Knowing God 2

Daily Words of God Excerpt 31

Just after He created mankind, God began to engage with man and talk to man, and His disposition began to be expressed to man. In other words, from when God first engaged with mankind He began to make public to man, without interruption, His substance and what He has and is. Regardless of whether earlier people or the people of today are able to see or understand it, God speaks to man and works among man, revealing His disposition and expressing His substance—this is a fact, and undeniable by any person. This also means that God’s disposition, God’s substance, and what He has and is are constantly issued forth and revealed as He works and engages with man. He has never concealed or hidden anything from man, but instead makes public and releases His own disposition without holding anything back. Thus, God hopes that man can know Him and understand His disposition and substance. He does not wish for man to treat His disposition and substance as eternal mysteries, nor does He want mankind to regard God as a puzzle that can never be solved. Only when mankind knows God can man know the way forward and accept God’s guidance, and only a mankind such as this can truly live under the dominion of God, and live in the light, amid God’s blessings.

The words and disposition issued forth and revealed by God represent His will, and they also represent His substance. When God engages with man, no matter what He says or does, or what disposition He reveals, and no matter what man sees of God’s substance and what He has and is, they all represent God’s will for man. Regardless of how much man is able to realize, comprehend or understand, it all represents God’s will—God’s will for man. This is beyond doubt! God’s will for mankind is how He requires people to be, what He requires them to do, how He requires them to live, and how He requires them to be capable of accomplishing the fulfillment of God’s will. Are these things inseparable from the substance of God? In other words, God issues forth His disposition and all that He has and is at the same time as He makes demands of man. There is no falsehood, no pretense, no concealment, and no embellishment. Yet why is man incapable of knowing, and why has man never been able to clearly perceive the disposition of God? Why has man never realized God’s will? That which is revealed and issued forth by God is what God Himself has and is; it is every shred and facet of His true disposition—so why can man not see? Why is man incapable of thorough knowledge? There is an important reason for this. So, what is this reason? Since the time of creation, man has never treated God as God. In the earliest times, no matter what God did with regard to man—man who had only just been created—man treated God as nothing more than a companion, as someone to be relied upon, and man had no knowledge or understanding of God. This is to say, man did not know that what was issued forth by this Being—this Being whom he relied upon and saw as his companion—was the substance of God, nor did he know that this Being was the One who rules over all things. Simply put, the people of that time did not recognize God at all. They did not know that the heavens and earth and all things had been made by Him, and they were ignorant of where He came from, and, moreover, of what He was. Of course, back then God did not require man to know or comprehend Him, or to understand all that He did, or to be knowledgeable about His will, for these were the earliest times following mankind’s creation. When God began preparations for the work of the Age of Law, God did some things to man and also began making some demands of man, telling man how to give offerings to and worship God. Only then did man acquire a few simple ideas about God, and only then did he know the difference between man and God, and that God was the One who created mankind. When man knew that God was God and man was man, a certain distance came between him and God, yet still God did not ask that man have a great knowledge or deep understanding of Him. Thus, God makes different requirements of man based on the stages and circumstances of His work. What do you see in this? What aspect of God’s disposition do you perceive? Is God real? Are God’s requirements of man fitting? During the earliest times following God’s creation of mankind, when God had yet to carry out the work of conquest and perfection on man, and had not spoken very many words to him, He asked little of man. Regardless of what man did and how he behaved—even if he did some things that offended God—God forgave and overlooked it all. This is because God knew what He had given man and what was within man, and thus He knew the standard of requirements that He should make of man. Even though the standard of His requirements was very low at that time, this does not mean that His disposition was not great, or that His wisdom and almightiness were but empty words. For man, there is only one way to know God’s disposition and God Himself: by following the steps of the work of God’s management and salvation of mankind, and accepting the words that God speaks to mankind. Once man knows what God has and is, and knows God’s disposition, will he still ask God to show him His real person? No, man would not ask, and would not even dare to ask, for having comprehended God’s disposition and what He has and is, man will have already seen the true God Himself, and His real person. This is the inevitable outcome.

As God’s work and plan ceaselessly progressed, and after God established the covenant of the rainbow with man, as a sign that He would never again destroy the world using floods, God had an increasingly pressing desire to gain those who could be of one mind with Him. So, too, did He have an ever more urgent wish to gain those who were able to do His will on earth, and, moreover, to gain a group of people able to break free from the forces of darkness and not be bound by Satan, a group that would be able to bear testimony to Him on earth. Gaining such a group of people was God’s long-held wish, it was what He had been waiting for ever since the time of creation. Thus, regardless of God’s use of floods to destroy the world, or of His covenant with man, God’s will, frame of mind, plan, and hopes all remained the same. What He wanted to do, the thing that He had yearned for long before the time of creation, was to gain those among mankind whom He wished to gain—to gain a group of people able to comprehend and know His disposition and understand His will, a group who would be able to worship Him. Such a group of people truly would be able to bear testimony to Him, and it can be said that they would be His confidants.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 32

God Promises to Give Abraham a Son

Gen 17:15–17 And God said to Abraham, As for Sarai your wife, you shall not call her name Sarai, but Sarah shall her name be. And I will bless her, and give you a son also of her: yes, I will bless her, and she shall be a mother of nations; kings of people shall be of her. Then Abraham fell on his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born to him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?

Gen 17:21–22 But My covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear to you at this set time in the next year. And He left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.

No One Can Hinder the Work That God Resolves to Do

So, you have all just heard the story of Abraham. He was chosen by God after the flood destroyed the world, his name was Abraham, and when he was a hundred years old and his wife Sarah ninety, God’s promise came to him. What promise did God make to him? God promised that which is referred to in the Scriptures: “And I will bless her, and give you a son also of her.” What was the background to God’s promise to give him a son? The Scriptures provide the following account: “Then Abraham fell on his face, and laughed, and said in his heart, Shall a child be born to him that is an hundred years old? and shall Sarah, that is ninety years old, bear?” In other words, this aged couple was too old to bear children. And what did Abraham do after God made His promise to him? He fell on his face laughing, and said to himself, “Shall a child be born to him that is an hundred years old?” Abraham believed that it was impossible—which meant that he believed God’s promise to him was nothing more than a joke. From man’s perspective, this is something unachievable by man, and likewise unachievable by and an impossibility for God. Perhaps, to Abraham, it was laughable: God created man, yet He seems somehow unaware that someone so old is incapable of bearing children; God thinks He can allow me to bear a child, He says that He will give me a son—surely that is impossible! So, Abraham fell on his face and laughed, thinking to himself: Impossible—God is joking with me, this cannot be true! He did not take God’s words seriously. So, in God’s eyes, what kind of a man was Abraham? (Righteous.) Where was it stated that he was a righteous man? You think that all those whom God calls upon are righteous and perfect, that they are all people who walk with God. You abide by doctrine! You must see clearly that when God defines someone, He does not do so arbitrarily. Here, God did not say that Abraham was righteous. In His heart, God has standards for measuring every person. Though God did not say what kind of person Abraham was, in terms of his conduct, what kind of faith did Abraham have in God? Was it a little abstract? Or was he of great faith? No, he was not! His laughter and thoughts showed who he was, so your belief that he was righteous is but a figment of your imagination, it is the blind application of doctrine, and it is an irresponsible appraisal. Did God see Abraham’s laughter and his little expressions? Did He know of them? God knew. But would God alter what He had resolved to do? No! When God planned and resolved that He would choose this man, it was accomplished. Neither man’s thoughts nor his conduct would in the slightest bit influence or interfere with God; God would not arbitrarily change His plan, nor would He impulsively change or upset His plan because of man’s conduct, even conduct which might be ignorant. What, then, is written in Genesis 17:21–22? “But My covenant will I establish with Isaac, which Sarah shall bear to you at this set time in the next year. And He left off talking with him, and God went up from Abraham.” God paid not the slightest attention to what Abraham thought or said. What was the reason for His disregard? It was because, at that time, God did not ask that man be of great faith, or that he be capable of great knowledge of God, or, moreover, that he be able to understand what was done and said by God. Thus, He did not ask that man fully understand what He resolved to do, or the people He determined to choose, or the principles of His actions, for man’s stature was simply inadequate. At that time, God regarded whatever Abraham did and however he conducted himself as normal. He did not condemn or reprimand, but merely said: “Sarah shall bear Isaac to you at this set time in the next year.” To God, after He proclaimed these words, this matter came true step by step; in the eyes of God, that which was to be accomplished by His plan had already been achieved. After completing the arrangements for this, God departed. What man does or thinks, what man understands, the plans of man—none of this bears any relation to God. Everything proceeds according to God’s plan, in keeping with the times and stages set by God. Such is the principle of God’s work. God does not interfere in whatever man thinks or knows, yet neither does He forgo His plan or abandon His work just because man does not believe or understand. The facts are thus accomplished according to the plan and thoughts of God. This is precisely what we see in the Bible: God caused Isaac to be born at the time He had set. Do the facts prove that the behavior and conduct of man hindered the work of God? They did not hinder the work of God! Did man’s little faith in God, and his notions and imaginings about God affect God’s work? No, they did not! Not in the least! God’s management plan is unaffected by any man, matter, or environment. All that He resolves to do will be completed and accomplished on time and according to His plan, and His work cannot be interfered with by any man. God ignores certain aspects of man’s foolishness and ignorance, and even certain aspects of man’s resistance and notions toward Him, and He does the work that He must do regardless. This is God’s disposition, and it is a reflection of His omnipotence.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 33

Abraham Offers Isaac

Gen 22:2–3 And He said, Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of. And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him.

Gen 22:9–10 And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar on the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son.

God Does Not Care If Man Is Foolish—He Only Asks That Man Be True

In Genesis 22:2, God gave the following command to Abraham: “Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and get you into the land of Moriah; and offer him there for a burnt offering on one of the mountains which I will tell you of.” God’s meaning was clear: He was telling Abraham to give his only son Isaac, whom he loved, as a burnt offering. Looking at it today, is God’s command still at odds with man’s notions? Yes! All that God did at that time is quite contrary to the notions of man; it is incomprehensible to man. In their notions, people believe the following: When a man did not believe, and thought it an impossibility, God gave him a son, and after he had gained a son, God asked him to sacrifice his son. Is this not utterly unbelievable! What did God actually intend to do? What was God’s actual intention? He unconditionally gave Abraham a son, yet He also asked that Abraham make an unconditional offering. Was this excessive? From a third party’s standpoint, this was not only excessive but also somewhat a case of “making trouble for no reason.” But Abraham himself did not believe that God was asking too much. Though he had a few, small opinions of his own about it and though he was a little suspicious of God, he was still prepared to make the offering. At this point, what do you see that proves Abraham was willing to offer his son? What is being said in these sentences? The original text gives the following accounts: “And Abraham rose up early in the morning, and saddled his ass, and took two of his young men with him, and Isaac his son, and split the wood for the burnt offering, and rose up, and went to the place of which God had told him” (Gen 22:3). “And they came to the place which God had told him of; and Abraham built an altar there, and laid the wood in order, and bound Isaac his son, and laid him on the altar on the wood. And Abraham stretched forth his hand, and took the knife to slay his son” (Gen 22:9–10). When Abraham stretched forth his hand and took the knife to slay his son, were his actions seen by God? They were. The entire process—from the start, when God asked that Abraham sacrifice Isaac, to when Abraham actually raised his knife to slay his son—showed God the heart of Abraham, and regardless of his former foolishness, ignorance, and misunderstanding of God, at that time Abraham’s heart for God was true, and honest, and he truly was going to return Isaac, the son given to him by God, back to God. In him, God saw obedience, the very obedience that He desired.

To man, God does much that is incomprehensible and even unbelievable. When God wishes to orchestrate someone, this orchestration is often at odds with man’s notions and incomprehensible to him, yet it is precisely this dissonance and incomprehensibility that are God’s trial and test of man. Abraham, meanwhile, was able to demonstrate obedience to God within himself, which was the most fundamental condition of his being able to satisfy God’s requirement. Only then, when Abraham was able to obey God’s requirement, when he offered up Isaac, did God truly feel reassurance and approval toward mankind—toward Abraham, whom He had chosen. Only then was God sure that this person whom He had chosen was an indispensable leader who could undertake His promise and His subsequent management plan. Though it was but a trial and a test, God felt gratified, He felt man’s love for Him, and He felt comforted by man as never before. At the moment that Abraham lifted up his knife to slay Isaac, did God stop him? God did not let Abraham sacrifice Isaac, for God simply had no intention of taking Isaac’s life. Thus, God stopped Abraham just in time. For God, Abraham’s obedience had already passed the test, what he did was sufficient, and God had already seen the outcome of what He intended to do. Was this outcome satisfactory to God? It can be said that this outcome was satisfactory to God, that it was what God wanted, and was what God had longed to see. Is this true? Although, in different contexts, God uses different ways of testing each person, in Abraham God saw what He wanted, He saw that Abraham’s heart was true, and that his obedience was unconditional. It was precisely this “unconditional” that God desired. People often say, “I’ve already offered this, I’ve already forgone that—why is God still not satisfied with me? Why does He keep subjecting me to trials? Why does He keep testing me?” This demonstrates one fact: God has not seen your heart, and has not gained your heart. This is to say, He has not seen such sincerity as when Abraham was able to raise his knife to slay his son by his own hand and offer him to God. He has not seen your unconditional obedience, and has not been comforted by you. It is natural, then, that God keeps trying you. Is this not true?

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 34

God’s Promise to Abraham

Gen 22:16–18 By Myself have I sworn, said Jehovah, for because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son: That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is on the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed My voice.

This is an unabridged account of God’s blessing to Abraham. Though brief, its content is rich: It includes the reason for, and background to, God’s gift to Abraham, and what it was that He gave to Abraham. It is also imbued with the joy and excitement with which God uttered these words, as well as the urgency of His longing to gain those who are able to listen to His words. In this, we see God’s cherishment of, and tenderness toward, those who obey His words and follow His commands. So, too, we see the price He pays to gain people, and the care and thought He puts into gaining them. Moreover, this passage, which contains the words “By Myself have I sworn,” gives us a powerful sense of the bitterness and pain borne by God and God alone behind the scenes of this work of His management plan. It is a thought-provoking passage, and one that held special significance for those who came after, and had a far-reaching impact upon them.

Man Gains God’s Blessings Because of His Sincerity and Obedience

Was the blessing given to Abraham by God that we read of here great? Just how great was it? There is one key sentence here: “And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” This sentence shows that Abraham received blessings not given to any who came before or after. When, as asked by God, Abraham returned his only son—his beloved only son—to God (note: Here we cannot use the word “offered”; we should say he returned his son to God), not only did God not allow Abraham to offer Isaac, but He also blessed him. With what promise did He bless Abraham? He blessed him with the promise to multiply his offspring. And by how many were they to be multiplied? The Scriptures provide the following record: “… as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is on the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed.” What was the context in which God uttered these words? That is to say, how did Abraham receive God’s blessings? He received them just as God says in the Scriptures: “because you have obeyed My voice.” That is, because Abraham had followed God’s command, because he had done everything that God had said, asked and commanded, without the slightest complaint, thus God made such a promise to him. There is one crucial sentence in this promise that touches upon God’s thoughts at the time. Have you seen it? You may not have paid much attention to God’s words that “By Myself have I sworn.” What they mean is that, when God uttered these words, He was swearing by Himself. What do people swear by when they make an oath? They swear by Heaven, which is to say, they make an oath to God and swear by God. People might not have much of an understanding of the phenomenon by which God swore by Himself, but you will be able to understand when I provide you with the correct explanation. Being faced with a man who could only hear His words but not understand His heart, once more God felt lonely and at a loss. In desperation—and, it can be said, subconsciously—God did something very natural: God put His hand on His heart and addressed Himself when bestowing this promise upon Abraham, and from this man heard God say “By Myself have I sworn.” Through God’s actions, you may think of yourself. When you put your hand on your heart and speak to yourself, do you have a clear idea of what you are saying? Is your attitude sincere? Do you speak candidly, with your heart? Thus, we see here that when God spoke to Abraham, He was earnest and sincere. At the same time as speaking to and blessing Abraham, God was also speaking to Himself. He was telling Himself: I will bless Abraham, and make his progeny as numerous as the stars of heaven and as plentiful as the sand on the sea shore, because he obeyed My words and he is the one I choose. When God said “By Myself have I sworn,” God resolved that in Abraham He would produce the chosen people of Israel, after which He would lead these people forward apace with His work. That is, God would make Abraham’s descendants bear the work of God’s management, and the work of God and that expressed by God would begin with Abraham and would continue in Abraham’s descendants, thus realizing God’s wish to save man. What say you, is this not a blessed thing? For man, there is no greater blessing than this; this, it can be said, is the most blessed thing. The blessing gained by Abraham was not the multiplication of his offspring, but God’s achievement of His management, His commission, and His work in the descendants of Abraham. This means that the blessings gained by Abraham were not temporary, but continued on as God’s management plan progressed. When God spoke, when God swore by Himself, He had already made a resolution. Was the process of this resolution true? Was it real? God resolved that, from that time onward, His efforts, the price He paid, what He has and is, His everything, and even His life, would be given to Abraham and the descendants of Abraham. So too did God resolve that, starting from this group of people, He would make manifest His deeds, and allow man to see His wisdom, authority, and power.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 35

God’s Promise to Abraham

Gen 22:16–18 By Myself have I sworn, said Jehovah, for because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son: That in blessing I will bless you, and in multiplying I will multiply your seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is on the sea shore; and your seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in your seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because you have obeyed My voice.

Gaining Those Who Know God and Are Able to Testify to Him Is God’s Unchanging Wish

At the same time as speaking to Himself, God also spoke to Abraham, but apart from hearing the blessings that God gave to him, was Abraham able to understand God’s true wishes in all of His words at that moment? He was not! So, at that moment, when God swore by Himself, His heart was still lonely and sorrowful. There was still not one person able to understand or comprehend what He intended and planned. At that moment, no one—including Abraham—was able to speak to Him in confidence, much less was anyone able to cooperate with Him in doing the work that He must do. On the surface, God had gained Abraham, someone who could obey His words. But in fact, this person’s knowledge of God was barely more than nothing. Even though God had blessed Abraham, God’s heart was still not satisfied. What does it mean that God was not satisfied? It means that His management had only just begun, it means that the people He wanted to gain, the people He longed to see, the people He loved, were still distant from Him; He needed time, He needed to wait, He needed to be patient. For at that time, apart from God Himself, there was no one who knew what He needed, or what He wished to gain, or what He longed for. So, at the same time that God was feeling very excited, God also felt heavy of heart. Yet He did not halt His steps, and He continued to plan the next step of what He must do.

What do you see in God’s promise to Abraham? God bestowed great blessings upon Abraham simply because he obeyed God’s words. Although, on the surface, this seems normal and a matter of course, in it we see God’s heart: God especially treasures man’s obedience to Him, and cherishes man’s understanding of Him and sincerity toward Him. How much does God cherish this sincerity? You may not understand how much He cherishes it, and there may well be none who realize it. God gave Abraham a son, and when that son had grown up, God asked Abraham to offer his son to God. Abraham followed God’s command to the letter, he obeyed God’s word, and his sincerity moved God and was treasured by God. How much did God treasure it? And why did He treasure it? At a time when no one comprehended God’s words or understood His heart, Abraham did something that shook the heavens and made the earth tremble, and it made God feel an unprecedented sense of satisfaction, and brought God the joy of gaining someone who was able to obey His words. This satisfaction and joy came from a creature made by God’s own hand, and was the first “sacrifice” that man had offered to God and that was most treasured by God, ever since man was created. God had had a hard time waiting for this sacrifice, and He treated it as the first most important gift from man, whom He had created. It showed God the first fruit of His efforts and of the price He had paid, and it allowed Him to see the hope in mankind. Afterward, God had an even greater yearning for a group of such people to keep Him company, to treat Him with sincerity, and to care for Him with sincerity. God even hoped that Abraham would live on, for He wished to have a heart such as Abraham’s accompany Him and be with Him as He continued in His management. No matter what God wanted, it was just a wish, just an idea—for Abraham was merely a man who was able to obey Him, and did not have the slightest understanding or knowledge of God. Abraham was someone who fell far short of the standards of God’s requirements for man, which are: knowing God, being able to testify to God, and being of one mind with God. So, Abraham could not walk with God. In Abraham’s offering of Isaac, God saw the sincerity and obedience of Abraham, and saw that he had withstood God’s test of him. Even though God accepted his sincerity and obedience, he was still unworthy of becoming God’s confidant, of becoming someone who knew and understood God, and someone who was knowledgeable about God’s disposition; he was far from being of one mind with God and doing God’s will. So, in His heart, God was still lonely and anxious. The more lonely and anxious God became, the more He needed to continue with His management as soon as possible, and be able to select and gain a group of people to accomplish His management plan and achieve His will as soon as possible. This was God’s eager desire, and it has remained unchanged from the very beginning until today. Ever since He created man in the beginning, God has yearned for a group of overcomers, a group that will walk with Him and are able to understand, know and comprehend His disposition. This wish of God has never changed. Regardless of how long He still has to wait, regardless of how hard the road ahead may be, and no matter how far off the objectives He yearns for may be, God has never altered or given up on His expectations for man. Now that I have said this, do you realize something of God’s wish? Perhaps what you have realized is not very profound—but it will come gradually!

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 36

God Must Destroy Sodom

Gen 18:26 And Jehovah said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

Gen 18:29 And he spoke to Him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And He said, I will not do it.

Gen 18:30 And he said to Him, Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And He said, I will not do it.

Gen 18:31 And he said, Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And He said, I will not destroy it.

Gen 18:32 And he said, Peradventure ten shall be found there. And He said, I will not destroy it.

God Only Cares About Those Who Are Able to Obey His Words and Follow His Commands

The passages above contain several key words: the numbers. First, Jehovah said that if He found fifty righteous within the city, then He would spare all the place, which is to say, He would not destroy the city. So were there, in fact, fifty righteous within Sodom? There were not. Soon after, what did Abraham say to God? He said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there? And God said, I will not do it. Next, Abraham said, Peradventure there shall thirty be found there? And God said, I will not do it. And peradventure twenty? I will not do it. Ten? I will not do it. Were there, in fact, ten righteous within the city? There were not ten—but there was one. And who was this one? It was Lot. At the time, there was but one righteous person in Sodom, but was God very stringent or exacting when it came to this number? No, He was not! And so when man kept asking, “What about forty?” “What about thirty?” until he got to “What about ten?” God said, “Even if there were only ten, I would not destroy the city; I would spare it, and forgive the other people besides these ten.” If there were only ten, that would have been pitiful enough, but it turned out that, in fact, there was not even that number of righteous people in Sodom. You see, then, that in the eyes of God, the sin and evil of the city’s people were such that God had no choice but to destroy them. What did God mean when He said that He would not destroy the city if there were fifty righteous? These numbers were not important to God. What was important was whether or not the city contained the righteous that He wanted. If the city had but one righteous person, God would not allow them to come to harm due to His destruction of the city. What this means is that, regardless of whether or not God was going to destroy the city, and regardless of how many righteous were within it, to God this sinful city was cursed and execrable, and should be destroyed, should vanish from the eyes of God, while the righteous should remain. Regardless of the era, regardless of the stage of mankind’s development, the attitude of God does not change: He hates evil, and cares about those who are righteous in His eyes. This clear attitude of God is also the true revelation of the substance of God. Because there was but one righteous person within the city, God hesitated no longer. The end result was that Sodom would inevitably be destroyed. What do you see in this? In that age, God would not destroy a city if there were fifty righteous within it, nor if there were ten, which means that God would decide to forgive and be tolerant toward mankind, or would do the work of guidance, because of a few people who were able to revere and worship Him. God places great stock in man’s righteous deeds, He places great stock in those who are able to worship Him, and He places great stock in those who are able to do good deeds before Him.

From the earliest times until today, have you ever read in the Bible of God communicating the truth, or speaking about the way of God, to any person? No, never. The words of God to man that we read of only told people what to do. Some went and did it, some did not; some believed, and some did not. That’s all there was. Thus, the righteous of that age—those who were righteous in the eyes of God—were merely those who could hear God’s words and follow God’s commands. They were servants who carried out God’s words among man. Could such people be called those who know God? Could they be called people who were made perfect by God? No, they could not. So, regardless of their number, in the eyes of God were these righteous people worthy of being called the confidants of God? Could they be called God’s witnesses? Certainly not! They were certainly not worthy of being called God’s confidants and witnesses. So, what did God call such people? In the Bible, up until the passages of scripture that we have just read, there are many instances of God calling them “My servant.” That is to say, at that time, in the eyes of God these righteous people were the servants of God, they were the people who served Him on earth. And how did God think of this appellation? Why did He call them so? Does God have standards in His heart for the appellations by which He calls people? He certainly does. God has standards, regardless of whether He calls people righteous, perfect, upright, or servants. When He calls someone His servant, He is of the firm belief that this person is able to receive His messengers, able to follow His commands, and able to carry out that which is commanded by the messengers. What does this person carry out? They carry out that which God commands man to do and carry out on earth. At that time, could that which God asked man to do and carry out on earth be called the way of God? No, it could not. For at that time, God asked only that man do a few simple things; He uttered a few simple commands, telling man to only do this or that, and nothing more. God was working according to His plan. Because, at that time, many conditions were not yet present, the time was not yet ripe, and it was difficult for mankind to bear the way of God, thus the way of God had yet to begin to be issued forth from God’s heart. God saw the righteous people He spoke of, whom we see here—whether thirty or twenty—as His servants. When the messengers of God came upon these servants, they would be able to receive them, and follow their commands, and act according to their words. This was precisely what should be done, and attained, by those who were servants in God’s eyes. God is judicious in His appellations for people. He did not call them His servants because they were as you are now—because they had heard much preaching, knew what God was to do, understood much of God’s will, and comprehended His management plan—but because they were honest in their humanity and they were able to comply with God’s words; when God commanded them, they were able to put aside what they were doing and carry out that which God had commanded. So for God, the other layer of meaning in the title of servant is that they cooperated with His work on earth, and although they were not the messengers of God, they were the executors and implementers of God’s words on earth. You see, then, that these servants or righteous people carried great weight in the heart of God. The work that God was to embark upon on earth could not be without people to cooperate with Him, and the role undertaken by the servants of God was irreplaceable by the messengers of God. Each task that God commanded unto these servants was of great importance to Him, and so He could not lose them. Without these servants’ cooperation with God, His work among mankind would have come to a standstill, as a result of which God’s management plan and God’s hopes would have come to naught.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 37

God Must Destroy Sodom

Gen 18:26 And Jehovah said, If I find in Sodom fifty righteous within the city, then I will spare all the place for their sakes.

Gen 18:29 And he spoke to Him yet again, and said, Peradventure there shall be forty found there. And He said, I will not do it.

Gen 18:30 And he said to Him, Peradventure there shall thirty be found there. And He said, I will not do it.

Gen 18:31 And he said, Peradventure there shall be twenty found there. And He said, I will not destroy it.

Gen 18:32 And he said, Peradventure ten shall be found there. And He said, I will not destroy it.

God Is Abundantly Merciful Toward Those Whom He Cares About, and Profoundly Wrathful Toward Those Whom He Detests and Rejects

In the accounts of the Bible, were there ten servants of God in Sodom? No, there were not! Was the city worthy of being spared by God? Only one person in the city—Lot—received God’s messengers. The implication of this is that there was only one servant of God in the city, and thus God had no choice but to save Lot and destroy the city of Sodom. The exchanges between Abraham and God quoted above may seem simple, but they illustrate something very profound: There are principles to God’s actions, and prior to making a decision He will spend a long time observing and deliberating; He will definitely not make any decisions or jump to any conclusions before the time is right. The exchanges between Abraham and God show us that God’s decision to destroy Sodom was not in the slightest bit wrong, for God already knew that in the city there were not forty righteous, nor thirty righteous, nor twenty. There were not even ten. The only righteous person in the city was Lot. All that happened in Sodom and its circumstances were observed by God, and were as familiar to God as the back of His own hand. Thus, His decision could not be wrong. In contrast, compared to the almightiness of God, man is so numb, so foolish and ignorant, so short-sighted. This is what we see in the exchanges between Abraham and God. God has been issuing forth His disposition from the beginning until today. Here, likewise, there is also the disposition of God that we should see. Numbers are simple—they do not demonstrate anything—but here there is a very important expression of God’s disposition. God would not destroy the city because of fifty righteous. Is this due to the mercy of God? Is it because of His love and tolerance? Have you seen this side of God’s disposition? Even if there were only ten righteous, God would not have destroyed the city, because of these ten righteous people. Is this or is this not the tolerance and love of God? Because of God’s mercy, tolerance, and concern toward those righteous people, He would not have destroyed the city. This is the tolerance of God. And in the end, what outcome do we see? When Abraham said, “Peradventure ten shall be found there,” God said, “I will not destroy it.” After that, Abraham said no more—for within Sodom there were not the ten righteous he referred to, and he had no more to say, and at that time he understood why God had resolved to destroy Sodom. In this, what disposition of God do you see? What kind of resolution did God make? God resolved that, if this city had not ten righteous, He would not permit its existence, and would inevitably destroy it. Is this not the wrath of God? Does this wrath represent God’s disposition? Is this disposition the revelation of God’s holy substance? Is it the revelation of God’s righteous substance, which man must not offend? Having confirmed that there were not ten righteous in Sodom, God was certain to destroy the city, and would severely punish the people within that city, for they opposed God, and because they were so filthy and corrupt.

Why have we analyzed these passages in this way? It is because these few simple sentences give full expression to God’s disposition of abundant mercy and profound wrath. At the same time as treasuring the righteous, and having mercy upon, tolerating, and caring about them, in God’s heart there was a deep loathing for all those in Sodom who had been corrupted. Was this, or was it not, abundant mercy and profound wrath? By what means did God destroy the city? By fire. And why did He destroy it using fire? When you see something being burned by fire, or when you are about to burn something, what are your feelings toward it? Why do you want to burn it? Do you feel that you no longer need it, that you no longer wish to look at it? Do you want to abandon it? God’s use of fire means abandonment, and hate, and that He no longer wished to see Sodom. This was the emotion that made God raze Sodom with fire. The use of fire represents just how angry God was. The mercy and tolerance of God do indeed exist, but God’s holiness and righteousness when He unleashes His wrath also show man the side of God that brooks no offense. When man is fully capable of obeying the commands of God and acts in accordance with God’s requirements, God is abundant in His mercy toward man; when man has been filled with corruption, hatred and enmity for Him, God is profoundly angry. To what extent is He profoundly angry? His wrath will last until God no longer sees man’s resistance and evil deeds, until they are no longer before His eyes. Only then will God’s anger disappear. In other words, no matter who the person is, if their heart has become distant from God and turned away from God, never to return, then regardless of how, to all appearances or in terms of their subjective desires, they wish to worship and follow and obey God in their body or in their thinking, God’s wrath will be unleashed without cease. It will be such that when God deeply unleashes His anger, having given man ample opportunities, once it is unleashed there will be no way of taking it back, and He will never again be merciful and tolerant of such a mankind. This is one side of God’s disposition that tolerates no offense. Here, it seems normal to people that God would destroy a city, for, in God’s eyes, a city full of sin could not exist and continue to remain, and it was rational that it should be destroyed by God. Yet in that which happened prior to and following His destruction of Sodom, we see the entirety of God’s disposition. He is tolerant and merciful toward things that are kind and beautiful and good; toward things that are evil, sinful, and wicked, He is profoundly wrathful, such that He is unceasing in His wrath. These are the two principal and most prominent aspects of God’s disposition, and, moreover, they have been revealed by God from beginning to end: abundant mercy and profound wrath. Most of you have experienced something of God’s mercy, but very few of you have appreciated God’s wrath. God’s mercy and lovingkindness can be seen in every person; that is, God has been abundantly merciful toward every person. Yet very rarely—or, it can be said, never—has God been profoundly angry toward any individuals or any section of the people among you. Relax! Sooner or later, God’s wrath will be seen and experienced by every person, but now is not yet the time. Why is this? It is because when God is constantly angry toward someone, that is, when He unleashes His profound wrath upon them, this means that He has long since detested and rejected this person, that He despises their existence, and that He cannot endure their existence; as soon as His anger comes upon them, they will disappear. Today, God’s work has yet to reach that point. None of you will be able to bear it once God becomes profoundly angry. You see, then, that at this time God is only abundantly merciful toward you all, and you have yet to see His profound anger. If there are people who remain unconvinced, you can ask that God’s wrath come upon you, so that you may experience whether or not God’s anger and His disposition which brooks no offense by man really exist. Do you dare?

