How Peter Came to Know Jesus

How Peter Came to Know Jesus

During the time Peter spent with Jesus, he saw many lovable characteristics in Jesus, many aspects worthy of emulation, and many aspects which supplied him. Although Peter saw the being of God in Jesus in many ways, and saw many lovable qualities, he did not know Jesus at first. Peter began following Jesus when he was 20 years old, and he continued to follow Him for six years. During that time, he never came to know Jesus; Peter was willing to follow Jesus purely out of admiration for Him. When Jesus first called to him on the shores of the Sea of Galilee, He asked: “Simon Barjona, will you follow Me?” Peter said: “I must follow he who is sent by the heavenly Father. I must acknowledge he who is chosen by the Holy Spirit. I will follow You.” At the time, Peter had already heard of a man named Jesus—the greatest of the prophets and God’s beloved Son—and Peter had been constantly hoping to find Him and hoping for a chance to see Him (because that is how he was being led by the Holy Spirit). Although Peter had never seen Him and had only heard rumors about Him, gradually a yearning and adoration for Jesus grew in his heart, and he often yearned to one day look upon Jesus. And how did Jesus call upon Peter? He too had heard of a man called Peter, yet it was not the Holy Spirit who instructed Him: “Go to the Sea of Galilee, where there is one called Simon Barjona.” Jesus had heard someone say that there was one called Simon Barjona, and that people had heard his sermon, that he too preached the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, and that the people who heard him were all moved to tears. After hearing this, Jesus followed that person to the Sea of Galilee; when Peter accepted Jesus’ call, he followed Him. During his time following Jesus, Peter formed many opinions of Him and always judged Him from his own perspective. Although Peter had a certain degree of understanding of the Spirit, his understanding was somewhat unclear, which is why he said: “I must follow he who is sent by the heavenly Father. I must acknowledge he who is chosen by the Holy Spirit.” He did not understand the things Jesus did and lacked clarity about them. After following Him for some time, Peter grew interested in what He did and said, and in Jesus Himself. He came to feel that Jesus inspired both affection and respect; he liked to associate with Him and stay beside Him, and listening to Jesus’ words rendered him supply and aid. During the time he followed Jesus, Peter observed and took to heart everything about His life: His actions, words, movements, and expressions. He gained a deep understanding that Jesus was not like ordinary men. Although His human appearance was exceedingly normal, He was full of love, compassion, and tolerance for man. Everything He did or said was of great aid to others, and Peter saw and gained things he had never before seen nor possessed from Jesus. He saw that although Jesus had neither a grand stature nor any unusual humanity, He had a truly extraordinary and uncommon air about Him. Although Peter couldn’t fully explain it, he could see that Jesus acted differently from everyone else, for the things He did were very different from that of normal men. From his time in contact with Jesus, Peter also saw that His character was different from that of an ordinary man. He always acted steadily and never with haste, never exaggerated nor underplayed a subject, and He conducted His life in a way that revealed a character which was both normal and admirable. In conversation, Jesus spoke plainly and with grace, communicating always in a cheerful yet serene manner—and yet never did He lose His dignity while carrying out His work. Peter saw that Jesus was sometimes taciturn, while other times He spoke incessantly. Sometimes He was so happy that He appeared like a frisking and frolicking dove, and other times He was so sad that He did not talk at all, appearing laden with grief as though He were a worn and weary mother. At times He was filled with anger like a brave soldier charging off to kill an enemy or, on some occasions, He even resembled a roaring lion. Sometimes He laughed; other times He prayed and wept. No matter how Jesus acted, Peter grew to have boundless love and respect for Him. Jesus’ laughter filled him with happiness, His sorrow plunged him into grief, His anger frightened him, while His mercy, forgiveness, and the strict demands He made of people made him come to truly love Jesus and develop a true reverence and longing for Him. Of course, it was not until after Peter had lived alongside Jesus for a number of years that he gradually came to realize all of this. Peter was a particularly sensible man, born with natural intelligence, yet he did many foolish things when following Jesus. At the very start, he had some notions about Jesus. He asked: “People say You are a prophet, so when You were eight years old and started to understand things, did You know You were God? Did You know You were conceived by the Holy Spirit?” Jesus replied: “No, I didn’t. Don’t I seem just like a normal person to you? I am the same as anyone else. The person the Father sends is a normal person, not an extraordinary one. And, though the work I do represents My heavenly Father, My image, the person that I am, and this fleshly body cannot fully represent My heavenly Father—only one part of Him. Although I came from the Spirit, I am still a normal person, and My Father sent Me to this earth as a normal person, not an extraordinary one.” Only when Peter heard this did he…

