To stop all people having their heads turned and getting carried away after their transition from negativity to positivity, in the last chapter of God’s utterance, once God has spoken of His highest requirements of His people—once God has told people of His will in this stage of His management plan—He gives them the opportunity to ponder His words, which is to help them make up their minds to satisfy God’s will in the end. When people’s conditions are positive, God immediately begins to ask them questions about the other side of the issue. He asks a string of questions that are difficult for people to figure out: “Was your love for Me tainted by impurity? Was your loyalty to Me pure and wholehearted? Was your knowledge of Me true? How much of a place did I hold within your hearts?” And so on. In the first half of this paragraph, with the exception of two reprimands, the remainder consists entirely of questions. One question in particular—“Have My utterances hit home within you?”—is very fitting. It truly strikes home at the most secret things in the depths of people’s hearts, causing them to unconsciously ask themselves: “Am I truly loyal in my love of God?” In their hearts, people unconsciously recall their past experiences in serving: They were consumed by self-forgiveness, self-righteousness, self-importance, self-satisfaction, complacency, and pride. They were like a big fish caught in a net—after falling into the net, it was not easy for them to free themselves. Furthermore, they were frequently unrestrained, they often deceived God’s normal humanity, and they put themselves first in all they did. Prior to being called “service-doers,” they were like a newborn tiger cub, filled with energy. Though they focused their attention on life to some degree, at times they were only going through the motions; like slaves, they behaved perfunctorily toward God. During the time of being exposed as service-doers, they were negative, they fell behind, they were filled with sorrow, they complained about God, they hung their heads in dejection, and so on. Each step of their own wonderful, touching stories lingers in their minds. It even becomes difficult for them to sleep, and they spend the daytime in a stupor. They seem to have been eliminated a second time by God, to have fallen into Hades, and to be incapable of escaping. Though God did nothing more than pose a few difficult questions in the first paragraph, read closely—they show that God’s aim is more than just to ask these questions for the sake of asking; in them is contained a deeper level of meaning, one that must be explained in greater detail.
Why did God once say that today, after all, is today, and since yesterday has already passed, there is no call for nostalgia—whereas in the first sentence here, He asks people questions, and makes them think back to the past? Think about it: Why does God ask that people not be nostalgic about the past, but also that they think back on the past? Could there be a mistake in God’s words? Could the source of these words be wrong? Naturally, those who pay no attention to God’s words would not ask such profound questions. But for the moment, there is no need to speak of this. First, let Me explain the first question above—the “why.” Of course, everybody is aware that God has said He does not speak empty words. If words are uttered from God’s mouth, then there is an aim and significance to them—this touches upon the heart of the question. People’s biggest failing is their inability to change their evil ways and the intractability of their old nature. To allow all people to know themselves more thoroughly and realistically, God first leads them in thinking back upon the past, in order that they may reflect upon themselves more deeply, and thus come to know that not a single one of God’s words is empty, and that all of God’s words are fulfilled in different people to different degrees. In the past, the way God dealt with people gave them a little knowledge of God and made their sincerity toward God a little more heartfelt. The word “God” occupies but 0.1 percent of people and of their hearts. Achieving this much shows God has carried out a tremendous amount of salvation. It is fair to say that God’s accomplishment of this much in this group of people—a group that is exploited by the great red dragon and possessed by Satan—is such that they dare not just do as they please. That is because it is impossible for God to occupy one hundred percent of the hearts of those who have been possessed by Satan. To increase people’s knowledge of God during the next step, God compares the condition of the service-doers of the past with that of God’s people of today, thus creating a clear contrast that increases people’s sense of shame. Just as God said, there is “nowhere to hide your shame.”
So, why did I say that God is not merely asking questions for the sake of asking them? A close reading from start to finish shows that, though the questions posed by God have not been thoroughly explained, they all refer to the extent of people’s loyalty toward God and knowledge of God; they refer, in other words, to people’s actual conditions, which are pitiable, and difficult for them to open up about. From this it can be seen that people’s stature is too meager, that their knowledge of God is too superficial, and their loyalty toward Him too tainted and impure. As God said, almost all people fish in murky waters and are only there to make up the numbers. When God says “Do you truly believe that you are unqualified to be My people?” the true meaning of these words is that among all people, none are fit to be God’s people. But in order to achieve a greater effect, God uses the method of asking questions. This method is far more effective than the words of the past, which ruthlessly attacked, hacked at, and killed people, to the point of piercing their hearts. Suppose God had directly said something dull and insipid like “You are not loyal to Me, and your loyalty is tainted, I do not hold an absolute place in your hearts…. I shall leave you no place to hide from yourselves, for none of you are sufficient to be My people.” You might compare the two—their content is the same, but the tone of each is different. Using questions is much more effective. Thus, the wise God employs the first tone, which shows the artistry with which He speaks. This is unachievable by man, and so it is no wonder that God said, “People are but utensils that are used by Me. The only difference between them is that some are lowly, and some are precious.”
