20. How to experience persecution and tribulations
God’s Words From the Bible
“And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear Him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell” (Matthew 10:28).
“He that finds his life shall lose it: and he that loses his life for My sake shall find it” (Matthew 10:39).
Words of Almighty God of the Last Days
As believers in God, each of you should appreciate how you have truly gained the utmost exaltation and salvation by receiving the work of God in the last days and the work of His plan that He does in you today. God has made this group of people the sole focus of His work throughout all the universe. He has sacrificed all His heart’s blood for you; He has reclaimed and given to you all the work of the Spirit throughout the universe. That is why you are the fortunate ones. Moreover, He has shifted His glory from Israel, His chosen people, onto you, and He shall make the purpose of His plan fully manifest through this group. Therefore, you are the ones who will receive the inheritance of God, and even more than this, you are the heirs to God’s glory. Perhaps you all remember these words: “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, works for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.” You have all heard these words before, yet none of you understood their true meaning. Today, you are profoundly aware of their true significance. These words shall be fulfilled by God during the last days, and they shall be fulfilled in those who have been brutally persecuted by the great red dragon in the land where it lies coiled. The great red dragon persecutes God and is the enemy of God, and so, in this land, those who believe in God are thus subjected to humiliation and oppression, and these words are fulfilled in you, this group of people, as a result. Because it is embarked upon in a land that opposes God, all of God’s work faces tremendous obstacles, and accomplishing many of His words takes time; thus, people are refined as a result of God’s words, which is also part of suffering. It is tremendously difficult for God to carry out His work in the land of the great red dragon—but it is through this difficulty that God does one stage of His work, making manifest His wisdom and His wondrous deeds, and using this opportunity to make this group of people complete. It is through people’s suffering, through their caliber, and through all the satanic dispositions of the people of this filthy land that God does His work of purification and conquest, so that, from this, He may gain glory, and so that He may gain those who will bear witness to His deeds. Such is the entire significance of all the sacrifices that God has made for this group of people. That is, it is through those who oppose Him that God does the work of conquest, and only thus can the great power of God be made manifest. In other words, only those in the unclean land are worthy of inheriting the glory of God, and only this can highlight the great power of God. That is why it is from the unclean land, and from those who live in the unclean land, that the glory of God is gained. Such is the will of God. Jesus’ stage of work was the same: He could only gain glory among those Pharisees who persecuted Him; if not for the persecution of the Pharisees and the betrayal of Judas, Jesus would not have been ridiculed or slandered, much less crucified, and thus could not have gained glory. Where God works in each age, and where He does His work in the flesh, is where He gains glory and where He gains those He intends to gain. This is the plan of God’s work, and this is His management.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Is the Work of God As Simple As Man Imagines?
When I formally begin My work, all people move as I move, such that people throughout the universe occupy themselves in step with Me, there is “jubilation” across the universe, and man is spurred onward by Me. In consequence, the great red dragon itself is whipped into a state of frenzy and bewilderment by Me, and it serves My work, and, despite being unwilling, it is unable to follow its own desires, but is left with no choice but to submit to My control. In all of My plans, the great red dragon is My foil, My enemy, and also My servant; as such, I have never relaxed My “requirements” of it. Therefore, the final stage of the work of My incarnation is completed in its household. In this way, the great red dragon is more able to do service for Me properly, through which I will conquer it and complete My plan.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Words to the Entire Universe, Chapter 29
My work among the group of people of the last days is an unprecedented enterprise, and thus, so that My glory may fill the cosmos, all people must suffer the last hardship for Me. Do you understand My will? This is the final requirement I make of man, which is to say, I hope that all people can bear strong, resounding testimony to Me before the great red dragon, that they can offer themselves up for Me a final time, and fulfill My requirements one last instance. Can you truly do this? You were incapable of satisfying My heart in the past—could you break this pattern in the final instance? I give people the chance to reflect; I let them ponder carefully before finally giving Me an answer—is it wrong to do this? I wait for man’s response, I await his “letter of reply”—do you have the faith to fulfill My requirements?
