45. How to understand God’s righteous disposition
Words of Almighty God of the Last Days
In His final work of concluding the age, God’s disposition is one of chastisement and judgment, in which He reveals all that is unrighteous, in order to publicly judge all peoples, and to perfect those who love Him with a sincere heart. Only a disposition such as this can bring the age to an end. The last days have already arrived. All things in creation will be separated according to their kind, and divided into different categories based on their nature. This is the moment when God reveals humanity’s outcome and their destination. If people do not undergo chastisement and judgment, then there will be no way of exposing their disobedience and unrighteousness. Only through chastisement and judgment can the outcome of all creation be revealed. Man only shows his true colors when he is chastised and judged. Evil shall be put with evil, good with good, and all humanity shall be separated according to their kind. Through chastisement and judgment, the outcome of all creation will be revealed, so that the evil may be punished and the good rewarded, and all people become subject to the dominion of God. All this work must be achieved through righteous chastisement and judgment. Because man’s corruption has reached its peak and his disobedience become exceedingly severe, only God’s righteous disposition, one that is principally compounded of chastisement and judgment and is revealed during the last days, can fully transform and complete man. Only this disposition can expose evil and thus severely punish all the unrighteous. Therefore, a disposition such as this is imbued with the significance of the age, and the revelation and exhibition of His disposition is made manifest for the sake of the work of each new age. It is not that God reveals His disposition arbitrarily and without significance. Supposing that, in revealing the outcome of man during the last days, God were still to bestow upon man infinite compassion and love and continue to be loving toward him, not subjecting man to righteous judgment but rather showing him tolerance, patience, and forgiveness, and pardoning man no matter how grave his sins, without any jot of righteous judgment: when then would all of God’s management ever be brought to a close? When would a disposition such as this be able to lead people into mankind’s appropriate destination? Take, for example, a judge who is always loving, a judge with a kindly face and a gentle heart. He loves people irrespective of the crimes they may have committed, and he is loving to and forbearing with them whoever they may be. In that case, when will he ever be able to reach a just verdict? During the last days, only righteous judgment can separate man according to their kind and bring man into a new realm. In this way, the entire age is brought to an end through God’s righteous disposition of judgment and chastisement.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Vision of God’s Work (3)
I am the unique God Himself and, moreover, I am the one and only person of God. Even more so, I, the entirety of the flesh, am the complete manifestation of God. Whosoever dares not fear Me, whosoever dares exhibit resistance in their eyes, and whosoever dares speak words of defiance against Me will surely die from My curses and wrath (there will be cursing because of My wrath). Furthermore, whosoever dares not be loyal or filial toward Me, and whosoever dares try to trick Me, will surely die from My hatred. My righteousness, majesty, and judgment will endure forever and ever. At first, I was loving and merciful, but this is not the disposition of My complete divinity; righteousness, majesty, and judgment merely comprise the disposition of Me, the complete God Himself. During the Age of Grace, I was loving and merciful. Because of the work I had to finish, I possessed lovingkindness and mercy; afterward, however, there was no more need for such things (and there has been none ever since). It is all righteousness, majesty, and judgment, and this is the complete disposition of My normal humanity coupled with My complete divinity.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 79
I will punish the wicked and reward the good, and I will bring into force My righteousness, and I will carry out My judgment. I will use My words to accomplish everything, making all people and all things experience My chastising hand, and I will make all people see My full glory, My full wisdom, and My full bounty. No person will dare to rise up in judgment, for in Me, all things are accomplished; and here, let every man see My full dignity, and taste My full victory, for in Me all things are manifested. From this, it is possible to see My great power and My authority. No one will dare offend Me, and no one will dare obstruct Me. In Me, all is made open. Who would dare hide anything? I am certain to show that person no mercy! Such wretches must receive My severe punishment, and such scum must be purged from My sight. I will rule them with an iron rod and I will use My authority to judge them, without the slightest mercy and without sparing their feelings at all, for I am God Himself, who is without emotion and majestic and cannot be offended. All should understand and see this, lest they come to be struck down and annihilated by Me “without cause or reason,” for My rod will strike down all who offend Me. I do not care whether they know My administrative decrees; that will be of no consequence to Me, as My person does not tolerate being offended by anyone. This is the reason why it is said that I am a lion; whomever I touch, I strike down. That is why it is said that it is now blasphemy to say that I am the God of compassion and lovingkindness. In essence, I am not a lamb, but a lion. No one dares offend Me; whosoever offends Me, I will punish with death, immediately and without mercy.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 120
