I Now Understand the Relationship Between the Bible and God
By Jean, Cameroon
Almighty God says, “For many years, people’s traditional means of belief (that of Christianity, one of the world’s three major religions) has been to read the Bible; departure from the Bible is not a belief in the Lord, departure from the Bible is heterodoxy and heresy, and even when people read other books, the foundation of these books must be the explanation of the Bible. Which is to say, if you believe in the Lord, then you must read the Bible, and outside the Bible you must not worship any book that does not involve the Bible. If you do, then you are betraying God. Since the Bible’s inception, man has come to give to it the faith due the Lord. It should be said of man that he believes in the Bible, rather than the Lord; that he has begun to believe in the Bible, rather than to read it; and that he has come before the Bible, rather than before the Lord. 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. … The Bible has become an idol in people’s minds, it has become a puzzle in their brains, and they are simply incapable of believing that God can work outside of the Bible, they are incapable of believing that people can find God outside of the Bible, much less are they able to believe that God could depart from the Bible during the final work and start anew. This is unthinkable to people; they cannot believe it, and neither can they imagine it. The Bible has become a great obstacle to people’s acceptance of God’s new work, and a difficulty to God’s broadening this new work” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). It used to be that the Bible helped me know the Lord in my faith, and the pastor always said it was the foundation of our faith. I thought belief in the Bible was belief in the Lord, and I even placed it above the Lord. I just equipped myself with some dead words in the Bible without thinking about practicing or experiencing the Lord’s words. It wasn’t until I accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days and saw what His words reveal that I understood the relationship between God and the Bible. My mistakes in my faith were finally remedied.
I used to read the Bible, go to church gatherings, and search for sermons online a lot to better understand the Lord. Once I came across a movie on YouTube called Where Is My Home. It was so heartfelt and moving. And the words being read out in the movie seemed particularly warm and authoritative. I was so curious where they’d come from. When I saw it was The Church of Almighty God I went online to find out more about this church that had made the movie. But I found some negative press about it and couldn’t figure out if it was real or fabricated. After giving it some thought, I felt I shouldn’t blindly believe what others say. As they say, “Don’t believe what you hear, but see for yourself.” I knew I should personally look into it to see if it was a good church. I decided to download some more movies to watch. I watched another two, Awakening and Yearning. They really stirred me. The words being read in them were authoritative and powerful, and the fellowship was practical. I learned the root of the desolation of the churches and the difference between being saved and being fully saved. It said that the Lord Jesus had already returned and was doing the work of judgment in the last days which fulfills this biblical prophecy: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1 Peter 4:17). I was overjoyed, and realized those words being read in the movies were the returned Lord’s utterances. No wonder they were so authoritative and powerful! I left a message and got in touch with brothers and sisters in the church and saw they were really genuine and their fellowship was enlightening. Being in contact with them was wonderful. I started attending their gatherings.
One evening I was about to download more movies from The Church of Almighty God’s channel. As I was browsing through the movies, I saw one called Come Out of the Bible. I was confused. What did that mean? Why should we come out of the Bible in our faith? How could people believe in and know God without the Bible? I thought about how the pastor always said our faith had to be based in the Bible, and departure from the Bible was heresy. Wasn’t departing from the Bible betraying the Lord? Over the next couple of days I stopped watching the Church’s hymns and movies, afraid of going astray in my faith. But I couldn’t help but wonder, “If Almighty God really is the Lord Jesus returned and I don’t accept Him, won’t I be missing my chance to welcome the Lord?” I was conflicted, so I started fasting and praying. I asked the Lord to enlighten and guide me to know whether Almighty God really is the Lord Jesus returned. The first night of my fast, I hadn’t received any inspiration from God, so I figured I’d take a look in the Bible. I read Revelation 1:8, “I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the Ending, said the Lord, which is, and which was, and which is to come, the Almighty.” I also read Revelation 11:16–17, “And the four and twenty elders, which sat before God on their seats, fell on their faces, and worshipped God, Saying, We give You thanks, O LORD God Almighty, which are, and were, and are to come; because You have taken to You Your great power, and have reigned.” I suddenly felt that these verses were God’s guidance for me. It says in Revelation that God will be called “the Almighty” in the last days. Isn’t that Almighty God? This discovery made me want to keep investigating The Church of Almighty God. I also decided to watch all of Come Out of the Bible so I would know what that was really about.