Continue reading. God’s words come thick and fast, barely giving people the chance to take a breath, for by no means does God go easy on man. When people feel the utmost regret, God once more warns them: “If you are completely oblivious to the questions above, then this shows that you are fishing in murky waters, that you are only present to make up the numbers, and at the time preordained by Me, you will surely be eliminated and cast into the bottomless pit for a second time. These are My words of warning, and any who take them lightly will be struck by My judgment, and, at the appointed time, will meet with disaster.” Reading such words, people cannot help but think of when they were cast into the bottomless pit: Threatened by catastrophe, governed by God’s administrative decrees, their own end awaiting them, for a long time feeling distressed, depressed, ill at ease, unable to speak of the melancholy within their hearts to anyone—compared to this, they were better off having their flesh purged…. As their thinking reaches this point, they cannot help but feel distressed. Thinking of how they were in the past, how they are today, and how they will be tomorrow, the sorrow in their hearts grows, they unconsciously begin to shiver, and thus they become more fearful of God’s administrative decrees. As it occurs to them that the term “God’s people” might also be just a means of speaking, the cheer in their hearts immediately turns to distress. God is using their fatal weakness to strike at them, and at this point, He is beginning the next step of His work, causing people’s nerves to be constantly receiving stimulation, and increasing their sense that God’s deeds are unfathomable, that God is unreachable, that God is holy and pure, and that they are not fit to be one of God’s people. As a result, they redouble their efforts to improve themselves, not daring to fall behind.
Next, to teach people a lesson, and to make them know themselves, revere God, and fear God, God begins His new plan: “From the time of creation until today, many people have disobeyed My words and thus have been cast out and eliminated from My stream of recovery; ultimately, their bodies perish and their spirits are cast into Hades, and even today they are still subjected to grievous punishment. Many people have followed My words, but they have gone against My enlightenment and illumination … and some….” These are real examples. In these words, God not only gives all God’s people a real warning to make them know of God’s deeds throughout the ages, but also provides an oblique depiction of part of what is happening in the spiritual world. This allows people to know that nothing good can come of their disobedience toward God. They will become an everlasting mark of shame, and they will become the embodiment of Satan, and a copy of Satan. In God’s heart, this aspect of meaning is of secondary importance, for these words have already left people trembling and at a loss as to what to do. The positive side of this is that, as people tremble with fear, they also acquire some details of the spiritual world—but only some, so I must provide a little explanation. From the gate of the spiritual world it can be seen that there are all kinds of spirits. However, some are in Hades, some are in hell, some are in the lake of fire, and some are in the bottomless pit. I have something to add here. Superficially speaking, these spirits can be divided according to place; specifically speaking, however, some are directly dealt with by God’s chastisement, and some are in the bondage of Satan, which God makes use of. More specifically, their chastisement differs according to the severity of their circumstances. At this point, let Me explain a little more. Those who are directly chastised by God’s hand have no spirit on earth, which means they have no chance of being reborn. The spirits under the domain of Satan—the enemies of which God speaks when He says “become My enemies”—are connected to earthly matters. The various evil spirits on earth are all the enemies of God, the servants of Satan, and their reason for existence is to give service, to give service so that they may be foils for the deeds of God. Thus, God says, “These people have not only been taken captive by Satan, but have become eternal sinners and become My enemies, and they directly oppose Me.” Next, God tells people what kind of ending there is for this kind of spirit: “Such people are the objects of My judgment at the height of My wrath.” God also clarifies their present conditions: “[T]oday they are still blind, still within the dark dungeons.”
