Sermons and Fellowship About God’s Word “Beholding the Appearance of God in His Judgment and Chastisement”
For today’s gathering, let’s first read a piece of God’s word “Beholding the Appearance of God in His Judgment and Chastisement.”
Beholding the Appearance of God in His Judgment and Chastisement
Like the hundreds of millions of others who follow the Lord Jesus Christ, we abide by the laws and commandments of the Bible, enjoy the abundant grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and gather together, pray, praise, and serve in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ—and all this we do under the care and protection of the Lord. We are often weak, and we are also often strong. We believe that all of our actions are in accordance with the teachings of the Lord. It goes without saying, then, that we also believe ourselves to be on the path of doing the will of the Father in heaven. We long for the return of the Lord Jesus, for His glorious descent, for the end of our life on earth, for the appearance of the kingdom, and for everything as it was foretold in the Book of Revelation: The Lord arrives, He brings disaster, He rewards the good and punishes the wicked, and He takes all those who follow Him and welcome His return up to meet Him in the air. Whenever we think of this, we cannot but be overcome with emotion and filled with gratitude that we were born in the last days and have the good fortune to witness the coming of the Lord. Though we have suffered persecution, we have gotten in return “a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” What a blessing! All of this longing and the grace bestowed by the Lord render us constantly sober unto prayer and make us more diligent in gathering together. Maybe next year, maybe tomorrow, and maybe within a space of time shorter than man can conceive, the Lord shall suddenly descend, appearing among a group of people who have been waiting for Him with eager solicitude. We rush to get ahead of each other, none willing to fall behind, all for the sake of being in the first group to behold the appearance of the Lord, of being among those who are raptured. We have given everything, heedless of the cost, for the coming of this day; some leaving their jobs, some abandoning their families, some renouncing marriage, and some even donating all of their savings. What selfless acts of devotion! Such sincerity and loyalty are surely beyond even the saints of ages past! As the Lord bestows grace upon whomever He pleases and shows mercy to whomever He pleases, our acts of devotion and of expending, we believe, have long since been beheld by His eyes. So, too, have our heartfelt prayers reached His ears, and we trust that the Lord will give us recompense for our dedication. Moreover, God had been gracious toward us before He created the world, and the blessings and promises He has given to us no one can take away. We are all planning for the future, and as a matter of course have made our dedication and expenditure into counter chips or capital to exchange for being raptured to meet the Lord in the air. What is more, we have, without the slightest hesitation, placed ourselves on the throne of the future, to preside over all nations and all peoples or to reign as kings. All this we take as a given, as something to be expected.
We disdain all those who are against the Lord Jesus; all of their end will be annihilation. Who told them not to believe that the Lord Jesus is the Savior? Of course, there are times when we imitate the Lord Jesus in being compassionate toward the people of the world, for they do not understand, and it is right that we be tolerant and forgiving toward them. Everything that we do is in accordance with the words of the Bible, for everything that does not conform to the Bible is heterodoxy and heresy. Belief of this kind is deeply rooted in the mind of each one of us. Our Lord is in the Bible, and if we do not depart from the Bible, we shall not depart from the Lord; if we abide by this principle, we shall gain salvation. We spur each other on, each supporting the other, and every time we gather together, we hope that everything we say and do is in accordance with the will of the Lord and will be accepted by the Lord. Despite the severe hostility of our environment, our hearts are filled with delight. When we think of the blessings that are within such easy reach, is there anything we cannot set aside? Is there anything we are reluctant to part with? All of this goes without saying, and all of this lies under the watchful eyes of God. We, this handful of the needy who have been lifted from the dunghill, are just like all the ordinary followers of the Lord Jesus, dreaming of being raptured, of being blessed, and of ruling all nations. Our corruption has been laid bare in the eyes of God, and our desires and greed have been condemned in the eyes of God. Nevertheless, all of this happens so normally, and so logically, that none of us wonders whether our longings are right, much less do any of us doubt the accuracy of everything that we hold to. Who can know God’s will? Exactly what sort of path it is that man walks, we do not know to seek or to explore; and even less are we interested in inquiring. For we only care about whether we can be raptured, whether we can be blessed, whether there is a place for us in the kingdom of heaven, and whether we shall have a share of the water of the river of life and the fruit of the tree of life. Is it not for the sake of gaining these things that we believe in the Lord and become His followers? Our sins have been forgiven, we have repented, we have drunk the bitter cup of wine, and we have put the cross upon our back. Who can say that the Lord will not accept the price we have paid? Who can say that we have not prepared enough oil? We do not wish to be those foolish virgins or one of those who are forsaken. Moreover, we pray constantly, asking the Lord to keep us from being deceived by false Christs, for it is said in the Bible: “Then if any man shall say to you, See, here is Christ, or there; believe it not. For there shall arise false Christs, and false prophets, and shall show great signs and wonders; so that, if it were possible, they shall deceive the very elect” (Matthew 24:23–24). We have all committed these verses of the Bible to memory; we know them by heart, and we see them as a precious treasure, as life, and as a letter of credit that decides whether we can be saved or raptured …
For thousands of years, the living have passed away, taking their longings and their dreams with them, but as to whether they have gone to the kingdom of heaven, no one truly knows. The dead return, having forgotten all the stories that once occurred, and they still follow the teachings and the paths of the forefathers. And in this way, as years pass and the days go by, no one knows whether our Lord Jesus, our God, truly accepts everything that we do. All we can do is look forward to having an outcome and speculate about everything that will come to pass. Yet God has kept His silence throughout, never appearing to us, never speaking to us. And so, following the Bible and in accordance with signs, we willfully make judgments about God’s will and disposition. We have become accustomed to the silence of God; we have become accustomed to measuring the right and wrong of our conduct by means of our own way of thinking; we have become accustomed to relying on our knowledge, notions, and moral ethics in place of the demands God makes of us; we have become accustomed to enjoying the grace of God; we have become accustomed to having God provide assistance whenever we need it; we have become accustomed to holding out our hands to God for all things, and to ordering God about; we have also become accustomed to conforming to regulations, not paying attention to how the Holy Spirit leads us; and, even more, we have become accustomed to days in which we are our own master. We believe in a God such as this, whom we have never met face to face. Questions such as what His disposition is like, what He has and is, what His image is like, whether or not we will know Him when He comes, and so on—none of these is important. What is important is that He is in our hearts and that we all await Him, and it is enough we are able to imagine that He is like this or that. We appreciate our faith and treasure our spirituality. We look on all things as dung, and tread all things underfoot. Because we are believers of the glorious Lord, no matter how long and arduous the journey, no matter what hardships and dangers befall us, nothing can halt our footsteps as we follow the Lord. “A pure river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceed[ed] out of the throne of God and of the Lamb. On either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bore twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. And there shall be no more curse: but the throne of God and of the Lamb shall be in it; and His servants shall serve Him: And they shall see His face; and His name shall be in their foreheads. And there shall be no night there; and they need no candle, neither light of the sun; for the Lord God gives them light: and they shall reign for ever and ever” (Revelation 22:1–5). Every time we sing these words, our hearts brim with boundless joy and satisfaction, and tears flow from our eyes. Thanks be to the Lord for choosing us, thanks be to the Lord for His grace. He has given us a hundredfold in this life and has given us eternal life in the world to come. If He were to ask us to die now, we would do so without the slightest complaint. Oh Lord! Please come soon! Considering how we yearn for You so desperately, and have forsaken everything for You, do not delay even a minute, a second, longer.
God is silent, and has never appeared to us, yet His work has never stopped. He surveys the whole earth, and commands all things, and beholds all the words and deeds of man. He conducts His management with measured steps and according to His plan, silently and without dramatic effect, yet His footsteps advance, one by one, ever closer to mankind, and His judgment seat is deployed in the universe at the speed of lightning, following which His throne immediately descends into our midst. What a majestic scene that is, what a stately and solemn tableau! Like a dove, and like a roaring lion, the Spirit comes into our midst. He is wisdom, He is righteousness and majesty, and He comes surreptitiously into our midst, wielding authority and filled with love and mercy. No one is aware of His arrival, no one welcomes His arrival, and, what is more, no one knows all that He is about to do. Man’s life goes on as before, his heart no different, and the days go by as usual. God lives among us, a man like other men, as one of the most insignificant of the followers and an ordinary believer. He has His own pursuits, His own goals; and, what is more, He has divinity not possessed by ordinary men. No one has noticed the existence of His divinity, and no one has perceived the difference between His substance and that of man. We live together with Him, unconstrained and unafraid, for in our eyes He is but an insignificant believer. He watches our every move, and all of our thoughts and ideas are laid bare before Him. No one takes an interest in His existence, no one imagines anything about His function, and, what is more, no one has the faintest suspicion about His identity. All we do is carry on our pursuits, as if He has nothing to do with us …
By chance, the Holy Spirit expresses a passage of words “through” Him, and even though it feels very unexpected, we nevertheless recognize it as an utterance coming from God and readily accept it from God. That is because, regardless of who expresses these words, as long as they come from the Holy Spirit, we should accept them and may not deny them. The next utterance could come through me, or through you, or through someone else. Whoever it is, all is the grace of God. Yet no matter who it is, we may not worship this person, for no matter what, this person cannot possibly be God, nor would we by any means choose an ordinary person like this to be our God. Our God is so great and honorable; how could such an insignificant person stand in His place? What is more, we are waiting for God to come and take us back to the kingdom of heaven, so how could someone so insignificant be up to such an important and arduous task? If the Lord comes again, it must be upon a white cloud, so that all the multitudes may see. How glorious that will be! How is it possible that He can hide surreptitiously among a group of ordinary people?
And yet it is this ordinary person, hidden in the midst of people, who is doing the new work of saving us. He offers us no explanations, nor does He tell us why He has come, but simply does the work He intends to do with measured steps and according to His plan. His words and utterances become ever more frequent. From consoling, exhorting, reminding, and warning, to reproaching and disciplining; from a tone that is gentle and mild, to words that are fierce and majestic—all of it confers mercy on man and instills trepidation in him. Everything that He says hits home at the secrets hidden deep within us; His words sting our hearts, sting our spirits, and leave us filled with unbearable shame, hardly knowing where to hide ourselves. We begin to wonder whether the God in this person’s heart truly loves us and what exactly He is up to. Perhaps we can only be raptured after enduring these sufferings? In our heads, we are calculating … about the destination to come and about our future fate. Still, as before, none of us believes that God has already assumed flesh to work in our midst. Even though He has accompanied us for such a long time, even though He has already spoken so many words face to face with us, we remain unwilling to accept such an ordinary man as the God of our future, and still less are we willing to entrust control of our future and our fate to this insignificant person. From Him we enjoy an unending supply of living water, and through Him we live face-to-face with God. But we are only thankful for the grace of the Lord Jesus in heaven, and have never paid any heed to the feelings of this ordinary person who is possessed of divinity. Still, as before, He does His work humbly hidden in the flesh, giving expression to His inmost heart, as though insensible to mankind’s rejection of Him, as though eternally forgiving of man’s childishness and ignorance, and forever tolerant of man’s irreverent attitude toward Him.