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 38

The People of the Last Days Only See God’s Wrath in His Words, and Do Not Truly Experience the Wrath of God

From the time of creation until today, no group has enjoyed as much of God’s grace or mercy and lovingkindness as this final group. Although, in the final stage, God has done the work of judgment and chastisement, and has done His work with majesty and wrath, most of the time God only uses words to accomplish His work; He uses words to teach and water, to provide and feed. God’s wrath, meanwhile, has always been kept hidden, and apart from experiencing God’s wrathful disposition in His words, very few people have experienced His anger in person. This is to say, during God’s work of judgment and chastisement, although the wrath revealed in God’s words allows people to experience God’s majesty and His intolerance of offense, this wrath does not go beyond His words. In other words, God uses words to rebuke man, expose man, judge man, chastise man, and even condemn man—but God has yet to be profoundly angry toward man, and has barely even unleashed His wrath upon man except with His words. Thus, the mercy and lovingkindness of God experienced by man in this age are the revelation of God’s true disposition, while the wrath of God experienced by man is merely the effect of the tone and feel of His utterances. Many people wrongly take this effect to be the true experiencing and the true knowledge of God’s wrath. Consequently, most people believe that they have seen God’s mercy and lovingkindness in His words, that they have also beheld God’s intolerance of man’s offense, and most of them have even come to appreciate God’s mercy and tolerance toward man. But no matter how bad man’s behavior, or how corrupt his disposition, God has always endured. In enduring, His aim is to wait for the words He has spoken, the efforts He has made and the price He has paid to achieve an effect in those whom He wishes to gain. Waiting for an outcome such as this takes time, and requires the creation of different environments for man, in the same way that people do not become adults as soon as they are born; it takes eighteen or nineteen years, and some people even need twenty or thirty years before they mature into a real adult. God awaits the completion of this process, He awaits the coming of such a time, and He awaits the arrival of this outcome. Throughout the time that He waits, God is abundantly merciful. During the period of God’s work, however, an extremely small number of people are struck down, and some are punished because of their grave opposition to God. Such examples are even greater proof of the disposition of God that does not brook the offense of man, and fully confirm the real existence of God’s tolerance and endurance toward the chosen ones. Of course, in these typical examples, the revelation of part of the disposition of God in these people does not affect God’s overall management plan. In fact, in this final stage of God’s work, God has endured throughout the period He has been waiting, and He has exchanged His endurance and His life for the salvation of those who follow Him. Do you see this? God does not upset His plan without reason. He can unleash His wrath, and He can also be merciful; this is the revelation of the two main parts of God’s disposition. Is this, or is it not, very clear? In other words, when it comes to God, right and wrong, just and unjust, the positive and the negative—all this is clearly shown to man. What He will do, what He likes, what He hates—all this can be directly reflected in His disposition. Such things can also be very obviously and clearly seen in God’s work, and they are not vague or general; instead, they allow all people to behold the disposition of God and what He has and is in an especially concrete, true and practical manner. This is the true God Himself.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 39

God’s Disposition Has Never Been Hidden From Man—Man’s Heart Has Strayed From God

Since the time of creation, God’s disposition has been in step with His work. It has never been hidden from man, but fully publicized and made plain to man. Yet, with the passing of time, man’s heart has grown ever more distant from God, and as man’s corruption has become deeper, man and God have become further and further apart. Slowly but surely, man has disappeared from the eyes of God. Man has become unable to “see” God, which has left him without any “news” of God; thus, he does not know whether God exists, and even goes so far as to completely deny the existence of God. Consequently, man’s incomprehension of God’s disposition, and what He has and is, is not because God is hidden from man, but because his heart has turned away from God. Though man believes in God, man’s heart is without God, and he is ignorant of how to love God, nor does he want to love God, for his heart never draws close to God and he always avoids God. As a result, man’s heart is distant from God. So, where is his heart? In fact, man’s heart has not gone anywhere: Instead of giving it to God or revealing it to God to see, he has kept it for himself. This is despite the fact that some people often pray to God and say, “O God, look upon my heart—You know all that I think,” and some even swear to let God look upon them, that they may be punished if they break their oath. Though man allows God to look within his heart, this does not mean that man is capable of obeying the orchestrations and arrangements of God, nor that he has left his fate and prospects and his all under the control of God. Thus, regardless of the oaths you make to God or what you declare to Him, in God’s eyes your heart is still closed to Him, for you only allow God to look upon your heart but do not permit Him to control it. In other words, you have not given your heart to God at all, and only speak nice-sounding words for God to hear; meanwhile, you hide your various deceitful intentions from God, together with your intrigues, scheming, and plans, and you clutch your prospects and fate in your hands, deeply afraid that they will be taken away by God. Thus, God never beholds man’s sincerity toward Him. Though God does observe the depths of man’s heart, and can see what man is thinking and wishes to do in his heart, and can see what things are kept within his heart, man’s heart does not belong to God, and he has not given it over to God’s control. This is to say, God has the right to observe, but He does not have the right to control. In the subjective consciousness of man, man does not want or intend to give himself over to God’s arrangements. Not only has man closed himself off to God, but there are even people who think of ways to wrap up their hearts, using smooth talk and flattery to create a false impression and gain the trust of God, and concealing their true face out of sight from God. Their aim in not allowing God to see is to not allow God to perceive what they really are like. They do not want to give their hearts to God, but to keep them for themselves. The subtext of this is that what man does and what he wants is all planned, calculated, and decided by man himself; he does not require the participation or intervention of God, much less does he need the orchestrations and arrangements of God. Thus, whether in regard to the commands of God, His commission, or the requirements that God makes of man, man’s decisions are based on his own intentions and interests, on his own state and circumstances at the time. Man always uses the knowledge and insights that he is familiar with, and his own intellect, to judge and select the path he should take, and does not allow the interference or control of God. This is the heart of man that God sees.

From the beginning until today, only man has been capable of conversing with God. That is, among all living things and creatures of God, none but man has been able to converse with God. Man has ears that enable him to hear, and eyes that let him see; he has language, and his own ideas, and free will. He is possessed of all that is required to hear God speak, and understand God’s will, and accept God’s commission, and so God confers all His wishes upon man, wanting to make man a companion who is of the same mind with Him and who can walk with Him. Since He began to manage, God has been waiting for man to give his heart to Him, to let God purify and equip it, to make him satisfactory to God and loved by God, to make him revere God and shun evil. God has ever looked forward to and awaited this outcome.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 40

Assessments of Job by God and in the Bible

Job 1:1 There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.

Job 1:5 And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually.

Job 1:8 And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil?

What is the key point that you see in these passages? These three brief passages of scripture all relate to Job. Though short, they clearly state what kind of person he was. Through their description of Job’s everyday behavior and his conduct, they tell everyone that, rather than being groundless, God’s assessment of Job was well-founded. They tell us that, whether it be man’s appraisal of Job (Job 1:1), or God’s appraisal of him (Job 1:8), both are the result of Job’s deeds before God and man (Job 1:5).

First, let us read the first passage: “There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” This is the first assessment of Job in the Bible, and this sentence is the author’s appraisal of Job. Naturally, it also represents man’s assessment of Job, which is “that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil.” Next, let us read of God’s assessment of Job: “There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil” (Job 1:8). Of the two, one came from man, and one originated from God; they are two assessments with the same content. It can be seen, then, that Job’s behavior and conduct were known to man, and were also praised by God. In other words, Job’s conduct before man and his conduct before God were the same; he laid his behavior and motivation before God at all times, so that they might be observed by God, and he was one that feared God and shunned evil. Thus, in the eyes of God, of the people on earth only Job was perfect and upright, one that feared God and shunned evil.

Specific Manifestations of Job’s Fear of God and Shunning of Evil in His Daily Life

Next, let us look at specific manifestations of Job’s fear of God and shunning of evil. In addition to the passages that precede and follow it, let us also read Job 1:5, which is one of the specific manifestations of Job’s fear of God and shunning of evil. It relates to how he feared God and shunned evil in his daily life; most prominently, he not only did as he ought to do for the sake of his own fear of God and shunning of evil, but also regularly sacrificed burnt offerings before God on behalf of his sons. He was afraid that they had often “sinned, and cursed God in their hearts” while feasting. How was this fear manifested in Job? The original text gives the following account: “And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all.” Job’s conduct shows us that, rather than being manifested in his outward behavior, his fear of God came from within his heart, and that his fear of God could be found in every aspect of his daily life, at all times, for he not only shunned evil himself, but often sacrificed burnt offerings on behalf of his sons. In other words, Job was not only deeply afraid of sinning against God and renouncing God in his own heart, but also worried that his sons might sin against God and renounce Him in their hearts. From this it can be seen that the truth of Job’s fear of God stands up to scrutiny, and is beyond the doubt of any man. Did he do thus occasionally, or frequently? The final sentence of the text is “Thus did Job continually.” The meaning of these words is that Job did not go and look in on his sons occasionally, or when it pleased him, nor did he confess to God through prayer. Instead, he regularly sent his sons to be sanctified, and sacrificed burnt offerings for them. The word “continually” here does not mean he did so for one or two days, or for a moment. It is saying that the manifestation of Job’s fear of God was not temporary, and did not stop at knowledge or spoken words; instead, the way of fearing God and shunning evil guided his heart, it dictated his behavior, and it was, in his heart, the root of his existence. That he did so continually shows that, in his heart, he often feared that he himself would sin against God and was also afraid that his sons and daughters would sin against God. It represents just how much weight the way of fearing God and shunning evil carried within his heart. He did thus continually because, in his heart, he was frightened and afraid—afraid that he had committed evil and sinned against God, and that he had deviated from the way of God and so was unable to satisfy God. At the same time, he also worried about his sons and daughters, fearing that they had offended God. Thus was Job’s normal conduct in his everyday life. It is precisely this normal conduct which proves that Job’s fear of God and shunning of evil are not empty words, that Job truly lived out such a reality. “Thus did Job continually”: These words tell us of Job’s everyday deeds before God. When he did thus continually, did his behavior and his heart reach before God? In other words, was God often pleased with his heart and his behavior? Then, in what state, and in what context, did Job do thus continually? Some people say that it was because God frequently appeared to Job that he acted so; some say that he did thus continually because he had the will to shun evil; and some say that perhaps he thought that his fortune had not come easily, and he knew that it had been bestowed upon him by God, and so he was deeply afraid of losing his property as a result of sinning against or offending God. Are any of these claims true? Clearly not. For, in the eyes of God, what God accepted and cherished most about Job was not just that he did thus continually; more than that, it was his conduct before God, man, and Satan when he was handed over to Satan and tempted.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 41

Satan Tempts Job for the First Time (His Livestock Is Stolen and Calamity Befalls His Children)

a. The Words Spoken by God

Job 1:8 And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil?

Job 1:12 And Jehovah said to Satan, Behold, all that he has is in your power; only on himself put not forth your hand. So Satan went forth from the presence of Jehovah.

b. Satan’s Reply

Job 1:9–11 Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Does Job fear God for nothing? Have not You made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face.

God Permits Satan to Tempt Job so That Job’s Faith Will Be Made Perfect

Job 1:8 is the first record that we see in the Bible of an exchange between Jehovah God and Satan. So, what did God say? The original text provides the following account: “And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil?” This was God’s assessment of Job before Satan; God said that he was a perfect and an upright man, one that feared God and shunned evil. Prior to these words between God and Satan, God had resolved that He would use Satan to tempt Job—that He would hand Job over to Satan. In one respect, this would prove that God’s observation and evaluation of Job were accurate and without error, and would cause Satan to be shamed through Job’s testimony; in another, it would make perfect Job’s faith in God and fear of God. Thus, when Satan came before God, God did not equivocate. He cut straight to the point and asked Satan: “Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil?” In God’s question there is the following meaning: God knew that Satan had roamed all places and had often spied upon Job, who was God’s servant. It had often tempted and attacked Job, trying to find a way of bringing ruin upon him in order to prove that his faith in God and fear of God could not hold firm. Satan also readily sought opportunities to devastate Job, that Job might renounce God, and that it might seize him from the hands of God. Yet God looked within Job’s heart and saw that he was perfect and upright, and that he feared God and shunned evil. God used a question to tell Satan that Job was a perfect and an upright man who feared God and shunned evil, that Job would never renounce God and follow Satan. Having heard God’s appraisal of Job, in Satan there came a rage born of humiliation, and Satan became more angry and more impatient to snatch Job away, for Satan had never believed that someone could be perfect and upright, or that they could fear God and shun evil. At the same time, Satan also loathed the perfection and uprightness in man, and hated people that could fear God and shun evil. So it is written in Job 1:9–11 that “Then Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Does Job fear God for nothing? Have not You made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face.” God was intimately acquainted with Satan’s malicious nature, and knew full well that Satan had long planned to bring ruin upon Job, and so in this God wished, through telling Satan once more that Job was perfect and upright and that he feared God and shunned evil, to bring Satan into line, to make Satan reveal its true face and attack and tempt Job. In other words, God deliberately emphasized that Job was perfect and upright, and that he feared God and shunned evil, and by this means He made Satan attack Job because of Satan’s hatred and ire toward how Job was a perfect and an upright man, one that feared God and shunned evil. As a result, God would bring shame upon Satan through the fact that Job was a perfect and an upright man, one that feared God and shunned evil, and Satan would be left utterly humiliated and defeated. After that, Satan would no longer doubt or make accusations about Job’s perfection, uprightness, fear of God, or shunning of evil. In this way, God’s trial and Satan’s temptation was almost inevitable. The only one able to withstand God’s trial and Satan’s temptation was Job. Following this exchange, Satan was granted permission to tempt Job. Thus began Satan’s first round of attacks. The target of these attacks was Job’s property, for Satan had made the following accusation against Job: “Does Job fear God for nothing? … You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land.” As a result, God permitted Satan to take all that Job had—this was the very purpose why God talked with Satan. Nevertheless, God made one demand of Satan: “All that he has is in your power; only on himself put not forth your hand” (Job 1:12). This was the condition that God made after He permitted Satan to tempt Job and placed Job into the hands of Satan, and this was the limit He set for Satan: He ordered Satan not to harm Job. Because God recognized that Job was perfect and upright, and because He had faith that Job’s perfection and uprightness before Him were beyond doubt and could withstand being put to the test, so God allowed Satan to tempt Job, but imposed a restriction on Satan: Satan was permitted to take all of Job’s property, but it could not lay a finger on him. What does this mean? It means that God did not give Job completely to Satan at that moment. Satan could tempt Job by whatever means it wanted, but it could not hurt Job himself—not even one hair on his head—because everything of man is controlled by God, and because whether man lives or dies is decided by God. Satan does not have this license. After God said these words to Satan, Satan could not wait to begin. It used every means to tempt Job, and before long Job had lost a mountain’s worth of sheep and oxen and all of the property given unto him by God…. Thus God’s trials came to him.

Though the Bible tells us of the origins of Job’s temptation, was Job himself, the one subjected to these temptations, aware of what was going on? Job was just a mortal man; of course he knew nothing of the story unfolding around him. Nevertheless, his fear of God and his perfection and uprightness made him realize that the trials of God had come upon him. He did not know what had occurred in the spiritual realm, nor what the intentions of God were behind these trials. But he did know that regardless of what happened to him, he should hold true to his perfection and uprightness, and should abide by the way of fearing God and shunning evil. Job’s attitude and reaction to these matters were clearly beheld by God. What did God see? He saw Job’s God-fearing heart, because from the beginning right through until when Job was tried, Job’s heart remained open to God, it was laid before God, and Job did not renounce his perfection or uprightness, nor did he cast away or turn from the way of fearing God and shunning evil—nothing was more gratifying to God than this.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 42

Job’s Reaction

Job 1:20–21 Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground, and worshipped, And said, Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither: Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah.

That Job Takes It Upon Himself to Return All That He Possesses Stems From His Fear of God

After God said to Satan, “All that he has is in your power; only on himself put not forth your hand,” Satan departed, soon after which Job came under sudden and fierce attacks: First, his oxen and donkeys were plundered and some of his servants killed; next, his sheep and some more servants were consumed in fire; after that, his camels were taken and even more of his servants were murdered; finally, his sons’ and daughters’ lives were taken away. This string of attacks was the torment suffered by Job during the first temptation. As commanded by God, during these attacks Satan only targeted Job’s property and his children, and did not harm Job himself. Nevertheless, Job was instantly transformed from a rich man possessed of great wealth to someone who had nothing. No one could have withstood this astonishing surprise blow or properly reacted to it, yet Job demonstrated his extraordinary side. The Scriptures provide the following account: “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground, and worshipped.” This was Job’s first reaction after hearing that he had lost his children and all of his property. Above all, he did not appear surprised, or panic-stricken, much less did he express anger or hate. You see, then, that in his heart he had already recognized that these disasters were not an accident, or born from the hand of man, much less were they the arrival of retribution or punishment. Instead, the trials of Jehovah had come upon him; it was Jehovah who wished to take his property and children. Job was very calm and clear-headed then. His perfect and upright humanity enabled him to rationally and naturally make accurate judgments and decisions about the disasters that had befallen him, and in consequence, he behaved with unusual calm: “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground, and worshipped.” “Rent his mantle” means that he was unclothed, and possessed of nothing; “shaved his head” means he had returned before God as a newborn infant; “fell down on the ground, and worshipped” means he had come into the world naked, and still without anything today, he was returned to God as if a newborn baby. Job’s attitude toward all that befell him could not have been achieved by any creature of God. His faith in Jehovah went beyond the realm of belief; this was his fear of God, his obedience to God; he was not only able to give thanks to God for giving to him, but also for taking from him. Furthermore, he was able to take it upon himself to return to God all that he owned, including his life.

Job’s fear and obedience toward God is an example to mankind, and his perfection and uprightness were the peak of the humanity that ought to be possessed by man. Though he did not see God, he realized that God truly existed, and because of this realization he feared God, and due to his fear of God, he was able to obey God. He gave God free rein to take whatever he had, yet he was without complaint, and fell down before God and told Him that, at this very moment, even if God took his flesh, he would gladly allow Him to do so, without complaint. His entire conduct was due to his perfect and upright humanity. This is to say, as a result of his innocence, honesty, and kindness, Job was unwavering in his realization and experience of God’s existence, and upon this foundation he made demands of himself and standardized his thinking, behavior, conduct and principles of actions before God in accordance with God’s guidance of him and the deeds of God that he had seen among all things. Over time, his experiences caused in him a real and actual fear of God and made him shun evil. This was the source of the integrity to which Job held firm. Job was possessed of an honest, innocent, and kind humanity, and he had actual experience of fearing God, obeying God, and shunning evil, as well as the knowledge that “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away.” Only because of these things was he able to stand firm in his testimony amid such vicious attacks by Satan, and only because of them was he able to not disappoint God and to provide a satisfactory answer to God when God’s trials came upon him. Though Job’s conduct during the first temptation was very straightforward, later generations were not assured of achieving such straightforwardness even after a lifetime of efforts, nor would they necessarily possess the conduct of Job described above. Today, faced with Job’s straightforward conduct, and in comparing it to the cries and determination of “absolute obedience and loyalty unto death” shown to God by those who claim to believe in God and follow God, do you, or do you not, feel deeply ashamed?

When you read in the scriptures of all that was suffered by Job and his family, what is your reaction? Do you become lost in your thoughts? Are you astonished? Could the trials that befell Job be described as “horrifying”? In other words, it is appalling enough reading of Job’s trials as described in the scriptures, to say nothing of how they would have been in real life. You see, then, that what befell Job was not a “practice drill,” but a real “battle,” featuring real “guns” and “bullets.” But by whose hand was he subjected to these trials? They were, of course, the work of Satan, and Satan did these things with its own hands. Despite this, these things were authorized by God. Did God tell Satan by what means to tempt Job? He did not. God merely made one condition by which Satan must abide, and then the temptation came upon Job. When the temptation came upon Job, it gave people a sense of the evil and ugliness of Satan, of its maliciousness and loathing for man, and of its enmity to God. In this we see that words cannot describe just how cruel this temptation was. It can be said that the malicious nature with which Satan abused man, and its ugly face, were fully revealed at this moment. Satan used this opportunity, the opportunity provided by God’s permission, to subject Job to feverish and remorseless abuse, the method and level of cruelty of which are both unimaginable and completely intolerable to people today. Rather than saying that Job was tempted by Satan, and that he stood firm in his testimony during this temptation, it is better to say that in the trials set for him by God, Job embarked upon a contest with Satan to protect his perfection and uprightness, and to defend the way of fearing God and shunning evil. In this contest, Job lost a mountain’s worth of sheep and cattle, he lost all of his property, and he lost his sons and daughters. However, he did not abandon his perfection, uprightness, or fear of God. In other words, in this contest with Satan, Job preferred to be deprived of his property and children than lose his perfection, uprightness, and fear of God. He preferred to hold on to the root of what it means to be a man. The Scriptures provide a concise account of the entire process by which Job lost his assets, and also document Job’s conduct and attitude. These terse, succinct accounts give the sense that Job was almost relaxed in facing this temptation, but if what actually happened were to be re-created—considering also the fact of Satan’s malicious nature—then things would not be as simple or easy as described in these sentences. The reality was far crueler. Such is the level of devastation and hate with which Satan treats mankind and all those of whom God approves. If God had not asked that Satan not harm Job, Satan would have undoubtedly slain him without any compunction. Satan does not want anyone to worship God, nor does it wish for those who are righteous in God’s eyes and those who are perfect and upright to be able to continue fearing God and shunning evil. For people to fear God and shun evil means that they shun and forsake Satan, and so Satan took advantage of God’s permission to pile all of its rage and hate upon Job without mercy. You see, then, how great was the torment suffered by Job, from mind to flesh, from without to within. Today, we do not see how it was at that time, and can only gain, from the accounts of the Bible, a brief glimpse of Job’s emotions when he was subjected to the torment at that time.

Job’s Unshakable Integrity Brings Shame Upon Satan and Causes It to Flee in Panic

So, what did God do when Job was subjected to this torment? God observed, and watched, and awaited the outcome. As God observed and watched, how did He feel? He felt grief-stricken, of course. But is it possible that God could have regretted His permission to Satan to tempt Job just because of the grief He felt? The answer is, No, He could not have felt such regret. For He firmly believed that Job was perfect and upright, that he feared God and shunned evil. God had simply given Satan the opportunity to verify Job’s righteousness before God, and to reveal its own wickedness and contemptibility. It was, furthermore, an opportunity for Job to testify to his righteousness and to his fear of God and shunning of evil before the people of the world, Satan, and even all those who follow God. Did the final outcome prove that God’s assessment of Job was correct and without error? Did Job actually overcome Satan? Here we read of the archetypal words spoken by Job, words which are proof that he had overcome Satan. He said: “Naked came I out of my mother’s womb, and naked shall I return thither.” This is Job’s attitude of obedience toward God. Next, he said: “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah.” These words spoken by Job prove that God observes the depths of man’s heart, that He is able to look into the mind of man, and they prove that His approval of Job is without error, that this man who was approved by God was righteous. “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah.” These words are Job’s testimony to God. It was these ordinary words that cowed Satan, that brought shame upon it and caused it to flee in panic, and, moreover, that shackled Satan and left it without resources. So, too, did these words make Satan feel the wondrousness and might of the deeds of Jehovah God, and allow it to perceive the extraordinary charisma of one whose heart was ruled by the way of God. Moreover, they demonstrated to Satan the powerful vitality shown by a small and insignificant man in adhering to the way of fearing God and shunning evil. Satan was thus defeated in the first contest. Despite having “learned from this,” Satan had no intention of letting Job go, nor had there been any change in its malicious nature. Satan tried to carry on attacking Job, and so once more came before God …

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 43

Satan Once More Tempts Job (Sore Boils Break Out Across Job’s Body)

a. The Words Spoken by God

Job 2:3 And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil? and still he holds fast his integrity, although you moved Me against him, to destroy him without cause.

Job 2:6 And Jehovah said to Satan, Behold, he is in your hand; but save his life.

b. The Words Spoken by Satan

Job 2:4–5 And Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Skin for skin, yes, all that a man has will he give for his life. But put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse You to Your face.

c. How Job Deals With the Trial

Job 2:9–10 Then said his wife to him, Do you still retain your integrity? curse God, and die. But he said to her, You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Job 3:3 Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived.

Job’s Love of the Way of God Surpasses All Else

The Scriptures document the words spoken between God and Satan as follows: “And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil? and still he holds fast his integrity, although you moved Me against him, to destroy him without cause” (Job 2:3). In this exchange, God repeats the same question to Satan. It is a question that shows us Jehovah God’s affirmative assessment of what was demonstrated and lived out by Job during the first trial, and one that is no different to God’s assessment of Job before he had undergone Satan’s temptation. This is to say, before the temptation came upon him, in God’s eyes Job was perfect, and thus God protected him and his family, and blessed him; he was worthy to be blessed in God’s eyes. After the temptation, Job did not sin with his lips because he had lost his property and his children, but continued to praise the name of Jehovah. His actual conduct made God applaud him, and because of it, God gave him full marks. For in the eyes of Job, his offspring or his assets were not enough to make him renounce God. God’s place in his heart, in other words, could not be replaced by his children or any piece of property. During Job’s first temptation, he showed God that his love for Him and his love for the way of fearing God and shunning evil surpassed all else. It is merely that this trial gave Job the experience of receiving a reward from Jehovah God and having his property and children taken away by Him.

For Job, this was a true experience that washed his soul clean; it was a baptism of life that fulfilled his existence, and, furthermore, it was a sumptuous feast that tested his obedience to, and fear of God. This temptation transformed Job’s standing from that of a rich man to someone who had nothing, and it also allowed him to experience Satan’s abuse of mankind. His destitution did not cause him to loathe Satan; rather, in Satan’s vile acts he saw Satan’s ugliness and contemptibility, as well as Satan’s enmity and rebellion toward God, and this better encouraged him to forever hold firm to the way of fearing God and shunning evil. He swore that he would never forsake God and turn his back on the way of God because of external factors such as property, children or kinfolk, nor would he ever be a slave to Satan, property, or any person; apart from Jehovah God, no one could be his Lord or his God. Such were the aspirations of Job. On the other hand, Job had also acquired something from this temptation: He had gained great riches amid the trials given unto him by God.

During Job’s life over the previous several decades, he had beheld the deeds of Jehovah and gained Jehovah God’s blessings for him. They were blessings that left him feeling enormously uneasy and indebted, for he believed that he had not done anything for God, yet had been bequeathed with such great blessings and had enjoyed so much grace. For this reason, he often prayed in his heart, hoping that he would be able to repay God, hoping that he would have the opportunity to bear testimony to God’s deeds and greatness, and hoping that God would put his obedience to the test, and, moreover, that his faith could be purified, until his obedience and his faith gained God’s approval. Then, when the trial came upon Job, he believed that God had heard his prayers. Job cherished this opportunity more than anything else, and thus he did not dare treat it lightly, for his greatest lifelong wish could be realized. The arrival of this opportunity meant that his obedience and fear of God could be put to the test, and could be made pure. Moreover, it meant that Job had a chance to gain God’s approval, thus bringing him closer to God. During the trial, such faith and pursuit allowed him to become more perfect, and to gain a greater understanding of God’s will. Job also became more grateful for God’s blessings and graces, in his heart he poured greater praise on the deeds of God, and he was more fearful and reverent of God, and longed more for God’s loveliness, greatness, and holiness. At this time, though Job was still one who feared God and shunned evil in the eyes of God, with regard to his experiences, Job’s faith and knowledge had progressed in leaps and bounds: His faith had increased, his obedience had gained a foothold, and his fear of God had become more profound. Though this trial transformed Job’s spirit and life, such a transformation did not satisfy Job, nor did it slow his progress onward. At the same time as calculating what he had gained from this trial, and considering his own deficiencies, he quietly prayed, waiting for the next trial to come upon him, because he yearned for his faith, obedience, and fear of God to be elevated during the next trial of God.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 44

Satan Once More Tempts Job (Sore Boils Break Out Across Job’s Body)

a. The Words Spoken by God

Job 2:3 And Jehovah said to Satan, Have you considered My servant Job, that there is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil? and still he holds fast his integrity, although you moved Me against him, to destroy him without cause.

Job 2:6 And Jehovah said to Satan, Behold, he is in your hand; but save his life.

b. The Words Spoken by Satan

Job 2:4–5 And Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Skin for skin, yes, all that a man has will he give for his life. But put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse You to Your face.

Amid Extreme Suffering, Job Truly Realizes God’s Care for Mankind

Following Jehovah God’s questions to Satan, Satan was secretly happy. This was because Satan knew that it would once more be permitted to attack the man who was perfect in God’s eyes—for Satan, this was a rare opportunity. Satan wanted to use this opportunity to completely undermine Job’s conviction, to make him lose his faith in God and thus no longer fear God or bless the name of Jehovah. This would give Satan a chance: Whatever the place or time, it would be able to make Job a plaything beholden to its command. Satan hid its wicked intentions without trace, but it could not hold its evil nature in check. This truth is hinted at in its answer to the words of Jehovah God, as recorded in the scriptures: “And Satan answered Jehovah, and said, Skin for skin, yes, all that a man has will he give for his life. But put forth Your hand now, and touch his bone and his flesh, and he will curse You to Your face” (Job 2:4–5). It is impossible not to gain a substantive knowledge and sense of Satan’s maliciousness from this exchange between God and Satan. Having heard these fallacies of Satan, all those who love the truth and detest evil will undoubtedly have a greater hate of Satan’s ignobility and shamelessness, will feel appalled and disgusted by the fallacies of Satan, and, at the same time, will offer deep prayers and earnest wishes for Job, praying that this man of uprightness can achieve perfection, wishing that this man who fears God and shuns evil will forever overcome the temptations of Satan, and live in the light, amid God’s guidance and blessings; so, too, such people will wish that Job’s righteous deeds can forever spur on and encourage all those who pursue the way of fearing God and shunning evil. Though Satan’s malicious intent can be seen in this proclamation, God breezily consented to Satan’s “request”—but He also made one condition: “He is in your hand; but save his life” (Job 2:6). Because, this time, Satan asked to stretch forth its hand to harm Job’s flesh and bones, God said, “but save his life.” The meaning of these words is that He gave Job’s flesh to Satan, but Job’s life was God’s to keep. Satan could not take Job’s life, but apart from this Satan could employ any means or method against Job.

