Never Again Will I Delimit God to the Bible (Part 2)
By Ding Feng, China
I Seek the Truth, Let Go of My Misconceptions and Follow God
Several days later, I was working at home when my wife brought over some sisters from The Church of Almighty God. I was just thinking of a way to avoid them when one of the sisters seemed to see what I was thinking, and she said to me, “Brother, if you want to know whether Almighty God really is the second coming of the Lord Jesus, you only have to listen to God’s words. The Lord Jesus said: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 5:3). The Lord Jesus tells us that we who humbly seek are praised by Him. The Lord Jesus has now returned, so if you refuse to listen to Him, won’t you then miss your chance to welcome His return?” Seeing them hold themselves in such an earnest and sincere manner, I felt very moved. I couldn’t help but think of the desolation in the religious world right now, where brothers and sisters were finding it hard to attend meetings regularly, whereas these sisters had such great faith and love. Eastern Lightning was also flourishing more and more and was known to almost every family—this was clearly not something that could have been achieved through human efforts alone! Thinking this, I decided to study in earnest Almighty God’s work of the last days.
And so, I said to the sisters from The Church of Almighty God, “Pastors and elders always say that all of God’s words and work are recorded in the Bible, that the Bible contains the whole truth, and that there are no words or work of God outside the Bible. And yet you testify that the Lord Jesus has returned to perform a new work and express new words. Is this not going beyond the Bible?”
After listening to me, the sister then read me several passages of Almighty God’s words: “There are those who even check the work of the present against that of Jesus in the Bible and use any inconsistencies to deny this stage of the work. Is this not the action of the blind? The things that are recorded in the Bible are limited; they cannot represent the work of God in its entirety. The Four Gospels have fewer than one hundred chapters altogether, in which are written a finite number of happenings, such as Jesus cursing the fig tree, Peter’s three denials of the Lord, Jesus appearing to the disciples following His crucifixion and resurrection, teaching about fasting, teaching about prayer, teaching about divorce, the birth and genealogy of Jesus, Jesus’ appointment of the disciples, and so forth. However, man values them as treasures, even comparing the work of today against them. They even believe that all the work Jesus did in His life amounted only to so much, as if God were only capable of doing this much and nothing further. Is this not absurd?” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “After all, which is greater: God or the Bible? Why must God work 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? Is this not all absent from the commandments of the Old Testament? If Jesus honored the Old Testament, why did He break with 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?” (“Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “Those who only care about the words of the Bible and are concerned neither with the truth nor with seeking My footsteps—they are against Me, for they limit Me according to the Bible, constrain Me within the Bible, and so are blasphemous in the extreme toward Me. How could such people come before Me? They pay no heed to My deeds, or My will, or the truth, but instead obsess over words—words that kill. How could such people be compatible with Me?” (“You Should Seek the Way of Compatibility With Christ” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The sister then gave fellowship, saying, “We all know that the Bible was compiled and produced from the written records of man many years after God performed His work, and that it came after God’s words and work—without God’s work or words, there would be no Bible. To say it another way, the Bible is merely a testimony to the previous words and work of God, and the words that God had not yet said and the works He had not yet performed could not possibly have been recorded in the Bible ahead of time. When God performed such works as when He created everything, heaven and earth, at the very beginning, when He destroyed the world with flood, destroyed Sodom with fire and saved Nineveh, for example, the Old Testament had not yet been written. The Old Testament was compiled by followers of God based on such collections of writings as the Pentateuch of Moses, the Psalms of David and the books of Isaiah and Ezekiel. Furthermore, in the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus proclaimed the way of repentance, He healed the sick and cast out demons, performed signs and wonders and was ultimately crucified upon the cross to redeem all mankind. None of this was recorded in the Old Testament at all. The most that was recorded in the Old Testament were prophecies about the Messiah who would come to perform His work. It was not possible, however, for the work which the Messiah would specifically come to do to be recorded in the Bible ahead of time. Only after the Lord Jesus had come to express His words and had finished His work did people record His words and work, and the New Testament was only formed by people compiling it all after the fact. Similarly, the Lord Jesus prophesied that He would come again to perform the work of separating the goats from the sheep, the work of harvesting, the work of judgment beginning in the house of God, the work of separating each to their own kind, and so on. How God would specifically perform these works was simply not recorded in any detail in the Bible, and it is only when God comes to perform these works do we then understand how exactly He will do them.
