31. The Principles of Undergoing Persecution and Tribulations
(1) Know that God’s wisdom is built atop Satan’s wiles, and persecution and tribulations occur with God’s permission. They serve to expose and perfect man;
(2) The experience of having been persecuted and subjected to tribulations enables one to see clearly the demonic essence and hideous countenance of the great red dragon, Satan, and thereby to know God’s holiness and righteousness;
(3) Through persecution and tribulation, one gains a glimpse of their own timidity, deficiency, and vulnerability, the shame of which awakens them to the fact that without the truth, one is stranded;
(4) Persecution and tribulations are uniquely capable of exposing and eliminating people. They can also perfect those who genuinely love God in hating Satan and forsaking the great red dragon, as well as in praising God’s righteousness and holiness.
Bible Verses for Reference:
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Mat 10:28).
“He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for My sake shall find it” (Mat 10:39).
Relevant Words of God:
Perhaps you all remember these words: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” You have all heard these words before, yet none of you understood their true meaning. Today, you are profoundly aware of their true significance. These words shall be fulfilled by God during the last days, and they shall be fulfilled in those who have been brutally persecuted by the great red dragon in the land where it lies coiled. The great red dragon persecutes God and is the enemy of God, and so, in this land, those who believe in God are thus subjected to humiliation and oppression, and these words are fulfilled in you, this group of people, as a result. Because it is embarked upon in a land that opposes God, all of God’s work faces tremendous obstacles, and accomplishing many of His words takes time; thus, people are refined as a result of God’s words, which is also part of suffering. It is tremendously difficult for God to carry out His work in the land of the great red dragon—but it is through this difficulty that God does one stage of His work, making manifest His wisdom and His wondrous deeds, and using this opportunity to make this group of people complete. It is through people’s suffering, through their caliber, and through all the satanic dispositions of the people of this filthy land that God does His work of purification and conquest, so that, from this, He may gain glory, and so that He may gain those who will bear witness to His deeds. Such is the entire significance of all the sacrifices that God has made for this group of people. That is, it is through those who oppose Him that God does the work of conquest, and only thus can the great power of God be made manifest. In other words, only those in the unclean land are worthy of inheriting the glory of God, and only this can highlight the great power of God. That is why I say that it is from the unclean land, and from those who live in the unclean land, that the glory of God is gained. Such is the will of God. Jesus’ stage of work was the same: He could only be glorified among those Pharisees who persecuted Him; if not for the persecution of the Pharisees and the betrayal of Judas, Jesus would not have been ridiculed or slandered, much less crucified, and thus could not have gained glory. Where God works in each age, and where He does His work in the flesh, is where He gains glory and where He gains those He intends to gain. This is the plan of God’s work, and this is His management.
Excerpted from “Is the Work of God As Simple As Man Imagines?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When I formally begin My work, all people move as I move, such that people throughout the universe occupy themselves in step with Me, there is “jubilation” across the universe, and man is spurred onward by Me. In consequence, the great red dragon itself is whipped into a state of frenzy and bewilderment by Me, and it serves My work, and, despite being unwilling, it is unable to follow its own desires, but is left with no choice but to submit to My control. In all of My plans, the great red dragon is My foil, My enemy, and also My servant; as such, I have never relaxed My “requirements” of it. Therefore, the final stage of the work of My incarnation is completed in its household. In this way, the great red dragon is more able to do service for Me properly, through which I will conquer it and complete My plan.
Excerpted from “Chapter 29” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God intends to use a portion of the work of evil spirits to perfect a portion of humanity, enabling these people to see completely through the devils’ iniquities, that all humanity may truly know their “ancestors.” Only in this way can humans break completely free, not only forsaking the posterity of the devils, but even the devils’ ancestors. This is God’s true purpose in utterly defeating the great red dragon, to make it so that all humanity knows the great red dragon’s true form, to tear its mask off fully and to look upon its true form. This is what God wants to achieve, it is the final goal of all the work He has done on earth, and it is what He aims to accomplish in all humanity. This is known as mobilizing all things to serve God’s purpose.
Excerpted from “Chapter 41” of Interpretations of the Mysteries of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh
My work among the group of people of the last days is an unprecedented enterprise, and thus, so that My glory may fill the cosmos, all people must suffer the last hardship for Me. Do you understand My will? This is the final requirement I make of man, which is to say, I hope that all people can bear strong, resounding testimony to Me before the great red dragon, that they can offer themselves up for Me a final time, and fulfill My requirements one last instance. Can you truly do this? You were incapable of satisfying My heart in the past—could you break this pattern in the final instance? I give people the chance to reflect; I let them ponder carefully before finally giving Me an answer—is it wrong to do this? I wait for man’s response, I await his “letter of reply”—do you have the faith to fulfill My requirements?