After gaining God’s permission, Satan rushed to Job and stretched forth its hand to afflict his skin, causing sore boils all over his body, and Job felt pain upon his skin. Job praised the wondrousness and holiness of Jehovah God, which made Satan even more flagrant in its audaciousness. Because it had felt the joy of hurting man, Satan stretched forth its hand and raked Job’s flesh, causing his sore boils to fester. Job immediately felt a pain and torment upon his flesh that was without parallel, and he could not help but knead himself from head to foot with his hands, as if this would relieve the blow that had been dealt to his spirit by this pain of his flesh. He realized that God was by his side watching him, and he tried his best to steel himself. He once more knelt to the ground, and said: “You look within man’s heart, You observe his misery; why does his weakness concern You? Praised be the name of Jehovah God.” Satan saw the unbearable pain of Job, but it did not see Job forsake the name of Jehovah God. Thus it hastily stretched forth its hand to afflict the bones of Job, desperate to tear him limb from limb. In an instant, Job felt unprecedented torment; it was as if his flesh had been ripped apart from the bones, and as if his bones were being smashed apart piece by piece. This agonizing torment made him think it would be better to die…. His ability to bear this pain had reached its limit…. He wanted to cry out, he wanted to tear at the skin on his body in an attempt to lessen the pain—yet he held back his screams, and did not tear at the skin on his body, for he did not want to let Satan see his weakness. So Job knelt once more, but at this time he felt not the presence of Jehovah God. He knew that Jehovah God was often before him, and behind him, and on either side of him. Yet during his pain, God had never once watched; He covered His face and was hidden, for the meaning of His creation of man was not to bring suffering upon man. At this time, Job was weeping and doing his best to endure this physical agony, yet he could no longer keep himself from giving thanks to God: “Man falls at the first blow, he is weak and powerless, he is young and ignorant—why would You wish to be so caring and tender toward him? You strike me, yet it hurts You to do so. What of man is worth Your care and concern?” Job’s prayers reached the ears of God, and God was silent, only watching without making any sound…. Having tried every trick in the book to no avail, Satan quietly departed, yet this did not bring an end to God’s trials of Job. Because the power of God that had been revealed in Job had not been made public, the story of Job did not end with the retreat of Satan. As other characters made their entry, more spectacular scenes were yet to come.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 45

Another Manifestation of Job’s Fear of God and Shunning of Evil Is His Extolling of God’s Name in All Things

Job had suffered the ravages of Satan, yet still he did not forsake the name of Jehovah God. His wife was the first to step out and, playing the role of Satan in a form that is visible to the eyes of man, attacked Job. The original text describes it thus: “Then said his wife to him, Do you still retain your integrity? curse God, and die” (Job 2:9). These were the words spoken by Satan in the guise of man. They were an attack, and an accusation, as well as enticement, a temptation, and slander. Having failed in attacking Job’s flesh, Satan then directly attacked Job’s integrity, wishing to use this to make Job give up his integrity, renounce God, and no longer go on living. So, too, did Satan wish to use such words to tempt Job: If Job forsook the name of Jehovah, then he need not endure such torment; he could free himself from the torment of the flesh. Faced with the advice of his wife, Job reprimanded her by saying, “You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:10). Job had long known these words, but at this time the truth of Job’s knowledge of them was proven.

When his wife advised him to curse God and die, her meaning was: “Your God treats you thus, so why not curse Him? What are you doing still living? Your God is so unfair to you, yet still you say ‘blessed be the name of Jehovah.’ How could He bring disaster upon you when you bless His name? Hurry up and forsake the name of God, and follow Him no more. Then, your troubles will be over.” At this moment, there was produced the testimony that God wished to see in Job. No ordinary person could bear such testimony, nor do we read of it in any of the stories of the Bible—but God had seen it long before Job spoke these words. God merely wished to use this opportunity to allow Job to prove to all that God was right. Faced with the advice of his wife, Job not only did not give up his integrity or renounce God, but he also said to his wife: “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” Do these words carry great weight? Here, there is only one fact capable of proving the weight of these words. The weight of these words is that they are approved of by God in His heart, they are what was desired by God, they are what God wanted to hear, and they are the outcome that God yearned to see; these words are also the essence of Job’s testimony. In this, Job’s perfection, uprightness, fear of God, and shunning of evil were proven. The preciousness of Job lay in how, when he was tempted, and even when his whole body was covered with sore boils, when he endured the utmost torment, and when his wife and kinfolk advised him, he still uttered such words. To put it in another way, in his heart he believed that, no matter what temptations, or however grievous the tribulations or torment, even if death was to come upon him, he would not renounce God or spurn the way of fearing God and shunning evil. You see, then, that God held the most important place in his heart, and that there was only God in his heart. It is because of this that we read such descriptions of him in the Scriptures as: In all this did not Job sin with his lips. Not only did he not sin with his lips, but in his heart he did not complain about God. He did not say hurtful words about God, nor did he sin against God. Not only did his mouth bless the name of God, but in his heart he also blessed the name of God; his mouth and heart were as one. This was the true Job seen by God, and this was the very reason why God treasured Job.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 46

People’s Many Misunderstandings About Job

The hardship suffered by Job was not the work of messengers sent by God, nor was it caused by God’s own hand. Instead, it was personally caused by Satan, the enemy of God. Consequently, the level of hardship suffered by Job was profound. Yet at this moment Job demonstrated, without reserve, his everyday knowledge of God in his heart, the principles of his everyday actions, and his attitude toward God—this is the truth. If Job had not been tempted, if God had not brought trials upon Job, when Job said, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah,” you would say that Job is a hypocrite; God had given him so many assets, so of course he blessed the name of Jehovah. If, before being subjected to trials, Job had said, “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” you would say that Job was exaggerating, and that he would not forsake the name of God since he was often blessed by the hand of God. You would say that if God had brought disaster upon him, then he would surely have forsaken the name of God. Yet when Job found himself in circumstances that no one would wish for or wish to see, circumstances that nobody would wish to befall them, which they would fear befalling them, circumstances that even God could not bear to watch, Job was still able to hold on to his integrity: “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah,” and “shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” Faced with Job’s conduct at this time, those who love to talk high-sounding words, and who love to speak letters and doctrines, all are left speechless. Those who extol God’s name in speech only, yet have never accepted the trials of God, are condemned by the integrity to which Job held firm, and those who have never believed that man is able to hold firm to the way of God are judged by Job’s testimony. Faced with Job’s conduct during these trials and the words that he spoke, some people will feel confused, some will feel envious, some will feel doubtful, and some will even appear disinterested, turning their noses up at the testimony of Job because they not only see the torment that befell Job during the trials, and read of the words spoken by Job, but also see the human “weakness” betrayed by Job when the trials came upon him. This “weakness” they believe to be the supposed imperfection in the perfection of Job, the blemish in a man who in God’s eyes was perfect. This is to say that it is believed that those who are perfect are flawless, without stain or sully, that they have no weaknesses, have no knowledge of pain, that they never feel unhappy or dejected, and are without hate or any externally extreme behavior; as a result, the great majority of people do not believe that Job was truly perfect. People do not approve of much of his behavior during his trials. For example, when Job lost his property and children, he did not, as people would imagine, break into tears. His “lack of decorum” makes people think he was cold, for he was without tears or affection for his family. This is the initial bad impression that people have of Job. They find his behavior after that even more perplexing: “Rent his mantle” has been interpreted by people as his disrespect for God, and “shaved his head” is wrongly believed to mean Job’s blasphemy and opposition to God. Apart from Job’s words that “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah,” people discern none of the righteousness in Job that was praised by God, and thus the assessment of Job made by the great majority of them is nothing more than incomprehension, misunderstanding, doubt, condemnation, and approval in theory only. None of them are able to truly understand and appreciate Jehovah God’s words that Job was a perfect and an upright man, one that feared God and shunned evil.

Based on their impression of Job above, people have further doubts as to his righteousness, for Job’s actions and his conduct recorded in the scriptures were not as earth-shatteringly moving as people would have imagined. Not only did he not carry out any great feats, but he also took a potsherd to scrape himself while sitting among the ashes. This act also astonishes people and causes them to doubt—and even deny—Job’s righteousness, for while scraping himself Job did not pray or make promises to God; nor, moreover, was he seen to weep tears of pain. At this time, people only see the weakness of Job and nothing else, and thus even when they hear Job say “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” they are completely unmoved, or else undecided, and are still unable to discern the righteousness of Job from his words. The basic impression that Job gives people during the torment of his trials is that he was neither cringing nor arrogant. People do not see the story behind his behavior that played out in the depths of his heart, nor do they see fear of God within his heart or his adherence to the principle of the way of shunning evil. His equanimity makes people think his perfection and uprightness were but empty words, that his fear of God was merely hearsay; the “weakness” that he revealed externally, meanwhile, leaves a profound impression on them, giving them a “new perspective” on, and even a “new understanding” toward the man whom God defines as perfect and upright. Such a “new perspective” and “new understanding” are proven when Job opened his mouth and cursed the day he was born.

Though the level of torment he suffered is unimaginable and incomprehensible to any man, he spoke no words of heresy, but only lessened the pain of his body by his own means. As recorded in the Scriptures, he said: “Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived” (Job 3:3). Perhaps, no one has ever considered these words important, and perhaps there are people who have paid attention to them. In your view, do they mean that Job opposed God? Are they a complaint against God? I know that many of you have certain ideas about these words spoken by Job and believe that if Job was perfect and upright, he should not have shown any weakness or grief, and ought instead to have faced any attack from Satan positively, and even smiled in the face of Satan’s temptations. He should not have had the slightest reaction to any of the torment brought upon his flesh by Satan, nor should he have betrayed any of the emotions within his heart. He should even have asked that God make these trials even harsher. This is what should be demonstrated and possessed by someone who is unwavering and who truly fears God and shuns evil. Amid this extreme torment, Job did but curse the day of his birth. He did not complain about God, much less did he have any intention of opposing God. This is much easier said than done, for since ancient times until today, no one has ever experienced such temptations or suffered that which befell Job. So, why has no one ever been subjected to the same kind of temptation as Job? It is because, as God sees it, no one is able to bear such a responsibility or commission, no one could do as Job did, and, moreover, no one could still, apart from cursing the day of their birth, not forsake the name of God and continue to bless the name of Jehovah God, as Job did when such torment befell him. Could anyone do this? When we say this about Job, are we commending his behavior? He was a righteous man, and able to bear such testimony to God, and capable of making Satan flee with its head in its hands, so that it never again came before God to accuse him—so what is wrong with commending him? Could it be that you have higher standards than God? Could it be that you would act even better than Job when trials come upon you? Job was praised by God—what objections could you have?

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 47

Job Curses the Day of His Birth Because He Does Not Want God to Be Pained by Him

I often say that God looks within people’s hearts, while people look at people’s exteriors. Because God looks within people’s hearts, He understands their substance, whereas people define other people’s substance based on their exterior. When Job opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth, this act astonished all the spiritual figures, including the three friends of Job. Man came from God, and should be thankful for the life and flesh, as well as the day of his birth, bestowed upon him by God, and he should not curse them. This is something that ordinary people can understand and conceive. For anyone who follows God, this understanding is sacred and inviolable, and it is a truth that can never change. Job, on the other hand, broke the rules: He cursed the day of his birth. This is an act that ordinary people consider to constitute crossing over into forbidden territory. Not only is Job not entitled to people’s understanding and sympathy, he is also not entitled to God’s forgiveness. At the same time, even more people become doubtful toward Job’s righteousness, for it seemed that God’s favor toward him made Job self-indulgent; it made him so bold and reckless that not only did he not thank God for blessing him and caring for him during his lifetime, but he damned the day of his birth to destruction. What is this, if not opposition to God? Such superficialities provide people with the proof to condemn this act of Job, but who can know what Job was truly thinking at that time? Who can know the reason why Job acted in that way? Only God and Job himself know the inside story and reasons here.

When Satan stretched forth its hand to afflict the bones of Job, Job fell into its clutches, without the means to escape or the strength to resist. His body and soul suffered enormous pain, and this pain made him deeply aware of the insignificance, frailty, and powerlessness of man living in the flesh. At the same time, he also gained a profound appreciation and understanding of why God is of a mind to care for and look after mankind. In Satan’s clutches, Job realized that man, who is of flesh and blood, is actually so powerless and weak. When he fell to his knees and prayed to God, he felt as if God was covering His face and hiding, for God had completely placed him in the hands of Satan. At the same time, God also wept for him, and, moreover, was aggrieved for him; God was pained by his pain, and hurt by his hurt…. Job felt God’s pain, as well as how unbearable it was for God…. Job did not want to bring any more grief upon God, nor did he want God to weep for him, much less did he want to see God pained by him. At this moment, Job wanted only to divest himself of his flesh, to no longer endure the pain brought upon him by this flesh, for this would stop God being tormented by his pain—yet he could not, and he had to tolerate not only the pain of the flesh, but also the torment of not wishing to make God anxious. These two pains—one from the flesh, and one from the spirit—brought heart-rending, gut-wrenching pain upon Job, and made him feel how the limitations of man who is of flesh and blood can make one feel frustrated and helpless. Under these circumstances, his yearning for God grew fiercer, and his loathing of Satan became more intense. At this time, Job would have preferred to have never been born into the world of man, would rather that he did not exist, than see God cry tears or feel pain for his sake. He began to deeply loathe his flesh, to be sick and tired of himself, of the day of his birth, and even of all that which was connected to him. He did not wish there to be any more mention of his day of birth or anything to do with it, and so he opened his mouth and cursed the day of his birth: “Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived. Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine on it” (Job 3:3–4). Job’s words bear his loathing for himself, “Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said, There is a man child conceived,” as well as the blame he felt toward himself and his sense of indebtedness for having caused pain to God, “Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine on it.” These two passages are the ultimate expression of how Job felt then, and fully demonstrate his perfection and uprightness to all. At the same time, just as Job had wished, his faith and obedience to God, as well as his fear of God, were truly elevated. Of course, this elevation is precisely the effect that God had expected.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 48

Job Defeats Satan and Becomes a True Man in the Eyes of God

When Job first underwent his trials, he was stripped of all his property and all of his children, but he did not fall down or say anything that was a sin against God as a result. He had overcome the temptations of Satan, and he had overcome his material assets, his offspring and the trial of losing all his worldly possessions, which is to say he was able to obey God as He took things away from him and he was also able to offer thanks and praise to God because of what God did. Such was Job’s conduct during Satan’s first temptation, and such was also Job’s testimony during the first trial of God. In the second trial, Satan stretched forth its hand to afflict Job, and although Job experienced pain greater than he had ever felt before, still his testimony was enough to leave people astounded. He used his fortitude, conviction, and obedience to God, as well as his fear of God, to once more defeat Satan, and his conduct and his testimony were once more approved of and favored by God. During this temptation, Job used his actual conduct to proclaim to Satan that the pain of the flesh could not alter his faith and obedience to God or take away his devotion to God and fear of God; he would not renounce God or give up his own perfection and uprightness because he faced death. Job’s determination made a coward of Satan, his faith left Satan timorous and trembling, the intensity with which he fought against Satan during their life-and-death battle bred in Satan a deep hatred and resentment; his perfection and uprightness left Satan with nothing more it could do to him, such that Satan abandoned its attacks on him and gave up its accusations against Job that it had laid before Jehovah God. This meant that Job had overcome the world, he had overcome the flesh, he had overcome Satan, and he had overcome death; he was completely and utterly a man who belonged to God. During these two trials, Job stood firm in his testimony, actually lived out his perfection and uprightness, and broadened the scope of his living principles of fearing God and shunning evil. Having undergone these two trials, there was born in Job a richer experience, and this experience made him more mature and seasoned, it made him stronger, and of greater conviction, and it made him more confident of the rightness and worthiness of the integrity to which he held firm. Jehovah God’s trials of Job gave him a deep understanding and sense of God’s concern for man, and allowed him to sense the preciousness of God’s love, from which point consideration toward and love for God were added into his fear of God. The trials of Jehovah God not only did not alienate Job from Him, but brought his heart closer to God. When the fleshly pain endured by Job reached its peak, the concern that he felt from Jehovah God gave him no choice but to curse the day of his birth. Such conduct was not long-planned, but a natural revelation of the consideration for and love for God from within his heart, it was a natural revelation that came from his consideration for and love for God. This is to say, because he loathed himself, and he was unwilling to, and could not stand to torment God, thus his consideration and love reached the point of selflessness. At this time, Job elevated his long-standing adoration and yearning for God and devotion to God to the level of consideration and loving. At the same time, he also elevated his faith and obedience to God and fear of God to the level of consideration and loving. He did not allow himself to do anything that would cause harm to God, he did not permit himself any conduct that would hurt God, and did not allow himself to bring any sorrow, grief, or even unhappiness upon God for his own reasons. In God’s eyes, although Job was still the same Job as before, Job’s faith, obedience, and fear of God had brought God complete satisfaction and enjoyment. At this time, Job had attained the perfection that God had expected him to attain; he had become someone truly worthy of being called “perfect and upright” in God’s eyes. His righteous deeds allowed him to overcome Satan and to stand fast in his testimony to God. So, too, his righteous deeds made him perfect, and allowed the value of his life to be elevated and transcend more than ever, and they also made him the first person to no longer be attacked and tempted by Satan. Because Job was righteous, he was accused and tempted by Satan; because Job was righteous, he was handed over to Satan; and because Job was righteous, he overcame and defeated Satan, and stood firm in his testimony. Henceforth Job became the first man who would never again be handed over to Satan, he truly came before the throne of God and lived in the light, under the blessings of God without the spying or ruination of Satan…. He had become a true man in the eyes of God; he had been set free …

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 49

In Job’s Daily Life We See His Perfection, Uprightness, Fear of God, and Shunning of Evil

If we are to discuss Job, then we must start with the assessment of him uttered from God’s own mouth: “There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that fears God, and eschews evil.”

Let us first learn about Job’s perfection and uprightness.

What is your understanding of the words “perfect” and “upright”? Do you believe that Job was without reproach, that he was honorable? This, of course, would be a literal interpretation and understanding of the words “perfect” and “upright.” But the context of real life is integral to a true understanding of Job—words, books, and theory alone will not provide any answers. We will start by looking at Job’s home life, at what his normal conduct was like during his life. This will tell us about his principles and objectives in life, as well as about his personality and pursuit. Now, let us read the final words of Job 1:3: “This man was the greatest of all the men of the east.” What these words are saying is that Job’s status and standing were very high, and though we are not told whether the reason why he was the greatest of all men of the east was because of his abundant assets, or because he was perfect and upright and feared God while shunning evil, overall, we know that Job’s status and standing were much prized. As recorded in the Bible, people’s first impressions of Job were that Job was perfect, that he feared God and shunned evil, and that he was possessed of great wealth and venerable status. For a normal person living in such an environment and under such conditions, Job’s diet, quality of life, and the various aspects of his personal life would be the focus of most people’s attention; thus we must continue reading the scriptures: “And his sons went and feasted in their houses, every one his day; and sent and called for their three sisters to eat and to drink with them. And it was so, when the days of their feasting were gone about, that Job sent and sanctified them, and rose up early in the morning, and offered burnt offerings according to the number of them all: for Job said, It may be that my sons have sinned, and cursed God in their hearts. Thus did Job continually” (Job 1:4–5). This passage tells us two things: The first is that Job’s sons and daughters regularly feasted, with much eating and drinking; the second is that Job frequently offered burnt sacrifices because he often worried for his sons and daughters, fearful that they were sinning, that in their hearts they had renounced God. In this are described the lives of two different types of people. The first, Job’s sons and daughters, often feasted because of their affluence, lived extravagantly, wined and dined to their heart’s content, and enjoyed the high quality of life brought by material wealth. Living such a life, it was inevitable that they would often sin and offend God—yet they did not sanctify themselves or offer burnt offerings. You see, then, that God had no place in their hearts, that they gave no thought to God’s graces, nor feared offending God, much less did they fear renouncing God in their hearts. Of course, our focus is not on Job’s children, but on what Job did when faced with such things; this is the other matter described in the passage, which involves Job’s daily life and the substance of his humanity. Where the Bible describes the feasting of Job’s sons and daughters, there is no mention of Job; it is said only that his sons and daughters often ate and drank together. In other words, he did not hold feasts, nor did he join his sons and daughters in eating extravagantly. Though affluent and possessed of many assets and servants, Job’s life was not a luxurious one. He was not beguiled by his superlative living environment, and he did not, because of his wealth, gorge himself on the enjoyments of the flesh or forget to offer burnt offerings, and much less did it cause him to gradually shun God in his heart. Evidently, then, Job was disciplined in his lifestyle, was not greedy or hedonistic as a result of God’s blessings to him, and he did not fixate upon quality of life. Instead, he was humble and modest, he was not given to ostentation, and he was cautious and careful before God. He often gave thought to God’s graces and blessings, and was continually fearful of God. In his daily life, Job often rose early to offer burnt offerings for his sons and daughters. In other words, not only did Job himself fear God, but he also hoped that his children would likewise fear God and not sin against God. Job’s material wealth held no place within his heart, nor did it replace the position held by God; whether for his own sake or his children’s, Job’s daily actions were all connected to fearing God and shunning evil. His fear of Jehovah God did not stop at his mouth, but was something he put into action and reflected in each and every part of his daily life. This actual conduct by Job shows us that he was honest, and was possessed of a substance that loved justice and things that were positive. That Job often sent and sanctified his sons and daughters means he did not sanction or approve of his children’s behavior; instead, in his heart he was frustrated with their behavior, and condemned them. He had concluded that the behavior of his sons and daughters was not pleasing to Jehovah God, and thus he often called on them to go before Jehovah God and confess their sins. Job’s actions show us another side of his humanity, one in which he never walked with those who often sinned and offended God, but instead shunned and avoided them. Even though these people were his sons and daughters, he did not forsake his own principles of conduct because they were his own kin, nor did he indulge their sins because of his own sentiments. Rather, he urged them to confess and gain Jehovah God’s forbearance, and he warned them not to forsake God for the sake of their own greedy enjoyment. The principles of how Job treated others are inseparable from the principles of his fear of God and shunning of evil. He loved that which was accepted by God, and loathed that which repulsed God; he loved those who feared God in their hearts, and loathed those who committed evil or sinned against God. Such love and loathing was demonstrated in his everyday life, and was the very uprightness of Job seen by God’s eyes. Naturally, this is also the expression and living out of Job’s true humanity in his relations with others in his daily life, about which we must learn.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 50

The Manifestations of Job’s Humanity During His Trials (Understanding Job’s Perfection, Uprightness, Fear of God, and Shunning of Evil During His Trials)

When Job heard that his property had been stolen, that his sons and daughters had lost their lives, and that his servants had been killed, he reacted as follows: “Then Job arose, and rent his mantle, and shaved his head, and fell down on the ground, and worshipped” (Job 1:20). These words tell us one fact: After hearing this news, Job was not panic-stricken, he did not cry or blame the servants who had given him the news, much less did he inspect the scene of the crime to investigate and verify the details and find out what really happened. He did not exhibit any pain or regret at the loss of his possessions, nor did he break down in tears due to the loss of his children and his loved ones. On the contrary, he rent his mantle, and shaved his head, fell down on the ground, and worshiped. Job’s actions are unlike those of any ordinary man. They confuse many people, and make them reprimand Job in their hearts for his “cold-bloodedness.” At the sudden loss of their possessions, normal people would appear heartbroken or despairing—or, in the case of some people, they might even fall into deep depression. That is because, in their hearts, people’s property represents a lifetime of effort—it is that which their survival relies upon, it is the hope that keeps them living; the loss of their property means their efforts have been for nothing, that they are without hope, and even that they have no future. This is any normal person’s attitude toward their property and the close relationship they have with it, and this is also the importance of property in people’s eyes. As such, the great majority of people feel confused by Job’s indifferent attitude toward the loss of his property. Today, we are going to dispel the confusion all these people felt by explaining what was going on within Job’s heart.

Common sense dictates that, having been given such abundant assets by God, Job should feel ashamed before God because of losing these assets, for he had not looked after or taken care of them; he had not held on to the assets given to him by God. Thus, when he heard that his property had been stolen, his first reaction should have been to go to the scene of the crime and take inventory of everything that had been lost, and then to confess to God so that he might once more receive God’s blessings. Job, however, did not do this, and he naturally had his own reasons for not doing so. In his heart, Job profoundly believed that all he possessed had been bestowed upon him by God, and was not the product of his own labor. Thus, he did not see these blessings as something to be capitalized upon, but instead anchored the principles of his survival in holding on with all his might to the way that should be upheld. He cherished God’s blessings and gave thanks for them, but he was not enamored of blessings, nor did he seek more of them. Such was his attitude toward property. He neither did anything for the sake of gaining blessings, nor worried about or was aggrieved by the lack or loss of God’s blessings; he neither became wildly, deliriously happy because of God’s blessings, nor ignored the way of God or forgot the grace of God because of the blessings he frequently enjoyed. Job’s attitude toward his property reveals to people his true humanity: Firstly, Job was not a greedy man, and was undemanding in his material life. Secondly, Job never worried or feared that God would take away all that he had, which was his attitude of obedience toward God in his heart; that is, he had no demands or complaints about when or whether God would take from him, and did not ask the reason why, but only sought to obey the arrangements of God. Thirdly, he never believed that his assets came from his own labors, but that they were bestowed unto him by God. This was Job’s faith in God, and is an indication of his conviction. Are Job’s humanity and his true daily pursuit made clear in this three-point summary of him? Job’s humanity and pursuit were integral to his cool conduct when faced with the loss of his property. It was precisely because of his daily pursuit that Job had the stature and conviction to say, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah,” during the trials of God. These words were not gained overnight, nor had they just appeared in Job’s head. They were what he had seen and acquired during many years of experiencing life. Compared to all those who only seek God’s blessings and who fear that God will take from them, and who hate it and complain about it, is Job’s obedience not very real? Compared to all those who believe that there is a God, but who have never believed that God rules over all things, does Job not possess great honesty and uprightness?

Job’s Rationality

Job’s actual experiences and his upright and honest humanity meant that he made the most rational judgment and choices when he lost his assets and his children. Such rational choices were inseparable from his daily pursuits and the deeds of God that he had come to know during his day-to-day life. Job’s honesty made him able to believe that Jehovah’s hand rules over all things; his belief allowed him to know the fact of Jehovah God’s sovereignty over all things; his knowledge made him willing and able to obey Jehovah God’s sovereignty and arrangements; his obedience enabled him to be more and more true in his fear of Jehovah God; his fear made him more and more real in his shunning of evil; ultimately, Job became perfect because he feared God and shunned evil; his perfection made him wise, and gave him the utmost rationality.

How should we understand this word, “rational”? A literal interpretation is that it means being of good sense, being logical and sensible in one’s thinking, being of sound speech, actions, and judgment, and possessing sound and regular moral standards. Yet Job’s rationality is not so easily explained. When it is said here that Job was possessed of the utmost rationality, this is said in connection with his humanity and his conduct before God. Because Job was honest, he was able to believe in and obey the sovereignty of God, which gave him a knowledge that was unobtainable by others, and this knowledge made him able to more accurately discern, judge, and define that which befell him, which enabled him to more accurately and perspicaciously choose what to do and what to hold firm to. This is to say that his words, behavior, the principles behind his actions, and the code by which he acted, were regular, clear, and specific, and were not blind, impulsive, or emotional. He knew how to treat whatever befell him, he knew how to balance and handle the relationships between complex events, he knew how to hold fast to the way that should be held fast to, and, moreover, he knew how to treat the giving and taking away of Jehovah God. This was the very rationality of Job. It was precisely because Job was equipped with such rationality that he said, “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away; blessed be the name of Jehovah,” when he lost his assets and his sons and daughters.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 51

The Real Face of Job: True, Pure, and Without Falsity

Let us read Job 2:7–8: “So went Satan forth from the presence of Jehovah, and smote Job with sore boils from the sole of his foot to his crown. And he took him a potsherd to scrape himself with; and he sat down among the ashes.” This is a description of Job’s conduct when sore boils sprouted upon his body. At this time, Job sat in the ashes as he endured the pain. No one treated him, and no one helped him lessen the pain of his body; instead, he used a potsherd to scrape away the surface of the sore boils. Superficially, this was merely a stage in Job’s torment, and bears no relation to his humanity and fear of God, for Job spoke no words to express his mood and views at this time. Yet Job’s actions and his conduct are still a true expression of his humanity. In the record of the previous chapter we read that Job was the greatest of all the men of the east. This passage from the second chapter, meanwhile, shows us that this great man of the east actually took a potsherd to scrape himself while sitting among the ashes. Is there not an obvious contrast between these two descriptions? It is a contrast that shows us Job’s true self: Despite his prestigious standing and status, he had never loved nor paid these things any attention; he cared not how others viewed his standing, nor was he concerned about whether his actions or conduct would have any negative effect on his standing; he did not indulge in the blessings of status, nor did he enjoy the glory that came with status and standing. He only cared about his value and the significance of his living in the eyes of Jehovah God. Job’s true self was his very substance: He did not love fame and fortune, and did not live for fame and fortune; he was true, and pure, and without falsity.

Job’s Separation of Love and Hate

Another side of Job’s humanity is demonstrated in this exchange between him and his wife: “Then said his wife to him, Do you still retain your integrity? curse God, and die. But he said to her, You speak as one of the foolish women speaks. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” (Job 2:9–10). Seeing the torment he was suffering, Job’s wife tried to give Job advice to help him escape his torment, yet her “good intentions” did not gain Job’s approval; instead, they stirred his anger, for she denied his faith in, and obedience to Jehovah God, and also denied the existence of Jehovah God. This was intolerable to Job, for he had never allowed himself to do anything that opposed or hurt God, to say nothing of others. How could he remain indifferent when he saw others speak words that blasphemed against and insulted God? Thus he called his wife a “foolish woman.” Job’s attitude toward his wife was one of anger and hate, as well as reproach and reprimand. This was the natural expression of Job’s humanity—differentiating between love and hate—and it was a true representation of his upright humanity. Job was possessed of a sense of justice—one which made him hate the winds and tides of wickedness, and loathe, condemn, and reject absurd heresy, ridiculous arguments, and ludicrous assertions, and allowed him to hold true to his own, correct principles and stance when he had been rejected by the masses and deserted by those who were close to him.

The Kindheartedness and Sincerity of Job

Since, from Job’s conduct, we are able to see the expression of various aspects of his humanity, what of Job’s humanity do we see when he opened his mouth to curse the day of his birth? This is the topic we will share below.

Above, I have talked of the origins of Job’s cursing of the day of his birth. What do you see in this? If Job were hardhearted and without love, if he were cold and emotionless and bereft of humanity, could he have cared for God’s heart’s desire? Could he have despised the day of his own birth because he cared for God’s heart? In other words, if Job were hardhearted and bereft of humanity, could he have been distressed by God’s pain? Could he have cursed the day of his birth because God had been aggrieved by him? The answer is, Absolutely not! Because he was kindhearted, Job cared for God’s heart; because he cared for God’s heart, Job sensed God’s pain; because he was kindhearted, he suffered greater torment as a result of sensing God’s pain; because he sensed God’s pain, he began to loathe the day of his birth, and thus cursed the day of his birth. To outsiders, Job’s entire conduct during his trials is exemplary. Only his cursing of the day of his birth paints a question mark above his perfection and uprightness, or provides a different assessment. In fact, this was the truest expression of the substance of Job’s humanity. The substance of his humanity was not concealed or packaged, or revised by someone else. When he cursed the day of his birth, he demonstrated the kindheartedness and sincerity deep within his heart; he was like a spring whose waters are so clear and transparent as to reveal its bottom.

