Reflections on the Bible: Is It Right to Delimit God’s Words and Work to the Bible?
By Xia Yu
A few days ago, Brother Li, who had returned from working elsewhere, hurried over and said to me that he happened to come across someone who preached to him that thehad already returned, and that the Lord was speaking new words and performing new work beyond those that are recorded in the Bible. He didn’t think this possible, however, because pastors and elders often preached at church assemblies that all of and works are recorded in the Bible, that there are no words of God beyond the Bible, and that God cannot possibly perform any new work beyond that which is in the Bible. The pastors and elders often said that anyone who preached that God was performing new work and expressing new words beyond recorded in the Bible were sure to be heretics! I didn’t think this was possible, either, when I heard it, because ever since I started believing in the Lord, I often heard the pastors and elders talk like this, and this was a belief held by the whole religious world as well. But then I thought about how important the matter of the Lord’s coming was and that I shouldn’t lightly come to any conclusions. I decided that I must take a pious attitude and have the desire to seek with humility. Moreover, we are now in the last days, and there are many signs that show the Lord will soon return, and any news we hear concerning the return of the Lord must be treated with care! We therefore discussed this matter many times, but still we came to no conclusions. This matter perplexed me greatly: “How can the Lord Jesus who returns in the last days speak words and perform work beyond that which is in the Bible? What exactly is the Lord’s will?” I often prayed to the Lord and sought the answers to these questions until, one day, I met a preacher named Brother Lin. Through seeking and discussion, I came to have a new understanding about whether or not there are words and work of God beyond that which is in the Bible …
Brother Lin gave fellowship, saying, “For two thousand years, the religious world has clung to the view that ‘All of God’s words and work are recorded in the Bible, and there are none beyond the Bible.’ But does this view accord with the facts and with God’s words? All who are well-versed in the Bible know that Jehovah God and the Lord Jesus never said any such thing in the Bible, and neither did the Holy Spirit. If not on God’s words and the truth, what then does the religious world base this view on? Has it not arisen from their own notions and imaginings? In fact, the New and Old Testaments of the Bible together are only records of two stages of God’s work, and they were records of God’s work written down by a few followers of God based on their own memories, after God’s work had been completed. At that time, while the process of compiling the Bible into one book was underway, due to the disputes and oversights of the compilers, a part of God’s word conveyed by the prophets was not entirely collected within the Old Testament, and this is a well-known fact. How then can we say that there are none of God’s words and work beyond that which is recorded in the Bible? Also, not all of the Lord Jesus’ words and works were recorded in the New Testament, as it says in the Gospel of John 21:25: ‘And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.’ Taken together, the words spoken by the Lord Jesus that are recorded in the four gospels equate to a few hours of Jesus speaking and, when we compare this with the words the Lord Jesus spoke while He worked and preached for over three and a half years, they amount to nothing more than a drop in the ocean. Therefore, the view held by the religious world that all of God’s words and work are recorded in the Bible and that there are none beyond that which is recorded in the Bible is wrong and absurd. It pertains to the notions and imaginings of man, pure and simple, and it simply does not accord with the facts!”
Hearing this, I felt very surprised, and I couldn’t help thinking: “Yes, there was indeed a part of the prophets’ prophecies that was not recorded in the Old Testament, but instead were collected into the Deuterocanonical books. What’s more, the Lord Jesus worked for three and a half years on earth, and He led His disciples to preach and work wherever He went. He spoke so many words and performed so many works that it couldn’t possibly just amount to that which is recorded within the four gospels!”
Thinking this, I nodded and said, “Brother Lin, all that you’ve said is true. I’ve never thought of these things before. Please will you continue giving fellowship?”
Brother Lin smiled and nodded, and he went on: “We should also know that, whether it is the Old Testament or the New Testament, the Bible was only formed after God had completed a stage of work and people had recorded His work, and after these records had been compiled and edited. In other words, God’s work came first, and the Bible came after. When the Lord Jesus came to perform His work, for example, there was only the Old Testament, and the New Testament only came into being after A.D. 300. At the time of Jesus, the way of repentance He preached and the works He performed such as His work of being crucified to redeem mankind were simply not recorded in the Old Testament; they were new works performed and new words expressed by God beyond that which was recorded in the Old Testament. If we follow what the pastors and elders in the religious world say, that ‘God cannot possibly do any new work beyond that which is in the Bible and anything that goes beyond the Bible is heresy,’ then wouldn’t we be denying and condemning the Lord Jesus’ work? Therefore, such statements as these that are without factual basis are simply untenable and are fallacious, pure and simple.”
