God Himself, the Unique VI
God’s Holiness (III)
The topic we fellowshiped about last time was the holiness of God. Which aspect of God Himself does the holiness of God concern? Does it concern the essence of God? (Yes.) So what is the main aspect of God’s essence that we addressed in our fellowship? Is it the holiness of God? The holiness of God is the unique essence of God. What was the main content of our fellowship last time? (The discernment of Satan’s evil. That is, how Satan corrupts mankind using knowledge, science, traditional culture, superstition, and social trends.) This was the main topic that we discussed last time. Satan uses knowledge, science, superstition, traditional culture, and social trends to corrupt man; these are the ways—five of them in total—that Satan corrupts man. Which of these do you think Satan uses the most to corrupt man? Which is the one that is used to corrupt people most deeply? (Traditional culture. This is because satanic philosophies, such as the doctrines of Confucius and Mencius, are deeply ingrained in our minds.) So, some brothers and sisters think the answer is “traditional culture.” Does anyone have a different answer? (Knowledge. Knowledge will never let us worship God. It denies the existence of God, and denies the rule of God. That is to say, Satan tells us to begin studying from a young age, and that only by studying and gaining knowledge will we have bright prospects for our future and a happy fate.) Satan uses knowledge to control your future and fate, and then it leads you along by the nose; this is how you think Satan corrupts man most deeply. So, most of you think it is knowledge that Satan uses to corrupt man most deeply. Does anyone else have a different answer? What about science or social trends, for example? Would anyone identify these as the answer? (Yes.) Today, I will fellowship again about the five ways in which Satan corrupts man, and once I am finished, I will ask you some more questions, so that we can see exactly which of these things Satan uses to corrupt man most deeply.
Among the five ways in which Satan corrupts man, the first one we mentioned is knowledge, so let us take knowledge as our first topic for fellowship. Satan uses knowledge as bait. Listen closely: Knowledge is just a kind of bait. People are enticed to study hard and improve themselves day after day, to weaponize knowledge and arm themselves with it, and then to use knowledge to open the gateway to science; in other words, the more knowledge you gain, the more you will understand. Satan tells people all of this; it tells people to foster lofty ideals as they are learning knowledge, instructing them to build up ambitions and aspirations. Unbeknownst to man, Satan conveys many messages like this, causing people to unconsciously feel that these things are correct or beneficial. Unknowingly, people enter onto this path, unknowingly led onward by their own ideals and ambitions. Step by step, they unknowingly learn from the knowledge given by Satan the ways in which great or famous people think. They also learn many things from the deeds of people who are considered heroes. What is Satan advocating for man in the deeds of these heroes? What does it want to instill in man? That man must be patriotic, have national integrity, and be heroic of spirit. What does man learn from historical stories or biographies of heroic figures? To have a sense of personal loyalty, to be prepared to do anything for one’s friends and brothers. Within this knowledge of Satan, man unknowingly learns many things which are not positive at all. In the midst of man’s unawareness, seeds prepared by Satan are planted in people’s immature minds. These seeds make them feel that they ought to be great people, ought to be famous, ought to be heroes, to be patriotic, be people who love their families, and be people who will do anything for a friend and have a sense of personal loyalty. Seduced by Satan, they unknowingly walk the road it has prepared for them. As they go down this road, they are forced to accept Satan’s rules of living. Completely unaware, they develop their own rules that they live by, but these are nothing more than Satan’s rules, which it has forcefully instilled in them. Satan makes them, during the learning process, foster their own objectives and determine their own life goals, rules to live by, and direction in life, all the while instilling in them the things of Satan, using stories, biographies, and all other means possible to entice people, little by little, until they take the bait. In this way, during the course of their learning, some come to prefer literature, some economics, others astronomy or geography. Then there are some who come to like politics, some who like physics, some chemistry, and even others still who prefer theology. These are all parts of the greater whole that is knowledge. In your hearts, each of you knows what these things are really about; each one of you has had contact with them before. Each of you is capable of talking on and on endlessly about one or another of these branches of knowledge. And so it is clear how deeply this knowledge has entered the minds of men; it is plain to see the position occupied by this knowledge in people’s minds and how deep an effect it has on them. Once someone develops affection for a facet of knowledge, when a person has fallen deeply in love with it, they then unknowingly develop ambitions: Some people want to be writers, some want to be literary authors, some want to make a career out of politics, and some want to engage in economics and become businesspeople. Then there is a portion of people who want to be heroes, to be great or famous. Regardless of what kind of person someone wants to be, their goal is to take this method of learning knowledge and use it for their own ends, to realize their own desires, their own ambitions. No matter how good it sounds—whether they want to achieve their dreams, to not waste their life, or to have a certain career—they foster these lofty ideals and ambitions, but what is it all essentially for? Have you ever considered this question before? Why does Satan act in this way? What is Satan’s purpose in instilling these things in man? Your hearts must be clear on this question.
Now let us talk about how Satan uses knowledge to corrupt man. From our discussion so far, have you begun to understand Satan’s sinister motives? (Yes, a little.) Why does Satan use knowledge to corrupt man? What does it want to use knowledge to do to man? What kind of road does it want to lead man down? (The road of resisting God.) Yes, that is certainly it—to resist God. You can see then that this is a consequence of people obtaining knowledge—they begin to resist God. So what are Satan’s sinister motives? You are not clear about this, are you? During the process of man’s learning of knowledge, Satan employs all manner of methods, whether it be telling stories, simply giving them some individual piece of knowledge, or allowing them to satisfy their desires or ambitions. What road does Satan want to lead you down? People think there is nothing wrong with learning knowledge, that it is entirely natural. To put it in a way that sounds appealing, to foster lofty ideals or to have ambitions is to have drive, and this should be the right path in life. Is it not a more glorious way for people to live if they can realize their own ideals, or successfully establish a career? By doing these things, one can not only honor one’s ancestors but also has the chance to leave one’s mark on history—is this not a good thing? This is a good thing in the eyes of worldly people, and to them it should be proper and positive. Does Satan, however, with its sinister motives, take people on to this kind of road and that’s all there is to it? Of course not. In fact, no matter how lofty man’s ideals are, no matter how realistic man’s desires are or how proper they may be, all that man wants to achieve, all that man seeks for, is inextricably linked to two words. These two words are vitally important to the life of every person, and they are things Satan intends to instill in man. What are these two words? They are “fame” and “gain.” Satan uses a very subtle kind of method, a method very much in concert with people’s notions, which is not at all radical, through which it causes people to unknowingly accept its way of living, its rules to live by, and to establish life goals and their direction in life, and in doing so they also unknowingly come to have ambitions in life. No matter how grand these life ambitions may seem, they are inextricably linked to “fame” and “gain.” Everything that any great or famous person—all people, in fact—follow in life relates only to these two words: “fame” and “gain.” People think that once they have fame and gain, they can then capitalize on those things to enjoy high status and great wealth, and to enjoy life. They think fame and gain are a kind of capital that they can use to obtain a life of pleasure-seeking and wanton enjoyment of the flesh. For the sake of this fame and gain which mankind so covets, people willingly, albeit unknowingly, hand over their bodies, minds, all that they have, their futures and their destinies, to Satan. They do so without even a moment’s hesitation, ever ignorant of the need to recover all that they have handed over. Can people retain any control over themselves once they have taken refuge in Satan in this way and become loyal to it? Certainly not. They are completely and utterly controlled by Satan. They have completely and utterly sunk into a quagmire, and are unable to free themselves. Once someone is mired in fame and gain, they no longer seek that which is bright, that which is righteous, or those things that are beautiful and good. This is because the seductive power that fame and gain have over people is too great; they become things for people to pursue throughout their lives and even for all eternity without end. Is this not true? Some people will say that learning knowledge is nothing more than reading books or learning a few things that they do not already know so as not to lag behind the times or be left behind by the world. Knowledge is only learned so they can put food on the table, for their own future, or to provide the basic necessities. Is there any person who would endure a decade of hard study just for the basic necessities, just to resolve the issue of food? No, there are none like this. So why does a person suffer these hardships for all these years? It is for fame and gain. Fame and gain are waiting for them in the distance, beckoning them, and they believe that only through their own diligence, hardships and struggles can they follow the road that will lead them to attain fame and gain. Such a person must suffer these hardships for their own future path, for their future enjoyment and to gain a better life. What on earth is this knowledge—can you tell Me? Is it not rules of living instilled in people, rules that Satan teaches them in the course of their learning of knowledge? Is it not life’s “lofty ideals” instilled into man by Satan? Take, for example, the ideas of great people, the integrity of the famous or the brave spirit of heroic figures, or take the chivalry and kindness of the protagonists and swordsmen in martial arts novels—are these not all ways in which Satan instills these ideals? (Yes, they are.) These ideas influence one generation after another, and the people of each generation are brought to accept these ideas, to live for these ideas and to pursue them endlessly. This is the way, the channel, through which Satan uses knowledge to corrupt man. So after Satan has led people to this road, is it still possible for them to worship God? Do the knowledge and thought instilled in man by Satan contain any shred of worshiping God? Do they hold anything that belongs to the truth? Do they contain anything of fearing God and shunning evil? (No, they do not.) You seem a little uncertain, but no matter. So long as you recognize that “fame” and “gain” are the two key words that Satan uses to entice people onto the path of evil, then that is enough.