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Words to the Entire Universe, Chapter 34
It was previously said that these people are the progeny of the great red dragon. In fact, to be clear, they are the embodiment of the great red dragon. When God forces them to the end of the road and slaughters them, then—without a doubt—the spirit of the great red dragon has no further chance to work in them. In this way, when people walk to the end of the road is also when the great red dragon ends up dead. It can be said that it is using death to repay God’s “great kindness”—which is the aim of God’s work in the nation of the great red dragon. When people are ready to sacrifice their lives, everything becomes trifling, and no one can get the better of them. What could be more important than life? Thus, Satan becomes incapable of doing any more in people, there is nothing it can do with man. Although, in the definition of the “flesh” it is said that the flesh is corrupted by Satan, if people truly give themselves over, and are not driven by Satan, then no one can get the better of them—and at this moment, the flesh will perform its another function, and begin to formally receive the direction of the Spirit of God. This is a necessary process, it must happen step-by-step; if not, God would have no means of working in the stubborn flesh. Such is the wisdom of God.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Interpretations of the Mysteries of “God’s Words to the Entire Universe”, Chapter 36
Regardless of how “powerful” Satan is, regardless of how audacious and ambitious it is, regardless of how great is its ability to inflict damage, regardless of how wide-ranging are the techniques with which it corrupts and lures man, regardless of how clever are the tricks and schemes with which it intimidates man, regardless of how changeable is the form in which it exists, it has never been able to create a single living thing, has never been able to set down laws or rules for the existence of all things, and has never been able to rule and control any object, whether animate or inanimate. Within the cosmos and the firmament, there is not a single person or object that was born from it, or exists because of it; there is not a single person or object that is ruled by it, or controlled by it. On the contrary, it not only has to live under the dominion of God, but, moreover, must obey all of God’s orders and commands. Without God’s permission, it is difficult for Satan to touch even a drop of water or grain of sand upon the land; without God’s permission, Satan is not even free to move the ants about upon the land, let alone mankind, who was created by God. In the eyes of God, Satan is inferior to the lilies on the mountain, to the birds flying in the air, to the fish in the sea, and to the maggots on the earth. Its role among all things is to serve all things, and work for mankind, and serve God’s work and His plan of management. Regardless of how malicious its nature, and how evil its essence, the only thing it can do is to dutifully abide by its function: being of service to God, and providing a counterpoint to God. Such is the substance and position of Satan. Its essence is unconnected to life, unconnected to power, unconnected to authority; it is merely a plaything in God’s hands, just a machine in service to God!
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique I
You should not be afraid of this and that; no matter how many difficulties and dangers you might face, you are capable of remaining steady before Me, unobstructed by any hindrance, so that My will may be carried out unimpeded. This is your duty; otherwise, I shall bring My wrath upon you, and with My hand I shall…. You will then endure endless mental suffering. You must endure all; for Me, you must be ready to relinquish everything you possess and do everything you can to follow Me, and be ready to expend your all. Now is the time that I shall test you: Will you offer your loyalty to Me? Can you loyally follow Me to the end of the road? Be not afraid; with My support, who could ever block this road? Remember this! Do not forget! All that occurs is by My good intention, and everything is under My observation. Can you follow My word in all that you say and do? When the trials of fire come upon you, will you kneel down and call out? Or will you cower, incapable of moving forward?
You must possess My courage within you, and you must have principles when it comes to facing relatives who do not believe. For My sake, however, you also must not yield to any dark forces. Rely on My wisdom to walk the perfect way; do not allow any of Satan’s conspiracies to take hold. Put all your efforts into placing your heart before Me, and I shall comfort you and bring you peace and happiness. Do not strive to be a certain way in front of other people; does making Me satisfied not carry more value and weight? In satisfying Me, will you not be even further filled with eternal and lifelong peace and happiness? Your current suffering indicates just how great your future blessings will be; they are indescribable. You know not the greatness of the blessings that you shall have; you could not even dream of it. Today it has become real; so very real! This is not so far away—can you see it? Every last bit of this is within Me; how bright is the road ahead! Wipe away your tears, and feel no more pain or sorrow. All things are arranged by My hands, and My goal is to soon make you the overcomers and to bring you into glory alongside Me. For all that happens to you, you should be correspondingly grateful and full of praise; that will bring Me deep satisfaction.
The transcendent life of Christ has already appeared; there is nothing for you to be afraid of. Satans are under our feet, and their time will not last much longer. Awaken! Cast away the world of licentiousness; free yourself from the abyss of death! Be loyal to Me no matter what, and bravely advance; I am your rock of strength, so rely on Me!