Excerpted from “Chapter 34” of God’s Words to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You must possess My courage within you, and you must have principles when it comes to facing relatives who do not believe. For My sake, however, you also must not yield to any dark forces. Rely on My wisdom to walk the perfect way; do not allow any of Satan’s conspiracies to take hold. Put all your efforts into placing your heart before Me, and I shall comfort you and bring you peace and happiness. Do not strive to be a certain way in front of other people; does making Me satisfied not carry more value and weight? In satisfying Me, will you not be even further filled with eternal and lifelong peace and happiness? Your current suffering indicates just how great your future blessings will be; they are indescribable. You know not the greatness of the blessings that you shall have; you could not even dream of it. Today it has become real; so very real! This is not so far away—can you see it? Every last bit of this is within Me; how bright is the road ahead! Wipe away your tears, and feel no more pain or sorrow. All things are arranged by My hands, and My goal is to soon make you the overcomers and to bring you into glory alongside Me. For all that happens to you, you should be correspondingly grateful and full of praise; that will bring Me deep satisfaction.
The transcendent life of Christ has already appeared; there is nothing for you to be afraid of. Satans are under our feet, and their time will not last much longer. Awaken! Cast away the world of licentiousness; free yourself from the abyss of death! Be loyal to Me no matter what, and bravely advance; I am your rock of strength, so rely on Me!
Excerpted from “Chapter 10” of Utterances of Christ in the Beginning in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Regardless of how “powerful” Satan is, regardless of how audacious and ambitious it is, regardless of how great is its ability to inflict damage, regardless of how wide-ranging are the techniques with which it corrupts and lures man, regardless of how clever are the tricks and schemes with which it intimidates man, regardless of how changeable is the form in which it exists, it has never been able to create a single living thing, has never been able to set down laws or rules for the existence of all things, and has never been able to rule and control any object, whether animate or inanimate. Within the cosmos and the firmament, there is not a single person or object that was born from it, or exists because of it; there is not a single person or object that is ruled by it, or controlled by it. On the contrary, it not only has to live under the dominion of God, but, moreover, must obey all of God’s orders and commands. Without God’s permission, it is difficult for Satan to touch even a drop of water or grain of sand upon the land; without God’s permission, Satan is not even free to move the ants about upon the land, let alone mankind, who was created by God. In the eyes of God, Satan is inferior to the lilies on the mountain, to the birds flying in the air, to the fish in the sea, and to the maggots on the earth. Its role among all things is to serve all things, and work for mankind, and serve God’s work and His plan of management. Regardless of how malicious its nature, and how evil its essence, the only thing it can do is to dutifully abide by its function: being of service to God, and providing a counterpoint to God. Such is the substance and position of Satan. Its essence is unconnected to life, unconnected to power, unconnected to authority; it is merely a plaything in God’s hands, just a machine in service to God!
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique I” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Right now, those visions and those truths that you understand are laying a foundation for your future experiences; in the future tribulation you will all have practical experience of these words. Later, when trials come upon you and you undergo the tribulation, you will think of the words you say today, which are: “No matter what tribulation, trials, or great disasters I encounter, I must satisfy God.” Think about the experiences of Peter and then the experiences of Job—you will be galvanized by today’s words. Only in this way can your faith be inspired. At that time, Peter said that he was not worthy of receiving God’s judgment and chastisement, and when the time comes you will also be willing to have all people see God’s righteous disposition through you. You will readily accept His judgment and chastisement, and His judgment, chastisement, and curse will be a comfort to you. Now, it is simply not acceptable for you to not be equipped with the truth. Without it, not only will you be unable to stand firm in the future, but you might not be capable of experiencing the current work. If this is the case, will you not be one of those cast out and punished? Right now, there have not been any facts that have come upon you, and I have supplied you in whichever aspects you are lacking; I speak from every aspect. You have not endured much suffering; you just take what is available without having paid any kind of price, and, more than that, you do not have your own genuine experiences or insights. So, what you understand is not your true statures. You are limited to understanding, knowledge, and seeing, but you have not reaped much of a harvest. If I never paid any mind to you but had you undergo experiences in your own home, you would have scurried back out into the great wide world long ago. The path that you walk in the future will be a course of suffering, and if you successfully walk this current stretch of the path, then you will have testimony when you undergo the greater tribulation in the future. If you understand the significance of human life and have taken the right path of human life, and if in the future you submit to His designs without any complaints or choices no matter how God deals with you, and if you do not make any demands of God, then in this way you will be a person of value. Right now, you have not undergone tribulation, so you can obey anything without differentiation. You say that however God leads, that way is fine, and that you would submit to all of His orchestrations. Whether God chastises or curses you, you will be willing to satisfy Him. Having said that, what you say now does not necessarily represent your stature. What you are willing to do now cannot show that you are capable of following until the end. When great tribulations come upon you or when you undergo some persecution or coercion or even greater trials, then you will not be able to say those words. If you can have that kind of understanding then and you stand firm, this will be your stature. What was Peter like at that time? Peter said: “Lord, I will sacrifice my life for You. If You would have me die, I will die!” That was the way he prayed at the time. He also said: “Even if others do not love You, I must love You until the end. I will follow You at all times.” That is what he said at the time, but as soon as trials came upon him, he fell apart and wept. You all know that Peter denied the Lord three times, do you not? There are many people who will weep and show human weakness when trials come upon them. You are not the master of yourself. In this, you cannot control yourself. Maybe today you are doing really well, but that is because you have a suitable environment. If that changes tomorrow, you will show your cowardice and incompetence, your despicableness and unworthiness. Your “manliness” will have long since come to nothing, and at times you may even cast your task to one side and walk away. This shows that what you understood at the time was not your actual stature. One must look at a person’s actual stature to see whether they truly love God, whether they are able to really submit to God’s design, and whether they are able to put all of their strength into achieving what God requires; and whether they remain loyal to God and give the best of all things to God, even if it means sacrificing their own life.