Unbeknownst to us, this insignificant man has led us into one step after another of God’s work. We undergo countless trials, bear innumerable chastenings, and are tested by death. We learn of God’s righteous and majestic disposition, enjoy, too, His love and mercy, come to appreciate God’s great power and wisdom, witness the loveliness of God, and behold God’s eager desire to save man. In the words of this ordinary person, we come to know the disposition and substance of God, to understand God’s will, to know the nature and substance of man, and see the way to salvation and perfection. His words cause us to “die,” and they cause us to be “reborn”; His words bring us comfort, yet also leave us wracked with guilt and a sense of indebtedness; His words bring us joy and peace, but also infinite pain. Sometimes we are as lambs to the slaughter in His hands; sometimes we are like the apple of His eye, and enjoy His tender love; sometimes we are like His enemy, and under His gaze are turned to ashes by His wrath. We are the human race saved by Him, we are the maggots in His eyes, and we are the lost lambs that, day and night, He is bent on finding. He is merciful toward us, He despises us, He raises us up, He comforts and exhorts us, He guides us, He enlightens us, He chastens and disciplines us, and He even curses us. Night and day, He never ceases to worry about us, and protects and cares for us, night and day, never leaving our side, but spills His heart’s blood for our sake and pays any price for us. Within the utterances of this small and ordinary body of flesh, we have enjoyed the entirety of God and beheld the destination that God has bestowed upon us. Notwithstanding this, vanity still stirs up trouble within our hearts, and we are still unwilling actively to accept a person like this as our God. Though He has given us so much manna, so much to enjoy, none of this can take the Lord’s place in our hearts. We honor this person’s special identity and status only with great reluctance. As long as He does not open His mouth to ask us to acknowledge that He is God, we will never take it upon ourselves to acknowledge Him as the God that is soon to arrive and yet has long been working in our midst.
God continues His utterances, employing various methods and perspectives to admonish us about what we should do while, at the same time, giving voice to His heart. His words carry life power, show us the way we should walk, and enable us to understand what the truth is. We begin to be drawn by His words, we begin to focus on the tone and manner of His speaking, and subconsciously we begin to take an interest in the innermost feelings of this unremarkable person. He spits up His heart’s blood in working on our behalf, loses sleep and appetite on our account, weeps for us, sighs for us, groans in sickness for us, suffers humiliation for the sake of our destination and salvation, and our numbness and rebelliousness draw tears and blood from His heart. This way of being and of having belongs to no ordinary person, nor can it be possessed or attained by any corrupted human being. He shows tolerance and patience possessed by no ordinary person, and His love is not something with which any created being is endowed. No one apart from Him can know all of our thoughts, or have such a clear and complete grasp of our nature and substance, or judge the rebelliousness and corruption of mankind, or speak to us and work among us like this on behalf of God in heaven. No one apart from Him is endowed with the authority, wisdom, and dignity of God; the disposition of God and what God has and is are brought forth, in their entirety, in Him. No one apart from Him can show us the way and bring us light. No one apart from Him can reveal the mysteries that God has not disclosed since creation until today. No one apart from Him can save us from Satan’s bondage and our own corrupt disposition. He represents God. He expresses the inmost heart of God, the exhortations of God, and God’s words of judgment toward all mankind. He has begun a new age, a new era, and ushered in a new heaven and earth and new work, and He has brought us hope, ending the life we led in vagueness and enabling our whole being to behold, in total clarity, the path to salvation. He has conquered our whole being and gained our hearts. From that moment onward, our minds have become conscious, and our spirits seem to be revived: This ordinary, insignificant person, who lives among us and has long been rejected by us—is this not the Lord Jesus, who is ever in our thoughts, waking or dreaming, and for whom we long night and day? It is He! It really is He! He is our God! He is the truth, the way, and the life! He has enabled us to live again and to see the light and has stopped our hearts from wandering. We have returned to the home of God, we have returned before His throne, we are face-to-face with Him, we have witnessed His countenance, and we have seen the road that lies ahead. At this time, our hearts are completely conquered by Him; we no longer doubt who He is, no longer oppose His work and His word, and we fall down prostrate before Him. We wish for nothing more than to follow the footprints of God for the rest of our lives, and to be made perfect by Him, and to repay His grace, and repay His love for us, and to obey His orchestrations and arrangements, and to cooperate with His work, and to do everything we can to complete what He entrusts to us.
Being conquered by God is like a martial arts contest.
Each of God’s words strikes at one of our mortal spots, leaving us wounded and filled with dread. He exposes our notions, our imaginings, and our corrupt disposition. From all that we say and do, down to every one of our thoughts and ideas, our nature and substance are revealed in His words, putting us in a state of fear and trembling with nowhere to hide our shame. One by one, He tells us about all of our actions, our aims and intentions, even the corrupt disposition that we ourselves have never discovered, making us feel exposed in all our wretched imperfection and, even more, completely won over. He judges us for opposing Him, chastises us for blaspheming and condemning Him, and makes us feel that, in His eyes, we have not one single redeeming feature, that we are the living Satan. Our hopes are dashed, we no longer dare to make any unreasonable demands or to entertain any hopes of Him, and even our dreams vanish overnight. This is a fact that none of us can imagine and which none of us can accept. Within the space of a moment, we lose our inward equilibrium and do not know how to continue on the road that lies ahead, or how to continue in our beliefs. It seems as if our faith has gone back to square one, and as if we have never met the Lord Jesus or gotten to know Him. Everything before our eyes fills us with perplexity and makes us vacillate indecisively. We are dismayed, we are disappointed, and deep in our hearts there is irrepressible rage and disgrace. We try to vent, to find a way out, and, what is more, to continue waiting for our Savior Jesus, that we may pour our hearts out to Him. Though there are times when we appear on the outside to be on an even keel, neither haughty nor humble, in our hearts we are afflicted with a sense of loss we have never felt before. Though sometimes we may seem unusually calm on the outside, our minds are roiling with torment like a stormy sea. His judgment and chastisement have stripped us of all our hopes and dreams, putting an end to our extravagant desires and leaving us unwilling to believe that He is our Savior and capable of saving us. His judgment and chastisement have opened a chasm between us and Him, one so deep that no one is willing to cross it. His judgment and chastisement are the first time that we have suffered such a great setback, such great humiliation in our lives. His judgment and chastisement have caused us truly to appreciate God’s honor and intolerance of man’s offense, compared to which we are exceedingly base, exceedingly impure. His judgment and chastisement have made us realize for the first time how arrogant and pompous we are, and how man will never be the equal of God, or on a par with God. His judgment and chastisement have made us yearn to live no more in such a corrupt disposition, to rid ourselves of this nature and substance as soon as possible, and to cease being vile and detestable to Him. His judgment and chastisement have made us happy to obey His words, no longer rebelling against His orchestrations and arrangements. His judgment and chastisement have once more given us the desire to survive and made us happy to accept Him as our Savior…. We have stepped out of the work of conquest, out of hell, out of the valley of the shadow of death…. Almighty God has gained us, this group of people! He has triumphed over Satan and defeated the multitudes of His enemies!
We are just such an ordinary group of people, possessed of a corrupt satanic disposition, the ones predestined by God before the ages, and the needy ones whom God has lifted from the dunghill. We once rejected and condemned God, but we have now been conquered by Him. From God we have received life, the way of eternal life. Wherever we may be on earth, whatever persecutions and tribulations we endure, we cannot be apart from the salvation of Almighty God. For He is our Creator, and our only redemption!
The love of God extends forth like the water of a spring, and is given to you, and to me, and to others, and to all those who truly seek the truth and await the appearance of God.
Just as the moon follows the sun in unending alternation, so the work of God never ceases, and is carried out upon you, upon me, upon others, and upon all those who follow the footprints of God and accept His judgment and chastisement.
March 23, 2010
There are now many brothers and sisters, who are new believers, who do not understand questions such as “How does God appear and work? Why do you bear witness that He is God? How are God’s words and utterances expressed? Who recorded them? Why do so many of us not know God’s appearance and work, then you suddenly come out and bear witness that God has appeared?” Therefore, in view of these questions, I have chosen this piece of God’s words as the focus of today’s fellowship. I believe these God’s words can answer many of the questions and doubts of our brothers and sisters.
God’s appearance and work in the last days are just as the Lord Jesus prophesied. There are two parts—His secret arrival and His public arrival. The secret arrival refers to God being incarnated among mankind as the Son of man to utter His words, and do His work of the last days. This is His secret arrival. The public arrival is the Lord openly coming with the clouds, that is, the Lord arriving with tens of thousands of saints, visible to all nations and all peoples. When we currently bear witness to God’s work of judgment of the last days, many people have doubts: “You say that God has appeared and is doing work. Why haven’t we seen Him? When and how is God uttering His words? Has anyone recorded God’s words as He is saying them, or does He bring those words directly to us? Why does God speak among all of you? Why don’t we hear His voice or see Him?” Are these questions good? These questions are quite good. Now that you have believed in Almighty God, can you see through these questions? Do you see through them all? When have you seen through them all? Did you see through them after reading these God’s words, or before? Some say that they were only able to see through them after reading God’s words. That is correct. God has appeared in China, in the East; He expresses His voice and works in the image of the incarnate Son of man. There is nothing at all supernatural. God dons ordinary flesh, His appearance is that of an ordinary person, and He speaks and works amongst us. There is nothing supernatural. Some people say: “If this is not even a little bit supernatural, then is He God or not? If God is appearing and working, then His appearance and work should be supernatural.” Let me ask you, was the Lord Jesus supernatural when He worked? When He was speaking with Peter, could people in other places see it? When He was displaying signs and wonders in one place, could those in other places see it? Definitely not. The Lord Jesus was the Son of man in the flesh, and His work and His words were not supernatural; apart from His demonstrations of signs and wonders, there were no supernatural aspects. That is why people in other places could not hear His words or see His work—only those by His side were able to see, hear, and experience them. This is the practical and normal side of God’s work. Therefore, other religions and other denominations do not know of the work that God has done through The Church of Almighty God in China. Why do they not know? God does not work in supernatural ways. Only those He has worked among are able to see and hear it; those He has not worked among cannot hear His voice. When the Lord Jesus performed His work amongst the Jewish people, were we, the Chinese people, able to see or hear it? Were the British and the Americans in the West able to see and hear it? Then why were the Westerners and the Chinese in the East ultimately able to accept the work of the Lord Jesus? Because there were people who bore witness, who spread the gospel to us, and they gave this Bible that recorded the Lord Jesus’ words and work to us. When we prayed to the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit performed His work and was with us; He bestowed grace upon us, thereby we came to believe that the Lord Jesus is God and the Savior. This is how we came to believe. The Westerners say that “God has appeared and worked in China—why haven’t we known this? Why haven’t we been able to see and hear this?” Is this question easy to explain?
