Chapter 35

At present, all humans, to differing degrees, have entered into chastisement. Just as God said, “I go forth with man side by side.” This is absolutely true, yet people are still unable to understand this point fully. As a result, part of the work they have done has been unnecessary. God said, “I support and provide for them in accordance with their stature. Because humans are the central characters of My entire management plan, I give more guidance to those who have been cast in the role of ‘human,’ so that they may play that role wholeheartedly and to the best of their ability,” as well as, “However, I refuse to criticize their consciences directly; rather, I continue to guide them patiently and systematically. After all, humans are weak, and unable to do any work.” God’s thinking is this: Even if He were to exterminate all these humans in the end, His work on earth would still continue in accordance with His original plan. God does not do useless work; all that God does is good. As Peter said, “Even if God were playing with humans as if they were toys, what complaint would humans have? What right would they have?” In the present day, is this not what God is achieving with humanity? Can humans really have such a view? Why was Peter, who lived several thousand years ago, able to say such a thing, while the “Peters” of today, who live in this high-tech, modernized era, cannot? I am unable to say for sure whether history is progressing or regressing, and no one can yet answer the question of whether science is moving forward or backward. Everything God has done in humanity has been meant to make them positive and allow their life to mature. Can people not comprehend this? Everything that causes you to be negative is a weakness of yours, a vital point of vulnerability that Satan will attack. Do you see this clearly? Why did God speak this way? “I implore of [mankind] in all earnestness and sincerity. Are they truly unable to do what I ask?” What do these words mean? Why did God ask this question? It shows that humanity has too many negative aspects, and a single negative factor is enough to cause humans to stumble. You might as well have a look and see what remaining negative will bring. All that God does, He does for the sake of perfecting humanity. Do these words require any further explanation? No—as I see it, there is no need! It may be said that humans have been possessed by Satan, but it would be much better to say that humans have been possessed by negativity. This is one manifestation of mankind, an appendage of man’s flesh. Therefore, all people unconsciously fall into negativity, and subsequently into chastisement. This is a trap God prepared for humanity, and it is at this time that humans suffer the most. Because people dwell in negativity, it is difficult for them to escape chastisement. Are things these days not exactly so? But how can humans ignore God’s words, “Nowadays, Satan is rampant in the extreme. Why do I not take this opportunity to show off the focus of My work and reveal My power?” I say a few words of reminder, and, at once, people from the churches enter into chastisement. This is because, after two months of God’s work, people have yet to transform substantially within. They simply analyze God’s words with their minds, yet their state has not actually changed at all. They remain negative. This being so, when God mentions that the time of chastisement is at hand, people immediately grow distressed, thinking: “I don’t know whether I am predestined by God, nor do I know if I can stand firm under this chastisement. It is even harder to know what methods God will use to chastise people.” Humans are all afraid of chastisement, yet they are unable to change. They simply suffer in silence, but are also afraid that they will be unable to stand firm. In such circumstances, without chastisement bearing down on them and without the torment of words, humans have unconsciously entered into chastisement. Thus, they are all nervous and unsettled. This is called “reaping what they have sown,” because humans do not understand God’s work at all. Actually, God is not inclined to waste any further words on these people; God seems to have adopted a different way of dealing with them, a way that is not true chastisement. It is as when a person catches a chick and picks it up to see if it is a hen or a rooster; this might not seem like a matter of any importance, but, nonetheless, the little chick will be so frightened it will struggle to free itself, as if terrified its owner were going to kill and eat it. This is because the chick has no knowledge of itself. Why would someone kill and eat a chick that only weighs a few ounces? Would that not be nonsensical? It is exactly as God said: “Why, then, do people constantly avoid Me? Is it because I will treat them like baby chicks, to be killed as soon as they are caught?” Therefore, human suffering is all “selfless” devotion, and it may be called a useless price to pay. It is because people do not know themselves that they feel afraid; as a result, they cannot risk their lives. This is humanity’s weakness. Are the words spoken by God, “In the end, let humans know themselves. This is My final goal,” out of date? Who truly knows themselves? If one does not know themselves, then what gives them the right to be chastised? Take lambs for example. How can they be slaughtered if they have not grown into sheep? How can a tree that has not borne fruit be enjoyed by humans? Everyone places too much importance on “vaccination.” Thus, people are doing the work of fasting, and they are going hungry. This is an example of reaping what they have sown, of doing harm to themselves, and not God’s brutality or inhumanity. If, one day, humans suddenly come to know themselves and tremble in fear before God, then God will begin to chastise them. Only in this way will humans willingly embrace hardship, obedient in heart and speech. But what about today? People are all chastised against their will, like children being made to cook a meal. This being so, how can they not feel ill at ease? Everyone thinks, “Oh well! As long as I’m being chastised, I might as well bow my head and plead guilty! What can I do? Even if I’m crying, I still have to satisfy God, so what can I do? Who was it who told me to walk straight onto this path? Oh well! I’ll just put it down to my bad luck!” Is this not how people think?