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 10
If people do not have any confidence, it is not easy for them to continue down this path. Everyone can now see that God’s work does not conform in the slightest with people’s notions and imaginings. God has done so much work and spoken so many words, and though people may acknowledge that they are the truth, notions about God are still liable to arise in them. If people wish to understand the truth and gain it, they must have the confidence and willpower to be able to stand by what they have already seen and what they have gained from their experiences. No matter what God does in people, they must uphold what they themselves possess, be sincere in front of God, and remain devoted to Him to the very end. This is mankind’s duty. People must uphold that which they should do. Belief in God requires obedience to Him and experience of His work. God has done so much work—it could be said that for people it is all perfection, refinement, and even more, chastisement. There has not been a single step of God’s work that has been in line with human notions; what people have enjoyed is God’s stern words. When God comes, people should enjoy His majesty and His wrath. However, no matter how stern His words may be, He comes to save and perfect mankind. As creatures, people should fulfill the duties that they ought to, and stand witness for God in the midst of refinement. In every trial they should uphold the witness that they should bear, and do so resoundingly for the sake of God. A person who does this is an overcomer. No matter how God refines you, you remain full of confidence and never lose confidence in Him. You do what man should do. This is what God requires of man, and man’s heart should be able to fully return to Him and turn toward Him in every passing moment. This is an overcomer. Those whom God refers to as “overcomers” are those who are still able to stand witness and maintain their confidence and devotion to God when under the influence of Satan and while being laid siege to by Satan, that is, when they find themselves amidst the forces of darkness. If you are still able to keep a pure heart before God and maintain your genuine love for God no matter what, then you are standing witness in front of God, and this is what God refers to as being an “overcomer.” If your pursuit is excellent when God blesses you, but you retreat without His blessings, is this purity? Since you are certain that this way is true, you must follow it until the end; you must maintain your devotion to God. Since you have seen that God Himself has come to the earth to perfect you, you should give your heart entirely to Him. If you can still follow Him no matter what He does, even if He determines an unfavorable outcome for you at the very end, this is maintaining your purity in front of God. Offering a holy spiritual body and a pure virgin to God means keeping a sincere heart in front of God. For mankind, sincerity is purity, and the ability to be sincere toward God is maintaining purity. This is what you should put into practice. When you ought to pray, you pray; when you ought to gather together in fellowship, you do so; when you ought to sing hymns, you sing hymns; and when you ought to forsake the flesh, you forsake the flesh. When you perform your duty, you do not muddle through it; when you are faced with trials you stand firm. This is devotion to God. If you do not uphold what people should do, then all of your previous suffering and resolutions have been futile.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Maintain Your Devotion to God
Right now, those visions and those truths that you understand are laying a foundation for your future experiences; in the future tribulation you will all have practical experience of these words. Later, when trials come upon you and you undergo the tribulation, you will think of the words you say today, which are: “No matter what tribulation, trials, or great disasters I encounter, I must satisfy God.” Think about the experiences of Peter and then the experiences of Job—you will be galvanized by today’s words. Only in this way can your faith be inspired. At that time, Peter said that he was not worthy of receiving God’s judgment and chastisement, and when the time comes you will also be willing to have all people see God’s righteous disposition through you. You will readily accept His judgment and chastisement, and His judgment, chastisement, and curse will be a comfort to you. Now, it is simply not acceptable for you to not be equipped with the truth. Without it, not only will you be unable to stand firm in the future, but you might not be capable of experiencing the current work. If this is the case, will you not be one of those cast out and punished? Right now, there have not been any facts that have come upon you, and I have supplied you in whichever aspects you are lacking; I speak from every aspect. You have not endured much suffering; you just take what is available without having paid any kind of price, and, more than that, you do not have your own genuine experiences or insights. So, what you understand is not your true statures. You are limited to understanding, knowledge, and seeing, but you have not reaped much of a harvest. If I never paid any mind to you but had you undergo experiences in your own home, you would have scurried back out into the great wide world long ago. The path that you walk in the future will be a course of suffering, and if you successfully walk this current stretch of the path, then you will have testimony when you undergo the greater tribulation in the future. If you understand the significance of human life and have taken the right path of human life, and if in the future you submit to His designs without any complaints or choices no matter how God deals with you, and if you do not make any demands of God, then in this way you will be a person of value. Right now, you have not undergone tribulation, so you can obey anything without differentiation. You say that however God leads, that way is fine, and that you would submit to all of His orchestrations. Whether God chastises or curses you, you will be willing to satisfy Him. Having said that, what you say now does not necessarily represent your stature. What you are willing to do now cannot show that you are capable of following until the end. When great tribulations come upon you or when you undergo some persecution or coercion or even greater trials, then you will not be able to