Having learned all this about Job, most people will undoubtedly have a fairly accurate and objective assessment of the substance of Job’s humanity. They should also have a profound, practical, and more advanced understanding and appreciation of the perfection and uprightness of Job as spoken of by God. Hopefully, this understanding and appreciation will help people embark upon the way of fearing God and shunning evil.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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The Relationship Between God’s Consignment of Job to Satan and the Aims of God’s Work

Although most people now recognize that Job was perfect and upright and that he feared God and shunned evil, this recognition does not give them a greater understanding of God’s intention. At the same time as envying Job’s humanity and pursuit, they ask the following question of God: Job was so perfect and upright, people adore him so much, so why did God hand him over to Satan and subject him to so much torment? Such questions are bound to exist in many people’s hearts—or rather, this doubt is the question in many people’s hearts. Since it has confounded so many people, we must open up this question and explain it properly.

Everything that God does is necessary and possessed of extraordinary significance, for all that He does in man concerns His management and the salvation of mankind. Naturally, the work that God did in Job is no different, even though Job was perfect and upright in the eyes of God. In other words, regardless of what God does or the means by which He does it, regardless of the cost, regardless of His objective, the purpose of His actions does not change. His purpose is to work God’s words into man, as well as God’s requirements and will for man; in other words, it is to work into man all that God believes to be positive in accordance with His steps, enabling man to understand God’s heart and comprehend God’s substance, and allowing man to obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements, thus allowing man to attain fear of God and shunning of evil—all of this is one aspect of God’s purpose in all He does. The other aspect is that, because Satan is the foil and service object in God’s work, man is often given to Satan; this is the means God uses to allow people to see in Satan’s temptations and attacks the wickedness, ugliness, and contemptibility of Satan, thus causing people to hate Satan and be able to know and recognize that which is negative. This process allows them to gradually free themselves from Satan’s control and accusations, interference, and attacks—until, thanks to God’s words, their knowledge and obedience of God, and their faith in God and fear of Him, they triumph over the attacks and accusations of Satan; only then will they have been completely delivered from the domain of Satan. People’s deliverance means that Satan has been defeated, it means that they are no longer the food in Satan’s mouth—instead of swallowing them, Satan has relinquished them. This is because such people are upright, because they have faith, obedience, and fear toward God, and because they completely break with Satan. They bring shame upon Satan, they make a coward of Satan, and they utterly defeat Satan. Their conviction in following God, and obedience to and fear of God defeat Satan, and make Satan completely give them up. Only people such as this have truly been gained by God, and it is this which is God’s ultimate objective in saving man. If they wish to be saved, and wish to be completely gained by God, then all those who follow God must face temptations and attacks both great and small from Satan. Those who emerge from these temptations and attacks and are able to fully defeat Satan are those who have been saved by God. This is to say, those who have been saved unto God are those who have undergone God’s trials, and who have been tempted and attacked by Satan an untold number of times. Those who have been saved unto God understand God’s will and requirements, and are able to acquiesce to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and they do not forsake the way of fearing God and shunning evil amid Satan’s temptations. Those who are saved unto God possess honesty, they are kindhearted, they differentiate between love and hate, they have a sense of justice and are rational, and they are able to care for God and treasure all that is of God. Such people are not bound, spied upon, accused, or abused by Satan; they are completely free, they have been completely liberated and released. Job was just such a man of freedom, and this is precisely the significance of why God had handed him over to Satan.

Job was abused by Satan, but he also gained eternal freedom and liberation, and he gained the right to never again be subjected to Satan’s corruption, abuse, and accusations, to instead live in the light of God’s countenance free and unencumbered, and to live amid God’s blessings given to him. No one could take away, or destroy, or seize this right. It was given to Job in return for his faith, determination, and obedience to and fear of God; Job paid the price of his life to win joy and happiness on earth and to win the right and entitlement, as ordained by Heaven and acknowledged by earth, to worship the Creator without interference as a true creature of God on earth. Such was also the greatest outcome of the temptations endured by Job.

When people have yet to be saved, their lives are often interfered with, and even controlled by, Satan. In other words, people who have not been saved are prisoners to Satan, they have no freedom, they have not been relinquished by Satan, they are not qualified or entitled to worship God, and they are closely pursued and viciously attacked by Satan. Such people have no happiness to speak of, they have no right to a normal existence to speak of, and moreover they have no dignity to speak of. Only if you stand up and do battle with Satan, using your faith in God and obedience to, and fear of God as the weapons with which to fight a life-and-death battle with Satan, such that you fully defeat Satan and cause it to turn tail and become cowardly whenever it sees you, so that it completely abandons its attacks and accusations against you—only then will you be saved and become free. If you are determined to fully break with Satan, but are not equipped with the weapons that will help you defeat Satan, then you will still be in danger; as time goes on, when you have been so tortured by Satan that there is not an ounce of strength left in you, yet you have still been unable to bear testimony, have still not completely freed yourself of Satan’s accusations and attacks against you, then you will have little hope of salvation. In the end, when the conclusion of God’s work is proclaimed, you will still be in the grip of Satan, unable to free yourself, and thus you will never have a chance or hope. The implication, then, is that such people will be completely in Satan’s captivity.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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Accept God’s Tests, Overcome Satan’s Temptations, and Allow God to Gain Your Whole Being

During the work of God’s abiding provision and support of man, He tells the entirety of His will and requirements to man, and shows His deeds, disposition, and what He has and is to man. The objective is to equip man with stature, and to allow man to gain various truths from God while following Him—truths that are the weapons given to man by God with which to fight Satan. Thus equipped, man must face God’s tests. God has many means and avenues for testing man, but every one of them requires the “cooperation” of God’s enemy: Satan. This is to say, having given man the weapons with which to do battle with Satan, God hands man over to Satan and allows Satan to “test” man’s stature. If man can break out from Satan’s battle formations, if he can escape Satan’s encirclement and still live, then man will have passed the test. But if man fails to leave Satan’s battle formations, and submits to Satan, then he will not have passed the test. Whatever aspect of man God examines, the criteria for His examination are whether or not man stands firm in his testimony when attacked by Satan, and whether or not he has forsaken God and surrendered and submitted to Satan while ensnared by Satan. It may be said that whether or not man can be saved depends on whether he can overcome and defeat Satan, and whether or not he can gain freedom depends on whether he is able to lift up, on his own, the weapons given to him by God to overcome Satan’s bondage, making Satan completely abandon hope and leave him alone. If Satan abandons hope and relinquishes someone, this means that Satan will never again try to take this person from God, will never again accuse and interfere with this person, will never again wantonly torture or attack them; only someone such as this will truly have been gained by God. This is the entire process by which God gains people.

The Warning and Enlightenment Provided to Later Generations by Job’s Testimony

At the same time as understanding the process by which God completely gains someone, people will also understand the aims and significance of God’s consignment of Job to Satan. People are no longer disturbed by Job’s torment, and have a new appreciation of its significance. They no longer worry about whether they themselves will be subjected to the same temptation as Job, and no longer oppose or reject the coming of God’s trials. Job’s faith, obedience, and his testimony to overcoming Satan have been a source of huge help and encouragement to people. In Job, they see hope for their own salvation, and see that through faith, and obedience to and fear of God, it is entirely possible to defeat Satan, to prevail over Satan. They see that as long as they acquiesce to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, and as long as they possess the determination and faith not to forsake God after having lost everything, then they can bring shame and defeat upon Satan, and they see that they need only possess the determination and perseverance to stand firm in their testimony—even if it means losing their lives—for Satan to be cowed and beat a hasty retreat. Job’s testimony is a warning to later generations, and this warning tells them that if they do not defeat Satan, then they will never be able to rid themselves of the accusations and interference of Satan, nor will they ever be able to escape the abuse and attacks of Satan. Job’s testimony has enlightened later generations. This enlightenment teaches people that only if they are perfect and upright will they be able to fear God and shun evil; it teaches them that only if they fear God and shun evil can they bear strong and resounding testimony to God; only if they bear strong and resounding testimony to God can they never be controlled by Satan and live under the guidance and protection of God—only then will they have been truly saved. Job’s personality and his life’s pursuit should be emulated by everyone who pursues salvation. That which he lived out during his whole life and his conduct during his trials is a precious treasure to all those who pursue the way of fearing God and shunning evil.

Job’s Testimony Brings Comfort to God

If I tell you now that Job is a lovely man, you may not be able to appreciate the meaning within these words, and may not be able to grasp the sentiment behind why I have spoken of all these things; but wait until the day when you have experienced trials the same as or akin to those of Job, when you have gone through adversity, when you have experienced trials personally arranged for you by God, when you give your all, and endure humiliation and hardship in order to prevail over Satan and bear testimony to God amid temptations—then you will be able to appreciate the meaning of these words I speak. At that time, you will feel that you are far inferior to Job, you will feel how lovely Job is, and that he is worthy of emulation; when that time comes, you will realize how important those classic words spoken by Job are for one who is corrupt and who lives in these times, and you will realize how difficult it is for the people of today to achieve what was achieved by Job. When you feel it is difficult, you will appreciate how anxious and worried is God’s heart, you will appreciate how high is the price paid by God for gaining such people, and how precious is that which God does and expends for mankind. Now that you have heard these words, do you have an accurate understanding and correct assessment of Job? In your eyes, was Job a truly perfect and upright man who feared God and shunned evil? I believe that most people will most certainly say yes. For the facts of what Job acted and revealed are undeniable by any man or Satan. They are the most powerful proof of Job’s triumph over Satan. This proof was produced in Job, and was the first testimony received by God. Thus, when Job triumphed in the temptations of Satan and bore testimony to God, God saw hope in Job, and His heart was comforted by Job. Since the time of creation until the time of Job, this was the first time that God truly experienced what comfort was, and what it meant to be comforted by man. It was the first time that He had seen, and gained, true testimony that was borne for Him.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 54

Job Hears of God by the Hearing of the Ear

Job 9:11 See, He goes by me, and I see Him not: He passes on also, but I perceive Him not.

Job 23:8–9 Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: On the left hand, where He does work, but I cannot behold Him: He hides Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him.

Job 42:2–6 I know that You can do every thing, and that no thought can be withheld from You. Who is he that hides counsel without knowledge? therefore have I uttered that I understood not; things too wonderful for me, which I knew not. Hear, I beseech You, and I will speak: I will demand of You, and declare You to me. I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees You. Why I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.

Although God Has Not Revealed Himself to Job, Job Believes in the Sovereignty of God

What is the thrust of these words? Have any of you realized that there is a fact here? First, how did Job know there is a God? Then, how did he know that the heavens and earth and all things are ruled by God? There is a passage that answers these two questions: “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear: but now my eye sees You. Why I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5–6). From these words we learn that, rather than having seen God with his own eyes, Job had learned of God from legend. It was under these circumstances that he began to walk the path of following God, after which he confirmed the existence of God in his life, and among all things. There is an undeniable fact here—what is that fact? Despite being able to follow the way of fearing God and shunning evil, Job had never seen God. In this, was he not the same as the people of today? Job had never seen God, the implication of which is that although he had heard of God, he did not know where God was, or what God was like, or what God was doing. These are all subjective factors; objectively speaking, though he followed God, God had never appeared to him or spoken to him. Is this not a fact? Although God had not spoken to Job or given him any commands, Job had seen God’s existence and beheld His sovereignty among all things, and in the legends through which Job had heard of God by the hearing of the ear, after which he began the life of fearing God and shunning evil. Such were the origins and process by which Job followed God. But no matter how he feared God and shunned evil, no matter how he held firm to his integrity, still God never appeared to him. Let us read this passage. He said, “See, He goes by me, and I see Him not: He passes on also, but I perceive Him not” (Job 9:11). What these words are saying is that Job might have felt God around him or he might not—but he had never been able to see God. There were times when he imagined God passing before him, or acting, or guiding man, but he had never known. God comes upon man when he is not expecting it; man does not know when God comes upon him, or where He comes upon him, because man cannot see God, and thus, to man, God is hidden from him.

Job’s Faith in God Is Not Shaken by the Fact That God Is Hidden From Him

In the following passage of scripture, Job then says, “Behold, I go forward, but He is not there; and backward, but I cannot perceive Him: On the left hand, where He does work, but I cannot behold Him: He hides Himself on the right hand, that I cannot see Him” (Job 23:8–9). In this account, we learn that in Job’s experiences, God had been hidden to him throughout; God had not openly appeared to him, nor had He openly spoken any words to him, yet in his heart, Job was confident of God’s existence. He had always believed that God might be walking before him, or might be acting by his side, and that although he could not see God, God was next to him, governing everything about him. Job had never seen God, but he was able to stay true to his faith, which no other person was able to do. Why could other people not do that? It is because God did not speak to Job or appear to him, and if he had not truly believed, he could not have gone on, nor could he have held fast to the way of fearing God and shunning evil. Is this not true? How do you feel when you read of Job saying these words? Do you feel that Job’s perfection and uprightness, and his righteousness before God, are true, and not an exaggeration on the part of God? Even though God treated Job the same as other people and did not appear or speak to him, Job still held firm to his integrity, still believed in God’s sovereignty, and, furthermore, he frequently offered burnt offerings and prayed before God as a result of his fear of offending God. In Job’s ability to fear God without having seen God, we see how much he loved positive things, and how firm and real his faith was. He did not deny the existence of God because God was hidden from him, nor did he lose his faith and forsake God because he had never seen Him. Instead, amid God’s hidden work of ruling all things, he had realized the existence of God, and felt the sovereignty and power of God. He did not give up on being upright because God was hidden, nor did he forsake the way of fearing God and shunning evil because God had never appeared to him. Job had never asked that God openly appear to him to prove His existence, for he had already beheld God’s sovereignty among all things, and he believed that he had gained the blessings and graces that others had not gained. Although God remained hidden to him, Job’s faith in God was never shaken. Thus, he harvested what none other had: God’s approval and God’s blessing.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 55

Job Blesses the Name of God and Does Not Think of Blessings or Disaster

There is a fact which is never referred to in the Scriptures’ stories of Job, and this fact will be our focus today. Although Job had never seen God or heard the words of God with his own ears, God had a place in Job’s heart. What was Job’s attitude toward God? It was, as previously referred to, “blessed be the name of Jehovah.” His blessing of God’s name was unconditional, irrespective of context, and bound to no reason. We see that Job had given his heart to God, allowing it to be controlled by God; all that he thought, all that he decided, and all that he planned in his heart was laid open to God and not closed off from God. His heart did not stand in opposition to God, and he had never asked God to do anything for him or give him anything, and he did not harbor extravagant desires that he would gain anything from his worship of God. Job did not talk of trades with God, and made no requests or demands of God. His praising of God’s name was because of the great power and authority of God in ruling all things, and it was not dependent on whether he gained blessings or was struck by disaster. He believed that regardless of whether God blesses people or brings disaster upon them, God’s power and authority will not change, and thus, regardless of a person’s circumstances, God’s name should be praised. That man is blessed by God is because of God’s sovereignty, and when disaster befalls man, so, too, it is because of God’s sovereignty. God’s power and authority rule over and arrange everything about man; the vagaries of man’s fortune are the manifestation of God’s power and authority, and regardless of one’s viewpoint, God’s name should be praised. This is what Job experienced and came to know during the years of his life. All of Job’s thoughts and actions reached the ears of God and arrived before God, and were seen as important by God. God cherished this knowledge of Job, and treasured Job for having such a heart. This heart awaited God’s command always, and in all places, and no matter what the time or place it welcomed whatever befell him. Job made no demands of God. What he demanded of himself was to wait for, accept, face, and obey all of the arrangements that came from God; Job believed this to be his duty, and it was precisely what was wanted by God. Job had never seen God, nor heard Him speak any words, issue any commands, give any teachings, or instruct him of anything. In the words of today, for him to be able to possess such a knowledge and attitude toward God when God had given him no enlightenment, guidance, or provision with regard to the truth—this was precious, and for him to demonstrate such things was enough for God, and his testimony was commended and cherished by God. Job had never seen God or heard God personally utter any teachings to him, but to God his heart and he himself were far more precious than those people who, before God, were only able to talk in terms of deep theory, who were only able to boast, and speak of offering sacrifices, but who had never had a true knowledge of God, and had never truly feared God. For Job’s heart was pure, and not hidden from God, and his humanity was honest and kind-hearted, and he loved justice and that which was positive. Only a man like this who was possessed of such a heart and humanity was able to follow the way of God, and capable of fearing God and shunning evil. Such a man could see God’s sovereignty, could see His authority and power, and was able to achieve obedience to His sovereignty and arrangements. Only a man such as this could truly praise God’s name. That is because he did not look at whether God would bless him or bring disaster upon him, because he knew that everything is controlled by the hand of God, and that for man to worry is a sign of foolishness, ignorance, and irrationality, of doubt toward the fact of God’s sovereignty over all things, and of not fearing God. Job’s knowledge was precisely what God wanted. So, did Job have a greater theoretical knowledge of God than you? Because God’s work and utterances at that time were few, it was no easy matter to achieve the knowledge of God. Such an accomplishment by Job was no mean feat. He had not experienced the work of God, nor ever heard God speaking, nor seen the face of God. That he was able to have such an attitude toward God was entirely the result of his humanity and his personal pursuit, a humanity and pursuit that are not possessed by people today. Thus, in that age, God said, “There is none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man.” In that age, God had already made such an assessment of him, and had come to such a conclusion. How much more true would it be today?

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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Although God Is Hidden From Man, His Deeds Among All Things Are Sufficient for Man to Know Him

Job had not seen the face of God or heard the words spoken by God, and much less had he personally experienced the work of God, yet his fear of God and his testimony during his trials are witnessed by all, and they are loved, delighted in, and commended by God, and people envy, and admire them, and even more than that, sing their praises. There was nothing great or extraordinary about his life: Just like any ordinary person, he lived an unremarkable life, going out to work at sunrise and returning home to rest at sunset. The difference is that during the several unremarkable decades of his life, he gained an insight into the way of God, and realized and understood the great power and sovereignty of God as no other person ever had. He was no cleverer than any ordinary person, his life was not especially tenacious, nor, moreover, did he have invisible special skills. What he did possess, though, was a personality that was honest, kind-hearted, and upright, a personality which loved fairness, righteousness, and positive things—none of these things are possessed by the majority of ordinary people. He differentiated between love and hate, had a sense of justice, was unyielding and persistent, and paid meticulous attention to detail in his thinking. Thus, during his unremarkable time on earth he saw all the extraordinary things that God had done, and he saw the greatness, holiness, and righteousness of God, he saw God’s concern, graciousness, and protection for man, and he saw the honorableness and authority of the supreme God. The first reason why Job was able to gain these things that were beyond any normal person was because he had a pure heart, and his heart belonged to God, and was led by the Creator. The second reason was his pursuit: his pursuit of being impeccable and perfect, and of being someone who complied with the will of Heaven, who was loved by God, and who shunned evil. Job possessed and pursued these things while being unable to see God or hear the words of God; though he had never seen God, he had come to know the means by which God rules over all things, and he understood the wisdom with which God does so. Though he had never heard the words spoken by God, Job knew that the deeds of rewarding man and taking from man all come from God. Although the years of his life were no different from those of any ordinary person, he did not allow the unremarkableness of his life to affect his knowledge of God’s sovereignty over all things, or to affect his following of the way of fearing God and shunning evil. In his eyes, the laws of all things were full of God’s deeds, and God’s sovereignty could be seen in any part of a person’s life. He had not seen God, but he was able to realize that God’s deeds are everywhere, and during his unremarkable time on earth, in every corner of his life he was able to see and realize the extraordinary and wondrous deeds of God, and he could see the wondrous arrangements of God. The hiddenness and silence of God did not hinder Job’s realization of God’s deeds, nor did they affect his knowledge of God’s sovereignty over all things. His life was the realization, during his everyday life, of the sovereignty and arrangements of God, who is hidden among all things. In his everyday life he also heard and understood the voice of God’s heart and the words of God, who is silent among all things yet expresses the voice of His heart and His words by governing the laws of all things. You see, then, that if people have the same humanity and pursuit as Job, then they can gain the same realization and knowledge as Job, and can acquire the same understanding and knowledge of God’s sovereignty over all things as Job. God had not appeared to Job or spoken to him, but Job was able to be perfect and upright, and to fear God and shun evil. In other words, without God having appeared to or spoken to man, God’s deeds among all things and His sovereignty over all things are sufficient for man to become aware of God’s existence, power, and authority, and God’s power and authority are enough to make man follow the way of fearing God and shunning evil. Since an ordinary man such as Job was able to achieve fear of God and shunning of evil, then every ordinary person who follows God should also be able to. Though these words may sound like logical inference, this does not contravene the laws of things. Yet the facts have not matched up to expectations: Fearing God and shunning evil, it would appear, is the preserve of Job and Job alone. At the mention of “fearing God and shunning evil,” people think that this should only be done by Job, as if the way of fearing God and shunning evil had been labeled with the name of Job and had nothing to do with other people. The reason for this is clear: Because only Job was possessed of a personality that was honest, kind-hearted, and upright, and which loved fairness and righteousness and things that were positive, thus only Job could follow the way of fearing God and shunning evil. You must have all understood the implication here—because no one is possessed of a humanity that is honest, kind-hearted, and upright, and which loves fairness and righteousness and that which is positive, no one can fear God and shun evil, and thus people can never gain God’s joy or stand firm amid trials. This also means that, with the exception of Job, all people are still bound and ensnared by Satan; they are all accused, attacked, and abused by it. They are the ones Satan tries to swallow, and they are all without freedom, prisoners that have been taken captive by Satan.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 57

If Man’s Heart Is in Enmity to God, How Can Man Fear God and Shun Evil?

Since the people of today do not possess the same humanity as Job, what of the substance of their nature, and their attitude toward God? Do they fear God? Do they shun evil? Those who do not fear God or shun evil can only be summed up with three words: “enemies of God.” You often say these three words, but you have never known their real meaning. The words “enemies of God” have substance: They are not saying that God sees man as the enemy, but that man sees God as the enemy. First, when people begin to believe in God, which of them does not have their own aims, motivations, and ambitions? Even though one part of them believes in the existence of God and has seen the existence of God, their belief in God still contains those motivations, and their ultimate aim in believing in God is to receive His blessings and the things they want. In people’s life experiences, they often think to themselves, I’ve given up my family and career for God, and what has He given me? I must add it up, and confirm it—have I received any blessings recently? I’ve given a lot during this time, I’ve run and run, and have suffered much—has God given me any promises in return? Has He remembered my good deeds? What will my end be? Can I receive God’s blessings? … Every person constantly makes such calculations within their heart, and they make demands of God which bear their motivations, ambitions, and a transactional mentality. This is to say, in his heart man is constantly testing God, constantly devising plans about God, constantly arguing the case for his own individual end with God, and trying to extract a statement from God, seeing whether or not God can give him what he wants. At the same time as pursuing God, man does not treat God as God. Man has always tried to make deals with God, ceaselessly making demands of Him, and even pressing Him at every step, trying to take a mile after being given an inch. At the same time as trying to make deals with God, man also argues with Him, and there are even people who, when trials befall them or they find themselves in certain situations, often become weak, passive and slack in their work, and full of complaints about God. From the time when man first began to believe in God, he has considered God to be a cornucopia, a Swiss Army knife, and he has considered himself to be God’s greatest creditor, as if trying to get blessings and promises from God were his inherent right and obligation, while God’s responsibility were to protect and care for man, and to provide for him. Such is the basic understanding of “belief in God” of all those who believe in God, and such is their deepest understanding of the concept of belief in God. From the substance of man’s nature to his subjective pursuit, there is nothing that relates to the fear of God. Man’s aim in believing in God could not possibly have anything to do with the worship of God. That is to say, man has never considered nor understood that belief in God requires fearing and worshiping God. In light of such conditions, man’s substance is obvious. What is this substance? It is that man’s heart is malicious, harbors treachery and deceit, does not love fairness and righteousness and that which is positive, and it is contemptible and greedy. Man’s heart could not be more closed to God; he has not given it to God at all. God has never seen man’s true heart, nor has He ever been worshiped by man. No matter how great the price God pays, or how much work He does, or how much He provides to man, man remains blind and utterly indifferent to it all. Man has never given his heart to God, he only wants to mind his heart himself, to make his own decisions—the subtext of which is that man does not want to follow the way of fearing God and shunning evil, or to obey the sovereignty and arrangements of God, nor does he want to worship God as God. Such is the state of man today. Now let us look again at Job. First of all, did he do a deal with God? Did he have any ulterior motives in holding firm to the way of fearing God and shunning evil? At that time, had God spoken to anyone of the end to come? At that time, God had not made promises to anyone about the end, and it was against this background that Job was able to fear God and shun evil. Do the people of today stand up to comparison with Job? There is too much of a disparity; they are in different leagues. Although Job did not have much knowledge of God, he had given his heart to God and it belonged to God. He never did a deal with God, and had no extravagant desires or demands toward God; instead, he believed that “Jehovah gave, and Jehovah has taken away.” This was what he had seen and obtained from holding true to the way of fearing God and shunning evil during many years of life. Likewise, he had also gained the outcome represented in the words: “Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?” These two sentences were what he had seen and come to know as a result of his attitude of obedience toward God during his life’s experiences, and they were also his most powerful weapons with which he triumphed during Satan’s temptations, and they were the foundation of his standing firm in testimony to God. At this point, do you envisage Job as a lovely person? Do you hope to be such a person? Do you fear having to undergo the temptations of Satan? Do you resolve to pray for God to subject you to the same trials as Job? Without doubt, most people would not dare to pray for such things. It is evident, then, that your faith is pitiably small; compared to Job, your faith is simply unworthy of mention. You are the enemies of God, you do not fear God, you are incapable of standing firm in your testimony to God, and you are unable to triumph over the attacks, accusations, and temptations of Satan. What makes you qualified to receive the promises of God? Having heard the story of Job and understood God’s intention in saving man and the meaning of the salvation of man, do you now have the faith to accept the same trials as Job? Should you not have a little resolve to allow yourselves to follow the way of fearing God and shunning evil?

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 58

Have No Misgivings About the Trials of God

After receiving testimony from Job following the end of his trials, God resolved that He would gain a group—or more than a group—of people like Job, yet He resolved to never again allow Satan to attack or abuse any other person using the means by which it had tempted, attacked, and abused Job, by betting with God; God did not permit Satan to ever again do such things to man, who is weak, foolish, and ignorant—it was enough that Satan had tempted Job! Not permitting Satan to abuse people howsoever it wishes is the mercy of God. For God, it was enough that Job had suffered the temptation and abuse of Satan. God did not permit Satan to ever again do such things, for the lives and everything of people who follow God are ruled and orchestrated by God, and Satan is not entitled to manipulate God’s chosen ones at will—you should be clear about this point! God cares about man’s weakness, and understands his foolishness and ignorance. Although, in order that man could be completely saved, God has to hand him over to Satan, God is not willing to see man ever played for a fool and abused by Satan, and He does not want to see man always suffering. Man was created by God, and it is perfectly justified that God rules and arranges everything about man; this is the responsibility of God, and it is the authority by which God rules all things! God does not permit Satan to abuse and mistreat man at will, He does not permit Satan to employ various means to lead man astray, and, moreover, He does not permit Satan to intervene in God’s sovereignty of man, nor does He allow Satan to trample and destroy the laws by which God rules all things, to say nothing of God’s great work of managing and saving mankind! Those whom God wishes to save, and those who are able to bear testimony to God, are the core and the crystallization of the work of God’s six-thousand-year management plan, as well as the price of His efforts in His six thousand years of work. How could God casually give these people to Satan?

People often worry about and are fearful of the trials of God, yet at all times they are living in Satan’s snare, and living in perilous territory in which they are attacked and abused by Satan—yet they know not fear, and are unperturbed. What is going on? Man’s faith in God is only limited to the things he can see. He has not the slightest appreciation of God’s love and concern for man, or of His tenderness and consideration toward man. But for a little trepidation and fear about God’s trials, judgment and chastisement, and majesty and wrath, man has not the slightest understanding of God’s good intentions. At the mention of trials, people feel as if God has ulterior motives, and some even believe that God harbors evil designs, unaware of what God will actually do to them; thus, at the same time as crying out obedience to God’s sovereignty and arrangements, they do all they can to resist and oppose God’s sovereignty over man and arrangements for man, for they believe that if they are not careful they will be misled by God, that if they do not keep a grip on their own fate then all that they have could be taken by God, and their life could even be ended. Man is in Satan’s camp, but he never worries about being abused by Satan, and he is abused by Satan but never fears being taken captive by Satan. He keeps saying that he accepts God’s salvation, yet has never trusted in God or believed that God will truly save man from the claws of Satan. If, like Job, man is able to submit to God’s orchestrations and arrangements, and can give his entire being to the hands of God, then will man’s end not be the same as Job’s—the receipt of God’s blessings? If man is able to accept and submit to God’s rule, what is there to lose? Thus, I suggest that you be careful in your actions, and cautious toward everything that is about to come upon you. Do not be rash or impulsive, and do not treat God and the people, matters, and objects He has arranged for you depending on your hot blood or your naturalness, or according to your imaginations and notions; you must be cautious in your actions, and must pray and seek more, to avoid inciting the wrath of God. Remember this!

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 59

Job After His Trials

Job 42:7–9 And it was so, that after Jehovah had spoken these words to Job, Jehovah said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against you, and against your two friends: for you have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job has. Therefore take to you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly, in that you have not spoken of Me the thing which is right, like My servant Job. So Eliphaz the Temanite and Bildad the Shuhite and Zophar the Naamathite went, and did according as Jehovah commanded them: Jehovah also accepted Job.

Job 42:10 And Jehovah turned the captivity of Job, when he prayed for his friends: also Jehovah gave Job twice as much as he had before.

Job 42:12 So Jehovah blessed the latter end of Job more than his beginning: for he had fourteen thousand sheep, and six thousand camels, and a thousand yoke of oxen, and a thousand she asses.

Job 42:17 So Job died, being old and full of days.