Restoring the Proper Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination

Restoring the Proper Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination

Man understands a little of the work of today and the work of the future, but he does not understand the destination into which mankind will enter. As a creature, man should perform the duty of a creature: Man should follow God in whatever He does; you should proceed in whatever way I tell you to. You have no way of managing things for yourself, and you have no mastery over yourself; all must be left to the mercy of God, and everything is grasped within His hands. If the work of God provided man with an end, a wonderful destination, ahead of time, and if God used this to entice man and cause man to follow Him—if He did a deal with man—then this would not be conquest, nor would it be to work the life of man. Were God to use the end to control man and gain his heart, then in this He would not be perfecting man, nor would He be able to gain man, but instead would be using the destination to control him. Man cares about nothing more than the future end, the final destination, and whether or not there is something good to hope for. If man were given a beautiful hope during the work of conquest, and if, prior to the conquest of man, he were given a proper destination to pursue, then not only would the conquest of man not achieve its effect, but the effect of the work of conquest would also be influenced. That is to say, the work of conquest achieves its effect by taking away the fate and prospects of man and judging and chastising the rebellious disposition of man. It is not achieved by doing a deal with man, that is, by giving man blessings and grace, but by revealing man’s loyalty through stripping him of his “freedom” and eradicating his prospects. This is the substance of the work of conquest. If man were given a beautiful hope at the very beginning, and the work of chastisement and judgment were done after, then man would accept this chastisement and judgment on the basis that he had prospects, and in the end, the unconditional obedience and worship of the Creator by all His creatures would not be achieved; there would only be blind, ignorant obedience, or else man would make blind demands of God, and so it would be impossible to fully conquer man’s heart. Consequently, such work of conquest would be incapable of gaining man, nor, moreover, of bearing testimony to God. Such creatures would be unable to perform their duty, and would only strike bargains with God; this would not be conquest, but mercy and blessing. The biggest problem with man is that he thinks of nothing but his fate and prospects, that he idolizes them. Man pursues God for the sake of his fate and prospects; he does not worship God because of his love for Him. And so, in the conquest of man, man’s selfishness, greed and the things that most obstruct his worship of God must all be eliminated. In doing so, the effects of man’s conquest will be achieved. As a result, in the earliest conquest of man it is necessary to first purge the wild ambitions and most grievous weaknesses of man, and, through this, to reveal man’s love of God, and change his knowledge of human life, his view of God, and the meaning of his existence. In this way, man’s love of God is cleansed, which is to say, man’s heart is conquered. But in His attitude toward all creatures, God does not conquer only for the sake of conquering; instead, He conquers in order to gain man, for the sake of His own glory, and in order to recover the earliest, original likeness of man. Were He to conquer only for the sake of conquering, then the significance of the work of conquest would be lost. That is to say that if, after conquering man, God washed His hands of man, and paid no heed to his life or death, then this would not be the management of mankind, nor would man’s conquest be for the sake of his salvation. Only the gaining of man following his conquest and his ultimate arrival at a wonderful destination is at the heart of all the work of salvation, and only this can achieve the aim of man’s salvation. In other words, only man’s arrival at the beautiful destination and his entry into rest is the prospects that should be possessed by all creatures, and the work that should be done by the Creator. If man were to do this work, then it would be too limited: It could take man to a certain point, but it would not be able to bring man to the eternal destination. Man is not able to decide man’s destiny, nor, moreover, is he able to ensure man’s prospects and future destination. The work done by God, however, is different. Since He created man, He leads him; since He saves man, He will thoroughly save him, and will completely gain him; since He leads man, He will bring him to the proper destination; and since He created and manages man, He must take responsibility for man’s fate and prospects. It is this which is the work done by the Creator. Though the work of conquest is achieved by purging man of his prospects, man must ultimately be brought into the proper destination prepared for him by God. It is precisely because God works man that man has a destination and his fate is assured. Here, the suitable destination referred to is not man’s hopes and prospects purged in times past; the two are different. That which man hopes for and pursues are the yearnings of his pursuit of the extravagant desires of the flesh, rather than the destination due to man. What God has prepared for man, meanwhile, are the blessings and promises…

Word of God

How to Know Reality

God is a practical God: All of His work is practical, all of the words He speaks are practical, and all of the truths He expresses are practical. Everything that is not His words is vacuous, non-existent, and unsound. Today, the Holy Spirit is to guide people into the words of God. If people are to pursue entry into reality, then they must seek reality, and know reality, after which they must experience reality, and live out reality. The more that people know reality, the more they are able to discern whether the words of others are real; the more people know reality, the fewer notions they have; the more people experience reality, the more they know the deeds of the God of reality, and the easier it is for them to break free from their corrupt, satanic dispositions; the more reality people have, the more they know God and the more they detest the flesh and love the truth; and the more reality people have, the closer they come to the standards of God’s requirements. People who are gained by God are those who are possessed of reality, who know reality, and who have come to know God’s real deeds through experiencing reality. The more you cooperate with God in a practical way and discipline your body, the more you will acquire the work of the Holy Spirit, the more you will gain reality, and the more you will be enlightened by God, and thus the greater your knowledge of God’s real deeds will become. If you are able to live in the present light of the Holy Spirit, then the present path to practice will become clearer to you, and you will be more able to separate yourself from the religious notions and old practices of the past. Today reality is the focus: The more reality people have, the clearer their knowledge of the truth, and the greater their understanding of God’s will. Reality can overcome all letters and doctrines, it can overcome all theory and expertise, and the more reality people focus on, the more they truly love God, and hunger and thirst for His words. If you always focus on reality, then your philosophy for living, religious notions, and natural character will naturally be expunged following the work of God. Those who do not pursue reality, and have no knowledge of reality, are likely to pursue that which is supernatural, and they will be easily tricked. The Holy Spirit has no means of working in such people, and so they feel vacant, and that their lives have no meaning. The Holy Spirit can only work in you when you actually train, actually search, actually pray, and are willing to suffer for the sake of searching the truth. Those who do not seek the truth have nothing but letters and doctrines, and empty theory, and those who are without the truth naturally have many notions about God. People such as this long only for God to turn their fleshly body into a spiritual body so that they might ascend to the third heaven. How foolish these people are! All who say such things have no knowledge of God, or of reality; people such as this cannot possibly cooperate with God, and can only wait passively. If people are to understand the truth, and to clearly see the truth, and if, furthermore, they are to enter the truth and put it into practice, then they must actually train, actually search, and actually hunger and thirst. When you hunger and thirst, and when you actually cooperate with God, God’s Spirit will surely touch you and work within you, which will bring you more enlightenment, and give you more knowledge of reality, and be of greater help to your life. If people are to know God, they must first know that God is a practical God, and they must know God’s words, God’s practical appearance in the flesh, and God’s practical work. Only after knowing that all of God’s work is practical will you be able to actually cooperate with God, and only through this path will you be able to achieve growth in your life. All those who have no knowledge of reality have no means of experiencing God’s words, are ensnared in their notions, live in their imagination, and thus they have no knowledge of God’s words. The greater your knowledge of reality, the closer you are to God, and the more intimate you are with Him; the more you seek vagueness, abstraction and doctrine, the further you will stray from God, and so the more you will feel that experiencing God’s words is strenuous and difficult, and that you are incapable of entry. If you wish to enter the reality of God’s words, and onto the right track of your spiritual life, you must first know reality and separate yourself from vague and supernatural things, which is to say that first you must understand how the Holy Spirit actually enlightens and guides you from within. In this way, if you can truly grasp the Holy Spirit’s real work within man, then you will have entered onto the right track of being made perfect by God. Today, everything starts from reality. God’s work is the most real, and can be touched by people; it is what people can experience, and achieve. In people there is much that is vague and supernatural, which stops them from knowing God’s present work. Thus, in their experiences they always deviate, and always feel that things are difficult, and this is all caused by their notions. People are unable to grasp the principles of the Holy Spirit’s work, they do not know reality, and so they are always negative in their path to entry. They look at God’s requirements from afar, unable to achieve them; they merely see that God’s words really are good, but cannot find the path to entry. The Holy Spirit works by this principle: Through people’s cooperation, through…