say those words. If you can have that kind of understanding then and you stand firm, this will be your stature. What was Peter like at that time? Peter said: “Lord, I will sacrifice my life for You. If You would have me die, I will die!” That was the way he prayed at the time. He also said: “Even if others do not love You, I must love You until the end. I will follow You at all times.” That is what he said at the time, but as soon as trials came upon him, he fell apart and wept. You all know that Peter denied the Lord three times, do you not? There are many people who will weep and show human weakness when trials come upon them. You are not the master of yourself. In this, you cannot control yourself. Maybe today you are doing really well, but that is because you have a suitable environment. If that changes tomorrow, you will show your cowardice and incompetence, your despicableness and unworthiness. Your “manliness” will have long since come to nothing, and at times you may even cast your task to one side and walk away. This shows that what you understood at the time was not your actual stature. One must look at a person’s actual stature to see whether they truly love God, whether they are able to really submit to God’s design, and whether they are able to put all of their strength into achieving what God requires; and whether they remain loyal to God and give the best of all things to God, even if it means sacrificing their own life.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How You Should Walk the Final Stretch of the Path
These days, most people who believe in God have not yet embarked on the right track and have not come to understand the truth, so they still feel empty inside, that life is suffering, and that they do not have the energy to fulfill their duties. This is how God’s believers are before they have a vision in their hearts. People have not obtained truth and do not yet know God, so they do not yet feel much pleasure. You, especially, have all suffered persecution and experienced difficulty in returning home. When you suffer, you also have thoughts of death and an unwillingness to live. These are weaknesses of the flesh. Some people even think, “Belief in God should be pleasurable. In the Age of Grace, the Holy Spirit bestowed peace and joy upon people. Now there is too little peace and joy, and pleasure like there was during the Age of Grace does not exist. Believing in God today is extremely vexing.” You only know that the pleasure of the flesh is better than anything else. You do not know what work God is doing today. God has to allow your flesh to suffer in order to transform your disposition. Even though your flesh suffers, you have God’s word and you have God’s blessing. You cannot die even if you want to. Can you resign yourself to not knowing God and not obtaining the truth? Now, for the most part, it is just that people have not yet obtained the truth, and they do not have life. They are in the midst of seeking salvation, so they must suffer a little in this process. Today, everyone in the world is undergoing trials, even God is suffering, so is it appropriate for you not to suffer? Without refinement through great disasters there cannot be genuine faith, and truth and life cannot be obtained. Not having trials and refinement would not do. Just look at Peter—he ultimately underwent seven years of trials (after he was fifty-three years old). He experienced hundreds of trials throughout those seven years. He had to go through one of these trials every few days, and only after undergoing all manner of trials did he obtain life and experience a transformation in his disposition. When you truly obtain the truth and come to know God, you will feel that you should be living for God. If you do not live for God, then you will be sorry; you will live out the rest of your days in bitter regret and extreme remorse. You can’t die yet. You must clench your fists and resolutely continue to live. You must live a life for God. When people have truth within them, they have this resolve and never again desire to die. When death threatens you, you will say, “Oh God, I am unwilling to die. I still do not know You. I still have not repaid Your love. I cannot die until I come to know You well.” Are you at this point now? Not yet, are you? Some people face the pain of family, some face the pain of marriage, and some suffer from persecution, lacking even a place to live. No matter where they go, it is someone else’s home, and they feel pain in their hearts. Isn’t the pain that you are experiencing right now the pain that God has suffered? You are suffering with God, and God accompanies humans in suffering. You all have a part in Christ’s tribulation, kingdom, and endurance today, and you will gain glory in the end! This suffering is meaningful. Isn’t that how it is? You cannot be devoid of this will. You must understand the meaning of suffering today and why you suffer so much. You must seek the truth and reach an understanding of God’s will, and then you will have the will to suffer. If you don’t understand God’s will, and you merely think about suffering, then the more you think about it, the more uncomfortable it becomes and the more depressed you feel, like your path of life is coming to an end. You will begin to suffer the torment of death. If you put your heart and all your effort into the truth, and you are able to understand the truth, then your heart will be brightened, and you will experience enjoyment. You will find peace and joy within your heart in life, and when illness strikes or death looms, you will say, “I haven’t obtained the truth yet, so I can’t die. I must expend well for God, testify to God well, and repay God’s love. How I die in the end doesn’t matter, because I will have lived a satisfactory life. No matter what, I can’t die yet. I must persist and live on.” You must now have clarity in this matter, and you must understand the truth from these things. When people have the truth, they have strength. When they have the truth, they possess an inexhaustible energy that fills their body. When they have the truth, they have determination. Without the truth, people are as soft as rotten vegetables; when they possess the truth, they become as hard as steel. No matter how bitter things are, they will not feel bitter at all.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. How to Know Man’s Nature