Those Who Fear God and Shun Evil Are Looked Upon With Cherishment by God, While Those Who Are Foolish Are Seen as Lowly by God

In Job 42:7–9, God says that Job is His servant. His use of the term “servant” to refer to Job demonstrates Job’s importance in His heart; though God did not call Job something more esteemed, this appellation had no bearing on Job’s importance within God’s heart. “Servant” here is God’s nickname for Job. God’s multiple references to “My servant Job” show how He was pleased with Job, and although God did not speak of the meaning behind the word “servant,” God’s definition of the word “servant” can be seen from His words in this passage of scripture. God first said to Eliphaz the Temanite: “My wrath is kindled against you, and against your two friends: for you have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job has.” These words are the first time that God had openly told people that He accepted all that was said and done by Job after God’s trials of him, and are the first time that He had openly confirmed the accuracy and correctness of all that Job had done and said. God was angry at Eliphaz and the others because of their incorrect, absurd discourse, because, like Job, they could not see the appearance of God or hear the words He spoke in their lives, yet Job had such an accurate knowledge of God, whereas they could only blindly guess about God, violating God’s will and trying His patience in all that they did. Consequently, at the same time as accepting all that was done and said by Job, God grew wrathful toward the others, for in them He was not only unable to see any reality of fear of God, but also heard nothing of the fear of God in what they said. And so God next made the following demands of them: “Therefore take to you now seven bullocks and seven rams, and go to My servant Job, and offer up for yourselves a burnt offering; and My servant Job shall pray for you: for him will I accept: lest I deal with you after your folly.” In this passage God is telling Eliphaz and the others to do something that will redeem their sins, for their folly was a sin against Jehovah God, and thus they had to make burnt offerings in order to remedy their mistakes. Burnt offerings are often offered to God, but what is unusual about these burnt offerings is that they were offered to Job. Job was accepted by God because he bore testimony to God during his trials. These friends of Job, meanwhile, were exposed during the time of his trials; because of their folly, they were condemned by God, and they incited the wrath of God, and should be punished by God—punished by making burnt offerings before Job—after which Job prayed for them to dispel God’s punishment and wrath toward them. God’s intention was to bring shame upon them, for they were not people who feared God and shunned evil, and they had condemned the integrity of Job. In one regard, God was telling them that He did not accept their actions, but greatly accepted and took delight in Job; in another, God was telling them that being accepted by God elevates man before God, that man is loathed by God because of his folly, and offends God because of it, and is lowly and vile in God’s eyes. These are the definitions given by God of two types of people, they are God’s attitudes toward these two types of people, and they are God’s articulation of the worth and standing of these two types of people. Even though God called Job His servant, in God’s eyes this servant was beloved, and was bestowed with the authority to pray for others and forgive them their mistakes. This servant was able to talk directly to God and come directly before God, and his status was higher and more honorable than those of others. This is the true meaning of the word “servant” spoken by God. Job was given this special honor because of his fear of God and shunning of evil, and the reason why others were not called servants by God is because they did not fear God and shun evil. These two distinctly different attitudes of God are His attitudes toward two types of people: Those who fear God and shun evil are accepted by God and seen as precious in His eyes, while those who are foolish do not fear God, are incapable of shunning evil, and are not able to receive God’s favor; they are often loathed and condemned by God, and are lowly in God’s eyes.

God Bestows Authority Upon Job

Job prayed for his friends, and afterward, because of Job’s prayers, God did not deal with them as befitted their folly—He did not punish them or take any retribution upon them. Why was that? It was because the prayers made for them by God’s servant, Job, had reached His ears; God forgave them because He accepted Job’s prayers. So, what do we see in this? When God blesses someone, He gives them many rewards, and not just material ones: God also gives them authority, entitles them to pray for others, and God forgets and overlooks those people’s transgressions, because He hears these prayers. This is the very authority that God gave to Job. Through Job’s prayers to halt their condemnation, Jehovah God brought shame upon those foolish people—which, of course, was His special punishment for Eliphaz and the others.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 60

Job Is Once More Blessed by God, and Is Never Again Accused by Satan

Among the utterances of Jehovah God are the words that “you have not spoken of Me the thing that is right, as My servant Job has.” What was it that Job had said? It was what we talked about previously, as well as the many pages of words in the Book of Job that Job is recorded as having spoken. In all of these many pages of words, Job never once has any complaints or misgivings about God. He simply awaits the outcome. It is this waiting which is his attitude of obedience, as a result of which, and as a result of the words he said to God, Job was accepted by God. When he endured trials and suffered hardship, God was by his side, and although his hardship was not lessened by God’s presence, God saw what He wished to see, and heard what He wished to hear. Every one of Job’s actions and words reached the eyes and ears of God; God heard, and He saw—this is fact. Job’s knowledge of God, and his thoughts about God in his heart at that time, during that period, were not actually as specific as those of the people of today, but in the context of the time, God still recognized all that he had said, because his behavior and the thoughts in his heart, as well as what he had expressed and revealed, were sufficient for His requirements. During the time that Job was subjected to trials, that which he thought in his heart and resolved to do showed God an outcome, one that was satisfactory to God, and after this God took away Job’s trials, Job emerged from his troubles, and his trials were gone and never again befell him. Because Job had already been subjected to trials, and had stood firm during these trials, and completely triumphed over Satan, God gave him the blessings that he so rightfully deserved. As recorded in Job 42:10, 12, Job was blessed once again, and was blessed with more than he had been in the first instance. At this time Satan had withdrawn, and no longer said or did anything, and from then onward Job was no longer interfered with or attacked by Satan, and Satan no longer made accusations against God’s blessings of Job.

Job Spends the Latter Half of His Life Amid God’s Blessings

Although His blessings of that time were only limited to sheep, cattle, camels, material assets, and so on, the blessings that God wished to bestow upon Job in His heart were far more than this. At the time, were there recorded what kind of eternal promises God wished to give Job? In His blessings of Job, God did not mention or touch upon his end, and regardless of what importance or position Job held within God’s heart, in sum God was very measured in His blessings. God did not announce Job’s end. What does this mean? At that time, when God’s plan had yet to reach the point of the proclamation of man’s end, the plan had yet to enter the final stage of His work, God made no mention of the end, merely bestowing material blessings upon man. What this means is that the latter half of Job’s life was passed amid God’s blessings, which was what made him different to other people—but like them he aged, and like any normal person the day came when he said goodbye to the world. Thus is it recorded that “So Job died, being old and full of days” (Job 42:17). What is the meaning of “died full of days” here? In the era before God proclaimed people’s end, God set a life expectancy for Job, and when that age had been reached He allowed Job to naturally depart from this world. From Job’s second blessing until his death, God did not add any more hardship. To God, Job’s death was natural, and also necessary; it was something very normal, and neither a judgment nor a condemnation. While he was alive, Job worshiped and feared God; with regard to what sort of end he had following his death, God said nothing, nor made any comment about it. God has a strong sense of propriety in what He says and does, and the content and principles of His words and actions are in accordance with the stage of His work and the period in which He is working. What kind of end did someone such as Job have in God’s heart? Had God reached any kind of decision in His heart? Of course He had! It is just that this was unknown by man; God did not want to tell man, nor did He have any intention of telling man. Thus, superficially speaking, Job died full of days, and such was the life of Job.

The Price Lived Out by Job During His Lifetime

Did Job live a life of value? Where was the value? Why is it said that he lived a life of value? To man, what was his value? From the viewpoint of man, he represented the mankind whom God wishes to save, in bearing a resounding testimony to God before Satan and the people of the world. He fulfilled the duty that ought to be fulfilled by a creature of God, set an exemplar, and acted as a model for all those whom God wishes to save, allowing people to see that it is entirely possible to triumph over Satan by relying on God. What was his value to God? To God, the value of Job’s life lay in his ability to fear God, worship God, testify to the deeds of God, and praise the deeds of God, bringing God comfort and something to enjoy; to God, the value of Job’s life was also in how, before his death, Job experienced trials and triumphed over Satan, and bore resounding testimony to God before Satan and the people of the world, glorifying God among mankind, comforting God’s heart, and allowing God’s eager heart to behold an outcome and see hope. His testimony set a precedent for the ability to stand firm in one’s testimony to God, and for being able to shame Satan on behalf of God, in God’s work of managing mankind. Is this not the value of Job’s life? Job brought comfort to God’s heart, he gave God a foretaste of the delight of being glorified, and provided a wonderful beginning for God’s management plan. From this point onward, the name of Job became a symbol for the glorification of God, and a sign of mankind’s triumph over Satan. What Job lived out during his lifetime, as well as his remarkable triumph over Satan will forever be cherished by God, and his perfection, uprightness, and fear of God will be venerated and emulated by generations to come. He will forever be cherished by God like a flawless, luminous pearl, and so too is he worth treasuring by man!

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 61

The Regulations of the Age of Law

The Ten Commandments

The Principles for Building Altars

Regulations for the Treatment of Servants

Regulations for Theft and Compensation

Keeping the Sabbath Year and the Three Feasts

Regulations for the Sabbath Day

Regulations for Offerings

Burnt Offerings

Grain Offerings

Peace Offerings

Sin Offerings

Trespass Offerings

Regulations for Offerings by Priests (Aaron and His Sons Are Ordered to Comply)

Burnt Offerings by Priests

Grain Offerings by Priests

Sin Offerings by Priests

Trespass Offerings by Priests

Peace Offerings by Priests

Regulations for the Eating of Offerings by Priests

Clean and Unclean Animals (Those Which Can and Cannot Be Eaten)

Regulations for the Purification of Women Following Childbirth

Standards for the Examination of Leprosy

Regulations for Those Who Have Been Healed of Leprosy

Regulations for Cleansing Infected Houses

Regulations for Those Suffering From Abnormal Discharges

The Day of Atonement That Must Be Observed Once a Year

Rules for the Slaughtering of Cattle and Sheep

The Prohibition of Following Detestable Practices of Gentiles (Not Committing Incest, and So On)

Regulations That Must Be Followed by the People (“You shall be holy: for I Jehovah your God am holy.”)

The Execution of Those Who Sacrifice Their Children to Molech

Regulations for the Punishment of the Crime of Adultery

Rules That Should Be Observed by Priests (Rules for Their Everyday Behavior, Rules for the Consumption of Holy Things, Rules for Making Offerings, and So On)

Feasts That Should Be Observed (the Sabbath Day, Passover, Pentecost, the Day of Atonement, and So On)

Other Regulations (Burning the Lamps, the Year of Jubilee, the Redemption of the Land, Making Vows, the Offering of Tithes, and So On)

The Regulations of the Age of Law Are the Real Proof of God’s Direction of All Mankind

So, you have read these regulations and principles of the Age of Law, have you? Do the regulations encompass a broad range? First, they cover the Ten Commandments, after which are the regulations for how to build altars, and so on. These are followed by regulations for keeping the Sabbath and observing the three feasts, after which are the regulations for offerings. Did you see how many types of offerings there are? There are burnt offerings, grain offerings, peace offerings, sin offerings, and so on. They are followed by regulations for priests’ offerings, including burnt offerings and grain offerings by priests, and other kinds of offerings. The eighth set of regulations is for the eating of offerings by priests. Then there are regulations for what should be observed during people’s lives. There are stipulations for many aspects of people’s lives, such as the regulations for what they may or may not eat, for the purification of women following childbirth, and for those who have been healed of leprosy. In these regulations, God goes so far as to speak about disease, and there are even rules for the slaughter of sheep and cattle, and so on. Sheep and cattle were created by God, and you should slaughter them however God tells you to; there is, without doubt, reason to God’s words; it is undoubtedly right to act as decreed by God, and surely of benefit to people! There are also feasts and rules to be observed, such as the Sabbath day, Passover, and more—God spoke of all of these. Let us look at the final ones: other regulations—burning the lamps, the year of jubilee, the redemption of the land, making vows, the offering of tithes, and so on. Do these encompass a broad range? The first thing to be talked of is the issue of people’s offerings. Then there are regulations for theft and compensation, and the observation of the Sabbath day…; every one of life’s details is involved. This is to say, when God began the official work of His management plan, He set down many regulations that were to be followed by man. These regulations were in order to allow man to lead the normal life of man on earth, a normal life of man that is inseparable from God and His guidance. God first told man how to make altars, how to set up the altars. After that, He told man how to make offerings, and established how man was to live—what he was to pay attention to in life, what he was to abide by, and what he should and should not do. What God set out for man was all-embracing, and with these customs, regulations, and principles He standardized people’s behavior, guided their lives, guided their initiation to the laws of God, guided them to come before the altar of God, guided them in having a life among all the things God had made for man that was possessed of order, regularity, and moderation. God first used these simple regulations and principles to set limits for man, so that on earth man would have a normal life of worshiping God, would have the normal life of man; such is the specific content of the beginning of His six-thousand-year management plan. The regulations and rules cover a very broad content, they are the specifics of God’s guidance of mankind during the Age of Law, they had to be accepted and obeyed by the people who came before the Age of Law, they are a record of the work done by God during the Age of Law, and they are real proof of God’s leadership and guidance of all mankind.

Mankind Is Forever Inseparable From God’s Teachings and Provisions

In these regulations we see that God’s attitude toward His work, toward His management, and toward mankind is serious, conscientious, rigorous, and responsible. He does the work He must do among mankind according to His steps, without the slightest discrepancy, speaking the words that He must speak to mankind without the slightest error or omission, allowing man to see that he is inseparable from God’s leadership, and showing him just how important all that God does and says is to mankind. Regardless of what man is like in the next age, at the very beginning—during the Age of Law—God did these simple things. To God, people’s concepts of God, the world, and mankind in that age were abstract and opaque, and even though they had some conscious ideas and intentions, all of them were unclear and incorrect, and thus mankind was inseparable from God’s teachings and provisions for them. Earliest mankind knew nothing, and so God had to begin teaching man from the most superficial and basic principles for survival and regulations necessary for living, imbuing these things in the heart of man bit by bit, and giving man a gradual understanding of God, a gradual appreciation and understanding of God’s leadership, and a basic concept of the relationship between man and God, through these regulations, and through these rules, which were of words. After achieving this effect, only then was God able to, little by little, do the work that He would do later, and thus these regulations and the work done by God during the Age of Law are the bedrock of His work of saving mankind, and the first stage of work in God’s management plan. Although, prior to the work of the Age of Law, God had spoken to Adam, Eve, and their descendants, those commands and teachings were not so systematic or specific as to be issued one by one to man, and they were not written down, nor did they become regulations. That is because, at that time, God’s plan had not gone that far; only when God had led man to this step could He begin speaking these regulations of the Age of Law, and begin making man carry them out. It was a necessary process, and the outcome was inevitable. These simple customs and regulations show man the steps of God’s management work and the wisdom of God revealed in His management plan. God knows what content and means to use to begin, what means to use to continue, and what means to use to end in order that He could gain a group of people who bear testimony to Him, and that He could gain a group of people that are of the same mind as Him. He knows what is within man, and knows what is lacking in man. He knows what He has to provide, and how He should lead man, and so too does He know what man should and should not do. Man is like a puppet: Even though he had no understanding of God’s will, he couldn’t help but be led by God’s work of management, step by step, up to today. There was no haziness in God’s heart about what He was to do; in His heart there was a very clear and vivid plan, and He carried out the work that He Himself wished to do according to His steps and His plan, progressing from the superficial to the profound. Even though He had not indicated the work that He was to do later, His subsequent work still continued to be carried out and to progress in strict accordance with His plan, which is a manifestation of what God has and is, and is also the authority of God. Regardless of which stage of His management plan He is working in, His disposition and His substance represent Himself. This is absolutely true. Regardless of the age, or the stage of work, there are things that will never change: what kind of people God loves, what kind of people He loathes, His disposition and all that He has and is. Even though these regulations and principles that God established during the work of the Age of Law seem very simple and superficial to people today, and even though they are easy to understand and achieve, in them there is still the wisdom of God, and there is still the disposition of God and what He has and is. For within these apparently simple regulations are expressed God’s responsibility and care toward mankind, as well as the exquisite substance of His thoughts, thus allowing man to truly realize the fact that God rules over all things and all things are controlled by His hand. No matter how much knowledge mankind masters, or how many theories or mysteries he understands, to God none of these is capable of replacing His provision to, and leadership of mankind; mankind will forever be inseparable from God’s guidance and the personal work of God. Such is the inseparable relationship between man and God. Regardless of whether God gives you a commandment, or a regulation, or provides truth for you to understand His will, no matter what He does, God’s aim is to guide man to a beautiful tomorrow. The words uttered by God and the work He does are both the revelation of one aspect of His substance, and the revelation of one aspect of His disposition and His wisdom; they are an indispensable step of His management plan. This must not be overlooked! God’s will is in whatever He does; God does not fear misplaced remarks, nor is He afraid of any of man’s notions or thoughts about Him. He merely does His work and continues His management in accordance with His management plan, unconstrained by any person, matter, or object.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 62

Today we will first summarize God’s thoughts, ideas, and His each and every move since He created mankind. We will take a look at what work He has carried out, from creating the world to the official start of the Age of Grace. We can then discover which of God’s thoughts and ideas are unknown to man, and from there we can clarify the order of God’s management plan, and thoroughly understand the context in which God created His management work, its source and development process, and also thoroughly understand what results He wants from His management work—that is, the core and the purpose of His management work. To understand these things we need to go back to a distant, still and silent time when there were no humans …

When God arose from His bed, the first thought that He had was this: to create a living person—a real, living human—someone to live with and be His constant companion; this person could listen to Him, and He could confide in and speak with him. Then, for the first time, God scooped up a handful of dirt and used it to create the very first living person according to the image that He had imagined in His mind, and then He gave this living creature a name—Adam. Once God had this living and breathing person, how did He feel? For the first time, He felt the joy of having a loved one, a companion. He also felt for the first time the responsibility of being a father and the concern that comes along with it. This living and breathing person brought God happiness and joy; He felt comforted for the first time. This was the first thing God had ever done that was not accomplished with His thoughts or even words, but was done with His own hands. When this kind of being—a living and breathing person—stood in front of God, made of flesh and blood, with body and form, and able to speak with God, He experienced a kind of joy He had never felt before. God truly felt His responsibility, and this living being not only tugged at His heart but warmed and moved His heart with every little move he made. When this living being stood in front of God, it was the first time He had the thought to gain more of such people. This was the series of events that began with this first thought that God had. For God, all of these events were occurring for the first time, but in these first events, no matter what He felt at the time—joy, responsibility, concern—there was no one for Him to share it with. Starting from that moment, God truly felt a loneliness and a sadness that He had never experienced before. He felt that man could not accept or comprehend His love and concern, or His intentions for man, so He still felt sorrow and pain in His heart. Although He had done these things for man, man was not aware of it and did not understand. Aside from happiness, the joy and comfort man brought to Him quickly brought with it His first feelings of sorrow and loneliness. These were God’s thoughts and feelings at that time. While God was doing all these things, in His heart He went from joy to sorrow and from sorrow to pain, and these feelings were mixed with anxiety. All He wanted to do was to make haste to let this person, this mankind know what was in His heart and understand His intentions sooner. Then, they could become His followers and share His thoughts and align with His will. They would no longer merely listen to God speak and remain speechless; they would no longer be unaware of how to join God in His work; above all, they would no longer be people indifferent to God’s requirements. These first things that God did are very meaningful and hold great value for His management plan and for human beings today.

After creating all things and mankind, God did not rest. He was restless and eager to carry out His management, and to gain the people He so loved among mankind.

Next, not long after God created human beings, we see from the Bible that there was a great flood across the entire world. Noah is mentioned in the record of the flood, and it can be said that Noah was the first person to receive God’s call to work with Him to complete a task of God. Of course, this was also the first time God had called upon a person on the earth to do something according to His command. Once Noah finished building the ark, God flooded the earth for the first time. When God destroyed the earth with the flood, it was the first time since creating human beings that He felt overcome with disgust toward them; this is what forced God to make the painful decision to destroy this human race through a flood. After the flood destroyed the earth, God made His first covenant with humans, a covenant to show that He would never again destroy the world with floods. The sign of this covenant was the rainbow. This was God’s first covenant with mankind, so the rainbow was the first sign of a covenant given by God; the rainbow is a real, physical thing that exists. It is the very existence of the rainbow that makes God often feel sadness for the previous human race which He lost, and serves as a constant reminder for Him of what happened to them…. God would not slow His pace—He was restless and eager to take the next step in His management. Subsequently, God selected Abraham as His first choice for His work throughout Israel. This was also the first time God selected such a candidate. God resolved to begin carrying out His work of saving mankind through this person, and to continue His work among this person’s descendants. We can see in the Bible that this is what God did with Abraham. God then made Israel the first chosen land, and began His work of the Age of Law through His chosen people, the Israelites. Once again for the first time, God provided to the Israelites the express rules and laws that mankind should follow, and He explained them in detail. This was the first time God had provided human beings with such specific, standardized rules for how they should give sacrifices, how they should live, what they should do and not do, which festivals and days they should observe, and principles to follow in everything they did. This was the first time God had given mankind such detailed, standardized regulations and principles about how to live their lives.

Each time that I say “the first time,” it refers to a type of work that God had never before undertaken. It refers to work that did not exist before, and even though God had created mankind and all manner of creatures and living things, this is a type of work that He had never done before. All of this work involved God’s management of mankind; it all had to do with people and His salvation and management of them. After Abraham, God once again made another first—He chose Job to be the one who lived under the law and who could withstand the temptations of Satan while continuing to fear God, shun evil, and stand witness for God. This was also the first time that God allowed Satan to tempt a person, and the first time He made a bet with Satan. In the end, for the first time He gained someone who was capable of standing witness for and bearing witness to Him while facing Satan, and someone who could thoroughly shame Satan. Since God had created mankind, this was the first person He had gained who was able to bear witness for Him. Once He had gained this man, God was even more eager to continue His management and carry out the next stage in His work, preparing the location and the people He would choose for the next step of His work.

After fellowshiping about all of this, do you have a true understanding of God’s will? God considers this instance of His management of mankind, of His salvation of mankind, as more important than anything else. He does these things not only with His mind, not only with His words, and certainly not with a casual attitude—He does all of these things with a plan, with a goal, with standards, and with His will. It is clear that this work to save mankind holds great significance for both God and man. No matter how difficult the work is, no matter how great the obstacles are, no matter how weak humans are, or how deep mankind’s rebelliousness is, none of this is difficult for God. God keeps Himself busy, expending His painstaking effort and managing the work He Himself wants to carry out. He is also arranging everything and exercising His sovereignty over all those people on whom He will work and all the work He wants to complete—none of this has ever been done before. This is the first time God has used these methods and paid such a great price for this major project of managing and saving mankind. While God is carrying out this work, little by little He is expressing and releasing to mankind, without reservation, His painstaking effort, what He has and is, His wisdom and almightiness, and every aspect of His disposition. He releases and expresses these things as He has never done before. So, in the entire universe, aside from the people who God aims to manage and save, there have never been any creatures so close to God, that have had such an intimate relationship with Him. In His heart, mankind, which He wants to manage and save, is most important; He values this mankind above all else; even though He has paid a great price for them, and even though He is continually hurt and disobeyed by them, He never gives up on them and continues tirelessly in His work, with no complaints or regrets. This is because He knows that sooner or later, people will awaken to His call and be moved by His words, recognize that He is the Lord of creation, and return to His side …

After hearing all of this today, you may feel that everything that God does is very normal. It seems that humans have always felt some of God’s intentions for them from His words and from His work, but there is always a certain distance between their feelings or their knowledge and what God is thinking. That is why I think it is necessary to communicate with all people about why God created humankind, and the background behind His wish to gain the mankind He hoped for. It is essential to share this with everyone, so that everyone is clear in their heart. Because God’s every thought and idea, and every phase and every period of His work tie into, and are closely linked to, His entire management work, therefore when you understand God’s thoughts, ideas, and His will in every step of His work, it is the same as understanding how the work of His management plan came about. It is on this foundation that your understanding of God deepens. Although everything God did when He first created the world, which I mentioned previously, for now seems to be merely “information,” irrelevant to the pursuit of truth, over the course of your experience there will however be a day when you do not think this is something so simple as a couple of pieces of information, nor that it is simply some kind of mystery. As your life progresses, once God has some place in your heart, or once you more thoroughly and deeply understand His will, then you will truly understand the importance and the necessity of what I am talking about today. No matter the extent to which you accept this now, it is still necessary for you to understand and know these things. When God does something, when He carries out His work, no matter if it is with His ideas or His own hands, no matter if it is the first time He has done it or the last, ultimately, God has a plan, and His purposes and His thoughts are in everything He does. These purposes and thoughts represent God’s disposition, and they express what He has and is. These two things—God’s disposition and what He has and is—must be understood by every single person. Once a person understands His disposition and what He has and is, they can gradually understand why God does what He does and why He says what He says. From that, they can then have more faith to follow God, to pursue truth and a change in their disposition. That is to say, man’s understanding of God and his faith in God are inseparable.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 63

If what people gain knowledge of and come to understand is God’s disposition and what He has and is, then what they gain will be life that comes from God. Once this life has been wrought inside you, your fear of God will become greater and greater. This is a gain that comes very naturally. If you do not want to understand or know about God’s disposition or His essence, if you do not even want to ponder over or focus on these things, I can tell you with certainty that the way you are currently pursuing your faith in God can never allow you to meet His will or gain His praise. More than that, you can never truly attain salvation—these are the final consequences. When people do not understand God and do not know His disposition, their hearts can never truly open up to Him. Once they have understood God, they will begin to appreciate and savor what is in His heart with interest and faith. When you appreciate and savor what is in God’s heart, your heart will gradually, bit by bit, open up to Him. When your heart opens up to Him, you will feel how shameful and contemptible your exchanges with God, your demands of God, and your own extravagant desires were. When your heart truly opens up to God, you will see that His heart is such an infinite world, and you will enter into a realm you have never experienced before. In this realm there is no cheating, there is no deception, there is no darkness, and no evil. There is only sincerity and faithfulness; only light and rectitude; only righteousness and kindness. It is full of love and care, full of compassion and tolerance, and through it you feel the happiness and joy of being alive. These things are what God will reveal to you when you open up your heart to Him. This infinite world is full of God’s wisdom and omnipotence; it is also full of His love and His authority. Here you can see every aspect of what God has and is, what brings Him joy, why He worries and why He becomes sad, why He becomes angry…. This is what every single person can see who opens up their heart and allows God to come in. God can only come into your heart if you open it up to Him. You can only see what God has and is, and you can only see His intentions for you, if He has come into your heart. At that time, you will discover that everything about God is so precious, that what He has and is is so worthy of treasuring. Compared to that, the people who surround you, the objects and events in your life, and even your loved ones, your partner, and the things you love, are hardly worth mentioning. They are so small, and so lowly; you will feel that no material object will ever be able to draw you in again, or that any material object will ever again be able to entice you to pay any price for it. In God’s humility you will see His greatness and His supremacy. Moreover, you will see in some deed of God that you previously believed to be quite small His infinite wisdom and His tolerance, and you will see His patience, His forbearance, and His understanding of you. This will engender in you an adoration for Him. On that day, you will feel that mankind is living in such a filthy world, that the people by your side and the things that happen in your life, and even those you love, their love for you, and their so-called protection or their concern for you are not even worth mentioning—only God is your beloved, and it is only God that you treasure the most. When that day comes, I believe that there will be some people who say: God’s love is so great, and His essence is so holy—in God there is no deceit, no evil, no envy, and no strife, but only righteousness and authenticity, and everything that God has and is should be longed for by humans. Humans should strive for and aspire to it. On what basis is mankind’s ability to achieve this built? It is built on the basis of their understanding of God’s disposition, and their understanding of God’s essence. So understanding God’s disposition and what He has and is, is a lifelong lesson for every person; this is a lifelong goal pursued by every person who strives to change their disposition, and strives to know God.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 64

If we want to understand more of what God has and is, we cannot stop at the Old Testament or at the Age of Law—we need to continue onward, following along with the steps God took in His work. So, as God ended the Age of Law and began the Age of Grace, let our own footsteps follow behind, into the Age of Grace—an age full of grace and redemption. In this age, God again did something very important that had never before been done. The work in this new age for both God and mankind was a new starting point—a starting point that consisted of yet another new work done by God that had never done before. This new work was unprecedented, something beyond the powers of imagination of humans and all creatures. It is something that is now well known to all people—for the first time, God became a human being, and for the first time He began new work in the form of a man, with the identity of a man. This new work signified that God had completed His work in the Age of Law, and that He would no longer do or say anything under the law. Neither would He say or do anything in the form of the law or according to the principles or rules of the law. That is, all His work based on the law was halted forever and would not be continued, because God wanted to begin new work and do new things. His plan once again had a new starting point, and so God had to lead mankind into the next age.

Whether this was joyful or ominous news to humans depended on the essence of each individual person. It could be said that to some people this was not joyful news, but ominous, because when God began His new work, those people who just followed the laws and rules, who just followed the doctrines but did not fear God, tended to use God’s old work to condemn His new work. For these people, this was ominous news; but for every person who was innocent and open, who was sincere to God and willing to receive His redemption, God’s first incarnation was very joyful news. For, ever since humans first were brought into existence, this was the first time God had appeared and lived among mankind in a form that was not the Spirit; this time, He was born of a human and lived among people as the Son of man, and worked in their midst. This “first” broke down people’s notions; it was beyond all imagination. Moreover, all of God’s followers gained a tangible benefit. God not only ended the old age, but He also ended His old working methods and working style. He no longer asked His messengers to convey His will, He was no longer hidden in the clouds, and no longer appeared or spoke to humans commandingly through thunder. Unlike anything before, through a method unimaginable to humans that was difficult for them to understand or accept—becoming flesh—He became the Son of man in order to begin the work of that age. This act of God caught mankind totally unprepared; it made them embarrassed, because God had once again started new work that He had never done before.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 65

Mat 12:1 At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and His disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.

Mat 12:6–8 But I say to you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.

Let us first take a look at this passage: “At that time Jesus went on the sabbath day through the corn; and His disciples were an hungered, and began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.”

Why have I selected this passage? What connection does it have to God’s disposition? In this text, the first thing we know is that it was the Sabbath day, but the Lord Jesus went out and led His disciples through the corn fields. What is even more “treacherous” is that they even “began to pluck the ears of corn and to eat.” In the Age of Law, Jehovah God’s law stipulated that people could not casually go out or take part in activities on the Sabbath—there were many things that could not be done on the Sabbath. This action on the part of the Lord Jesus was puzzling for those who had lived under the law for a long time, and it even provoked criticism. As for their confusion and how they talked about what Jesus did, we will put that aside for now and first discuss why the Lord Jesus chose to do this on the Sabbath, of all days, and what He wanted to communicate to people who were living under the law through this action. This is the connection between this passage and God’s disposition that I want to talk about.

