Chapter 15

The greatest difference between God and man is that God’s words always go straight to the heart of the matter, concealing nothing. Thus, this aspect of God’s disposition can be seen in today’s first sentence. It at once exposes man’s true colors and openly reveals God’s disposition. It is the source of several aspects of the ability of God’s words to achieve results. However, people fail to grasp this; they always come merely to know themselves through God’s words, without having “dissected” God. It is as if they are terrified of offending Him or that He will kill them for their “seriousness.” In fact, when most people eat and drink of the word of God, they do so from a negative perspective, not a positive one. It may be said that people have now begun to “focus on humility and submission” under the guidance of His words. From this, it is evident that people have started to go to another extreme—from not paying any attention to His words toward paying undue attention to them. However, not a single person has entered in from a positive perspective, nor has anyone ever truly grasped God’s goal in having humans pay attention to His words. It is known from what God says that He does not need to experience the life of the church personally to be able to understand, accurately and without error, the actual states of all the people in it. Because they have just attained entry into a new method, people have yet to rid themselves fully of their negative elements; the odor of corpses still wafts throughout the church. It is as if people have just taken medicine and are still in a daze, their consciousness not yet fully restored. It is as if they are still menaced by death, so that, still in the midst of terror, they cannot transcend themselves. “Humans are all creatures who lack self-knowledge”: The way this statement is said is based still on the building of the church. Despite the fact that people in the church all pay attention to God’s words, their natures remain deeply ingrained, inextricable. This is why God spoke the way He did in the previous stage to judge people, that they might accept being smitten by His words in the midst of their pride. Though people underwent five months of refinement in the bottomless pit, their actual state is still one of not knowing God. They are still dissolute; they have simply become somewhat more guarded against God. This step is the first proper step people take onto the path of knowing God’s words; thus, in connecting with the essence of God’s words, it is not difficult to see that the previous portion of work paved the way for today, and that only now is everything normalized. People’s fatal weakness is their tendency to separate God’s Spirit from His fleshly self in order to win personal freedom and avoid constant constraint. This is the reason God describes humans as little birds “flitting merrily about.” This is the actual state of all mankind. It is what makes all people easiest to topple, and it is the place where they are most liable to lose their way. It is evident in this that Satan’s work among mankind is nothing more than this work. The more of it Satan does in people, the stricter God’s requirements of them. He requires people to devote their attention to His words, while Satan works hard to break it. God, however, has always reminded people to pay more attention to His words; this is the climax of the war raging in the spiritual realm. It can be said in this way: What God wants to do in man is exactly what Satan wants to destroy, and what Satan wants to destroy is expressed through man, completely unconcealed. There are clear examples of what God does in people: Their conditions are getting better and better. There are also clear representations of Satan’s destruction in mankind: They are becoming more and more depraved, and their conditions are sinking ever lower. Once their situations grow dire enough, they are liable to be captured by Satan. This is the actual condition of the church, as presented in God’s words, and it is also the actual situation of the spiritual realm. It is a reflection of the spiritual realm’s dynamics. If people do not have the confidence to cooperate with God, then they are in danger of being captured by Satan. This is a fact. If people are truly able to offer up their hearts fully for God to occupy, then that is just as God has said, “They, when before Me, seem to be in My embrace, tasting of its warmth.” This shows that God’s requirements of mankind are not high; He merely needs them to rise up and cooperate with Him. Is this not an easy and happy thing? Is this the one thing that has confounded every hero and great man? It is as if the generals had been plucked from a battlefield and made to knit instead—these “heroes” have been immobilized by hardship, and they do not know what to do.

