61. In one’s faith in God one must not stray from the Bible; anything straying from the Bible is fake and heretical. Is this tenable?
“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” (Jhn 5:39-40).
The Answer from God’s Word:
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. … 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. His work, His teachings, His authority—no one had done this 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? His work was in order 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 didn’t 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. … 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?
… Thus, the work done by Jesus exceeded the law of the Old Testament, it was higher than it, and was not in accordance with it. During the Age of Grace, Jesus did not work according to the law of the Old Testament, He had defied those doctrines. Today there are still people who adhere to the Bible, and the law of the Old Testament in particular—does this not deny the work of Jesus? Some people say the Bible is a holy book, that it must be read, and some people say that God’s work must be upheld forever, that the Old Testament is God’s covenant with the Israelites, and cannot be dispensed with, and the Sabbath must always be kept! Are they not ridiculous? Why didn’t Jesus keep the Sabbath? Was He sinning? Who can see through to such things?
from “Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The work of God continues to advance, and though the purpose of His work remains unchanging, the means by which He works are constantly changing, and thereby so are those who follow God. The more work of God, the more thoroughly man comes to know God, and the disposition of man changes accordingly along with His work. However, it is because the work of God is ever-changing that those who do not know the work of the Holy Spirit and those absurd men who do not know the truth become opponents of God. Not ever does the work of God conform to the conceptions of man, for His work is always new and never old. Not ever does He repeat work of old but rather forges ahead with work never before done. As God does not repeat His work and man invariably judges the work of God today based on His work of the past, it is exceedingly difficult for God to carry out each stage of work of the new age. Man presents far too many hindrances! The thinking of man is too hidebound! No man knows the work of God, yet they all define such work. Away from God, man loses life, truth, and the blessings of God, yet neither does man accept life nor truth, much less the greater blessings God bestows upon mankind. All men wish to gain God yet are unable to tolerate any changes in God’s work. Those who do not accept the new work of God believe that the work of God is changeless, and that the work of God forever remains at a standstill. In their belief, all that is needed to gain eternal salvation from God is to keep the law, and as long as they repent and confess their sins, the heart of God will be forever satisfied. They are of the opinion that God can only be the God under the law and the God who was nailed on the cross for man; it is their opinion too that God should not and cannot exceed the Bible. It is precisely these opinions that have shackled them firmly to the law of old and kept them fettered by rigid regulations. …
At that time, Jesus stated that the work of Jehovah had fallen behind in the Age of Grace, much as I say today that the work of Jesus has fallen behind. If there had been only the Age of Law and not the Age of Grace, Jesus could not have been crucified and could not have redeemed all mankind; if there had only been the Age of Law, could mankind possibly have developed until this day? History advances forward; is not history the natural law of God’s work? Is this not a depiction of His management of man within the entire universe? History progresses forward, so does the work of God, and the will of God continuously changes. It would be impractical for God to maintain a single stage of work for six thousand years, for all of man knows that He is always new and never old. He could not possibly continue to sustain work akin to the crucifixion, and once, twice, three times … be nailed to the cross. This is the perception of an absurd man. God does not sustain the same work, and His work is ever-changing and always new, much as how I daily speak to you new words and do new work. This is the work I do, the key of which lies in the words “new” and “wondrous.”
from “How Can Man Who Has Defined God in His Conceptions Receive the Revelations of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If you use conceptions to measure and delineate God, as if God were an unchanging clay statue, and if you delimit God within the Bible, and contain Him within a limited scope of work, then this proves that you have condemned God. Because, in their hearts, the Jews of the age of the Old Testament cast God in the mold of idol, as if God could only be called the Messiah, and only He who was called the Messiah was God, and because they served and worshiped God as if He were a (lifeless) clay statue, they nailed the Jesus of that time to the cross, sentencing Him to death—condemning innocent Jesus to death. God had committed no crime, yet man did not spare God, and unwaveringly sentenced Him to death. Thus, Jesus was crucified. Man always believes that God is unchanging, and defines Him according to the Bible, as though man has seen through to God’s management, as though all that God does is in the hands of man. People are ridiculous to the extreme, they are possessed of the utmost arrogance, and they all have a flair for turgid eloquence. Regardless of how great your knowledge of God, still I say that you do not know God, that there are none who are more opposed to God, and that you condemn God, for you are utterly incapable of obeying the work of God and walking the path of being made perfect by God.
from “The Wicked Must Be Punished” in The Word Appears in the Flesh