I am righteous, I am trustworthy, and I am the God who examines the innermost heart of man! I will reveal at once who is true and who is false. Do not be alarmed; all things work according to My time. Who wants Me sincerely, and who does not—I will tell you, one by one. You just take care to eat up, drink up, and draw up close to Me when you come into My presence, and I will do My work Myself. Do not be too anxious for quick results; My work is not something that can be accomplished all at once. Within it there are My steps and My wisdom, and that is why My wisdom can be revealed. I will let you see what is done by My hands—the punishing of evil and the rewarding of good. I most certainly do not favor anyone. You who sincerely love Me, I will sincerely love you, and as for those who do not sincerely love Me, My wrath will ever be with them, so that they may remember through eternity that I am the true God, the God who examines the innermost heart of man. Do not act one way to others’ faces but another way behind their backs; I see clearly everything you do, and though you may fool others, you cannot fool Me. I see it all clearly. It is not possible for you to conceal anything; all lies within My hands. Do not think yourself so very clever for making your petty little calculations come out to your advantage. I tell you: However many plans man may hatch, be they thousands or tens of thousands, in the end they cannot escape from the palm of My hand. All things and all objects are controlled by My hands, never mind a single person! Do not try to evade Me or hide, do not try to wheedle or conceal. Can it be that you still do not see that My glorious countenance, My wrath and My judgment, have been publicly revealed? Whosoever does not want Me sincerely, I will judge them immediately and without mercy. My pity has come to its end; there is no more left. Do not be hypocrites any longer, and put a stop to your wild and reckless ways.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Utterances of Christ in the Beginning, Chapter 44
To understand God’s righteous disposition, one must first understand God’s feelings: what He hates, what He loathes, what He loves, to whom He is tolerant and merciful, and on what type of person He bestows that mercy. This is one main point. One must also understand that no matter how loving God is, no matter how much mercy and love He has for people, God does not tolerate anyone offending His status and position, nor does He tolerate anyone offending His dignity. Even though God loves people, He does not pamper them. He gives people His love, His mercy, and His tolerance, but He has never coddled them; God has His principles and His limits. Regardless of how much of God’s love you have felt, regardless of how deep that love may be, you must never treat God as you would treat another person. While it is true that God treats people with the utmost intimacy, if a person views God as just another person, as if He were just another created being, like a friend or an object of worship, then God will hide His face from them and forsake them. This is His disposition, and people must not take this issue thoughtlessly. So, we often see words such as this spoken by God about His disposition: It does not matter how many roads you have traveled, how much work you have done or how much suffering you have endured, once you offend God’s disposition, He will repay each of you based on what you have done. What this means is that God treats people with the utmost intimacy, yet people must not treat God as a friend or a relative. Do not call God your “pal.” No matter how much love you have received from Him, no matter how much tolerance He has given you, you must never treat God as your friend. This is God’s righteous disposition.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique VII
God’s intolerance of offense is His unique essence; God’s wrath is His unique disposition; God’s majesty is His unique essence. The principle behind God’s anger is the demonstration of His identity and status, which only He possesses. It goes without saying that this principle is also a symbol of the essence of the unique God Himself. God’s disposition is His own inherent essence, which is not changed at all by the passage of time, and nor is it altered by changes of geographical location. His inherent disposition is His intrinsic essence. Regardless of whom He carries out His work upon, His essence does not change, and neither does His righteous disposition. When one angers God, that which God sends forth is His inherent disposition; at this time the principle behind His anger does not change, nor do His unique identity and status. He does not grow angry because of a change in His essence or because different elements arise from His disposition, but because man’s opposition against Him offends His disposition. Man’s flagrant provocation of God is a severe challenge to God’s own identity and status. In God’s view, when man challenges Him, man is contesting Him and testing His anger. When man opposes God, when man contests God, when man continuously tests God’s anger—and it is at such times when sin runs rampant—God’s wrath will naturally reveal and present itself. Therefore, God’s expression of His wrath is a symbol that all evil forces will cease to exist, and it is a symbol that all hostile forces will be destroyed. This is the uniqueness of God’s righteous disposition, and of God’s wrath. When God’s dignity and holiness are challenged, when the forces of justice are obstructed and unseen by man, then God will send forth His wrath. Because of God’s essence, all those forces on earth which contest God, oppose Him and contend with Him, are evil, corrupt and unjust; they come from and belong to Satan. Because God is just and is of the light and flawlessly holy, thus all things evil, corrupt and belonging to Satan will vanish when God’s wrath is unleashed.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique II