Whichever aspect of God’s requirements of mankind is greatest, that is the aspect in which Satan’s attacks on humanity will be the fiercest, and thus, the states of all people are revealed accordingly. “Which of you standing before Me would be as pure as the driven snow and as unblemished as jade?” All people still wheedle God and conceal things from Him; they are still carrying out their own special schemes. They have not put their hearts entirely in God’s hands to satisfy Him, yet they wish to gain His rewards by being enthusiastic. When people eat a delicious meal, they put God aside, leaving Him standing there, waiting to be “handled”; when people have beautiful clothing, they stand there in front of the mirror, enjoying their own beauty, and deep in their hearts, they do not satisfy God. When they have standing, when they have luxurious enjoyments, they sit there atop their status and begin to enjoy it, yet do not humble themselves as a result of God’s elevation. Instead, they stand in their high places, speaking their high-sounding words, and pay no attention to God’s presence, nor do they seek to know His preciousness. When people have an idol in their hearts, or when their hearts have been seized by someone else, it means they have already denied the presence of God, as if He were but an interloper in their hearts. They are terrified that God will steal away others’ love for them, and that they will then feel lonely. God’s original intention is that nothing on earth should make people ignore Him, and though there may be love between people, yet God cannot be driven away from this “love.” All earthly things are empty—even feelings between people that cannot be seen or touched. Without the existence of God, all creatures would return to nothing. On earth, all people have things that they love, but no one has ever taken God’s words as that thing they love. This determines the degree to which people understand His words. Though His words are harsh, no one is wounded by them, for people do not genuinely pay attention to them; rather, they observe them as they might a flower. They do not treat His words like fruit that they may taste of themselves, so they know not the essence of God’s words. “If human beings were genuinely able to see the sharpness of My sword, they would go scurrying like rats into their holes.” One in the state of a normal person, after reading God’s words, would be stunned, full of shame, and unable to face others. However, nowadays, people are exactly the opposite—they use God’s words as a weapon to strike blows against others. They truly know no shame!

With God’s utterances, we have been brought into this state of being: “Within the kingdom, not only do utterances issue forth from My mouth, but My feet tread ceremoniously everywhere across all lands.” In the war between God and Satan, God is winning every step of the way. He is expanding His work on a large scale throughout the entire universe, and it could be said that everywhere are His footprints and the signs of His victory. Satan hopes, in its schemes, to destroy God’s management by breaking countries apart, but God has taken advantage of this sundering to reorganize the entire universe—though not to wipe it out. God does something new every day, but people have not noticed. They pay no attention to the dynamics of the spiritual realm, so they are unable to see God’s new work. “Within the cosmos, everything shines like new in the radiance of My glory, presenting a heartwarming aspect that ravishes the senses and lifts people’s spirits, as if it now exists in a heaven beyond the heavens conceived in the human imagination, undisturbed by Satan and free from the assaults of external enemies.” This foretells the joyful scene of the kingdom of Christ on earth, and it also introduces the situation of the third heaven to mankind: Only those holy things that belong to God exist there, without any of the assaults of Satan’s forces. But what is most important is allowing people to see the circumstances of the work on earth of God Himself: Heaven is a new heaven, and following it, the earth is likewise renewed. Because this is life under God’s own guidance, people are all immeasurably happy. In their awareness, Satan is mankind’s “prisoner,” and they are not at all timid or fearful as a result of its existence. Because of direct instruction and guidance from the divine, Satan’s schemes have all come to naught, and this even suffices to prove Satan no longer exists, having been obliterated by God’s work. That is why it is said “exists in a heaven beyond the heavens.” When God said, “No disturbance has ever arisen, nor has the cosmos ever been divided,” He was referring to the condition of the spiritual realm. This is proof that God proclaims victory to Satan, and it is the sign of God’s final victory. No man can change God’s mind, nor can anyone know it. Although people have read God’s words and examined them with seriousness, they remain unable to express their essence. For example, God said, “I execute flying leaps above the stars, and when the sun shoots forth its rays, I blot out their warmth, sending giant flurries of snowflakes as big as goose feathers drifting down from My hands. When I change My mind, though, all that snow melts into a river, and in an instant, spring has sprung everywhere beneath the skies and emerald green has transformed the entire landscape upon the earth.” Though people may be able to imagine these words in their minds, God’s intention is not so simple. When everyone under heaven is in a daze, God utters the voice of salvation, thus awakening people’s hearts. However, because all sorts of disasters befall them, they feel the bleakness of the world, so they all seek death and exist in frigid, icy caves. They are frozen by the chill of huge snowstorms, to the point that they cannot survive for the lack of warmth on the earth. It is because of people’s corruption that they are killing each other more and more cruelly. And in the church, the majority of people will be swallowed up in one gulp by the great red dragon. After all trials have passed, Satan’s disturbances will be removed. The entire world, in the midst of transformation, will thus be permeated by spring, warmth will cover the earth, and the world will be full of energy. These are all the steps of the entire management plan. The “night” of which God spoke refers to when Satan’s madness reaches its peak, which will happen during the night. Is that not what is happening right now? Although people all survive under the guidance of God’s light, they are being put through the misery of the night’s darkness. If they cannot escape from Satan’s bonds, they will live eternally amidst a dark night. Look at the countries on earth: Because of the steps of God’s work, the countries on earth are “running around,” and each is “seeking its own appropriate destination.” Because God’s day has not yet come, all on earth remains in a state of muddy turbulence. When He openly appears to the entire universe, His glory will fill Mount Zion, and all things will be orderly and neat, as they will be arranged by His hands. God’s words not only speak to today, but also foretell tomorrow. Today is the foundation of tomorrow, so, as it stands today, no one can fully understand God’s utterances. Only after His words have been fully fulfilled will humans be able to understand them in their entirety.