After I’d listened to Brother Lin’s fellowship, I felt very upset. I finally saw that the view that “All of God’s words and work are recorded in the Bible, and there are none beyond that which is in the Bible” was nothing more than the fallacious understanding of man. It simply did not accord with God’s words and it did not accord with the facts of God’s work!
Just then, Brother Lin read me a passage from a book: “During the time of Jesus, Jesus led the Jews and all those who followed Him according to the Holy Spirit’s work in Him at the time. He didn’t take the Bible as the basis of what He did, but spoke according to His work; He paid no heed to what the Bible said, nor did He search in the Bible for a path to lead His followers. Right from when He began to work, He spread the way of repentance—a word of which there was absolutely no mention in the prophecies of the Old Testament. Not only did He not act according to the Bible, but He also led a new path, and did new work. Never did He refer to the Bible when He preached. During the Age of Law, no one had ever been able to perform His miracles of healing the sick and casting out demons. So, too, were His work, His teachings, and the authority and power of His words beyond any man during the Age of Law. Jesus simply did His newer work, and even though many people condemned Him using the Bible—and even used the Old Testament to crucify Him—His work surpassed the Old Testament; if this were not so, why did people nail Him to the cross? Was it not because it said nothing in the Old Testament of His teaching, and His ability to heal the sick and cast out demons? … To people, it appeared as if His work had no basis, and there was much of it that was at odds with the records of the Old Testament. Is this not folly? Does doctrine need to be applied to the work of God? And must it be according to the foretellings of prophets? After all, which is greater: God or the Bible? Why must God’s work be according to the Bible? Could it be that God has no right to exceed the Bible? Can God not depart from the Bible and do other work? Why did Jesus and His disciples not keep the Sabbath? If He were to keep the Sabbath and practice according to the commandments of the Old Testament, why did Jesus not keep the Sabbath after He came, but instead washed feet, covered head, broke bread, and drank wine? Isn’t this all absent from the commandments of the Old Testament? If Jesus honored the Old Testament, why did He defy these doctrines? You should know which came first, God or the Bible! Being the Lord of the Sabbath, could He not also be the Lord of the Bible?” (The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Concerning the Bible (1)).
After he had finished reading this passage, I suddenly felt like I had been enlightened, and I began to consider it carefully. Especially when I heard the words, “Which is greater: God or the Bible?” I couldn’t help but think that God is the Lord of all Creation, that He holds the supreme authority and position, that He rules the paths of all the stars throughout the universe as well as ruling all things on earth—could all of God’s deeds really be recorded within one book, the Bible? Of course God is greater!
Brother Lin continued his fellowship, saying, “God is the Lord of Creation and, even more so, He is the Lord of the Bible. He holds sovereignty over all things, manages all things and He is entirely capable of performing His work to save man according to His own plan, so why must He work according to the Bible? God created all things in heaven and on earth, He destroyed the world with flood, destroyed Sodom and saved Nineveh, and God inspired Moses to lead the Israelites out of Egypt and to proclaim His law, and so on. None of these works were performed according to the Bible, but instead were all done before the advent of the Bible. Therefore, God has never worked according to the Bible, nor does He refer to the Bible; instead, God performs His own work according to His management plan to save mankind and according to the needs of man. Moreover, the Lord Jesus’ words and work were not based on the Old Testament. The Lord Jesus preached the way of repentance, He taught people to forgive others seventy times seven times, He taught people to love their neighbors as themselves, and so on, and none of these words and works are recorded in the Old Testament at all. In the Age of Law, God required people to observe the Sabbath, and yet when the Lord Jesus came, He healed the sick and cast out demons on the Sabbath. When the disciples were hungry, He gave them ears of corn to eat, and He did not preach inside the temple, and so on. All of the Lord Jesus’ works went beyond the Old Testament. It is therefore evident that God’s work is not restricted by the Bible, but instead He is constantly performing newer and higher works beyond the Bible, and bringing people newer paths of practice. The Bible says, ‘O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, and His ways past finding out!’ (Romans 11:33). God’s deeds are plentiful, and His wisdom is unfathomably profound. The works of God recorded in the Bible are so limited that they cannot possibly represent all that God is. We cannot, therefore, use the Bible to restrict God’s work, nor can we delimit God’s work to the Bible, much less can we say that anything that departs from the Bible is heresy, for to do so would be to condemn and blaspheme God!”
