Correct Understanding of the Bible Allowed Me to Keep Pace With the Footsteps of the Lamb
By Xiangwang, Malaysia
Almighty God says, “God Himself is life, and the truth, and His life and truth coexist. Those who are incapable of gaining the truth shall never gain life. Without the guidance, support, and provision of the truth, you shall only gain letters, doctrines, and, above all, death. God’s life is ever-present, and His truth and life coexist. If you cannot find the source of truth, then you will not gain the nourishment of life; if you cannot gain the provision of life, then you will surely have no truth, and, apart from notions and imaginings, your body will be nothing but its flesh—your stench-ridden flesh. Know that the words of books do not count as life, the records of history cannot be feted as the truth, and the regulations of the past cannot serve as an account of words presently spoken by God. Only that which is expressed by God when He comes to earth and lives among man is the truth, life, God’s will, and His current way of working” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). In my faith, I used to just stick to the Bible’s literal meaning, thinking the Bible represented the Lord and was the only way to gain life. God’s words made me see that was just my notions and imaginings. Only God is the truth and the source of human life. The Bible is just a record of God’s work, and it can’t take the place of His current work and words. If we as believers just adhere to the Bible’s words, but don’t follow God’s footsteps or accept the truths God expresses in the last days, we’ll believe till the very end without gaining the truth and the life.
One day in the summer of 2017 a co-worker said to me sternly, “I think your mom has been in contact with Eastern Lightning. Be on your guard. Their way doesn’t follow the Bible—it goes beyond the Bible.” I found this hard to believe. My mom was a church deacon with a solid foundation in the Bible. How could she be in contact with Eastern Lightning? I was feeling really anxious, so I decided to rush back home to see for myself.
When I got there, my mom told me that the Lord Jesus had returned, that He was expressing many words and doing the work of judgment starting with the house of God. She advised me to look into Almighty God’s work of the last days. I responded, “The pastor always says the Bible was inspired by God, that it’s all God’s word. We believe in the Lord, which means belief in the Bible. Anything else isn’t faith in the Lord. Eastern Lightning’s way is beyond the Bible and has strayed from the Lord’s way. Don’t have any more contact with them.” But my mom just said gently, “I’ve been gathering with members of The Church of Almighty God for a few days and I’ve learned some truths. Lots of confusion I’ve had in my faith has been cleared up. Their fellowship has light. It has the Holy Spirit’s guidance and enlightenment. It’s all things the pastor never talks about. Gathering with them has been so enjoyable and nourishing for me. Welcoming the Lord’s coming is no small thing. First read Almighty God’s words and listen to the brothers’ and sisters’ fellowship.” Seeing her so insistent, I didn’t say anything further. I went into my room and calmly considered what she’d said. She was right. I was off-handedly judging Eastern Lightning without first hearing them out. That wasn’t reasonable. But then I thought, “The pastor always says everything in the Bible was inspired by God, that it’s the foundation of our faith. That’s right, too.” I was filled with conflicting emotions and didn’t know who to listen to. I prayed to the Lord and asked Him to guide me to know right from wrong.
The next day my mom told me again that I should look into Almighty God’s work. She also said that if I missed this chance to welcome the Lord, my regrets would come too late. I thought, “I guess I could just go see what it is they preach so I can figure out if Almighty God really is the Lord Jesus returned.” I agreed to listen to their fellowship. In a gathering, Brother Yang from The Church of Almighty God talked about God’s 6,000-year management plan to save mankind, how Satan corrupts people, and how God works step-by-step for mankind’s salvation. I’d never heard such enlightening fellowship before. It drew me in more and more. I decided I should look into Eastern Lightning.
