, malicious, insidious and despicable. Everyone has personally tasted the bitterness of these means, so man’s heart can then hate Satan bitterly and resolve to rebel against this evil demon. We can say Satan is evil, but in order to confirm it we must still look at what the consequences of Satan’s corruption of man are and which dispositions and essences it brings to man. You all know some of this, so speak about it. Once Satan has corrupted man, which satanic dispositions do they express and reveal? (Arrogant and haughty, selfish and despicable, crooked and deceitful, insidious and malicious, and with no humanity.) On the whole, we can say they have no humanity, right? Let other brothers and sisters speak. (Arrogant, deceitful, malicious, selfish, greedy, superficial, false.) Don’t say what is revealed by some aspect’s disposition; you must say what the essence of that disposition is. You understand? (Once man has been corrupted by Satan, they are most typically arrogant and self-righteous, self-important and self-conceited, greedy and selfish. These are the most serious.) (After man has been corrupted by Satan, they act unscrupulously both materially and spiritually. They then become hostile to God, resist God, disobey God, and they lose the conscience and reason that man should have.) What you have said is all basically the same with only minor differences, with some of you concerned more with minor details. To summarize, “arrogant” has been the word most often mentioned—arrogant, deceitful, malicious and selfish. But you have all overlooked the same thing. People with no conscience, who have lost their reason and who have no humanity—there is yet something just as important that none of you have said. So what is that? (Betraying.) Correct! No one had said “Betraying.” The ultimate consequence of these dispositions that exist in any man once they have been corrupted by Satan is their betrayal of God and their no longer recognizing Him. No matter what God says to man or what work He does on them,…
The issue of Satan taking advantage of social trends to corrupt man also needs specific explanation. These social trends include many things. Some people say: “Are they about the clothes we wear? Are they about the latest fashions, cosmetics, hairdressing and gourmet food?” Are they about these things? These are a part of trends, but we do not wish to talk about these here. We only wish to talk about the ideas that social trends bring about for people, the way they cause people to conduct themselves in the world, the life goals and outlook that they bring about in people. These are very important; they can control and influence man’s state of mind. One after another, all these trends carry an evil influence that continually degenerates man, that lowers their morals and their quality of character more and more, to the extent that we can even say the majority of people now have no integrity, no humanity, neither do they have any conscience, much less any reason. So what are these trends? You cannot see these trends with the naked eye. When the wind of a trend blows through, perhaps only a small number of people will become the trendsetters. They start off doing this kind of thing, accepting this kind of idea or this kind of perspective. The majority of people, however, in the midst of their unawareness, will still be continually infected, assimilated and attracted by this kind of trend, until they all unknowingly and involuntarily accept it, and are all submerged in and controlled by it. For man who is not of sound body and mind, who never knows what is truth, who cannot tell the difference between positive and negative things, these kinds of trends one after another make them all willingly accept these trends, the life view, the life philosophies and values that come from Satan. They accept what Satan tells them on how to approach life and the way to live that Satan “bestows” on them. They have not the strength, neither do they have the ability, much less the awareness to resist. So what on earth are these trends? I have picked a simple example that you may come to understand. For example, people in the past ran their business in a way that cheated neither old nor young, and which sold items at the same price regardless of who was buying. Is a hint of conscience and humanity not conveyed here? When people used this kind of credo when conducting their business, can we say that they still had some conscience, some humanity at that time? (Yes.) But with man’s demand for ever increasing amounts of money, people unknowingly came to love money, love gain and love enjoyment more and more. So did people come to view money as more important? When people view money as more important, they unknowingly neglect their reputation, their renown, prestige, and integrity; they neglect all these things, don’t they? When you engage in business, you see someone else taking different approaches and using various means to swindle people and get rich. Although the money earned is ill-gotten gains, they get richer and richer. Their whole family engages in the same business as you, but they enjoy life more than you do, and you feel bad, saying: “Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I earn as much as they do? I must think of a way to get more money, to make my business prosper.” You then ponder this through. According to the usual method of making money, cheating neither old nor young and selling things at the same price for all, the money you make is in good conscience, but it cannot get you rich quick. However, under the urge to make a profit, your thinking undergoes a