Let us briefly review what we have discussed so far: What does Satan use to keep man firmly within its control? (Fame and gain.) So, Satan uses fame and gain to control man’s thoughts, until all people can think of is fame and gain. They struggle for fame and gain, suffer hardships for fame and gain, endure humiliation for fame and gain, sacrifice everything they have for fame and gain, and they will make any judgment or decision for the sake of fame and gain. In this way, Satan binds people with invisible shackles, and they have neither the strength nor the courage to throw them off. They unknowingly bear these shackles and trudge ever onward with great difficulty. For the sake of this fame and gain, mankind shuns God and betrays Him and becomes increasingly wicked. In this way, therefore, one generation after another is destroyed in the midst of Satan’s fame and gain. Looking now at Satan’s actions, are its sinister motives not utterly detestable? Maybe today you still cannot see through Satan’s sinister motives because you think one cannot live without fame and gain. You think that if people leave fame and gain behind, they will no longer be able to see the way ahead, no longer be able to see their goals, that their futures will become dark, dim and gloomy. But, slowly, you will all one day recognize that fame and gain are monstrous shackles that Satan uses to bind man. When that day comes, you will thoroughly resist Satan’s control and thoroughly resist the shackles Satan uses to bind you. When the time comes that you wish to throw off all the things Satan has instilled in you, you will then make a clean break with Satan and you will truly loathe all that Satan has brought to you. Only then will mankind have a real love and yearning for God.
We have just talked about how Satan uses knowledge to corrupt man, so next let us fellowship about how Satan uses science to corrupt man. Firstly, Satan uses the name of science to satisfy man’s curiosity, man’s desire to explore science and probe mysteries. In the name of science, Satan satisfies man’s material needs and man’s demand to continually improve their quality of life. Thus, it is with this pretext that Satan uses science to corrupt man. Is it only man’s thinking or man’s mind that Satan corrupts using science in this way? Of the people, events, and things in our surroundings that we can see and that we come into contact with, what else of these does Satan corrupt with science? (The natural environment.) Correct. It seems you have been deeply harmed by this, and deeply affected. Besides using all the various findings and conclusions of science to deceive man, Satan also uses science as a means to carry out wanton destruction and exploitation of the living environment that was given to man by God. It does this under the pretext that if man carries out scientific research, then man’s living environment and quality of life will continually improve, and furthermore that the purpose of scientific development is to cater to people’s daily increasing material needs and their need to continually improve their quality of life. This is the theoretical basis of Satan’s development of science. However, what has science brought to mankind? What does the environment which we are connected to consist of? Has not the air mankind breathes become polluted? Is the water we drink still truly pure? (No.) Is the food we consume natural? The majority of it is grown using chemical fertilizer and cultivated using genetic modification, and there are also mutations caused by using various scientific methods. Even the vegetables and fruit we eat are no longer natural. Even natural eggs are no longer easy to find, and eggs no longer taste the way they used to, having already been processed by Satan’s so-called science. Looking at the big picture, the entire atmosphere has been destroyed and polluted; mountains, lakes, forests, rivers, oceans, and everything above and below ground have all been ruined by so-called scientific achievements. In brief, the entire natural environment, the living environment given to mankind by God, has been destroyed and ruined by so-called science. Although there are many people who have obtained what they always hoped for in terms of the quality of life they seek, satisfying both their desires and their flesh, the environment man lives in has essentially been destroyed and ruined by the various “achievements” brought on by science. Now, we no longer have the right to breathe a single breath of clean air. Is this not mankind’s sorrow? Is there any happiness left to speak of for man, when he must live in this kind of space? This space and living environment in which man lives was, from the very beginning, created by God for man. The water people drink, the air people breathe, the food people eat, plants, trees, and the oceans—every part of this living environment was given to man by God; it is natural, operating in accordance with a natural law laid down by God. If there was no science, people would have been happy and could have enjoyed everything at its most pristine, in accordance with the way of God and according to what God bestowed on them to enjoy. Now, however, all of this has been destroyed and ruined by Satan; man’s fundamental living space is no longer pristine. But no one is able to recognize what caused this or how this came about, and many more people approach science and understand it through the ideas instilled in them by Satan. Is this not utterly detestable and pitiable? With Satan now having taken the space in which people exist, as well as their living environment, and corrupted them into this state, and with mankind continuing to develop in this way, is there any need for God to personally destroy these people? If people continue to develop in this way, what direction will they take? In addition to people’s greedy search for fame and gain, they continually carry out scientific exploration and dive deep into research, and then ceaselessly act in such a way as to satisfy their own material needs and desires; what then are the consequences for man? First of all, the ecological balance is broken, and when this happens, people’s bodies, their internal organs, are tainted and damaged by this unbalanced environment, and various infectious diseases and plagues spread across the world. Is it not true that this is now a situation that man has no control over? Now that you understand this, if mankind does not follow God, but always follows Satan in this way—using knowledge to continually enrich themselves, using science to ceaselessly explore the future of human life, using this kind of method to continue living—can you recognize how this will end for mankind? (It will mean extinction.) Yes, it will end in extinction: Mankind draws ever nearer to its own extinction, one step after another! It now seems as though science is a kind of magic potion that Satan has prepared for man, so that when you try to discern things you do so in a foggy haze; no matter how hard you look, you cannot see things clearly, and no matter how hard you try, you cannot figure them out. Satan, however, uses the name of science to whet your appetite and lead you by the nose, one foot in front of the other, toward the abyss and death. Is this not so? (Yes, it is.) This is the second way that Satan corrupts mankind.
