The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word
In the Age of Kingdom, God uses the word to usher in a new age, to change the method of His work, and to do the work for the entire age. This is the principle by which God works in the Age of Word. He became flesh to speak from different perspectives, enabling man to truly see God, who is the Word appearing in the flesh, and His wisdom and wondrousness. Such work is done in order better to achieve the goals of conquering man, perfecting man, and eliminating man. This is the true meaning of using the word to work in the Age of Word. Through the word, man comes to know the work of God, the disposition of God, the essence of man, and what man ought to enter into. Through the word, the work God wishes to do in the Age of Word is brought to fruition in its entirety. Through the word, man is revealed, eliminated, and tried. Man has seen the word, heard the word, and become aware of the existence of the word. As a result, he believes in the existence of God, in the omnipotence and wisdom of God, as well as in God’s love for man and His desire to save man. Though the word “word” is simple and ordinary, the word from the mouth of the incarnate God shakes up the entire universe; it transforms man’s heart, notions, and old disposition, and the way the whole world used to appear. Through the ages, only the God of today works in this manner, and only He speaks thus and comes to save man thus. From this time forward, man lives under the guidance of the word, shepherded and supplied by the word. All humanity has come to live in the world of the word, within the curses and the blessings of God’s word, and even more of them have come to live under the judgment and chastisement of the word. These words and this work are all for the sake of man’s salvation, for the sake of fulfilling God’s will, and for the sake of changing the original appearance of the world of old creation. God created the world with the word, leads men from all over the universe with the word, and again conquers and saves them with the word. Finally, He shall use the word to bring the entire world of old to an end. Only then is the management plan wholly complete. Throughout the Age of Kingdom, God uses the word to do His work and achieve the results of His work; He does not work wonders or perform miracles; He merely does His work through the word. Because of the word, man is nourished and supplied; because of the word, man gains knowledge and true experience. Man in the Age of Word has truly received exceptional blessings. He suffers no physical pain and simply enjoys the bountiful supply of the word of God; without needing to go seeking or journeying forth, from the midst of his ease he sees the appearance of God, hears Him speak with His own mouth, receives what He supplies, and watches Him personally doing His work. These are things that men in ages past were unable to enjoy, and these are blessings that they could never receive.
God is determined to make man complete. Whichever perspective He speaks from, it is all for the sake of perfecting these people. Words spoken from the perspective of the Spirit are difficult for man to understand, and man is unable to find a path for his practice, for his capacity for understanding is limited. The work of God achieves different effects, and in taking each step of the work He has His purpose. Moreover, it is imperative that He speak from different perspectives for only in so doing can He perfect man. If He were to utter His voice from the perspective of the Spirit alone, there would be no way for this stage of God’s work to be completed. From the tone with which He speaks, you can see He is determined to make this group of people complete. For every one of those who wish to be perfected by God, what would be the first step one should take? First, you must come to know the work of God. As new methods are used and the age has changed from one to the other, the way in which God works has also changed, as has the way God speaks. Now, not only has the method of His work changed, but so too has the age. Formerly, it was the Age of Kingdom, a period of work in which to love God. Now it is the Age of Millennial Kingdom—the Age of Word—that is, an age in which God uses many ways of speaking to perfect man and speaks from different perspectives to supply man. As soon as the times passed into the Age of Millennial Kingdom, God began to use the word to make man perfect, enabling man to enter into the reality of life and leading man onto the right track. Man has experienced so many steps of His work and has seen that the work of God does not remain unchanged. Rather, it is evolving and deepening without surcease. After such an extended experience, the work has revolved repeatedly, and changed again and again, but however much it changes, it never deviates from God’s objective of working man. Even through ten thousand changes, it never strays from its original purpose, nor does it ever depart from truth or life. Changes in the method by which work is done merely involve a change in the format of work and the perspective of speaking, not a change in the central objective of His work. Changes in tone of voice and the method of work are made in order to achieve an effect. A change in tone of voice does not mean a change in the purpose or the principle behind the work. In believing in God, man’s primary aim is to seek life. If you believe in God and yet do not seek life or truth or knowledge of God, then this is not belief in God! That you should still seek to enter the kingdom to be king—is this realistic? Achieving true love for God through seeking life—only this is reality; the pursuit and the practice of truth—these are all reality. Experience the words of God while reading His words: In this way, you will grasp the knowledge of God through real experience. This is a genuine form of pursuit.