When the Lord Jesus came, He used His practical actions to tell the people that God had departed the Age of Law and had begun new work, and that this new work did not require the observation of the Sabbath. God’s coming out from the confines of the Sabbath day was just a foretaste of His new work; the real and great work was still to come. When the Lord Jesus began His work, He had already left behind the “shackles” of the Age of Law, and had broken through the regulations and principles of that age. In Him, there was no trace of anything related to the law; He had cast it off entirely and no longer observed it, and He no longer required mankind to observe it. So here you see the Lord Jesus went through the corn fields on the Sabbath, and that the Lord did not rest; He was outside working, and not resting. This action of His was a shock to people’s notions and it communicated to them that He no longer lived under the law, and that He had left the confines of the Sabbath and appeared before mankind and in their midst in a new image, with a new way of working. This action of His told people that He had brought with Him new work, work that began with emerging from being under the law, and departing from the Sabbath. When God carried out His new work, He no longer clung to the past, and He was no longer concerned about the regulations of the Age of Law. Neither was He affected by His work in the previous age, but instead worked on the Sabbath just as He did on every other day, and when His disciples were hungry on the Sabbath, they could pick ears of corn to eat. This was all very normal in God’s eyes. For God, it is permissible to have a new beginning for much of the new work He wants to do and the new words He wants to say. When He begins something new, He neither mentions His previous work nor continues to carry it out. Because God has His principles in His work, when He wants to begin new work, it is when He wants to bring mankind into a new stage of His work, and when His work will enter a higher phase. If people continue to act according to the old sayings or regulations or continue to hold fast to them, He will not remember or approve that. This is because He has already brought new work, and has entered a new phase of His work. When He initiates new work, He appears to mankind with a completely new image, from a completely new angle, and in a completely new way so that people can see different aspects of His disposition and what He has and is. This is one of His goals in His new work. God does not cling to old things or walk the well-trodden path; when He works and speaks, He is not as prohibitive as people imagine. In God, all is free and liberated, and there is no prohibition, no constraints—what He brings to mankind is freedom and liberation. He is a living God, a God who genuinely, truly exists. He is not a puppet or a clay figure, and He is totally different from the idols that people enshrine and worship. He is living and vibrant, and what His words and work bring to mankind is all life and light, all freedom and liberation, because He holds the truth, the life, and the way—He is not constrained by anything in any of His work. No matter what people say and no matter how they see or assess His new work, He will carry out His work without a qualm. He will not worry about anyone’s notions or finger-pointing as concerns His work and words, or even their strong opposition and resistance to His new work. No one among all of creation can use human reason, or human imagination, knowledge, or morality to measure or define what God does, to discredit, disrupt or sabotage His work. There is no prohibition in His work and what He does; it will not be constrained by any man, event, or thing, neither will it be disrupted by any hostile forces. As far as His new work is concerned, He is an ever-victorious King, and any hostile forces and all the heresies and fallacies of mankind are trampled under His footstool. No matter which new stage of His work He is carrying out, it will surely be developed and expanded in mankind’s midst, and it will surely be carried out unhindered throughout the entire universe until His great work has been completed. This is God’s almightiness and wisdom, His authority and power. Thus, the Lord Jesus could openly go out and work on the Sabbath because in His heart there were no rules, no knowledge or doctrine that originated from mankind. What He had was God’s new work and God’s way. His work was the way to free mankind, to release people, to allow them to exist in the light and to live. Meanwhile, those who worship idols or false gods live every day bound by Satan, restrained by all kinds of rules and taboos—today one thing is prohibited, tomorrow another—there is no freedom in their lives. They are like prisoners in shackles, living life with no joy to speak of. What does “prohibition” represent? It represents constraints, bonds, and evil. As soon as a person worships an idol, they are worshiping a false god, an evil spirit. Prohibition comes along when such activities are engaged in. You cannot eat this or that, today you cannot go out, tomorrow you cannot cook, the next day you cannot move to a new house, certain days must be selected for weddings and funerals and even for giving birth to a child. What is this called? This is called prohibition; it is the bondage of mankind, and it is the shackles of Satan and evil spirits controlling people and restraining their hearts and bodies. Do these prohibitions exist with God? When speaking of the holiness of God, you should first think of this: With God there are no prohibitions. God has principles in His words and work, but there are no prohibitions, because God Himself is the truth, the way, and the life.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 66

“But I say to you, That in this place is one greater than the temple. But if you had known what this means, I will have mercy, and not sacrifice, you would not have condemned the guiltless. For the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” (Mat 12:6–8). What does the word “temple” refer to here? To put it simply, it refers to a magnificent, tall building, and in the Age of Law, the temple was a place for priests to worship God. When the Lord Jesus said “in this place is one greater than the temple,” who did “one” refer to? Clearly, the “one” is the Lord Jesus in the flesh, because only He was greater than the temple. What did those words tell people? They told people to come out of the temple—God had already left the temple and was no longer working in it, so people should seek God’s footsteps outside of the temple and follow His steps in His new work. When the Lord Jesus said this, there was a premise behind His words, which was that under the law, people had come to see the temple as something greater than God Himself. That is, people worshiped the temple rather than worshiping God, so the Lord Jesus warned them not to worship idols, but to instead worship God, for He is supreme. Thus, He said: “I will have mercy, and not sacrifice.” It is evident that in the eyes of the Lord Jesus, most people living under the law no longer worshiped Jehovah, but were merely going through the motions of sacrificing, and the Lord Jesus determined that this constituted idol worship. These idol-worshipers saw the temple as something greater and higher than God. In their hearts there was only the temple, not God, and if they were to lose the temple, then they would lose their dwelling place. Without the temple they had nowhere to worship and could not carry out their sacrifices. Their so-called “dwelling place” is where they used the false pretense of worshiping Jehovah God in order to stay in the temple and carry out their own affairs. Their so-called “sacrificing” was just them carrying out their own personal shameful dealings under the guise of conducting their service in the temple. This was the reason people at that time saw the temple as greater than God. The Lord Jesus spoke these words as a warning to people, because they were using the temple as a front, and sacrifices as a cover for cheating people and cheating God. If you apply these words to the present, they are still equally valid and equally pertinent. Although people today have experienced different work of God than the people in the Age of Law experienced, the essence of their nature is the same. In the context of the work today, people will still do the same type of things as are represented by the words, “the temple is greater than God.” For example, people see fulfilling their duty as their job; they see bearing witness to God and battling the great red dragon as political movements in defense of human rights, for democracy and freedom; they turn their duty to utilize their skills into careers, but they treat fearing God and shunning evil as nothing but a piece of religious doctrine to observe; and so on. Are not these behaviors essentially the same as “the temple is greater than God”? The difference is that, two thousand years ago, people were carrying out their personal business in the physical temple, but today, people carry out their personal business in intangible temples. Those people that value rules see rules as greater than God, those people that love status see status as greater than God, those that love their career see careers as greater than God, and so on—all their expressions lead Me to say: “People praise God as the greatest through their words, but in their eyes everything is greater than God.” This is because as soon as people find an opportunity along their path of following God to display their own talents, or to carry out their own business or their own career, they distance themselves from God and throw themselves into their beloved career. As for what God has entrusted to them, and His will, those things have long since been discarded. What is the difference between the state of these people and those who conducted their own business in the temple two thousand years ago?

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 67

The sentence “the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” tells people that everything about God is not of a material nature, and although God can provide for all of your material needs, once all of your material needs have been met, can the satisfaction from these things replace your pursuit of truth? That is clearly not possible! God’s disposition and what He has and is, which we have fellowshiped about, are both the truth. Its value cannot be measured against any material objects, no matter how valuable, nor can its value be quantified in terms of money, because it is not a material object, and it supplies the needs of each and every person’s heart. For every person, the value of these intangible truths should be greater than the value of any material things that you might value, should they not? This statement is something you need to linger over. The key point of what I have said is that what God has and is and everything about God are the most important things for every single person and cannot be replaced by any material object. I will give you an example: When you are hungry, you need food. This food can be more or less good or more or less unsatisfactory, but as long as you have your fill, that unpleasant feeling of being hungry will no longer be there—it will be gone. You can sit in peace, and your body will be at rest. People’s hunger can be resolved with food, but when you are following God and feel that you have no understanding of Him, how can you resolve the emptiness in your heart? Can it be resolved with food? Or when you are following God and do not understand His will, what can you use to make up for that hunger in your heart? In the process of your experience of salvation through God, while pursuing a change in your disposition, if you do not understand His will or do not know what the truth is, if you do not understand God’s disposition, then will you not feel very uneasy? Will you not feel a strong hunger and thirst in your heart? Will these feelings not prevent you from feeling at rest in your heart? So how can you make up for that hunger in your heart—is there a way to resolve it? Some people go shopping, some seek out their friends to confide in, some people indulge in a long sleep, others read more of God’s words, or they work harder and expend more effort to fulfill their duties. Can these things resolve your actual difficulties? All of you fully understand these kinds of practices. When you feel powerless, when you feel a strong desire to gain enlightenment from God to allow you to know the reality of the truth and His will, what do you need most? What you need is not a full meal, and it is not a few kind words, let alone the transient comfort and satisfaction of the flesh—what you need is for God to directly and clearly tell you what you should do and how you should do it, to clearly tell you what the truth is. After you have understood this, even if you gain only a tiny bit of understanding, will you not feel more satisfied in your heart than if you had eaten a good meal? When your heart is satisfied, does not your heart and your entire being gain true rest? Through this analogy and analysis, do you understand now why I wanted to share with you this sentence, “the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day”? Its meaning is that what comes from God, what He has and is, and everything about Him, are greater than any other thing, including the thing or the person you once believed you treasured most. That is to say, if a person cannot gain words from the mouth of God or they do not understand His will, they cannot gain rest. In your future experiences, you will understand why I wanted you to see this passage today—this is very important. Everything that God does is truth and life. The truth is something that people cannot lack in their lives, and it is something they can never do without; you could also say that it is the greatest thing. Although you cannot look at it or touch it, its importance to you cannot be ignored; it is the only thing that can bring rest to your heart.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 68

Is your understanding of truth integrated with your own states? In real life, you first have to think of which truths relate to the people, events, and things you have encountered; it is among these truths that you can find God’s will and connect what you have encountered with His will. If you do not know which aspects of the truth relate to the things you have encountered but instead go directly to seek God’s will, this is a blind approach which cannot achieve results. If you want to seek the truth and understand God’s will, first you need to look at what kind of things have happened to you, which aspects of the truth they are related to, and look for the specific truth in the word of God that relates to what you have experienced. Then you look for the path of practice that is right for you in that truth; in this way you can gain an indirect understanding of God’s will. Searching for and practicing the truth is not mechanically applying a doctrine or following a formula. The truth is not formulaic, neither is it a law. It is not dead—it is life itself, it is a living thing, and it is the rule that a created being must follow in life and the rule a human must have in life. This is something that you must, as much as possible, understand through experience. No matter what stage you have arrived at in your experience, you are inseparable from God’s word or the truth, and what you understand of God’s disposition and what you know of what God has and is are all expressed in God’s words; they are inextricably linked with the truth. God’s disposition and what He has and is are, in themselves, the truth; the truth is an authentic manifestation of God’s disposition and what He has and is. It makes what He has and is concrete, and it makes a clear statement of what He has and is; it tells you more straightforwardly what God likes, what He does not like, what He wants you to do and what He does not permit you to do, which people He despises and which people He delights in. Behind the truths that God expresses, people can see His pleasure, anger, sorrow, and happiness, as well as His essence—this is the revealing of His disposition. Aside from knowing what God has and is, and understanding His disposition from His word, what is most important is the need to reach this understanding through practical experience. If a person removes themselves from real life in order to know God, they will not be able to achieve that. Even if there are people who can gain some understanding from the word of God, their understanding is limited to theories and words, and there arises a disparity with what God Himself is really like.

What we are communicating about now is all within the scope of the stories recorded in the Bible. Through these stories, and through analyzing these things that happened, people can understand His disposition and what He has and is that He has expressed, allowing them to know every aspect of God more broadly, more deeply, more comprehensively, and more thoroughly. So, is the only way to know every aspect of God through these stories? No, it is not the only way! For what God says and the work He does in the Age of Kingdom can better help people know His disposition, and know it more fully. However, I think it is a bit easier to know God’s disposition and to understand what He has and is through some examples or stories recorded in the Bible that people are familiar with. If I take the words of judgment and chastisement and the truths that God expresses today, word for word, to enable you to know Him in this way, you will feel it is too dull and too tedious, and some people will even feel that God’s words seem to be formulaic. But if I take these Bible stories as examples to help people know God’s disposition, they will not find it boring. You could say that in the course of explaining these examples, the details of what was in God’s heart at the time—His mood or sentiment, or His thoughts and ideas—have been told to people in human language, and the goal of all this is to allow them to appreciate, to feel that what God has and is is not formulaic. It is not a legend, or something that people cannot see or touch. It is something that truly exists, that people can feel and appreciate. This is the ultimate goal. You could say that people living in this age are blessed. They can draw on Bible stories to gain a broader understanding of God’s previous work; they can see His disposition through the work that He has done; they can understand God’s will for mankind through these dispositions that He has expressed, and understand the concrete manifestations of His holiness and His care for humans, and in this way they can reach a more detailed and deeper knowledge of God’s disposition. I believe that all of you can now feel this!

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 69

Within the scope of the work that the Lord Jesus completed in the Age of Grace, you can see another aspect of what God has and is. This aspect was expressed through His flesh, and people were able to see and appreciate it because of His humanity. In the Son of man, people saw how God in the flesh lived out His humanity, and they saw God’s divinity expressed through the flesh. These two types of expression allowed people to see a very real God, and they allowed people to form a different concept of God. However, during the period of time between the creation of the world and the end of the Age of Law, that is, before the Age of Grace, the only aspects of God that were seen, heard, and experienced by the people were God’s divinity, the things that God did and said in a non-material realm, and the things that He expressed from His real person that could not be seen or touched. Often, these things made people feel that God was so towering in His greatness that they could not get close to Him. The impression God usually gave people was that He flickered in and out of their ability to perceive Him, and people even felt that every single one of His thoughts and ideas was so mysterious and so elusive that there was no way to reach them, much less even attempt to understand and appreciate them. For people, everything about God was very distant, so distant that people could not see it, could not touch it. He seemed to be high up in the sky, and seemed not to exist at all. So for people, understanding God’s heart and mind or any of His thinking was unachievable, and even beyond their reach. Even though God performed some concrete work in the Age of Law, and He also issued some specific words and expressed some specific dispositions to allow people to appreciate and to perceive some real knowledge about Him, yet in the end, these expressions of what God has and is came from a non-material realm, and what people understood, what they knew was still about the divine aspect of what He has and is. Mankind could not gain a concrete concept from this expression of what He has and is, and their impression of God was still stuck within the scope of “a spiritual body that is hard to get close to, that flickers in and out of perception.” Because God did not use a specific object or an image belonging to the material realm to appear before people, they remained unable to define Him using human language. In people’s hearts and minds, they always wanted to use their own language to establish a standard for God, to make Him tangible and to humanize Him, such as how tall He is, how big He is, what He looks like, what exactly He likes and what His personality is. Actually, in His heart God knew that people were thinking this way. He was very clear on people’s needs, and of course He also knew what He should do, so He carried out His work in a different way in the Age of Grace. This new way was both divine and humanized. In the period of time that the Lord Jesus was working, people could see that God had many human expressions. For example, He could dance, He could attend weddings, He could commune with people, speak with them, and discuss things with them. In addition to that, the Lord Jesus also completed a lot of work that represented His divinity, and of course all of this work was an expression and a revelation of God’s disposition. During this time, when God’s divinity was realized in ordinary flesh in a way that people could see and touch, they no longer felt that He was flickering in and out of perception or that they could not get close to Him. On the contrary, they could try to grasp the will of God or understand His divinity through every movement, through the words, and through the work of the Son of man. The incarnate Son of man expressed God’s divinity through His humanity and conveyed the will of God to mankind. And through His expression of God’s will and disposition, He also revealed to people the God that cannot be seen or touched who dwells in the spiritual realm. What people saw was God Himself in tangible form, made of flesh and blood. So the incarnate Son of man made things such as the identity of God Himself, God’s status, image, disposition, and what He has and is, concrete and humanized. Even though the external appearance of the Son of man had some limitations regarding the image of God, His essence and what He has and is were entirely able to represent the identity and status of God Himself—there were merely some differences in the form of expression. We cannot deny that the Son of man represented the identity and status of God Himself, both in the form of His humanity and in His divinity. During this time, however, God worked through the flesh, spoke from the perspective of the flesh, and stood before mankind with the identity and status of the Son of man, and this gave people the opportunity to encounter and experience the true words and work of God among mankind. It also allowed people insight into His divinity and His greatness in the midst of humility, as well as to gain a preliminary understanding and definition of the authenticity and reality of God. Even though the work completed by the Lord Jesus, His ways of working, and the perspective from which He spoke differed from God’s real person in the spiritual realm, everything about Him truly represented God Himself, whom mankind had never seen before—this cannot be denied! That is to say, no matter in what form God appears, no matter from which perspective He speaks, or in what image He faces mankind, God represents nothing but Himself. He can represent neither any one human, nor any of corrupted mankind. God is God Himself, and this cannot be denied.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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The Parable of the Lost Sheep

Mat 18:12–14 How think you? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, does he not leave the ninety and nine, and goes into the mountains, and seeks that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, truly I say to you, he rejoices more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.

This passage is a parable—what kind of feeling does it give to people? The way of expression—the parable—used here is a figure of speech in human language, and as such it belongs within the scope of human knowledge. If God had said something similar in the Age of Law, people would have felt that such words were not truly consistent with who God was, but when the Son of man delivered these words in the Age of Grace, it felt comforting, warm, and intimate to people. When God became flesh, when He appeared in the form of a man, He used a very appropriate parable that came from His own humanity, in order to express the voice of His heart. This voice represented God’s own voice and the work He wanted to do in that age. It also represented an attitude that God had toward people in the Age of Grace. Looking from the perspective of God’s attitude toward people, He compared each person to a sheep. If a sheep was lost, He would do whatever it took to find it. This represented a principle of God’s work at that time among mankind, when He was in the flesh. God used this parable to describe His resolve and attitude in that work. This was the advantage of God becoming flesh: He could take advantage of mankind’s knowledge and use human language to speak to people, and to express His will. He explained or “translated” to man His profound, divine language that people struggled to understand in human language, in a human way. This helped people understand His will and know what He wanted to do. He could also have conversations with people from the human perspective, using human language, and communicate with people in a way they understood. He could even speak and work using human language and knowledge so that people could feel God’s kindness and closeness, so that they could see His heart. What do you see in this? Is there any prohibition in God’s words and actions? The way people see it, there is no way that God could use human knowledge, language, or ways of speaking to talk about what God Himself wanted to say, the work He wanted to do, or to express His own will. But this is erroneous thinking. God used this type of parable so that people could feel the realness and the sincerity of God, and see His attitude toward people during that time period. This parable awakened people who had been living under the law for a long time from a dream, and it also inspired generation after generation of people who lived in the Age of Grace. By reading the passage of this parable, people know God’s sincerity in saving mankind and understand the weight and importance accorded to mankind in God’s heart.

Let us take a look at the last sentence in this passage: “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” Was this the Lord Jesus’ own words, or the words of the Father in heaven? On the surface, it looks like it is the Lord Jesus who is speaking, but His will represents the will of God Himself, which is why He said: “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish.” People at that time only acknowledged the Father in heaven as God, and believed that this person whom they saw in front of their eyes was merely sent by Him, and could not represent the Father in heaven. That is why the Lord Jesus had to add this sentence to the end of this parable, so that people could really feel God’s will for mankind and feel the authenticity and the accuracy of what He said. Even though this sentence was a simple thing to say, it was spoken with care and love and revealed the Lord Jesus’ humility and hiddenness. No matter whether God became flesh or whether He worked in the spiritual realm, He knew the human heart best, and best understood what people needed, knew what people worried about, and what confused them, and that is why He added this sentence. This sentence highlighted a problem hidden in mankind: People were skeptical of what the Son of man said, which is to say, when the Lord Jesus was speaking He had to add: “Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these little ones should perish,” and only on this premise could His words bear fruit, to make people believe their accuracy and improve their credibility. This shows that when God became a regular Son of man, God and mankind had a very uneasy relationship, and that the Son of man’s situation was very embarrassing. It also shows how insignificant the Lord Jesus’ status among humans was at that time. When He said this, it was actually to tell people: You can rest assured—these words do not represent what is in My own heart, but they are the will of the God who is in your hearts. For mankind, was this not an ironic thing? Even though God working in the flesh had many advantages that He did not have in His person, He had to withstand their doubts and rejection as well as their numbness and dullness. It could be said that the process of the work of the Son of man was the process of experiencing mankind’s rejection and experiencing their competing against Him. More than that, it was the process of working to continuously win mankind’s trust and to conquer mankind through what He has and is, through His own essence. It was not so much that God incarnate was waging an on-the-ground war against Satan; it was more that God became an ordinary man and began a struggle with those who follow Him, and in this struggle the Son of man completed His work with His humility, with what He has and is, and with His love and wisdom. He obtained the people He wanted, won the identity and status He deserved, and “returned” to His throne.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 71

Forgive Seventy Times Seven

Mat 18:21–22 Then came Peter to Him, and said, Lord, how oft shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? till seven times? Jesus said to him, I say not to you, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven.

The Lord’s Love

Mat 22:37–39 Jesus said to him, You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like to it, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.

Of these two passages, one speaks of forgiveness and the other speaks of love. These two topics really highlight the work the Lord Jesus wanted to carry out in the Age of Grace.

When God became flesh, He brought along with Him a stage of His work, which was the specific work tasks and the disposition He wanted to express in this age. In that period, everything that the Son of man did revolved around the work that God wanted to carry out in this age. He would do no more and no less. Every single thing He said and every type of work that He carried out was all related to this age. Regardless of whether He expressed it in a human way with human language or through divine language, and no matter in which way or from which perspective He did so, His goal was to help people understand what He wanted to do, what His will was, and what His requirements of people were. He might use various means and different perspectives to help people understand and know His will, and to understand His work of saving mankind. So in the Age of Grace we see the Lord Jesus using human language most of the time to express what He wanted to communicate with mankind. Even more, we see Him from the perspective of an ordinary guide speaking with people, providing for their needs, and helping them with what they had requested. This way of working was not seen in the Age of Law that came before the Age of Grace. He became more intimate and more compassionate with mankind, as well as more able to achieve practical results in both form and manner. The metaphor about forgiving people seventy times seven really clarifies this point. The purpose achieved by the number in this metaphor is to allow people to understand the Lord Jesus’ intention at the time that He said this. His intention was that people should forgive others—not once or twice, and not even seven times, but seventy times seven. What kind of idea is contained within the idea of “seventy times seven”? It is to cause people to make forgiveness their own responsibility, something they must learn, and a “way” by which they must abide. Even though this was just a metaphor, it served to highlight the crucial point. It helped people to deeply appreciate what He meant and to find the proper ways of practice and the principles and standards of practice. This metaphor helped people to understand clearly and gave them a correct concept—that they should learn forgiveness and forgive any number of times without conditions, but with an attitude of tolerance and understanding for others. When the Lord Jesus said this, what was in His heart? Was He really thinking of the number “seventy times seven?” No, He was not. Is there a number of times God will forgive man? There are many people who are very interested in the “number of times” mentioned here, who really want to understand the origin and the meaning of this number. They want to understand why this number came out of the Lord Jesus’ mouth; they believe that there is a deeper implication to this number. But actually, this was just a figure of human speech which God used. Any implication or meaning must be taken along with the Lord Jesus’ requirements for mankind. When God had not yet become flesh, people did not understand much of what He said, because His words came out of complete divinity. The perspective and context of what He said was invisible and unreachable to mankind; it was expressed from a spiritual realm that people could not see. For people who lived in the flesh, they could not pass through the spiritual realm. But after God became flesh, He spoke to mankind from the perspective of humanity, and He came out of and surpassed the scope of the spiritual realm. He could express His divine disposition, will, and attitude through things humans could imagine, things they saw and encountered in their lives, and using methods that humans could accept, in a language they could understand, and with knowledge they could grasp, to allow mankind to understand and to know God, to comprehend His intention and His required standards within the scope of their capacity and to the degree that they were able. This was the method and principle of God’s work in humanity. Even though God’s ways and His principles of working in the flesh were mostly achieved by means of or through humanity, it truly did achieve results that could not be achieved by working directly in divinity. God’s work in humanity was more concrete, authentic, and targeted, the methods were much more flexible, and in form it surpassed the work carried out during the Age of Law.

Next, let us talk about loving the Lord and loving your neighbor as yourself. Is this something that is directly expressed in divinity? No, clearly not! These were all things that the Son of man spoke about in humanity; only human beings would say something like “Love your neighbor as yourself. Love others as you cherish your own life.” This manner of speaking is exclusively human. God has never spoken in this way. At the very least, God does not have this type of language in His divinity because He has no need of this kind of tenet, “Love your neighbor as yourself,” in order to regulate His love for mankind, because God’s love for mankind is a natural revelation of what He has and is. When have you ever heard God say anything like: “I love mankind as I love Myself”? You have not, because love is in God’s essence and in what He has and is. God’s love for mankind, and His attitude, and the way He treats people are a natural expression and revelation of His disposition. He does not need to deliberately do this in a certain way, or to deliberately follow a certain method or a moral code to achieve loving His neighbor as Himself—He already possesses this type of essence. What do you see in this? When God worked in humanity, many of His methods, words, and truths were expressed in a human way. But at the same time, God’s disposition, what He has and is, and His will were expressed for people to know and understand. What they came to know and understand was exactly His essence and what He has and is, which represent the inherent identity and status of God Himself. That is to say, the Son of man in the flesh expressed the inherent disposition and essence of God Himself to the greatest extent possible and as accurately as possible. Not only was the Son of man’s humanity not a hindrance or a barrier to man’s communication and interaction with God in heaven, but it was actually the only channel and the only bridge for mankind to connect to the Lord of creation. Now, at this point, do you not feel that there are many similarities between the nature and methods of the work done by the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace and the current stage of work? This current stage of work also uses a lot of human language to express God’s disposition, and a lot of language and methods from mankind’s daily life and human knowledge to express the will of God Himself. Once God becomes flesh, no matter if He is speaking from a human perspective or a divine perspective, lots of His language and methods of expression come through the medium of human language and methods. That is, when God becomes flesh, this is the best opportunity for you to see God’s omnipotence and His wisdom, and to know every real aspect of God. When God became flesh, while He was growing up, He came to understand, learn, and grasp some of mankind’s knowledge, common sense, language, and methods of expression in humanity. God incarnate possessed these things that came from the humans which He had created. They became tools of God in the flesh for expressing His disposition and His divinity, and allowed Him to make His work more pertinent, more authentic, and more accurate when He was working amidst mankind, from a human perspective and using human language. This made His work more accessible and more easily understood for people, thus achieving the results that God wanted. Is it not more practical for God to work in the flesh in this way? Is this not God’s wisdom? When God became flesh, when God’s flesh was able to take on the work that He wanted to carry out, that is when He would practically express His disposition and His work, and that was also the time when He could officially begin His ministry as the Son of man. This meant that there was no longer a “generation gap” between God and man, that God would soon cease His work of communicating through messengers, and that God Himself could personally express all the words and work in the flesh that He wanted to. It also meant that the people God saves were closer to Him, that His management work had entered new territory, and that all of mankind was about to be faced with a new era.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 72

Everyone who has read the Bible knows that many events happened when the Lord Jesus was born. The greatest among those events was Him being hunted by the king of devils, which was an event so extreme that all of the city’s children who were aged two years old and under were slaughtered. It is evident that God assumed great risk by becoming flesh among humans; the great price that He paid for completing His management of saving mankind is also evident. The great hopes that God held for His work among mankind in the flesh are also evident. When God’s flesh was able to take on work among mankind, how did He feel? People should be able to understand that to some degree, should they not? At the very least, God was happy because He could start carrying out His new work among mankind. When the Lord Jesus was baptized and officially began His work to fulfill His ministry, God’s heart was overwhelmed with joy because after so many years of waiting and preparation, He could finally wear the flesh of a normal man and begin His new work in the form of a man of flesh and blood, whom people could see and touch. He could finally speak face-to-face and heart-to-heart with people through the identity of a man. God could finally come face to face with mankind through the medium of human ways and human language; He could provide for mankind, enlighten them, and help them using human language; He could eat at the same table and live in the same space with them. He could also see human beings, see things, and see everything the way humans saw them and even through their own eyes. For God, this was already His first victory of His work in the flesh. It could also be said that it was an accomplishment of a great work—this of course was what God was happiest about. Starting from then, God felt, for the first time, a sort of comfort in His work among mankind. All of the events that came to pass were so practical and so natural, and the comfort that God felt was so true. For mankind, each time a new stage of God’s work is accomplished, and each time God feels gratified, that is when mankind can come closer to God and to salvation. To God, this is also the launch of His new work, forging onward in His management plan, and, moreover, these are the times when His intentions approach complete fulfillment. For mankind, the arrival of such an opportunity is fortunate, and very good; for all those who await God’s salvation, it is momentous and joyous news. When God carries out a new stage of work, then He has a new beginning, and when this new work and new beginning are launched and introduced among mankind, it is when the outcome of this stage of work has already been determined and accomplished and the final effect and fruit already seen by God. This is also when these effects make God feel satisfied, and, of course, it is when His heart is happy. God feels reassured because, in His eyes, He has already seen and determined the people He is looking for, and has already gained this group of people, a group that is able to make His work successful and bring Him satisfaction. Thus, He puts aside His worries, and He feels happy. In other words, when the flesh of God is able to embark upon new work among man, and He begins to, without obstruction, do the work that He must do, and when He feels that all has been accomplished, then for Him, the end is already in sight. Because of this He is satisfied, and His heart is happy. How is God’s happiness expressed? Can you imagine what the answer might be? May God cry? Can God cry? Can God clap His hands? Can God dance? Can God sing? If so, what would He sing? Of course, God could sing a beautiful, moving song, a song that could express the joy and happiness in His heart. He could sing it for mankind, for Himself, and for all things. God’s happiness can be expressed in any way—all of this is normal because God has joys and sorrows, and His various feelings can be expressed in various ways. This is His right, and nothing could be more normal and proper. People should not think anything else of it. You should not try to use the “band-tightening spell”[a] on God, telling Him He should not do this or that, He should not act this way or that, and in this way limit His happiness or any feeling He might have. In people’s hearts God cannot be happy, cannot shed tears, cannot weep—He cannot express any emotion. Through what we have communicated during these two fellowships, I believe you will no longer see God in this way, but will allow God to have some freedom and release. This is a very good thing. In the future if you are able to truly feel God’s sadness when you hear about Him being sad, and you are able to truly feel His happiness when you hear about Him being happy, then at least you will be able to clearly know and understand what makes God happy and what makes Him sad. When you are able to feel sad because God is sad, and feel happy because God is happy, He will have fully gained your heart and there will no longer be any barrier between yourself and Him. You will no longer try to constrain God with human imaginings, notions, and knowledge. At that time, God will be alive and vivid in your heart. He will be the God of your life and the Master of everything about you. Do you have this kind of aspiration? Are you confident that you can achieve this?

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Footnotes:

a. The “band-tightening spell” is a spell used by the monk Tang Sanzang in the Chinese novel Journey to the West. He uses this spell to control Sun Wukong by tightening a metal band around the latter’s head, giving him acute headaches, and thus bringing him under control. It has become a metaphor to describe something that binds a person.