I once asked Brother Yang in a gathering, “The pastor always says that all of the Bible was inspired by God and everything in it is His word, so why do you say that it’s not all God’s word, but also contains man’s words?” He patiently responded, “Lots of religious people think that all of the Bible was inspired by God, that it’s all God’s word. But no one has ever investigated whether it’s really based in God’s word. In fact, the Holy Spirit has never said that, nor has the Lord Jesus, and it’s not written in the prophetic books, either. ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God’ is something Paul said. Paul was just a regular person, so his words weren’t the truth. If we don’t investigate the facts but blindly determine all of the Bible is God’s word based on that statement, wouldn’t that be arbitrary? The reality is that there’s a portion of the prophetic books that was inspired by God, that is His words. It’s all clearly indicated with ‘thus saith Jehovah,’ ‘Jehovah spoke unto me saying,’ or ‘the vision of Isaiah’ and so on. The words of man make up the rest, and they’re mostly man’s records of God’s work. Isn’t it confusing and misleading if we say without any basis that the words of man in the Bible were inspired by God, that they’re God’s word? In the New Testament, aside from the Lord Jesus’ words and the prophecies in Revelation, it’s mostly the letters of disciples and apostles to the churches, which are man’s experience and knowledge. There is the Holy Spirit’s enlightenment in these things and they’re in line with the truth. They’re edifying, but they’re still just the words of man. How could they be called God’s word, or inspired by God? God is the truth, the way, and the life. Only He can express the truth. No human can express the word of God or the truth. God is God, and man is man. Man’s words and God’s words can never be on an equal footing. If the words of man, of Paul, in the Bible are taken to be God’s, that is blasphemy! And so, the idea that the Bible was all inspired by God and it’s all His word is just an absurd human interpretation. It has no factual basis.”
I agreed with Brother Yang’s fellowship. There definitely are man’s words in the Bible, not just God’s, but I couldn’t entirely accept it right away. I thought, “The entire religious world thinks the whole Bible was inspired by God. Could everyone be wrong?” I said a silent prayer to the Lord: “Oh Lord, if it’s true not everything in the Bible came from You, please enlighten and guide me to understand this.”
Brother Yang went on: “If the entire Bible had been inspired by God, there shouldn’t be the slightest error in the whole thing. But the reality is that there are quite a few. Take Jehoiachin ascending to the throne, for example. It says in 2 Chronicles 36:9, ‘Jehoiachin was eight years old when he began to reign, and he reigned three months and ten days in Jerusalem.’ In 2 Kings 24:8 it says, ‘Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months.’ These verses both record that Jehoiachin reigned as king, but in one place it says ‘eight’ while in the other it says ‘eighteen.’ One says he reigned for three months and ten days, but the other says he reigned for three months. There’s also the record of Peter denying the Lord in the Four Gospels. Matthew 26:75 says, ‘The cock shall not crow, till you have denied Me thrice.’ But Mark 14:72 says, ‘Before the cock crow twice, you shall deny Me thrice.’ It’s the same event, but there are clear conflicts in the timing. It’s evident that some parts of the Bible are human records, not God’s inspiration.”
Brother Yang’s fellowship left me speechless. I thought, “That’s right! There are such obvious discrepancies in different verses recording the same event. There wouldn’t be any difference if it had come from the Holy Spirit.” I’d never noticed these issues before. I thought the whole Bible was inspired by God and was all His word, but then I saw the error in that understanding.
I gave serious thought to Brother Yang’s fellowship after the gathering and reread some of Almighty God’s words we’d looked at. “Today, people believe the Bible is God, and that God is the Bible. So, too, do they believe that all the words of the Bible were the only words God spoke, and that they were all said by God. Those who believe in God even think that, although all of the sixty-six books of the Old and New Testament were written by people, they were all given by inspiration of God, and a record of the utterances of the Holy Spirit. This is the erroneous comprehension of man, and it does not completely accord with the facts. In fact, apart from the books of prophecy, most of the Old Testament is a historical record. Some epistles of the New Testament come from man’s experience; some are enlightened by the Holy Spirit. The Pauline epistles, for example, emerged from the work of a man, and were all enlightened by the Holy Spirit. They were his letters to the churches, and they contained his exhortations and encouragement to brothers and sisters. They were not words spoken by the Holy Spirit—Paul could not speak on behalf of the Holy Spirit, and neither was he a prophet, much less did he see the visions that John beheld. His epistles were written for the churches of Ephesus, Philadelphia, Galatia, and other churches. … If people see the epistles or words like Paul’s as the utterances of the Holy Spirit, and worship them as God, then it can only be said that they are too indiscriminating. To speak more harshly, is this not simply blasphemy? How could a man talk on behalf of God? How can man prostrate himself before a record of human speech and epistles as if they were a holy book from heaven? Could the words of God be casually uttered by a man? How could a man talk on behalf of God?” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). Almighty God clarifies what in the Bible is God’s word, and what is man’s words, experiences and understanding. I became certain that the Bible isn’t entirely God’s word. Words from Jehovah God, the Lord Jesus, and prophets inspired by God as well as the prophecies in Revelation are God’s word. The rest is mostly the words and records of man.