Concerning the Bible 4

God’s Word “Concerning the Bible (4)”

Many people believe that understanding and being able to interpret the Bible is the same as finding the true way—but in fact, are things really so simple? No one knows the reality of the Bible: that 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? Bringing up the things of the past today makes them history, and no matter how true or real they might be, they are still history—and history cannot address the present. For God does not look back on history! And so, if you only understand the Bible, and understand nothing of the work God intends to do today, and if you believe in God but do not seek the work of the Holy Spirit, then you do not understand what it means to seek God. If you read the Bible in order to study the history of Israel, to research the history of God’s creation of all the heavens and earth, then you do not believe in God. But today, since you believe in God, and pursue life, since you pursue the knowledge of God, and do not pursue dead letters and doctrines, or an understanding of history, you must seek God’s will of today, and must look for the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work. If you were an archeologist you could read the Bible—but you are not, you are one of those who believe in God, and you’d best seek God’s will of today. 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. The Bible is a historical record of God’s work in Israel, and documents many of the foretellings of ancient prophets as well as some of the utterances of Jehovah in His work at that time. Thus, people all look upon this book as holy (for God is holy and great). Of course, this is all a result of their reverence for Jehovah and their adoration for God. People refer to this book in this way only because the creatures of God are so adoring of their Creator, and there are even those who call this book a heavenly book. In fact, it is merely a human record. It was not personally named by Jehovah, nor did Jehovah personally guide its creation. In other words, the author of this book is not God, but men. The Holy Bible is only the respectful title given to it by man. This title was not decided by Jehovah and Jesus after They had a discussion amongst each other; it is nothing more than a human idea. For this book was not written by Jehovah, much less by Jesus. Instead, it is the accounts of many ancient prophets, apostles, and seers, which were compiled by later generations into a book of ancient writings that, to people, seems especially holy, a book that they believe contains many unfathomable and profound mysteries that are waiting to be unlocked by future generations. As such, people are even more disposed to believe that this book is a heavenly book. With the addition of the Four Gospels and the Book of Revelation, people’s attitude toward it is particularly different from any other book, and thus no one dares to dissect this “heavenly book”—because it is too “sacred.” Why, as soon as they read the Bible, are people able to find a proper path to practice in it? Why are they able to gain much that was incomprehensible to them? Today, I am dissecting the Bible in this way and it does not mean that I hate it, or deny its value for reference. I am explaining and clarifying the inherent value and origins of the Bible to you to stop you being kept in the dark. For people have so many views about the Bible, and most of them are wrong; reading the Bible in this way not only prevents them from gaining what they ought to, but, more important, it hinders the work I intend to do. It is a tremendous nuisance for the work of the future, and offers only drawbacks, not advantages. Thus, what I am teaching you is simply the substance and inside story of the Bible. I’m not asking that you don’t read the Bible, or that you go around proclaiming that it is totally devoid of value, but that you have the correct knowledge and view of the Bible. Don’t be too one-sided! Although the Bible is a history book…

Bible and Cross, flower

God’s Word “Concerning the Bible (3)”

Not everything in the Bible is a record of the words personally spoken by God. The Bible simply documents the previous two stages of God’s work, of which one part is a record of the foretellings of the prophets, and one part is the experiences and knowledge written by people used by God throughout the ages. Human experiences are tainted with human opinions and knowledge, which is unavoidable. In many of the books of the Bible are human conceptions, human biases, and human absurd interpretations. Of course, most of the words are the result of the enlightenment and illumination of the Holy Spirit, and they are correct interpretations—yet it still cannot be said that they are entirely accurate expressions of the truth. Their views on certain things are nothing more than the knowledge of personal experience, or the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. The foretellings of the prophets were personally instructed by God: The prophecies of Isaiah, Daniel, Ezra, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel came from the direct instruction of the Holy Spirit, these people were seers, they had received the Spirit of prophecy, they were all prophets of the Old Testament. During the Age of Law these people, who had received the inspirations of Jehovah, spoke many prophecies, which were directly instructed by Jehovah. And why did Jehovah work in them? Because the people of Israel were God’s chosen people: The work of prophets had to be done among them, and they were qualified to receive such revelations. In fact, they themselves didn’t understand God’s revelations to them. The Holy Spirit spoke those words through their mouths so that the people of the future could comprehend those things, and see that they really were the work of the Spirit of God, of the Holy Spirit, and did not come from man, and to give them confirmation of the Holy Spirit’s work. During the Age of Grace, Jesus Himself did all this work in their stead, and so people no longer spoke prophecy. So was Jesus a prophet? Jesus was, of course, a prophet, but He was also able to do the work of the apostles: He could both speak prophecy and preach and teach people across the land. Yet the work He did and the identity He represented were not the same. He came to redeem all mankind, to redeem man from sin; He was a prophet, and an apostle, but more than that He was Christ. A prophet can speak prophecy, but it cannot be said that he is Christ. At that time, Jesus spoke much prophecy, and so it can be said that He was a prophet, but it cannot be said that He was a prophet and so not Christ. That is because He represented God Himself in carrying out a stage of work, and His identity was different from that of Isaiah: He came to complete the work of redemption, and He also provided the life of man, and the Spirit of God came unto Him directly. In the work He did, there were no inspirations from the Spirit of God or instructions from Jehovah. Instead, the Spirit worked directly—which is enough to prove that Jesus was not the same as a prophet. The work He did was the work of redemption, second to which came the speaking of prophecy. He was a prophet, an apostle, and more than that He was the Redeemer. The foretellers, meanwhile, could only speak prophecy, and were incapable of representing God’s Spirit in doing any other work. Because Jesus did much work that had never before been done by man, and did the work of redeeming mankind, He was thus different from the likes of Isaiah. That some people don’t accept the stream of today is because this has created an obstacle for them. They say: “In the Old Testament many prophets also spoke many words—so why weren’t they God become flesh? The God of today speaks words—is that enough to prove that He is God incarnate? You do not hold the Bible up high, nor do you study it—so what basis do you have for saying that He is the incarnation of God? You say that they are instructed by the Holy Spirit, and you believe that this stage of work is work personally done by God—but what is your basis for this? You focus your attention to the words of God today, it seems as if you have denied the Bible, and put it to one side.” And so they say that you believe in heresy and heterodoxy. If you wish to bear witness to God’s work during the last days, then you must understand the inside story of the Bible, the structure of the Bible, and the substance of the Bible. Today, people believe the Bible is God, and that God is the Bible. So, too, do they believe that all the words of the Bible were the only words God spoke, and that they were all said by God. Those who believe in God even think that although all of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament were written by people, they were all given by inspiration of God, and a record of the utterances of the Holy Spirit. This is the erroneous interpretation of people, and it does not completely accord with the facts. In fact, apart from the books of prophecy, most of the Old Testament is historical record. Some of the epistles of the New Testament come from people’s experiences, and some come from the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit; the Pauline epistles, for example, arose from the work of a man, they were all the result of the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment, and they were written for the churches, were words of exhortation and encouragement for the brothers and sisters of the churches. They were not words spoken by the Holy Spirit—Paul could not speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit, and neither was he a prophet, much less did he…