Daily Words of God Excerpt 73

The Parables of the Lord Jesus

The Parable of the Sower (Mat 13:1–9)

The Parable of the Tares (Mat 13:24–30)

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Mat 13:31–32)

The Parable of the Leaven (Mat 13:33)

The Parable of the Tares Explained (Mat 13:36–43)

The Parable of the Treasure (Mat 13:44)

The Parable of the Pearl (Mat 13:45–46)

The Parable of the Net (Mat 13:47–50)

The first is the parable of the sower. This is a very interesting parable; sowing seeds is a common event in people’s lives. The second is the parable of the tares. Anyone who has planted crops, and certainly all adults, will know what “tares” are. The third is the parable of the mustard seed. All of you know what mustard is, do you not? If you do not know, you can take a look in the Bible. The fourth parable is the parable of the leaven. Now, most people know that leaven is used for fermentation, and that it is something that people use in their daily lives. The further parables, including the sixth, the parable of the treasure; the seventh, the parable of the pearl; and the eighth, the parable of the net, were all drawn and sourced from people’s real lives. What kind of picture do these parables paint? It is a picture of God becoming a normal person and living alongside mankind, using the language of life, human language, to communicate with humans and to provide them with what they need. When God became flesh and lived among mankind for a long time, after He had experienced and witnessed people’s various lifestyles, these experiences became His teaching material through which He transformed His divine language into human language. Of course, these things that He saw and heard in life also enriched the Son of man’s human experience. When He wanted people to understand some truths, to understand some of God’s will, then He could use parables similar to the ones above to tell people about God’s will and His requirements of mankind. These parables were all related to people’s lives; there was not a single one that was out of touch with human lives. When the Lord Jesus lived with mankind, He saw farmers tending their fields, and He knew what tares were and what leavening was; He understood that humans love treasure, so He used the metaphors of both the treasure and the pearl. In life, He frequently saw fishermen casting their nets; the Lord Jesus saw this and other activities related to human life, and He also experienced that kind of life. Just like every other normal human being, He experienced human daily routines and their eating three meals a day. He personally experienced the life of an average person, and observed the lives of others. When He observed and personally experienced all of this, what He thought of was not how to have a good life or how He could live more freely and comfortably. Instead, from His experiences of authentic human life, the Lord Jesus saw the hardship in people’s lives. He saw the hardship, the wretchedness, and the sadness of people living under the domain of Satan and living a life of sin beneath Satan’s corruption. While He was personally experiencing human life, He also experienced how helpless people were who were living amongst corruption, and He saw and experienced the miserable conditions of humans who lived in sin, who lost all direction amidst the torture to which they were subjected by Satan and by evil. When the Lord Jesus saw these things, did He see them with His divinity or with His humanity? His humanity really existed and was very much alive; He could experience and see all of this. But of course, He also saw these things in His essence, which is His divinity. That is, Christ Himself, the Lord Jesus who was a man, saw this, and everything He saw made Him feel the importance and the necessity of the work He had taken on during this time that He lived in the flesh. Even though He Himself knew that the responsibility He needed to take on in the flesh was so immense, and He knew how cruel the pain would be which He would face, when He saw mankind helpless in sin, when He saw the wretchedness of their lives and their feeble struggles under the law, He felt more and more grieved, and became more and more anxious to save mankind from sin. No matter what kind of difficulties He would face or what kind of pain He would suffer, He became increasingly resolved to redeem mankind, who was living in sin. During this process, you could say that the Lord Jesus began to understand more and more clearly the work He needed to do and what He had been entrusted with. He also became increasingly eager to complete the work He was to take on—to assume all of mankind’s sins, to atone for mankind so that they no longer lived in sin, and at the same time, God would be able to forgive man’s sins because of the sin offering, allowing Him to continue to further His work of saving mankind. It could be said that in the Lord Jesus’ heart, He was willing to offer Himself up for mankind, to sacrifice Himself. He was also willing to act as a sin offering, to be nailed to the cross, and indeed He was eager to complete this work. When He saw the miserable conditions of human life, He wanted even more to fulfill His mission as quickly as possible, without the delay of a single minute or even a single second. Feeling such urgency, He spent no thought on how great His own pain would be, nor did He harbor any further apprehension about how much humiliation He would have to endure. He held just one conviction in His heart: As long as He offered Himself up, as long as He was nailed to the cross as a sin offering, then God’s will would be carried out and God would be able to commence new work. Mankind’s life and their state of existence in sin would be completely transformed. His conviction and what He was determined to do were related to saving man, and He had only one objective, which was to do God’s will so that God could successfully begin the next stage of His work. This was what was in the Lord Jesus’ mind at the time.

Living in the flesh, God incarnate possessed normal humanity; He had the emotions and the rationality of a normal person. He knew what happiness was, what pain was, and when He saw mankind living this kind of life, He deeply felt that merely giving people some teachings, providing them with something or teaching them something, would not be enough to lead them out of sin. Neither could just having them obey the commandments redeem them from sin—only when He took on humanity’s sin and became the likeness of sinful flesh could He win mankind’s freedom and God’s forgiveness for mankind in exchange. So after the Lord Jesus had experienced and witnessed people’s lives in sin, an intense desire manifested in His heart—to allow humans to free themselves from their lives of struggling in sin. This desire made Him feel more and more that He must go to the cross and take on humanity’s sins as soon and as quickly as possible. These were the thoughts of the Lord Jesus at that time, after He had lived with people and seen, heard, and felt the misery of their lives in sin. That the incarnate God could have this kind of will for mankind, that He could express and reveal this kind of disposition—is this something an average person could have? What would an average person see, living in this type of environment? What would they think? If an average person faced all of this, would they look at problems from an elevated perspective? Definitely not! Although the outward appearance of God incarnate is exactly the same as a human, and although He learns human knowledge and speaks human language, and sometimes even expresses His ideas through mankind’s own methods or ways of speaking, nevertheless, the way He sees humans and sees the essence of things is absolutely not the same as the way corrupt people see mankind and the essence of things. His perspective and the elevation at which He stands is something unattainable for a corrupt person. This is because God is truth, because the flesh that He wears also possesses the essence of God, and His thoughts and that which is expressed by His humanity are also the truth. For corrupt people, what He expresses in the flesh are provisions of the truth, and of life. These provisions are not just for one person, but for all of mankind. In any corrupt person’s heart, there are only those few people who are associated with them. They care and are concerned only for this handful of people. When disaster is on the horizon, they first think of their own children, spouse, or parents. At most, a more compassionate person would spare some thought for some relative or good friend, but do the thoughts of even such a compassionate person extend further than that? No, never! Because humans are, after all, humans, and they can only look at everything from the elevation and perspective of a human being. However, God incarnate is entirely different from a corrupt human. No matter how ordinary, how normal, how lowly God’s incarnate flesh is, or even with what contempt people look down on Him, His thoughts and His attitude toward mankind are things that no man could possess, that no man could imitate. He will always observe mankind from the perspective of divinity, from the elevation of His position as the Creator. He will always see mankind through the essence and the mindset of God. He absolutely cannot see mankind from the lowly elevation of an average person, or from the perspective of a corrupt person. When people look at mankind, they do so with human vision, and they use things such as human knowledge and human rules and theories as their measure. This is within the scope of what people can see with their eyes and the scope that is achievable by corrupt people. When God looks at mankind, He looks with divine vision, and He uses His essence and what He has and is as a measure. This scope includes things that people cannot see, and this is where God incarnate and corrupt humans are entirely different. This difference is determined by humans’ and God’s different essences—it is these different essences that determine their identities and positions as well as the perspective and elevation from which they see things. Do you see the expression and revelation of God Himself in the Lord Jesus? You could say that what the Lord Jesus did and said was related to His ministry and to God’s own management work, that it was all the expression and revelation of God’s essence. Although He did have a human manifestation, His divine essence and the revelation of His divinity cannot be denied. Was this human manifestation truly a manifestation of humanity? His human manifestation was, by its very essence, entirely different from the human manifestation of corrupt people. The Lord Jesus was God incarnate. If He had truly been one of the regular, corrupt people, could He have seen mankind’s life in sin from a divine perspective? Absolutely not! This is the difference between the Son of man and regular people. Corrupt people all live in sin, and when anyone sees sin, they do not have any particular feeling about it; they are all the same, just like a pig living in the mud that does not feel at all uncomfortable or dirty—on the contrary, it eats well and sleeps soundly. If someone cleans the pigsty, the pig will actually feel ill at ease, and it will not stay clean. Before long, it will once again be rolling around in the mud, completely comfortable, because it is a filthy creature. Humans see pigs as filthy, but if you clean a pig’s living quarters, it does not feel any better—this is why no one keeps a pig in their house. The way humans see pigs will always be different from how pigs themselves feel, because humans and pigs are not of the same kind. And because the incarnate Son of man is not of the same kind as corrupt humans, only God incarnate can stand at a divine perspective, at the elevation of God, from where He sees mankind and everything.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 74

What of the suffering that God experiences when He becomes flesh and lives among mankind? What is this suffering? Does anyone truly understand? Some people say that God suffers greatly, that although He is God Himself, people do not understand His essence, but tend always to treat Him like a person, causing Him to feel aggrieved and wronged—they say that, for these reasons, God’s suffering truly is great. Other people say that God is innocent and without sin, but that He suffers in the same way as mankind, that He suffers persecution, slander, and indignities alongside mankind; they say He also endures the misunderstandings and the disobedience of His followers—thus, they say that God’s suffering truly cannot be measured. Now, it seems that you do not truly understand God. In fact, this suffering you speak of does not count as true suffering for God, because there is suffering greater than this. Then what is true suffering for God Himself? What is true suffering for God’s incarnate flesh? For God, mankind not understanding Him does not count as suffering, and neither does people having some misunderstanding of God and not seeing Him as God count as suffering. However, people often feel that God must have suffered great injustice, that during the time that God spends in the flesh, He cannot show His person to mankind and allow people to see His greatness, and that God is humbly hiding in an insignificant flesh, and that this must be a great torment for Him. People take to heart what they can understand and what they can see of God’s suffering, and project all sorts of sympathy on God and often will even offer a little praise for His suffering. In reality, there is a difference; there is a gap between what people understand of God’s suffering and what He truly feels. I am telling you the truth—for God, no matter whether it be God’s Spirit or God’s incarnate flesh, the suffering described above is not true suffering. Then what is it that God actually suffers? Let us talk about God’s suffering only from the perspective of God incarnate.

When God becomes flesh, turning into an average, normal person, living side-by-side with people among mankind, can He not see and feel people’s methods, laws, and philosophies for living? How do these methods and laws for living make Him feel? Does He feel loathing in His heart? Why would He feel loathing? What are mankind’s methods and laws for living? What principles are they rooted in? What are they based on? Mankind’s methods, laws, and so on as they relate to the way to live—all of this is created on the basis of Satan’s logic, knowledge, and philosophy. Humans living under these types of laws have no humanity, no truth—they all defy the truth and are hostile to God. If we take a look at God’s essence, we see that His essence is exactly the opposite of Satan’s logic, knowledge, and philosophy. His essence is full of righteousness, truth, and holiness, and other realities of all positive things. What does God, who possesses this essence and lives among such a mankind, feel? What does He feel in His heart? Is it not full of pain? His heart is in pain, a pain that no person can understand or experience. This is because everything that He faces, encounters, hears, sees, and experiences is all mankind’s corruption, evil, and their rebellion against and resistance to the truth. All that comes from humans is the source of His suffering. That is to say, because His essence is not the same as corrupt humans, the corruption of humans becomes the source of His greatest suffering. When God becomes flesh, is He able to find someone who shares a common language with Him? Such a person cannot be found among mankind. No one can be found who can communicate with or who can have this exchange with God—what kind of feeling would you say God has about this? The things that people discuss, love, pursue and long for all have to do with sin and evil tendencies. When God faces all of this, is it not like a knife to His heart? Faced with these things, could He have joy in His heart? Could He find consolation? Those who are living with Him are humans full of rebelliousness and evil—how could His heart not suffer? How great really is this suffering, and who cares about it? Who takes heed? And who is capable of appreciating it? People have no way of understanding God’s heart. His suffering is something that people are particularly unable to appreciate, and humanity’s coldness and numbness deepens God’s suffering even more.

There are some people who often sympathize with Christ’s plight because there is a verse in the Bible that reads: “The foxes have holes, and the birds have nests; but the Son of man has not where to lay His head.” When people hear this, they take it to heart and believe that this is the greatest suffering that God endures, and the greatest suffering that Christ endures. Now, looking at it from the perspective of the facts, is that the case? No; God does not believe these difficulties to be suffering. He has never cried out against injustice because of His difficulties of the flesh, and He has never made humans repay or reward Him with anything. However, when He witnesses everything about mankind and the corrupt lives and the evil of corrupt humans, when He witnesses that mankind is in Satan’s grasp and imprisoned by Satan and cannot escape, that people living in sin do not know what the truth is, He cannot tolerate all of these sins. His loathing of humans increases by the day, but He has to endure all of this. This is God’s great suffering. God cannot fully express even the voice of His heart or His emotions among His followers, and no one among His followers can truly understand His suffering. No one even tries to understand or to comfort His heart, which endures this suffering day after day, year after year, and time and time again. What do you see in all of this? God does not require anything of humans in return for what He has given, but because of God’s essence, He absolutely cannot tolerate mankind’s evil, corruption, and sin, and instead feels extreme loathing and hatred, which leads to God’s heart and His flesh enduring unending suffering. Have you seen this? Most likely, none of you could see this, because none of you can truly understand God. Over time, you should gradually experience it for yourselves.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 75

Jesus Feeds the Five Thousand

Jhn 6:8–13 One of His disciples, Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother, said to Him, There is a lad here, which has five barley loaves, and two small fishes: but what are they among so many? And Jesus said, Make the men sit down. Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand. And Jesus took the loaves; and when He had given thanks, He distributed to the disciples, and the disciples to them that were set down; and likewise of the fishes as much as they would. When they were filled, He said to His disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten.

What is the idea of “five loaves and two fish”? Ordinarily, how many people could be sufficiently fed with five loaves of bread and two fish? If you base your measurement on the appetite of an average person, this would only be enough for two people. This is the idea of “five loaves and two fish” at its most basic. However, in this passage, how many people were fed by five loaves and two fish? The following is what is recorded in the Scripture: “Now there was much grass in the place. So the men sat down, in number about five thousand.” Compared to five loaves and two fish, is five thousand a large number? What does it show that this number is so large? From a human perspective, dividing five loaves and two fish between five thousand people would be impossible, because the difference between people and food is too great. Even if every person only had one tiny bite, it still would not be enough for five thousand people. But here, the Lord Jesus performed a miracle—He not only ensured that five thousand people could eat their fill, but there was even food left over. The Scripture reads: “When they were filled, He said to His disciples, Gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost. Therefore they gathered them together, and filled twelve baskets with the fragments of the five barley loaves, which remained over and above to them that had eaten.” This miracle enabled people to see the identity and status of the Lord Jesus, and to see that nothing is impossible for God—in this way, they saw the truth of God’s omnipotence. Five loaves and two fish were enough to feed five thousand, but if there had not been any food, would God have been able to feed five thousand people? Of course He could have! This was a miracle, so inevitably people felt it was incomprehensible, incredible and mysterious, but for God, doing such a thing was nothing. Since this was something ordinary for God, why should it be singled out now for interpretation? Because what lies behind this miracle is the Lord Jesus’ will, which has never before been perceived by mankind.

First, let us try to understand what type of people these five thousand were. Were they followers of the Lord Jesus? From the Scripture, we know that they were not His followers. Did they know who the Lord Jesus was? Certainly not! At the very least, they did not know that the person standing in front of them was Christ, or maybe some people only knew what His name was and knew or had heard something about things He had done. Their curiosity about the Lord Jesus had merely been roused when they heard stories about Him, but you certainly could not say that they followed Him, much less understood Him. When the Lord Jesus saw these five thousand people, they were hungry and could only think of filling their stomachs, so it was in this context that the Lord Jesus satisfied their desire. When He satisfied their desire, what was in His heart? What was His attitude toward these people that only wanted to eat their fill? At this time, the Lord Jesus’ thoughts and His attitude were in relation to God’s disposition and essence. Facing these five thousand people with empty stomachs who only wanted to eat a full meal, facing these people full of curiosity and hope for Him, the Lord Jesus only thought of utilizing this miracle to bestow grace upon them. However, He did not raise His hopes that they would become His followers, for He knew that they just wanted to join the fun and to eat their fill, so He made the best of what He had there, and used five loaves of bread and two fish to feed five thousand people. He opened the eyes of these people who enjoyed seeing exciting things, who wanted to witness miracles, and they saw with their own eyes the things that God incarnate could accomplish. Although the Lord Jesus used something tangible to satisfy their curiosity, He already knew in His heart that these five thousand people just wanted to have a good meal, so He did not preach to them or say anything at all—He just let them see this miracle as it happened. He absolutely could not treat these people in the same way as He treated His disciples who truly followed Him, but in God’s heart, all creatures are under His rule, and He would allow all creatures in His sight to enjoy the grace of God when it was necessary. Even though these people did not know who He was and did not understand Him or have any particular impression of Him or gratitude toward Him even after they had eaten the loaves and fish, this was not something that God took issue with—He gave these people a wonderful opportunity to enjoy the grace of God. Some people say that God is principled in what He does, that He does not watch over or protect nonbelievers, and that, in particular, He does not allow them to enjoy His grace. Is that actually the case? In God’s eyes, as long as they are living creatures that He Himself created, He will manage and care for them, and in manifold ways He will treat them, plan for them, and rule them. These are the thoughts and attitude of God toward all things.

Although the five thousand people who ate the loaves of bread and the fish did not plan to follow the Lord Jesus, He made no exacting demands of them; once they had eaten their fill, do you know what the Lord Jesus did? Did He preach to them at all? Where did He go after doing this? The scriptures do not record that the Lord Jesus said anything to them, just that He left quietly when He had performed His miracle. So did He make any requirements of these people? Was there any hatred? No, here were none of these. He simply no longer wanted to pay any mind to these people who could not follow Him, and at this time His heart was in pain. Because He had seen the depravity of mankind and He had felt mankind’s rejection of Him, when He saw these people and He was with them, He was saddened by human obtuseness and ignorance, and His heart was in pain, all He wanted was to leave these people as quickly as possible. The Lord did not make any requirements of them in His heart, He did not want to pay them any mind, and even more, He did not want to expend His energy on them. He knew that they could not follow Him, but in spite of all this, His attitude toward them was still very clear. He just wanted to treat them kindly, to bestow grace upon them, and indeed this was God’s attitude toward every creature under His rule—to treat every creature kindly, to provide for them and nourish them. For the very reason that the Lord Jesus was God incarnate, He very naturally revealed God’s own essence and treated these people kindly. He treated them with a heart of benevolence and tolerance, and with such a heart He showed them kindness. No matter how these people saw the Lord Jesus, and no matter what kind of outcome there would be, He treated every creature based on His position as the Lord of all creation. Everything that He revealed was, without exception, God’s disposition, and what He has and is. The Lord Jesus quietly did this thing, and then quietly left—what aspect of God’s disposition is this? Could you say that this is God’s lovingkindness? Could you say that this is God’s selflessness? Is this something that a regular person is capable of? Definitely not! In essence, who were these five thousand people that the Lord Jesus fed with five loaves and two fish? Could you say that they were people who were compatible with Him? Could you say that they were all hostile to God? It can be said with certainty that they absolutely were not compatible with the Lord, and their essence was absolutely hostile to God. But how did God treat them? He used a method to defuse people’s hostility toward God—this method is called “kindness.” That is, although the Lord Jesus saw these people as sinners, in God’s eyes they were nevertheless His creation, so He still treated these sinners kindly. This is God’s tolerance, and this tolerance is determined by God’s own identity and essence. So, this is something of which no human created by God is capable—only God can do this.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 76

When you are able to truly appreciate God’s thoughts and attitude toward mankind, when you can truly understand God’s emotions and concern for each being of creation, you will be able to understand the devotion and the love spent on every single one of the people created by the Creator. When this happens, you will use two words to describe God’s love. What are those two words? Some people say “selfless,” and some people say “philanthropic.” Of these two, “philanthropic” is the word least suited to describe God’s love. This is a word that people use to describe someone who is magnanimous or broad-minded. I loathe this word, because it refers to dispensing charity at random, indiscriminately, with no consideration for principle. It is an overly sentimental inclination, which is common to foolish and confused people. When this word is used to describe God’s love, there is inevitably a blasphemous connotation. I have here two words that more aptly describe God’s love. What are they? The first one is “immense.” Is this word not very evocative? The second is “vast.” There is real meaning behind these words which I use to describe God’s love. Taken literally, “immense” describes a thing’s volume or capacity, but regardless of how big that thing is, it is something that people can touch and see. This is because it exists—it is not an abstract object, but something that can give people ideas in a relatively accurate and practical way. Whether you look at it from a two- or a three-dimensional perspective, you do not need to imagine its existence, because it is a thing that actually exists in a real way. Even though using the word, “immense,” to describe God’s love can feel like an attempt at quantifying His love, it also gives the feeling that His love is unquantifiable. I say that God’s love can be quantified because His love is not empty, and nor is it a thing of legend. Rather, it is something shared by all things under God’s rule, something that is enjoyed by all creatures to varying degrees and from different perspectives. Although people cannot see or touch it, this love brings sustenance and life to all things as it is revealed, bit by bit, in their lives, and they count and bear witness to God’s love that they enjoy in each passing moment. I say that God’s love is unquantifiable because the mystery of God providing for and nourishing all things is something that is difficult for humans to fathom, as are God’s thoughts for all things, and particularly those for mankind. That is to say, no one knows the blood and tears the Creator has poured out for mankind. No one can comprehend, no one can understand the depth or weight of the love that the Creator has for mankind whom He created with His own hands. Describing God’s love as immense is to help people appreciate and understand its breadth and the truth of its existence. It is also so that people can more deeply comprehend the actual meaning of the word “Creator,” and so that people can gain a deeper understanding of the true meaning of the appellation, “creation.” What does the word “vast” usually describe? It is generally used to describe the ocean or the universe, for example: “the vast universe,” or “the vast ocean.” The expansiveness and quiet depth of the universe are beyond human understanding; it is something that captures man’s imagination, something for which they feel great admiration. Its mystery and profundity are within sight, but beyond reach. When you think of the ocean, you think of its breadth—it looks limitless, and you can feel its mysteriousness and its great capacity to hold things. This is why I have used the word “vast” to describe God’s love, to help people feel how precious it is, to feel the profound beauty of His love, and that the power of God’s love is infinite and wide-ranging. I used this word to help people feel the holiness of His love, and the dignity and unoffendableness of God that is revealed through His love. Now do you think “vast” is a suitable word for describing God’s love? Can God’s love measure up to these two words, “immense” and “vast”? Absolutely! In human language, these two words alone are somewhat apt, and are relatively close to describing God’s love. Do you not think so? If I had you describe God’s love, would you use these two words? Most likely you would not, because your understanding and appreciation of God’s love is limited to the scope of a two-dimensional perspective, and has not ascended to the height of three-dimensional space. So if I had you describe God’s love, you would feel that you lack the words or perhaps you would even be rendered speechless. The two words that I have talked about today may be difficult for you to understand, or maybe you simply do not agree. This only shows that your appreciation and understanding of God’s love is superficial and limited to a narrow scope. I have said before that God is selfless; you remember this word, “selfless.” Could it be that God’s love can only be described as selfless? Is this not too narrow a scope? You should ponder this issue more, so that you may gain something from it.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 77

The Resurrection of Lazarus Glorifies God

Jhn 11:43–44 And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with grave clothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus said to them, Loose him, and let him go.

What impressions do you have after reading this passage? The significance of this miracle that the Lord Jesus performed was much greater than the previous one, because no miracle is more astounding than bringing a dead man back from the grave. In that era, it was extremely significant that the Lord Jesus did something like this. Because God had become flesh, people could only see His physical appearance, His practical side, and His insignificant aspect. Even if some people saw and understood something of His character or some special abilities that He appeared to possess, no one knew where the Lord Jesus came from, who He truly was in His essence, and what other things He was actually capable of doing. All of this was unknown to mankind. So many people wanted to find proof to answer these questions about the Lord Jesus, and to know the truth. Could God do something to prove His own identity? For God, this was a breeze—it was a piece of cake. He could do something anywhere, anytime to prove His identity and essence, but God had His way of doing things—with a plan, and in steps. He did not do things indiscriminately, but rather looked for the right time and the right opportunity to do something which He would allow man to see, something that truly was imbued with meaning. In this way, He proved His authority and identity. So then, could the resurrection of Lazarus prove the Lord Jesus’ identity? Let us look at the following passage of scripture: “And when He thus had spoken, He cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth….” When the Lord Jesus did this, He said just one thing: “Lazarus, come forth.” Lazarus then came out from his tomb—this was accomplished because of just a few words uttered by the Lord. During this time, the Lord Jesus did not set up an altar, and He did not carry out any other actions. He just said this one thing. Should this be called a miracle or a command? Or was it some sort of wizardry? On the surface, it seems it could be called a miracle, and if you look at it from a modern perspective, of course you could still call it a miracle. However, it certainly could not be considered magic of the kind that is supposed to call a soul back from the dead, and it absolutely was not wizardry, of any sort. It is correct to say that this miracle was the most normal, tiny demonstration of the Creator’s authority. This is the authority and power of God. God has the authority to have a person die, to have his spirit leave his body and return to Hades, or wherever else it should go. The timing of a person’s death, and the place they will go after death—these are determined by God. He can make these decisions anytime and anywhere, unconstrained by humans, events, objects, space, or geography. If He wants to do it, He can do it, because all things and living beings are under His rule, and all things proliferate, exist, and perish by His word and His authority. He can resurrect a dead man, and this too is something He can do anytime, anywhere. This is the authority that only the Creator possesses.

When the Lord Jesus did things like bringing Lazarus back from the dead, His goal was to give proof for humans and for Satan to see, and to let humans and Satan know that everything about mankind, mankind’s life and death are determined by God, and that even though He had become flesh, He remained in command of the physical world which can be seen as well as the spiritual world which humans cannot see. This was so that mankind and Satan would know that everything about mankind is not under the command of Satan. This was a revelation and demonstration of God’s authority, and it was also a way for God to send a message to all things, that mankind’s life and death are in God’s hands. The Lord Jesus’ resurrection of Lazarus was one of the ways in which the Creator teaches and instructs mankind. It was a concrete action in which He used His power and authority to instruct and provide for mankind. It was a way, without using words, for the Creator to allow mankind to see the truth that He is in command of all things. It was a way for Him to tell mankind through practical actions that there is no salvation other than through Him. This silent means which He used to instruct mankind is everlasting, indelible, bringing to human hearts a shock and enlightenment that can never fade. The resurrection of Lazarus glorified God—this has a deep impact on every single one of God’s followers. It firmly fixes in every person who deeply understands this event the understanding, the vision that only God can command mankind’s life and death. Although God has this type of authority, and although He sent a message about His sovereignty over mankind’s life and death through the resurrection of Lazarus, this was not His primary work. God never does something without meaning. Every single thing He does has great value and is a surpassing jewel in a storehouse of treasures. He absolutely would not make “having a person come out of their tomb” the primary or the sole goal or item of His work. God does not do anything that is without meaning. The resurrection of Lazarus as a singular event is adequate to demonstrate God’s authority and to prove the identity of the Lord Jesus. This is why the Lord Jesus did not repeat this type of miracle. God does things according to His own principles. In human language, it could be said that God occupies His mind only with serious matters. That is, when God does things, He does not stray from the purpose of His work. He knows what work He wants to carry out in this stage, what He wants to accomplish, and He will work strictly according to His plan. If a corrupt person had that kind of ability, he would just be thinking of ways to reveal his ability so that others would know how formidable he was, so they would bow down to him, so he could control them and devour them. This is the evil that comes from Satan—this is called corruption. God does not have such a disposition, and He does not have such an essence. His purpose in doing things is not to show Himself off, but to provide mankind with more revelation and guidance, and this is why people see very few examples in the Bible of this type of occurrence. This is not to say that the Lord Jesus’ powers were limited, or that He was incapable of such things. It is simply that God did not want to do it, because the Lord Jesus’ resurrection of Lazarus had very practical significance, and also because the primary work of God becoming flesh was not to perform miracles, was not to bring people back from the dead, but was the work of redemption for mankind. So, much of the work that the Lord Jesus completed was teaching people, providing for them, and helping them, and events such as resurrecting Lazarus were merely a small portion of the ministry that the Lord Jesus carried out. Even more, you could say that “showing off” is not a part of God’s essence, so the Lord Jesus was not intentionally exercising restraint by not displaying more miracles, nor was this due to environmental limitations, and it certainly was not due to a lack of power.

When the Lord Jesus brought Lazarus back from the dead, He used only these few words: “Lazarus, come forth.” He said nothing aside from this. So, what do these words demonstrate? They demonstrate that God can accomplish anything by speaking, including resurrecting a dead man. When God created all things, when He created the world, He did so with words—spoken commands, words with authority, and in this way all things were created, and thus, it was accomplished. These few words spoken by the Lord Jesus were just like the words spoken by God when He created the heavens and earth and all things; in the same way, they held the authority of God and the power of the Creator. All things were formed and stood fast because of words from God’s mouth, and in the same way, Lazarus walked out from his tomb because of the words from the Lord Jesus’ mouth. This was the authority of God, demonstrated and realized in His incarnate flesh. This type of authority and ability belonged to the Creator, and to the Son of man in whom the Creator was realized. This is the understanding taught to mankind by God bringing Lazarus back from the dead.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 78

The Pharisees’ Judgment on Jesus

Mak 3:21–22 And when His friends heard of it, they went out to lay hold on Him: for they said, He is beside Himself. And the scribes which came down from Jerusalem said, He has Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casts He out devils.

Jesus’ Rebuke to the Pharisees

Mat 12:31–32 Why I say to you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men. And whoever speaks a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.

Mat 23:13–15 But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for you neither go in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering to go in. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows’ houses, and for a pretense make long prayer: therefore you shall receive the greater damnation. Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte, and when he is made, you make him twofold more the child of hell than yourselves.

The content of the two passages above is different. Let us first take a look at the first passage: The Pharisees’ Judgment on Jesus.

In the Bible, the Pharisees’ appraisal of Jesus Himself and the things that He did was: “[T]hey said, He is beside Himself. … He has Beelzebub, and by the prince of the devils casts He out devils” (Mak 3:21–22). The scribes’ and Pharisees’ judgment of the Lord Jesus was not them merely imitating other people’s words, and neither was it baseless conjecture—it was the conclusion that they drew about the Lord Jesus from what they saw and heard of His actions. Although their conclusion was ostensibly made in the name of justice and appeared to people as if it were well-founded, the arrogance with which they judged the Lord Jesus was difficult for even them to contain. The frenzied energy of their hatred for the Lord Jesus exposed their own wild ambitions and their evil satanic countenances, as well as their malevolent nature with which they resisted God. These things that they said in their judgment of the Lord Jesus were driven by their wild ambitions, jealousy, and the ugly and malevolent nature of their hostility toward God and the truth. They did not investigate the source of the Lord Jesus’ actions, nor did they investigate the essence of what He said or did. Rather, blindly, in a state of crazed agitation, and with deliberate malice, they attacked and discredited what He had done. They went so far as to willfully discredit His Spirit, that is, the Holy Spirit which is God’s Spirit. This is what they meant when they said, “He is beside Himself,” “Beelzebub,” and “the prince of the devils.” That is to say, they said that the Spirit of God was Beelzebub and the prince of the devils. They characterized as madness the work of God’s Spirit incarnate, which had clothed Himself in flesh. They not only blasphemed God’s Spirit as Beelzebub and the prince of the devils, but also condemned God’s work and condemned and blasphemed the Lord Jesus Christ. The essence of their resistance and blasphemy of God was entirely the same as the essence of the resistance and blasphemy of God given by Satan and the demons. They did not just represent corrupt humans, but more so they were the embodiment of Satan. They were a channel for Satan amongst mankind, and they were the accomplices and lackeys of Satan. The essence of their blasphemy and their denigration of the Lord Jesus Christ was their struggle with God for status, their contest with God, and their unending testing of God. The essence of their resistance to God and their attitude of hostility toward Him, as well as their words and their thoughts, directly blasphemed and angered God’s Spirit. Thus, God determined a reasonable judgment based on what they said and did, and God determined their deeds to be the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. This sin is unforgivable in both this world and the world to come, as is borne out in the following passage of scripture: “[T]he blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men,” and, “whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” Today, let us talk about the true meaning of these words from God: “[I]t shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” That is, let us demystify how God fulfills the words: “[I]t shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.”