The next day in a gathering I told Brother Yang, “Now I understand that Paul saying ‘All scripture is given by inspiration of God’ wasn’t accurate, but I’m still confused about something. Our pastor tells us that the Bible is the foundation of the Christian faith, that it represents God, and that keeping to the Bible is the only way to believe in God. That’s what I think too, but I don’t know if that’s right.”
Brother Yang said, “A lot of people in religion think so. They equate the Bible and God, or even place it above God. Is that in line with the Lord’s will? God is the Creator, the source of all life. He’s the fount of the living waters that will never run dry. God’s abundance is inexhaustible. But the Bible is just a record of God’s work. It’s a historical book. Its records of God’s work and words are very limited. How could it be equal to God? How could it represent God?” He also played two videos of readings of God’s words for me. Almighty God says, “From the time when there was the Bible, people’s belief in the Lord has been the belief in the Bible. Instead of saying people believe in the Lord, it is better to say they believe in the Bible; rather than saying they have begun reading the Bible, it is better to say they have begun believing in the Bible; and rather than saying they have returned before the Lord, it would be better to say they have returned before the Bible. In this way, people worship the Bible as if it were God, as if it were their lifeblood, and losing it would be the same as losing their life. People see the Bible as being as high as God, and there are even those who see it as higher than God. If people are without the work of the Holy Spirit, if they cannot feel God, they can carry on living—but as soon as they lose the Bible, or lose the famous chapters and sayings from the Bible, then it is as if they have lost their life.” “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 essence? 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?” (The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Then he shared this fellowship: “If we blindly idolize the Bible or even use it to replace the Lord and His work, that’s actually believing in the Bible, not in the Lord. Clinging to the Bible without seeking the Holy Spirit’s work or following God’s footsteps is opposing the Lord. The Pharisees regarded the Scriptures as above all else and clung tightly to their exact words. When the Lord Jesus appeared and worked they knew His work and words had authority, but they didn’t seek or investigate it. They just tried to find fault, saying His work and words went beyond the Scriptures, so they condemned Him and colluded in crucifying Him. This offended God’s disposition and they were punished. A lot of religious people also blindly worship the Bible in the last days and even place it above God Himself. When they hear God is expressing truths to do the work of judgment in the last days, they don’t look into it. They wildly resist and condemn Almighty God’s work and words because it’s not in the Bible. Yes. How is that different from when the Pharisees clung to Scripture and opposed the Lord? It’s clear that worshiping the Bible without seeking the Holy Spirit’s work or following God’s footsteps is wrong, and a total departure from the Lord’s way.”
Hearing this, I was so ashamed and utterly convinced. I saw I’d been believing in the Bible, not the Lord. I hadn’t been seeking the Lord’s will in my faith, but had just blindly believed what the pastor and elders said. I thought all God’s work and words were in the Bible, that it represented the Lord, and anything else wasn’t faith in Him. Wasn’t I making the same mistake as the Pharisees? I was filled with admiration for Almighty God’s words. I thought, “His words so thoroughly explain the truth about the Bible and even perfectly expose mankind’s attitude toward it. Could these really be God’s words?”