Are there prophecies from God in the Bible about the work of the last days? What did the Lord Jesus say about this? “For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Mat 24:27). What does this mean? It means God’s work of the last days is like lightning, coming out of the East. The Son of man will work in the East, allowing the Easterners to see the appearance of the great light first, to see the appearance of the true light, to see the appearance of God, and then very soon after, this great light will shine to the West just like lightning. That is, after the words of Almighty God came out of the East, they were published online and thereby spread to the West. When were the words of Almighty God published online? The Chinese edition was published online, at the latest, by 2007, or earlier in 2005. The English edition was probably put online in 2010. The words of God have been online for so many years, yet how many people from the religious world have gotten online to investigate them? Not many; very few do so. God’s way and the words He has uttered have long been online. People have now seen that the words of Almighty God are online, so why do those so-called devout believers in the Lord Jesus not investigate them? What is the issue here? Testimony of God’s way has already been given to people from all nations and all regions. If man never investigates them, ultimately suffering perdition and being annihilated, whose responsibility would that be? Who is responsible for this mistake? Is this mistake on God, or is it on man? It is on man. Why do we say that? Because the Lord Jesus said long ago, “Watch therefore: for you know not what hour your Lord does come” (Mat 24:42), “And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the bridegroom comes; go you out to meet him” (Mat 25:6), “My sheep hear My voice” (Jhn 10:27). The Lord Jesus said such things many other times: “Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you” (Mat 7:7). This is God’s promise, and the Lord Jesus said things of this nature quite a few times. According to the words of the Lord Jesus, if man never seeks God, and never looks into it when he hears of someone bearing witness to God’s coming, instead blindly condemning them, saying things such as “All those that bear witness to God’s coming are heretics and heterodox members,” then these people who have not accepted God’s work even at the very end will fall into catastrophes and will die in the throes of their punishment in the disasters. Who should be blamed? Many people from religious communities are suspicious regarding this matter. “Why does God not appear to us? Why is He hidden from us? Why does He not let us know?” Has God ever said “When I secretly arrive to perform work, I shall appear and give revelations to all people”? What did God say? “If therefore you shall not watch, I will come on you as a thief, and you shall not know what hour I will come on you” (Rev 3:3). This was prophesied in the Book of Revelation. Therefore, if we as believers in the Lord hear that someone has borne testimony that “The bridegroom has arrived; the Lord has returned,” yet we do not actively investigate or accept God’s work of the last days, when we fall into catastrophe and die in our punishment, we cannot blame God. We should look for the problem from within ourselves to see in which aspects we have not done properly. Only this is fair. Looking back, how did you accept the Lord Jesus? Did the Lord Jesus come to you? Did the Lord appear to you? He did neither. You accepted the Lord Jesus because others preached the gospel and gave testimony on the Lord to you. Belief in the way comes from hearing about the way, while hearing about the way comes from the words of God. Now that someone has borne witness to you on this gospel and the fact that God has arrived to perform work, this is God’s love, mercy, and concern for you—should you not thus understand it? This is how a devout person should understand this. Therefore, do not be arrogant before God, do not think too highly of yourself, do not only think “When God comes He should first give revelations to me. He should first reveal it to me. If He arrives and does not reveal it to me, then He is not God, and I will not acknowledge Him.” What sort of people are these? What mistakes have they made? Do you dare to ascertain that God must reveal it to you when He arrives? What basis do you have for this? Did the Lord tell you “I shall first reveal it to you when I arrive”? Has He said such words to you? Do you think that you are above everyone else in the world, that you are the most important, that you love God the most? Are you above everyone else? Are you a very special created being? Can someone like that be easily saved? Why does God need to perform the work of judgment in the last days? It is because corrupt mankind is not fit to see God. All of corrupt mankind has Satan’s disposition; they are all particularly arrogant and conceited, and they all have very extravagant desires regarding God. They place themselves above all else, just slightly below the heavens and far above others, as if they are favored by Heaven. With this kind of corrupt disposition, anyone who has not accepted God’s judgment and chastisement is not fit to see God.
What is the topic of these God’s words that we read today? “Beholding the Appearance of God in His Judgment and Chastisement.” Someone might even say: “Then why is God appearing in front of you? Why does He not appear in front of us? Why is God appearing in China, why not appearing in some country in the West?” What is wrong with men’s thoughts like this? Does God have to ask for the opinions of man regarding where He should appear and perform work? Does He have to ask for the opinions of God’s elects from all nations, “Let us all cast a vote, and whichever place should have the most votes, I shall appear there to perform My work”? No, He does not. Why does He not? If He does, wouldn’t it be great? Let God also hear the voice of the masses, and have a democratic election. Is this appropriate? Why is this not appropriate? If man must have such demands, what mistakes has man made? Man is too irrational, man is too arrogant! You want to be the strategist of God? What you mean to say is that God must first consult your opinions regarding God’s work and where God should appear. Man, the created, saying such things, what disposition is this? Is this not arrogance? Is it me who is condemning these men? Man cannot say things that are too arrogant, for this is irrational, and he will not be blessed by God!
Why was Abraham blessed by God? He said: “Oh God, I am nothing but dust!” It means: “I am nothing. I am a man, but in front of God, I am nothing but dust.” He humbled himself. He knew what the position of man was before God, he knew what man was, therefore he said such things before God, which showed that Abraham was a man who revered God. In the eyes of Abraham, God was supreme, God was noble, while we men were mere dust before God. We cannot even compare with ants. We are not entitled to put forth any conditions to God, to have any extravagant demands, or have any excessive desire for God. Therefore, God appeared to Abraham, God had demands of him, and God worked on him. Indeed, Abraham lived up to God’s expectations and God’s will. No matter what God’s demands were of him, he obeyed, thereby in the end he received the blessings from the Creator. What are we before God? How do we compare with Abraham? Do we dare compare ourselves with Abraham? Why don’t we dare? The entirety of mankind has been corrupted by Satan. Abraham should have also been one of them, yet we are unable to see much corruption in Abraham’s prayers and the ways that he dealt with things. Look at the things that he said, the things that he did. He had too much reason, too much humanity. We cannot compare with him! Abraham, if I were to compare with him, I would be too far behind, I can’t even compare with him. I cannot compare. We can’t even compare with Job. I am a man of the last days, most deeply corrupted by Satan—there is no doubt about this. Therefore, before God, we men must be equipped with the necessary reason. In regards to God’s appearance and God’s work, we must only obey, we must only seek; we must not have any extravagant desire or any unreasonable expectations.
Let us look at the Israelites once again. They are all people who believed in God. When Jehovah God was performing work in Israel, He led the Israelites to live on the earth, who promised that in the end the Savior would appear, performing the sin offering for mankind. The Israelites then hoped for the arrival of the Messiah. They wished that the Messiah would soon arrive in their midst. Subsequently, the Lord Jesus arrived, and the Lord Jesus was the Messiah. What is the meaning of the Messiah? The Savior. And so, when the Savior arrived, could His name be “the Savior”? The same with the arrival of God, can His name be “God”? The name of “God” is not easy for man to understand, for there are too many who are called “God” among men. Look at the unbelievers who keep calling some women “goddesses.” They would call anyone a goddess. How disgusting is that? Anyone that man worships, anyone that is his idol, he calls God. All those heroes and historical figures that he blindly worships he calls God. Because the corrupt mankind does not know God, because he has too many Gods in his heart, therefore God must have His own name when He should come. During the Age of Law, God was called Jehovah, and the Israelites used to call Him “Jehovah God,” “God of Israel.” What is the meaning of the name “Jehovah”? The everlasting God. During the Age of Grace, the Messiah arrived, called “Jesus.” Simply because God was called by the name “Jesus,” the Israelites did not accept, saying, “You are not called Messiah, therefore You are not the Messiah. I do not recognize You, and I do not accept You. You are speaking in the capacity of God. You said that You are sent by God, and we condemn You. You are blasphemous. You came here to be our God, to be our Savior, but we do not accept that. We shall crucify You.” Eventually, they crucified the Lord Jesus. Tell me, the Israelites believed in God, yet in the end they crucified the incarnate Lord Jesus. What is the issue here? That is, they believed in God yet did not acknowledge God; they believed in God yet resisted God. Is this not fact? Thereby the Lord Jesus cursed and punished these Pharisees who condemned Him and crucified Him. Is this not the righteousness of God? Accordingly, these two thousand years have not treated the Israelites kindly. They suffered the loss of their nation, they were reduced to slaves and servants among different nations, different tribes, and different parts of the world. There are many Israelites in China, there are also many in the west. They are in all countries. They are unable to return to their own home. Many Muslim countries made them enemies of the state, engaging in wars against them throughout generations, never ending. Even at this very moment, they are preparing for major battles. What problems has this illustrated? To believe in God, yet to not know God, and to resist God—will you receive the promise of God? You shall only be destroyed by God. Then some might say: “What you are saying is not correct. The Israelites were reverent and devout toward Jehovah God. Did the Lord Jesus not see their reverence and devotion to Jehovah God? Wouldn’t He forgive them and have mercy on them?” Is this correct? Most people would not think that this is correct. The Lord Jesus cursed the Israelites, He cursed those Pharisees and the leaders of Judaism, as well as all those who condemned the Lord Jesus. Tell me, was the Lord Jesus representing Jehovah God with His condemnation of the Pharisees and Judaism? If He did represent Jehovah God, then the Israelites who some said were reverent and devout toward Jehovah God, these “good deeds” of theirs, should they be commemorated by God? Those deeds did not count any more, they had been written off. When the Lord Jesus was performing work, Judas was chosen as one of the apostles. However, because he was always secretly spending money from the money bag of the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit handed him over to Satan. For what reason was he handed over to Satan? To allow him to fulfill the fact of the Lord Jesus’ crucifixion, and accordingly, he betrayed the Lord Jesus. After he betrayed the Lord Jesus, the Lord Jesus was crucified. Tell me, shouldn’t Judas be condemned? Some then might say: “He sold out the Lord Jesus, yet he didn’t do it on purpose. He did it for money, yet he probably performed a lot of good deeds for the Lord Jesus. He had done some good things. Wouldn’t those things be commemorated by the Lord?” These things couldn’t be commemorated by the Lord, for they had been written off. Because of this treachery, because of this betrayal, his true nature and substance had been utterly exposed. Therefore, all that he had done before were all a sham, they were adulterated, they were not true love and obedience of God.
