God Himself, the Unique X
God Is the Source of Life for All Things (IV)
We are communing on a special topic today. For each and every believer, there are only two main things that need to be known, experienced, and understood. What are these two things? The first is one’s individual entry into life, and the second relates to knowing God. Regarding the topic we have recently been communicating about, on the subject of knowing God, do you think that it is attainable? It is fair to say that it is indeed beyond most people’s reach. You might not be convinced by My words, but why do I say this? I say it because when you were listening to what I was saying before, regardless of how I said it or with what words, you were able, both literally and theoretically, to know what these words were about. However, for all of you, a very serious issue was that you did not understand why I said such things or why I spoke on such topics. This is the crux of the matter. Thus, although your having heard these things added a bit to and enriched your understanding of God and His deeds, you still feel that knowing God entails strenuous effort. That is, after hearing what I say, most of you do not understand why I have said it or what connection it has to knowing God. The reason you are unable to understand its connection to knowing God is that your life experience is too superficial. If people’s knowledge and experience of God’s words remain at a very shallow level, then most of their knowledge of Him will be vague and abstract; it will all be general, doctrinal, and theoretical. In theory, it might appear or sound logical and reasonable, but the knowledge of God that comes out of most people’s mouths is actually empty. And why do I say that it is empty? It is because you do not actually have a clear understanding as to the veracity and accuracy of what you yourself say with regard to knowing God. As such, even though most people have heard a lot of information and topics about knowing God, their knowledge of God has yet to go beyond theory and beyond doctrine that is vague and abstract. How, then, can this problem be solved? Have you ever thought about that? If someone does not pursue the truth, can they be possessed of reality? If someone does not pursue the truth, then they are unquestionably without reality, and they therefore definitely have no knowledge or experience of God’s words. Can those who have no understanding of God’s words know God? Absolutely not; the two are interconnected. Therefore, most people say, “Why is knowing God so difficult? When I speak of knowing myself, I can go on for hours, but when it comes to knowing God, I’m lost for words. Even when I can say a bit on the subject, my words are forced and sound dull. It even sounds awkward when I hear myself saying them.” This is the source. If you feel that knowing God is too difficult, that knowing Him takes a lot of effort, or that you have no topics to bring up and cannot think of anything real to commune and provide to others and yourself, then this proves that you are not someone who has experienced God’s words. What are God’s words? Are His words not expressions of what God has and is? If you have not experienced God’s words, could you have any knowledge of what He has and is? Surely not. These things are all interconnected. If you have no experience of God’s words, then you cannot grasp God’s will, nor do you know what His disposition is, what He likes, what He loathes, what His requirements of people are, what sort of attitude He has toward those who are good, and what sort of attitude He has toward those who are evil; all of this is certainly ambiguous and obscure to you. If you believe in God amid such obscurity, then when you claim to be one of those who pursue the truth and follow God, are such claims realistic? They are not! Let us therefore continue to commune about knowing God.
You are all eager to hear today’s topic for fellowship, right? This topic also relates to the subject, “God is the source of life for all things,” which we have recently been discussing. We have talked a lot about how “God is the source of life for all things,” using different means and perspectives to inform people about how God rules over everything, by what means He does so, and according to what principles He manages all things so that they might exist on this planet that God created. We have also talked a lot about how God provides for mankind: by what means He gives such provision, what kinds of living environments He provides people with, and by what means and from which starting points He provides a stable living environment for man. Although I have not spoken directly of the relationship between God’s dominion over and administration of all things, and His management, I have indirectly spoken of the reasons He administers all things in this way, as well as of the reasons He provides for and nourishes mankind in this manner. All of this relates to His management. The content of which we have spoken has been very wide-ranging: from the macro environment, to much smaller things such as people’s basic necessities and diet; from how God rules over all things and causes them to operate in an orderly fashion, to the right and proper living environment He created for the people of every race; and so on. This extensive content all relates to how humans live in the flesh—that is, it all relates to things of the material world that are visible to the naked eye, and which people can feel, such as mountains, rivers, oceans, plains, and so on. These are all things that can be seen and touched. When I talk of air and temperature, you can use your breath to feel the existence of air directly, and your body to sense whether the temperature is high or low. The trees, grass, and the birds and beasts in the forests, the things that fly in the air and walk on land, and the various little animals that emerge from burrows, can all be seen with people’s own eyes and heard with their own ears. Though the scope touched upon by all these things is quite vast, of all the things God created, they represent only the material world. Material things are what people can see and feel, which is to say that when you touch them, you sense them, and when your eyes see them, your brain presents you with an image, a picture. They are things that are real and actual; to you they are not abstract, but have a shape. They may be square or round, or tall or short, and each object gives you a different impression. All these things represent that material aspect of creation. And so, for God, what do the “all things” in the phrase, “God’s dominion over all things,” include? They do not simply include the things that humans can see and touch; in addition, they include all that is invisible and impalpable. This is one of the true meanings of God’s dominion over all things. Even though such things are invisible and impalpable to humans, for God—as long as they can be observed by His eyes and are within the scope of His sovereignty—they actually exist. Despite the fact that they are abstract and unimaginable, and moreover are invisible and impalpable to humans, to God they actually and truly exist. This is another world among all the things over which God rules, and it is another part of the scope of all the things that He dominates. This is today’s topic for fellowshiping: how God rules and administers the spiritual world. Since this topic covers how God rules and manages all things, it relates to the world outside of the material world—the spiritual world—and, thus, is absolutely vital for us to understand. Only after having communicated about and understood this content can people genuinely comprehend the true meaning of the words, “God is the source of life for all things.” This is the reason we are going to discuss this topic; its purpose is to complete the subject of “God rules over all things, and God manages all things.” Perhaps, when you hear this topic, it may feel strange or unfathomable to you, but no matter what you feel, since the spiritual world is one part of all the things ruled by God, you must gain some understanding of this topic. Once you do, you will have a deeper appreciation, understanding, and knowledge of the phrase, “God is the source of life for all things.”
How God Rules and Administers the Spiritual World
For the material world, whenever people do not understand certain things or phenomena, they can search for relevant information or use various channels to find out those things’ origins and background. But when it comes to the other world about which we are talking today—the spiritual world, which exists outside of the material world—people have absolutely no means or channels by which to learn anything about it. Why do I say this? I say it because, in the world of mankind, everything of the material world is inseparable from the physical existence of man, and because people feel that everything of the material world is inseparable from their physical living and physical lives, most people are only aware of, or see, the material things before their eyes that are visible to them. However, when it comes to the spiritual world—which is to say, everything that is of that other world—it would be fair to say that most people do not believe. Because people cannot see it, and believe there is no need to understand it or to know anything about it, to say nothing of how the spiritual world is a completely different world to the material world and, from God’s point of view, is open—although, for humans, it is secret and closed—people therefore have a very difficult time finding a path to understanding the various aspects of this world. The different aspects of the spiritual world about which I am going to speak only concern God’s administration and sovereignty; I am not revealing any mysteries, nor am I telling you any of the secrets that you wish to learn. Because this concerns God’s sovereignty, God’s administration, and God’s provision, I therefore shall only speak of the part that it is necessary for you to know.
First, let Me ask you a question: In your mind, what is the spiritual world? Broadly speaking, it is a world outside the material world, one that is both invisible and intangible to people. In your imagination, though, what kind of world should the spiritual world be? Perhaps, as a result of not being able to see it, you are incapable of thinking about it. However, when you hear some legends, you are still thinking about it, and you can’t stop thinking about it. Why do I say this? There is something that happens to a lot of people when they are young: When someone tells them a frightening story—about ghosts, or souls—they feel terrified out of their wits. Why exactly are they scared? It is because they are imagining those things; even though they cannot see them, they feel that they are all around their rooms, in some hidden or dark corner, and they are so frightened that they do not dare go to sleep. Especially at night, they feel too afraid to be alone in their rooms or to venture alone into their courtyards. That is the spiritual world of your imagination, and it is a world that people think is frightening. The fact is that everyone imagines it to some extent, and everyone can feel it a little.
Let us begin with talking about the spiritual world. What is it? Let Me give you a short and simple explanation: The spiritual world is an important place, one that is different from the material world. Why do I say that it is important? We are going to discuss this in detail. The existence of the spiritual world is inextricably linked to the material world of mankind. It plays a major role in the cycle of human life and death in God’s dominion over all things; this is its role, and this is one of the reasons that its existence is important. Because it is a place that is indiscernible to the five senses, no one can accurately judge whether the spiritual world exists or not. Its various dynamics are intimately connected to human existence, as a result of which the order of life of mankind is also hugely influenced by the spiritual world. Does this involve God’s sovereignty or not? It does. When I say this, you understand why I am discussing this topic: It is because it concerns God’s sovereignty, as well as His administration. In a world such as this—one that is invisible to people—its every heavenly edict, decree, and administrative system is far above the laws and systems of any nation of the material world, and no being living in this world would dare to contravene or violate them. Does this relate to God’s sovereignty and administration? In the spiritual world, there are clear administrative decrees, clear heavenly edicts, and clear statutes. At different levels and in various areas, attendants strictly abide by their duties and observe rules and regulations, for they know what the consequence of violating a heavenly edict is; they are clearly aware of how God punishes evil and rewards good, and of how He administers and rules over all things. Moreover, they clearly see how He carries out His heavenly edicts and statutes. Are these different from the material world inhabited by mankind? They are indeed enormously different. The spiritual world is a world that is completely different to the material world. Since there are heavenly edicts and statutes, this touches upon God’s sovereignty, administration and, moreover, His disposition, as well as what He has and is. Having heard this, do you not feel that it is highly necessary for Me to speak of this topic? Do you not wish to learn the secrets inherent to it? (Yes, we do.) Such is the concept of the spiritual world. Although it coexists with the material world, and is simultaneously subject to God’s administration and sovereignty, God’s administration and sovereignty of this world are far stricter than those of the material world. When it comes to details, we should begin with how the spiritual world is responsible for the work of mankind’s cycle of life and death, for this is a major part of the work of the beings of the spiritual world.