Traditional culture is the third way that Satan corrupts man. There are many similarities between traditional culture and superstition, but the difference is that traditional culture has certain stories, allusions, and sources. Satan has fabricated and invented many folk stories or stories that appear in history books, leaving people with deep impressions of traditional cultural or superstitious figures. For example, in China there are the “Eight Immortals Crossing the Sea,” “Journey to the West,” the Jade Emperor, “Nezha Conquering the Dragon King,” and “The Investiture of the Gods.” Have these not become deeply rooted in the minds of man? Even if some of you do not know all the details, you still know the general stories, and it is this general content that sticks in your heart and your mind, so that you cannot forget them. These are things that Satan prepared for man long ago, and which have disseminated at different times Satan’s various ideas or legends. These things directly harm and erode people’s souls and put people under one spell after another. That is to say that once you have accepted these things that arise from traditional culture, stories, or superstition, once these things are established in your mind, once they are stuck in your heart, then it is like you are spellbound—you become enmeshed and influenced by these cultural trappings, these ideas and traditional stories. They influence your life, your outlook on life, and your judgment of things. Even more so they influence your pursuit for the true path of life: This is indeed a wicked spell. Try as you might, you cannot shake them off; you chop at them but you cannot chop them down; you beat at them but you cannot beat them away. Furthermore, after people are unknowingly put under this kind of spell, they unknowingly begin to worship Satan, fostering the image of Satan in their hearts. In other words, they establish Satan as their idol, an object for them to worship and look up to, even going so far as to regard it as God. Unknowingly, these things are in people’s hearts, controlling their words and deeds. Moreover, you first regard these stories and legends to be false, but then you unknowingly acknowledge their existence, making of them real figures and turning them into real, existing objects. In your unawareness, you subconsciously receive these ideas and the existence of these things. You also subconsciously receive devils, Satan, and idols into your own home and into your own heart—this is indeed a spell. Do these words resonate with you? (Yes.) Are there any among you who have burned incense and worshiped Buddha? (Yes.) So what was the purpose of burning incense and worshiping Buddha? (Praying for peace.) Thinking about it now, is it not absurd to pray to Satan for peace? Does Satan bring peace? (No.) Do you not see how ignorant you were then? That kind of behavior is absurd, ignorant and naive, is it not? Satan only concerns itself with how to corrupt you. Satan cannot possibly give you peace, only a temporary respite. But to gain this respite you must take a vow, and if you break your promise or the vow that you have made to Satan, then you will see how it torments you. In making you take a vow, it actually wants to control you. When you prayed for peace, did you obtain peace? (No.) You did not obtain peace, but on the contrary your efforts brought misfortune and unending disasters—truly a boundless ocean of bitterness. Peace is not within Satan’s domain, and this is the truth. This is the consequence that feudal superstition and traditional culture have brought mankind.
The last way in which Satan corrupts man is through social trends. “Social trends” include many things. Some people say: “Does it mean the clothes we wear? The latest fashions, cosmetics, hairstyles, and gourmet foods?” Are these things considered social trends? They make up one part of social trends, but we will not be talking about them here. We only wish to talk about the ideas that social trends bring about in people, the way they cause people to conduct themselves in the world, and the life goals and outlook that they bring about in people. These are very important; they can control and influence man’s state of mind. These trends arise one after another, and they all carry an evil influence that continually debases mankind, causing people to lose conscience, humanity and reason, weakening their morals and their quality of character ever more, to the extent that we can even say that the majority of people now have no integrity, no humanity, and neither do they have any conscience, much less any reason. So what are these trends? They are trends that you cannot see with the naked eye. When a new trend sweeps through the world, perhaps only a small number of people are on the cutting edge, acting as the trendsetters. They start off doing some new thing, then accepting some kind of idea or some kind of perspective. The majority of people, however, will be continually infected, assimilated, and attracted by this kind of trend in a state of unawareness, until they all unknowingly and involuntarily accept it and become submerged in it and controlled by it. One after another, these kinds of trends make man—who is not of sound body and mind; who does not know what truth is; and who cannot differentiate between positive and negative things to begin with—happily accept them as well as the life view and values that come from Satan. He accepts what Satan tells him about how to approach life and the way to live that Satan “bestows” on him. He has neither the strength nor the ability, much less the awareness, to resist. So what exactly are these trends? I have chosen a simple example that you may gradually come to understand. For example, people in the past ran their business so that nobody was cheated; they sold items at the same price regardless of who was buying. Is not some element of good conscience and humanity conveyed here? When people conducted their business like this, in good faith, it can be seen that they still had some conscience and some humanity at that time. But with man’s ever-increasing demand for money, people unknowingly came to love money, gain, and pleasure more and more. In short, people came to view money as more important than before. When people view money as more important, they unknowingly begin to attach less importance to their reputation, their renown, their good name and their integrity, do they not? When you engage in business, you see others using various means to swindle people and get rich. Although the money earned is ill-gotten, they become richer and richer. Though they may engage in the same business as you, their whole family enjoys life more than you do, and you feel bad, saying to yourself, “Why can’t I do that? Why can’t I earn as much as they do? I must think of a way to get more money, to make my business prosper.” You then thoroughly ponder this. According to the usual method of making money—selling things at the same price to all customers—any profit you make is made in good conscience. However, this is not the way to get rich quick. Driven by the urge to make a profit, your thinking undergoes a gradual transformation. During this transformation, your principles of conduct also begin to change. When you first cheat someone, you have your reservations, saying, “This will be the only time I cheat someone. I will not do it again. I cannot cheat people. There are serious consequences to cheating. It will bring me lots of trouble!” When you first deceive someone, your heart has some scruples; this is the function of man’s conscience—to make you feel scruples and to reproach you, so that it feels unnatural when you cheat someone. But after you have successfully deceived someone, you see that you now have more money than you did before, and you think this method can be very beneficial for you. Despite the dull ache in your heart, you still feel like congratulating yourself on your success, and you feel somewhat pleased with yourself. For the first time, you approve of your own behavior, your own deceptive ways. Afterward, once man has been contaminated by this cheating, it is the same as someone who gets involved in gambling and then becomes a gambler. In their unawareness, they give approval to their own cheating behavior and accept it. In unawareness, they take cheating to be a legitimate commercial behavior and the most useful means for their survival and livelihood; they think that by doing this they can quickly make a fortune. This is a process: In the beginning, people cannot accept this type of behavior and they look down on this behavior and practice. Then they begin to experiment with this behavior themselves, trying it out in their own way, and their hearts begin to gradually transform. What kind of transformation is this? It is an approval and admission of this trend, of this idea instilled in you by the social trend. In unawareness, you feel that if you do not cheat in business then you will be worse off, that if you do not cheat then you will have lost something. Unknowingly, this cheating becomes your very soul, your backbone, and a type of behavior that is an indispensable principle in your life. After man has accepted this behavior and this thinking, has this not brought about a change in his heart? Your heart has changed, so has your integrity changed as well? Has your humanity changed? Has your conscience changed? (Yes.) Yes, every part of this person undergoes a qualitative change, from their heart to their thoughts, to such an extent that they are transformed from the inside out. This change pulls you further and further away from God, and you become more and more closely aligned with Satan; you become more and more alike to Satan.