Now there are some new believers who are unable to see through these things. They do not know how God views these things, what God’s viewpoint and God’s will are. What is missing that they were unable to see through these things? You must know God’s will when thinking about these things. These things that I say, whose words do I base them on? They are based on God’s words. When the Lord Jesus arrived, why did He curse Judaism, why did He curse those Pharisees? Because they resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus. If they hadn’t said things that resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus, could the Lord Jesus have cursed them? Could He have hated them? It was those from Judaism who first antagonized the Lord Jesus, who first condemned and resisted the Lord Jesus, which then resulted in the Lord Jesus’ curse against them. Is this not the case? Let us now look at the time when the Lord Jesus was preaching. Why did He not go to the synagogue of Judaism? Because the synagogue of Judaism was controlled by the chief priests, scribes and the Pharisees, and all these leaders were at enmity with the Lord Jesus. If the Lord Jesus should have gone to the synagogue, then He would have certainly been captured long ago, instead of preaching for three years before He was crucified in their hands. Is that not the case? We have seen from the four Gospels of the Bible that the Lord Jesus was almost captured several times, yet He escaped into the crowd. Hence, during the days when the Lord Jesus was preaching, who hated the Lord Jesus the most, and who most wanted to capture the Lord Jesus? Was it the contemporary Roman government, or was it the contemporary Judaism? It was Judaism. It was Judaism that captured the Lord Jesus and handed Him over to the Roman government. The Roman government had not found any crime that the Lord Jesus had committed, yet Judaism strenuously demanded that “If you do not crucify this person, then you are not loyal to Caesar.” Judaism wanted to charge Him. What they meant was that “If you do not crucify Jesus, we shall go to the Emperor of Rome and make accusations of you, to have the Emperor dismiss you and remove you from office.” Therefore, it was Judaism that forced Pilate to give the order to crucify the Lord Jesus. This is the fact.
Now, many people are unable to clearly see how the religious community is resisting God, therefore they are crying out for the perceived injustice against the religious community. “Why are you condemning the religious community?” Are we the ones condemning the religious community? Or is it the religious community condemning God’s work? Who is condemning whom? During the Age of Grace, was it the Lord Jesus who first condemned the Pharisees, or was it the Pharisees who first antagonized the Lord Jesus? This matter must be clarified. It is inappropriate for you to speak blindly without first clarifying this matter. You make no distinctions, you are unable to see through anything, yet in the end you willfully judge God’s work, saying that God has condemned man. Is this the case? God condemned man for God is righteous. Can you say that God is not correct in condemning man? Can you still proclaim that man is holy? Do you still dare say such things? Now, why do all the people in the religious community rarely seek out God’s work of the last days? Why has the website of The Church of Almighty God been published online for all these years, about ten years now, yet very few have investigated God’s work of the last days? What is the source of the problem? Do you know? It is because of the Chinese Communist Party and those antichrists from the religious community trying to condemn and profane Almighty God, fabricating a variety of negative videos, negative material, negative propaganda and spreading them online, constantly discrediting The Church of Almighty God, attacking and profaning Almighty God. Whenever someone goes online, all that they see is negative propaganda, there is only negative material, therefore they do not investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days. Is this not the case? And what thing is this religious community? Who is the one actually condemning the religious community? Is it man who condemns, or is it God? Why is man unable to make such distinctions? Why does man speak for the antichrists from the religious community? Why does man not believe that this is Almighty God’s judgment of mankind, that this is Almighty God’s judgment of the religious community? This question is worth pondering. This question must be pondered.
Every time God incarnate performs work, there has always been a most intense battle with Satan. This mankind, the ruling parties of this mankind, including the religions of this mankind, they first point their spears directly at Christ, wanting to completely ban Christ’s work on earth, to establish an eternal godless realm on earth. Is this not the scheme of Satan? Why do they so frenziedly resist and condemn Almighty God? Because they want to achieve this despicable objective—to establish a godless realm in China, and to establish a godless realm in the world. And now, the religious beliefs of all nations of the world run the risk of being banned. The Christians of some nations are starting to be persecuted. There are not many Christians left in the ruling parties; there are only very few in the ruling parties that are Christians. If a nation is completely ruled by an atheist party, then it is inevitable that Christians will begin to be persecuted. Can we not say that? If you believe in the vague God, if you believe in the God in heaven, then others would look at you and say, “Oh, religious belief,” and they ignore you. However, should you believe in a real God, a practical God, an incarnate God, then they will certainly condemn you. The religious community will first persecute you by calling you heresy and a cult. Therefore, this desire of us for salvation, this desire of us to believe in this practical God, this incarnate God, their purpose is to get rid of our corrupt disposition, to live out the likeness of a true man, to receive God’s promise to enter the kingdom of heaven. Will such a road be smooth? Why must this road be tortuous and fraught with difficulties? That is because of the evils of this world, that is because of the evils of the ruling parties, that is because of the evils of the religious community. They resulted in us having to suffer many hardships, and they resulted in us having to endure many persecutions.
Now we have many brothers and sisters, who are new believers, who are spreading the gospel in the religions. Once they began to bear witness for God in the religions, they hit a brick wall. The religious people started resisting, and they began to besiege these new believers. They became confused, “I am here to bear witness of God for you, why are you antagonizing me? Why are you so hostile? Oh, you do not understand. One must have tremendous patience spreading the gospel to the religious community. It just wouldn’t work without patience.” “By spreading the gospel to them, I must be persecuted by them, and they would also treat us as their enemy. Why is it so difficult to spread this gospel? Could it be that the God we believe in is not real?” Some started to have doubts, and they ask why this is happening. They are unable to see through the essence of this issue. What is this issue? Why is it so easy for man to accept Lord Jesus, yet so difficult for man to accept Almighty God? This is because the work of Lord Jesus is that of redemption, and the work of redemption is filled with grace, filled with blessings, without judgment and chastisement. That is to say, all that Lord Jesus has given man is grace, healing, exorcising of ghosts, solutions to difficulties, peace and joy, blessings; Lord Jesus makes sure that everything goes well for you. This is why Lord Jesus is well received. Particularly those with sickness, those faced with disasters and difficulties, once you tell them that Lord Jesus can give them salvation, that He can give them peace and blessing, they say, “Well then, I shall believe in Him.” Therefore, it is easy to believe in Lord Jesus, it is easy for man to accept Him, because the work of Lord Jesus fits so well with the conceptions of man. Lord Jesus bestows grace to man, and He forgives all sins of man. This is too easy to believe, this is too easy to be accepted by man. On the other hand, when you go and bear witness of Almighty God to others, they ask you: “What kind of God is Almighty God? Why should we believe in Him?” “You will be judged and chastised by Him if you believe in Him.” “Oh? Judged and chastised? Condemning our sins? I do not have sins.” There is the trouble. Once judgment and chastisement are mentioned, the hatred of man surfaces. Which is why it is not easy to spread the gospel of Almighty God. Just one day of bearing witness for the gospel of Lord Jesus and others will easily accept Him, yet it takes at least ten days of bearing witness for Almighty God before He will be accepted. This is a ratio of one to ten! If you bear witness of Almighty God for others, all those receiving the gospel must go through a battle of seven, eight days—not one of them is willing to accept without this effort of seven, eight days. You have no need to understand the Bible when bearing witness for Lord Jesus. You can bear witness without understanding any truths, as long as you speak of the receiving of grace and blessings after believing in the Lord. This will not work when bearing witness for Almighty God. You will not be able to bear witness without having equipped yourself with the truths for a year or so. With just those words of yours, with just those knowledge of yours, you won’t be able to refute those from the religions, you must equip yourself with the truths for a year or so. You must also constantly listen to sermons and carry out fellowships before you can lay down a foundation in your own heart. Almighty God has arrived in the last days, bringing with Him the righteous disposition of God, bringing with Him all the truths of God’s salvation and cleansing of mankind, expressing them all. Man looks at this, and sees a God full of righteousness, majesty and wrath, full of judgment and chastisement, and man sees that He shall ultimately put an end to this era, and destroy this evil world. Such a tremendous difficulty laid out before man, can man understand? Can he accept? Therefore, one must say much when bearing witness for Almighty God. If you do not fellowship almost all the basics of the three stages of work, if you merely talk of God’s work in the last days, it will not work. Almighty God during the last days is the complete manifestation of Jehovah. He expressed all the words that must be said to mankind, all the work that must be performed on mankind, all the arrangements that have been made for mankind, as well as how the fate of mankind will play out in the future, in much detail, and with much specificity. Therefore, to bear witness for Almighty God during the last days, one must understand many truths before one can witness for God thoroughly and clearly.