Among mankind, I categorize all people into three types. The first are the unbelievers, who are those without religious beliefs. They are called unbelievers. The overwhelming majority of unbelievers only have faith in money; they only uphold their own interests, are materialistic, and only believe in the material world—they do not believe in the cycle of life and death, or in anything said about deities and ghosts. I categorize these people as unbelievers, and they are the first type. The second type includes the various people of faith apart from the unbelievers. Among mankind, I divide these people of faith into several major groups: The first are Jewish, the second are Catholic, the third are Christian, the fourth are Muslim, and the fifth are Buddhist; there are five kinds. These are the various kinds of people of faith. The third type includes those who believe in God, and this includes you. Such believers are those who follow God today. These people are divided into two kinds: God’s chosen people, and the service-doers. These main types have been clearly differentiated. Thus, you are now able to clearly differentiate in your minds between the types and rankings of humans, are you not? The first type is comprised of unbelievers, and I have said what they are. Do those who have faith in the Old Man in the Sky count as unbelievers? Many unbelievers only believe in the Old Man in the Sky; they believe that the wind, rain, thunder, and so on are all controlled by this entity on whom they rely for the planting of crops and the harvest—yet when belief in God is mentioned, they are unwilling to believe in Him. Can this be called having faith? Such people are included among the unbelievers. You understand this, right? Do not mistake these categories. The second type includes people of faith, and the third type are those who are currently following God. Why, then, have I divided all humans into these types? (Because the various types of people have different ends and destinations.) That is one aspect of it. When these various races and types of people return to the spiritual world, they will each have a different place to go and will be subject to various laws of the cycle of life and death, so that is why I have categorized humans into these major types.
a. The Cycle of Life and Death of the Unbelievers
Let us begin with the cycle of life and death of the unbelievers. After dying, a person is taken away by an attendant from the spiritual world. Exactly what of a person is taken away? Not one’s flesh, but one’s soul. When one’s soul is taken away, one arrives at a place that is an agency of the spiritual world that specially receives the souls of people who have just died. That is the first place anyone goes after dying, which is strange to the soul. When they are taken to this place, an official carries out the first checks, confirming their name, address, age, and all their experiences. Everything they did while they were alive is recorded in a book and verified for accuracy. After it has all been checked, the person’s behavior and actions throughout their life are used to determine whether they will be punished or continue being reincarnated as a human, which is the first stage. Is this first stage frightening? It is not too frightening, because the only thing that has happened is the person has arrived at a dark and unfamiliar place.
In the second stage, if this person has done a lot of bad things throughout their life and committed many wicked deeds, then they will be taken to a place of punishment to be dealt with. That will be the place expressly used for the punishment of people. The specifics of how they are punished depend on the sins they have committed, as well as on how many wicked things they did before they died—this is the first situation that occurs in this second stage. Because of the bad things they did and the evil they committed before they died, when they are reincarnated after their punishment—when they are once more born into the material world—some people will continue to be human, while others will become animals. That is to say, after a person returns to the spiritual world, they are punished because of the evil they have committed; moreover, because of the wicked things they have done, in their next reincarnation they probably will not return as a human, but as an animal. The range of animals that they might become includes cows, horses, pigs, and dogs. Some people could be reborn as birds, or ducks or geese…. After they have been reincarnated as animals, when they die again, they will return to the spiritual world. There, as before, based on their behavior prior to their deaths, the spiritual world will decide whether or not they are reincarnated as humans. Most people commit too much evil, and their sins are too grievous, so they have to incarnate as animals seven to twelve times. Seven to twelve times—is that not frightful? (It’s frightful.) What frightens you? A person becoming an animal—that is terrifying. And for a person, what are the most painful things about becoming an animal? Having no language, having only simple thoughts, only being able to do the things that animals do and eat the food that animals eat, having the simple mindset and body language of an animal, not being able to walk upright, not being able to communicate with humans, and the fact that none of the behavior or activities of humans bear any relation to animals. That is, among all things, being an animal makes you the lowest of all living beings and involves a great deal more suffering than does being a human. This is one aspect of the spiritual world’s punishment of those who have done much evil and committed great sins. When it comes to the severity of their punishment, this is decided depending on whatever kind of animal they become. For example, is being a pig better than being a dog? Does a pig live better or worse than a dog? Worse, right? If people become cows or horses, will they live better or worse than they would as pigs? (Better.) Will a person be more comfortable being reborn as a cat? He would be an animal just the same, and being a cat would be much easier than being a cow or horse, because cats get to laze away most of their time in slumber. Becoming a cow or horse is more laborious. Therefore, if a person is reincarnated as a cow or horse, they have to work hard—which is akin to harsh punishment. Becoming a dog would be a little better than becoming a cow or horse, because a dog has a closer relationship with its master. Some dogs, after being pets for several years, are able to understand a lot of what their masters say. Sometimes, a dog can adapt to its master’s mood and requirements and the master treats the dog better, and the dog eats and drinks better, and when it is in pain, it is looked after more. Does the dog not then enjoy a happy life? Thus, being a dog is better than being a cow or horse. In this, the severity of a person’s punishment determines how many times one is reincarnated as an animal, as well as which type.
Because they committed so many sins while they were alive, some people are punished by being reincarnated as animals seven to twelve lifetimes. Having been punished enough times, upon returning to the spiritual world, they are taken somewhere else—a place in which the various souls have already been punished and are of the type who are preparing to be reincarnated as humans. In this location, each soul is categorized by type according to what kind of family they will be born into, what sort of role they will play once they have been reincarnated, and so on. For example, some people will become singers when they come to this world, so are placed among singers; some will become businesspeople when they come to this world, and so they are placed among businesspeople; and if someone is to become a scientific researcher after becoming human, then they are placed among scientific researchers. After they are classified, each is sent out according to a different time and appointed date, just as people send e-mails today. In this will be completed one cycle of life and death. From the day that a person arrives in the spiritual world up until the end of their punishment, or until they have been reincarnated as an animal many times and are preparing to be reincarnated as a human, this process is complete.
As for those who are done being punished and are not reincarnated as animals, will they quickly be sent to the material world to incarnate as humans? Or, how long will it be before they can arrive among humans? What is the frequency with which this can happen? There are temporal restrictions to it. Everything that happens in the spiritual world is subject to the precise temporal restrictions and rules—which, if I explain with numbers, you will understand. For those who are reincarnated within a short period of time, when they die, preparations will already have been made for them to reincarnate as humans. The shortest time in which this can happen is three days. For some people, it takes three months, for some it takes three years, for some it takes thirty years, for some it takes three hundred years, and so on. So, what can be said about these temporal rules, and what are their specifics? They are based on what the material world—the world of man—needs from a soul, and on the role that this soul is meant to play in this world. When people are reincarnated as ordinary humans, most of them are reincarnated very quickly, because the world of man has a pressing need for such ordinary people—and so, three days later, they are sent out again to a family that is completely different from the one they were in before they died. However, there are some who play a special role in this world. “Special” means that there is not a great demand for these people in the world of man; not many people are needed to play such a role, so it may take three hundred years. In other words, this soul will only come once every three hundred years, or even just once every three thousand years. Why is this? It is due to the fact that for either three hundred or three thousand years, such a role is not required in the world of man, so they are kept somewhere in the spiritual world. Take Confucius, for example: He had a profound impact on traditional Chinese culture, and his arrival deeply affected the culture, knowledge, tradition, and ideology of the people of that time. However, a person such as this is not needed in every era, so he had to remain in the spiritual world, waiting there for three hundred or three thousand years before being reincarnated. Because the world of man was not in need of someone like this, he had to wait idly, for there were very few roles such as his, and very little for him to do. As such, he had to be kept somewhere in the spiritual world for most of that time, idle, to be sent out once the world of man had need of him. Such are the spiritual realm’s temporal rules for the frequency with which most people are reincarnated. Whether people are ordinary or special, the spiritual world has appropriate rules and correct practices for processing their reincarnations, and these rules and practices are sent down from God, not decided or controlled by any attendant or being of the spiritual world. You understand this now, right?