Concerning the Bible 2

God’s Word “Concerning the Bible (2)”

The Bible is also called the Old and New Testament. Do you know what “testament” refers to? The “testament” in the Old Testament comes from Jehovah’s covenant with the people of Israel when He killed the Egyptians and saved the Israelites from the Pharaoh. Of course, the proof of this covenant was the lamb’s blood daubed on lintels, through which God established a covenant with man, one in which it was said that all those who had lamb’s blood on the top and sides of the doorframe were Israelites, they were God’s chosen people, and they would all be spared by Jehovah (for Jehovah was then about to kill all the firstborn sons of Egypt and firstborn sheep and cattle). This covenant has two levels of meaning. None of the people or livestock of Egypt would be delivered by Jehovah; He would kill all of their firstborn sons and firstborn sheep and cattle. Thus, in many books of prophecy it was foretold that the Egyptians would be severely chastised as a result of the covenant of Jehovah. This is the covenant’s first level of meaning. Jehovah killed the firstborn sons of Egypt and all its firstborn livestock, and He spared all the Israelites, which meant that all those who were of the land of Israel were cherished by Jehovah, and would all be spared; He wished to do long-term work in them, and established the covenant with them using lamb’s blood. From then onward, Jehovah would not kill the Israelites, and said that they would forever be His chosen ones. Among the twelve tribes of Israel, He would embark upon His work for the entire Age of Law, He would open up all His laws to the Israelites, and choose among them prophets and judges, and they would be at the center of His work. Jehovah made a covenant with them: Unless the age changed, He would work only among the chosen ones. Jehovah’s covenant was immutable, for it was made in blood, and was established with His chosen people. More important, He had chosen an appropriate scope and target through which to embark upon His work for the whole age, and so people saw the covenant as especially important. This is the covenant’s second level of meaning. With the exception of Genesis, which was before the establishment of the covenant, all the other books in the Old Testament record God’s work among the Israelites after the establishment of the covenant. Of course, there are occasional accounts of the Gentiles, but overall, the Old Testament documents God’s work in Israel. Because of Jehovah’s covenant with the Israelites, the books written during the Age of Law are called the “Old Testament.” They are named after Jehovah’s covenant with the Israelites. The New Testament is named after the blood shed by Jesus on the cross and His covenant with all those who believed in Him. Jesus’ covenant was this: People had but to believe in Him for their sins to be forgiven by His bloodshed, and thus they would be saved, and reborn through Him, and would no longer be sinners; people had but to believe in Him to receive His grace, and would not suffer in hell after they died. All of the books written during the Age of Grace came after this covenant, and they all document the work and utterances contained in it. They go no further than the salvation of the Lord Jesus’ crucifixion or the covenant; they are all books written by the brothers in the Lord who had experiences. Thus, these books are also named after a covenant: They are called the New Testament. These two testaments include only the Age of Grace and the Age of Law, and have no connection with the final age. Thus, the Bible is of no great use for today’s people of the last days. At most, it serves as a provisional reference, but it basically has little use value. Yet religious people still treasure it the most. They do not know the Bible; they know only how to explain the Bible, and are fundamentally unaware of its origins. Their attitude toward the Bible is: Everything in the Bible is right, it contains no inaccuracies or errors. Because they have first determined that the Bible is right, and without error, they study and examine it with great interest. Today’s stage of work was not foretold in the Bible. There was never mention of the conquest work in the darkest of all places, for this is the latest work. Because the age of work is different, even Jesus Himself was unaware that this stage of work would be done during the last days—and so how could the people of the last days examine to find out this stage of work in the Bible? Most of those who explain the Bible employ logical inference, and have no actual background. They merely employ logic to infer many things. For year upon year, no one has dared to dissect the Bible, or to say “no” to the Bible, because this book is the holy book, and people worship it as God. This has gone on for several thousand years. God has paid no heed, and no one has discovered the inside story of the Bible. We say that treasuring the Bible is idol worship, yet none of those devout believers dare to see it this way, and they will say to you: “Brother! Don’t say that, that’s awful! How could you blaspheme against God?” Next they’ll adopt a pained expression: “Oh merciful Jesus, Lord of salvation, I beg You to forgive his sins, for You are the Lord that loves man, and we have all sinned, please show us great compassion, amen.” This is how “pious” they are; how could it be easy for them to accept the truth? Your saying that will scare them silly. No one would dare to think that the Bible could be tainted with human ideas and human…