Some might then ask: “Why do you say that the words spoken by Almighty God are the words spoken by God? What basis do you have for saying this?” Is this question easy to answer? So, others ask you: “What basis do you have for saying that Lord Jesus is God? How many days have you believed in God? How can you acknowledge that Lord Jesus is God? Have you ever believed in Jehovah God? You have never believed in Jehovah God, then how can you accept Lord Jesus? Have you seen Lord Jesus? Has He appeared to you?” Can you answer these things clearly? Let us then ask the Jewish people: “What basis do you have for believing in Jehovah? Have you seen Jehovah? Has Jehovah appeared to you? What basis do you have, what proof do you have, that Jehovah is God?” Is this easy for someone to answer? It is certainly not something that is easy to answer. Therefore, God’s words have said that God’s sheep listen to God’s voice. Those who acknowledge that the words of Almighty God are God’s words and God’s voice, they will be able to accept Almighty God. Ask them: “Why do you believe in Almighty God?” They say: “From the words of Almighty God, I can see that this is God’s voice, that this is God’s expression, therefore I believe in Almighty God.” “Then why do you believe in Lord Jesus?” “I see authority and power in the words of Lord Jesus. He has also performed some miracles, therefore I acknowledge that Lord Jesus is God.” Those who believe in Jehovah say: “We have experienced the work of Jehovah God. Jehovah God has led us. Based on His words, we make offerings to Him once we have sinned, and thereby we attain peace in our hearts. We keep His laws and thereby we are blessed by God. Therefore, we have determined that Jehovah is the true God.” Don’t those who believe in God say such things? In this way, all take after their own kinds. Unbelievers all believe in the devil, they all believe in Satan: Some of them believe in Guanyin, some believe in Gautama Buddha, yet some believe in Marx, Mao Zedong, while others believe in Yue Fei, Guan Yu, and others believe in Mazu. In short, all that the unbelievers believe in are false. None of them were able to create the heavens and earth and all things, and none of them are able to give mankind salvation. They are all false gods. False gods are evil spirits, they must be taken seriously. Such evil spirits can harm man, and man could perish from them. Is that not the case? The false gods must be somewhat effective for people to believe in them, for the unbelievers are no fool, and they would not have believed if the false gods have not been effective. Therefore, to put it precisely, the false gods are the various evil spirits. They have shown that they are effective, to some extent, and they have also demonstrated some small miracles, but they are evil spirits. Evil spirits can’t rule over the fate of mankind, they can’t bring salvation to mankind, they can’t change the world, they can’t lead mankind, and they did not create the heavens and earth and all things, therefore they are false gods. At present, all of mankind are following their own kinds, they are all believing in their own way, according to their own basis, with their own reasons—religious freedom, that which no one has the right to interfere. Therefore, for us to bear witness that Almighty God is the true God, what principles should we base on? If you can accept Almighty God’s words and His work, if you can acknowledge that the words of Almighty God are the expression of God and the voice of God, then The Church of Almighty God will accept you. If we have borne witness for you for many days and fellowshiped the truths for many days, yet you still do not acknowledge that Almighty God is the true God, and you still do not accept that Almighty God is the second coming of Lord Jesus, what can be done? There is nothing that can be done. No one can force another or pressure another to accept. If one does not acknowledge that this is the voice of God, what else can you tell such a person?
Before, when I believed in the Lord, as I was spreading the gospel I would hear people say, “If I do not go to work, would this Lord that you believe in give me money to spend?” I said: “If you want money to spend, then this path is not possible for you. The Lord that we believe in can provide man salvation away from sin, and this is more important than having money to spend. If someone has a fatal illness, can money save him? No, it can’t save him, but one word from God will let him live. If you do not believe in God, you shall go to hell after you die, no one can save you, and you will suffer eternal agony in hell. However, if you believe in God, then one day when you die, you will no longer go to hell. Tell me, can you buy that with money?” Some people, after they heard this, what did they say? “I don’t believe these things that you said. Who have seen this fact?” I said: “If you don’t believe, if you don’t acknowledge that there is a spiritual realm, if you don’t acknowledge that there is God, then you are done, then you cannot believe in the Lord. You are unable to believe in the Lord, and there is no use talking with you. All you see is what’s in front of you, all you see is that money and the material world are real. Go on then, and believe in money.” What are some of the questions that the religious person would ask? “What basis do you have for saying that these are God’s words? Who recorded the words of Almighty God? Could God have brought these words directly by Himself when He arrived?” Are these questions easy to answer? Man cannot answer them. If one does not acknowledge that these are God’s words, it means that he is not God’s sheep. God’s sheep listen to God’s voice, and he is not God’s sheep. He hears God’s voice yet he does not acknowledge that this is God’s voice, and he said that this is the voice of man. Is this not the case? Lord Jesus said: “I am sent by God.” Those in Judaism heard this, and said, “You said that You are sent by God, You are blasphemous. How come we didn’t see in what manner God has sent You? What proof do You have that You are sent by God?” Tell me, could someone like this believe in the Lord? He was unable to accept Him, and he did not acknowledge that Lord Jesus was sent by God. He did not even acknowledge the One sent by God, then he certainly wouldn’t have accepted if you had told him of God incarnate and God’s appearance. If you should say such things, he would have chased you out with a stick, he would have locked you up. Is that not the case? Therefore, regarding the acceptance of God’s work, we must see how the individual’s heart and spirit receive. This is the key. We say: “God has returned.” He says: “Where?” “Performing work in China, expressing His words.” “What is the proof?” “We have words as proof.” “Then how do you acknowledge that these are God’s words?” “Read them, look at them. See if these are God’s words; see if these are words originating from the same source as the words of Lord Jesus, the words of Jehovah God, and the words of God spread by the prophets; see if it is the same Spirit voicing these words. If you can see through this problem, then everything is fine, and all the problems are solved, and the answers are all here. If you can’t see that the same Spirit is voicing His words and doing His work, then there is no use no matter how much we say. Like minds can easily be understood by each other.”
How many of those from Judaism who believed in Jehovah accepted Lord Jesus? Very few. Who were these people? These people were those who had the inner quality to understand spiritual matters. Once they saw Lord Jesus’ words and the work He performed, they said, “This is the appearance of Jehovah God, this is the arrival of Jehovah God.” Many did not understand spiritual matters, and they said: “I heard Jesus’ words, and He kept saying blasphemous things. He is certainly not sent by God, therefore I do not accept.” Look, once God has incarnated, those from the religious community with true beliefs, false beliefs; those who know God’s voice, those who do not; those who understand the spirit, and those who do not; are they not all distinguished at once? They are all distinguished. Therefore, Lord Jesus arrived during the Age of Grace, distinguishing those in Judaism with true beliefs and false beliefs. Now Almighty God has arrived during the last days, and all those from the entire Catholic Church, Christian Church, Orthodox Church; those with true beliefs in God, and those with false beliefs in God; those who understand spiritual matters, and those who do not understand spiritual matters; those who love the truth, and those who do not love the truth; those good servants, and those evil servants; all of them have been distinguished. Some might say: “Those who have not investigated are also distinguished?” For those who have not investigated, it depends on their attitude. Go ask the religious community: “What is happening with ‘Eastern Lightning,’ do you know?” “We know. Both the Chinese communist government and the religious community have condemned ‘Eastern Lightning,’ therefore we are not investigating.” They refused to investigate, solely because of this, and what is this issue here? Are these people who thirst for God’s appearance? Are these people who love the truth? Are these wise virgins? They can’t measure up in these respects, therefore they do not investigate, and they do not accept because they do not investigate. Then some might say: “Do we not preach to them because they do not accept it? Let us preach to them, and if they will not accept it no matter how much we preach, then we can still condemn them at that time.” Then you go ahead and preach. Are we not always preaching? The Church of Almighty God is always preaching, and we are always bearing witness for the appearance and work of the Christ of the last days. It is not that we condemn them while we haven’t yet preached to them, while they do not yet know, while they have not yet investigated. God’s work always gives man sufficient time, is that not the case? During the Age of Law, Jehovah God performed work for two thousand years, and Lord Jesus has now also performed work for two thousand years. While Almighty God of the last days has performed work for the shortest period of time, yet it has already been over twenty years, almost thirty years. For over twenty years, the gospel of kingdom has been spread to almost the entire world, it has been spread all over the internet, with people from all nations having accepted this gospel. Of course, there is still some time until the gate of grace should close. When will the gate of grace close? When the great disaster has ended, then the gate of grace will be closed completely.
Some people say, “Those people in the religious world who still haven’t accepted the gospel, are they sure to perish?” Did I say this? How can we look at this from the basis of God’s word? When the apocalypse is over, the gate of salvation will be completely closed. Look at this passage from the word of God, “When I chastise the many peoples, those in the religious world will, to varying extents, return to My kingdom.” When God says “to varying extents,” this means that during the apocalypse, there will be some people from different religious denominations—a small minority, a few individuals—who will return to God’s side. Nothing we humans have to say can tell us who will be able to be saved and who will not be able to be saved; rather, the key to answering this question lies in God’s word. If we repeat what God says and if we speak in accordance with God’s word, then our words will be correct. For our words are founded in God’s word, we are not talking nonsense. Don’t you believe in God’s word? It’s alright to not believe in the words of humans, but if you don’t believe in God’s word, then you have no faith in God. This arises from your vile faithlessness. How can you still believe in Almighty God if you don’t believe in what God said? What is this “vile faithlessness”? Most people who follow God are riddled with doubts. What lies within this doubt? Vile faithlessness. If there is a little bit of faithlessness within you, then you’ll oppose and resist God, you will be conflicted, your heart will be disloyal to Him, even to the point where you will become God’s enemy on certain matters. Is this not so? If you lack even a bit of faith toward God regarding just one issue, this will lead you to betray Him on this matter, and you will become an enemy of God. A person who truly reveres God and distances himself from evil speaks with care. He’ll say, “Who spoke these words? If it is a human, are his words based in God’s word? I’ll get a book of God’s word and search inside.” Once he reads God’s word, he’ll say, “It is based in God’s word. This is not a person who speaks nonsense.” How should you treat something that a person says if it is based in God’s word? If you submit to it without following your own notions, this is true reverence and godliness. Is it reverence or godliness if you blindly condemn and oppose something that doesn’t accord with your own notions and don’t search for the truth in God’s word? This is not reverence or godliness at all, but rather the corrupt disposition of man; he is revealing his arrogant and self-righteous nature. Is this not so? My words don’t condemn anybody. My words have their foundation in the word of God. In the prophecy of Revelation, God condemns the religious world. The religious world is Babylon the Great, and in the end, Babylon the Great will ultimately be destroyed. It is the great whore. Is it true that God condemns the religious world? It’s quite troublesome that a person can believe in the Lord for many years and still not see how in the prophecy of Revelation God condemns the religious world as Babylon the Great. When Lord Jesus came to earth, He condemned Judaism, and when Almighty God comes, He condemns the entire religious world. The Bible’s prophecy of Revelation condemns the entire religious world as Babylon the Great, the great whore. You are now following the great whore and believing in God and serving God in Babylon the Great. What path do you walk? Do you walk the path of God’s will or do you walk the path of the antichrist? This you will never know today. But if you truly revere God and submit to God’s judgment and chastisement, after a few years of doing this, you will be able to see all things clearly.