The more I listened, the more light filled my heart, and I felt ashamed for blindly following the pastors and elders when they delimited God’s words and work to the Bible. Filled with emotion, I said, “Thank the Lord! From what you’ve just read to me and your fellowship, I now understand that God is the Sovereign of all things, that no one can fathom His almightiness and wisdom, and that He is entirely capable of going beyond the Bible to perform more work. And yet we restrict God’s work within the Bible by relying on our notions and imaginings, believing that God cannot possibly speak any more words or perform any more work beyond that which is in the Bible. By doing this, we are delimiting God and condemning His work! We are so arrogant and conceited! Thinking back to when the Lord Jesus came to perform His work, the Pharisees who were well-versed in the Bible clung stubbornly to the letter of the Old Testament, and they believed that all of God’s words and work were recorded therein. They did not seek or investigate the Lord Jesus’ work or words at all but, on the contrary, they believed that the Lord Jesus’ work and words went beyond the Old Testament, and they used the fact that the Lord Jesus’ actions did not adhere to the laws of the Old Testament to condemn and deny His work and words. In the end, the Pharisees were cursed and punished by God for defying Him. I now understand that, when it comes to our approach to God’s work, we must have God-fearing hearts, and we must seek more with anything we don’t understand. We must not condemn or deny God’s work so lightly, or else we will be apt to become people who believe in God and yet defy Him, like the Pharisees were, and we’ll ultimately be punished by God!”
Brother Lin nodded and said, “Brother, that you can come to such an understanding is entirely by the enlightenment and guidance of God, and I truly give thanks to God!”
I went on: “Brother Lin, I’ve heard Brother Li saying that, in the last days, God is expressing new words and performing new work beyond that which is in the Bible. Is there a biblical basis for such a statement? I’m not so clear on this issue, so please can you give me fellowship on it?”
Brother Lin then gave fellowship, saying, “In fact, there are many verses in the Bible that prophesy that the Lord Jesus will return in the last days and that He will speak more words and perform new work. It’s just that we follow the pastors and elders of the religious world to delimit God’s words and work to the Bible, and we don’t contemplate these prophecies very carefully! 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: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come’ (John 16:12–13). And in chapters 2 and 3 of Revelation, it is prophesied many times: ‘He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ These prophecies tell us clearly that when the Lord Jesus returns, He will express the truth and tell us all the truths and mysteries that we don’t understand, and none of these truths are recorded in the Bible. Moreover, it is prophesied in Revelation 5:1–3: ‘And I saw in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the backside, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof? And no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was able to open the book, neither to look thereon.’ And in Revelation 5:7 and 5:9, it says: ‘And He came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat on the throne. … And they sung a new song, saying, You are worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for You were slain, and have redeemed us to God by Your blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.’ These two prophecies speak even more clearly, and they tell us that only God can open the book and open the seven seals; that is to say, only the Lord Jesus who returns in the last days can open that sealed book. We previously thought that this book referred to the Bible, but now we have thought about it more carefully. Each and every one of us owns a Bible, and we can all open it and read it at any time. But it is said in the prophecies that the book is sealed and that only God Himself can open it and reveal the mysteries contained therein. Therefore, based on the Lord Jesus’ words and prophecies, we can be entirely certain that this sealed book does not refer to the Bible, that when the Lord Jesus returns in the last days, He shall speak words beyond those within the Bible, and that He will openly unveil all the mysteries within this book to mankind. Therefore, faced with the utterances of the returned Lord Jesus, we must absolutely accept them with an open mind and attentively listen to God’s voice, otherwise we will lose our chance to be raptured by the Lord when He comes!”
I repeatedly pondered these verses that Brother Lin had read, and the perplexity in my heart was completely dispelled. It is clearly recorded in the Bible that the Lord will return and that He will speak more words and perform new work. I had also read these prophecies, and yet never had I grasped their true meaning. Now, through seeking and fellowship, I had understood at last: The Bible was not a record of all of God’s works and words, and when the Lord returns in the last days, He shall speak new words and perform new work outside the Bible. Thanks be to God’s guidance! I decided then and there that I must take the initiative to seek and investigate God’s new work, attentively listen to God’s voice, welcome the Lord’s appearance in the last days and follow God’s footsteps! If I continued to cling to the wrong view that there could be no words or works of God beyond those within the Bible, then I would be apt to lose my chance to welcome the Lord’s return and to commit the exact same mistake as the Pharisees.
Thinking this, I felt extremely grateful to God for His enlightenment and guidance that had enabled me to understand this aspect of the truth. Afterward, I continued to discuss and fellowship this matter with Brother Lin, hoping to understand even more about the work the returned Lord would perform.
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