Looking at them now, these social trends should be easy to understand. I just chose a simple example of cheating, a common example that people will be familiar with. Do these social trends have a great influence on people? Do they have a deeply harmful effect on people? (Yes.) They do have a very deeply harmful effect on people. What is it about man that Satan corrupts using one social trend after another? (Man’s conscience, reason, humanity, morals, and view on life.) They cause a gradual degeneration in people, don’t they? Satan uses these social trends to lure people one step at a time into a nest of devils, so that people caught up in social trends unknowingly advocate money and material desires, wickedness and violence. Once these things have entered the heart of man, what then does man become? Man becomes the devil, Satan! Why? Because, what psychological inclination exists in the heart of man? What does man revere? Man begins to take pleasure in wickedness and violence, showing no love for beauty or goodness, much less peace. People are not willing to live the simple life of proper humanity, but instead wish to enjoy high status and great wealth, to revel in the pleasures of the flesh, sparing no effort to satisfy their own flesh, with no restrictions, no bonds to hold them back; in other words, doing whatever they desire. So when man has become immersed in these kinds of trends, can the knowledge that you have learned help you to free yourself? Can your understanding of traditional culture and superstitions help you escape from this dire predicament? Can the traditional morals and ceremonies known to man help people exercise restraint? Take the Three Character Classic, for example. Can it help people pull their feet out of the quagmire of these trends? (No, it cannot.) Thus, man becomes more and more evil, arrogant, condescending, selfish and malicious. There is no longer any affection between people, no longer any love between family members, no longer any understanding among relatives and friends; human relations have become characterized by violence. Each and every person seeks to use violent methods to live among their fellow man; they seize their daily bread using violence; they win their positions and obtain their profits using violence, and they use violent and evil ways to do anything they want. Is this humanity not horrifying? (Yes.) After hearing all these things that I have just talked about, do you not think it terrifying to live in this environment, in this world, and amongst these kinds of people, through which Satan corrupts mankind? (Yes.) So, have you ever felt yourselves to be pitiful? You must feel it a little bit in this moment, do you not? (I do.) Hearing your tone, it seems as though you are thinking, “Satan has so many different ways of corrupting man. It seizes every opportunity and is everywhere we turn. Can man still be saved?” Can man still be saved? Can man save themselves? (No.) Can the Jade Emperor save man? Can Confucius save man? Can the Guanyin Bodhisattva save man? (No.) So who can save man? (God.) Some people, however, will raise in their hearts such questions as: “Satan harms us so wildly, in such a deranged frenzy, that we have no hope to live life, nor any confidence to live life. We all live in the midst of corruption, and every single person resists God anyway, and now our hearts have sunk as low as they can go. So where is God while Satan is corrupting us? What is God doing? Whatever God is doing for us, we never feel it!” Some people inevitably feel dejected and somewhat disheartened, correct? To you, this feeling is very deep because all that I have been saying has been to allow people to slowly come to understand, to feel more and more that they are without hope, to feel more and more that they have been forsaken by God. But do not worry. Our fellowship topic for today, “the evil of Satan,” is not our true theme. To talk about the essence of the holiness of God, however, we must first discuss how Satan corrupts man and the evil of Satan in order to make it clearer to people what kind of condition man is now in. One aim of talking about this is to allow people to know the evil of Satan, while the other is to allow people to understand more deeply what true holiness is.
Have I not talked in more detail about these things we have just discussed compared to last time? (Yes.) So is your understanding now a little deeper? (Yes.) I know that a lot of people now are expecting Me to say what exactly the holiness of God is, but as I talk about the holiness of God I will first talk about the deeds God does. You should all listen attentively. Afterward, I will ask you what exactly the holiness of God is. I will not tell you directly, but instead let you try to figure it out; I will give you space to figure it out. What do you think of this method? (It sounds good.) Then listen carefully as I go on.
Whenever Satan corrupts man or inflicts unbridled harm upon man, God does not stand idly by, and neither does He brush aside or turn a blind eye to those He has chosen. God understands with perfect clarity all that Satan does. No matter what Satan does, no matter what trend it causes to arise, God knows all that Satan is trying to do, and God does not give up on those He has chosen. Instead, without attracting any attention—secretly, silently—God does everything that is necessary. When God begins work on someone, when He has chosen someone, He does not proclaim this news to anyone, nor does He proclaim it to Satan, much less make any grand gesture. He just very quietly, very naturally, does what is necessary. First, He selects a family for you; your family background, your parents, your ancestors—all this, God decides in advance. In other words, God does not make these decisions on a whim; rather, He began this work long ago. Once God has chosen a family for you, He then chooses the date on which you will be born. Then, God watches as you are born and come crying into the world. He watches your birth, watches as you utter your first words, watches as you stumble and toddle your first steps as you learn how to walk. First you take one step and then you take another … and now you can run, jump, talk, and express your feelings. As people grow up, Satan’s gaze is fixed on every one of them, like a tiger eyeing its prey. But in doing His work, God has never been subject to any limitations arising from people, events or things, of space or time; He does what He should and what He must. In the process of growing up, you may encounter many things that are not to your liking, such as illness and frustration. But as you walk this path, your life and your future are strictly under God’s care. God gives you a genuine guarantee to last all your life, for He is right there beside you, guarding you and looking after you. You grow up unaware of this. You begin to come into contact with new things and start to get to know this world and this mankind. Everything is fresh and new to you. You have some things you enjoy doing. You live within your own humanity, you live within your own space and you have not the slightest perception about the existence of God. But God watches you every step of the way as you grow, and He watches you as you make every stride forward. Even when you are learning knowledge or studying science, God has never left your side for a single step. You are just the same as other people in that, in the course of getting to know the world and engage with it, you have established your own ideals, you have your own hobbies, your own interests, and you also harbor lofty ambitions. You often ponder your own future, often sketching the outline of how your future should look. But no matter what transpires along the way, God sees it all happening clearly. Maybe you yourself have forgotten your own past, but to God, there is no one who can understand you better than He. You live under God’s gaze, growing up, maturing. During this period, God’s most important task is something that no one ever perceives, something no one knows. God certainly does not tell anyone about it. So what is this most crucial thing? It can be said that it is the guarantee that God will save a person. This means that if God wants to save this person, He must do this. This task is vitally important to both man and God. Do you know what it is? It seems like you do not have any feeling about this, or any concept of it, so I will tell you. From the time you were born all the way up to now, God has carried out much work on you, but He does not give you an exhaustive account of everything He has done. God did not allow you to know this, and neither did He tell you. However, for mankind, everything He does is important. As far as God is concerned, it is something He must do. In His heart there is something important He needs to do that far exceeds any of these things. That is, from the time a person is born up to the present day, God must guarantee their safety. When you hear these words, you may feel as though you do not fully understand. You may ask, “Is this safety so important?” Well, what is the literal meaning of “safety”? Maybe you understand it to mean peace or maybe you understand it to mean never experiencing any disaster or calamity, to live well, to live a normal life. But in your hearts, you must know that it is not so simple. So what exactly is this thing that I have been talking about, that God has to do? What does safety mean to God? Is it really a guarantee of the normal meaning of “safety?” No. So what is it that God does? This “safety” means that you will not be devoured by Satan. Is this important? Not being devoured by Satan—does this concern your safety or not? Yes, this concerns your personal safety, and there can be nothing more important. Once you have been devoured by Satan, your soul and your flesh no longer belong to God. God will no longer save you. God forsakes souls and people who have been devoured by Satan. So I say the most important thing that God has to do is to guarantee this safety of yours, to guarantee that you will not be devoured by Satan. This is very important, is it not? So why can you not answer? It seems like you are unable to feel God’s great kindness!