A gospel preacher from The Church of Almighty God in the movie shared this fellowship: “Lots of religious people say God wouldn’t depart from the Bible to do the work of salvation, and anything that goes beyond the Bible is heresy. Which came first: the Bible, or God’s work? In the beginning, Jehovah God created the heavens, the earth, and all things. He destroyed the world with a flood, and He destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah with fire. Did the Old Testament exist when God did all this work?” I thought, “Do you even have to ask? When God created the earth, flooded the world, and burned Sodom and Gomorrah the Bible definitely didn’t exist.” She went on: “There was no Bible when God did all this work. That is to say, first came God’s work, and only afterward was it recorded in the Bible. And when the Lord Jesus was working in the Age of Grace there was no New Testament yet. That was written down by His disciples after He had completed His work. Clearly, the Bible is just a historical record of work God has done. God doesn’t work according to the Bible and He’s not limited by it. He does His work based on His management plan and mankind’s needs. That’s why we can’t think of God’s work as only what’s in the Bible and we can’t use the Bible to delimit His work. We really can’t say that anything outside of the Bible is heresy. God has the right to do His own work and to do it outside the confines of the Bible.”
Hearing this suddenly opened my eyes. There wasn’t a New Testament when the Lord Jesus worked. It was compiled by people only after He’d finished His work. The Bible really is just a record of God’s past work. Why hadn’t I ever thought about that before?
The fellowship in the movie went on: “If we say anything outside of the Bible is heresy, wouldn’t we be condemning all of God’s past work? When the Lord Jesus came and worked, He didn’t work based on the Old Testament, but He went beyond that, such as His teachings on the way of repentance, healing the sick and casting out demons, not observing the Sabbath, forgiving others seventy times seven times, and more. None of that was in the Old Testament. It even directly contradicted the Old Testament laws. Does that mean the Lord Jesus’ work wasn’t God’s work? The chief priests, elders, and scribes condemned the Lord Jesus’ work and words as heresy only because they didn’t conform to the Old Testament. They became people who resisted God. If we go by human notions and say anything outside the Bible is heresy, won’t we also be condemning the Lord Jesus’ work?”
Then they read some of Almighty God’s words dealing with the question of anything outside the Bible being heresy. Almighty God says, “The Bible is a historical book, and if you had eaten and drunk the Old Testament during the Age of Grace—if you had put into practice what was required in the time of the Old Testament during the Age of Grace—Jesus would have rejected you, and condemned you; if you had applied the Old Testament to the work of Jesus, you would have been a Pharisee. If, today, you put the Old and New Testament together to eat and drink, and practice, then the God of today will condemn you; you will have fallen behind the Holy Spirit’s work of today! If you eat and drink the Old Testament and the New Testament, then you are outside the stream of the Holy Spirit! 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 did not 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 in 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? His work was done to lead a new path, it was not to deliberately pick a fight against the Bible, or to deliberately dispense with the Old Testament. He simply came to perform His ministry, to bring the new work to those who yearned for and sought Him. He did not come to explain the Old Testament or uphold its work. His work was not in order to allow the Age of Law to continue developing, for His work gave no consideration to whether it had the Bible as its base; Jesus simply came to do the work that He ought to do. … 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!” (The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The gospel preacher in the movie shared this fellowship: “The Bible doesn’t represent God. It’s just a true record of His first two stages of work, that is, a testimony of God’s work in the Ages of Law and Grace. It does not represent all of His work to save mankind. The Bible’s records of God’s words are much too limited. It’s just snippets of God’s life disposition, and cannot show its entirety. God is always new, never old. He does new work and utters new words in every age. For instance, when the Lord Jesus came in the Age of Grace, He went beyond the Old Testament to do new work. God doesn’t work according to the Scripture or reference the Scripture. He doesn’t find the path to lead His followers in the Scripture. God’s work is always moving forward. When God launches a new age and does new work, He brings a new path for mankind and bestows more truths upon us so that we can gain even greater salvation from Him. God doesn’t lead mankind based on His old work. That is, God doesn’t work according to the Bible because He’s not only the Lord of the Sabbath, but He’s also the Lord of the Bible. He has every right to go outside of the Bible, to do newer work according to His plan and mankind’s needs. God’s work in a new age could never be the same as His work in an old age. Therefore, the statement that departing from the Bible is heresy simply doesn’t stand.”
