Concerning the Bible (2)
The Bible is also called the Old and New Testament. Do you know what “testament” refers to? The “testament” in the Old Testament comes from Jehovah’s covenant with the people of Israel when He killed the Egyptians and saved the Israelites from the Pharaoh. Of course, the proof of this covenant was the lamb’s blood daubed on lintels, through which God established a covenant with man, one in which it was said that all those who had lamb’s blood on the top and sides of the doorframe were Israelites, they were God’s chosen people, and they would all be spared by Jehovah (for Jehovah was then about to kill all the firstborn sons of Egypt and firstborn sheep and cattle). This covenant has two levels of meaning. None of the people or livestock of Egypt would be delivered by Jehovah; He would kill all of their firstborn sons and firstborn sheep and cattle. Thus, in many books of prophecy it was foretold that the Egyptians would be severely chastised as a result of the covenant of Jehovah. This is the covenant’s first level of meaning. Jehovah killed the firstborn sons of Egypt and all its firstborn livestock, and He spared all the Israelites, which meant that all those who were of the land of Israel were cherished by Jehovah, and would all be spared; He wished to do long-term work in them, and established the covenant with them using lamb’s blood. From then onward, Jehovah would not kill the Israelites, and said that they would forever be His chosen ones. Among the twelve tribes of Israel, He would embark upon His work for the entire Age of Law, He would unveil all His laws to the Israelites, and choose among them prophets and judges, and they would be at the center of His work. Jehovah made a covenant with them: Unless the age changed, He would work only among the chosen ones. Jehovah’s covenant was immutable, for it was made in blood, and was established with His chosen people. More importantly, He had chosen an appropriate scope and target through which to embark upon His work for the whole age, and so people saw the covenant as especially important. This is the covenant’s second level of meaning. With the exception of Genesis, which was before the establishment of the covenant, all the other books in the Old Testament record God’s work among the Israelites after the establishment of the covenant. Of course, there are occasional accounts of the Gentiles, but overall, the Old Testament documents God’s work in Israel. Because of Jehovah’s covenant with the Israelites, the books written during the Age of Law are called the Old Testament. They are named after Jehovah’s covenant with the Israelites.
The New Testament is named after the blood shed by Jesus on the cross and His covenant with all those who believed in Him. Jesus’ covenant was this: People had but to believe in Him for their sins to be forgiven because of the blood He shed, and thus they would be saved, and reborn through Him, and would no longer be sinners; people had but to believe in Him to receive His grace, and would not suffer in hell after they died. All of the books written during the Age of Grace came after this covenant, and they all document the work and utterances contained in it. They go no further than the salvation of the Lord Jesus’ crucifixion or the covenant; they are all books written by the brothers in the Lord who had experiences. Thus, these books are also named after a covenant: They are called the New Testament. These two testaments include only the Age of Law and the Age of Grace, and have no connection with the final age. Thus, the Bible is of no great use for today’s people of the last days. At most, it serves as a provisional reference, but it basically has little use value. Yet religious people still treasure it the most. They do not know the Bible; they know only how to explain the Bible, and are fundamentally unaware of its origins. Their attitude toward the Bible is: Everything in the Bible is right, it contains no inaccuracies or errors. Because they have first determined that the Bible is right and without error, they study and examine it with great interest. Today’s stage of work was not foretold in the Bible. There was never any mention of the conquest work in the darkest of all places, for this is the latest work. Because the age of work is different, even Jesus Himself was unaware that this stage of work would be done during the last days—and so how could the people of the last days find this stage of work in the Bible by examining it?
Most of those who explain the Bible employ logical inference, and have no actual background. They merely employ logic to infer many things. For year upon year, no one has dared to dissect the Bible, or to say “no” to the Bible, because this book is the “holy book,” and people worship it as God. This has gone on for several thousand years. God has paid no heed, and no one has discovered the inside story of the Bible. We say that treasuring the Bible is idol worship, yet none of those devout believers dare to see it this way, and they will say to you: “Brother! Don’t say that, that’s awful! How could you blaspheme against God?” Next they will adopt a pained expression: “Oh merciful Jesus, Lord of salvation, I beg You to forgive his sins, for You are the Lord that loves man, and we have all sinned, please show us great compassion, amen.” This is how “pious” they are; how could it be easy for them to accept the truth? Your saying that will scare them silly. No one would dare to think that the Bible could be tainted with human ideas and human notions, and no one can see this flaw. Some of what is in the Bible is the experiences and knowledge of individuals, some of it is the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, and there is also adulteration by human intellect and thought. God has never interfered in these things, but there is a limit: These things cannot exceed normal people’s thinking, and if they do, they are disturbing and disrupting God’s work. That which exceeds normal people’s thinking is the work of Satan, for it strips people of their duty, it is the work of Satan, and directed by Satan, and at this moment the Holy Spirit will not allow you to act in that way. Sometimes, some brothers and sisters ask: “Is it OK for me to work in such-and-such a way?” I look at their stature and say: “OK!” There are also some people who say: “If I work in such-and-such a way, is my state normal?” And I say: “Yes! It is normal, especially normal!” Others say: “Is it OK for me to work in this way?” And I say: “No!” They say: “Why is it OK for him and not for me?” And I say: “Because what you are doing comes from Satan, it is a disturbance, and the source of your motivation goes wrong.” There are also times when the work does not go far enough, and the brothers and sisters are unaware of it. Some ask Me if it is OK to work in a certain way, and when I see that their actions will not disrupt the work of the future, I say that it is fine. The work of the Holy Spirit gives people a scope; people do not have to follow the wishes of the Holy Spirit to the letter, for people are possessed of normal thinking and weakness, and they have some fleshly needs, they have real problems, and in their brains are thoughts that they basically have no means of controlling. Everything I ask of people has a limit. Some believe My words to be ambiguous, that I am telling them to act in any which way—that is because you do not understand that there is a suitable scope to My requirements. If it were as you imagine—if I made the same demands of all people without exception and required them to all achieve the same stature—then this would not work. This is asking the impossible, and it is the principle of human work, not the principle of God’s work. God’s work is carried out according to people’s actual circumstances and is based on their innate caliber. This is also the principle of spreading the gospel: You must proceed slowly, letting nature take its course; only when you speak the truth to someone clearly will they understand, and only at that time will they be able to put aside the Bible. If God did not do this stage of work, who would be able to break with convention? Who would be able to do the new work? Who would be able to find a new path outside the Bible? Because people’s traditional notions and feudal ethics are so egregious, they have no ability of casting off these things by themselves, nor do they have the courage to do so. That is to say nothing of how the people of today have been seized by a few dead words in the Bible, words which have taken possession of their hearts. How could they be willing to give up the Bible? How could they so easily accept a way that is outside the Bible? That is unless you can speak clearly of the inside story of the Bible and the principles of the work of the Holy Spirit, so that all people are utterly convinced—which is of the utmost necessity. This is because everyone within religion venerates the Bible, and worships it as God, they also try to constrain God within the Bible, and it is even the case that they only achieve their aims once they have nailed God to the cross once more.