In the Age of Millennial Kingdom, whether you have entered into this new age is determined by whether you have entered into the reality of God’s words, and whether His words serve as the reality of your life. The word of God is made known to every man so that, in the end, all men will live in the world of the word and the word of God will enlighten and illuminate every man from within. If during this period of time, you are hasty and careless in reading the word of God, and have no interest in His word, it shows that there is something wrong with your condition. If you are unable to enter into the Age of Word, then the Holy Spirit does not work in you; if you have entered into this age, He will do His work. What can you do at the moment when this Age of Word begins in order to be able to gain the work of the Holy Spirit? In this age, God will bring about this reality among you: that every man shall live out the word of God, shall be able to put truth into practice, and shall love God earnestly; that all men shall use the word of God as a foundation and as their reality, and have hearts of reverence for God; and that, through the practice of the word of God, man shall then wield kingly power together with God. It is this work that God is going to achieve. Can you go without reading the word of God? There are many now who feel that they cannot go even a day or two without reading the word of God. They must read His word every day, and if time does not permit, listening to His word will suffice. This is the feeling that the Holy Spirit gives man, and this is the way He begins to move man. That is, He governs man through words so that man can enter into the reality of the word of God. If, after just one day without eating and drinking of the word of God, you feel darkness and thirst and you find it unacceptable, this shows that you have been moved by the Holy Spirit, and that He has not turned away from you. You are then one who is in this stream. However, if after a day or two without eating and drinking of the word of God, you don’t feel a thing, and have no thirst, nor are you at all moved, this shows that the Holy Spirit has turned away from you. This means, then, that there is something wrong with your condition inside; you have not entered into the Age of Word, and you are someone who has fallen behind. God uses the word to govern man; you feel good if you eat and drink of the word of God, and if you do not, you will have no path to follow. The word of God becomes the food of man and the force that drives him. The Bible said that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” This is the work that God will bring to completion today. He will realize this truth in you. How is it that man in the past could go many days without reading the word of God and yet be able to eat and work as usual? And why is this not the case now? In this age, God primarily uses the word to govern all. Through the word of God, man is judged and perfected, then finally taken into the kingdom. Only the word of God can supply the life of man, and only the word of God can give man light and a path for practice, particularly in the Age of Kingdom. As long as you daily eat and drink of His word without departing from the reality of the word of God, God shall be able to make you perfect.
One cannot be in a rush to achieve success when seeking life; growth in life does not happen in just a day or two. The work of God is normal and practical, and there is a process that it necessarily undergoes. It took the incarnate Jesus thirty-three and a half years to complete His work of crucifixion: How much more would this be true of the life of man! It is also no easy task to make a normal man who manifests God. This is particularly so for the people of the nation of the great red dragon, who are of poor caliber and require a long period of God’s word and work. So do not be in a hurry to see results. You must be proactive in eating and drinking of God’s words, and put more effort into the words of God. When you are finished reading His words, you must be able to put them into actual practice, growing in knowledge, insight, discernment, and wisdom in the words of God. Through this, you will change without realizing it. If you are able to take as your principle the eating and drinking of the word of God, reading it, coming to know it, experiencing it, and practicing it, you will come to maturity without realizing it. There are those who say that they are unable to put the word of God into practice even after reading it. What is your hurry? When you reach a certain stature, you will be able to put His word into practice. Would a four- or five-year-old child say that he is unable to support or honor his parents? You should be able to know your current stature. Put into practice what you are able to put into practice, and avoid being someone who disrupts the management of God. You just eat and drink of God’s words, and take that as your principle from now on. Do not worry for the time being about whether God can make you complete. Do not delve into that yet. Just eat and drink of God’s words as they come to you, and assuredly God will be able to make you complete. However, there is a principle by which you must eat and drink of His word. Do not do so blindly. Rather, seek out the words that you should come to know, that is, those that are related to vision. Another aspect that you must seek out relates to actual practice, that is, that which you ought to enter into. One aspect has to do with knowledge, and the other with entering. Once you have grasped both, that is, when you grasp what you should know and what you should practice, you will know how to eat and drink of the word of God.
Going forward, talking about the word of God is the principle by which you should speak. Ordinarily, when you come together, you should be able to engage in fellowship about the word of God, taking God’s word as the content of your interactions, talking about what you know of the word of God, how you put His word into practice, and how the Holy Spirit works. All you need to do is engage in fellowship about the word of God, and the Holy Spirit will illuminate you. In order to bring into being a world of God’s word it also requires man’s collaboration. If you do not enter into this, God will have no way of working. If you keep your mouth shut and do not talk about His word, there is no way for God to illuminate you. Whenever you are not otherwise occupied, talk about the word of God, and do not talk idly! Let your life be filled with the word of God—only then are you a devout believer. Even if your fellowship is superficial, that is all right. Without the superficial, there would be no depth. There is a process that must be undergone. Through your training, you gain insight into the illumination of the Holy Spirit upon you, and how to effectively eat and drink of the word of God. After an interval of probing, you will enter into the reality of the word of God. Only if you have the resolution to collaborate will you be able to receive the work of the Holy Spirit.