When God sends forth His rage, evil forces are checked and evil things are destroyed, while just and positive things come to enjoy God’s care and protection and are allowed to continue. God sends forth His wrath because unjust, negative and evil things obstruct, disturb or destroy the normal activity and development of just and positive things. The goal of God’s anger is not to safeguard His own status and identity, but to safeguard the existence of just, positive, beautiful and good things, to safeguard the laws and order of humanity’s normal survival. This is the root cause of God’s wrath. God’s rage is a very proper, natural and true revelation of His disposition. There are no ulterior motives in His rage, and nor is there deceit or plotting, let alone the desires, craftiness, malice, violence, evil or any of corrupt humanity’s other shared traits. Before God sends forth His rage, He has already perceived the essence of every matter quite clearly and completely, and He has already formulated accurate, clear definitions and conclusions. Thus, God’s objective in everything He does is crystal-clear, as is His attitude. He is not muddle-headed, blind, impulsive, or careless, and He is certainly not unprincipled. This is the practical aspect of God’s wrath, and it is because of this practical aspect of God’s wrath that humanity has attained its normal existence. Without God’s wrath, humanity would descend into abnormal living conditions and all things just, beautiful and good would be destroyed and cease to exist. Without God’s wrath, the laws and rules of existence for created beings would be broken or even utterly subverted. Since the creation of man, God has continuously used His righteous disposition to safeguard and sustain humanity’s normal existence. Because His righteous disposition contains wrath and majesty, all evil people, things and objects, and all things that disturb and damage humanity’s normal existence, are punished, controlled and destroyed as a result of His wrath. Over the past several millennia, God has continuously used His righteous disposition to strike down and destroy all kinds of unclean and evil spirits which oppose God and act as Satan’s accomplices and lackeys in God’s work of managing humanity. Thus, God’s work of the salvation of man has always advanced according to His plan. This is to say that because of the existence of God’s wrath, the most righteous causes among mankind have never been destroyed.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique II
God’s treatment of the whole of humanity, foolish and ignorant as humanity is, is primarily based on mercy and tolerance. His wrath, on the other hand, is kept concealed for the vast majority of time and in the vast majority of events, and it is unknown to man. As a result, it is difficult for man to see God express His wrath, and it is also difficult to understand His wrath. As such, man makes light of God’s wrath. When man faces God’s final work and step of tolerance and forgiveness for man—that is, when God’s final instance of mercy and His final warning comes upon mankind—if people still use the same methods to oppose God and do not make any effort to repent, to mend their ways and accept His mercy, then God will no longer bestow His tolerance and patience upon them. On the contrary, God will retract His mercy at this time. Following this, He will only send forth His wrath. He can express His wrath in different ways, just as He can use different methods to punish and destroy people.
God’s use of fire to destroy the city of Sodom is His swiftest method of utterly annihilating a humanity or any other thing. Burning the people of Sodom destroyed more than their physical bodies; it destroyed the entirety of their spirits, their souls and their bodies, ensuring that the people inside the city would cease to exist in both the material world and the world that is invisible to man. This is one way in which God reveals and expresses His wrath. This manner of revelation and expression is one aspect of the essence of God’s wrath, just as it is naturally also a revelation of the essence of God’s righteous disposition. When God sends forth His wrath, He ceases to reveal any mercy or lovingkindness, nor does He display any more of His tolerance or patience; there is no person, thing or reason that can persuade Him to continue to be patient, to give His mercy again, to bestow His tolerance once more. In place of these things, without a moment’s hesitation, God sends forth His wrath and majesty, doing what He desires. He will do these things in a swift and clean manner in accordance with His own wishes. This is the way in which God sends forth His wrath and majesty, which man must not offend, and it is also an expression of one aspect of His righteous disposition. When people witness God showing concern and love toward man, they are unable to detect His wrath, see His majesty or feel His intolerance toward offense. These things have always led people to believe that God’s righteous disposition is one solely of mercy, tolerance and love. However, when one sees God destroy a city or detest a humanity, His rage in the destruction of man and His majesty allow people to glimpse the other side of His righteous disposition. This is God’s intolerance to offense. God’s disposition that tolerates no offense surpasses the imagination of any created being, and among the non-created beings, none is capable of interfering with it or affecting it; even less can it be impersonated or imitated. Thus, this aspect of God’s disposition is the one that humanity should know the most. Only God Himself has this kind of disposition, and only God Himself is possessed of this kind of disposition. God is possessed of this kind of righteous disposition because He detests wickedness, darkness, rebelliousness and Satan’s evil acts—corrupting and devouring mankind—because He detests all acts of sin in opposition to Him and because of His holy and undefiled essence. It is because of this that He will not suffer any of the created or non-created beings to openly oppose or contest Him. Even an individual to whom He had once shown mercy or whom He had chosen, need only provoke His disposition and transgress His principles of patience and tolerance, and God will unleash and reveal His righteous disposition that tolerates no offense without the least bit of mercy or hesitation.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique II