I understood from this that the Old and New Testaments record God’s work and words in the Ages of Law and Grace, but don’t represent all of God’s work. I’d thought that departing from the Bible meant I didn’t believe in the Lord. Hadn’t I been putting God and the Bible on equal footing? When the Lord Jesus came to work, He didn’t base it on the Old Testament. If we say that going beyond the Scripture is heresy, wouldn’t we be condemning the Lord Jesus’ work? If I’d been born in the age when the Lord Jesus was working, I’d have opposed Him, going by my current notions. If I delimited God’s work and words to being only in the Bible, wouldn’t I be making the same mistake as the Pharisees who clung to the old Scripture to condemn the Lord Jesus?
The gospel preacher read another passage of God’s words in the movie: “I would have you understand the Bible’s essence and the story behind it. I do not ask that you not read it, nor that you proclaim abroad that it is a worthless book. Instead, I would have you regard and know it accurately. Do not be too one-sided! Although the Bible is a history book that was written by men, it also documents many of the principles by which the ancient saints and prophets served God, as well as the recent apostles’ experiences in serving God—all of which were really seen and known by these people, and can serve as reference for the people of this age in pursuing the true way. … These books are still out of date, they still belong to the old age, and no matter how good they are, they are only suitable for one period, and are not everlasting. For God’s work is always developing, and it cannot simply stop at the time of Paul and Peter, or always remain in the Age of Grace in which Jesus was crucified. And so, these books are only suitable for the Age of Grace, not for the Age of Kingdom of the last days. They can only provide for the believers of the Age of Grace, not for the saints of the Age of Kingdom, and no matter how good they are, they are still obsolete” (The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Hearing this, I saw that Almighty God wasn’t denying the value of the Bible. The Bible is only a testimony of God’s past work that can help us understand the work He’s already done and what He required of mankind then. But God is doing new work and the Bible is outdated. It can’t provide people with what they currently need. I felt resistant when I first saw the title Come Out of the Bible. I thought everyone’s faith was based in the Bible and that was the only way to know how to believe in and revere God. I thought departure from the Bible was departure from God. That’s why I didn’t want to look into Almighty God’s work of the last days. I thought I had to base my faith in the Bible and that the Bible represented God. This shows the Bible had taken God’s place in my heart. I didn’t believe in God—I believed in the Bible. I saw God and the Bible as equal and I delimited God’s work to being within the Bible, thinking that anything outside of that was heresy. Wasn’t I delimiting and blaspheming God? I gasped, chilled at the thought. I felt so indebted to God guiding me to that movie. Otherwise, the consequences would have been unthinkable.