“Moreover, God’s words and work are not wholly recorded in the Bible, and this is an undeniable fact. In the Age of Law, for example, there were many words of God relayed by the prophets which were not recorded in the Bible, but which were collected within the secondary scriptures. When the Lord Jesus was performing His work and giving sermons in the Age of Grace, He must have said innumerable things, and so that which is recorded in the four gospels of the New Testament are but a drop in the ocean. Just as it says in the Gospel of John, chapter 21, verse 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’ Therefore, all the words and work of God that are recorded in the Bible are but the tip of the iceberg of His words and work, so how can we just delimit God’s work and words to the Bible alone and say that there are none outside the Bible? Did the Lord Jesus not launch a new work and express new words that went beyond the Old Testament? If we believe that all of God’s words and work are within the Bible and that anything that goes beyond the Bible is not God’s work, wouldn’t we then be denying the work and words of the Lord Jesus? And wouldn’t we be blaspheming against God? It is evident then, that the Bible is just a record of the work God has previously performed, and it is a testimony to God’s work. Therefore, anyone who delimits God’s words and work to the Bible, who believes that the Bible contains the whole truth and that there are no work or words of God outside the Bible, is taking a view that is hugely mistaken, a view that arises from their own misconceptions and imaginings and which is a fallacy and an outright lie meant to deceive people. Brother, do you understand what I have fellowshiped?”
Hearing this, I felt upset and distressed; just a few short passages had completely exposed my past wrong views, and they had completely exposed the absurdities of the whole religious world clinging to the Bible and their delimiting God’s words and work to the Bible alone. Those few short passages also brought to light the nature of our clinging to the Bible and the consequences of doing so. Almighty God’s words were indeed the truth and no human being could have written such words. I have read many spiritual books, and no words had ever shaken my heart the way Almighty God’s words had. No wonder those who believed in Eastern Lightning had such great faith and followed Almighty God so unswervingly. I now realized that it was because they understood the truth from God’s words, and because their lives were supplied that their faith waxed greater and greater, and these results were all achieved by the words of God!
Supplied by the Living Waters, I See and Think Clearly
Following on from my meeting with the sisters, I avidly read “Concerning the Bible (1)” through “Concerning the Bible (4)” twice over in one sitting. The more I read, the more light entered my heart, and I understood that the Bible was merely an historical record of God’s two prior stages of work. What’s more, the records in the Bible were limited; from when God created heaven and earth, to when He led mankind’s life on earth in the Age of Law, to when the Lord Jesus redeemed mankind in the Age of Grace, God performed innumerable works on man and spoke innumerable words, so how could the New and Old Testaments possibly contain it all? Furthermore, the Lord Jesus clearly 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 has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7). Within these prophecies, God is clearly telling us that, when He returns in the last days, He will express truths and will speak to the churches, and that He will tell us many truths which we do not currently understand. How then could I continue to go along with the pastors and elders of the religious world delimiting God’s words and work to the Bible alone, and saying that there are none outside the Bible? By doing that, are we not denying the Lord Jesus’ words and pitting ourselves against God? What’s more, God’s work is ever new and never old, and He does not base any stage of His work on the Bible, but rather He performs newer works beyond the Bible and He brings us newer paths of practice. How then can we say that anything that goes beyond the Bible is not God’s words or work? If I delimited God’s words and work to the Bible and used the Bible to replace God, would I not then be treating God with contempt and blaspheming against Him? Would I not then be so arrogant and ignorant?
I Recall God’s Love With Gratitude
Thinking back over my years believing in the Lord, I realized that, because I clung so stubbornly to the Bible, I delimited God’s words and work to the Bible and believed that all the truths held within the Bible were the complete truth, and that there could not possibly be any work or words of God outside the Bible. I therefore refused to seek and study God’s work of the last days time and time again, and I went along with the pastors and elders, believing that I was “guarding the flock and protecting the Lord’s way,” when really I was just obstructing my brothers and sisters from seeking and studying God’s new work—I really had been so arrogant and ignorant! Thinking of this, I felt remorse and I reproached myself, and I deeply regretted the fact that I’d not sought or studied the gospel of the Lord’s return when I’d first heard it, but instead had rejected it. In the end, I not only became someone who yearned for the Lord’s coming yet resisted God, but I also harmed my brothers and sisters! And yet God showed me mercy, and He sent brothers and sisters to me time and time again to preach the gospel to me; this really was God showing me such great kindness and mercy! It was the words of Almighty God that had remedied my religious misconceptions, and it was God’s love that had guided me every step of the way and enabled me to keep up with God’s work of the last days. Thanks be to God!