Concerning the Bible (4) (Excerpt I)
Many people believe that understanding and being able to interpret the Bible is the same as finding the true way—but in fact, are things really so simple? No one knows the reality of the Bible: that it is nothing more than a historical record of God’s work, and a testament to the previous two stages of God’s work, and offers you no understanding of the aims of God’s work. Everyone who has read the Bible knows that it documents the two stages of God’s work during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. The Old Testament chronicles the history of Israel and Jehovah’s work from the time of creation until the end of the Age of Law. The New Testament records Jesus’ work on earth, which is in the Four Gospels, as well as the work of Paul; are they not historical records? Bringing up the things of the past today makes them history, and no matter how true or real they might be, they are still history—and history cannot address the present. For God does not look back on history! And so, if you only understand the Bible, and understand nothing of the work God intends to do today, and if you believe in God but do not seek the work of the Holy Spirit, then you do not understand what it means to seek God. If you read the Bible in order to study the history of Israel, to research the history of God’s creation of all the heavens and earth, then you do not believe in God. But today, since you believe in God, and pursue life, since you pursue the knowledge of God, and do not pursue dead letters and doctrines, or an understanding of history, you must seek God’s will of today, and must look for the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work. If you were an archeologist you could read the Bible—but you are not, you are one of those who believe in God, and you’d best seek God’s will of today.
Although the Bible is a history book that was written by men, it also documents many of the principles by which the ancient saints and prophets served God, as well as the recent apostles’ experiences in serving God—all of which were really seen and known by these people, and can serve as reference for the people of this age in pursuing the true way. Thus, in reading the Bible people can also gain many ways of life that cannot be found in other books. These ways are the ways of life of the work of the Holy Spirit experienced by prophets and apostles in ages past, and many of the words are precious, and can provide what people need. Thus, people all like to read the Bible. Because there is so much hidden in the Bible, people’s views toward it are unlike those toward the writings of great spiritual figures. The Bible is a record and collection of the experiences and knowledge of people who served Jehovah and Jesus in the old and new age, and so later generations have been able to gain much enlightenment, illumination, and paths to practice from it. The reason why the Bible is higher than the writings of any great spiritual figure is because all of their writings are drawn from the Bible, their experiences all come from the Bible, and they all explain the Bible. And so, although people can gain provision from the books of any great spiritual figure, they still worship the Bible, for it seems so high and profound to them! Although the Bible brings together some of the books of the words of life, such as the Pauline epistles and Petrine epistles, and although people can be provided for and assisted by these books, these books are still out of date, they still belong to the old age, and no matter how good they are, they are only suitable for one period, and are not everlasting. For God’s work is always developing, and it can’t simply stop at the time of Paul and Peter, or always remain in the Age of Grace in which Jesus was crucified. And so, these books are only suitable for the Age of Grace, not for the Age of Kingdom of the last days. They can only provide for the believers of the Age of Grace, not for the saints of the Age of Kingdom, and no matter how good they are, they are still obsolete. It is the same with Jehovah’s work of creation or His work in Israel: No matter how great this work was, it was still outdated, and the time would still come when it passed. God’s work is also the same: It is great, but there will come a time when it ends; it cannot always remain amidst the work of the creation, nor among that of the crucifixion. No matter how convincing the work of the crucifixion, no matter how effective it was in defeating Satan, work is, after all, still work, and the ages are, after all, still ages; work cannot always stay on the same foundation, nor can times never change, because there was the creation and there must be the last days. This is inevitable! Thus, today the words of life in the New Testament—the epistles of the apostles, and the Four Gospels—have become historical books, they have become old almanacs, and how could the old almanacs take people into the new age? No matter how capable these almanacs are of providing people with life, no matter how able they are to lead people to the cross, are they not outdated? Are they not bereft of value? Thus, I say you should not blindly believe in these almanacs. They are too old, they cannot bring you into the new work, and they can only burden you. Not only can they not bring you into the new work, and into the new entry, but they take you into the old religious churches—and if so, are you not regressing in your belief in God?
Excerpted from The Word Appears in the Flesh