Today we read this passage of God’s word “Beholding the Appearance of God in His Judgment and Chastisement.” God’s words made it clear that if a person does not undergo the judgment and chastisement of God, he will not be able to see God appear. Some people say, “How could we not be able to see it when Lord Jesus openly descends from the clouds?” Is this person in the right? No, he is not. We say this because it’s written clearly in the Bible in black and white. What does Revelation 1:7 say? “Behold, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.” What will happen when God openly descends from the clouds? “[A]ll kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.” People would not believe and say, “How is this possible? How can everyone weep in sorrow at seeing God descend from the clouds?” It also says here, “Even so, Amen.” The words of Revelation are all God’s words, for God directly gave these revelations to John the apostle, just as the rest of the books of the prophets were revealed to man. In the Bible, some words come from God’s own mouth directly, while some are spoken by prophets. Then there is the Revelation. These are all God’s words, and they have not been diluted by human ideas in the least bit. When you look at the words written by people in the Bible, some of them come from the Holy Spirit and some of them come from the understanding of men, but what they say is very close to God’s meaning. This meaning is correct, but not completely accurate. And some of them are surely influenced by how people received God’s words based on their biases or confusion. This is how you must look at the Bible. But regarding the afore-mentioned Revelation, these revelations are God’s words exactly. This is exactly like what the prophets said, and this is what God directly revealed to John, and John recorded the revelations on the basis of what God gave him. “[A]ll kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.” It is also written: “[E]very eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him.” Who does “they also which pierced Him” refer to? This refers to those among the religious world who directly condemn God in the last days. These are the people who pierce Him. These people will still witness God’s open appearance, and they will still see with their own eyes. “[T]hey also which pierced Him” do not refer to the Roman soldiers who crucified Lord Jesus. This verse refers to those who believe in God but resist Him and condemn Him, those who will see Him appear openly. “[A]ll kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.” Why will these people immediately start weeping after seeing God appear? It is because these people resist God, they do not accept God’s work during the last days, and they do not undergo God’s judgment and chastisement, nor do they attain purity. And so, when these people see God manifest Himself, the only possible outcome is “all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him.”
Those who have undergone Almighty God’s judgment and chastisement will attain perfection during the apocalypse. When they see God appear openly, they will be filled with happiness and delight, they will be wild with joy! “Our God has finally revealed Himself to us again!” Some people will ask, “Why does Almighty God need to leave His believers first, and then come back and appear openly yet again?” After God finishes His work in His corporeal form, He will go back to Zion. This is just like how after Jesus was crucified, when His corporeal body had finished His work, He was resurrected. After being resurrected, did He still have the body of His corporeal form? No, it was His spiritual body that appeared, which looked identical to His corporeal form. When a person saw Him, they would say, “Ah, isn’t this Lord Jesus?” But it was His spiritual body. How long did this spiritual body appear to His disciples? Forty days. After forty days, His appearance on earth finished, and afterward He ascended back to heaven. Almighty God’s work of the last days will be like this. After finishing His work in His corporeal form, He will return to Zion. What’s next after returning to Zion? Some people say that God will openly appear right away. This is not so. It will not be instantaneous; God will return to Zion for a while, and then He will appear openly. After He returns to Zion, calamities will befall the earth. What does God say when coming to earth this time? “I … bring catastrophes of all kinds.” Once God completes His work and finishes speaking He will judge, chastise, and refine those who hear His voice and come before His throne. Once these people have been purified and made into overcomers, God will return to Zion. This group of overcomers is made complete before the disaster. They belong to the group of overcomers raptured before the disaster. Some who are not made complete will be refined and purified through the great calamities, which will make them reflect and learn lessons. And so, when those who presently do not pursue the truth are faced with the apocalypse, God will assign them a sufficient amount of lessons for them to learn. Through these lessons, they will learn to know God and submit to God amidst the apocalypse. And so, people of God will attain perfection through these great disasters. When the great disasters fall, the people of the world will perish group by group. These people will die in this disaster, and those people will die in that disaster. When each disaster befalls the world, each will have its own purpose, carrying away some people. There’s a saying among the unbelievers: “Those who are doomed will not be able to escape it.”
Some people say, “Why is it that today, we who believe in Almighty God must suffer the persecution of the religious world, and we must also suffer oppression and persecution by the government? We’ve suffered entirely too much. When you look at unbelievers and see how easy their lives are, it seems like not believing in God is just better, easier. They can do whatever they want, have fun however they want, eat and enjoy whatever they want, it’s all okay. Why does it have to be so painful for us to believe in God?” What kind of nonsense is this? What is the nature of these words? These are the words of a nonbeliever. Are unbelievers truly happy? No, they are not truly happy. In fact, they have more troubles than you do. If you look at them from the outside, they appear to be cheerful, but in reality, their hearts are deeply troubled. A disease will befall them at anytime, and the complications of this ailment, combined with all the outward stress from life and society and the fact that the apocalypse is growing nearer and nearer, make them anxious and desperate and unable to carry on. This is why they all eat and drink themselves to death now. What does God prepare for these people? God prepares disasters for unbelievers, and after they die they go directly to hell. How does God prepare His chosen people? God has you receive the hardships of judgment and chastisement through His word, so that you may obtain purity, perfection, and come to understand the truth. And so, all the hardships that God’s chosen people must experience now are all for the purpose of purifying and curing their corrupt disposition; they are all for us to obtain the truth. If you went to a hospital or a doctor to seek treatment for an illness, would it be possible to not suffer? It’s wrong not to suffer. If you don’t suffer, you won’t get treatment for your illness, you will never obtain truth and life. Is this not the case? Some people say, “I don’t want to undergo these hardships of judgment and punishment, I’m dying to go enjoy myself like the unbelievers. When the apocalypse comes, it’ll be much better if I just die in an instant and go straight to hell.” Are there really people who say such things? There are. What kind of person is this? These are the words of a foolish person. As for the unbelievers, when the apocalypse comes, they’ll have far more hardships than you will. Death will be near at hand for them, and once they die they will go directly to hell. After going to hell, will their souls suffer? Their souls will continue to suffer; this suffering will be eternal! Their corporeal bodies have just started to suffer now, and so unbelievers will suffer even more. In comparison, what you face now is a miniscule amount of hardship. Isn’t there a huge difference between what you must face now and what unbelievers will suffer when they go to hell for eternity? That is extreme suffering. Isn’t it foolish to choose eternal, extreme suffering later over a small amount of suffering now? What does the Bible say about this? “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory” (2Co 4:17). Is this not the truth? What are new believers afraid of? “Oh, having faith in Almighty God, I have to face persecution along with larger and crueler spiritual battles. If I were taken captive by Satan, I would be branded with the mark of Satan, and, after being marked by Satan, I would perish for eternity. Oh, believing in Almighty God and staying faithful to His way—this is so difficult, so torturous.” Don’t be scared, all is in God’s hands, God rules over everything. Rely on God, pray to God—this is all you need, no need to dwell on these matters.
Now that the apocalypse draws nearer and nearer, chaos has erupted within every country in the world. And thus God’s words have been fulfilled! Almighty God said, “Starting now, the international situation will grow even tenser, and various countries will begin to collapse from within.” “Today is the first step. One day, all throughout the universe shall fall into the tumult of war, the people of earth will never again have leaders, the whole world will be like a pile of loose sand, governed by no one.” This is what it will be like when the apocalypse comes: pure chaos. Some people ask how many years will be left before the disaster—no one knows. God has not given us a definite year, and in any case, we already know that this is going to happen. Some people say, “How do you know all this? How do we know what you say is right?” Don’t listen to what I have to say. If you look at the word of Almighty God, you will understand yourself. When you read more of the words of Almighty God, you will have the same ideas as me, and you will speak just like I do. If you don’t go and read Almighty God’s words, you’ve listened to me in vein, you still won’t be able to accept them, you’ll just think I’m talking nonsense. But if you look at what the word of God says and search for answers there, if you read very closely, all will become clear. Some people say, “How can you say that Almighty God’s word is the true voice of God? Why do you say this?” I base this on the feeling in my soul, and if you can’t accept it, I can’t help you. If you don’t acknowledge Almighty God is God, that Almighty God’s word is God’s word, you won’t be able to accept it; if you see Almighty God’s word as the voice of God, then you will accept it. Even if I didn’t allow you to accept it, you’d be able to accept it. If you do not accept Almighty God’s word as the voice of God, even if I tried to persuade you to do so, it would be of no use. Believing in God is your own personal matter, is it not?
Some people say: “How does God actually speak? Who actually recorded God’s words? Wasn’t there someone who recorded these words?” I’ll tell you my view and experience on this matter.
In 1991, God officially began to speak. Where is this recorded? On the first page of The Word Appears in the Flesh, right after the table of contents and the brief introduction, are the first of God’s words. In The Word Appears in the Flesh, God’s words are arranged in the order of which He uttered them by year, month, and day. Here, God’s words are arranged chronologically, without a single day out of order. This is one thing. What’s more, God’s words are mostly composed by God Himself. After He finished writing them, He passed them down to churches where our brothers and sisters could begin to eat and drink these words. However, there is a portion of God’s word that was based on the sermons He gave when He walked in the churches. These sermons are arranged in the order in which they took place. (There were a few instances of unnecessary chatter here and there, and so these parts have been removed, leaving behind the relatively important parts.) This is a very small portion, perhaps as little as 1/5. Which part is this? It is Part III in The Words of the Son of Man Incarnate as He Walked in the Churches. Parts I, II, and IV, however, were all written by God’s own hand, without changing or adding a single word. These are the facts. So the utterances of Almighty God today are recorded in a way somewhat different from those of the Lord Jesus. During the time of the Lord Jesus, His words were spoken casually to those who heard His teaching. At this point in history, there was no way to record sound, so how did His followers record the words of the Lord Jesus? It was His apostles and disciples who wrote down what they heard firsthand. They wrote from memory and verified it with others who were there. Are their records complete? Did they record most of what Jesus said or just a small part of it? In fact, what was recorded only constitutes a small portion of what Jesus said, isn’t this so? Why do we say there is a discrepancy about what the Lord Jesus said between what His disciples recorded? This is a common issue that is difficult to avoid. They didn’t record information; they used their brains to remember things. Because of this, although the words the apostles wrote down carried the Lord’s exact meaning, they were not necessarily the same words that Jesus used. When God speaks today, Almighty God wrote out His words in His own hand. Four fifths of these words are exactly as God Himself wrote them; who dares to change what God writes? God would never allow it. But when you arrange the records of God’s sermons, it’s necessary to take out the unnecessary parts (for example, the bits during God’s sermons where He chats with people). These are the parts that should be removed. If you kept them as they were originally, the book would be way too long, it would be 6 to 12 inches thick. So in accordance with God’s instructions, the unnecessary parts were removed. There is another book of God’s words, titled Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh. God also wrote these words. God first preached these sermons. After finishing His sermons, God said, “These words are spoken but casually; they are not set in stone. So I will tidy them up and write them out.” After God wrote them down, the words were several times more than the ones in God’s sermons, and they have been edited into Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh. There’s another part to God’s early sermons which are contained in Records of Christ’s Talks. However, the words here were arranged by me personally. They have not been examined or inspected by God. Therefore, they were not put in The Word Appears in the Flesh. Among the words of God during His work of the last days, the standard words, and the words that God wrote directly and personally compiled, have all been recorded in The Word Appears in the Flesh and Continuation of The Word Appears in the Flesh. The sermons arranged by man have been placed in Records of Christ’s Talks. God’s words are separated into these two parts. How many words are there in these two parts altogether? Approximately two million. Two million words! What’s more, there are a few of God’s sermons that have yet to be arranged, though they are not of primary importance.