Three Stages of Work of God’s Management of Mankind

Know the Purpose of the Three Stages of Work of God’s Management of Mankind

Relevant Words of God: My entire management plan, a plan that spans six thousand years, consists of three stages, or three ages: the Age of Law in the beginning; the Age of Grace (which is also the Age of Redemption); and the Age of Kingdom in the last days. My work in these three ages differs in content according to the nature of each age, but at each stage it accords with man’s needs—or, to be more precise, it is done according to the tricks that Satan employs in the war that I wage against it. The purpose of My work is to defeat Satan, to make manifest My wisdom and omnipotence, to expose all of Satan’s tricks, and thereby to save the entire human race, which lives under its domain. It is to show My wisdom and omnipotence while at the same time revealing the unbearable hideousness of Satan. Even more, it is to teach My creations to discriminate between good and evil, to know that I am the Ruler of all things, to see clearly that Satan is humanity’s foe, the lowest of the low, the evil one, and to tell, with absolute certainty, the difference between good and evil, truth and falsehood, holiness and filth, and what is great and what is ignoble. This way, ignorant humanity will become able to bear witness to Me that it is not I who corrupt humanity, and only I—the Lord of creation—can save humanity, can bestow upon man things for their enjoyment; and they will come to know that I am the Ruler of all things and Satan is merely one of the beings that I created and that later turned against Me. My six-thousand-year management plan is divided into three stages so as to achieve the following effect: to enable My creations to become My witnesses, to comprehend My will, and to know that I am the truth. from “The True Story Behind Work in the Age of Redemption” Such is the management of God: to hand mankind over to Satan—a mankind that doesn’t know what God is, what the Creator is, how to worship God, and why it is necessary to submit to God—and give free rein to the corruption of Satan. Step by step, God then recovers man from the hands of Satan, until man fully worships God and rejects Satan. This is the management of God. All this sounds like a mythical story; and it seems perplexing. People feel that it is like a mythical story, and that is because they have no inkling of how much has happened to man over the last several thousand years, much less do they know how many stories have occurred in the expanse of this universe. And furthermore, that is because they cannot appreciate the more astonishing, more fear-inducing world that exists beyond the material world, but which their mortal eyes prevent them from seeing. It feels incomprehensible to man, and that is because man has no understanding of the significance of God’s salvation of mankind and the significance of the work of God’s management, and does not comprehend how God ultimately wishes mankind to be. Is it a mankind akin to Adam and Eve, uncorrupted by Satan? No! The management of God is in order to gain a group of people who worship God and submit to Him. This mankind has been corrupted by Satan, but no longer sees Satan as his father; he recognizes the ugly face of Satan, and rejects it, and comes before God to accept His judgment and chastisement. He knows what is ugly, and how it contrasts with that which is holy, and he recognizes the greatness of God and the evil of Satan. A mankind such as this will no longer work for Satan, or worship Satan, or enshrine Satan. That’s because they are a group of people that have truly been gained by God. This is the significance of God’s managing mankind. from “Man Can Only Be Saved Amidst the Management of God” God created humanity and placed them upon earth, whom He has led to the present day. He then saved humanity and served as a sin offering for humanity. At the end He still must conquer humanity, save humanity entirely and restore them to their original likeness. This is the work that He has been engaged in from the beginning to the end—restoring man to his original image and to his original likeness. He will establish His kingdom and restore man’s original likeness, meaning that He will restore His authority upon earth and restore His authority among all creation. Man lost his God-fearing heart after being corrupted by Satan and lost the function that one of God’s creatures should have, becoming an enemy disobedient to God. Man lived under Satan’s domain and followed Satan’s orders; thus, God had no way to work among His creatures, and was all the more unable to win fear from His creatures. Man was created by God, and ought to worship God, but man actually turned his back to God and worshiped Satan. Satan became the idol in man’s heart. Thus God lost His standing in man’s heart, which is to say that He lost the meaning of His creation of man, and so to restore the meaning of His creation of man He must restore man’s original likeness and rid man of his corrupt disposition. To reclaim man from Satan, He must save man from sin. Only in this way can He gradually restore man’s original likeness and restore man’s original function, and in the end restore His kingdom. The ultimate destruction of those sons of disobedience will also be carried out in order to allow man to better worship God and better live upon the earth. Since God created man, He shall make man worship Him; since He wishes to restore man’s original function, He shall restore it completely, and without any adulteration. Restoring His authority means making man worship Him and…