Today, most people do not have that knowledge. They believe that suffering is without value, they are renounced by the world, their home life is troubled, they are not beloved of God, and their prospects are bleak. The suffering of some people reaches an extreme, and their thoughts turn to death. This is not true love for God; such people are cowards, they have no perseverance, they are weak and powerless! God is eager for man to love Him, but the more man loves Him, the greater man’s suffering, and the more man loves Him, the greater man’s trials. If you love Him, then every kind of suffering will befall you—and if you do not, then perhaps everything will go smoothly for you and all will be peaceful around you. When you love God, you will feel that much around you is insurmountable, and because your stature is too small you will be refined; moreover, you will be incapable of satisfying God, and you will always feel that God’s will is too lofty, that it is beyond the reach of man. Because of all this you will be refined—because there is much weakness within you, and much that is incapable of satisfying the will of God, you will be refined internally. Yet you must clearly see that purification is only achieved through refinement. Thus, during these last days you must bear testimony to God. No matter how great your suffering, you should walk until the very end, and even at your last breath, still you must be faithful to God and at the mercy of God; only this is truly loving God, and only this is the strong and resounding testimony. When you are tempted by Satan, you should say: “My heart belongs to God, and God has already gained me. I cannot satisfy you—I must devote my all to satisfying God.” The more you satisfy God, the more God blesses you and the greater the strength of your love for God; so, too, will you have faith and resolve, and will feel that nothing is more worthy or significant than a life spent loving God. It can be said that man has but to love God to be without sorrow. Although there are times when your flesh is weak and you are beset by many real troubles, during these times you will truly rely on God, and within your spirit you will be consoled, and you will feel certainty, and that you have something to depend upon. In this way, you will be able to overcome many environments, and so you will not complain about God because of the anguish that you suffer. Instead, you will want to sing, dance, and pray, to assemble and commune, to give thought to God, and you will feel that all the people, matters, and things around you that are organized by God are fitting. If you do not love God, all that you look upon will be irksome to you and nothing will be pleasing to your eyes; in your spirit you will not be free but downtrodden, your heart will always complain about God, and you will always feel that you suffer so much torment, and that it is so unjust. If you do not pursue for the sake of happiness, but in order to satisfy God and to not be accused by Satan, then such pursuit will give you great strength to love God. Man is able to carry out all that is spoken by God, and all that he does is able to satisfy God—this is what it means to be possessed of reality. Pursuing the satisfaction of God is using your God-loving heart to put His words into practice; regardless of the time—even when others are without strength—inside of you there is still a God-loving heart, which profoundly yearns for and misses God. This is real stature. Just how great your stature is depends on how much of a God-loving heart you possess, on whether you are able to stand fast when tested, whether you are weak when a certain environment comes upon you, and whether you can stand your ground when your brothers and sisters reject you; the arrival of the facts will show just what your God-loving heart is like. It can be seen from much of God’s work that God really does love man, though the eyes of man’s spirit have yet to be completely opened and he is unable to clearly see much of the work of God and His will, nor the many things which are lovely about God; man has too little true love for God. You have believed in God throughout all this time, and today God has cut off all means of escape. Realistically speaking, you have no choice but to take the right path, the right path that you have been led onto by the harsh judgment and supreme salvation of God. Only after experiencing hardship and refinement does man know that God is lovely. Having experienced up until today, it can be said that man has come to know part of God’s loveliness, but this is still not enough, because man is so lacking. Man must experience more of God’s wondrous work, and more of all the refinement of suffering arranged by God. Only then can man’s life disposition be changed.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God
You must remember that these words have now been spoken: Later on, you will experience greater tribulation and greater suffering! To be perfected is not a simple or easy thing. At the very least you must possess the faith of Job, or maybe even greater faith than his. You should know that the trials in the future will be greater than the trials of Job, and that you must still undergo long-term chastisement. Is this a simple thing? If your caliber cannot be improved, if your comprehension ability is lacking, and if you know too little, then at that time you will not have any testimony, but will instead become a joke, a plaything for Satan. If you cannot hold on to the visions now, then you have no foundation at all, and in the future you will be discarded! No stretch of the path is easy to walk, so do not take this lightly. Carefully weigh this now and make preparations so that you may properly walk the final stretch of this path. This is the path that must be walked in the future, the path that all people must walk. You must not let this knowledge go unheeded; do not think that what I say to you is all a waste of breath. The day will come when you will put it all to good use—My words cannot be spoken in vain. This is the time to equip yourself, the time to pave the way for the future. You should prepare the path that you should later walk; you should be worried and anxious about how you will be able to stand firm in the future, and prepare well for your future path. Do not be gluttonous and lazy! You must do absolutely everything you can to make the best use of your time, so that you may gain everything that you need. I am giving you everything so that you can understand. You have seen with your own eyes that in less than three years, I have said so many things and done so much