When dealing with each of God’s acts, you must first be certain that God’s righteous disposition is free of any other elements, that it is holy and flawless. These acts include God’s striking down, punishment and destruction of humanity. Without exception, every one of God’s acts is made in strict accordance with His inherent disposition and His plan, and includes no part of humanity’s knowledge, tradition and philosophy. Every one of God’s acts is an expression of His disposition and essence, unrelated to anything that belongs to corrupt humanity. Mankind has the notion that only God’s love, mercy and tolerance toward humanity are flawless, unadulterated and holy, and no one knows that God’s rage and His wrath are likewise unadulterated; furthermore, no one has contemplated questions such as why God tolerates no offense or why His rage is so great. On the contrary, some mistake God’s wrath for a bad temper, such as that of corrupt humanity, and misunderstand God’s anger to be the same rage as that of corrupt humanity. They even mistakenly assume that God’s rage is just like the natural revelation of humanity’s corrupt disposition and that the issuing of God’s wrath is just like the anger of corrupt people when they are faced with some unhappy situation, and believe that the issuing of God’s wrath is an expression of His mood. … God’s righteous disposition is God’s own true essence. It is not something written or shaped by man. His righteous disposition is His righteous disposition and has no relation or connection to anything of creation. God Himself is God Himself. He will never become a part of creation, and even if He becomes a member of the created beings, His inherent disposition and essence will not change. Therefore, knowing God is not the same as knowing an object; to know God is not to dissect something, nor is it the same as understanding a person. If man uses his concept or method of knowing an object or understanding a person to know God, then you will never be able to attain knowledge of God. Knowing God is not reliant on experience or imagination, and therefore you must never impose your experience or imagination on God; no matter how rich your experience and imagination may be, they are still limited. What is more, your imagination does not correspond to facts, and much less to the truth, and it is incompatible with God’s true disposition and essence. You will never succeed if you rely on your imagination to understand God’s essence. The only path is this: Accept all that comes from God, then gradually experience and understand it. There will be a day when God will enlighten you to truly understand and know Him because of your cooperation and because of your hunger and thirst for the truth.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique II
When God had a change of heart toward the people of Nineveh, were His mercy and tolerance a false front? Of course not! Then what has been shown by the transition between these two aspects of God’s disposition in the course of God dealing with this one situation? God’s disposition is a complete whole—it is not at all divided. Regardless of whether He is expressing anger or mercy and tolerance toward people, these are all expressions of His righteous disposition. God’s disposition is vital and vividly apparent, and He changes His thoughts and attitudes according to the way things develop. The transformation of His attitude toward the Ninevites tells humanity that He has His own thoughts and ideas; He is not a robot or a clay figure, but the living God Himself. He could be angry with the people of Nineveh, just as He could forgive their pasts because of their attitudes. He could decide to bring misfortune upon the Ninevites, and He could also change His decision because of their repentance. People like to rigidly apply rules, and to use such rules to delimit and define God, just as they like to use formulas to attempt to understand God’s disposition. Therefore, as far as the domain of human thought is concerned, God does not think, nor does He have any essential ideas. But in reality, God’s thoughts are in a state of constant transformation according to changes in things and in environments. While these thoughts are transforming, different aspects of God’s essence are revealed. During this process of transformation, at the precise moment when God has a change of heart, what He shows to mankind is the real existence of His life, and that His righteous disposition is full of dynamic vitality. At the same time, God uses His own true revelations to prove to mankind the truth of the existence of His wrath, His mercy, His lovingkindness, and His tolerance. His essence will be revealed at any time and any place in accordance with how things develop. He possesses a lion’s wrath and a mother’s mercy and tolerance. His righteous disposition allows no questioning, violation, change, or distortion by any person. Among all matters and all things, God’s righteous disposition—that is, God’s wrath and God’s mercy—can be revealed at any time and any place. He gives vital expression to these aspects in every corner of all creation, and He implements them with vitality in every passing moment. God’s righteous disposition is not limited by time or space; in other words, God’s righteous disposition is not mechanically expressed or revealed according to the constraints of time or space, but rather with perfect ease and in all times and places. When you see God have a change of heart and cease to express His wrath and refrain from destroying the city of Nineveh, can you say that God is only merciful and loving? Can you say that God’s wrath consists of empty words? When God rages with fierce wrath and retracts His mercy, can you say that He feels no true love toward humanity? This fierce wrath is expressed by God in response to people’s evil acts; His wrath is not flawed. God’s heart is moved in response to people’s repentance, and it is this repentance that brings about His change of heart. When He feels moved, when He has a change of heart, and when He shows His mercy and tolerance toward man, all of these are utterly without flaw; they are clean, pure, unblemished and unadulterated. God’s tolerance is exactly that: tolerance, just as His mercy is nothing other than mercy. His disposition reveals wrath or mercy and tolerance in accordance with man’s repentance and the variations in man’s conduct. No matter what He reveals and expresses, it is all pure and direct; its essence is distinct from that of anything in creation. When God expresses the principles underlying His actions, they are free from any flaws or blemishes, and so are His thoughts, His ideas, and every single decision He makes and every single action He takes. Since God has thus decided and since He has thus acted, so does He complete His undertakings. The results of His undertakings are correct and faultless precisely because their source is flawless and unblemished. God’s wrath is flawless. Likewise, God’s mercy and tolerance—which are possessed by none among all of creation—are holy and flawless, and can withstand thoughtful deliberation and experience.
