We are all adopting a wait-and-see attitude, hoping that more people will be enlightened after seeing these instances of people being punished, hoping that more people will be able to examine it carefully when faced with God’s utterances and His work, and approach this important message with earnestness and piety. Do not tread in the footsteps of those who are punished and, even more than this, do not be like Paul—who clearly knew the true way but who intentionally defied it—and lose the sin offering. God does not want more people to be punished, but instead hopes for more people to be saved, and for more people to keep up with His footsteps and to enter into His kingdom. But if people refuse to recognize their mistakes, if they cannot accept the truth with a humble heart, but instead go nitpicking, trying to find fault and pretending to understand when really they do not, then they will be the ones who lose out in the end. God’s work waits for no one. His salvation is not like some piece of trash, to be randomly thrown on just anyone. Rather it is targeted, with an objective and by choice. If you do not know to cherish it, then the only thing awaiting you will be God’s righteous judgment and punishment. God treats all people righteously; no matter your age, how senior you are or even how much suffering you have been through, God’s righteous disposition is forever unchanged in the face of these things. God does not treat anybody with high regard, nor does He favor anybody. His attitude toward people is based on whether or not they can accept the truth and accept His new work by relinquishing all things. If you can receive His new work and receive the truth that He expresses, then you will be able to gain God’s salvation. If you are prideful of your veteran status and you flaunt your seniority, laying down terms to God, then you will be disavowed from God’s salvation. Just like the Jews, who could not accept Jesus Christ but only waited for the Messiah, that which befell them in the end was the curse and the ire of God; this is a fact that is there for all to see. Nowadays the instances of people being punished are all lined up one by one before our eyes, and they are more worth a thorough examination of ourselves in the presence of God, as well as allowing us to have a newer and deeper knowledge in our approach to God: We must not jump to conclusions about God’s work and His management, otherwise that which we will gain will not be God’s promises, but rather His wrath, curses and punishment, and the yearning of a lifetime will come to nothing. Drawing on the pain of past experiences, that which we must do even more is to not allow God’s salvation to slip away from us and to hold on tight to every piece of guidance and every opportunity God bestows on us, so as to avoid God’s curse falling upon us when we do not expect it. We must patiently and cautiously await God’s coming, take a careful approach to the gospel that crosses our path, pray to God to fortify us with faith and pray to God to bestow spiritual eyes on us that we may discern every kind of person, matter and object that we encounter, until such time as we witness the appearance of God.
In amongst these instances of punishment, we discover one fact: If people cannot accept the truth, and furthermore they defy God’s work and blaspheme against Him, then they play the part of Satan, they are lackeys for Satan, enemies of God. This is the proof and the cause for God’s punishment of them, and it is the reason why these people are punished. If someone sees all these facts and still does not believe that God has already done new work, and even more so does not believe that the people involved in these instances are being punished, then that person is a dead person, devoid of spirit. No words or facts will convince them otherwise. The only thing for it is for God’s punishment to befall them, then all their misgivings will be resolved; this is an indisputable fact and it is also the simplest way for God to arrange man’s destination and ending. If anyone does not believe this, then just try it for yourself! No one wants to end up being one of the people who are punished, to die so pitifully, so unbearably like them. Instead, everyone hopes to gain God’s blessing, care and protection in this life, to die composed and tranquil, and to have a good destination after death. But how one can gain these things is known only by very few, and this is a most distressing matter. The knowledge and external behaviors of the Pharisees did not save their relationship with Jesus Christ. On the contrary, it harmed them, and it was their knowledge and conceptions, along with the image of God in their hearts, that impelled them to condemn the Lord Jesus. It was their imaginations and minds which misled them, which covered their spiritual eyes, causing them not to recognize the Messiah that had already come, to do all they could to find evidence and to gain a foothold in order to condemn the Lord Jesus. This is their ugly face—using the excuse of upholding God’s original work to condemn God’s realistic work in the present. Of course, this is a mistake that people living in any age are liable to make—using old doctrines and rules to measure and condemn truths that they have never heard before, thinking that they are adhering to the true way and maintaining their purity before God, that they are being loyal to God. But what are the facts? God is continually doing His new work, continuing His management, always new and never old. And what about people? They always hold fast to some obsolete things that they think to be the entirety of God’s expressions, patting themselves on the back, swollen with arrogance, waiting for God to bestow rewards on them with an attitude that believes God would never discard them, would never mistreat them. And what is the outcome? God’s work continues uninterrupted, with more people of the new age following Him and accepting His new work, while those who wait for God to bestow rewards on them are eliminated by God’s new work, and even more people fall into God’s punishment. At the moment when their punishment begins, their life in believing in God is over, and their ending, and their destination, are brought to an end. This is something that no one wishes to see, but it happens unknowingly before our eyes. So is this down to God’s disposition being so merciless, or is it that people’s seeking is at fault? Is it really not worth mankind thoroughly examining themselves?
God has spent several thousand years completing His management, passing through several ages to manage His mankind. The thing He wishes most not to see is the mankind that He saves defying Him, and more than this, occurrences of people who previously enjoyed His grace betraying Him. Everything He does is to save more people, to gain more people who understand His will and who are of one mind with Him to enter into His kingdom and enjoy His promises. Therefore, what He abhors most are occurrences of people defying Him in His own family and, in God’s attitude to dealing with these people, is there any better way besides punishment and cursing? What other choice do those who are punished have? The consequence of defying God, blaspheming against Him and betraying Him can only be punishment. This is God’s disposition and it is the best way God deals with evil people. No one has ever been able to get away with it; it was this way before, it is this way now and it will be this way in the future, and this is a fact that will never change.
Our goal in organizing and publishing this book is not actually to menace anyone with these instances, nor is it to bluff or bluster. Rather it is to truthfully present the instances of these people being punished to everyone who may receive this book. Our goal is not to use this opportunity to harangue, only to do that which we are capable of doing and to fulfill our obligations and do our duty. We hope that our intentions are examined by God, and that everyone who reads this book will be able to look upon its worth and significance correctly, and have a pure comprehension of our expectations and our loving care for every single person. It is also a small offering to God from those of us who have already accepted God’s new work, and an expression of our goodwill to all the brothers and sisters in God’s family. We hope this book will merit our trust, that it is able to achieve our anticipated goals, that it can help more people to turn back from the wrong path, and that it can save more people’s souls. We hope that it causes those who are currently engaged in spreading rumors everywhere and who set up blockades everywhere to obstruct others from accepting Almighty God to restrain their evil actions and lessen their sins once they have read this book, that they may be spared God’s punishment, be quiet before God and wait for the day to come when God arrives publicly, so that the work of the Holy Spirit may have opportunities to unfold amongst even more people. Then the will of our cooperation with God will be achieved, and so will our genuine goal in organizing this book.
June 1, 2002