God’s Spirit fills up all the space in the universe, yet He also works within all people. As such, in people’s hearts, it is as if God’s figure is everywhere and every place contains the work of His Spirit. Indeed, the purpose of God’s appearance in the flesh is to conquer these exemplifiers of Satan and, in the end, to obtain them. While working in the flesh, however, the Spirit is also cooperating with the flesh to transform these people. It may be said that God’s deeds extend throughout the entire world and that His Spirit fills the whole universe, but because of the steps of His work, those who do evil have not been punished, while those who do good have not been rewarded. Thus, His deeds have not been appreciated by all of earth’s people. He is both above and within all things; moreover, He is among all people. This suffices to show that God actually exists. Because He has not openly appeared to all humans, they have developed illusions such as, “As far as humanity is concerned, I seem to actually exist, yet I also seem to not exist.” Of all those who now believe in God, none is utterly, one-hundred-percent certain that God truly exists; they are all three parts doubt and two parts belief. This is mankind as they now stand. People these days are all in the following situation: They believe there is a God, but they have not seen Him; or, they do not believe there is a God, but have many difficulties that mankind cannot resolve. It seems there is always something that entangles them from which they cannot escape. Even though they believe in God, it seems that they always feel a bit of vagueness. However, if they do not believe, they are afraid of losing out in case He does exist. This is their ambivalence.

“For the sake of My name, for the sake of My Spirit, and for the sake of My entire management plan, who can make an offering of all their strength?” God also said, “Today, when the kingdom is in the human world, is the time in which I have come in person among humanity. Is there anyone who could venture forth into the battlefield on My behalf without any trepidation?” The goal of God’s words is this: If it were not for God in the flesh doing His divine work directly, or if He were not incarnate but instead worked through ministers, then God would never be able to conquer the great red dragon, nor would He be able to reign as King among humans. Mankind would be unable to know God Himself in reality, so this would still be Satan’s reign. Thus, this stage of work must be done personally by God, through flesh incarnate. If the flesh were changed, then this stage of the plan could never be completed, because the significance and the substance of different flesh would not be the same. People can only comprehend these sentences as words and doctrines, because God grasps the root. God said, “Nevertheless, when all is said and done, there is no one who understands whether this is the working of the Spirit or a function of the flesh. It would take people an entire lifetime just to experience this one thing in detail.” People have been corrupted by Satan for so many years, and they long ago lost their consciousness of spiritual matters. For this reason, just one sentence of God’s words is like a feast for people’s eyes. Because of the distance between the Spirit and spirits, all those who believe in God feel a sense of longing for Him, and all of them are willing to become closer with Him and to pour out their hearts. However, they do not dare to come into contact with Him, and instead just remain in awe. This is the power of attraction possessed by the Spirit. Because God is a God for people to love, and in Him there are infinite elements for them to love, everyone loves Him and everyone wishes to confide in Him. In truth, everyone harbors a God-loving heart—it is just that Satan’s disturbances have prevented numb, dull-witted, pitiful people from knowing God. This is why God spoke of the true feelings humans have for Him: “Humans have never despised Me in their hearts’ innermost reaches; rather, they cling to Me in the depths of their spirits. … My practicality renders humans at a loss, dumbfounded and perplexed, and yet they are willing to accept it.” This is the actual condition deep in the hearts of those who believe in God. When people truly know God, their attitude toward Him naturally changes, and they can utter praise from the depths of their hearts due to the function of their spirits. God is there in the depths of all people’s spirits, but because of Satan’s corruption, people have confused God with Satan. God’s work today begins with this very problem, and in the spiritual realm, it has been the focus of the battle from start to finish.

Previous: Chapter 14

Next: Chapter 16

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