For any soul, its reincarnation, what its role is in this life, what family it is born into, and what its life is like are closely related to the soul’s previous lifetime. All kinds of people come into the world of man, and the roles they play vary, as do the tasks they carry out. And what tasks are these? Some people have come to repay debts: If they owed others too much money in their past lives, they come to repay those debts in this life. Some people, meanwhile, have come to collect debts: They were scammed out of too many things and too much money in their previous lifetimes; as a result, after they arrive in the spiritual world, it gives them justice and allows them to collect their debts in this lifetime. Some people have come to repay debts of gratitude: During the previous lifetime—that is, their previous reincarnation—someone was kind to them, and due to having been given the great opportunity to be reincarnated in this life, they are reborn to repay those debts of gratitude. Others, meanwhile, have been reborn into this life to claim lives. And whose lives do they claim? They claim that of the people who killed them in their previous lives. In sum, every person’s present life bears a strong connection to their previous lifetimes; this connection is inseverable. That is to say, every person’s present life is hugely affected by the previous one. For example, let us say that before he died, Zhang cheated Li out of a large amount of money. Does Zhang then owe Li a debt? He does, so is it then natural that Li should collect his debt from Zhang? As a result, after they die, there is a debt between them that must be settled. When they are reincarnated and Zhang becomes human, how does Li collect his debt from him? One method is to be reborn as Zhang’s son; Zhang earns a large amount of money, which is then squandered by Li. No matter how much money Zhang earns, his son Li squanders it. No matter how much Zhang earns, it is never enough; and meanwhile, his son, for some reason, always ends up spending his father’s money by various means. Zhang is mystified, wondering, “Why does this son of mine always bring such bad luck? Why is it that other people’s sons are so well-behaved? Why does my own son have no ambition, why is he so useless and incapable of earning any money, and why do I always have to support him? Since I have to support him, I will—but why is it that no matter how much money I give him, he always needs more? Why is he incapable of doing an honest day’s work, and instead does all kinds of things such as loafing around, eating, drinking, whoring, and betting? What on earth is going on?” Zhang then thinks for a while, “It could be that I owe him a debt from a previous lifetime. Well then, I’ll pay it off! This won’t end until I pay it in full!” The day might come when Li really has recouped his debt, and by the time he is in his forties or fifties, he might suddenly come to his senses, realizing, “I haven’t done a single good thing in the entire first half of my life! I’ve squandered all the money my father earned, so I should start being a good person! I’ll steel myself; I’ll be someone who is honest and lives properly, and I will never bring grief to my father again!” Why does he think this? Why does he suddenly change for the better? Is there a reason for this? What is the reason? (It is because Li has collected his debt; Zhang has paid his debt.) In this, there is cause and effect. The story began long, long ago, before their current lifetimes; this story of their past lives has been brought to the present, and neither can blame the other. No matter what Zhang taught his son, his son never listened nor did an honest day’s work. Yet on the day the debt was repaid, there was no need to teach his son—he naturally understood. This is a simple example. Are there many such examples? (Yes, there are.) What does it tell people? (That they should be good and not commit evil.) That they should do no evil, and that there will be retribution for their wrongdoings! Most unbelievers commit much evil, and their wrongdoings are met with retribution, correct? However, is such retribution arbitrary? For every act, there is a background and a reason behind its retribution. Do you think nothing will happen to you after you have cheated someone out of money? Do you think that after having swindled that money away, you will not face any consequences? Such would be impossible; there will indeed be consequences! Regardless of who they are or whether or not they believe that there is a God, all individuals must take responsibility for their own behavior and bear the consequences of their actions. With regard to this simple example—Zhang’s being punished, and Li’s being repaid—is this not fair? When people do such things, this is the sort of result that occurs. It is inseparable from the administration of the spiritual world. Despite their being unbelievers, the existence of those who do not believe in God is subject to these sorts of heavenly edicts and decrees. No one can escape from them, and no one can avoid this reality.
Those who have no faith often believe that everything visible to humans exists, while everything that cannot be seen, or which is very distant from people, does not. They prefer to believe that there is no “cycle of life and death,” and that there is no “punishment”; as such, they sin and commit evil without compunction. Afterward, they are punished, or they reincarnate as animals. Most of the various sorts of people among unbelievers fall into this vicious circle. This is because they do not know that the spiritual world is strict in its administration of all living beings. Whether you believe or not, this fact exists, for not a single person or object can escape the scope of what God observes with His eyes, and not a single person or object can escape the rules and limitations of His heavenly edicts and decrees. Thus, this simple example tells everyone that regardless of whether or not you believe in God, it is unacceptable to sin and commit evil, and that all actions bear consequences. When someone who cheated another out of money is punished, such punishment is fair. Commonly seen behavior such as this is penalized in the spiritual world, and such punishment is delivered by the decrees and heavenly edicts of God. Therefore, grievously criminal and wicked behavior—raping and looting, fraud and deception, theft and robbery, murder and arson, and so on—is even further subject to an array of punishments of varying severity. What do these punishments of varying severity include? Some of them establish the level of severity using time, whereas some do so through differing methodologies; still others do by determining where people go when they are reincarnated. For example, some people are foul-mouthed. What does being “foul-mouthed” refer to? It means frequently swearing at others and using malicious language that curses others. What does malicious language signify? It indicates that the person has a malicious heart. Foul language that curses others often comes from the mouths of such people, and such malicious language brings severe consequences. After these people have died and received the appropriate punishment, they may be reborn as mutes. Some people are very calculating while still alive; they often take advantage of others, their little schemes are particularly well-planned, and they do much harm to people. When they are reborn, it could be as half-wits or people who are mentally disabled. Some people often peer into the private business of others; their eyes see much that they should not have been privy to, and they learn much that they ought not to know. As a result, when they are reborn, they may be blind. Some people are very nimble when they are alive; they often fight and do much that is evil. Because of this, they might be reborn disabled, lame, or missing an arm; otherwise they might reincarnate as hunchbacks or wrynecks, walk with a limp, have one leg shorter than the other, and so on. In these, they have been subjected to various punishments based on the levels of evil they committed while alive. Why do you think some people have lazy eye? Are there many such people? These days there are more than just a few. Some people have lazy eye because in their past lives, they made too much use of their eyes and did too many bad things, so they were born into this life with lazy eye, and in serious cases, they were even born blind. This is retribution! Some people get on well with others before they die; they do many good things for their relatives, friends, colleagues, or the people connected to them. They give charity and care to others, or assist them financially, and people think very highly of them. When such people return to the spiritual world, they are not punished. For an unbeliever to not be punished in any way means they were a very good person. Instead of believing in the existence of God, they only believe in the Old Man in the Sky. Such a person only believes that there is a spirit above them, watching everything they do—that is all this person believes in. The result is that this person is much better-behaved. Such people are kindhearted and charitable, and when they ultimately return to the spiritual world, it will treat them very well, and they will soon be reincarnated. When they are reborn, what sorts of families will they arrive in? Though such families will not be rich, they will be free from any harm, with harmony among their members; there, these reincarnated people will pass safe, happy days, and everyone will be joyous and live good lives. When these people reach adulthood, they will have large, extended families, their children will be talented and enjoy success, and their families will enjoy good fortune—and such an outcome is hugely connected to these people’s past lives. That is, where people go after they die and are reincarnated, whether they are male or female, what their missions are, what they will go through in life, what setbacks they will endure, what blessings they will enjoy, whom they will meet, and what will happen to them—no one can predict these things, avoid them, or hide from them. Which is to say, once your life has been set, whatever happens to you—however you try to avoid it, and by whatever means—you have no way of violating the life course that God set out for you in the spiritual world. For when you are reincarnated, your life’s fate has already been set. Whether it be good or bad, everyone should face up to this and keep moving forward. This is an issue that no one who lives in this world can avoid, and no issue is more real. You have all understood everything I have been saying, right?
Having understood these things, have you now seen that God has very exacting and rigorous checks and administration for the cycle of life and death of unbelievers? Firstly, He has established various heavenly edicts, decrees, and systems in the spiritual realm, and once these have been declared, they are very strictly carried out, as set by God, by beings in various official positions in the spiritual world, and no one would dare violate them. Therefore, in the cycle of life and death of mankind in the world of man, whether someone is reincarnated as an animal or a human, there are laws for both. Because these laws come from God, no one dares to break them, nor is anyone able to break them. It is only due to this sovereignty of God, and because such laws exist, that the material world that people see is regular and orderly; it is only because of this sovereignty of God that humans are able to coexist peacefully with the other world that is completely invisible to them, and able to live in harmony with it—all of which is inextricable from God’s sovereignty. After a person’s fleshly life dies, the soul still has life, and so what would happen if it were not under God’s administration? The soul would wander all over the place, intruding everywhere, and would even harm the living things in the human world. Such harm would not only be done to mankind but could also be done to plants and animals—however, the first to be harmed would be people. Were this to happen—if such a soul were without administration, genuinely harmed people, and actually did wicked things—then this soul would also be properly handled in the spiritual world: If things were serious, the soul would soon cease to exist, and would be destroyed. If possible, it would be placed somewhere and then reincarnated. That is to say, the spiritual world’s administration of various souls is ordered, and is carried out in accordance with steps and rules. It is only because of such administration that the material world of man has not fallen into chaos, that the humans of the material world possess a normal mentality, a normal rationality, and an ordered fleshly life. Only after mankind has such a normal life will those who live in the flesh be able to continue to thrive and reproduce throughout the generations.