To show people the truthfulness of God’s words, God uses a real example as proof (the case of Paul of which He speaks) so that His warning leaves a deeper impression on people. To stop people from treating what is said about Paul as a story, and to prevent them from thinking of themselves as bystanders—and, furthermore, to stop them from going about boasting of the things that happened thousands of years ago that they learned from God, God does not concentrate on Paul’s experiences throughout his life. Instead, God focuses on the consequences for Paul and on what kind of end he met with, the reason why Paul opposed God, and how Paul ended the way he did. What God focuses on is emphasizing how He ultimately denied Paul’s wishful hopes, and directly laying bare Paul’s condition in the spiritual realm: “Paul is directly chastised by God.” Because people are numb and incapable of grasping anything of God’s words, God adds an explanation (the next part of the utterance), and begins speaking about an issue relating to a different aspect: “[W]hoever opposes Me (by opposing not only My fleshly self but more importantly, My words and My Spirit—which is to say, My divinity), receives My judgment in their flesh.” Although, superficially speaking, these words seem unrelated to the ones above and there does not appear to be any correlation between the two, do not panic: God has His own aims; the simple words of “the example above proves that” organically combine two seemingly unrelated issues—this is the ingeniousness of God’s words. Thus, people are enlightened through the account of Paul, and so, because of the connection between the text above and below, through the lesson provided by Paul, they pursue knowing God even more, which is precisely the effect God wished to achieve in speaking those words. Next, God speaks some words that provide assistance and enlightenment for people’s entry into life. There is no need for Me to speak of this; you will feel that these things are easy to understand. What I must explain, however, is when God says, “[W]hen I worked in normal humanity, most people had already measured themselves against My wrath and majesty, and already knew a little of My wisdom and disposition. Today, I speak and act directly in divinity, and there are still some people who will see My wrath and judgment with their own eyes; moreover, the main work of the second part of the era of judgment is to make all of My people know My deeds in the flesh directly, and to make all of you behold My disposition directly.” These few words conclude God’s work in normal humanity and officially commence the second part of God’s work of the era of judgment, which is carried out in divinity, and foretell the end of a portion of people. At this point, it is worth explaining that God did not tell people that this was the second part of the era of judgment when they became God’s people. Instead, He only explains that this is the second part of the era of judgment after telling people of God’s will and the aims that God wishes to achieve during this period, and of God’s final step of work on earth. Needless to say, there is also God’s wisdom in this. When people have just got up from their sickbeds, the only thing they care about is whether or not they will die, or whether or not their illness can be banished from their body. They pay no heed to whether they will put on weight, or whether they dress up in the right clothes. Thus, it is only when people completely believe they are one of God’s people that God speaks of His requirements, step-by-step, and tells people what the current era of today is. That is because people only have the energy to concentrate on the steps of God’s management a few days after they have recovered, and so this is the most suitable time to tell them. Only after people understand do they start to analyze: Since this is the second part of the era of judgment, God’s requirements have become stricter, and I have become one of God’s people. It is right to analyze thus, and this way of analysis is attainable by man; that is why God employs this method of speaking.
Once people understand a little, God once more enters the spiritual realm to speak, and so they once more fall into an ambush. During this series of questions, everyone scratches their heads, confused, not knowing where God’s will lies, not knowing which of God’s questions to answer, and, moreover, not knowing what language to use to reply to God’s questions. One wonders whether to laugh or cry. To people, these words seem as if they might contain very profound mysteries—but the facts are precisely the opposite. I may as well add a little explanation for you here—it will give your brain a rest, you will feel that this is a simple thing that does not require a lot of thought. In fact, though there are many words, they contain only one aim held by God: gaining people’s loyalty through these questions. But it is not expedient to say this directly, so God once again employs questions. The tone with which He speaks, however, is especially soft, much unlike at the beginning. Though they are being questioned by God, this kind of contrast brings people a measure of relief. You might as well read each question one by one; were these things not often referred to in the past? In these few simple questions, there is rich content. Some are a description of people’s mentality: “Are you willing to enjoy a life on earth which is akin to that in heaven?” Some are people’s “warrior’s oath” which they take before God: “Are you truly able to allow yourselves to be put to death by Me, and led by Me, like a sheep?” And some of them are God’s requirements of man: “If I did not speak directly, could you forsake everything around you and allow yourself to be used by Me? Is this not the reality that I require? …” They also include God’s exhortations and reassurances for man: “Yet I ask that you no longer be weighed down by misgivings, that you be proactive in your entry and grasp the most profound depths of My words. This will prevent you from misunderstanding My words, and from being unclear as to My meaning, and thus violating My administrative decrees.” Finally, God talks of His hopes for man: “I hope that you grasp My intentions for you in My words. Think no more of your own prospects, and act as you have resolved before Me to submit to God’s orchestrations in all things.” The final question has profound meaning. It is thought-provoking, it impresses itself on people’s hearts and is difficult to forget, ceaselessly ringing out, like a bell close to their ears …
The above are a few words of explanation for you to use as reference.