God does much more besides guaranteeing people’s safety, guaranteeing that they will not be devoured by Satan. He also does a great deal of preparatory work before choosing and saving someone. Firstly, God makes meticulous preparations regarding what kind of character you will have, what kind of family you will be born into, who your parents will be, how many brothers and sisters you will have, and what the situation, economic status, and conditions of the family you are born into will be. Do you know what kind of family the majority of God’s chosen people are born into? Are they prominent families? We cannot say for sure that there are none who are born into prominent families. There may be some, but they are very few. Are they born into families of exceptional wealth, families of billionaires or multimillionaires? No, they are almost never born into this kind of family. So what kind of family does God arrange for most of these people? (Ordinary families.) So which families may be considered “ordinary families?” They include working families, who rely on their salary to live and can afford the basic necessities. They will not let you go hungry or unclothed, but you cannot expect too much when it comes to having your material needs provided for. Then there are families of farmers. Farmers rely on planting crops for their food—they have grain to eat and, come what may, you will not go hungry, but you cannot expect to have very nice clothes. Then there are some families that run small businesses, and some where the parents are intellectuals, and these can also be counted as ordinary families. There are also some parents who are office workers or minor government officials, who also cannot be counted as belonging to prominent families. Most are born into ordinary families, and this is all arranged by God. That is to say, first of all, this environment that you live in is not the family of substantial means that people might imagine, and this is a family decided for you by God, and the majority of people will live within the limits of this kind of family; we will not discuss the exceptions here. So what about social status? The economic conditions of the majority of parents are average and they do not have high social status—for them it is good just to have a job. Do they include governors? Or national presidents? (No.) At most they are people such as small business managers or owners of small businesses. Their social status is middling, and their economic conditions are average. Another factor is the family’s living environment. First of all, there are no parents among these families who would clearly influence their children into walking the path of divination and fortune telling; these are very few who engage in such things. Most parents are quite normal. At the same time that God chooses people, He sets up this kind of environment for them, which is greatly beneficial to His work of saving people. On the surface, it looks like God has done nothing particularly earthshaking for man; He just quietly and secretly proceeds to do all of the things that He does, humbly and in silence. But in fact, all that God does, He does in order to lay a foundation for your salvation, to prepare the road ahead and all the necessary conditions for your salvation. Next, God brings each person back before Him at the time that has been specified for them—when the time comes for you to hear God’s voice, that is the time when you will come before Him. By the time that this happens, some people have already become parents themselves, whilst others are still somebody’s child. In other words, some people have gotten married and had children whilst some are still single, not yet having started their own families. But regardless of one’s situation, God has already set the times when you will be chosen and when His gospel and words will reach you. God has set the circumstances, decided on a certain person or a certain context through which the gospel will be passed onto you, so that you may hear the words of God. God has already prepared for you all the necessary conditions. In this way, though man is unaware that it is happening, man comes before Him and returns to God’s family. Man also unknowingly follows God and enters into each step of His work, entering into each step of God’s way of work which He has prepared for man. What ways does God use when He does things for man at this time? First, the bare minimum is the care and protection that man enjoys. Apart from this, God sets out various people, events, and things so that through them man may see His existence and His deeds. For example, there are some people who believe in God because someone in their family is sick. When others preach the gospel to them, they start to believe in God, and this belief in God comes about because of the situation. So who arranged this situation? (God.) By means of this illness, there are some families where everybody is a believer, while there are others where only a few people in the family believe. On the surface, it may seem that someone in your family has an illness, but it is in fact a condition bestowed on you so that you may come before God—this is God’s kindness. Because family life is hard for some people and they can find no peace, a chance opportunity may present itself—someone passes on the gospel and says, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will have peace.” Thus, unaware, they come to believe in God under very natural circumstances, so is this not a type of condition? And is the fact that their family is not at peace a grace granted them by God? There are also some who come to believe in God for other reasons. There are different reasons and different ways of belief, but no matter what reason brings you to believe in Him, it is all actually arranged and guided by God. At first, God employs various ways to choose you and to bring you into His family. This is the grace that God bestows on every single person.
In God’s current stage of work in these, the last days, He no longer just bestows grace and blessings on man like He did before, nor does He coax man to move forward. During this stage of work, what has man seen from all the aspects of God’s work that he has experienced? Man has seen God’s love and God’s judgment and chastisement. During this period of time, God provides for, supports, enlightens and guides man, so that man gradually comes to know His intentions, to know the words He speaks and the truth He bestows on man. When man is weak, when he is dispirited, when he has nowhere to turn, God will use His words to comfort, advise, and encourage man, so that man’s small stature can gradually grow in strength, rise up in positivity and become willing to cooperate with God. But when man disobeys God or resists Him, or when man reveals his corruption, God will show no mercy in chastening and disciplining man. However, God will show tolerance and patience for man’s foolishness, ignorance, weakness and immaturity. In this way, through all the work God does for man, man gradually matures, grows up, and comes to know God’s intentions, comes to know certain truths, to know what things are positive and what are negative, to know what evil and darkness are. God does not take a single approach of always chastening and disciplining man, but nor does He always show tolerance and patience. Rather He provides for each person in different ways at their different stages and according to their different statures and caliber. He does many things for man and at great cost; man perceives nothing of these things or of the cost, yet in practice all that He does is truly carried out on every single person. God’s love is practical: Through the grace of God, man avoids one disaster after another, and all the while God shows tolerance time and again for man’s weaknesses. The judgment and chastisement of God allow people to gradually come to know mankind’s corruption and satanic essence. That which God provides, His enlightenment of man and His guidance all allow mankind to know more and more the essence of truth, and to increasingly know what people need, what road they should take, what they live for, the value and meaning of their lives, and how to walk the road ahead. All these things that God does are inseparable from His one original purpose. What, then, is this purpose? Why does God use these methods to carry out His work on man? What result does He want to achieve? In other words, what does He want to see in man? What does He want to obtain from man? What God wants to see is that man’s heart can be revived. These methods that He uses to work on man are a continual effort to awaken the heart of man, to awaken man’s spirit, to enable man to understand from where he came, who is guiding, supporting and providing for him, and who has allowed man to live until the present day; they are a means to enable man to understand who is the Creator, whom he should worship, what kind of road he should walk, and in what way man should come before God; they are a means to gradually revive the heart of man, so that man knows God’s heart, understands God’s heart, and comprehends the great care and thought behind His work to save man. When man’s heart is revived, man no longer wishes to live with a degenerate, corrupt disposition, but wishes instead to pursue the truth in order to satisfy God. When man’s heart has been awakened, man is then able to tear himself fully away from Satan. No longer will he be harmed by Satan, no longer controlled or fooled by it. Instead, man can proactively cooperate in God’s work and His words to satisfy the heart of God, thus attaining fear of God and shunning evil. This is the original purpose of God’s work.