What do you think of the words you have just heard? Are they new to you? What sort of impressions have today’s topics of fellowship left you with? Apart from their novelty, do you feel anything else? (People should be well-behaved, and we can see that God is great and should be revered.) (Having just heard God’s communion about how God arranges the ends of various types of people, in one regard I feel that His disposition does not allow any offense, and that I should revere Him; in another regard, I’m aware of what sort of people God likes, and what sort He doesn’t, so I want to be one of those that He likes.) Do you see that God is principled in His actions in this area? What are the principles by which He acts? (He sets people’s ends according to all that they do.) This is about the various ends for the unbelievers of which we just spoke. When it comes to unbelievers, is the principle behind God’s actions one of rewarding the good and punishing the wicked? Are there any exceptions? (No.) Do you see that there is a principle behind God’s actions? Unbelievers do not actually believe in God, nor do they submit to His orchestrations. In addition, they are unaware of His sovereignty, much less do they acknowledge Him. More seriously, they profane against God, and curse Him, and are hostile toward those who believe in God. Despite this attitude of theirs toward God, His administration of them still does not deviate from His principles; He administers them in an orderly manner, in accordance with His principles and His disposition. How does He regard their hostility? As ignorance! As a result, He has caused these people—that is, the vast majority of unbelievers—to reincarnate as animals in the past. So, in God’s eyes, what exactly are unbelievers? They are all beasts. God administers beasts as well as mankind, and for such people He has the same principles. Even in His administration of these people, His disposition can still be seen, as can His laws behind His dominion over all things. And so, do you see God’s sovereignty in the principles by which He administers the unbelievers I just mentioned? Do you see God’s righteous disposition? (We do.) In other words, no matter which out of all the things He deals with, God acts according to His own principles and disposition. This is God’s essence; He would never casually break with the decrees or heavenly edicts that He has set just because He regards such people as beasts. God acts on principle, not recklessly in the least, and His actions are totally unaffected by any factor. Everything He does abides by His own principles. This is because God possesses the essence of God Himself; this is an aspect of His essence not possessed by any created being. God is conscientious and responsible in His handling of, approach to, management of, administration of, and ruling over every object, person, and living thing among all the things He created, and in this, He has never been careless. To those who are good, He is gracious and kind; upon those who are wicked, He inflicts remorseless punishment; and for the various living beings, He makes appropriate arrangements in a timely and regular manner according to the varying requirements of the human world at different times, such that these various living beings are reincarnated according to the roles they play in an orderly manner and move between the material world and spiritual world in a methodical way.
The death of a living being—the termination of a physical life—signifies that the living being has passed from the material world into the spiritual world, whereas the birth of a new physical life signifies that a living being has come from the spiritual world into the material world and begun to undertake and play its role. Whether it be the departure or arrival of a being, both are inseparable from the work of the spiritual world. By the time someone comes into the material world, suitable arrangements and definitions have already been formed by God in the spiritual world as to which family that person will go to, the era in which they will arrive, the hour at which they will arrive, and the role they will play. As such, this person’s entire life—the things they do, and the paths they take—will proceed according to the arrangements made in the spiritual world, without the slightest deviation. Furthermore, the time when a physical life terminates and the manner and place in which it ends are clear and discernable to the spiritual world. God rules the material world, and He also rules the spiritual world, and He will not delay a soul’s normal cycle of life and death, nor could He ever commit any errors in the arrangements of that cycle. Each of the attendants in the official posts of the spiritual world carries out their individual tasks, and does that which they ought to do, in accordance with the instructions and rules of God. Thus, in the world of mankind, every material phenomenon beheld by man is in order, and contains no chaos. All of this is due to God’s orderly rule over all things, as well as the fact that His authority rules over everything. His dominion includes the material world that man lives in and, moreover, the invisible spiritual world behind mankind. Therefore, if humans wish to have a good life, and hope to live in nice surroundings, in addition to being provided with the entire visible material world, they must also be provided with the spiritual world, which no one can see, which governs every living being on behalf of mankind, and which is orderly. Thus, having said that God is the source of life for all things, have we not heightened our awareness and understanding of “all things”? (Yes.)
b. The Cycle of Life and Death of the Various People of Faith
We just discussed the cycle of life and death of people in the first category, the unbelievers. Now, let us discuss that of the second category, the various people of faith. “The cycle of life and death of the various people of faith” is yet another very important topic, and it is highly necessary for you to have some understanding of it. First, let us speak of which faiths the “faith” in “people of faith” refers to: the five major religions of Judaism, Christianity, Catholicism, Islam, and Buddhism. In addition to the unbelievers, the people who believe in these five religions occupy a large proportion of the world’s population. Among these five religions, those who have made a career out of their faith are few, yet these religions have many followers. They will go to a different place when they die. “Different” from whom? From the unbelievers—the people of no faith—whom we were just talking about. After they die, the believers of these five religions go elsewhere, somewhere different from the unbelievers. However, it is still the same process; the spiritual world will likewise judge them based on all that they did before they died, after which they will be processed accordingly. Why, though, are these people sent to a different location to be processed? There is an important reason for this. What is it? I will explain it to you with an example. Before I do, however, you might be thinking to yourselves: “Maybe it’s because they have a little belief in God! They’re not total unbelievers.” However, this is not the reason. There is a very important reason that they are kept apart from others.
Take Buddhism, for example. I will tell you a fact. A Buddhist is, firstly, someone who has converted to Buddhism, and this is a person who knows what their belief is. When Buddhists cut their hair and become monks or nuns, it means that they have separated themselves from the secular world, leaving behind the clamor of the human world. Every day, they recite the sutras and chant the Buddhas’ names, eat only vegetarian food, live ascetic lives, and pass their days accompanied only by the cold, weak light of a butter lamp. They spend their entire lives like this. When a Buddhist’s physical life is over, they will make a summary of their life, but in their heart they will not know where they will go after they die, who they will meet, or what their outcome will be: Deep down, they will not have a clear idea of such things. They will have done nothing more than blindly carry a sort of faith throughout their entire life, after which they depart from the human world along with their blind wishes and ideals. Such is the termination of a Buddhist’s physical life, when they leave the world of the living; after that, they return to their original place in the spiritual world. Whether or not this person is reincarnated to return to earth and continue their self-cultivation depends on their behavior and practice prior to their death. If they did nothing wrong during their lifetime, they will quickly be reincarnated and sent back to earth again, where this person will once more become a monk or nun. That is, they practice self-cultivation during their physical life in line with how they practiced self-cultivation the first time, and then return to the spiritual realm after their physical life is concluded, where they are examined. After that, if no problems are found, they can return once more to the world of man and again convert to Buddhism, thus continuing their practice. After being reincarnated three to seven times, they will once more return to the spiritual world, where they go after each physical life is over. If their various qualifications and behavior in the human world have been in keeping with the heavenly edicts of the spiritual world, then from this point onward, they will remain there; they will no longer be reincarnated as human, nor will there be any risk of them being punished for evildoing on earth. They will never again have to go through this process. Rather, depending on their circumstances, they will take up a position in the spiritual realm. This is what Buddhists refer to as “attaining Buddhahood.” The attainment of Buddhahood chiefly means achieving fruition as an official of the spiritual world and, thereafter, no longer reincarnating or being at risk of being punished. Moreover, it means no longer suffering the afflictions of being human after reincarnation. So, is there still any chance of them being reincarnated as an animal? (No.) This means that they will remain to take up a role in the spiritual world and will no longer be reincarnated. This is one example of attaining the fruition of Buddhahood in Buddhism. As for those who do not attain fruition, upon their return to the spiritual world, they become subject to the examination and verification of the relevant official, who discovers that while still alive, they had not diligently practiced self-cultivation or been conscientious in reciting the sutras and chanting the Buddhas’ names as prescribed by Buddhism, and instead had committed many evil acts and engaged in a lot of wicked behavior. Then, in the spiritual world, a judgment is made about their evildoing, and following that, they are sure to be punished. In this, there are no exceptions. As such, when can such a person attain fruition? In a lifetime in which they commit no evil—when, after returning to the spiritual world, it is seen that they did nothing wrong before they died. They then continue to reincarnate, carrying on with reciting the sutras and chanting the Buddhas’ names, passing their days with the cold, weak light of a butter lamp, refraining from killing any living thing or eating any meat. They do not partake in the world of man, leaving its troubles far behind and having no disputes with others. In the process, if they have committed no evil, then after they return to the spiritual world and all of their actions and behavior have been examined, they are once more sent out into the human realm, in a cycle that continues for three to seven times. If no misconduct is committed during this time, then their attainment of Buddhahood will remain unaffected, and will not be delayed. This is a feature of the cycle of life and death of all people of faith: They are able to “attain fruition,” and to take up a position in the spiritual world; this is what makes them different from unbelievers. Firstly, while they are still living on earth, how do those who are able to assume a position in the spiritual world conduct themselves? They must be sure not to commit any evil at all: They must not murder, commit arson, rape, or plunder; if they engage in fraud, deception, theft, or robbery, then they cannot attain fruition. In other words, if they have any connection or affiliation with evildoing whatsoever, they will not be able to escape punishment meted out to them by the spiritual world. The spiritual world makes suitable arrangements for Buddhists who attain Buddhahood: They may be assigned to administer those who appear to believe in Buddhism, and in the Old Man in the Sky—they may be allocated a jurisdiction. They may also only be in charge of the unbelievers or have positions with very minor duties. Such allocation happens according to the various natures of their souls. This is an example of Buddhism.