We just read God’s word, “Beholding the Appearance of God in His Judgment and Chastisement.” When this word was circulated among the churches, God’s chosen people started to argue about it as soon as they saw it. Some people said that these words were the words of God, while others said that they were the words of man. I said, argue all you want! We'll see which people do recognize God’s voice and which people do not recognize God’s voice. When the time comes, we’ll all know who are right in the end. After a month or two, I said, “These words were written by God Himself. This is the voice of God. All those who recognized the voice and writing of God are people who can understand the spirit, and all those who said it was not God’s voice and it was not written by God did not understand the spirit.” As my words began to circulate, some people felt embarrassed. Sniveling, they said, “How can we believe in God for so many years and still not be able to understand the spirit? If we can’t even make out the voice of God, isn’t our belief in Him all in vain?” God’s word can really reveal a person, can’t it? If you don’t think so, pass these words along to every person within your religious circle who has believed in the Lord for many years. Then ask him, are these God’s words or the words of man? As soon as he reads them, he’ll say, “The words of man!” “The words of man? You’ll have to take another look, give it another two days.” He’ll look again, and then say, “Ugh! I was wrong. There are words that are a lot like God’s words. There are words that are a lot like man’s words, too.” “Then why don’t you have another look. Wait until you’ve read the whole thing before you say something this time.” Some people will read the whole thing, and then they’ll say, “It’s just like God’s words. There’s no way a man could write this, it’d be absolutely impossible. No human could ever write something like this.” Others will say, “I’ve read plenty of things written by clergymen, theologians, and spiritual people. But none of them can write like this. They could never write something like this, no one could ever write something like this. This must be God’s word! Only God’s word could have this kind of authority, this kind of power!” This person is truly a sheep of God, and sheep of God listen to God’s voice. Isn’t it so? This is a wise virgin who recognizes God’s voice when they hear it!
Some believers in the Lord will say, “How is it that I can read these words and not be able to tell if they are God’s voice or not? He never writes, ‘The Lord Jesus has come, the Lord Jesus is speaking now,’ or ‘Truly, truly, I say to you.’ You can’t find anything in these words like what the Lord Jesus said in the Bible! I dare say that these are most certainly not the words of the returned Lord Jesus. No, these are men’s words.” Does this kind of person know the voice of God? No, they do not. And so, God’s words are excellent at revealing people for who they are. Those who can recognize these words as God’s voice can accept Almighty God. And a person who would rather die than acknowledge this as the voice of God, any attempts to persuade this person to accept Almighty God would be in vain. No one can persuade someone to accept God. What believer does not have their own views? Everyone has their own views, everyone has their own moral compass. And so, people are classified according to kind before the word of God. Anyone who recognizes the word of God as God’s voice will say, “I accept Almighty God, He is the second coming of the Lord Jesus, He is the manifestation of Jehovah God. I believe this with my whole heart.” This person is raised up to stand before God’s throne. He is raptured at the Lord’s return. As for the person who would rather die than acknowledge Almighty God’s words as the words of the Lord Jesus and the words of Jehovah when He appears, this person will not be able to accept God, and he will be revealed as a nonbeliever. He does not recognize the voice of God, and he will be eliminated. Who decides upon this elimination? Have I condemned this person? If he doesn’t believe, am I to blame? Who should he blame? Everyone has the freedom to believe, it is a person’s own choice. If he does not believe, he will not accept Almighty God, and all the hardships he suffered as a believer in Jesus before will be erased, it will all come to naught! Who said this? Does this idea come from God’s word? Yes, this is God’s idea. If you don’t believe, you may search for the answers in God’s word. If you can find this passage in God’s words, that’s excellent; you understand what God wants. But if you do not seek the truth in God’s word, all you can do is blindly cling to your own notions and condemn what I’m saying; this is far from wise. What I’m saying here isn’t my own ideas, they are from God’s words. I’ve read this kind of words from God many times over, and so I dare say that I can see this matter with complete clarity. I don’t judge other people as to their ending, “He will inevitably be destroyed, suffering perdition.” What’s the use of me condemning you? God’s words say so, just as the words that cursed the Pharisees were personally spoken by the Lord Jesus. So when someone communicates the Lord Jesus’ words, it’s not the person who condemns the Pharisees, but rather the Lord Jesus’ original words that condemn the Pharisees. Do you understand? This matter can be verified through God’s word. Some people say, “In the end, how many people within religious circles will be able to believe in Almighty God?” Read more of Almighty God’s words and you will know. At present, the gate of grace has not yet closed, and we have not reached the time of great disasters. Especially during the great disasters, there will be some people within the religious world who return to God to varying degrees. This is why you can’t presently determine “All those within the religious world who do not accept Almighty God must perish.” There is still a bit of time. During this time, do you know who in religious circles will accept God, and who will not accept God? This is something that we can’t see clearly; only God knows. However, when we spread the gospel and testify about God to the religious people, we find that they reject this. They all oppose and condemn Almighty God. Haven’t we all seen this? And so, spreading the gospel to religious people is extremely difficult. This determines that those within religious circles who will ultimately return to Almighty God are extremely few in number. This is because they are too tightly constrained by pastors, elders and religious notions; they are too deeply deceived by negative propaganda. They don’t possess hearts of seeking the truth and investigating the true way. Is this not true? If you go into a religious site to spread the gospel, you’ll meet with the following: First, you’ll be rejected and get your nose rubbed in the dirt; second, you’ll be shamed; third, you’ll be attacked jointly, or derided and condemned. There will even be people who will take your picture without your consent and show it to all the others within their church and say, “This person has come to spread the gospel of Almighty God. No one should receive him.” This is how the religious world treats anyone who comes to spread the gospel of Almighty God in the last days. What does this show? The religious world has long functioned as a steadfast fortress for the antichrists and has become part of Satan’s evil forces. However, you can’t say that no one from the religious world can be saved—there are those who can be saved, it’s just that they are very, very few in number. Isn’t this so? Spreading the gospel to the religious world is not easy! It’s not easy at all! Say there’s a fellow Christian who believes in Almighty God, but his mother belongs to the religious world. However he attempts to pass on the gospel of Almighty God in the last days to his mother, she won’t accept it. His mother will only believe pastors and elders. They are one family, but one believes in the Lord Jesus and the other in Almighty God, and their differences cannot be reconciled; there is no way for them to communicate even though they are one family. Are there not families like this? You can’t force anyone to believe in God, everyone has their own beliefs.
Some people say, “Religious circles might refuse to accept Almighty God’s work in the last days, but that doesn’t mean that they are the opponents of God.” Is this true? If a person rejects and condemns Almighty God, yet he doesn’t reject or condemn the name “the Lord Jesus,” do you consider him an opponent of God? Consider an Israelite who believes in Jehovah. He does not reject the name “Jehovah.” Rather, he merely resists and condemns the incarnate God, the Lord Jesus. But isn’t condemning the Lord Jesus also condemning Jehovah? How could you still say that he only rejects the Lord Jesus, and not Jehovah as well? Does what this person say accord with the facts? No, this person cannot understand the spirit. It’s troubling that they’ve gotten all the way to this point and still do not understand this. Some people say, “If the Lord Jesus comes, the Lord Jesus who looks like the Jews, we’ll welcome Him enthusiastically, we’ll roll out the red carpet for Him. Are you saying that we won’t be praised by the Lord Jesus?” These people might welcome the Lord Jesus of the Jews with enthusiasm, but if they resist and condemn Almighty God, will the Lord Jesus really praise them when He comes? Everyone knows He won’t. Why? Because the Lord Jesus and Almighty God are one, and the Lord Jesus and Jehovah are also one, Jehovah and Almighty God are one. These three Gods are, in actuality, one Spirit, one God. In order to do His work, sometimes God’s Spirit is incarnated to work. He takes on a corporeal form, and bears a normal humanity. Other times God’s Spirit makes use of people to do His work for Him. Other times God’s Spirit does the work directly. The Holy Spirit does the work of the Holy Spirit and God incarnate does the work of God incarnate; they are all God’s work, and they are all the deeds of God’s Spirit. When Jehovah God did His work, it was done directly by the Spirit of God. In the Age of Grace, Jehovah God took on a corporeal form as the Lord Jesus. When the Lord Jesus completed His work, the Lord Jesus returned to the spiritual realm. After returning to the spiritual realm, He is still Jehovah God, is He not? Now that the Lord Jesus has ascended to heaven, how many Gods are there in heaven? Heaven has but one God.
The Lord Jesus has promised that in the last days He will come again. What does it mean that the Lord Jesus has promised that He will come again? Was it the Holy Spirit that said He will come again, or purely the Spirit of God saying He will come again? It was the Lord Jesus who has promised to come again, wasn’t it? What does it mean that the Lord Jesus promised to come again? It is that He will once again be incarnated to come into the world as the Son of man. If it had been the Holy Spirit saying that He would come again, then He would come again in the form of the Spirit, it would be purely the Holy Spirit at work, and invisible to humans. But it was the incarnate Lord Jesus who stated that the Lord shall come again, so the second coming of the Lord must still be incarnated, and similar to the way that the Lord Jesus first appeared and worked in Judea, He will appear among humans in the last days in the form of the Son of man. Now Almighty God has come and it has fulfilled two statements: “For as the lightning comes out of the east, and shines even to the west; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be” (Mat 24:27). “But first must He suffer many things, and be rejected of this generation” (Luk 17:25). Look now in the present how Almighty God has been condemned by political authorities, by the Communist Party of China, and by the entire religious community. Isn’t that being rejected by this generation? That is being rejected by this generation. What the Lord Jesus Himself prophesied has come true and is being fulfilled. If you bear witness for Almighty God in front of the religious community, they say, “You are wrong. The Chinese Communist Party government absolutely does not condemn the true way, and what the religious community condemns is certainly not the true way.” How can they put so much trust in the Chinese Communist Party government? How can they put so much trust in the religious community? Why do they not have any belief that the religious community is Babylon the great and the great whore? Why don’t they believe the prophecies of the Book of Revelation? Why don’t they believe God’s words? Why, instead, do they believe that the condemnations of the Chinese Communist Party government and the religious community are truthful? Are those people absurd? All too absurd. Is it easy to bring such absurd people before God? It is all too difficult. Therefore, preaching the gospel and bearing witness for God among religious people are simply too difficult, and also run serious risks.