The discussion we just held about the evil of Satan makes everyone feel as though man lives amidst great unhappiness and that the life of man is beset with misfortune. But now when I am talking about the holiness of God and the work that He performs on man, how does that make you feel? (Very happy.) We can see now that everything God does, all that He painstakingly arranges for man, is immaculate. Everything God does is without error, meaning it is faultless, needing no one to correct, advise, or make any changes to it. All that God does for every individual is beyond doubt; He leads everyone by the hand, looks after you with every passing moment and has never once left your side. As people grow up in this kind of environment and with this kind of background, could we say that people in fact grow up in the palm of God’s hand? (Yes.) So now do you still feel a sense of loss? Does anyone still feel dispirited? Does anyone feel that God has forsaken mankind? (No.) So what exactly has God done then? (He has kept watch over mankind.) The great thought and care that God puts into everything He does is beyond question. What is more, in carrying out His work, He has always done so unconditionally. He has never required that any one of you know the price that He pays for you so as to make you feel deeply grateful to Him. Has God ever required this of you? (No.) In the long course of human life, almost every individual has encountered many dangerous situations and faced many temptations. This is because Satan is standing beside you, its eyes constantly fixed on you. When disaster strikes you, Satan revels in this; when calamities befall you, when nothing goes right for you, when you become entangled in Satan’s web, Satan takes great enjoyment from these things. As for what God is doing, He is protecting you with each passing moment, steering you away from one misfortune after another and from one disaster after another. This is why I say that everything man has—peace and joy, blessings and personal safety—is in fact all under God’s control; He guides and decides the fate of every individual. But does God have an inflated notion of His position, as some people say? Does God declare to you, “I am the greatest of all. It is I that take charge of you. You must beg Me for mercy, and disobedience will be punished by death”? Has God ever threatened mankind in this way? (No.) Has He ever said, “Mankind is corrupt, so it does not matter how I treat them, and they may be treated in any which way; I do not need to make sound arrangements for them”? Does God think in this way? Has God acted in this way? (No.) On the contrary, God’s treatment of each and every person is earnest and responsible. He treats you more responsibly even than you treat yourself. Is this not so? God does not speak idly, and neither does He flaunt His elevated position or flippantly deceive people. Instead He honestly and silently does the things He Himself needs to do. These things bring blessings, peace and joy to man. They bring man peacefully and happily into God’s sight and into His family; then they live before God and accept God’s salvation with the proper reason and thinking. So has God ever been duplicitous with man in His work? Has He ever made a false display of kindness, first fooling man with a few pleasantries and then turning His back? (No.) Has God ever said one thing and then done another? Has God ever made empty promises and boasted, telling people He can do this for them or help do that for them, but then vanished? (No.) There is no deceit in God, no falsity. God is faithful, and He is true in everything He does. He is the only One that people can count on; He is the God to whom people can entrust their lives and everything they have. Since there is no deceit in God, could we say that God is the most sincere? (Yes.) Of course we can! Though the word “sincere” is too feeble, too human when applied to God, what other word is there for us to use? Such are the limits of human language. Though it is somewhat unfitting to call God “sincere,” we will nonetheless use this word for the time being. God is faithful and sincere. So when we talk about these aspects, what are we referring to? Are we referring to the differences between God and man and the differences between God and Satan? Yes, we could say that. This is because man cannot see one trace of Satan’s corrupt disposition in God. Am I correct in saying this? Amen? (Amen!) We see none of Satan’s evil revealed in God. All that God does and reveals is wholly beneficial and helps man, is done wholly to provide for man, is full of life and gives man a road to follow and a direction to take. God is not corrupt and, furthermore, looking now at everything that God does, can we say that God is holy? (Yes.) Since God has none of the corruption of mankind nor any of the same corrupt disposition of mankind or the essence of Satan, and nothing about God bears any similarity to these things, from this point of view we can say that God is holy. God does not display any corruption, and the revelation of His own essence in His work is all the confirmation that God Himself is holy. Do you see this? To know God’s holy essence, let us look at these two aspects for now: 1) There is not a trace of corrupt disposition in God; 2) the essence of God’s work on man allows man to see God’s own essence, and this essence is entirely positive. For the things that every part of God’s work brings to man are all positive. Firstly, God requires man to be honest—is this not a positive thing? God gives man wisdom—is this not positive? God makes man able to discern between good and evil—is this not positive? He allows man to understand the meaning and value of human life—is this not positive? He allows man to see into the essence of people, events, and things in accordance with truth—is this not positive? (Yes, it is.) And the result of all of this is that man is no longer deceived by Satan, will no longer continue to be harmed or controlled by Satan. In other words, these things allow people to completely free themselves from the corruption of Satan, and therefore gradually walk the path of fearing God and shunning evil. How far have you walked on this path now? It is hard to say, is it not? But at the very least do you now have an initial understanding of how Satan corrupts man, of which things are evil and which things are negative? You are at the very least now walking the right path. Is this safe to say? (Yes.)
This is where we will finish our discussion of the holiness of God. Now, based on all that you have heard and received, who among you can say what the holiness of God is? What does the holiness of God of which I speak refer to? Think about it for a second. Is the holiness of God His truthfulness? Is the holiness of God His faithfulness? Is the holiness of God His selflessness? Is it His humility? His love for man? God freely bestows truth and life on man—is this His holiness? (Yes.) All this that God reveals is unique and does not exist within corrupt humanity, and nor can it be seen in humanity. Not the slightest trace of it can be seen during the process of Satan’s corruption of man, neither in the corrupt disposition of Satan nor in the essence or nature of Satan. All that God has and is, is unique; only God Himself has and is possessed of this kind of essence. At this point in our discussion, have any of you seen among mankind anyone as holy as what I have just described? (No.) So is there anyone this holy amongst the famous, the great, or the idols of mankind whom you worship? (No.) So when we say that God’s holiness is unique, is this an exaggeration? (No.) Indeed it is not. Furthermore, God’s holy uniqueness also has a practical side. Is there any discrepancy between the holiness I speak of now and the holiness that you previously thought of and imagined? (Yes.) How much of a discrepancy? (A very large one.) What do people often mean when they talk about holiness? (Some outward behaviors.) When people say that a behavior or some other thing is holy, they say this only because they see it as pure or pleasant to the senses. However, these things invariably lack the true substance of holiness—this is the aspect of the doctrine. Aside from this, what is referred to by the practical aspect of the “holiness” that people conceive of in their minds? Is it mostly what they imagine or judge it to be? For example, some Buddhists pass away whilst practicing, departing while they sit there asleep. Some people say they have become holy and flown to heaven. This is also a product of imagination. Then there are others who think that a fairy floating down from heaven is holy. Actually, people’s concept of the word “holy” has always been just a kind of hollow fantasy and theory, with fundamentally no real substance to it, and moreover nothing to do with the essence of holiness. The essence of holiness is true love, but more than this, it is the essence of truth, righteousness and light. The word “holy” is only appropriate when applied to God; nothing in creation is worthy of being called “holy.” Man must understand this. From now on, we will only apply the word “holy” to God. Is this appropriate? (Yes, it is.)