Among the five religions of which we have spoken, Christianity is relatively special. What makes Christians so special? These are people who believe in the true God. How can those who believe in the true God be listed here? In saying that Christianity is a kind of faith, it undoubtedly would only have to do with faith; it would merely be a kind of ceremony, a kind of religion, and be a completely different thing from the faith of those who genuinely follow God. The reason I have listed Christianity among the five major religions is that it has been reduced to the same level as Judaism, Buddhism, and Islam. Most people here do not believe there is a God, or that He rules over all things; much less do they believe in His existence. Instead, they merely employ the Scriptures to discuss theology and use theology to teach people to be kind, to endure suffering, and to do good things. That is the kind of religion Christianity has become: It only concentrates on theological theories, bearing absolutely no relation to God’s work of managing and saving man. It has become a religion of people who follow God but who are not actually acknowledged by God. However, God also has a principle in His approach to such people. He does not casually handle or deal with them at will as He does with the unbelievers. He treats them the same as He treats Buddhists: If, while living, a Christian can exercise self-discipline, strictly abide by the Ten Commandments and make demands of their own behavior in accordance with the laws and commandments, and adhere to them their entire lives, then they also must spend the same amount of time going through the cycles of life and death before they can truly attain the so-called “rapture.” After achieving this rapture, they remain in the spiritual world, where they take up a position and become one of its officials. Likewise, if they commit evil on earth—if they are too sinful and commit too many sins—then they will inevitably be punished and disciplined with varying severity. In Buddhism, attaining fruition means passing on to the Pure Land of Utmost Bliss, but what do they call it in Christianity? It is called “entering heaven” and being “raptured.” Those who are truly raptured also go through the cycle of life and death three to seven times, after which, having died, they come to the spiritual world, as if they had fallen asleep. If they are up to standard, they can remain there to take up a position and, unlike the people on earth, will not be reincarnated in a simple way or according to convention.
Among all these religions, the end of which they speak and for which they strive is the same as the attainment of fruition in Buddhism; it is just that this “fruition” is achieved by different means. They are all birds of a feather. For this portion of followers of these religions, who are able to strictly abide by religious precepts in their behavior, God provides a suitable destination, a suitable place to go to, and handles them appropriately. All of this is reasonable, but it is not as people imagine. Now, having heard about what happens to people in Christianity, how do you feel? Do you feel that their plight is unfair? Do you sympathize with them? (A little.) There is nothing that can be done; they have only themselves to blame. Why do I say this? God’s work is true; He is alive and real, and His work is aimed at all mankind and every individual. Why, then, do they not accept this? Why do they so frantically oppose and persecute God? They should consider themselves lucky to even have this sort of outcome, so why do you feel sorry for them? Their being handled in this way shows great tolerance. Given the extent to which they oppose God, they should be destroyed, yet God does not do this; He instead simply handles Christianity the same as any ordinary religion. Thus, is there any need to go into further detail about the other religions? The ethos of all these religions is for people to suffer more hardship, do no evil, do good deeds, not swear at others, not pass judgment on others, distance themselves from disputes, and be good people—most religious teachings are like this. Therefore, if these people of faith—these followers of various religions and denominations—are able to strictly abide by their religious precepts, then they will not commit great errors or sins during the time that they are on earth; and, after being reincarnated for three to seven times, these people—the ones who are able to strictly abide by religious precepts—will, by and large, remain to take up a position in the spiritual world. Are there many such people? (No, there are not.) What do you base your answer on? It is not easy to do good and to abide by religious rules and laws. Buddhism does not allow people to eat meat—could you do that? If you had to wear gray robes and recite sutras and chant the Buddhas’ names in a Buddhist temple all day, could you do it? It would not be easy. Christianity has the Ten Commandments, the commandments and laws; are these easy to abide by? They are not, right? Take not swearing at others, for example: People are simply incapable of abiding by this rule. Unable to stop themselves, they swear—and after swearing, they cannot take those words back, so what do they do? At night, they confess their sins. Sometimes after they swear at others, they still harbor hatred in their hearts, and they even go so far as to plan out a time to do further harm to those people. In short, for those who live among this dead dogma, it is not easy to refrain from sinning or committing evil. Therefore, in every religion, only a handful of people are actually able to attain fruition. Do you assume that because so many people follow these religions, a good portion will be able to remain to take up a role in the spiritual realm? There are not that many; only a few are actually able to achieve this. That is generally it for the cycle of life and death of people of faith. What sets them apart is that they can attain fruition, and this is what sets them apart from unbelievers.
c. The Cycle of Life and Death of God’s Followers
Next, let us speak of the cycle of life and death of those who follow God. This concerns you, so pay attention: First, think about how God’s followers can be categorized. (God’s chosen ones, and the service-doers.) There are indeed two: God’s chosen ones, and the service-doers. First, let us talk about God’s chosen ones, of whom there are but a few. Whom does “God’s chosen ones” refer to? After God created all things and mankind came into existence, God selected a group of people who would follow Him; these are simply referred to as “God’s chosen.” There was a special scope and significance to God’s selection of these people. The scope is special in that it was limited to a select few, who must come when He does important work. And what is the significance? Since they were a group selected by God, the significance is great. That is, God wishes to complete these people, and perfect them, and once His work of management is finished, He will gain these people. Is this significance not great? Thus, these chosen ones are of great importance to God, for they are the ones whom God intends to gain. As for the service-doers, well, let us take a break for a moment from the subject of God’s predestination, and first talk of their origins. A “service-doer” is literally one who serves. Those who serve are transient; they do not do so long-term or forever, but are hired or recruited temporarily. The origin of most of them is that they were selected from among the unbelievers. They came to earth when it was decreed that they would assume the role of service-doers in God’s work. They may have been animals in the previous lifetime, but they may also have been unbelievers. Such are the origins of the service-doers.
Let us talk further of God’s chosen people. When they die, they go to a completely different location from that of the unbelievers and various people of faith. It is a place where they are accompanied by angels and God’s messengers; it is a place that is personally administered by God. Even though God’s chosen people cannot behold God with their own eyes in this place, it is unlike anywhere else in the spiritual realm; this is a different location, where this portion of people go after they die. When they die, they, too, are subject to a stringent investigation by God’s messengers. And what is investigated? God’s messengers investigate the paths these people have taken throughout their lives in their belief in God, whether or not they ever opposed God or cursed Him during that time, and whether or not they committed any grievous sins or evil. This investigation will settle the question of whether a particular person is allowed to stay or must leave. What does “leave” mean? And what does “stay” mean? “Leave” means whether, based on their behavior, they remain among the ranks of God’s chosen ones; being allowed to “stay” means that they can remain among the ones who will be made complete by God during the last days. For those who stay, God has special arrangements. During each period of His work, He will send such people to act as apostles or to do the work of reviving or tending to the churches. However, people who are capable of such work are not reincarnated as frequently as unbelievers, who are reborn generation after generation; rather, they are returned to earth in accordance with the requirements and steps of God’s work, and they are not reincarnated frequently. So are there any rules to when they are reincarnated? Do they come once every few years? Do they come with such frequency? They do not. This is all based on God’s work, on its steps and on His needs, and there are no set rules. The only rule is that when God does the final stage of His work during the last days, these chosen people will all come, and this coming will be their last reincarnation. And why is that? This is based on the outcome to be achieved during God’s last stage of work—for during this last stage of work, God will make these chosen ones entirely complete. What does this mean? If, during this final phase, these people are made complete and perfected, then they will not be reincarnated as before; their process of being human will have come to a complete finish, as will their process of reincarnation. This relates to those who will stay. So where do those who cannot stay go? Those who are not allowed to stay have their own appropriate destination. First of all, as a result of their evildoing, the mistakes they have made, and the sins they have committed, they, too, will be punished. After they have been punished, God will either make arrangements to send them out among the unbelievers as befits the circumstances, or arrange for them to go among the various people of faith. In other words, there are two possible outcomes for them: One is being punished and perhaps living among the people of a certain religion after being reincarnated, and the other is becoming unbelievers. If they become unbelievers, then they will lose all opportunity; however, if they become people of faith—if, for example, they become Christians—then they will still have a chance to return among the ranks of God’s chosen people; there are very complex relationships to this. In short, if one of God’s chosen people does something that offends God, they will be punished just like everybody else. Take Paul, for example, whom we previously talked about. Paul is an example of a person who is being punished. Are you getting an idea of what I am talking about? Is the scope of God’s chosen ones fixed? (It is, mostly.) Most of it is fixed, but a small part of it is not fixed. Why is that? Here I have referred to the most obvious reason: committing evil. When people commit evil, God does not want them, and when God does not want them, He throws them among various races and types of people. This leaves them without hope and makes it difficult for them to return. All of this relates to the cycle of life and death of God’s chosen ones.