As God said, “[M]ankind is well-behaved; no one dares oppose Me. All are under My guidance, carrying out the ‘job’ I have assigned.” This suffices to show that not a single human is chastised willingly, and more, that this chastisement comes from God, because humans all want to live in leisure rather than turmoil and chaos. God said, “Who is unafraid of death? Can people truly put their lives on the line?” This is absolutely right; everyone is afraid to die, except, of course, when consumed with anger or despair. This is humanity’s substance, and it is exceedingly difficult to solve. Today, God has come precisely to resolve this predicament. Humans are all powerless, so God has specifically established among them a specialist hospital where they may be cured of this disease. People cannot extricate themselves from the snares of this illness, which is why they are all so anxious that their mouths are inflamed and their bellies are swollen. Over time, the volume of gas in their abdomens grows, resulting in an increase in pressure, and, finally, their stomachs rupture and they all die. Therefore, God will then have cured this serious human ailment, because everyone will have died. Is this not a cure for the human condition? God has deliberately come to do this work. Because people are greatly afraid of death, God Himself has come to do this work together with humans; because they have so little courage, He has first given them a demonstration to watch. People are only willing to obey after having seen God’s precedent. For this reason, God said, “Because no one could carry out My work, I have set foot upon the battleground in person to engage in a struggle of life and death with Satan.” This is a decisive battle, so either the fish dies or the net breaks. This much is certain. Because the spirit will triumph in the end, the flesh must inevitably be taken by death. Do you understand the implications of this? Yet do not be too sensitive. Maybe the sentence above is simple, or maybe it is complex. Either way, humans cannot fathom it—that much is certain. In suffering, humans can accept the refinement of God’s word, which one might call their good fortune, or one might call their misfortune. Yet I would still issue a reminder that God’s intention is, after all, correct—unlike the intentions of humans, which are always to make plans and arrangements for their own sakes. This should be quite clear; do not fall into endless pondering. Is this not precisely humans’ weakness? They are all like this; rather than having great love for God, they have great love for themselves. He is a God who is jealous of man, so He always makes demands of them. The more people love themselves, the more God requires them to love Him, and the stricter His requirements of them. It is as if God were intentionally teasing people. If people truly love Him, He seems not to acknowledge them. Because of this, people scratch their heads and fall into deep thought. This is a narrative of God’s disposition, just a brief mention of one or two things. This is God’s will. It is what God requires people to know, and it is imperative. It is a new task, and people must work hard at it to break through and make fresh progress. Do you understand this? Do you need Me to say more on the subject?

Of previous eras, God said, “[N]ot a single person was ever chosen by Me; all were rebuffed by My silent letter. This is because people in the past did not serve Me exclusively, so I, in return, did not love them exclusively. They took Satan’s ‘presents’ and then turned around and offered them to Me. Was this not slander against Me?” How can these words be explained? It is as God said: “All gifts originate from Satan.” Past generations of apostles and prophets were entirely reliant on gifts to do their work, and, down through the ages, God has used their gifts to conduct His work. This is why it is said that the service of all people with gifts comes from Satan. However, as God says, “I use Satan’s ruse as My foil,” and this is because of His wisdom. Thus, God has called the service of people who have gifts “presents from Satan,” and it is only because they belong to Satan that God calls this action “slander.” This is not a baseless accusation against humans; on the contrary, it is a well-founded and appropriate explanation. For this reason, He said, “I did not reveal My disgust; rather, I turned their scheme to My own use by adding these ‘presents’ to the materials of My management. Later, once they had been processed by machine, I would burn the dross within.” This is what is so wonderful about God’s work. This point accords least with human notions, because no one would think that those who reign as kings are not people with gifts, or that they are the ungifted people whom God loves. As can be seen, the ideas or hopes of Witness Lee and Watchman Nee have all turned to ash, and the same is true for the gift-bearing people of today. Now God has begun this work, and He is gradually retracting all the work of the Holy Spirit in humans who serve as a foil to His work. When God’s work is completely finished, these people will all return to their original place. However, I urge humans not to act recklessly because of My words. You should follow the natural course of things in accordance with the steps of God’s work, so as not to interrupt it. Do you understand this point? For these are the steps and method of God’s work. When God “processes” these “presents” into “finished products,” all of His intentions will become obvious, and the presents that render service to Him will all be eliminated; however, God will have the finished products to enjoy. Do you understand this? What God wants is finished products, not the abundant presents that humans offer Him. Only when everyone has assumed their proper place, which means when God has returned to His original position and the devil, too, has sat in its own seat, as well as the angels, without exception—only then will a gratified smile appear on God’s face, because His intentions will have been satisfied, His goal achieved. God will no longer seek “assistance” from the “devil,” because God’s intentions will have been openly revealed to humans, and humans will never again be made to convey them. At this time, people’s fleshly bodies will become one with their spirits. This is what God reveals to humans; it is the final destination of the spirit, soul, and body. It is a summary of the original meaning of “humanity.” This does not need to be researched in detail; it is enough to know one or two things about it. Do you understand?

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Next: Chapter 36

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