work. One reason that I have been working in this way is because people are lacking so much, and another reason is because time is too short; there cannot be any further delays. You imagine that people must first achieve perfect internal clarity before they can bear witness and be utilized—but would that not be too slow? So, for how long will I have to accompany you? If you would have Me accompany you until I am old and gray, that would be impossible! By undergoing greater tribulation, genuine understanding within all people will be achieved. These are the steps of the work. Once you fully understand the visions fellowshiped today and you attain genuine stature, then whatever hardships you undergo in the future will not overwhelm you, and you will be able to withstand them. When I have completed this last step of work and finished uttering the last words, in the future people will need to walk their own path. This will fulfill the words spoken before: The Holy Spirit has a commission for every single person, and work to do in every single person. In the future, everyone will walk the path that they should walk, led by the Holy Spirit. Who will be able to care for others when undergoing tribulation? Each individual has their own suffering, and each has their own stature. No one’s stature is the same as anyone else’s. Husbands will not be able to care for their wives, or parents for their children; no one will be able to care for anyone else. It will not be like now, when mutual care and support are still possible. That will be a time when every type of person is exposed. That is, when God smites the shepherds, then the sheep of the flock will be scattered, and at that time you will not have any true leader. The people will be divided—it will not be like now, when you can come together as a congregation. In the future, those who do not have the work of the Holy Spirit will show their true colors. Husbands will sell out their wives, wives will sell out their husbands, children will sell out their parents, and parents will persecute their children—the human heart is beyond fathoming! All that can be done is for one to hold on to what one has, and to properly walk the final stretch of the path. Right now, you do not see this clearly; you are all short-sighted. It is no easy thing to successfully experience this step of work.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. How You Should Walk the Final Stretch of the Path
If you acknowledge that you are a created being, you must prepare yourself to suffer and pay a price for the sake of fulfilling your responsibility to spread the gospel and for the sake of doing your duty properly. The price might be suffering some physical ailment or hardship, or suffering the persecutions of the great red dragon or the misunderstandings of worldly people, as well as the tribulations one undergoes when spreading the gospel: being sold out, being beaten and scolded, being condemned—even being mobbed and put in mortal danger. It is possible, in the course of spreading the gospel, that you will die before God’s work is completed, and that you will not live to see the day of God’s glory. You must be prepared for this. This is not meant to frighten you; it is a fact. Now that I have made this clear, and you have understood it, if you still have this aspiration and are sure it will not change, and you stay faithful unto death, this proves you possess a certain stature. Do not assume that spreading the gospel in these overseas nations with religious freedoms and human rights will be free from danger and that everything you do will go smoothly, that it will all have God’s blessings and be in company with His great power and authority. This is the stuff of human notions and imaginings. The Pharisees also believed in God, yet they took the incarnate God and crucified Him upon the cross. So what bad things is the current religious world capable of doing to the incarnate God? They have done so many bad things—judging God, condemning God, blaspheming God—there is no bad thing of which they are not capable. Do not forget that those who took the Lord Jesus and crucified Him upon the cross were believers. Only they had the opportunity to do this sort of thing. The unbelievers did not care about those things. It was these believers who colluded with the government to take the Lord Jesus and crucify Him upon the cross. Moreover, how did those disciples of the Lord Jesus die? Among the disciples, there were those who were stoned, dragged behind a horse, crucified upside down, dismembered by five horses—every sort of death befell them. What was the reason for their deaths? Were they lawfully executed for their crimes? No. They were condemned, beaten, scolded, and put to death because they spread the Lord’s gospel and were rejected by the people of the world—that is how they were martyred. Let us not speak of the final end of those martyrs, or of God’s definition of their conduct, but ask this: When they arrived at the end, did the ways that they met the end of their lives accord with human notions? (No, it did not.) From the perspective of human notions, they paid such a great price to spread the work of God, but were ultimately killed by Satan. This does not accord with human notions, but this is precisely what happened to them. It is what God allowed. What truth can be sought in this? Was God allowing them to die this way His curse and condemnation, or was it His plan and blessing? It was neither. What was it? People now reflect on their deaths with much heartache, but that was how things were. Those who believed in God died that way, how is this to be explained? When we mention this topic, you put yourselves in their position, so are your hearts sad, and do you feel a hidden pain? You think, “These people did their duty to spread God’s gospel and should be considered good people, so how could they come to such an end and such an outcome?” Actually, this was how their bodies died and passed away; this was their means of departure from the human world, yet that did not mean their outcome was the same. No matter what the means of their death and departure was nor how it happened, it was not how God defined the final outcomes of those lives, of those created beings. This is something you must see clearly. On the contrary, they used precisely those means to condemn this world and to testify to God’s deeds. These created beings used their most precious lives—they used the last moment of their lives to testify to God’s deeds, to