There are two aspects to the principle of eating and drinking the word of God: One relates to knowledge, and the other entering. Which words should you come to know? You should come to know the words related to vision (that is to say, those relating to which age God has now entered into, what God wishes to achieve now, what incarnation is, and so on; all these are related to vision). What is meant by the path that man should enter into? This refers to the words of God that man should practice and enter into. The above are the two aspects of eating and drinking the word of God. From now on, eat and drink of the word of God in this way. If you have a clear understanding of the words concerning vision, then there is no need to read any more. Of primary importance is to eat and drink more of the words on entering, such as how to turn your heart toward God, how to quiet your heart before God, and how to forsake the flesh. These are the things you should put into practice. Without knowing how to eat and drink of the word of God, true fellowship is not possible. Once you know how to eat and drink of His word, and have grasped what is key, fellowship will become free. Whatever issues are raised, you will be able to engage in fellowship about them and grasp the reality. Fellowshiping about the word of God without possessing the reality means you are unable to grasp what is key, and this shows that you do not know how to eat and drink of His word. Some may feel weariness when reading the word of God, which is not a normal state. What is normal is never growing tired of reading God’s word, always thirsting for it, and always finding the word of God to be good. This is how one who has really entered eats and drinks of the word of God. When you feel that the word of God is exceedingly practical and is exactly what man should enter into; when you feel that His word is greatly helpful and beneficial to man, and that it is the supply of man’s life—it is the Holy Spirit that gives you this feeling, and it is the Holy Spirit that moves you. This proves that the Holy Spirit is working in you and God has not turned away from you. Some people, seeing that God is always speaking, become tired of His words and think that it is of no consequence whether or not they read His words. That is not a normal state. They lack a heart that thirsts to enter into reality, and such men neither thirst for nor place importance on being perfected. Whenever you find you do not thirst for the word of God, it shows that you are not in a normal state. In the past, whether God had turned away from you could be determined by whether you were at peace within and whether you experienced enjoyment. Now the key is whether you thirst for the word of God, whether His word is your reality, whether you are faithful, and whether you are able to do all that you can do for God. In other words, man is judged by the reality of the word of God. God directs His word to all of humanity. If you are willing to read it, He will enlighten you, but if you are not, He will not. God enlightens those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and those who seek Him. Some say that God did not enlighten them even after they read His word. But in what way did you read the words? If you read His word in the way a man on horseback looks at flowers and placed no importance on reality, how could God enlighten you? How can one who does not treasure God’s word be made perfect by Him? If you do not treasure the word of God, then you will have neither truth nor reality. If you treasure His word, then you will be able to put the truth into practice; only then will you possess reality. This is why you must eat and drink of the word of God at all times, whether you are busy or not, whether the circumstances are adverse or not, and whether you are being tried or not. All in all, the word of God is the foundation of man’s existence. No one can turn away from His word but must eat of His word as they do the three meals of the day. Can being perfected and gained by God be a simple matter? Whether or not you understand at present, and whether or not you have insight into the work of God, you must eat and drink of the word of God as much as possible. This is entering in a proactive way. After reading the word of God, hasten to put into practice what you can enter into, setting aside for the moment what you cannot. There may be much of the word of God that you cannot understand in the beginning, but after two or three months, perhaps even a year, you will. How can this be? This is because God cannot make man complete in a day or two. Most of the time, when you read His word, you may not understand right away. At that time, it may seem like nothing more than mere text, and only after passing through a period of experience will you be able to understand it. God having spoken so much, you should do your utmost to eat and drink of His word, and then, unawares, you will come to understand, and the Holy Spirit will enlighten you unawares. When the Holy Spirit enlightens man, it is often without man’s awareness. He enlightens and guides you when you thirst and seek. The principle by which the Holy Spirit works is centered on the word of God of which you eat and drink. All those who place no importance on the word of God and always bear a different kind of attitude toward His word, in their befuddlement thinking it a matter of indifference whether they read His word or not, are those who do not possess reality. Neither the Holy Spirit’s work nor His enlightenment can be seen in such a person. People like this are merely coasting along, pretenders without true qualifications, like Mr. Nanguo of the parable.[a]
Without the word of God as your reality, you have no real stature. When the time comes to be tried, you will certainly fall, and then your true stature will be revealed. But those who regularly seek to enter into reality shall, in a time of trial, come to understand the purpose of God’s work. One who is possessed of conscience and thirsts for God should take practical action to repay God for His love. Those who are not possessed of reality cannot stand firm in the face of even trivial matters. There is simply a difference between those with real stature and those without. Why is it that, though alike in eating and drinking of the word of God, some are able to stand firm in a trial while others flee from it? The obvious difference is that some lack real stature; they do not have the word of God to serve as their reality, and His word has not taken root within them. As soon as they are tried they are at the end of their path. Why is it, then, that others are able to stand firm in this respect? This is because they have great vision, or the word of God has turned within them into their experience and their practical insights have become the foundation of their existence. In this way, they are able to stand firm through trials. This is real stature, and this too is life. Some may also read the word of God but without putting it into practice or being in earnest about it. Those who are not in earnest place no importance on practice. Those who do not have the word of God to serve as their reality are those without real stature. Such people cannot stand firm through trials.
