Understanding the Bible Correctly, I Welcome the Lord’s Return
By Xinning, Malaysia
Great News — the Lord Has Returned!
When I was small, I followed my aunt in her belief in the Lord and we would often attend Sunday worship. Toward the end of 2017, I found I had no time to attend gatherings at church because I was so busy at work, and so I began attending Bible study classes online. I met Sister Xu in my Bible study group and saw that she was quite compassionate. No matter what questions I had, she would always patiently fellowship with me so that my problems could be resolved. Later, Sister Xu testified to me that the Lord had returned in the last days and was performing a new stage of work, that of using His words to judge and purify our sins, and that He will lead those who have been purified into His kingdom. She also read many of Almighty God’s words to me and gave me fellowship on such truths as God’s three stages of work, the mystery of God’s six-thousand-year management plan and the mystery of God’s name. I’d never before heard about these things and I felt this way to be fresh and new, and I wanted to continue looking into the way she was preaching.
One afternoon two weeks later, however, I saw in my Christian group on Facebook a post condemning The Church of Almighty God, and I thought to myself, “How can you condemn The Church of Almighty God like that?” I’d had contact with the brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God and the words of Almighty God they’d read were very authoritative, and were words I’d never heard before. Furthermore, they were so good to other people, so sincere and loving. But when I saw online that the people from The Church of Almighty God read the book, The Word Appears in the Flesh, and not the Bible, I began to have misgivings. Because my pastor always preached that, “If one believes in the Lord then one has to read the Bible, and to depart from the Bible is heresy,” I felt very worried, and I didn’t know whether I wanted to keep looking into it. But then I thought of how the words of Almighty God my brothers and sisters had read to me during our gatherings were possessed of such authority and how Almighty God had unveiled so many mysteries. When I heard these things, my spirit felt such enjoyment and I believed that Almighty God’s words came from God. If Almighty God was the Lord returned and I didn’t follow Him, then I would be weeded out and abandoned by God. My heart was in a turmoil of conflict….
Does God Work According to the Bible?
One day, I watched the movie Come Out of the Bible online, and in the movie there was a passage of God’s words that said: “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 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 practice in light of the Sabbath and 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!”
I then saw the protagonist give fellowship, saying, “Through God’s words, we know that we have been mentioning the Bible in the same breath with God for many years. And we all think that whoever believes in God must believe in the Bible and that any belief that departs from the Bible is not a belief in God but a heresy, a cult. Actually, the Bible is only a true record of the first two stages of God’s works, that is, a true testimony of two stages of works, in which God led mankind and redeemed mankind after God created the heavens and the earth and all things and created mankind. It doesn’t represent all God’s work of saving mankind. God’s words recorded in the Bible are too limited! They’re just a bit of the expression of God’s life disposition and don’t represent all of God’s life disposition. God doesn’t work according to the Bible or by consulting the Bible, much less does He find paths in the Bible to lead His followers. God’s work continually progresses. God will open a new age and do a newer work, that is, point a newer way to man, bestow the higher truth to man, and let man gain God’s greater salvation. So, God won’t be leading man according to the old work. That is, God won’t work according to the Bible, because God is not only the Lord of the Sabbath, but the Lord of the Bible! He absolutely has the right to go beyond the Bible and does a newer work according to His own plan and mankind’s need at that time! Thus, God’s work of the new age will surely be different from that of the old age recorded in the Bible. So, ‘any belief that departs from the Bible is a heresy,’ this saying is simply untenable!”
After seeing God’s words and the fellowship in this movie, I finally came to some understanding, and I thought: “Yes, the Bible is a record of God’s work in the Age of Law and the Age of Grace, but neither of these works were performed according to the Bible. When I think about these words, “You should know which came first, God or the Bible!” it is clear that God came first and the Bible came after. When the Lord Jesus performed His work, the New Testament did not yet exist. The Lord Jesus healed the sick and cast out demons, He forgave us our sins, He taught people to be tolerant and patient, to love our neighbors as ourselves and to love our enemies, and He preached the way of repentance. He didn’t go by the Bible to do any of this, but instead He went completely beyond the Old Testament. The Pharisees of the time then seized upon this to judge the Lord Jesus’ work as being in violation of the law of the Old Testament, and thus they crucified Him upon the cross.”
I also saw in the movie something the Lord Jesus said: “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 was clearly pointing out to us that the Bible is just there to testify to the Lord and that it cannot give life to man — only by coming to the Lord can we gain truth and life. The Pharisees of that time stubbornly clung to the Old Testament and did not accept the truth the Lord Jesus spoke, and so they were unable to gain the life that came from the Lord. Now, this sister from The Church of Almighty God was testifying that The Word Appears in the Flesh contained the words expressed by the returned Lord. If this was indeed the case and I instead clung to the Bible and did not read the new utterances of the returned Lord, then wouldn’t I be committing the same mistake as the Pharisees? If that were to happen, I would be such a fool! So I decided that to continue to seek this way was the safer way to go, as if I did anything in defiance of God then I would be in big trouble….