Let us now go back to talk about what means Satan employs to corrupt man. We have just talked about the various ways in which God works on man, and which every one of you can experience for yourselves, so I will not speak in too much detail. But in your hearts, it is perhaps unclear what tricks and strategies Satan employs to corrupt man, or at the very least you don’t have a specific understanding of them. Would it be beneficial for Me to speak about this again? (Yes.) Do you want to learn about this? Maybe some of you will ask: “Why talk about Satan again? The moment Satan is mentioned, we become angry, and when we hear its name we feel bothered all over.” No matter how uncomfortable it makes you, you must face the facts. These things must be said plainly and made clear for the benefit of man’s understanding; otherwise man cannot really break away from the influence of Satan.
We have previously discussed the five ways in which Satan corrupts man, which include Satan’s tricks. The ways in which Satan corrupts man are merely the surface layer; more insidious are the tricks hiding under this surface with which Satan achieves its goals. What are these tricks? Go ahead, summarize them. (It cheats, seduces and coerces.) The more of these tricks you list, the closer you get. It looks as though you have been deeply harmed by Satan and have strong feelings on the subject. (It also uses specious rhetoric. It influences and forcefully occupies people.) Forceful occupation—this leaves an especially deep impression. People are afraid of Satan’s forceful occupation, are they not? Are there any other tricks? (It violently harms people, makes threats and enticing offers, and it lies.) Lies are the substance of its actions. Satan lies so it can cheat you. What is the nature of lying? Is lying not the same as cheating? The goal of telling lies is in fact to cheat you. Are there any other tricks? Speak out. Tell Me all of Satan’s tricks that you know of. (It tempts, harms, blinds and deceives.) Most of you feel the same way about this deception, do you not? (It uses fawning flattery, controls man, takes hold of man, terrorizes man and keeps man from believing in God.) I know the overall meaning of the things that you are telling Me, and this is good. You all know something about this, so let us now make a summary of these tricks.
There are six primary tricks that Satan employs to corrupt man.
The first is control and coercion. That is, Satan will do everything possible to take control of your heart. What does “coercion” mean? It means using threatening and forceful tactics to make you obey it, making you think of the consequences if you do not obey. You are afraid and dare not defy it, so you then submit to it.
The second is cheating and trickery. What does “cheating and trickery” entail? Satan makes up some stories and lies, tricking you into believing them. It never tells you that man was created by God, but neither does it say directly that you were not made by God. It does not use the word “God” at all, but instead uses something else as a substitute, using this thing to deceive you so that you basically have no idea of the existence of God. Of course, this “trickery” includes many aspects, not just this one.
The third is forceful indoctrination. With what are people forcefully indoctrinated? Is forceful indoctrination done by man’s own choice? Is it done with man’s consent? (No.) Even if you do not consent, there is nothing you can do about it. In your unawareness, Satan indoctrinates you, instilling you with its thinking, its rules of life and its essence.
The fourth is intimidation and beguilement. That is, Satan employs various tricks to cause you to accept it, follow it and work in its service. It will do anything to achieve its goals. It sometimes bestows small favors on you, all the while luring you into committing sin. If you do not follow it, it will make you suffer and punish you, and use various ways to attack and ensnare you.
The fifth is deception and paralysis. “Deception and paralysis” is when Satan spins some sweet-sounding words and ideas that align with people’s notions, to make it seem as though it is being considerate of people’s fleshly situation, of their lives and futures, when actually its only goal is to fool you. It then paralyzes you so that you do not know what is right and what is wrong, so that you are unwittingly tricked and thereby come under its control.
The sixth is the destruction of body and mind. What part of man does Satan destroy? (Man’s mind and entire being.) Satan destroys your mind, making you powerless to resist, meaning that, little by little, your heart turns toward Satan in spite of yourself. It instills these things in you every day, every day using these ideas and cultures to influence and groom you, undermining your will little by little, so that eventually you no longer desire to be a good person, so that you no longer wish to stand up for what you call “righteousness.” Unknowingly, you no longer have the willpower to swim against the current, but instead flow along with it. “Destruction” means Satan tormenting people so much that they become shadows of themselves, no longer human. This is when Satan strikes, seizing and devouring them.
Each one of these tricks that Satan employs to corrupt man renders man powerless to resist; any one of them can be deadly to man. In other words, anything Satan does and any tricks it employs can cause you to degenerate, can bring you under Satan’s control and can mire you in a quagmire of evil and sin. Such are the tricks Satan employs to corrupt man.
We can say Satan is evil, but in order to confirm this, we must still look at what the consequences of Satan’s corruption of man are and which dispositions and essences it brings to man. You all know something about this, so speak up. Once Satan has corrupted people, which dispositions do they express and reveal? (Arrogance and haughtiness, selfishness and despicableness, crookedness and deceitfulness, insidiousness and malice and a total lack of humanity.) On the whole, we can say they have no humanity, can we not? Now, let other brothers and sisters speak. (Once man has been corrupted by Satan, they are most typically arrogant and self-righteous, self-important and self-conceited, greedy and selfish. I feel that these are the most serious issues.) (After people have been corrupted by Satan, they stop at nothing to gain material items and wealth. And they become hostile to God, resist God, disobey God, and they lose the conscience and reason that man should possess.) What you have said is all basically the same, albeit with some minor differences; some of you have simply included more minor details. To summarize, “arrogance” has been the word most often mentioned—arrogance, deceitfulness, malice and selfishness. But you have all overlooked the same thing. People have no conscience, they have lost their reason and have no humanity—but there is another highly important thing that you have not mentioned, which is “betrayal.” The ultimate consequence of these dispositions that exist in any man once they have been corrupted by Satan is their betrayal of God. No matter what God says to people or what work He does on them, they do not heed what they know to be the truth. That is, they no longer acknowledge God and they betray Him; this is the consequence of Satan’s corruption of man. It is the same for all the corrupt dispositions of man. Among the ways that Satan uses to corrupt man—the knowledge people learn, the science they know, their understanding of superstitions and traditional cultures, as well as social trends—is there any that man can use to tell what is righteous and what is unrighteous? Is there anything that can help man to know what is holy and what is evil? Are there any standards by which to measure these things? (No.) There are no standards and no basis that can help man. Even though people may know the word “holy,” there is no one who actually knows what holy is. So can these things that Satan brings to man help them know the truth? Can they help man live with more humanity? Can they help man live in such a way that they are able to worship God more? (No.) It is obvious that they cannot help man worship God or understand the truth, nor can they help man know what holiness and evil are. Conversely, man becomes more and more degenerate, straying further and further from God. This is the reason why we say Satan is evil. Having dissected so many of Satan’s evil qualities, have you seen any element of holiness in Satan, either in its qualities or in your understanding of its essence? (No.) That much is for certain. So have you seen any aspect of Satan’s essence that shares any similarity with God? (No.) Does any expression of Satan share any similarity with God? (No.) So now I want to ask you: Using your own words, what exactly is the holiness of God? First of all, what are the words “the holiness of God” said in connection with? Are they said in connection with the essence of God? Or are they said in connection with some aspect of His disposition? (They are said in connection with the essence of God.) We must clearly identify a foothold with which to access our desired topic. These words are said in connection with the essence of God. First of all, we have used Satan’s evil as a foil to the essence of God, so have you seen any of Satan’s essence in God? What about any of mankind’s essence? (God is not arrogant, not selfish and does not betray, and from this we see the holy essence of God revealed.) Is there anything else to add? (God has no trace of the corrupt disposition of Satan. What Satan has is entirely negative, while what God has is nothing but positive. We can see that God has always been at our side, watching over us and protecting us, from the time when we were very small, all throughout our lives and until the present day, and especially at the times we lost our way. There is no deceit in God, no cheating. He speaks clearly and plainly, and this too is the true essence of God.) Very good! (We can see none of the corrupt disposition of Satan in God, no duplicity, no boasting, no empty promises and no deceit. God is the only One that man can believe in. God is faithful and sincere. From the work of God, we can see that God tells people to be honest, gives them wisdom, makes them able to tell good from evil and have discernment of various people, events and things. In this we can see God’s holiness.) Have you finished? Are you satisfied with what you have said? How much understanding of God is really in your hearts? And how much do you comprehend the holiness of God? I know that each and every one of you has in your heart some level of perceptive understanding, because every individual can feel God’s work on them and, in varying degrees, they obtain many things from God: Grace and blessings, enlightenment and illumination and God’s judgment and chastisement, and because of these things, man gains some simple understanding of the essence of God.