Everything that we have talked about is related to God’s disposition and His attitude toward people, events, and things. Naturally, the two passages above are no exception. Did you notice anything in these two passages of scripture? Some people say they see God’s anger in them. Some people say they see the side of God’s disposition that does not tolerate mankind’s offense, and that if people do something that is blasphemous to God, then they will not receive His forgiveness. Despite the fact that people see and perceive God’s anger and intolerance of mankind’s offense in these two passages, they still do not truly understand His attitude. Implicit in these two passages are hidden references to God’s true attitude and His approach toward those who blaspheme and anger Him. His attitude and approach demonstrate the true meaning of the following passage: “[W]hoever speaks against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come.” When people blaspheme God and when they anger Him, He issues a verdict, and this verdict is an outcome issued by Him. It is described in this way in the Bible: “Why I say to you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Spirit shall not be forgiven to men” (Mat 12:31), and “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites!” (Mat 23:13). However, is it recorded in the Bible what the outcome was for those scribes and Pharisees, as well as for those people who said the Lord Jesus was mad after He said these things? Is it recorded that they suffered any punishment? No—this can be said for certain. Saying “No” here is not to say that there was no such recording, but in fact only that there was no outcome that could be seen with human eyes. To say that “it was not recorded” elucidates the issue of God’s attitude and principles for handling certain things. God does not turn a blind eye or a deaf ear to people who blaspheme or resist Him, or even those who malign Him—people who intentionally attack, malign, and curse Him—but rather He has a clear attitude toward them. He despises these people, and He condemns them in His heart. He even openly declares what their outcome will be, so that people know that He has a clear attitude toward those who blaspheme Him, and so that they know how He will determine their outcome. However, after God said these things, people could rarely see the truth of how God would handle those people, and they could not understand the principles behind the outcome and verdict that God issued to them. That is to say, people cannot see the particular approach and methods God has for handling them. This has to do with God’s principles for doing things. God uses the occurrence of facts to deal with the evil behavior of some people. That is, He does not announce their sin and does not determine their outcome, but rather directly uses the occurrence of facts to dole out their punishment and just retribution. When these facts happen, it is people’s flesh that suffers punishment, meaning that the punishment is something that can be seen with human eyes. When dealing with some people’s evil behavior, God just curses them with words and His anger also comes upon them, but the punishment they receive may be something people cannot see. Nonetheless, this type of outcome may be even more serious than the outcomes that people can see, such as being punished or killed. This is because under the circumstances that God has determined not to save this type of person, to no longer show mercy or have tolerance for them and to provide them with no more opportunities, then the attitude that He takes toward them is one of putting them aside. What is the meaning here of “putting aside”? The basic meaning of this term is “to put something to one side, to no longer pay attention to it.” But here, when God “puts someone aside,” there are two different explanations of its meaning: The first explanation is that He has given that person’s life and everything about that person over to Satan to deal with, and God would no longer be responsible and would no longer manage that person. Whether that person be mad or stupid, or whether they be dead or alive, or if they have descended into hell for their punishment, none of this would have anything to do with God. That would mean that such a creature would have no relation to the Creator. The second explanation is that God has determined that He Himself wants to do something with this person, with His own hands. It is possible that He will utilize this person’s service, or that He will use them as a foil. It is possible that He will have a special way of dealing with this type of person, a special way of treating them, just like with Paul, for example. This is the principle and attitude in God’s heart by which He has determined to deal with this kind of person. So when people resist God and malign and blaspheme Him, if they aggravate His disposition, or if they push God past the limit of His tolerance, then the consequences do not bear thinking about. The most severe consequence is that God hands their lives and everything about them over to Satan once and for all. They will not be forgiven for all of eternity. This means that this person has become food in Satan’s mouth, a toy in its hand, and from then on God has nothing more to do with them. Can you imagine what misery it was when Satan tempted Job? Even under the condition that Satan was not permitted to harm Job’s life, Job still suffered greatly. And is it not even more difficult to imagine the ravages which would be inflicted by Satan upon someone who has been completely handed over to Satan, who is completely within Satan’s grasp, who has completely lost God’s care and mercy, who is no longer under the Creator’s rule, who has been stripped of the right to worship Him and the right to be a creature under God’s rule, and whose relationship with the Lord of creation has been completely severed? Satan’s persecution of Job was something that could be seen with human eyes, but if God hands over a person’s life to Satan, the consequences are beyond the human imagination. For example, some people may be reborn as a cow, or a donkey, while some may be occupied and possessed by unclean, evil spirits, and so on. Such are the outcomes of some of the people who are handed over to Satan by God. From the outside, it looks like those people who ridiculed, maligned, condemned, and blasphemed the Lord Jesus did not suffer any consequences. However, the truth is that God has an approach for dealing with everything. He may not use clear language to tell people the outcome of how He deals with every type of person. Sometimes He does not speak directly, but rather acts directly. That He does not speak about it does not mean that there is no outcome—in fact, in such a case it is possible that the outcome is even more serious. From the outside, it may seem as though there are some to whom God does not explicitly speak about His attitude, but in fact, God has not wanted to pay any mind to them for a long time. He does not want to see them anymore. Because of the things they have done and their behavior, because of their nature and their essence, God only wants them to disappear from His sight, wants to hand them over directly to Satan, to give their spirit, soul, and body to Satan and to allow Satan to do whatever it wants with them. It is clear to what extent God hates them, to what extent He is disgusted by them. If a person angers God to the point that God does not even want to see them again and is prepared to completely give up on them, to the point where He does not even want to deal with them Himself—if it gets to the point where He will hand them over to Satan for it to do as it will, to allow Satan to control, consume, and treat them in whatever way it pleases—then this person is utterly finished. Their right to be a human has been permanently revoked, and their right to be a creature of God’s creation has come to an end. Is this not the most severe kind of punishment?

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 79

Jesus’ Words to His Disciples After His Resurrection

Jhn 20:26–29 And after eight days again His disciples were within, and Thomas with them: then came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the middle, and said, Peace be to you. Then said He to Thomas, Reach here your finger, and behold My hands; and reach here your hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing. And Thomas answered and said to Him, My LORD and my God. Jesus said to him, Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.

Jhn 21:16–17 He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of John, love you Me? He said to Him, Yes, Lord; You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed My sheep. He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, love you Me? Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, Love you Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep.

What these passages recount are certain things that the Lord Jesus did and said to His disciples after His resurrection. First, let us take a look at any differences there might be in the Lord Jesus before and after the resurrection. Was He still the same Lord Jesus of days past? The scriptures contain the following line describing the Lord Jesus after the resurrection: “[T]hen came Jesus, the doors being shut, and stood in the middle, and said, Peace be to you.” It is very clear that the Lord Jesus at that time no longer inhabited a fleshly body, but that He was now in a spiritual body. This was because He had transcended the limitations of the flesh; even though the door was closed, He could still come amongst the people and allow them to see Him. This is the greatest difference between the Lord Jesus after the resurrection and the Lord Jesus living in the flesh before the resurrection. Even though there was no difference between the appearance of the spiritual body of that moment and the appearance of the Lord Jesus as it was before, the Lord Jesus in that moment had become one that felt like a stranger to the people, because He had become a spiritual body after being resurrected from the dead, and compared to His previous flesh, this spiritual body was more puzzling and confusing to people. It also created more distance between the Lord Jesus and the people, and people felt in their hearts that the Lord Jesus in that moment had become more mysterious. These cognitions and feelings on the part of the people suddenly brought them back to an age of believing in a God that could not be seen or touched. So, the first thing that the Lord Jesus did after His resurrection was to allow everyone to see Him, to confirm that He exists, and to confirm the fact of His resurrection. In addition, this action restored His relationship with the people back to the way it was when He was working in the flesh, when He was the Christ whom they could see and touch. One outcome of this is that the people had no doubt whatever that the Lord Jesus had been resurrected from death after being nailed to the cross, and they also had no doubt in the Lord Jesus’ work to redeem mankind. Another outcome is that the fact of the Lord Jesus appearing to people after His resurrection and allowing people to see and touch Him firmly secured mankind in the Age of Grace, ensuring that, from this time on, people would not return to the previous Age of Law on the supposed basis that the Lord Jesus had “disappeared” or that He had “left without a word.” He thus ensured that they would continue to move forward, following the Lord Jesus’ teachings and the work He had done. Thus, a new phase in the work in the Age of Grace was formally opened, and from that moment on, the people who had been living under the law formally emerged from the law and entered into a new era, a new beginning. These are the multi-faceted meanings of the Lord Jesus’ appearance to mankind after the resurrection.

Since the Lord Jesus was now inhabiting a spiritual body, how could people touch Him and see Him? This question touches upon the significance of the Lord Jesus’ appearance to mankind. Did you notice anything in the passages of scripture that we just read? Generally, spiritual bodies cannot be seen or touched, and after the resurrection the work that the Lord Jesus had taken on had already been completed. So in theory, He had absolutely no need to return amongst the people in His original image to meet with them, but the appearance of the Lord Jesus’ spiritual body to people like Thomas made the significance of His appearance more concrete, so that it penetrated more deeply into the people’s hearts. When He came to Thomas, He let Thomas the doubter touch His hand, and told him: “[R]each here your hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing.” These words and actions were not things that the Lord Jesus wanted to say and do only after He had been resurrected; in fact, they were things that He wanted to do before He had been nailed to the cross. It is evident that, before He had been nailed to the cross, the Lord Jesus already had an understanding of people such as Thomas. So what can we see from this? He was still the same Lord Jesus after His resurrection. His essence had not changed. Thomas’ doubts had not started only then but had been with him the entire time he had been following the Lord Jesus. However, here was the Lord Jesus who had been resurrected from the dead and returned from the spiritual world with His original image, with His original disposition, and with His understanding of mankind from His time in the flesh, so He went to Thomas first and let Thomas touch His rib, to not only let Thomas see His spiritual body after resurrection, but to let Thomas touch and feel the existence of His spiritual body, and completely let go of his doubts. Before the Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross, Thomas always doubted that He was Christ, and was incapable of belief. His faith in God was established only on the basis of what he could see with his own eyes, what he could touch with his own hands. The Lord Jesus had a good understanding of the faith of this type of person. They only believed in God in heaven, and did not believe at all in the One sent by God, or the Christ in the flesh, and nor would they accept Him. In order for Thomas to acknowledge and believe in the existence of the Lord Jesus and that He truly was God incarnate, He allowed Thomas to reach out his hand and touch His rib. Was Thomas’ doubting any different before and after the Lord Jesus’ resurrection? He was always doubting, and except by the Lord Jesus’ spiritual body personally appearing to him and allowing him to touch the nail marks on His body, there was no way that anyone could resolve his doubts and make him let go of them. So, from the time the Lord Jesus allowed Thomas to touch His rib and let him really feel the existence of the nail marks, Thomas’ doubt disappeared, and he truly knew that the Lord Jesus had been resurrected, and he acknowledged and believed that the Lord Jesus was the true Christ and God incarnate. Although at this time Thomas no longer doubted, he had lost forever the chance to meet with Christ. He had lost forever the chance to be together with Him, to follow Him, to know Him. He had lost the chance for Christ to perfect him. The Lord Jesus’ appearance and His words provided a conclusion and a verdict on the faith of those who were full of doubts. He used His actual words and actions to tell the doubters, to tell those who only believed in God in heaven but did not believe in Christ: God did not commend their belief, nor did He commend them for following Him while doubting Him. The day when they fully believed in God and Christ could only be the day that God completed His great work. Of course, that day was also the day that a verdict was made upon their doubt. Their attitude toward Christ determined their fate, and their stubborn doubt meant that their faith bore them no fruit, and their hardness meant that their hopes were in vain. Because their belief in God in heaven was fed on illusions, and their doubt toward Christ was actually their true attitude toward God, even though they touched the nail marks on the Lord Jesus’ body, their faith was still useless and their outcome could only be described as drawing water with a bamboo basket—all in vain. What the Lord Jesus said to Thomas was also very clearly His way of telling every person: The resurrected Lord Jesus is the Lord Jesus, who spent thirty-three and a half years working among mankind. Although He had been nailed to the cross and experienced the valley of the shadow of death, and though He had experienced resurrection, He had undergone no change in any aspect. Although He now had nail marks on His body, and although He had been resurrected and walked out from the grave, His disposition, His understanding of mankind, and His intentions toward mankind had not changed in the slightest. Also, He was telling people that He had come down from the cross, triumphed over sin, overcome hardships, and triumphed over death. The nail marks were just the evidence of His victory over Satan, evidence of being a sin offering to successfully redeem all of mankind. He was telling people that He had already taken on mankind’s sins and that He had completed His work of redemption. When He returned to see His disciples, He told them this message by means of His appearance: “I am still alive, I still exist; today I am truly standing in front of you so that you can see and touch Me. I will always be with you.” The Lord Jesus also wanted to use the case of Thomas as a warning for future people: Although you can neither see nor touch the Lord Jesus in your faith in Him, you are blessed because of your true faith, and you can see the Lord Jesus because of your true faith, and this kind of person is blessed.

These words recorded in the Bible that the Lord Jesus spoke when He appeared to Thomas are of great help to all people in the Age of Grace. His appearance to Thomas and the words He spoke to him have had a profound impact on the generations that came after; they hold everlasting significance. Thomas represents a type of person who believes in God yet doubts God. They are of a suspicious nature, have sinister hearts, are treacherous, and do not believe in the things that God can accomplish. They do not believe in God’s omnipotence and His sovereignty, and neither do they believe in God incarnate. However, the Lord Jesus’ resurrection flew in the face of these traits that they have, and it also provided them with an opportunity to discover their own doubt, to recognize their own doubt, and to acknowledge their own treachery, thus coming to truly believe in the existence and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. What happened with Thomas was a warning and a caution for later generations so that more people could warn themselves not to be doubters like Thomas, and that if they did fill themselves with doubt, then they would sink into the darkness. If you follow God, but just like Thomas, always want to touch the Lord’s rib and feel His nail marks to confirm, to verify, to speculate on whether or not God exists, then God will forsake you. So, the Lord Jesus requires people to not be like Thomas, only believing what they can see with their own eyes, but to be pure, honest people, to not harbor doubts toward God, but to simply believe in and follow Him. People like this are blessed. This is a very small requirement the Lord Jesus makes of people, and it is a warning for His followers.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 80

Jhn 21:16–17 He said to him again the second time, Simon, son of John, love you Me? He said to Him, Yes, Lord; You know that I love You. He said to him, Feed My sheep. He said to him the third time, Simon, son of John, love you Me? Peter was grieved because He said to him the third time, Love you Me? And he said to Him, Lord, You know all things; You know that I love You. Jesus said to him, Feed My sheep.

In this conversation, the Lord Jesus repeatedly asked Peter one thing: “Simon, son of John, love you Me?” This is a higher standard which the Lord Jesus required from people like Peter after His resurrection, people who truly believe in Christ and strive to love the Lord. This question was a sort of investigation and interrogation, but even more, it was a requirement and an expectation of people like Peter. The Lord Jesus used this method of questioning so that people would reflect on themselves and look into themselves and ask: What are the Lord Jesus’ requirements for people? Do I love the Lord? Am I a person who loves God? How should I love God? Even though the Lord Jesus only asked this question of Peter, the truth is that in His heart, by asking Peter these questions, He wanted to use this opportunity to ask this same type of question of more people who seek to love God. It is only that Peter was blessed to act as the representative of this type of person, to receive this questioning from the Lord Jesus’ own mouth.

Compared to the following words, which the Lord Jesus said to Thomas after His resurrection: “[R]each here your hand, and thrust it into My side: and be not faithless, but believing,” His thrice repeated questioning of Peter: “Simon, son of John, love you Me?” allows people to better feel the sternness of the Lord Jesus’ attitude, and the urgency He felt during His questioning. As for Thomas the doubter, with his deceitful nature, the Lord Jesus allowed him to reach out his hand and touch the nail marks in His body, which led him to believe that the Lord Jesus was the Son of man resurrected, and to acknowledge the Lord Jesus’ identity as Christ. And although the Lord Jesus did not sternly rebuke Thomas and nor did He verbally express any clear judgment of him, He nonetheless used practical actions to let Thomas know that He understood him, while also displaying His attitude and determination toward that type of person. The Lord Jesus’ requirements and expectations of that type of person cannot be seen from what He said, because people like Thomas simply do not have a single shred of true faith. The Lord Jesus’ requirements for them only go so far, but the attitude He revealed toward people like Peter is entirely different. He did not require that Peter reach out his hand and touch His nail marks, nor did He say to Peter: “[B]e not faithless, but believing.” Instead, He repeatedly asked Peter the same question. The question was thought-provoking and meaningful, a question that cannot help but cause every follower of Christ to feel remorse and fear, but also to feel the Lord Jesus’ anxious, sorrowful mood. And when they are in great pain and suffering, they are more able to understand the Lord Jesus Christ’s concern and His care; they realize His earnest teaching and strict requirements of pure, honest people. The Lord Jesus’ question allows people to feel that the Lord’s expectations of people revealed in these simple words are not merely to believe in and follow Him, but to achieve having love, loving your Lord and your God. This kind of love is caring and obeying. It is humans living for God, dying for God, dedicating everything to God, and expending and giving everything for God. This kind of love is also giving God comfort, allowing Him to enjoy testimony and to be at rest. It is mankind’s repayment to God, man’s responsibility, obligation and duty, and it is a way that people must follow for their entire lives. These three questions were a requirement and an exhortation that the Lord Jesus made of Peter and all people who would be made perfect. It was these three questions that led and motivated Peter to follow his path in life to the end, and it was these questions at the Lord Jesus’ parting that led Peter to start on his path of being made perfect, that led him, because of his love for the Lord, to care for the Lord’s heart, to obey the Lord, to offer comfort to the Lord, and to offer up his whole life and his whole being because of this love.

During the Age of Grace, God’s work was primarily for two types of people. The first was the type of person who believed in and followed Him, who could keep His commandments, who could bear the cross and hold to the way of the Age of Grace. This type of person would gain God’s blessing and enjoy God’s grace. The second type of person was like Peter, someone who could be made perfect. So, after the Lord Jesus was resurrected, He first did these two most meaningful things. One was done with Thomas, the other with Peter. What do these two things represent? Do they represent God’s true intentions of saving mankind? Do they represent God’s sincerity toward mankind? The work He did with Thomas was to warn people not to be doubters, but to simply believe. The work He did with Peter was to strengthen the faith of people like Peter, and to make clear His requirements of this type of person, to show what goals they should be pursuing.

After the Lord Jesus was resurrected, He appeared to the people He thought necessary, spoke with them, and made requirements of them, leaving behind His intentions for and expectations of people. That is to say, as God incarnate, His concern for mankind and requirements of people never changed; these remained the same when He was in the flesh and when He was in His spiritual body after being nailed to the cross and being resurrected. He was concerned about these disciples before He was up on the cross, and in His heart He was clear about the state of every single person and He understood every person’s deficiencies and, of course, His understanding of every person after He had died, been resurrected, and become a spiritual body was the same as it had been when He was in the flesh. He knew that people were not entirely certain of His identity as Christ, but during His time in the flesh He did not make strict demands of people. However, after He had been resurrected, He appeared to them, and He made them absolutely certain that the Lord Jesus had come from God and that He was God incarnate, and He used the fact of His appearance and His resurrection as the greatest vision and motivation for mankind’s lifelong pursuit. His resurrection from death not only strengthened all those who followed Him, but it also thoroughly implemented His work of the Age of Grace among mankind, and thus the gospel of the Lord Jesus’ salvation in the Age of Grace gradually spread to every corner of humanity. Would you say that the Lord Jesus’ appearance after His resurrection had any significance? If you were Thomas or Peter at that time, and you encountered this one thing in your life that was so meaningful, what kind of impact would it have had on you? Would you have seen this as the best and the greatest vision of your life of believing in God? Would you have seen this as a force driving you as you followed God, strived to satisfy Him, and sought to love God in your whole life? Would you have expended a lifetime of effort to spread this greatest of visions? Would you have accepted spreading the Lord Jesus’ salvation as a commission from God? Even though you have not experienced this, the two examples of Thomas and Peter are already enough for modern people to gain a clear understanding of God and His will. It could be said that after God had become flesh, after He personally experienced the life among mankind and personally experienced the human life, and after He saw the depravity of mankind and the situation of human life at that time, God in the flesh felt more deeply how helpless, lamentable, and pitiful mankind is. God gained more empathy for the human condition because of His humanity which He possessed while living in the flesh, because of His fleshly instincts. This led Him to feel greater concern for His followers. These are probably things that you cannot understand, but I can describe this worry and care felt by God in the flesh for every one of His followers using just two words: “intense concern.” Even though this term comes from human language, and even though it is very human, it nonetheless truly expresses and describes God’s feelings for His followers. As for God’s intense concern for humans, over the course of your experiences you will gradually feel this and get a taste of it. However, this can only be achieved by gradually understanding God’s disposition on the basis of pursuing a change in your own disposition. When the Lord Jesus made this appearance, it caused His intense concern for His followers in humanity to materialize and be passed over to His spiritual body, or you could say, to His divinity. His appearance allowed people to once more experience and feel God’s concern and care while also powerfully proving that God is the One who launches an age, who unfurls an age, and who also ends an age. Through His appearance, He strengthened the faith of all people and proved to the world the fact that He is God Himself. This gave His followers eternal confirmation, and through His appearance He also launched a phase of His work in the new age.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 81

Jesus Eats Bread and Explains the Scriptures After His Resurrection

Luk 24:30–32 And it came to pass, as He sat at meat with them, He took bread, and blessed it, and broke, and gave to them. And their eyes were opened, and they knew Him; and He vanished out of their sight. And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while He talked with us by the way, and while He opened to us the scriptures?

The Disciples Give Jesus Broiled Fish to Eat

Luk 24:36–43 And as they thus spoke, Jesus Himself stood in the middle of them, and said to them, Peace be to you. But they were terrified and affrighted, and supposed that they had seen a spirit. And He said to them, Why are you troubled? and why do thoughts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself: handle Me, and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones, as you see Me have. And when He had thus spoken, He showed them His hands and His feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and wondered, He said to them, Have you here any meat? And they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb. And He took it, and did eat before them.

Next, we will take a look at the passages of scripture above. The first passage is a recounting of the Lord Jesus eating bread and explaining the scriptures after His resurrection, and the second passage is a recounting of the Lord Jesus eating a broiled fish. How do these two passages help you to know God’s disposition? Can you imagine the kind of picture you get from these descriptions of the Lord Jesus eating bread and then a broiled fish? Can you imagine, if the Lord Jesus were standing in front of you eating bread, how you might feel? Or if He were eating at the same table with you, eating fish and bread with people, what kind of feeling you would have in that moment? If you would feel very close to the Lord, that He is very intimate with you, then this feeling is right. This is exactly the result that the Lord Jesus wanted to bring about by eating bread and fish in front of the gathered people after His resurrection. If the Lord Jesus had only spoken with people after His resurrection, if they could not feel His flesh and bones, but instead felt Him to be an unreachable Spirit, how would they have felt? Would they not have been disappointed? Feeling disappointed, would the people not have felt abandoned? Would they not have felt a distance between themselves and the Lord Jesus Christ? What kind of negative impact would this distance have created on people’s relationship with God? People would certainly have felt afraid, that they dared not come close to Him, and thus they would have had an attitude of keeping Him at a respectful distance. From then on, they would have severed their intimate relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and returned to a relationship between mankind and God up in heaven as it was before the Age of Grace. The spiritual body that people could not touch or feel would have brought about the eradication of their intimacy with God, and it would also have caused that intimate relationship, established during the Lord Jesus Christ’s time in the flesh, with no distance between Him and humans, to cease to exist. The only things that were stirred in people by the spiritual body were feelings of fear, avoidance, and a wordless gaze. They would not have dared to get close or to engage in dialogue with Him, let alone follow, trust, or look up to Him. God did not wish to see this type of feeling that humans had for Him. He did not want to see people avoiding Him or removing themselves from Him; He only wanted people to understand Him, come close to Him, and to be His family. If your own family, your children, saw you but did not recognize you, and did not dare to come close to you but always avoided you, if you could not gain their understanding for everything you had done for them, how would that make you feel? Would it not be painful? Would you not be heartbroken? That is precisely what God feels when people avoid Him. So, after His resurrection, the Lord Jesus still appeared to people in His form of flesh and blood, and still ate and drank with them. God sees people as family, and God also wants mankind to see Him as the One dearest to them; only in this way can God truly gain people, and only in this way can people truly love and worship God. Now can you understand My intention in extracting these two passages of scripture in which the Lord Jesus eats bread and explains the scriptures after His resurrection, and in which the disciples give Him a broiled fish to eat?

It can be said that earnest thought had been put into the series of things that the Lord Jesus said and did after His resurrection. These things were full of the kindness and affection that God held toward humanity, and full also of the cherishment and meticulous care He had for the intimate relationship He had established with mankind during His time in the flesh. Even more, they were full of the nostalgia and the longing He felt for His life of eating and living together with His followers during His time in the flesh. So, God did not want people to feel a distance between God and man, and nor did He want mankind to distance themselves from God. Even more, He did not want mankind to feel that the Lord Jesus after His resurrection was no longer the Lord who had been so intimate with people, that He was no longer together with mankind because He had returned to the spiritual world, returned to the Father whom people could never see or reach. He did not want people to feel that any difference in status had arisen between Him and mankind. When God sees people who want to follow Him but who keep Him at a respectful distance, His heart is in pain because that means that their hearts are very far from Him and that it will be very difficult for Him to gain their hearts. So if He had appeared to people in a spiritual body that they could not see or touch, this would have once again distanced man from God, and it would have led mankind to mistakenly see Christ after His resurrection as having become lofty, of a different kind than humans, and someone who could no longer share a table and eat with man because humans are sinful, filthy, and can never draw close to God. In order to dispel these misunderstandings of mankind, the Lord Jesus did a number of things that He used to do in the flesh, as recorded in the Bible: “He took bread, and blessed it, and broke, and gave to them.” He also explained the scriptures to them, as He used to do in the past. All of these things that the Lord Jesus did made every person who saw Him feel that the Lord had not changed, that He was still the same Lord Jesus. Even though He had been nailed to the cross and had experienced death, He had been resurrected, and had not left mankind. He had returned to be among humans, and nothing about Him had changed. The Son of man standing in front of people was still the same Lord Jesus. His demeanor and His way of conversing with people felt so familiar. He was still so full of lovingkindness, grace, and tolerance—He was still the same Lord Jesus who loved others as He loved Himself, who could forgive mankind seventy times seven. As He always had before, He ate with people, discussed the scriptures with them, and even more importantly, just as before, He was made of flesh and blood and could be touched and seen. The Son of man as He was allowed people to feel intimacy, to feel at ease, and to feel the joy of regaining something that had been lost. With great ease, they bravely and confidently began to rely on and look up to this Son of man who could forgive mankind of their sins. They also began to pray in the name of the Lord Jesus without hesitation, to pray to obtain His grace, His blessing, and to obtain peace and joy from Him, to gain care and protection from Him, and they began to heal the sick and cast out demons in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Daily Words of God Excerpt 82

During the time that the Lord Jesus worked in the flesh, most of His followers could not fully verify His identity and the things that He said. When He was approaching the cross, the attitude of His followers was one of observing. Then, from the time when He was nailed to the cross until He was put into the grave, people’s attitude toward Him was disappointment. During this time, people had already begun to move in their hearts from doubting the things the Lord Jesus had said during His time in the flesh to denying them altogether. Then, when He walked out from the grave and appeared to people one by one, the majority of those who saw Him with their own eyes or heard the news of His resurrection gradually shifted their attitude from denial to skepticism. Only when the Lord Jesus had Thomas put his hand into His side, and when He broke bread and ate it in front of the crowd after His resurrection and then proceeded to eat a broiled fish in front of them, did they truly accept the fact that the Lord Jesus was Christ in the flesh. You could say that it was as if this spiritual body of flesh and blood standing before those people was awakening every one of them from a dream: The Son of man standing in front of them was the One who had existed since time immemorial. He had a form, and flesh and bones, and He had already lived and eaten alongside mankind for a long time…. At this time, the people felt that His existence was so real, and so wonderful. At the same time, they were also so joyful and happy and filled with emotion. His reappearance allowed people to truly see His humility, to feel His closeness and attachment to mankind, and to feel how much He thought about them. This brief reunion made the people who saw the Lord Jesus feel as if a lifetime had passed. Their lost, confused, afraid, anxious, yearning and numb hearts found comfort. They were no longer doubtful or disappointed, because they felt that now there was hope and something to rely on. The Son of man then standing before them would be their rear guard for all time; He would be their strong tower, their refuge for all eternity.

Although the Lord Jesus was resurrected, His heart and His work had not left mankind. By appearing to people, He told them that no matter what form He existed in, He would accompany people, walk with them, and be with them at all times and in all places. He told them that at all times and in all places He would provide for mankind and shepherd them, allow them to see and touch Him, and ensure they never again felt helpless. The Lord Jesus also wanted people to know that they do not live alone in this world. Mankind has God’s care; God is with them. They can always lean on God, and He is family to every one of His followers. With God to lean on, mankind will no longer be lonely or helpless, and those who accept Him as their sin offering will no longer be bound in sin. In human eyes, these portions of His work that the Lord Jesus carried out after His resurrection were very small things, but the way I see it, every single thing He did was so meaningful, so valuable, so important and heavily laden with significance.

Although the Lord Jesus’ time of working in the flesh was full of hardships and suffering, He completely and perfectly accomplished His work of that time in the flesh to redeem mankind through His appearance in His spiritual body of flesh and blood. He began His ministry by becoming flesh, and He concluded His ministry by appearing to mankind in His fleshly form. He heralded the Age of Grace, beginning the new age through His identity as Christ. Through His identity as Christ, He carried out work in the Age of Grace and He strengthened and led all of His followers in the Age of Grace. It can be said of God’s work that He truly finishes what He starts. There are steps and a plan, and the work is full of His wisdom, His omnipotence, His marvelous deeds, and His love and mercy. Of course, the main thread running through all of God’s work is His care for mankind; it is permeated with His feelings of concern that He can never put aside. In these verses of the Bible, in every single thing that the Lord Jesus did after His resurrection, God’s unchanging hopes and concern for mankind were revealed, as were His meticulous care and cherishing of mankind. None of this has ever changed, all the way to the present day—can you see it? When you see this, do your hearts not unconsciously draw closer to God? If you lived in that age and the Lord Jesus appeared to you after His resurrection in a tangible form for you to see, and if He sat in front of you, ate bread and fish and explained the scriptures to you and spoke with you, then how would you feel? Would you feel happy? Or would you feel guilty? The previous misunderstandings and avoidance of God, the conflicts with and doubts of God—would they not all just disappear? Would the relationship between God and man not become more normal and proper?

By interpreting these limited chapters of the Bible, do you find any flaws in God’s disposition? Do you find any adulteration of God’s love? Do you see any deceit or evil in God’s omnipotence or wisdom? Certainly not! Now can you say with certainty that God is holy? Can you say with certainty that each of God’s emotions is a revelation of His essence and disposition? I hope that after you have read these words, the understanding you gain from them will help you and bring you benefits in your pursuit of a change in disposition and a fear of God, and that they will bear fruit in you, fruit that grows by the day, so that in the process of this pursuit you will be brought closer and closer to God, closer and closer to the standard that God requires. You will no longer be bored of the pursuit of the truth and will no longer feel that the pursuit of the truth and of a change in disposition is a troublesome or a superfluous thing. Rather, motivated by the expression of God’s true disposition and the holy essence of God, you will long for the light, long for justice, aspire to pursue the truth, to pursue the satisfaction of God’s will, and you will become a person gained by God, become a real person.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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