I Come Out of the Bible and Welcome the Lord’s Return
I saw another passage of God’s words in the movie, that said, “Since there is a higher way, why study that low, outdated way? Since there are newer utterances, and newer work, why live amid old historical records? The new utterances can provide for you, which proves that this is the new work; the old records cannot sate you, or satisfy your current needs, which proves that they are history, and not the work of the here and now. The highest way is the newest work, and with the new work, no matter how high the way of the past, it is still the history of people’s reflections, and no matter its value as reference, it is still the old way. Even though it is recorded in the ‘holy book,’ the old way is history; even though there is no record of it in the ‘holy book,’ the new way is of the here and now. This way can save you, and this way can change you, for this is the work of the Holy Spirit.” “Bringing up the things of the past today makes them history, and no matter how true or real they might be, they are still history — and history cannot address the present, for God does not look back on history! And so, if you only understand the Bible, and understand nothing of the work God intends to do today, and if you believe in God but do not seek the work of the Holy Spirit, then you do not understand what it means to seek God. If you read the Bible in order to study the history of Israel, to research the history of God’s creation of all the heavens and earth, then you do not believe in God. But today, since you believe in God, and pursue life, since you pursue the knowledge of God, and do not pursue dead letters and doctrines or an understanding of history, you must seek God’s will of today, and you must look for the direction of the Holy Spirit’s work. If you were an archeologist you could read the Bible — but you are not, you are one of those who believe in God, and you had best seek God’s will of today.”
Sister Yang in the movie gave fellowship, saying, “We don’t mean to stop you from reading the Bible through today’s fellowship. We just hope that you can treat it correctly through the truths Almighty God expresses today. This is because God’s words recorded in the Bible are too limited and most of them are only the record of God’s work and the disciples’ experiences and testimonies. How can these works of God represent God’s everything? It can be said that God’s words in the Bible are only one ten thousandth or one hundred millionth of God’s life. If one wants to replace God with the Bible, he’s really blaspheming God. It’s not overstated at all. God’s work continuously progresses. If one only holds on to the work God does in an age, he is conservative and holding on to the history. So, no matter how persistently we hold on to the history, it can’t solve our practical problems and it’s meaningless. That’s to say, there is no God’s present work or God’s most realistic requirements for man in the Bible. What the Bible records can by no means replace God’s end-time work. Now Almighty God has come and does the work of judgment, chastisement, purifying, and perfection. Only if people receive Almighty God’s end-time judgment can they be purified and saved by God.”
Someone else preaching the gospel in the movie gave fellowship and said, “Though there are only prophecies but no factual records of God’s end-time work in the Bible, it’s a deepened and uplifted work God does on the basis of the Bible according to man’s actual need. Like the Lord Jesus came at that time, He didn’t work according to the Old Testament but worked according to mankind’s need and God’s own plan. On the basis of the work of the law, He did a stage of redemptive work. In other words, He did a new and uplifted work on the basis of the Old Testament. In that stage of work, He didn’t abolish the law but fulfilled the law. Similarly, today, in the end time, according to mankind’s need and God’s management plan, God has done a stage of newer and higher work on the basis of the Lord Jesus’ redemptive work. God has expressed many words that can have man purified and saved and has disclosed all the mysteries of God’s management plan. These words are the words that God never spoke in the Age of the Law or in the Age of the Grace, and are also the scroll God opens and the seven seals that God breaks in the end time. This just fulfills the prophecy in Revelation, ‘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 I wept much, because no man was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders said to me, Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the Root of David, has prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof’ (Revelation 5:1–5). These prophecies came into existence after the Lord Jesus had finished His work. It’s self-evident that these prophecies are surely the facts God will accomplish in the end time and the work of salvation God will do in the end time. Now, God has been incarnated to express the word and do a stage of judging and purifying work. He has expressed many words for man to be saved. These words aren’t in the Bible but outside the Bible. These rich words of life are the way of life God bestows to mankind in the end time and are also the only path for man to be saved. If man refuses to accept them, he will never receive the true watering of the living water of God’s life and will never gain the truth and life from God!”
After listening to God’s words and the sister’s fellowship, I felt very moved. As it turns out, God doesn’t forbid people from reading the Bible and He is not saying that the Bible is without value; He just wants us to take the correct view of the Bible. I came to understand that God was working in accordance with the steps of His management plan and that His work was proceeding one step at a time, and thus He was leading us into a new age. God does not look back on history and does not maintain old ways, and so neither must I. By living one’s life within the pages of the Bible, not only does one defy God but, in the end, one will be weeded out by God’s work of the new age. I thought of how I’d always believed the pastor when he said, “To believe in the Lord is to believe in the Bible, and to depart from the Bible is heresy,” but I knew now that this statement ran contrary to God’s work. If I’d persisted in that belief, then I would never have been able to obtain the Lord’s life supply in the last days, and I would have been detested and rejected by God.
Thanks be to the love of God that He did not abandon me. Later, after over a month of investigating, my spirit was enlightened at last and I understood that believing in the Lord was not the same as believing in the Bible. Only welcoming the Lord’s return and following the Lord’s real work is a genuine belief in the Lord. At the same time, I came to have true discernment of the words I’d read online, that “People from The Church of Almighty God read The Word Appears in the Flesh, and not the Bible.” The Church of Almighty God does not forbid people from reading the Bible and has never once denied the Bible; instead, the church asks people to take the correct view of the Bible. The brothers and sisters of The Church of Almighty God read God’s words in The Word Appears in the Flesh, they follow God’s new work and they listen to God’s utterances in the last days. The Word Appears in the Flesh is indeed the small scroll as prophesied in Revelation and it precisely fulfills the prophecy in Revelation that says, “He that has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches” (Revelation 2:7). In this way, I utterly came out from the Bible and welcomed the Lord’s return. I have great enjoyment now through contemplating God’s words with my brothers and sisters, and I now understand many truths as well as God’s will. I also take an active role in spreading the gospel, I perform my duty as a created being, and I seek to satisfy God and repay His love. Now, God’s words guide me through each and every day of my life, and I live a life enriched. Thanks be to God.