This next topic relates to the cycle of life and death of service-doers. We just talked about the origins of service-doers; that is, the fact that they were reincarnated after having been unbelievers and animals in their previous lifetimes. With the arrival of the last stage of work, God has selected from the unbelievers a group of such people, and this group is special. God’s aim in choosing these people is for them to serve His work. “Service” is not a very elegant-sounding word, nor is it in line with everyone’s wishes, but we should look at whom it is aimed at. The existence of God’s service-doers has a special significance. No one else could play their role, for they were chosen by God. And what is the role of these service-doers? It is to serve God’s chosen ones. For the most part, their role is to give service to God’s work, to cooperate with it, and to accommodate God’s completion of His chosen ones. Regardless of whether they are laboring, carrying out some aspect of work, or undertaking certain tasks, what is God’s requirement of these service-doers? Is He very demanding in His requirements of them? (No, He asks only that they be loyal.) Service-doers, too, must be loyal. Regardless of your origins or why God selected you, you must be loyal to God, to any commissions God entrusts to you, and to the work for which you are responsible and the duties you perform. For service-doers who are capable of being loyal and satisfying God, what will their outcomes be? They will be able to remain. Is it a blessing to be a service-doer who remains? What does it mean to remain? What is the significance of this blessing? In status, they seem unlike God’s chosen ones; they seem different. But in fact, is what they enjoy in this life not the same as that of God’s chosen ones? At the very least, it is the same in this lifetime. You do not deny this, do you? God’s utterances, God’s grace, God’s provision, God’s blessings—who does not enjoy these things? Everyone enjoys such abundance. The identity of a service-doer is one who does service, but to God, they are just one among all the things that He created; it is simply that their role is that of service-doer. Being that they are both God’s creatures, is there any difference between a service-doer and one of God’s chosen? In effect, there is not. Nominally speaking, there is a difference; in essence and in terms of the role they play, there is a difference—but God does not treat this group of people unfairly. So why are these people defined as service-doers? You must have some understanding of this! Service-doers come from among the unbelievers. As soon as we mention that they come from among the unbelievers, it is apparent that they share a bad background: They are all atheists, and were so in the past, too; they did not believe in God, and were hostile to Him, to the truth, and to all things positive. They did not believe in God or in His existence. As such, are they capable of understanding God’s words? It is fair to say that to a large extent, they are not. Just as animals are incapable of understanding human words, service-doers cannot understand what God is saying, what He requires, or why He makes such demands. They do not understand; these things are incomprehensible to them, and they remain unenlightened. For this reason, these people do not possess the life of which we have spoken. Without the life, can people understand the truth? Are they equipped with the truth? Do they have experience and knowledge of God’s words? (No.) Such are the origins of service-doers. However, since God makes these people service-doers, there are still standards to His requirements of them; He does not look down upon them, nor is He perfunctory toward them. Even though they do not comprehend His words and are not in possession of the life, God still treats them kindly, and there are still standards when it comes to His requirements of them. You just spoke of these standards: Being loyal to God and doing what He says. In your service, you must serve where needed, and you must serve to the very end. If you can be a loyal service-doer, are able to serve right up to the very end and can fulfill the commission entrusted to you by God, then you will live a life of value. If you can do this, you will be able to remain. If you put in a bit more effort, if you try a bit harder, can redouble your endeavors to know God, can speak a little about knowing God, can bear testimony to Him, and, moreover, if you can understand something of His will, can cooperate in God’s work, and can be somewhat mindful of God’s intentions, then you, as a service-doer, will experience a change in fortune. And what will this change in fortune be? You will no longer simply be able to remain. Depending on your conduct and your personal aspirations and pursuits, God will make you one of the chosen ones. This will be your change in fortune. For service-doers, what is the best thing about this? It is that they can become God’s chosen. If they do so, it means that they will no longer be reincarnated as animals the way unbelievers are. Is that good? It is, and it is also good news: It means that service-doers can be molded. It is not the case that for a service-doer, once God has predestined them to serve, they will do so forever; that is not necessarily so. God will handle them and respond to them in a way that befits this person’s individual conduct.
However, there are service-doers who are unable to serve to the very end; there are those who, during their service, give up halfway and forsake God, as well as people who commit multiple wrongdoings. There are even those who cause tremendous harm and bring tremendous losses to God’s work, and there are even service-doers who curse God and so on. What do these irremediable consequences indicate? Any such evil acts will signify the termination of their services. Because your conduct during your service has been overly poor and because you have gone too far, once God sees that your service is not up to standard, He will strip you of your eligibility to serve. He will no longer allow you to serve; He will remove you from before His very eyes and from the house of God. Is it that you do not want to serve? Are you not constantly wanting to do evil? Are you not consistently unfaithful? Well then, there is an easy solution: You will be stripped of your eligibility to serve. To God, stripping a service-doer of their eligibility to serve means that this service-doer’s end has been proclaimed, and they will no longer be eligible to serve God. God has no further need of this person’s service, and no matter what nice things they might say, those words will be in vain. When things have gotten to this point, the situation will have become irremediable; service-doers like these will have no way back. And how does God deal with service-doers such as this? Does He merely stop them from serving? No. Does He merely prevent them from remaining? Or, does He put them to one side and wait for them to make a turn-around? He does not. God is not so loving when it comes to service-doers, truly. If a person has this kind of attitude in their service to God, God will, as a result of this attitude, strip them of their eligibility to serve, and will once more toss them back among the unbelievers. And what is the fate of a service-doer who has been tossed back among the unbelievers? It is the same as that of the unbelievers: They will be reincarnated as an animal and receive the same punishment in the spiritual world as an unbeliever. Moreover, God will not take any personal interest in this person’s punishment, for such a person no longer has any relevance to God’s work. This is not only the end of their life of faith in God, but also the end of their own fate, as well as the proclamation of their fate. Thus, if service-doers serve poorly, they will have to bear the consequences themselves. If a service-doer is incapable of serving to the very end, or is stripped of their eligibility to serve midway, then they will be thrown among the unbelievers—and if this happens, such a person will be dealt with in the same way as livestock, in the same way as people without intellect or rationality. When I put it like that, you can understand, yes?
The aforementioned is how God handles the cycle of life and death of His chosen ones and the service-doers. After having heard this, how do you feel? Have I ever spoken of this topic before? Have I ever spoken on the subject of God’s chosen ones and the service-doers? I actually have, but you do not remember. God is righteous toward His chosen people and the service-doers. In all regards, He is righteous. Is there anywhere you can find fault in this? Are there not people who will say, “Why is God so tolerant toward the chosen ones? And why is He only a little forbearing toward service-doers?” Does anyone wish to stand up for the service-doers? “Can God give the service-doers more time, and be more forbearing and tolerant toward them?” Is it right to voice such a question? (No, it is not.) And why not? (Because we have actually been shown favor just through the act of being made service-doers.) Service-doers have actually been shown favor simply by being allowed to serve! Without the title of “service-doers,” and without the work they do, where would these people be? They would be among the unbelievers, living and dying with the livestock. What great graces they enjoy today, being allowed to come before God and come to the house of God! This is such a tremendous grace! If God did not give you the opportunity to serve, you would never have the chance to come before Him. To say the least, even if you are someone who is a Buddhist and has attained fruition, at most, you are but a gofer in the spiritual world; you will never meet God, hear His voice or His words, or feel His love and blessings, nor could you ever possibly come face-to-face with Him. The only things Buddhists have before them are simple tasks. They cannot possibly know God, and they just comply and obey, whereas the service-doers gain so much during this stage of work! Firstly, they are able to come face-to-face with God, hear His voice, hear His words, and experience the graces and blessings that He bestows upon people. Furthermore, they are able to enjoy the words and truths bestowed by God. Service-doers truly gain so much! Thus, if, as a service-doer, you cannot even put forth a proper effort, then can God still keep you? He cannot keep you. He does not ask much of you, yet you do nothing that He asks properly; you have not adhered to your duty. As such, without a doubt, God cannot keep you. Such is God’s righteous disposition. God does not mollycoddle you, but neither does He discriminate against you. These are the principles by which God acts. God treats all people and creatures in this manner.
When it comes to the spiritual world, if the various beings in it do something wrong or do not do their jobs correctly, God also has corresponding heavenly edicts and decrees with which to deal with them; this is absolute. Therefore, during God’s several-thousand-year management work, some duty-doers who committed wrongdoings have been exterminated, while some—to this very day—are still being detained and punished. This is what must be faced by every being in the spiritual world. If they do something wrong or commit evil, then they are punished—and this is the same as God’s approach to His chosen ones and the service-doers. Thus, in both the spiritual world and the material world, the principles by which God acts do not change. Whether or not you can see God’s actions, their principles do not change. Throughout, God has had the same principles in His approach to everything and in His handling of all things. This is immutable. God will be kind toward those among the unbelievers who live in a relatively proper manner, and will save opportunities for those in each religion who behave well and do no evil, allowing them to play their roles in all the things managed by God and do that which they ought to do. Similarly, among those who follow God, and among His chosen people, God does not discriminate against any person according to these principles of His. He is kind toward everyone who is able to sincerely follow Him, and He loves everyone who sincerely follows Him. It is just that for these several types of people—unbelievers, the various people of faith, and God’s chosen ones—that which He bestows upon them varies. Take the unbelievers, for example: Although they do not believe in God, and God sees them as beasts, among all things each of them has food to eat, a place of their own, and a normal cycle of life and death. Those who do evil are punished, and those who do good are blessed and receive God’s kindness. Is this not how it is? For people of faith, if they are able to strictly abide by their religious precepts through rebirth after rebirth, then after all those reincarnations, God will ultimately make His proclamation to them. Similarly, for you today, whether you are one of God’s chosen or a service-doer, God will likewise bring you into line and determine your outcome in accordance with the regulations and administrative decrees that He has set. Among these types of people, the different types of people of faith—that is, the ones who belong to various religions—has God given them space in which to live? Where are the Jews? Has God interfered in their faith? He has not. And what about Christians? He has not interfered with them, either. He allows them to abide by their own procedures, He does not talk to them or give them any enlightenment and, moreover, He does not reveal anything to them. If you think it is right, then believe in this way. Catholics believe in Mary, and that it was through her that the news was passed on to Jesus; such is their form of belief. Has God ever corrected their faith? He gives them free rein; He pays them no heed and gives them a certain space in which to live. With regard to Muslims and Buddhists, is He not the same? He has set boundaries for them, too, and allows them to have their own living space, without interfering in their respective beliefs. All is well-ordered. And what do you see in all this? That God is possessed of authority, but He does not abuse it. God arranges all things in perfect order and does it in an orderly manner, and herein lies His wisdom and omnipotence.