Through your understanding of the story of Nineveh, do you now see the other side of the essence of God’s righteous disposition? Do you see the other side of God’s unique righteous disposition? Does anyone among humanity possess this kind of disposition? Does anyone possess this kind of wrath, the wrath of God? Does anyone possess mercy and tolerance such as that which is possessed by God? Who among creation can summon forth such great wrath and decide to destroy or bring disaster upon mankind? And who is qualified to bestow mercy on man, to tolerate and pardon, and thereby change one’s prior decision to destroy man? The Creator expresses His righteous disposition through His own unique methods and principles, and He is not subject to the control or restrictions imposed by any people, events or things. With His unique disposition, no one is able to change His thoughts and ideas, nor is anyone able to persuade Him and change any of His decisions. The entirety of the behavior and thoughts that exist in all of creation exist under the judgment of His righteous disposition. No one can control whether He exercises wrath or mercy; only the essence of the Creator—or in other words, the Creator’s righteous disposition—can decide this. Such is the unique nature of the Creator’s righteous disposition!
Through analyzing and understanding the transformation of God’s attitude toward the people of Nineveh, are you able to use the word “unique” to describe the mercy found within God’s righteous disposition? We previously said that God’s wrath is one aspect of the essence of His unique righteous disposition. Now I shall define two aspects—God’s wrath and God’s mercy—as His righteous disposition. God’s righteous disposition is holy; it does not tolerate being offended or questioned; it is something possessed by none among created or non-created beings. It is both unique and exclusive to God. This is to say that God’s wrath is holy and unoffendable. In the same way, the other aspect of God’s righteous disposition—God’s mercy—is holy and cannot be offended. None of the created or non-created beings can replace or represent God in His actions, nor could anyone have replaced or represented Him in the destruction of Sodom or the salvation of Nineveh. This is the true expression of God’s unique righteous disposition.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God Himself, the Unique II
The mercy and tolerance of God do indeed exist, but God’s holiness and righteousness when He unleashes His wrath also show man the side of God that brooks no offense. When man is fully capable of obeying the commands of God and acts in accordance with God’s requirements, God is abundant in His mercy toward man; when man has been filled with corruption, hatred and enmity for Him, God is profoundly angry. To what extent is He profoundly angry? His wrath will last until God no longer sees man’s resistance and evil deeds, until they are no longer before His eyes. Only then will God’s anger disappear. In other words, no matter who the person is, if their heart has become distant from God and turned away from God, never to return, then regardless of how, to all appearances or in terms of their subjective desires, they wish to worship and follow and obey God in their body or in their thinking, God’s wrath will be unleashed without cease. It will be such that when God deeply unleashes His anger, having given man ample opportunities, once it is unleashed there will be no way of taking it back, and He will never again be merciful and tolerant of such a mankind. This is one side of God’s disposition that tolerates no offense. … He is tolerant and merciful toward things that are kind and beautiful and good; toward things that are evil, sinful, and wicked, He is profoundly wrathful, such that He is unceasing in His wrath. These are the two principal and most prominent aspects of God’s disposition, and, moreover, they have been revealed by God from beginning to end: abundant mercy and profound wrath.