Brother Yang continued his fellowship. “This isn’t to deny the value of the Bible, but it’s so we can approach it properly. The Lord Jesus said, ‘Search the scriptures; for in them you think you have eternal life: and they are they which testify of Me. And you will not come to Me, that you might have life’ (John 5:39–40). The Lord Jesus’ words are very clear. The Bible just testifies to God, and it’s a record of God’s work in the Ages of Law and Grace. If we cling to the Bible without following Christ or submitting to God’s current work, for our whole life we’ll never gain the truth, much less eternal life. We can only gain eternal life by following Christ. The Lord Jesus was crucified in the Age of Grace to redeem all of mankind and gave us the way of repentance. Although our sins can be forgiven by believing in the Lord, our sinful nature remains. We still live in a state of sinning and confessing. We haven’t escaped sin, we haven’t been cleansed. The Lord is holy, so how could He let people who often sin and resist Him into His kingdom? That’s why the Lord Jesus prophesied He would come again to speak and do the work of judgment to fully cleanse and save mankind and bring us into God’s kingdom. It’s just as the Lord Jesus prophesied: ‘I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth’ (John 16:12–13). ‘He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day’ (John 12:48). And it says in 1 Peter: For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God’ (1 Peter 4:17). The Lord Jesus has returned. He is Almighty God, Christ of the last days. He is doing the work of judgment, and expressing all truths to cleanse and fully save mankind, like how to know God and His work, the inside story of God’s three stages of salvation work and the fruit it bears, how Satan corrupts mankind, how God saves mankind, how to understand the truth of our own corruption by Satan, and how to be cleansed of our corrupt dispositions. There’s also what it means to truly fear, love, and submit to God, and more. Almighty God’s work and words completely fulfill the prophecies of the Lord’s return. Only if we closely follow the Lamb’s footsteps, accept Almighty God’s work, and undergo God’s judgment and cleansing can we gain the truth and the life, and enter His kingdom.”
I’d like us to watch a couple more videos of God’s words that Brother Yang, “God Himself is life, and the truth, and His life and truth coexist. Those who are incapable of gaining the truth shall never gain life. Without the guidance, support, and provision of the truth, you shall only gain letters, doctrines, and, above all, death. God’s life is ever-present, and His truth and life coexist. If you cannot find the source of truth, then you will not gain the nourishment of life; if you cannot gain the provision of life, then you will surely have no truth, and so apart from imaginations and notions, the entirety of your body shall be nothing but your flesh—your stench-ridden flesh. Know that the words of books do not count as life, the records of history cannot be feted as the truth, and the regulations of the past cannot serve as an account of words presently spoken by God. Only that which is expressed by God when He comes to earth and lives among man is the truth, life, God’s will, and His current way of working.” “Christ of the last days brings life, and brings the enduring and everlasting way of truth. This truth is the path by which man gains life, and it is the only path by which man shall know God and be approved by God. If you do not seek the way of life provided by Christ of the last days, then you shall never gain the approval of Jesus, and shall never be qualified to enter the gate of the kingdom of heaven, for you are both a puppet and prisoner of history. Those who are controlled by regulations, by letters, and shackled by history will never be able to gain life nor gain the perpetual way of life. This is because all they have is turbid water which has been clung to for thousands of years instead of the water of life that flows from the throne” (The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Listening to this really brightened my heart. I realized that even though the Bible is a record of God’s past work, it’s not the source of life. Only God is the source of our life. We cannot get stuck on the Bible. What’s most important is obeying God’s current work and words. I knew without a doubt that Almighty God’s words are God’s words for today. They so thoroughly explain our notions and the story behind the Bible. Who else could have said all that, if not God? Over the next few days I’d jump on any chance to have fellowship on Almighty God’s words with brothers and sisters. I gained some understanding of the mystery of God’s incarnation, how God judges and cleanses man in the last days, what kind of faith is in line with God’s will, people’s outcomes and destinations, and other truths. I became certain that Almighty God is the Lord Jesus returned and I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days. Thanks be to Almighty God!