Today we have touched upon a new and special topic, one concerning matters of the spiritual world, which represents one aspect of God’s administration of and dominion over that realm. Before you understood these things, you may have said, “Everything to do with this is a mystery, and has nothing to do with our entry into life; these things are divorced from how people actually live, and we do not need to understand them, nor do we wish to hear of them. They have absolutely no connection with knowing God.” Now, do you think there is a problem with such thinking? Is it correct? (No.) Such thinking is not right and has serious problems. The reason for this is that if you wish to comprehend how God rules over all things, you cannot simply and only understand that which you can see and what your way of thinking can grasp; you must also understand some of the other world, that may be invisible to you but which is inextricably linked to this world that you can see. This concerns God’s sovereignty, and it concerns the topic, “God is the source of life for all things.” It is information about that. Without this information, there would be flaws and deficiencies in people’s knowledge of how God is the source of life for all things. Thus, what we have spoken of today can be said to have rounded off our previous topics, as well as concluding the content of “God is the source of life for all things.” Having understood this, are you now able to know God through this content? More importantly, today I have passed on to you a very crucial piece of information concerning service-doers. I know that you really enjoy listening to topics such as this, and that you really care about these things. Do you therefore feel satisfied with what I have talked about today? (Yes, we do.) Some of the other things may not have made a very strong impression on you, but what I have said about service-doers has made a particularly strong impression, for this topic touches the soul of every one of you.
God’s Requirements of Mankind
a. The Identity and Status of God Himself
We have come to the end of the topic of “God is the source of life for all things,” as well as that of “God is the unique God Himself.” Having done so, we need to sum things up. What kind of summary must we make? It is a conclusion about God Himself. That being the case, it must have an inevitable connection to every aspect of God, as well as to how people believe in God. And so, first I have to ask you: Having heard these sermons, who is the God in your mind’s eye? (The Creator.) The God in your mind’s eye is the Creator. Is there anything else? God is the Lord of all things. Are these words appropriate? (Yes.) God is the One who rules over all things and administers all things. He created all that there is, He administers all that there is, He rules over all that there is, and He provides for all that there is. This is the status of God, and it is His identity. For all things and all that there is, God’s true identity is the Creator and the Ruler of all of creation. Such is the identity possessed by God, and He is unique among all things. None of God’s creatures—whether they be among mankind or in the spiritual world—can use any means or excuse to impersonate or replace God’s identity and status, for there is only One, among all things, who is possessed of this identity, power, authority, and ability to rule over creation: our unique God Himself. He lives and moves among all things; He can rise to the highest place, above all things. He can humble Himself by becoming human, becoming one among those of flesh and blood, coming face-to-face with people and sharing weal and woe with them, while at the same time, He commands all that there is, deciding the fate of all that there is and in what direction it all moves. Moreover, He guides the fate of all mankind, and steers the direction of mankind. A God such as this should be worshiped, obeyed, and known by all living beings. Thus, regardless of which group or type among mankind you belong to, believing in God, following God, revering God, accepting His rule, and accepting His arrangements for your fate is the only choice—the necessary choice—for any person and for any living being. In God’s uniqueness, people see that His authority, His righteous disposition, His essence, and the means by which He provides to all things are all completely unique; this uniqueness determines the true identity of God Himself, and it also determines His status. Therefore, among all creatures, if any living being in the spiritual world or among mankind wished to stand in God’s stead, success would be impossible, as would be that of any attempt to impersonate God. This is fact. What are the requirements of mankind of a Creator and Ruler such as this, who is possessed of the identity, the power, and the status of God Himself? This should be clear to everyone, and should be remembered by everyone; this is very important to both God and man!
b. Mankind’s Various Attitudes Toward God
How people behave toward God decides their fate, as well as how God will behave toward them and deal with them. At this point, I am going to give some examples of how people behave toward God. Let us listen and see whether the manners and attitudes with which they conduct themselves before God are correct or not. Let us consider the conduct of the following seven types of people.
1) There is a type of person whose attitude toward God is particularly absurd. These people think God is like a Bodhisattva or a holy being of human lore, and needs humans to bow three times whenever they meet each other and light incense after each meal. As a result, whenever they feel extremely thankful for His grace and feel gratitude toward Him, they often have this sort of impulse. They so wish that the God they believe in today can, like the holy being they yearn for in their hearts, accept the way they bow three times upon meeting and light incense after every meal.
2) Some people see God as a living Buddha capable of delivering all the living from suffering and saving them; they see Him as a living Buddha capable of taking them away from the sea of affliction. These people’s belief in God entails worshiping Him as a Buddha. Although they do not light incense, kowtow, or give offerings, deep down, they feel that God is just such a Buddha who only asks that they are kind and charitable, that they kill no living thing, refrain from swearing at others, live a life that appears honest, and commit no wrongdoings. They believe that these things are all that He asks of them; this is the God in their hearts.
3) Some people worship God as though He were someone great or famous. For example, by whatever means this great person likes to speak, with whatever intonation he speaks, what words and vocabulary he uses, his tone, his hand gestures, his opinions and actions, his bearing—they copy all of them, and these are things that they must come to fully engender in the course of their belief in God.
4) Some people see God as a monarch, feeling that He is above all else and that no one dares to offend Him—and that if anyone does, that person will be penalized. They worship such a monarch because monarchs hold a certain place in their hearts. Their thoughts, manner, authority, and nature—even their interests and personal life—all become something these people feel they must understand; they become issues and matters about which they are concerned. As a result, they worship God as a monarch. Such a form of belief is ridiculous.
5) Some people have particular faith in the existence of God, and this faith is profound and unwavering. Because their knowledge of God is so superficial, however, and they do not have much experience of His words, they worship Him as an idol. This idol is the God in their hearts; it is something that they feel they must fear and bow down to, and which they must follow and imitate. They see God as an idol that they must follow their whole life. They copy the tone in which God speaks and, externally, they imitate those whom God likes. They often do things that appear naive, pure, and honest, and they even follow this idol as though it were a partner or companion that they can never part with. Such is their form of belief.
6) There is one type of people who, despite having read many of God’s words and heard much preaching, feel deep down that the only principle behind their behavior toward God is that they should always be obsequious and fawning, or that they should praise God and commend Him in a way that is unrealistic. They believe that God is a God who requires them to behave in such a way. Moreover, they believe that if they do not do so, then at any time they may provoke His anger or stumble into sin against Him, and that as a result of this sinning, God will punish them. Such is the God they keep in their hearts.
7) And then there are the majority of people, who find spiritual sustenance in God. This is because they live in this world, they are without peace or happiness, and nowhere do they find comfort. Once they find God, after they have seen and heard His words, they begin to harbor secret joy and elation in their hearts. This is because they believe that they have finally found a place that will make their spirits happy, and that they have finally found a God who will give them spiritual sustenance. After they have accepted God and begun to follow Him, they become happy, and their lives are fulfilled. They no longer act like the unbelievers, who sleepwalk through life like animals, and they feel they have something to look forward to in life. Thus, they think that this God can hugely satisfy their spiritual needs and bring them great happiness in both mind and spirit. Without realizing it, they become unable to leave this God who gives them such spiritual sustenance, and who brings happiness to their spirits and to all the members of their families. They believe that a belief in God need bring nothing more than spiritual sustenance.