—The Word, Vol. 2. On Knowing God. God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II
Any work done by God is appropriate. He knows what to do and how to do it, and He will certainly not make people do anything that they cannot do instinctually. God’s handling of each person is based in the actual situations of that person’s circumstances and background at the time, as well as in that person’s actions and behavior and their nature essence. God will never wrong anyone. This is one side of God’s righteousness. For example, Eve was seduced by the serpent into eating the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, but Jehovah did not reproach her by saying, “I told you not to eat it, so why did you do it anyway? You should have had discernment; you should have known that the serpent spoke only to seduce you.” Jehovah did not reprimand Eve like that. Because humans are God’s creation, He knows what their instincts are and what those instincts are capable of, to what extent people can control themselves, and how far people can go. God knows all this quite clearly. God’s handling of a person is not as simple as people imagine. When His attitude toward a person is one of loathing or revulsion, or when it comes to what this person says in a given context, He has a good understanding of their states. This is because God scrutinizes man’s heart and essence. People are always thinking, “God has only His divinity. He is righteous and brooks no offense from man. He doesn’t consider man’s difficulties or put Himself in people’s shoes. If a person should resist God, He will punish them.” That is not how things are at all. If that is how someone understands His righteousness, His work, and His treatment of people, they are gravely mistaken. God’s determination of each person’s outcome is not based in man’s notions and imaginings, but in God’s righteous disposition. He will repay each person according to what they have done. God is righteous, and sooner or later, He will see to it that all people are convinced, through and through.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three
People say that God is a righteous God, and that as long as man follows Him to the very end, He will surely be impartial toward man, for He is most righteous. If man follows Him to the very end, could He cast man aside? I am impartial toward all men, and judge all men with My righteous disposition, yet there are suitable conditions to the requirements I make of man, and that which I require must be accomplished by all men, regardless of who they are. I care not how your qualifications are, or how long you have held them; I care only whether you walk in My way, and whether or not you love and thirst for the truth. If you lack the truth, and instead bring shame upon My name, and do not act according to My way, merely following without care or concern, then at that time I will strike you down and punish you for your evil, and what will you have to say then? Will you be able to say that God is not righteous? Today, if you have complied with the words I have spoken, then you are the kind of person whom I approve. You say you have always suffered whilst following God, that you have followed Him through thick and thin, and have shared with Him the good times and the bad, but you have not lived out the words spoken by God; you wish only to run about for God and expend yourself for God each day, and have never thought to live out a life of meaning. You also say, “In any case, I believe God is righteous. I have suffered for Him, run around for Him, and devoted myself for Him, and I have worked hard despite not receiving any recognition; He is sure to remember me.” It is true that God is righteous, yet this righteousness is untainted by any impurities: It contains no human will, and it is not tainted by the flesh, or by human transactions. All who are rebellious and in opposition, all who are not in compliance with His way, will be punished; none is forgiven, and none is spared! Some people say, “Today I run around for You; when the end comes, can You give me a little blessing?” So I ask you, “Have you complied with My words?” The righteousness that you speak of is based on a transaction. You think only that I am righteous and impartial toward all men, and that all those who follow Me to the very end are sure to be saved and gain My blessings. There is inner meaning to My words that “all those who follow Me to the very end are sure to be saved”: Those who follow Me to the very end are the ones who will be fully gained by Me, they are those who, after being conquered by Me, seek the truth and are made perfect. What conditions have you achieved? You have only achieved following Me to the very end, but what else? Have you complied with My words? You have accomplished one of My five requirements, yet you have no intention of accomplishing the remaining four. You have simply found the simplest, easiest path, and pursued it with an attitude of just hoping to get lucky. Toward such a person as you My righteous disposition is one of chastisement and judgment, it is one of righteous retribution, and it is the righteous punishment of all evildoers; all those who do not walk in My way will surely be punished, even if they follow to the very end. This is the righteousness of God. When this righteous disposition is expressed in the punishment of man, man will be dumbfounded, and feel regret that, whilst following God, he did not walk in His way. “At that time, I only suffered a little whilst following God, but did not walk in the way of God. What excuses are there? There is no option but to be chastised!” Yet in his mind he is thinking, “Anyway, I have followed to the very end, so even if You chastise me, it can’t be too severe a chastisement, and after exacting this chastisement You will still want me. I know You are righteous, and will not treat me that way forever. After all, I’m not like those who will be wiped out; those who are to be wiped out will receive a heavy chastisement, whereas my chastisement will be lighter.” Righteous disposition is not as you say. It is not the case that those who are good at confessing their sins are dealt with leniently. Righteousness is holiness, and is a disposition that is intolerant of offense by man, and all that is filthy and has not changed is the target of God’s disgust. God’s righteous disposition is not law, but administrative decree: It is administrative decree within the kingdom, and this administrative decree is the righteous punishment of anyone who does not possess the truth and has not changed, and there is no margin for salvation. For when each man is classified according to kind, the good will be rewarded and the evil will be punished. It is when the destination of man will be made clear; it is the time that the work of salvation will come to an end, after which, the work of saving man will no longer be done, and retribution will be brought upon every one of those who commit evil.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment
God’s love and righteousness must be understood thoroughly and must be explained and grasped based upon God’s words and the truth. Furthermore, one must also undergo true experience and attain God’s enlightenment in order to truly know God’s love and righteousness. One’s appraisal of His love and righteousness should not be based on one’s notions and imaginings. According to human notions, good is rewarded and evil punished, good people are recompensed with good and evil ones are recompensed with evil, and those who do no evil should all be recompensed with good and receive blessings. It would appear that, in all cases where people are not evil, they should be recompensed with good; only this is God’s righteousness. Is this not people’s notion? But what if they fail to be recompensed with good? Would you then say that God is not righteous? For instance, during Noah’s time, God said to Noah: “The end of all flesh is come before Me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth” (Genesis 6:13). He then ordered Noah to build the ark. After Noah accepted God’s commission and built the ark, a great downpour of rain fell upon the earth for forty days and nights, the entire world was submerged below floodwaters and, with the exception of Noah and his seven family members, God destroyed all the humans of that age. What do you make of this? Would you say that God is not loving? As far as man is concerned, no matter how corrupt humankind may be, as long as God destroys mankind, this means that He is not loving—are they correct in believing this? Is this belief not absurd? God did not love those that He destroyed, but can you honestly say that He did not love those that survived and attained His salvation? Peter loved God to the uttermost and God loved Peter—can you really say that God is not loving? God loves those that truly love Him and He despises and curses those that resist Him and refuse to repent. God is possessed of both love and hate, this is the truth. People should not pigeonhole or judge God according to their notions and imaginings, because mankind’s notions and imaginings, which are their way of viewing things, have no truth at all. God must be known based on His attitude toward man, on His disposition and essence. One absolutely must not try to define what essence God has based on the externalities of those things He does and addresses. Mankind is so deeply corrupted by Satan; they do not know the nature essence of corrupt mankind, much less what corrupt mankind is before God, nor how they ought to be treated according to His righteous disposition. Consider Job, he was a righteous man and God blessed him. This was God’s righteousness. Satan made a wager with Jehovah: “Does Job fear God for nothing? Have not You made an hedge about him, and about his house, and about all that he has on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his substance is increased in the land. But put forth Your hand now, and touch all that he has, and he will curse You to Your face” (Job 1:9–11). Jehovah God said, “All that he has is in your power; only on himself put not forth your hand” (Job 1:12). So Satan went to Job and attacked and tempted Job, and Job encountered trials. Everything he had was stripped away—he lost his children and his property, and his whole body became covered in boils. Now, did Job’s trials have within them the righteous disposition of God? You can’t say clearly, can you? Even if you are a righteous person, God has a right to subject you to trials and to allow you to bear Him witness. God’s disposition is righteous; He treats everyone equally. It is not that righteous people do not then need to undergo trials even if they can withstand them or that they must then be protected; this is not the case. God has the right to put righteous people through trials. This is the revelation of God’s righteous disposition. Finally, after Job had finished undergoing trials and bearing witness to Jehovah, Jehovah blessed him even more than before, even better than before, and He gave him twice as many blessings. Furthermore, Jehovah appeared to him, and spoke to him from out of the wind, and Job saw Him as though face to face. This was a blessing given to him by God. This was God’s righteousness. What if when Job had finished undergoing trials and Jehovah saw how Job had borne witness to Him in Satan’s presence and shamed Satan, Jehovah then turned away and left, ignoring him, and Job did not receive blessings afterward—would this have God’s righteousness in it? Regardless of whether Job was blessed after the trials or not, or whether Jehovah appeared to him or not, all of this contains God’s good will. Appearing to Job would have been God’s righteousness, and not appearing to him would also have been God’s righteousness. Upon what basis do you—a created being—make demands of God? People are not qualified to make demands of God. There is nothing more unreasonable than making demands of God. He will do what He ought to do, and His disposition is righteous. Righteousness is by no means fairness or reasonableness; it is not egalitarianism, or a matter of allocating to you what you deserve in accordance with how much work you have completed, or paying you for whatever work you have done, or giving you your due according to what effort you expend. This is not righteousness, it is merely being fair and reasonable. Very few people are capable of knowing God’s righteous disposition. Suppose God had eliminated Job after Job bore witness