pray to God

How to Enter Into a Proper State

The more people accept the words of God, the more enlightened they are, and the more they hunger and thirst in their pursuit of knowing God. Only those who accept the words of God are capable of having richer and more profound experiences, and they are the only ones whose lives can continue to grow like sesame flowers. All who pursue life should treat this as their full-time job; they should feel that “without God, I cannot live; without God, I can accomplish nothing; without God, everything is empty.” So, too, should they have the resolution that “without the presence of the Holy Spirit, I will do nothing, and if reading the words of God has no effect then I am indifferent to doing anything.” Do not indulge yourselves. Life experiences come from the enlightenment and guidance of God, and they are the crystallization of your subjective efforts. What you should demand of yourselves is this: “When it comes to life experience, I cannot give myself a free pass.” Sometimes, when in abnormal conditions, you lose the presence of God, and become unable to feel God when you pray. It is normal to feel afraid at such times. You should immediately start searching. If you do not, God will grow further from you, and you will be without the presence of the Holy Spirit—and, moreover, the work of the Holy Spirit—for a day, two days, even a month or two months. In these situations, you become so incredibly numb and are once more taken captive by Satan, to the point where you are capable of committing all manner of act. You covet wealth, deceive your brothers and sisters, watch movies and videos, play mahjong, and even smoke and drink without discipline. Your heart has strayed far from God, you have secretly gone your own way, and you have arbitrarily passed judgment on God’s work. In some cases, people sink so low that they feel no shame or embarrassment in committing sins of a sexual nature. This kind of person has been forsaken by the Holy Spirit; in fact, the work of the Holy Spirit has long been absent in such a person. One can only see them sink ever deeper into corruption as the hands of evil stretch out ever further. In the end, they deny the existence of this way, and are taken captive by Satan as they sin. If you discover that you only have the presence of the Holy Spirit, yet lack the work of the Holy Spirit, it is already a dangerous situation to be in. When you cannot even feel the presence of the Holy Spirit, then you are on the verge of death. If you do not repent, then you will have completely returned to Satan, and you shall be among those who are eliminated. So, when you discover that you are in a state where there is only the presence of the Holy Spirit (you do not sin, you hold yourself in check, and you do nothing in blatant resistance to God) but you lack the work of the Holy Spirit (you do not feel moved when you pray, you gain no obvious enlightenment or illumination when you eat and drink the words of God, you are indifferent about eating and drinking the words of God, there is never any growth in your life, and you have long been bereft of great illumination)—at such times, you must be more cautious. You must not indulge yourself, you must not give free rein to your own character any further. The presence of the Holy Spirit may disappear at any time. This is why such a situation is so dangerous. If you find yourself in this kind of state, try to turn things around as soon as you can. First, you should say a prayer of repentance and ask that God extend His mercy upon you once more. Pray more earnestly and, quiet your heart to eat and drink more of God’s words. With this foundation, you must spend more time in prayer; redouble your efforts in singing, praying, eating and drinking God’s words, and performing your duty. When you are at your weakest, your heart is most easily possessed by Satan. When that happens, your heart is taken from God and returned to Satan, whereupon you are without the presence of the Holy Spirit. At such times, it is doubly difficult to regain the work of the Holy Spirit. It is better to seek the work of the Holy Spirit while He is still with you, which will allow God to bestow more of His enlightenment upon you and not cause Him to abandon you. Praying, singing hymns, serving your function, and eating and drinking the words of God—all of this is done so that Satan has no opportunity to do its work, and so that the Holy Spirit may work within you. If you do not regain the work of the Holy Spirit in this way, if you simply wait, then regaining the work of the Holy Spirit will not be easy when you have lost the presence of the Holy Spirit, unless the Holy Spirit has particularly moved you, or especially illuminated and enlightened you. Even so, it does not just take a day or two for your state to recover; sometimes even six months may pass without any recovery. This is all because people are too easy on themselves, are incapable of experiencing things in a proper way and are thus abandoned by the Holy Spirit. Even if you do regain the work of the Holy Spirit, the present work of God still might not be very clear to you, for you have fallen far behind in your life experience, as if you were left ten thousand miles behind. Is this not a terrible thing? I tell such people, however, that it is not too late to repent now, but that there is one condition: You must work harder, and not…

God's Promises to His People, God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together

God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together

In the beginning, God was resting. There were no humans or anything else upon the earth at that time, and God had not done any work whatsoever. God only began His management work once humanity existed and once humanity had been corrupted. From this point on, God no longer rested but instead began to busy Himself among humanity. It was because of humanity’s corruption that God was taken from His rest, and it was also because of the archangel’s rebellion that God was taken from His rest. If God does not defeat Satan and save humanity, which has been corrupted, God will never again be able to enter into rest. As man lacks rest, so does God. When God once again enters into rest, man will also enter into rest. The life in rest is one without war, without filth, without persisting unrighteousness. This is to say that it lacks Satan’s harassment (here “Satan” refers to hostile forces), Satan’s corruption, as well as the invasion of any force opposed to God. Everything follows its own kind and worships the Lord of creation. Heaven and earth are entirely tranquil. This is humanity’s restful life. When God enters into rest, no more unrighteousness will persist upon the earth, and there will be no more invasion of any hostile forces. Humanity will also enter a new realm; they will no longer be a humanity corrupted by Satan, but rather a humanity that has been saved after having been corrupted by Satan. Humanity’s day of rest is also God’s day of rest. God lost His rest due to humanity’s inability to enter into rest; it was not that He was originally unable to rest. Entering into rest does not mean that all things will cease to move, or that all things will cease to develop, nor does it mean that God will cease to work or man will cease to live. The sign of entering into rest is as thus: Satan has been destroyed; those wicked people who join Satan in its evildoing have been punished and wiped out; all forces hostile to God cease to exist. God entering into rest means that He will no longer carry out His work of humanity’s salvation. Humanity entering into rest means that all of humanity will live within God’s light and under His blessings; there will be none of Satan’s corruption, nor will any unrighteous things occur. Humanity will live normally upon earth, and they will live under God’s care. When God and man enter into rest together, it will mean that humanity has been saved and that Satan has been destroyed, that God’s work in man has finished entirely. God will no longer continue to work in man, and man will no longer live under Satan’s domain. Therefore, God will no longer be busy, and man will no longer rush about; God and man will enter into rest simultaneously. God will return to His original position, and each person will return to his or her respective place. These are the destinations that God and man will respectively reside in after the end of God’s entire management. God has God’s destination, and man has man’s destination. While resting, God will continue to guide all of humanity in their lives upon earth. While in God’s light, man will worship the one true God in heaven. God will no longer live among humanity, and man will also be unable to live with God in God’s destination. God and man cannot live within the same realm; rather, both have their own respective manners of living. God is the One who guides all of humanity, while all of humanity is the crystallization of God’s management work. It is humanity who is led; in regard to essence, humanity is not similar to God. To rest means to return to one’s original place. Therefore, when God enters into rest, it means that God returns to His original place. God will no longer live upon the earth or share in humanity’s joy and suffering while among humanity. When humanity enters into rest, it means that man has become a true creation; humanity will worship God from upon the earth and have normal human lives. People will no longer be disobedient to God or resist God; they will return to the original life of Adam and Eve. These are the respective lives and destinations of God and humanity after they enter into rest. Satan’s defeat is an inevitable trend in the war between God and Satan. In this way, God’s entering into rest after the completion of His management work and man’s complete salvation and entrance into rest likewise become inevitable trends. Man’s place of rest is on earth, and God’s place of rest is in heaven. While man worships God in rest, he will live upon earth, and while God leads the remaining portion of humanity in rest, He will lead them from heaven, not from earth. God will still be the Spirit, while man will still be flesh. God and man both have their different respective manners of resting. While God rests, He will come and appear among man; while man rests, he will be led by God to visit heaven and also to enjoy life in heaven. After God and man enter into rest, Satan will no longer exist, and like Satan, those wicked people will also no longer exist. Before God and man enter into rest, those wicked individuals who once persecuted God upon earth and the enemies who were disobedient to Him upon earth will have already been destroyed; they will have been destroyed by the great disasters of the last days. After those wicked individuals have been completely destroyed, earth will never again know Satan’s harassment. Humanity will obtain complete salvation, and it will only be then that God’s work ends completely. These are the prerequisites for God and man to enter into rest. “Kingdom Anthem: The Kingdom Descends Upon the World”: The Promise of God Has…