Although the holiness of God that we are discussing today may seem strange to most people, regardless of this, we have now begun this topic, and as you walk the road ahead you will gain a deeper understanding. It requires you to gradually feel and understand during your own experiencing. For now, your perceptive-based understanding of God’s essence still requires a long period of time to learn, to confirm, to feel and to experience it, until one day you will know, from the very center of your heart, that “the holiness of God” means that God’s essence is flawless, that God’s love is selfless, all that God provides to man is selfless, and you will come to know that God’s holiness is unblemished and irreproachable. These aspects of God’s essence are not just words He uses to flaunt His status, but rather God uses His essence to treat each and every individual with quiet sincerity. In other words, the essence of God is not empty, nor is it theoretical or doctrinal, and it is certainly not a kind of knowledge. It is not a kind of education for man; instead it is the true revelation of God’s own actions and the revealed essence of what God has and is. Man should know this essence and comprehend it, because everything God does and every word He says is of great value and great significance to every single person. When you come to comprehend the holiness of God, you can then really believe in God; when you come to comprehend the holiness of God, you can then really realize the true meaning of the words “God Himself, the Unique.” You will no longer fantasize, thinking there are other paths besides this one that you could choose to walk, and you will no longer be willing to betray everything that God has arranged for you. Because the essence of God is holy, that means that only through God can you walk through life on the righteous path of light; only through God can you know the meaning of life; only through God can you live out real humanity and both possess and know the truth. Only through God can you obtain life from the truth. Only God Himself can help you shun evil and deliver you from the harm and control of Satan. Besides God, no one and nothing can save you from the sea of suffering so that you suffer no longer. This is determined by the essence of God. Only God Himself saves you so selflessly; only God is ultimately responsible for your future, for your destiny and for your life, and He arranges all things for you. This is something that nothing created or non-created can achieve. Because nothing created or non-created possesses an essence like the essence of God, no person or thing has the ability to save you or to lead you. This is the importance of God’s essence to man. Perhaps you feel that these words I have said may help a little, in principle. But if you pursue the truth, if you love the truth, then you will come to experience how these words will not only change your destiny, but beyond that they will bring you to the right path of human life. You understand this, do you not? So do you now have some interest in knowing the essence of God? (Yes.) It is good to know that you are interested. For today, this is where we will finish our fellowship topic of knowing the holiness of God.
I would like to talk to you about something that you did at the beginning of our gathering today that surprised Me. Some of you were perhaps nurturing a sense of gratitude, perhaps you were feeling grateful, and so your emotion brought about a corresponding action. What you did was not something that needs reproaching; it is neither right nor wrong. But I would like you to understand something. What is it that I want you to understand? First, I would like to ask you about what you did just now. Was it prostrating or kneeling to worship? Can anyone tell Me? (We believe it was prostrating.) You believe it was prostrating, so what then is the meaning of prostration? (Worship.) So then, what is kneeling to worship? I have not fellowshiped about this with you before, but today I feel it is necessary to do so. Do you prostrate at your usual gatherings? (No.) Do you prostrate when you say your prayers? (Yes.) Do you prostrate each time you pray, when the situation allows? (Yes.) That is good. But what I would like you to understand today is that God only accepts the genuflections of two types of people. We do not need to consult the Bible or the deeds and conduct of any spiritual figures. Instead, here and now, I will tell you something true. Firstly, prostration and kneeling to worship are not the same thing. Why does God accept the genuflections of those who prostrate themselves? It is because God calls someone to Him and summons this person to accept God’s commission, so God will allow him to prostrate himself before Him. This is the first type of person. The second type is the kneeling to worship of someone who fears God and shuns evil. There are only these two types of people. So which type do you belong to? Are you able to say? This is the truth, though it may hurt your feelings a little. There is nothing to say about people’s genuflections during prayer—this is proper and as it should be, because when people pray it is mostly praying for something, opening their hearts to God and coming face to face with Him. It is communication and exchange, heart to heart with God. Worshiping on your knees should not be a mere formality. I do not mean to reproach you for what you have done today. I just want to make it clear to you so that you understand this principle—you know this, do you not? (Yes, we know.) I am telling you this so that this does not happen again. So, do people have any opportunity to prostrate and kneel before the face of God? It is not that there will never be this opportunity. Sooner or later the day will come, but the time is not now. Do you see? Does this make you upset? (No.) That is good. Maybe these words will motivate or inspire you so that you can know in your hearts the current predicament between God and man and what kind of relationship exists now between God and man. Although we have recently talked and exchanged some more, man’s understanding of God is still far from sufficient. Man still has a long way to go on this road of seeking to understand God. It is not My intention to make you do this as a matter of urgency, or to rush to express these kinds of aspirations or feelings. What you did today may reveal and express your true feelings, and I sensed them. So while you were doing it, I just wanted to stand up and give you My well wishes, because I wish you all to be well. So, in My every word and every action, I do My utmost to help you, to guide you, so that you can have the correct understanding and correct view of all things. You can comprehend this, can you not? (Yes.) That is good. Although people have some understanding of God’s various dispositions, the aspects of what God has and is and the work God does, the majority of this understanding goes no further than reading words on a page, or understanding them in principle, or just thinking about them. What people lack the most is the real understanding and insight that comes from actual experience. Even though God uses various methods to awaken people’s hearts, there is still a long road to walk before this can be accomplished. I do not want to see anyone feeling as though God has left them out in the cold, that God has abandoned them or turned His back on them. All I want to see is everyone on the road to pursuing the truth and seeking to understand God, boldly marching onward with unfaltering determination, without any misgivings or burdens. No matter what wrongs you have committed, no matter how far you have strayed or how seriously you have transgressed, do not let these become burdens or excess baggage that you have to carry with you in your pursuit of understanding God. Continue marching onward. At all times, God holds man’s salvation in His heart; this never changes. This is the most precious part of the essence of God. Do you feel a little better now? (Yes.) I hope that you can take the correct approach to all things and to the words that I have spoken. Let us end this fellowship here, then. Goodbye, everyone! (Goodbye!)
January 11, 2014