As soon as the word of God comes out, you should immediately receive and eat of it. No matter how much you understand, the one point of view to which you must hold fast is to eat of, to know, and to practice His word. This is something you should be able to do. Never mind about how great your stature may become; simply focus on eating of His word. This is what man should collaborate with. Your spiritual life is mainly to try to enter into the reality of the eating and drinking of God’s words and putting them into practice. It is not your business to focus on anything else. Church leaders should be able to guide all their brothers and sisters so that they know how to eat and drink God’s words. This is the responsibility of every single church leader. Be they young or old, all should regard the eating and drinking of God’s words with importance and keep His words in their hearts. Entering into this reality means entering the Age of Kingdom. Nowadays, most people feel that they cannot live without eating and drinking of the word of God, and whatever the time, they feel that His word is fresh. This means that man is beginning to set upon the right track. God uses the word to do His work and to supply man. When everyone yearns after and thirsts for the word of God, humanity will enter into the world of His word.
God has spoken a great deal. How much do you have knowledge of? How much have you entered into? If a church leader has not guided his brothers and sisters into the reality of the word of God, then he will have been derelict in his duty and failed to fulfill his responsibilities! No matter the depth of your eating and drinking, or the degree to which you are able to understand, you must know how to eat and drink of His word; you must regard His word with importance and understand the importance and the necessity of eating and drinking of it. God having spoken so much, if you do not eat and drink of His word, or go seeking, or put His word into practice, this cannot be called believing in God. Since you do believe in God, then you must eat and drink of His word, experience His word, and live out His word. Only this can be called belief in God! If you say you believe in God with your mouth and yet are unable to speak out any of His words or put them into practice, this is not called believing in God. Rather, it is “seeking bread to satisfy hunger.” Speaking only of trivial testimonies, useless things, and superficial matters, without possessing even the slightest bit of reality: these do not constitute belief in God, and you have simply not grasped the right way of believing in God. Why must you eat and drink as much as possible of God’s words? If you do not eat and drink of His words but seek only to ascend to heaven, is that believing in God? What is the first step one who believes in God should take? By what path does God perfect man? Can you be perfected without eating and drinking of the word of God? Can you be considered a person of the kingdom without the word of God to serve as your reality? What exactly does belief in God mean? Believers in God should, at the very least, have good behavior on the outside; most important of all is to be possessed of the word of God. No matter what, you can never turn away from His word. Knowing God and fulfilling His will are all achieved through His word. In future, every nation, denomination, religion, and sector will be conquered through the word. God will speak directly, and all people will hold the word of God in their hands; by means of this, humanity will be perfected. Within and without, the word of God pervades throughout: Humanity will speak God’s word with their mouths, practice in accordance with God’s word, and keep the word of God within, remaining steeped in God’s word both inside and out. Thus will humanity be perfected. Those who fulfill the will of God and are able to bear witness to Him, these are the people who possess the word of God as their reality.
Entering into the Age of Word, that is, the Age of Millennial Kingdom, is the work that is being completed now. From now on, practice engaging in fellowship about the word of God. Only by means of eating and drinking as well as experiencing the word of God will you be able to manifest the word of God. Only through your words of experience can others be persuaded by you. If you do not have the word of God, no one will be convinced! All those used by God are able to speak the word of God. If you cannot, this shows that the Holy Spirit has not worked in you and you have not been perfected. This is the importance of the word of God. Do you have a heart that thirsts for the word of God? Those who thirst for the word of God thirst for truth, and only such men are blessed by God. In the future, there are many more words that God will say to all religions and all denominations. He first speaks and utters His voice among you to make you complete before moving on to speak and utter His voice among the Gentiles to conquer them. Through the word, all will be sincerely and utterly convinced. Through the word of God and His revelations, man’s corrupt disposition diminishes, he has the appearance of a man, and his rebellious disposition too lessens. The word works upon man with authority and conquers man within the light of God. The work that God will do in the present age, as well as the turning points of His work, all can be found within His word. If you do not read His word, you will understand nothing. Through your own eating and drinking of His word, and through engaging in fellowship with your brothers and sisters as well as your actual experience, your knowledge of the word of God will grow comprehensive. Only thus will you be able truly to live it out in reality.
a. The original text omits “of the parable.”