testify to God’s great power, and to declare to Satan and the world that God’s deeds are right, that the Lord Jesus is God, that He is the Lord, and God’s incarnate flesh. Even down to the final moment of their lives, they never denied the name of the Lord Jesus. Was this not a form of judgment upon this world? They used their lives to proclaim to the world, to confirm to human beings that the Lord Jesus is the Lord, that the Lord Jesus is Christ, that He is God’s incarnate flesh, that the work of redemption He did for all humanity allows humanity to live on—this fact is forever unchanging. Those who were martyred for spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus, to what extent did they perform their duty? Was it to the ultimate extent? How was the ultimate extent manifested? (They offered their lives.) That’s right, they paid the price with their lives. Family, wealth, and the material things of this life are all external things; the only thing that is related to the self is life. To every living person, life is the thing most worthy of being treasured, the most precious thing and, as it happens, these people were able to offer their most precious possession—life—as confirmation of and testimony to God’s love for mankind. Until the day they died, they did not deny God’s name, nor did they deny God’s work, and they used their last moments of life to testify to the existence of this fact—is this not the highest form of testimony? This is the best way of doing one’s duty; this is what it is to fulfill one’s responsibility. When Satan threatened and terrorized them, and, in the end, even when it made them pay the price of their lives, they did not abandon their responsibility. This is what it is to fulfill one’s duty to the utmost extent. What do I mean by this? Do I mean to have you use the same method to testify of God and to spread His gospel? You do not necessarily need to do so, but you must understand that this is your responsibility, that if God needs you to, you should accept it as something you are honor-bound to do. People today have fear and worry inside them, but what purpose do those feelings serve? If God does not need you to do this, what is the use in worrying about it? If God needs you to do this, you should not shirk this responsibility nor reject it. You should cooperate proactively and accept it without worry. No matter how one dies, they should not die before Satan, and not die in Satan’s hands. If one is going to die, they should die in God’s hands. People came from God, and to God they return—such is the sense and attitude that a created being should possess. This is the final truth one should understand in spreading the gospel and performing their duty—one must pay the price of their life to spread and testify to the gospel of God incarnate’s performance of His work and salvation of mankind. If you have this aspiration, if you can bear testimony in this way, that is wonderful. If you still do not possess this sort of aspiration, you should, at least, properly fulfill the responsibility and duty that lie before you, entrusting the rest to God. Perhaps then, as the months and years pass and your experience and age increase, and your understanding of the truth deepens, you will realize that you have an obligation and a responsibility to offer your life to the work of God’s gospel, even until the last moment of your life.
It is now the proper time to start talking about these topics because the spreading of the gospel of the kingdom has already begun. Previously, in the Age of Law and the Age of Grace, some ancient prophets and saints gave their lives in spreading the gospel, so those born in the last days can also give their lives for this cause. This is not something new or sudden, much less is it an excessive requirement. This is the duty that created beings ought to perform and fulfill. This is the truth; this is the highest truth. If all you do is shout slogans about what you want to do for God, how you want to fulfill your duty, and how much you want to expend for God, it is useless. When reality hits home for you, when you are asked to sacrifice your life, will you complain at the very last moment, will you be willing, will you truly submit? This is the test of your stature.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Spreading the Gospel Is the Duty to Which All Believers Are Honor-Bound
Man will be fully made complete in the Age of Kingdom. After the work of conquest, man will be subjected to refinement and tribulation. Those who can overcome and stand testimony during this tribulation are the ones who will ultimately be made complete; they are the overcomers. During this tribulation, man is required to accept this refinement, and this refinement is the last instance of God’s work. It is the last time that man will be refined prior to the conclusion of all the work of God’s management, and all those who follow God must accept this final test, and they must accept this last refinement. Those who are beset by tribulation are without the work of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of God, but those who have been truly conquered and who truly seek after God will ultimately stand fast; they are the ones who are possessed of humanity, and who truly love God. No matter what God does, these victorious ones will not be bereft of the visions and will still put the truth into practice without failing in their testimony. They are the ones who will finally emerge from the great tribulation. Even though those who fish in troubled waters can still freeload today, no one is able to escape the final tribulation, and no one can escape the final test. For those who overcome, such tribulation is a tremendous refinement; but for those who fish in troubled waters, it is the work of casting out utterly. No matter how they are tried, the allegiance of those who have God in their heart remains unchanged; but for those who do not have God in their heart, once the work of God is not advantageous to their flesh, they change their view of God, and even depart from God. Such are those who will not stand fast in the end, who only seek God’s blessings and have no desire to expend themselves for God and dedicate themselves to Him. Such base people will all be expelled when God’s work comes to an end, and they are unworthy of any sympathy. Those without humanity are incapable of truly loving God. When the environment is safe and secure, or there are profits to be made, they are totally obedient toward God, but