for Him: Would this be righteous? In fact, it would be. Why is this called righteousness? How do people view righteousness? If something is in line with people’s notions, it is then very easy for them to say that God is righteous; however, if they do not see that thing as being in line with their notions—if it is something that they are incapable of comprehending—then it would be difficult for them to say that God is righteous. If God had destroyed Job back then, people would not have said He was righteous. Actually, though, whether people have been corrupted or not, and whether they have been profoundly corrupted or not, does God have to justify Himself when He destroys them? Should He have to explain to people upon what basis it is that He does so? Must God tell people the rules He has ordained? There is no need. In God’s eyes, someone who is corrupt, and who is liable to oppose God, is without any worth; however God handles them will be appropriate, and all are the arrangements of God. If you were displeasing to God’s eyes, and if He said that He had no use for you after your testimony and therefore destroyed you, would this, too, be His righteousness? It would. You might not be able to recognize this right now from the facts, but you must understand in doctrine. What would you say—is God’s destruction of Satan an expression of His righteousness? (Yes.) What if He allowed Satan to remain? You dare not say, yes? God’s essence is righteousness. Though it is not easy to comprehend what He does, all that He does is righteous; it is simply that people do not understand. When God gave Peter to Satan, how did Peter respond? “Mankind is unable to fathom what You do, but all of what You do contains Your good will; there is righteousness in all of it. How can I not utter praise for Your wisdom and deeds?” You should now see that the reason God does not destroy Satan in the time of His salvation of man is that humans may see clearly how Satan has corrupted them and the extent to which it has corrupted them, and how God purifies and saves them. Ultimately, when people have understood the truth and clearly seen Satan’s odious countenance, and beheld the monstrous sin of Satan’s corruption of them, God will destroy Satan, showing them His righteousness. The timing when God destroys Satan is filled with God’s disposition and wisdom. Everything that God does is righteous. Though humans may not be able to perceive God’s righteousness, they should not make judgments at will. If something He does appears to humans as unreasonable, or if they have any notions about it, and that leads them to say that He is not righteous, then they are being most unreasonable. You see that Peter found some things to be incomprehensible, but he was sure that God’s wisdom was present and that His good will was in those things. Humans cannot fathom everything; there are so many things that they cannot grasp. Thus, to know God’s disposition is not an easy thing.
—The Word, Vol. 3. The Discourses of Christ of the Last Days. Part Three
My mercy is expressed toward those who love Me and deny themselves. The punishment visited upon the wicked, meanwhile, is precisely proof of My righteous disposition and, even more, testimony to My wrath. When disaster comes, all who oppose Me will weep as they fall victim to famine and plague. Those who have committed all manner of wickedness, but who have followed Me for many years, will not escape paying for their sins; they too, will be plunged into disaster, the like of which has seldom been seen throughout millions of years, and they will live in a constant state of panic and fear. And those of My followers who have shown loyalty to Me will rejoice and applaud My might. They will experience ineffable contentment and live amid joy such as I have never before bestowed upon mankind. For I treasure the good deeds of man and abhor their evil deeds. Since I first began to lead mankind, I have been eagerly hoping to gain a group of people who are of the same mind with Me. Those who are not of the same mind with Me, meanwhile, I never forget; I always loathe them in My heart, awaiting the chance to bring retribution upon them, which I shall relish to see. Now My day has finally come, and I need no longer wait!
My final work is not only for the sake of punishing man, but also for the sake of arranging the destination of man. Moreover, it is so that all people may acknowledge My deeds and actions. I want each and every person to see that all I have done is right, and that all I have done is an expression of My disposition. It is not man’s doing, much less nature, that brought forth mankind, but I, who nourish every living being in creation. Without My existence, mankind will only perish and suffer the scourge of calamity. No human being will ever again see the beauteous sun and moon, or the verdant world; mankind shall encounter only the frigid night and the inexorable valley of the shadow of death. I am mankind’s only salvation. I am mankind’s only hope and, even more, I am He on whom the existence of all mankind rests. Without Me, mankind will immediately come to a standstill. Without Me, mankind will suffer catastrophe and be trampled underfoot by all manner of ghosts, though no one takes heed of Me. I have done work that can be done by no other, and hope only that man can repay Me with some good deeds. Though but a few have been able to repay Me, I will still conclude My journey in the human world and begin the next step of My unfolding work, because all My rushing to and fro in man’s midst these many years has been fruitful, and I am very pleased. What I care about is not the number of people, but rather their good deeds. In any case, I hope that you prepare a sufficiency of good deeds for your own destination. Then will I be satisfied; otherwise, none of you can escape the disaster that will befall you. The disaster originates with Me and is of course orchestrated by Me. If you cannot appear as good in My eyes, then you will not escape suffering the disaster.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Prepare Sufficient Good Deeds for Your Destination
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God’s Disposition Is Merciful and Loving, and More Importantly, Righteous and Majestic