Do any among you possess these various aforementioned attitudes toward God? (Yes.) If, in their belief in God, a person’s heart harbors any of those attitudes, are they able to truly come before God? If someone has any of these attitudes in their heart, do they believe in God? Does such a person believe in the unique God Himself? (No.) Since you do not believe in the unique God Himself, who do you believe in? If what you believe in is not the unique God Himself, then it is possible that you believe in an idol, or a great man, or a Bodhisattva, or that you worship the Buddha that is in your heart. Moreover, it is possible that you believe in an ordinary person. In short, because of people’s various forms of belief and attitudes toward God, they place the God of their own cognitions in their hearts, impose their imagination upon God, place their attitudes and imaginings about God side-by-side with the unique God Himself, and, afterward, hold them up to be consecrated. What does it mean when people have such improper attitudes toward God? It means that they have rejected the true God Himself and are worshiping a false god; it indicates that while believing in God, they are rejecting and opposing Him, and that they are in denial of the existence of the true God. If people keep holding onto such forms of belief, what consequences will they face? With such forms of belief, will they be able to draw ever closer to fulfilling God’s requirements? (No, they will not.) On the contrary, because of their notions and imaginings, they will stray ever farther from God’s way, for the direction they seek is the opposite of the direction God requires them to take. Have you ever heard the story of “going south by driving the chariot north”? This may well be just such a case of going south by driving the chariot north. If people believe in God in such a ludicrous fashion, then the harder you try, the farther you will get from God. As such, I admonish you thusly: Before you get going, you must first discern whether you are actually going in the right direction. Be focused in your efforts, and be sure to ask yourselves, “Is the God I believe in the Ruler of all things? Is the God I believe in merely someone that gives me spiritual sustenance? Is He simply my idol? What does this God I believe in ask of me? Does God approve of everything I do? Are all my actions and pursuits in line with seeking to know God? Do they accord with His requirements of me? Is the path I walk recognized and approved of by God? Is He satisfied with my faith?” You should often and repeatedly ask yourself these questions. If you wish to seek knowledge of God, then you must have a clear consciousness and clear objectives before you can succeed in satisfying Him.
Is it possible that, as a result of His tolerance, God might grudgingly accept these improper attitudes of which I have just spoken? Could God commend these people’s attitudes? (No.) What are God’s requirements of humans and of those who follow Him? What sort of attitude does He require people to have? Do you have a clear idea of these? At this point, I have said so much; I have spoken a great deal on the topic of God Himself, as well as about His deeds and what He has and is. Do you now know what God wishes to gain from people? Do you know what He wants from you? Speak up. If your knowledge from experiences and practice is still lacking or still very superficial, then you can say something about your knowledge of these words. Do you have a summary knowledge? What does God ask of man? (During these several communions, God has made a point of requiring that we know Him, know His deeds, know that He is the source of life for all things, and be acquainted with His status and identity.) And, when God asks that people know Him, what is the ultimate outcome? (They understand that God is the Creator, and that humans are created beings.) When people attain such knowledge, what changes are there in their attitude toward God, in their performance of duty, or in their life dispositions? Have you ever thought about this? Could it be said that, upon knowing God and understanding Him, they become good people? (Belief in God does not involve seeking to be a good person. Rather, it is the pursuit of becoming a creature of God who is up to par, and of being an honest person.) Is there anything else? (After truly and correctly knowing God, we are able to treat Him as God; we know that God is always God, that we are created beings, that we should worship God, and that we should stay in our proper places.) Very good! Let us hear from some others. (We know God, and are ultimately able to be people who truly submit to God, revere God, and shun evil.) That is correct!
c. The Attitude That God Requires Mankind to Have Toward Him
Actually, God is not very demanding of mankind—or, at least, He is not as demanding as people imagine. If God had not uttered any words, and if He had not expressed His disposition or any deeds, then knowing God would be extremely difficult for you, for people would have to infer His intention and will; this would be very hard to do. However, in the final stage of His work, God has spoken many words, done a great amount of work, and made many requirements of man. In His words, and His great amount of work, He has informed people of what He likes, what He loathes, and of what kind of people they should be. After understanding these things, people should have an accurate definition in their hearts of God’s requirements, for they do not believe in God in vagueness and no longer believe in a vague God, nor do they have faith in God amidst vagueness or nothingness. Rather, they are able to hear His utterances, understand the standards of His requirements, and attain them, and God uses the language of mankind to tell them all that they should know and understand. Today, if people still do not know what God is and what He requires of them; if they do not know why one should believe in God, nor how to believe in Him or treat Him—then there is a problem with this. Just now, each of you spoke of one particular area; you are aware of some things, whether these things are specific or general. However, I wish to tell you the correct, complete, and specific requirements God has of mankind. They are just a few words, and very simple; you may already know them. God’s correct requirements of mankind and those who follow God are as follows. He requires five things of those who follow Him: true belief, loyal following, absolute submission, genuine knowledge, and heartfelt reverence.
In these five things, God requires that people no longer question Him or follow Him using their imaginations or vague and abstract viewpoints; they must not follow God based on any imaginings or notions. He requires that every one of those who follow Him do so loyally, not half-heartedly or without commitment. When God makes any requirements of you, tests you, judges you, deals with you and prunes you, or disciplines and smites you, you should submit to Him absolutely. You should not ask the cause or make conditions, much less should you speak of reasons. Your obedience must be absolute. Knowledge of God is the area in which people are most lacking. They often impose upon God sayings, utterances, and words that are unrelated to Him, believing that such words are the most accurate definition of the knowledge of God. Little do they know that these sayings, which come from the human imagination, their own reasoning, and their own knowledge, bear not the slightest relation to God’s essence. Thus, I want to tell you that, when it comes to the knowledge God desires for people to have, He does not merely ask that you recognize Him and His words, but also that your knowledge of Him is correct. Even if you can only say one sentence, or are only aware of a tiny bit, this tiny bit of awareness is correct and true, and is compatible with the essence of God Himself. This is because God detests any praise or commendation of Him that is unrealistic or ill-considered. More than that, He hates it when people treat Him like air. He hates it when, during discussion of topics about God, people speak with no regard for the facts, talking at will and without hesitation, speaking however they see fit; moreover, He hates those who believe they know God and are boastful about their knowledge of Him, discussing topics related to Him with neither constraint nor reservation. The last of those aforementioned five requirements was heartfelt reverence: This is God’s ultimate requirement of all those who follow Him. When someone possesses a correct and true knowledge of God, they are able to truly revere God and shun evil. This reverence comes from the depths of their heart; this reverence is given willingly, and not a result of pressure from God. God does not ask that you make a gift of any nice attitude, conduct, or outward behavior to Him; rather, He asks that you revere Him and fear Him in the depths of your heart. Such reverence is attained as a result of changes in your life disposition, of gaining knowledge of God and an understanding of God’s deeds, of coming to understand God’s essence, and of your acknowledgment of the fact that you are one of God’s creatures. Therefore, My aim in using the word “heartfelt” to define reverence here is for humans to understand that their reverence for God should come from the bottom of their hearts.
Now consider those five requirements: Are any among you capable of attaining the first three? By this, I am referring to true belief, loyal following, and absolute submission. Are any among you capable of these things? I know that if I said all five, there would unquestionably be none among you who are, but I have reduced the number to three. Have a think about whether you have achieved these things or not. Is “true belief” easy to attain? (No, it is not.) It is not easy, for people often question God. And how about “loyal following”? What does this “loyal” refer to? (Not being half-hearted, but instead being wholehearted.) Not being half-hearted, but wholehearted. You have hit the nail on the head! So, are you capable of achieving this requirement? You have got to try harder, right? At the moment, you have yet to succeed in this requirement. What about “absolute submission”—have you achieved that? (No.) You have not achieved that, either. You are frequently disobedient and rebellious; you often do not listen, do not wish to obey, or do not want to hear. These are the three most fundamental requirements people meet after attaining entry into life, but you have yet to achieve them. Thus, at the moment, do you have great potential? Today, having heard Me say these words, do you feel anxious? (Yes.) It is right that you should feel anxious. Do not try to avoid being anxious. I feel anxious on your behalves. I will not go into the other two requirements; without doubt, no one here is capable of achieving them. You are anxious. So, have you determined your objectives? With what objectives, and in what direction, should you pursue and devote your efforts? Do you have an objective? Let Me speak plainly: Once you have achieved these five requirements, you will have satisfied God. Each of them is an indicator, as well as a final objective, of the maturation of a person’s entry into life. Even if I only picked a single one of these requirements to speak of in detail, and require you to meet it, it would not be easy to achieve; you must endure a certain degree of hardship and put in a certain amount of effort. What sort of mentality should you have? It should be the same as that of a cancer patient waiting to go onto the operating table. Why do I say this? If you wish to believe in God, and if you wish to gain God and gain His satisfaction, then unless you endure a certain degree of pain and put in a certain amount of effort, you will not be able to achieve these things. You have heard much preaching, but simply having heard it does not mean that this sermon is yours; you must absorb it and transform it into something that belongs to you. You must assimilate it into your life and bring it into your existence, allowing these words and preaching to guide the way you live and bring existential value and meaning to your life. When that happens, your hearing these words will have been worth it. If the words I speak do not bring about any upturn in your lives or add any value to your existences, then there is no point in your listening to them. You understand this, right? Having understood it, what happens next is up to you. You must get to work! You must be earnest in all things! Do not be at sixes and sevens; time is flying by! Most among you have already believed in God for more than a decade. Look back on these past ten years: How much have you gained? And how many decades do you have left to live in this lifetime? You do not have long. Forget about whether God’s work awaits you, whether He has left you a chance, or whether He will do the same work again—speak not of these things. Can you reverse the course of the past ten years of your life? With every day that passes, and with every step you take, you have one fewer day. Time waits for no one! You will only gain from your faith in God if you approach it as the greatest thing in your life, more important than even food, clothes, or anything else. If you only believe when you have the time, and are incapable of devoting your entire attention to your faith, and if you are always mired in confusion, then you will gain nothing. You understand this, right? We will stop here for today. See you next time!
February 15, 2014