once that which they desire is compromised or finally refuted, they immediately revolt. Even in the space of just one night, they may go from a smiling, “kind-hearted” person to an ugly-looking and ferocious killer, suddenly treating their benefactor of yesterday as their mortal enemy, without rhyme or reason. If these demons are not cast out, these demons that would kill without blinking an eye, will they not become a hidden danger? The work of saving man is not achieved following the completion of the work of conquest. Although the work of conquest has come to an end, the work of purifying man has not; such work will only be finished once man has been wholly purified, once those who truly submit to God have been made complete, and once those disguisers who are without God in their heart have been purged. Those who do not satisfy God in the final stage of His work will be completely cast out, and those who are cast out are of the devil. As they are incapable of satisfying God, they are rebellious against God, and even though these people follow God today, this does not prove that they are those who will finally remain. In the words that “those who follow God to the end will receive salvation,” the meaning of “follow” is to stand firm in the midst of tribulation. Today, many believe that following God is easy, but when God’s work is about to end, you will know the true meaning of “follow.” Just because you are still able to follow God today after being conquered, this does not prove that you are one of those who will be made perfect. Those who are unable to endure the trials, who are incapable of being victorious amid tribulation will, ultimately, be incapable of standing fast, and so will be unable to follow God to the very end. Those who truly follow God are able to withstand the test of their work, whereas those who do not truly follow God are incapable of withstanding any of God’s trials. Sooner or later they will be expelled, while the overcomers will remain in the kingdom. Whether or not man truly seeks God is determined by the test of his work, that is, by God’s trials, and has nothing to do with the decision by man himself. God does not reject any person on a whim; all that He does can utterly convince man. He does not do anything that is invisible to man, or any work that cannot convince man. Whether man’s belief is true or not is proved by the facts and cannot be decided by man. That “wheat cannot be made into tares, and tares cannot be made into wheat” is without doubt. All those who truly love God will ultimately remain in the kingdom, and God will not mistreat anyone who truly loves Him. Based on their different functions and testimonies, the overcomers within the kingdom will serve as priests or followers, and all those who are victorious amid tribulation will become the body of priests within the kingdom. The body of priests will be formed when the work of the gospel throughout the universe has come to an end. When that time comes, that which should be done by man will be the performance of his duty within the kingdom of God, and his living together with God within the kingdom. In the body of priests there will be chief priests and priests, and the remainder will be the sons and people of God. This is all determined by their testimonies to God during tribulation; they are not titles that are given on a whim. Once man’s status has been established, the work of God will cease, for each is classed according to kind and returned to their original position, and this is the mark of the accomplishment of God’s work, it is the final outcome of the work of God and the practice of man, and it is the crystallization of the visions of God’s work and the cooperation of man. In the end, man will find repose in the kingdom of God, and God, too, will return to His dwelling place to rest. This will be the final outcome of 6,000 years of cooperation between God and man.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Work and Man’s Practice
The kingdom is expanding in humanity’s midst, it is forming in humanity’s midst, and it is standing up in humanity’s midst; there is no force that can destroy My kingdom. Of My people who are in the kingdom of today, which of you is not a human being among human beings? Which of you lies outside the human condition? When My new starting point is announced to the multitude, how will humanity react? You have seen with your own eyes the state of humankind; surely you do not still harbor hopes of enduring forever in this world? I am now walking abroad amongst My people and I live in their midst. Today, those who bear genuine love for Me—such people are blessed. Blessed are those who submit to Me, they will surely stay in My kingdom. Blessed are those who know Me, they will surely wield power in My kingdom. Blessed are those who seek after Me, they will surely escape from Satan’s bonds and enjoy My blessings. Blessed are those who are able to forsake themselves, they will surely enter into My possession and inherit My kingdom’s bounty. Those who run around for Me I will remember, those who make expenditures for Me I will joyfully embrace, and to those who make offerings to Me I will grant enjoyments. Those who find enjoyment in My words I will bless; they will surely be the pillars that hold up the ridgepole in My kingdom, they will surely have matchless abundance in My house, and no one can compare with them. Have you ever accepted the blessings that you were given? Have you ever sought the promises that were made for you? You will surely, under the guidance of My light, break through the stranglehold of the forces of darkness. You will surely not, in the midst of darkness, lose the light guiding you. You will surely be the master of all creation. You will surely be an overcomer before Satan. You will surely, at the downfall of the kingdom of the great red dragon, stand up amid the myriad throngs to bear witness to My victory. You will surely stand firm and unwavering in the land of Sinim. Through the sufferings you endure, you will inherit My blessings, and will surely radiate My glory throughout the entire universe.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Words to the Entire Universe, Chapter 19
Remembering a Departed Loved One
Related Experiential Testimonies
Wanted but Innocent
Oppressed by My Family: A Learning Experience
My Bumpy Road of Spreading the Gospel
You Are Those Who Will Receive the Inheritance of God
Song of the Overcomers
Seek to Love God No Matter How Great Your Suffering