The people sharing the gospel in the movie then said: “Eternal life doesn’t come from the Bible….” I was stunned. No eternal life from the Bible? How could that be possible? I listened to what they had to say next. “This isn’t in line with people’s notions, but it’s an indisputable fact. The Lord Jesus told us long ago when He rebuked the Pharisees: ‘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 clearly stated that there is no eternal life in the Scriptures. That’s because the Scriptures just bear witness to God. If people want to gain the truth and the life, the Bible isn’t enough. The truth and the life must be gained from Christ Himself. Think of the Pharisees who clung to the Old Testament. They didn’t gain eternal life, but on the contrary, they were punished for resisting and condemning the Lord Jesus. But the Lord Jesus’ followers who didn’t cling to the Scriptures, who accepted God’s work and words of the time were ultimately redeemed by the Lord Jesus. And so, the only way to gain eternal life is to follow Christ and God’s footsteps. If we blindly adhere to the Bible we not only can’t gain God’s approval, but it’s actually just as Paul said, ‘But the scripture has concluded all under sin’ (Galatians 3:22), and we will lose God’s salvation. God does new work in every age. Jehovah God issued the law and commandments in the Age of Law so the Israelites knew how to worship God, how to live on earth, what sin was, and that they’d be punished for their sins. In the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus did the work of redemption, personally becoming a sin offering. All people had to do was confess and repent to have their sins forgiven and escape condemnation and damnation under the law. However, the Lord Jesus’ redemption can just forgive our sins. Our sinful nature is still deeply entrenched. We’re constantly showing corrupt dispositions like being arrogant, deceitful, selfish, and despicable and we can’t help but sin and resist God. That’s why the Lord Jesus prophesied that He’d come again to do the work of judgment, to cleanse and fully save mankind from sin. In the last days, Almighty God is doing the work of judgment beginning with the house of God, based on the Lord Jesus’ redemption work. He expresses all truths to save and cleanse mankind and unveils the mysteries of God’s management plan. He judges and exposes corrupt mankind’s satanic dispositions and nature, displaying His holy, righteous disposition that tolerates no offense. The words expressed by Almighty God are things God never said in the Age of Law or the Age of Grace. These words are God bringing us the path to eternal life in the last days. This completely fulfills the Lord Jesus’ prophecy: ‘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).”
They read another passage of Almighty God’s words after that. Almighty God says, “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. Those who are not supplied with the water of life will forever remain corpses, playthings of Satan, and sons of hell. How, then, can they behold God? If you only try to hold on to the past, only try to keep things as they are by standing still, and do not try to change the status quo and discard history, then will you not always be against God? The steps of God’s work are vast and mighty, like surging waves and rolling thunders—yet you sit passively awaiting destruction, clinging to your folly and doing nothing. In this way, how can you be considered someone who follows the footsteps of the Lamb? How can you justify the God that you hold on to as a God who is always new and never old? And how can the words of your yellowed books carry you across into a new age? How can they lead you to seek the steps of God’s work? And how can they take you up to heaven? What you hold in your hands are letters that can provide but temporary solace, not truths that are capable of giving life. The scriptures you read can only enrich your tongue and are not words of wisdom that can help you know human life, much less the paths that can lead you to perfection. Does this discrepancy not give you cause for reflection? Does it not make you realize the mysteries contained within? Are you capable of delivering yourself to heaven to meet God on your own? Without the coming of God, can you take yourself into heaven to enjoy family happiness with God? Are you still dreaming now? I suggest, then, that you stop dreaming and look at who is working now—look to see who is now carrying out the work of saving man during the last days. If you do not, you shall never gain the truth, and shall never gain life” (The Word Appears in the Flesh). The Church of Almighty God evangelists shared this fellowship: “If we just cling to the Bible in our faith without accepting God’s utterances in the last days, we’ll never gain the watering and sustenance of God’s living waters. Without God’s judgment and purification, we will just live in the vicious cycle of sinning then confessing. Without escaping the bonds of sin, how could anyone be fit to enter the kingdom of heaven? It’s only by accepting Almighty God’s judgment work of the last days that we can be watered and sustained by God’s words, understand the truth, be freed of our corrupt dispositions, and be cleansed. Only then are we fit to enter the kingdom of heaven.”
I felt more enlightened and excited as I listened. This fellowship on truth was so practical. There’s no eternal life in the Bible—it’s just testimony to God. It doesn’t represent God, much less can it replace His work of salvation. Only Christ is the way, the truth, and the life. Only Christ can give us truth and life. Almighty God, Christ of the last days, expresses all truths to purify and save mankind but I just couldn’t let go of the Bible. That was so foolish! I felt so grateful for Almighty God guiding me to hear God’s voice and turn back from my ridiculous views on faith. Then I formally accepted Almighty God’s work of the last days!