Do any of our brothers and sisters new to our faith have the courage to go into the religious houses of worship to preach the gospel? Going into houses of worship to preach the gospel is quite dangerous. They will come at you from all sides, say slanderous things about you, condemn you, take photographs of you, and run you out. Those things are bound to happen for certain. There are people who say, “Most people in the religious community are reasonable, human, and love the Lord. If you preach the gospel to them I don’t believe they would oppose it or condemn you, nor would you encounter any great difficulty with them.” Is there anyone who says this? If you do then go to the houses of worship of the religious community and try, see how these religious people treat you. Once you see for yourself, you’ll know what kind of people these people of the religious community are. Actually, in God’s words condemning the religious community is condemning the religious community in its entirety, and most importantly, is condemning the leaders of the religious community—the evil forces of antichrists controlling the religious community. Therefore, the Holy Spirit is not at work in the religious community, and those who believe in such religion shall not be saved. If you never come out from the religious community, then you will share the same fate as the religious community and be destroyed together with them. If people of the religious community want to be saved, they absolutely must come away from the religious community and accept Almighty God’s work in the last days. Some ask, “Are these your words or God’s?” It is I who say this, but based on God’s words, and if you search for the answer in God’s words, you are guaranteed to be able to find it. Can people who have not left the religious community be saved? They absolutely cannot be saved, and that is one hundred percent certain. If what I say doesn’t persuade you, then go look up the answer in God’s own words. If people want to be saved, they must come away from religion and must accept Almighty God’s work in the last days: That is absolute. Know this! For if you only uphold the name of the Lord Jesus, you absolutely will not be saved and you will surely go to perish in hell. So then someone asks, “What about those people who have martyred themselves for the Lord Jesus?” God has said that the souls of those people who have been martyred for the sake of the Lord will be saved. Some people say, “What about those people who believed in the Lord but died before God’s work in the last days? Can they be saved? They never heard the gospel of Almighty God.” God has determined the outcomes for people living in the Age of Grace according to the standards of that age. There are standards that applied to the Age of Grace, and standards that applied to the Age of Law. Trust that God is righteous. Tell me, have the majority of people in the church during the Age of Grace gone to heaven after they died, or have only a minority gone to heaven? Would you go so far as to say that all those who died believing in the Lord Jesus went to heaven? Not so, for it is God who determines people’s fates, it is God who determines people’s outcomes! Don’t think of God’s work according to people’s notions and imaginations. That’s mistaken. In the Age of Grace the souls of those in whom the Holy Spirit had been at work when they died are not in hell but in another place in the spiritual realm. Those who have eaten their fill but never walked in the way of the Lord and in whom the Holy Spirit is not at work, once they have died, have gone to hell just like the unbelievers. Is that understood? But those souls that have not gone to hell, will they in the last days return to accept the work of Almighty God? In the last days God will give them the opportunity, but they must still be reincarnated. Therefore, when the last days come many people must be reincarnated to accept the test of Almighty God’s work—and the work of Almighty God at this stage is truly to decide the final outcomes and destinations of the human race in its entirety. Know this!
Today the reading of God’s words in “Beholding the Appearance of God in His Judgment and Chastisement” reveals an important truth. Can all those who have glanced at God’s words and just acknowledged they are the voice of God see the appearance of God? Can they go so far as to know God? Even though you acknowledge it is the voice of God, you cannot see the appearance of God. Sometimes when it comes to something you feel some doubt, and sometimes when it comes to something in particular you don’t believe God. “Are these God’s words? Is what God said right? Is God’s word accurate? Is that so?” You can’t help doubting. Therefore, to reach a genuine knowledge of God, to be able to understand His purpose in all things, you must experience the judgment and chastisement of God’s words for several years. If you do not personally experience how God shows His righteousness, majesty, and wrath, to what degree He can pierce your soul, you will never truly know God. If you do not undergo God’s judgment and chastisement, then even if you acknowledge Him as God, it will not amount to truly seeing the appearance of God, still less truly understanding God. It is not easy to know God, and there is some distance between seeing God’s appearance and knowing God. Can you accept my saying so? That’s not just my own individual experience; it is the conclusion that the majority of those whom God has selected to experience God’s work have reached collectively.
Some people have asked me, “How can we know that God has perfected you?” When you have undergone the judgment and chastisement of God for several years and understand the righteous disposition of God, then you will know whether the man used by the Holy Spirit has been perfected by God. Until you’ve had that experience, there’s no use in anyone telling you. If God told you, you still would not believe it. Do you believe what I’m telling you? It’s hard for people to believe it. No one can put these things clearly in few words. But to tell you the truth, even though someone has been perfected, that only means that they no longer disobey God, or dare to resist God, but are truly obedient to God. Given that God has entrusted them they can fulfill their duties loyally and bear love for God. They have enough stature to have some understanding of God, but it’s not the highest. This is the minimum standard for being perfected. “Perfected by God” takes more than we could bear, more than I could bear. Do you understand? If you ask me, “Would you go so far as to say you have been perfected?” I would have to say, “No, I would not. I don’t measure up to that. I’m not worthy of it.” If you ask me, then that is what I would say. I have to say that in all fairness because I want to be objective and take responsibility for these words. If God says someone has been perfected, then we can only take that to mean the minimum standard for being perfected. What do I mean by minimum standard? We are all people deeply corrupted by Satan. Even if we undergo judgment and chastisement before the seat of Christ and gain purification, would that amount to truly achieving holiness? It’s not my place to say. I do not have genuine holiness, just gaining purification. I no longer disobey God or resist God, I have some understanding of God and some reverence for God, so that I am able to avoid doing some evil. Even people with greater purity wouldn’t dare speak of “holiness.” So when someone asks, “Are you holy?” “I am not.” I have absolutely not achieved holiness, and I would never dare say so. “So then, are you still sinful and corrupt?” “I am. I’m not capable of major evils or obvious, open evil. Robbery, rape, murder, arson, things that are punishable by law, I’m not capable of.” Nor did I do any of these things when I believed in Jesus. But is there holiness in my thoughts? No, it is too early, when my thoughts are still filthy sometimes, and are still a bit corrupted. But these thoughts cannot take root, and I’m able to suppress them with the truth, able to refute them with the truth, so they can’t take over. I have just this bit of experience, and I’ve achieved no more than these results. If this means that I have been perfected, then I can only say that God’s demands on those to be perfected in the last days are not too lofty, not something unattainable. As long as you pursue the truth, after ten or twenty years you can also attain it. If you idealize me and imagine God perfecting people to be so lofty, then in the end who will reach perfection? How many people could attain that? No one would have any chance of attaining it, because you have set it up so high in your imagination, isn’t that so?
All those who have seen me fulfill my duties here over time will know what sort of person I am. You see how I fulfill my duties, how I communicate knowledge of God, my viewpoints about things, my outlook on life, my values, my humanity, what things there are about me that are exposed as corrupted, and what things are my better points. And when you’ve seen all that, you weigh these in your mind as the minimum standard for God perfecting people. If you can meet these, you also will be someone who is perfected. Is this standard a realistic standard for a corrupt human race? This is a realistic standard. God’s demands on people are not as people imagine them. If they were, no one could meet those standards. That would not be a realistic way of thinking. Then there are people who say, “If you have not attained true holiness, are you entitled to see God? How can you say that you have been perfected?” How can I explain this? It is not false to say we can be cleansed and purified, nor is it false to say we can be saved. But genuine holiness is something the corrupted humankind is not worthy of, it is beyond us, and only God is holy. No matter how much purity the corrupted humankind gains, no matter how much truth we understand, you can’t say we can reach holiness. This word “holiness” means something that humankind can’t attain, not only now but also hereafter, possibly never. Someone says, “Given what you have just said, I wouldn’t acknowledge that you have been perfected by God.” If you won’t acknowledge this, then that’s your point of view, and there’s nothing I can say. It is pointless whether people acknowledge this or not. What is the most crucial thing? Search hard for the truth. If you experience several years of God’s judgment and chastisement, have an understanding of God’s righteous disposition, forge a God-fearing heart, keep your distance from evil, and fulfill your duties loyally, you will know what it is to be saved, and at that point you will know whether you are a person who has been perfected. So, those people who have just accepted God’s work recently can’t get a clear picture of these things no matter what I say. They still are wrapped up in the imagination of their own notions and only after a few years have passed will they know that what I am saying is comparatively realistic. If I put it this way, can you understand? This is why I say that even if today we attained purity and were saved, do not crown any human with the laurels of holiness, for people are forever unworthy of wearing them. Can I put it that way? That is the way that God’s words have put it. But what does this holiness refer to? It is a certain standard, a minimum standard that God has for it. In God’s words we find the sentence, “I do not ask much of humanity.” Is there such a sentence? Then you can consider this sentence in which God says, “[Y]ou shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Lev 11:45). What does this “holiness” refer to? Is it the same as God’s holiness? If it were the same as God’s holiness, wouldn’t people become Gods? It will never be possible. It is not that God’s words are wrong, but that human language is incomplete and there are some things spiritual that, when translated into language, do not have words that fit appropriately. Therefore, for the time being we can only use such a word. As people who translate know from experience, human language is lacking and imperfect, so when you search for something that matches people’s imaginations, the right word doesn’t exist, and so there are problems with the translation, isn’t that a fact? Translators especially feel that languages everywhere are meager, and in particular when it comes to the language of spiritual life, they are all too lacking, so it is difficult to find the right words. So sometimes when God writes down words even the Chinese language is not rich enough in its vocabulary and it takes a long time to decide on some words. In such cases, there are words we cannot use literally, but by understanding through context and associations that are spiritual, we will be all right and get the meaning with genuine accuracy. Know this! So then we won’t argue over what we can call being perfected. If you say that a perfected person is one who has undergone God’s judgment and chastisement, been conquered by God, had some result in attaining purity and being saved, can bear witness for God relatively speaking, and has some humanity, then this is an understanding that is adequate.
At this point we will conclude our meeting for today in silent prayer.