Excerpted from “How You Should Walk the Final Stretch of the Path” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Man will be fully made complete in the Age of Kingdom. After the work of conquest, man will be subjected to refinement and tribulation. Those who can overcome and stand testimony during this tribulation are the ones who will ultimately be made complete; they are the overcomers. During this tribulation, man is required to accept this refinement, and this refinement is the last instance of God’s work. It is the last time that man will be refined prior to the conclusion of all the work of God’s management, and all those who follow God must accept this final test, and they must accept this last refinement. Those who are beset by tribulation are without the work of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of God, but those who have been truly conquered and who truly seek after God will ultimately stand fast; they are the ones who are possessed of humanity, and who truly love God. No matter what God does, these victorious ones will not be bereft of the visions and will still put the truth into practice without failing in their testimony. They are the ones who will finally emerge from the great tribulation. Even though those who fish in troubled waters can still freeload today, no one is able to escape the final tribulation, and no one can escape the final test. For those who overcome, such tribulation is a tremendous refinement; but for those who fish in troubled waters, it is the work of complete elimination. No matter how they are tried, the allegiance of those who have God in their heart remains unchanged; but for those who do not have God in their heart, once the work of God is not advantageous to their flesh, they change their view of God, and even depart from God. Such are those who will not stand fast in the end, who only seek God’s blessings and have no desire to expend themselves for God and dedicate themselves to Him. Such base people will all be expelled when God’s work comes to an end, and they are unworthy of any sympathy. Those without humanity are incapable of truly loving God. When the environment is safe and secure, or there are profits to be made, they are totally obedient toward God, but once that which they desire is compromised or finally refuted, they immediately revolt. Even in the space of just one night, they may go from a smiling, “kind-hearted” person to an ugly-looking and ferocious killer, suddenly treating their benefactor of yesterday as their mortal enemy, without rhyme or reason. If these demons are not cast out, these demons that would kill without blinking an eye, will they not become a hidden danger? The work of saving man is not achieved following the completion of the work of conquest. Although the work of conquest has come to an end, the work of purifying man has not; such work will only be finished once man has been wholly purified, once those who truly submit to God have been made complete, and once those disguisers who are without God in their heart have been purged. Those who do not satisfy God in the final stage of His work will be completely eliminated, and those who are eliminated are of the devil. As they are incapable of satisfying God, they are rebellious against God, and even though these people follow God today, this does not prove that they are those who will finally remain. In the words that “those who follow God to the end will receive salvation,” the meaning of “follow” is to stand firm in the midst of tribulation. Today, many believe that following God is easy, but when God’s work is about to end, you will know the true meaning of “follow.” Just because you are still able to follow God today after being conquered, this does not prove that you are one of those who will be made perfect. Those who are unable to endure the trials, who are incapable of being victorious amid tribulation will, ultimately, be incapable of standing fast, and so will be unable to follow God to the very end. Those who truly follow God are able to withstand the test of their work, whereas those who do not truly follow God are incapable of withstanding any of God’s trials. Sooner or later they will be expelled, while the overcomers will remain in the kingdom. Whether or not man truly seeks God is determined by the test of his work, that is, by God’s trials, and has nothing to do with the decision by man himself. God does not reject any person on a whim; all that He does can utterly convince man. He does not do anything that is invisible to man, or any work that cannot convince man. Whether man’s belief is true or not is proved by the facts and cannot be decided by man. That “wheat cannot be made into tares, and tares cannot be made into wheat” is without doubt. All those who truly love God will ultimately remain in the kingdom, and God will not mistreat anyone who truly loves Him. Based on their different functions and testimonies, the overcomers within the kingdom will serve as priests or followers, and all those who are victorious amid tribulation will become the body of priests within the kingdom. The body of priests will be formed when the work of the gospel throughout the universe has come to an end. When that time comes, that which should be done by man will be the performance of his duty within the kingdom of God, and his living together with God within the kingdom. In the body of priests there will be chief priests and priests, and the remainder will be the sons and people of God. This is all determined by their testimonies to God during tribulation; they are not titles that are given on a whim. Once man’s status has been established, the work of God will cease, for each is classed according to kind and returned to their original position, and this is the mark of the accomplishment of God’s work, it is the final outcome of the work of God and the practice of man, and it is the crystallization of the visions of God’s work and the cooperation of man. In the end, man will find repose in the kingdom of God, and God, too, will return to His dwelling place to rest. This will be the final outcome of 6,000 years of cooperation between God and man.
Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh