3. Why every new stage of God’s work encounters the wild defiance and condemnation of the religious world, and what the root of this is
Relevant Words of God:
Why do I say that those in the religious world are not believers in God but are evildoers, of the same ilk as the devil? When I say they are evildoers, it is because they do not understand the will of God and are unable to see His wisdom. God at no time reveals His work to them. They are blind; they cannot see the deeds of God, they have been forsaken by God, and they completely lack the care and protection of God, not to mention the work of the Holy Spirit. Those without the work of God are all evildoers and opponents of God. The opposition to God of which I speak refers to those who do not know God, those who acknowledge God with their lips and yet do not know Him, those who follow God and yet do not obey Him, and those who revel in the grace of God and yet are unable to stand witness to Him. Without an understanding of the purpose of God’s work or an understanding of the work that God does in man, he cannot be in accord with the will of God, nor can he stand witness to God. The reason why man opposes God stems, on the one hand, from his corrupt disposition, and on the other hand, from ignorance of God and lack of understanding of the principles by which God works and of His will for man. These two aspects, taken together, constitute a history of man’s resistance to God. Novices in the faith oppose God because such opposition lies within their nature, while the opposition to God of those with many years in the faith results from their ignorance of Him, in addition to their corrupt disposition.
Excerpted from “All People Who Do Not Know God Are People Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In the time when God had not yet become flesh, the measure of whether man opposed God was based on whether man worshiped and looked up to the invisible God in heaven. The way in which opposition to God was defined at that time was not all that practical, for man could not see God, nor did he know what the image of God was like, or how He worked and spoke. Man had no notions about God whatsoever, and he believed in God vaguely, because God had not yet appeared to man. Therefore, no matter how man believed in God in his imagination, God did not condemn man or make too many demands of him, because man was completely unable to see God. When God becomes flesh and comes to work among men, all behold Him and hear His words, and all see the deeds that God works from within His body of flesh. At that moment, all man’s notions become foam. As for those who have seen God appearing in the flesh, they shall not be condemned if they willingly obey Him, whereas those who purposefully stand against Him shall be deemed an opponent of God. Such people are antichrists, enemies who willfully stand against God. Those who harbor notions regarding God but are still ready and willing to obey Him will not be condemned. God condemns man on the basis of man’s intentions and actions, never for his thoughts and ideas. If He were to condemn man on the basis of his thoughts and ideas, then not a single person would be able to escape from the wrathful hands of God. Those who willfully stand against the incarnate God shall be punished for their disobedience. With regard to these people that willfully stand against God, their opposition stems from the fact that they harbor notions about God, which leads them in turn into actions that disrupt God’s work. These people intentionally resist and destroy the work of God. They do not merely have notions about God, but they also engage in activities that disrupt His work, and for this reason people of this kind shall be condemned. Those who do not willfully disrupt God’s work shall not be condemned as sinners, because they are able to willingly obey and not engage in activities that cause disruption and disturbance. People like this shall not be condemned.
Excerpted from “All People Who Do Not Know God Are People Who Oppose God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The work of God is always moving forward, and though the purpose of His work does not change, the method by which He works constantly changes, which means that those who follow God are constantly changing, too. The more work God does, the more thorough man’s knowledge of God is. Corresponding changes occur, too, in man’s disposition in the wake of God’s work. However, it is because the work of God is ever-changing that those who do not know the work of the Holy Spirit and those absurd people who do not know the truth start to resist God. Not ever does the work of God conform to the notions of man, for His work is always new and never old, and never does He repeat old work, but rather forges ahead with work never done before. As God does not repeat His work, and man invariably judges God’s current work by the work He did in the past, it has become exceedingly difficult for God to carry out each stage of work of the new age. Man has far too many difficulties! He is too conservative in his thinking! No one knows the work of God, yet everyone delimits it. When he leaves God, man loses life, truth, and God’s blessings, yet neither does he accept life nor truth, much less the greater blessings God bestows upon mankind. All men wish to gain God, yet are unable to tolerate any changes in God’s work. Those who do not accept God’s new work believe that the work of God is immutable, that it forever remains at a standstill. In their belief, all that is needed to gain eternal salvation from God is to observe the law, and as long as they repent and confess their sins, the will of God will always be satisfied. They are of the opinion that God can only be the God under the law and the God who was nailed to the cross for man; it is their opinion, too, that God should not and cannot exceed the Bible. It is precisely these opinions that have shackled them firmly to the laws of old and nailed them to dead rules. There are even more who believe that whatever the new work of God might be, it has to be substantiated by prophecies, and that in each stage of such work, all those who follow Him with a “true” heart must also be shown revelations; if not, such work could not be the work of God. It is already no easy task for man to come to know God. Taken in addition to man’s absurd heart and his rebellious nature of self-importance and self-conceit, it becomes all the more difficult for him to accept God’s new work. Man neither gives careful consideration to the new work of God, nor accepts it with humility; instead, he adopts an attitude of contempt as he awaits revelations and guidance from God. Is this not the behavior of those who rebel against and resist God? How can such people gain God’s approval?
Excerpted from “How Can Man Who Has Delimited God in His Notions Receive the Revelations of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Because there are always new developments in God’s work, there is work that becomes obsolete and old as new work arises. These different types of work, old and new, are not contradictory, but complementary; each step follows from the last. Because there is new work, the old things must, of course, be eliminated. For example, some of the long-established practices and habitual sayings of man, coupled with man’s many years of experience and teachings, have formed all manner and form of notions in the mind of man. That God has yet fully to reveal His true face and inherent disposition to man, along with the spread, over many years, of traditional theories from ancient times have been yet more propitious to man’s formation of such notions. It may be said that, over the course of man’s belief in God, the influence of various notions has led to the continual formation and evolution of all sorts of notional understandings of God in people, which has caused many religious people who serve God to become His enemies. So, the stronger people’s religious notions are, the more they oppose God, and the more they are the enemies of God. The work of God is always new and never old; it never forms doctrine, instead changing continually and being renewed to a greater or lesser extent. Working in this way is an expression of the inherent disposition of God Himself. It is also the inherent principle of God’s work, and one of the means by which God accomplishes His management. If God did not work in this way, man would not change or be able to know God, and Satan would not be defeated. Thus, in His work, changes continually occur that appear erratic, but which are actually periodic. The way in which man believes in God, however, is quite different. He clings to old, familiar doctrines and systems, and the older they are, the more palatable they are to him. How could the foolish mind of man, a mind that is as intransigent as stone, accept so much unfathomable new work and words of God? Man abhors the God who is always new and never old; he likes only the old God, who is long of tooth, white of hair, and stuck in place. Thus, because God and man each have their own likes, man has become the enemy of God. Many of these contradictions still exist even today, at a time when God has been doing new work for almost six thousand years. They are, then, beyond remedy.
Excerpted from “Only Those Who Know the Work of God Today May Serve God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Do many people not oppose God and obstruct the work of the Holy Spirit because they do not know the varied and diverse work of God, and, furthermore, because they possess but a smidgeon of knowledge and doctrine with which to measure the work of the Holy Spirit? Though the experiences of such people are superficial, they are arrogant and indulgent in nature and they regard the work of the Holy Spirit with contempt, ignore the disciplines of the Holy Spirit and, moreover, use their trivial old arguments to “confirm” the work of the Holy Spirit. They also put on an act, and are wholly convinced of their own learning and erudition, and convinced that they are able to travel across the world. Are such people not those who are despised and rejected by the Holy Spirit, and will they not be eliminated by the new age? Are not those who come before God and openly oppose Him ignorant and under-informed little people, who are merely trying to show how brilliant they are? With but a meager knowledge of the Bible, they try to straddle the world’s “academia”; with but a superficial doctrine to teach people, they try to reverse the work of the Holy Spirit and attempt to make it revolve around their own thought process. Short-sighted as they are, they try to behold in one glance 6,000 years of God’s work. These people do not have any sense worth mentioning! In fact, the greater people’s knowledge of God, the slower they are to judge His work. Furthermore, they only talk a little of their knowledge of God’s work today, but they are not rash in their judgments. The less people know of God, the more arrogant and overconfident they are and the more wantonly they proclaim God’s being—yet they only talk of theory, and offer no real evidence. Such people are of no value whatsoever. Those who see the work of the Holy Spirit as a game are frivolous! Those who are not cautious when they encounter the new work of the Holy Spirit, who run their mouths off, are quick to judge, who give free rein to their natural instinct to deny the rightness of the Holy Spirit’s work, and who also insult and blaspheme it—are such disrespectful people not ignorant of the Holy Spirit’s work? Are they not, furthermore, people of great arrogance, people who are inherently proud and ungovernable? Even if a day comes when such people accept the new work of the Holy Spirit, still God will not tolerate them. Not only do they look down upon those who work for God, but they also blaspheme against God Himself. Such foolhardy people will not be forgiven, either in this age or the age to come, and they shall forever perish in hell! Such disrespectful, indulgent people are pretending to believe in God, and the more people are like this, the more liable they are to offend God’s administrative decrees. Do not all those arrogant ones who are innately unbridled, and who have never obeyed anyone, all walk upon this path? Do they not oppose God day after day, God who is always new and never old?
Excerpted from “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Each of the three stages of work is carried out upon the foundation of the previous stage; it is not carried out independently, separate from the work of salvation. Though there are great differences in the age and type of work that is carried out, at its core is still the salvation of mankind, and each stage of the work of salvation is deeper than the last. Each stage of work continues on from the foundation of the last, which is not abolished. In this way, in His work that is always new and never old, God is constantly expressing aspects of His disposition that have never before been expressed to man, and is always revealing to man His new work and His new being, and even though the religious old guard does its utmost to resist this, and openly opposes it, God always does the new work that He intends to do. His work is always changing, and because of this, it is always encountering the opposition of man. So, too, is His disposition always changing, as are the age and recipients of His work. Furthermore, He is always doing work that has never been done before, even carrying out work that appears to man to be in contradiction to the work done before, to run counter to it. Man is only able to accept one kind of work, or one way of practice, and it is difficult for man to accept work, or ways of practice, that are at odds with, or higher than, them. But the Holy Spirit is always doing new work, and so there appear group after group of religious experts that oppose the new work of God. These people have become experts precisely because man has no knowledge of how God is always new and never old, and has no knowledge of the principles of God’s work, and, furthermore, has no knowledge of the many ways in which God saves man. As such, man is utterly unable to tell if it is work that comes from the Holy Spirit, and if it is the work of God Himself. Many people cling to an attitude in which, if something corresponds with the words that came before, then they accept it, and if there are differences with the work of before, then they oppose and reject it. Today, do you all not abide by such principles? … Know that you oppose God’s work, or use your own notions to measure the work of today, because you do not know the principles of God’s work, and because you do not take the work of the Holy Spirit seriously enough. Your opposition to God and obstruction of the work of the Holy Spirit is caused by your notions and inherent arrogance. It is not because God’s work is wrong, but because you are naturally too disobedient. After finding their belief in God, some people cannot even say with certainty where man came from, yet they dare to make public speeches appraising the rights and wrongs of the Holy Spirit’s work. They even lecture the apostles who have the Holy Spirit’s new work, passing comment and speaking out of turn; their humanity is too low, and there is not the slightest sense in them. Will the day not come when such people are rejected by the work of the Holy Spirit, and burned by the fires of hell? They do not know the work of God, but instead criticize His work, and also try to instruct God how to work. How can such unreasonable people know God? Man comes to know God during the process of seeking and experiencing; it is not through criticizing at whim that man comes to know God through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. The more accurate people’s knowledge of God becomes, the less they oppose Him. In contrast, the less people know of God, the more likely they are to oppose Him. Your notions, your old nature, and your humanity, character and moral outlook are the “capital” with which you resist God, and the more corrupt, degraded and low you become, the more you are the enemy of God. Those who are possessed of strong notions and who have a self-righteous disposition are even more in enmity of God incarnate; such people are the antichrists. If your notions are not rectified, then they will always be against God; you will never be compatible with God, and will always be apart from Him.
Excerpted from “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Man has been corrupted and lives in Satan’s trap. All people live in the flesh, live in selfish desires, and there is not a single one among them who is compatible with Me. There are those who say that they are compatible with Me, but such people all worship vague idols. Although they acknowledge My name as holy, they tread a path that runs contrary to Me, and their words are full of arrogance and self-confidence. This is because, at root, they are all against Me and incompatible with Me. Every day, they seek traces of Me in the Bible and find “suitable” passages at random which they read endlessly and recite as scriptures. They do not know how to be compatible with Me nor what it means to be against Me. They merely read scriptures blindly. Within the Bible, they constrain a vague God that they have never seen, and are incapable of seeing, and take it out to look at at their leisure. They believe in My existence only within the scope of the Bible, and they equate Me with the Bible; without the Bible there is no Me, and without Me there is no Bible. They pay no heed to My existence or actions, but instead devote extreme and special attention to each and every word of Scripture. Many more even believe that I should not do anything I wish to do unless it is foretold by Scripture. They attach too much importance to Scripture. It can be said that they see words and expressions as too important, to the extent that they use verses from the Bible to measure every word I say and to condemn Me. What they seek is not the way of compatibility with Me or the way of compatibility with the truth, but the way of compatibility with the words of the Bible, and they believe that anything that does not conform to the Bible is, without exception, not My work. Are such people not the dutiful descendants of the Pharisees? The Jewish Pharisees used the law of Moses to condemn Jesus. They did not seek compatibility with the Jesus of that time, but diligently followed the law to the letter, to the extent that—after having charged Him with not following the law of the Old Testament and not being the Messiah—they ultimately nailed the innocent Jesus to the cross. What was their substance? Was it not that they didn’t seek the way of compatibility with the truth? They obsessed over each and every word of Scripture while paying heed neither to My will nor to the steps and methods of My work. They were not people who sought the truth, but people who rigidly clung to words; they were not people who believed in God, but people who believed in the Bible. Essentially, they were watchdogs of the Bible. In order to safeguard the interests of the Bible, to uphold the dignity of the Bible, and to protect the reputation of the Bible, they went so far as to nail the merciful Jesus to the cross. This they did merely for the sake of defending the Bible, and for the sake of maintaining the status of each and every word of the Bible in people’s hearts. So they preferred to forsake their future and the sin offering to condemn Jesus, who did not conform to the doctrine of Scripture, to death. Were they not all lackeys to each and every word of Scripture?
And what of people today? Christ has come to release the truth, yet they would rather expel Him from this world so that they may gain entry into heaven and receive grace. They would rather completely deny the coming of the truth in order to safeguard the interests of the Bible, and they would rather nail the Christ returned to flesh to the cross again in order to ensure the everlasting existence of the Bible. How can man receive My salvation when his heart is so malicious and his nature so antagonistic toward Me? I live among man, yet man does not know of My existence. When I shine My light upon man, he still remains ignorant of My existence. When I unleash My wrath upon man, he denies My existence with even greater vigor. Man searches for compatibility with words and compatibility with the Bible, yet not a single person comes before Me to seek the way of compatibility with the truth. Man looks up to Me in heaven and devotes particular concern to My existence in heaven, yet no one cares about Me in the flesh, for I who live among man am simply too insignificant. Those who only seek compatibility with the words of the Bible and who only seek compatibility with a vague God are a wretched sight to Me. That is because what they worship are dead words, and a God that is capable of giving them untold treasures; what they worship is a God that would lay Himself at the mercy of man—a God who does not exist. What, then, can such people gain from Me? Man is simply too lowly for words. Those who are against Me, who make limitless demands of Me, who have no love of the truth, who are rebellious toward Me—how could they be compatible with Me?
Excerpted from “You Should Seek the Way of Compatibility With Christ” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Do you wish to know the root of why the Pharisees opposed Jesus? Do you wish to know the essence of the Pharisees? They were full of fantasies about the Messiah. What is more, they believed only that the Messiah would come, yet did not seek the life truth. And so, even today they still await the Messiah, for they have no knowledge of the way of life, and do not know what the way of truth is. How, say you, could such foolish, stubborn and ignorant people gain God’s blessing? How could they behold the Messiah? They opposed Jesus because they did not know the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work, because they did not know the way of truth spoken by Jesus, and, furthermore, because they did not understand the Messiah. And since they had never seen the Messiah and had never been in the company of the Messiah, they made the mistake of clinging in vain to the name of the Messiah while opposing the essence of the Messiah by any means possible. These Pharisees in essence were stubborn, arrogant, and did not obey the truth. The principle of their belief in God was: No matter how profound Your preaching, no matter how high Your authority, You are not Christ unless You are called the Messiah. Are these views not preposterous and ridiculous? I will ask you further: Is it not extremely easy for you to commit the mistakes of the earliest Pharisees, given that you have not the slightest understanding of Jesus? Are you able to discern the way of truth? Can you truly guarantee that you will not oppose Christ? Are you able to follow the work of the Holy Spirit? If you do not know whether you will oppose Christ, then I say that you are already living on the brink of death. Those who did not know the Messiah were all capable of opposing Jesus, of rejecting Jesus, of slandering Him. People who do not understand Jesus are all capable of rejecting Him and reviling Him. Moreover, they are capable of seeing the return of Jesus as the deceit of Satan, and more people shall condemn Jesus returned to flesh. Does not all of this make you afraid? What you face shall be blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, the ruination of the words of the Holy Spirit to the churches, and the spurning of all that is expressed by Jesus. What can you gain from Jesus if you are so befuddled? How can you understand the work of Jesus when He returns to flesh on a white cloud, if you obstinately refuse to realize your errors? I tell you this: People who do not receive the truth, yet blindly await the arrival of Jesus upon white clouds, will surely blaspheme against the Holy Spirit, and they are the category that shall be destroyed. You merely wish for the grace of Jesus, and merely want to enjoy the blissful realm of heaven, yet you have never obeyed the words spoken by Jesus, and have never received the truth expressed by Jesus when He returns to flesh. What will you hold up in exchange for the fact of Jesus’ return upon a white cloud? Is it the sincerity in which you repeatedly commit sins, and then speak your confession, over and over? What will you offer in sacrifice to Jesus who returns upon a white cloud? Is it the years of work with which you exalt yourselves? What will you hold up to make the returned Jesus trust you? Is it that arrogant nature of yours, which does not obey any truth?
Excerpted from “By the Time You Behold the Spiritual Body of Jesus, God Will Have Made Heaven and Earth Anew” in The Word Appears in the Flesh