God‘s work

God Redeemed Mankind in the Age of Grace, So Why Does He Still Need to Do the Work of Judgment in the Last Days?

Bible Verses for Reference: “For I am Jehovah that brings you up out of the land of Egypt, to be your God: You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Lev 11:45). “Follow peace with all men, and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord” (Heb 12:14). “And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (Jhn 12:47–48). Relevant Words of God: Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering, and did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to take on the sins of man as the sin offering, but also required God to do greater work to completely rid man of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan. And so, after man was forgiven his sins, God has returned to flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment, and this work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and shall gain the truth, the way, and the life. from Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh At the time Jesus’ work was the redemption of all mankind. The sins of all who believed in Him were forgiven; as long as you believed in Him, He would redeem you; if you believed in Him, you were no longer a sinner, you were relieved of your sins. This is what it meant to be saved, and to be justified by faith. Yet in those who believed, there remained that which was rebellious and opposed God, and which still had to be slowly removed. Salvation did not mean man had been completely gained by Jesus, but that man was no longer of sin, that he had been forgiven his sins: Provided you believed, you would never more be of sin. from “The Vision of God’s Work (2)” At the time that Jesus was doing His work, man’s knowledge of Him was still vague and unclear. Man always believed Him to be the son of David, and proclaimed Him to be a great prophet, the benevolent Lord who redeemed man’s sins. Some, on the strength of their faith, were healed just from touching the edge of His garment; the blind could see and even the dead could be restored to life. However, man was unable to discover the corrupt satanic disposition deeply rooted within himself, neither did he know how to cast it away. Man received much grace, such as the peace and happiness of the flesh, the faith of one member bringing blessing on an entire family, the healing of sickness, and so on. The rest were the good deeds of man and his godly appearance; if man could live on the basis of these, he was considered an acceptable believer. Only believers of this kind could enter heaven after death, which means that they were saved. But, in their lifetime, these people did not understand at all the way of life. All they did was to commit sins and then confess their sins in a constant cycle without making any path toward changing their disposition: Such was the condition of man in the Age of Grace. Has man received complete salvation? No! Therefore, after that stage of work was finished, there still remained the work of judgment and chastisement. This stage is to make man pure by means of the word and thereby give him a path to follow. This stage would not be fruitful or meaningful if it continued with the casting out of demons, for it would fail to extirpate man’s sinful nature, and man would come to a standstill at the forgiveness of his sins. Through the sin offering, man has been forgiven his sins, for the work of the crucifixion has already come to an end and God has prevailed over Satan. But the corrupt disposition of man still remaining within him, man can still sin and resist God, and God has not gained mankind. That is why in this stage of work God uses the word to expose the corrupt disposition of man, causing him to practice in accordance with the right path. This stage is more meaningful than the previous one, as well as more fruitful, for now it is the word that directly supplies man’s life and enables the disposition of man to be completely renewed; it is a much more thorough stage of work. Therefore, the incarnation in the last days has completed the significance of God’s incarnation and completely finished God’s plan of management for man’s salvation. from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” You only know that Jesus shall descend during the last days, but how exactly will He descend? A sinner such as you, who has just been redeemed, and has not been changed, or been perfected by God, can you be after God’s heart? For you, you who are still of your old self, it is true that you were saved by Jesus, and that you are not counted as a sinner because of the salvation of God, but this does not prove that you are not sinful, and are not impure. How can you be saintly if you have not been changed? Within, you are beset by impurity, selfish and mean, yet you still wish to descend with Jesus—you should be so lucky! You have missed a step in your belief in God: You have merely been redeemed, but have not been changed. For you to be after God’s heart, God must…

The Wicked Will Surely Be Punished, God's Warning to Man in the Last Days

The Wicked Will Surely Be Punished

Look into yourselves to see whether you practice righteousness in all that you do, and whether all of your actions are being observed by God: This is the principle by which those who believe in God conduct their affairs. You will be called righteous because you are able to satisfy God, and because you accept God’s care and protection. In God’s eyes, all those who accept God’s care, protection, and perfection, and who are gained by Him, are righteous, and He regards them all as precious. The more you accept the current words of God, the more you will be able to receive and understand God’s will, and the more you will therefore be able to live out God’s words and satisfy His requirements. This is God’s commission for you, and it is what all of you should be able to achieve. If you use your own notions to measure and delimit God, as if God were an unchanging statue of clay, and if you completely delimit God within the parameters of the Bible and contain Him within a limited scope of work, then this proves that you have condemned God. Because the Jews in the age of the Old Testament took God to be an idol of fixed form that they held in their hearts, as if God could only be called the Messiah, and only He who was called the Messiah could be God, and because humanity served and worshiped God as if He were a (lifeless) clay statue, they nailed the Jesus of that time to the cross, sentencing Him to death—the guiltless Jesus was thus condemned to death. God was innocent of any offense, yet man refused to spare Him, and insisted on sentencing Him to death, and so Jesus was crucified. Man always believes that God is unchanging, and defines Him on the basis of one single book, the Bible, as though man has a perfect understanding of God’s management, as though man holds all that God does in the palm of his hand. People are absurd in the extreme, arrogant in the extreme, and they all have a flair for hyperbole. No matter how great your knowledge of God, I still say that you do not know God, that you are someone who opposes God the most, and that you have condemned God, because you are utterly incapable of obeying the work of God and walking the path of being made perfect by God. Why is God never satisfied with the actions of man? Because man does not know God, because he has too many notions, and because his knowledge of God in no way agrees with reality, but instead monotonously repeats the same theme without variation and uses the same approach for every situation. And so, having come to earth today, God is once more nailed to the cross by man. Cruel mankind! The connivance and intrigue, the snatching and grabbing one from another, the scramble for fame and fortune, the mutual slaughter—when will it ever end? Despite the hundreds of thousands of words God has spoken, no one has come to their senses. People act for the sake of their families, sons and daughters, for their careers, future prospects, position, vainglory, and money, for the sake of food, clothing, and the flesh. But is there anyone whose actions are truly for the sake of God? Even among those who act for the sake of God, there are but few who know God. How many people do not act out of their own interests? How many do not oppress or ostracize others in order to protect their own position? And so, God has been forcibly sentenced to death innumerable times, and countless barbaric judges have condemned God and once more nailed Him to the cross. How many can be called righteous because they truly act for the sake of God? Is it so easy to be perfected before God as a saint or a righteous person? It is a true statement that “there are no righteous upon this earth, the righteous are not in this world.” When you come before God, consider what you are wearing, consider your every word and action, your every thought and idea, and even the dreams that you dream every day—they are all for your own sake. Is this not the true state of affairs? “Righteousness” does not mean giving alms to others, it does not mean loving your neighbor as yourself, and it does not mean refraining from quarrels and disputes or robbing and stealing. Righteousness means taking God’s commission as your duty and obeying God’s orchestrations and arrangements as your heaven-sent vocation, regardless of time or place, just like all that was done by the Lord Jesus. This is the righteousness of which God has spoken. That Lot could be called a righteous man is because he saved the two angels sent by God without considering his own gain and loss; it can only be said that what he did at that time may be called righteous, but he cannot be called a righteous man. It was only because Lot had seen God that he gave his two daughters in exchange for the angels, but not all of his behavior in the past stood for righteousness. And so I say “there are no righteous upon this earth.” Even among those who are in the stream of recovery, no one can be called righteous. No matter how good your actions, no matter how you appear to glorify the name of God, neither hitting and cursing others, nor robbing and plundering from others, you still cannot be called righteous, for this is what a normal person is capable of having. What is key right now is that you do not know God. It can only be said that at present you have a little bit of proper humanity, but no elements of the righteousness spoken of by God, and so nothing that you do is capable of…

On the Steps of God’s Work

On the Steps of God’s Work

From the outside, it appears that the steps of God’s current work have already ended, and man has already experienced the judgment, chastisement, smiting, and refinement of God’s words, and undergone such steps as the trial of the service-doers, the refinement of the time of chastisement, the trial of death, the trial of the foils, and love for God. Yet despite suffering great hardship during each step, people remain ignorant of God’s will. Consider the trial of the service-doers, for example: They are still unclear about what they gained, what they came to know, and the effect that God wished to achieve. Looking at the speed of God’s work, man appears utterly incapable of keeping up with today’s speed. It can be seen that God first reveals these steps of His work to man, and that instead of necessarily achieving a level that is imaginable to man in any of the steps, He is casting light on an issue. For God to perfect someone so that they can truly be gained by Him, He must carry out all of the steps above. The goal of doing this work is to show what steps God must carry out to perfect a group of people. Thus, looking from the outside, the steps of God’s work have been completed—but in essence, He has only just officially begun perfecting mankind. People should be clear about this: It is the steps of His work that have been completed, but the work itself has not come to an end. Yet in their notions, people believe that the steps of God’s work have all been revealed to man, and so there can be no doubt that God’s work has ended. This way of seeing things is totally wrong. God’s work runs contrary to the notions of man and strikes back at such notions in every regard; the steps of God’s work, especially, are at odds with the notions of man. All of this demonstrates the wisdom of God. It can be seen that man’s notions cause disruption at every turn, and God strikes back at everything man imagines, which becomes evident during actual experiences. Everyone thinks that God works too quickly, and that God’s work comes to an end before they know it, before they have gained any understanding and while they still remain in a state of confusion. That is how it is with every step of His work. Most people believe that God is toying with people—but that is not the intention of His work. His method of working is one of rumination: first like quickly glancing at flowers while galloping along on horseback, then going into the details, and after that fully refining these details—which catches people by surprise. People try to fool God, thinking that if they can just get by until they reach a certain point, God will be satisfied. In reality, how could God possibly be satisfied by man’s attempts at getting by? To achieve the optimal effect, God works by taking people by surprise, by striking while they are unaware; this gives them a greater knowledge of His wisdom, and a greater understanding of His righteousness, majesty, and unoffendable disposition. Today, God has officially begun the perfection of man. To be made perfect, people must undergo the revelation, judgment, and chastisement of His words, they must experience the trials and refinement of His words (such as the trial of the service-doers), and they must be able to withstand the trial of death. What this means is that amidst the judgment, chastisement, and trials of God, those who truly abide by God’s will are able to praise God from deep within their hearts, and to utterly obey God and forsake themselves, thus loving God with a heart that is sincere, undivided, and pure; such is a perfect person, and it is precisely the work that God intends to do, and the work that He shall accomplish. People should not jump to conclusions about the method by which God works. They should only pursue entry into life. This is fundamental. Do not constantly scrutinize the method of God’s work; this will only hinder your future prospects. How much have you seen of the method by which God works? How obedient have you been? How much have you gained from each method of His work? Are you willing to be made perfect by God? Do you wish to become perfect? These are all things you should clearly understand and enter into.   » Read more on our Christian Devotionals page about Word of God , or in the recommended articles below:

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