gradual transformation. During this transformation, your principles of conduct also begin to change. When you first cheat someone, when you first defraud someone, you have your reservations, saying “This is the last time I cheat someone and I will not do it again. I cannot cheat people. Cheating people will only earn retribution and bring disaster upon me! This is the last time I cheat someone and I will not do it again.” When you first deceive someone, your heart has some scruples; this is the function of man’s conscience—to have scruples and to reproach you, so that it feels unnatural when you cheat someone. But after you have successfully deceived someone you see that you now have more money than you did before, and you think this method can be very beneficial for you. Despite the dull ache in your heart, you still feel like congratulating yourself on your “success,” and you feel a little pleased with yourself. For the first time, you approve of your own behavior and approve of your own deception. Afterward, once man has been contaminated by this cheating, it is the same as someone who gets involved in gambling and then becomes a gambler. In unawareness, he approves of his cheating behavior and accepts it. In unawareness, he takes cheating to be a legitimate commercial behavior, and takes cheating to be the most useful means for his survival and his life; he thinks that by doing this he can get rich quick. At the beginning of this process people cannot accept this type of behavior, they look down on this behavior and this way of going about things, until they try it out and experiment with it in their own way, personally and firsthand, and then their hearts begin to gradually transform. So what is this transformation? It is an approval and admission of this trend, an admission and approval of this type of idea instilled in you by the social trend. In unawareness, you feel that if you do not cheat in business then you will suffer losses, that if you do not cheat then you will have lost something. Unknowingly, this cheating becomes your very soul, your…
The issue of how Satan uses traditional culture to corrupt man also needs explanation. There are many similarities between traditional culture and superstition, only traditional culture has certain stories, allusions, and sources. Satan has fabricated and invented many folk stories or stories in history books, leaving people with deep impressions of traditional cultural or superstitious figures. Take China’s The Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea, Journey to the West, The Jade Emperor, Nezha Conquers the Dragon King, and Investiture of the Gods, for example. Have these not become deeply rooted in the minds of man? Even if some people do not know all the details, they still know the general stories, and it is this general content that sticks in your heart and sticks in your mind, and you cannot forget it. These are things Satan set up for man long ago, having disseminated at different times its various ideas and life philosophies. These things directly harm and erode people’s souls and put people under one spell after another. That is to say that once you have accepted these things that arise from traditional culture, stories or superstition, once these things are established in your mind, once they are stuck in your heart, it is just like a spell—you become enmeshed and influenced by these cultures, these ideas and traditional stories. They influence your life, your outlook on life and they also influence your judgment of things. Even more so they influence your pursuit for the true path of life: This is indeed a spell! You try but you cannot shake them off; you chop at them but you cannot chop them down; you beat at them but you cannot beat them down. Is this not so? (Yes.) Furthermore, after man is unknowingly put under this kind of spell, they unknowingly begin to worship Satan, fostering the image of Satan in their hearts. In other words, they set Satan up as their idol, an object for them to worship and look up to, even going so far as to treat it the same way they would God. Unknowingly, these things are in people’s hearts controlling their words and deeds. You unknowingly acknowledge the existence of these stories, making of them real figures, turning them into real existing objects. In unawareness, you subconsciously receive these ideas and the existence of these things. You also subconsciously receive devils, Satan and idols into your own home and into your own heart—this is indeed a spell! Do you feel the same? (Yes.) Are there any among you who have burned incense and worshiped Buddha? (Yes.) So what was the purpose of burning incense and worshiping Buddha? (Praying for peace.) Is it absurd to pray to Satan for peace? Does Satan bring peace? (No.) Thinking about it now, were you ignorant back then? (Yes.) That kind of manner is absurd, ignorant and naive, isn’t it? Satan cannot give you peace. Why? Satan only ponders how to corrupt you and cannot give you peace; it can only give you a temporary respite. But you must take a vow and if you break your promise or break the vow you have made to it, then you will see how it torments you. In making you take a vow, it actually wants to control you, doesn’t it? When you prayed for peace, did you obtain peace? (No.) You did not obtain peace, but on the contrary it brought misfortune, unending disasters and a whole host of calamities—truly a boundless ocean of bitterness. Peace is not within Satan’s domain, and this is the truth. This is the consequence for mankind of feudal superstition and traditional culture. from God Himself, the Unique VI