By Kang Jian, China
We are now in the last days and the Lord Jesus has long since returned—He is the incarnated. Almighty God performs a stage of work of judging and cleansing man with words, but this work is not a stand-alone, self-contained work. Rather it is a deeper, higher work that is performed on the foundation of the works of Jehovah and Jesus. And yet some people say: “The work of Almighty God in the last days goes against the prophecy in Revelation 22:18–19: ‘For I testify to every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add to these things, God shall add to him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.’ The work of Almighty God is an addition to the Book of Revelation in the Bible, and whoever follows Almighty God loses their chance to share in the heavenly kingdom.” This is actually assumption and conjecture from those who do not understand God or His work, and it is said by people who are unaware of the background of the Book of Revelation. It totally flies in the face of factual truth and is simply untenable!
People who understand the Bible all know that the Book of Revelation is an account of the visions seen by John the Apostle after he was banished by the Roman emperor to the island of Patmos. It was sometime shortly after 90 A.D., before the New Testament had been laid out, and before the completion of the whole Bible containing both New and Old Testaments. So, when “this book” is mentioned in Revelation 22:18–19, it absolutely does not refer to the complete Bible of today, nor is it referring to the Old Testament, rather, it is referring just to the Book of Revelation. If people take “this book” mentioned in Revelation to mean the Bible of today, then there is a problem with their understanding. Moreover, we should note that the scripture says it is man that cannot add to or take away from the prophecies. This does not include God Himself, because these prophecies deal with the work that God will carry out in the future, and they can only be fulfilled when God Himself comes to carry out His work. Therefore, man cannot arbitrarily add to or take away from these prophecies. We cannot limit God’s work in the last days to the prophecies in Revelation because of these two lines of the Scripture, nor can we delimit God by saying that He is not able to carry out work and speak words that are not prophesied in the Book of Revelation. Since God is the Creator, He is in charge of all things, and He has total authority to carry out His own work beyond what is prophesied. This is something that cannot be blocked by anybody and cannot be delimited by anybody. Where it says in Revelation that man cannot add to or take away from, that was God’s requirement to man. Man cannot take this requirement that God has of him and turn it around and put it on God, nor can man use the letters and rules of the Bible to restrict and limit God or not allow Him to carry out new work or say things that go beyond the Bible. For if this were so, wouldn’t these things be reversing the natural order? In Deuteronomy 12:32 in the Old Testament, it says: “What thing soever I command you, observe to do it: you shall not add thereto, nor diminish from it.” These are things which man should observe, not use to make demands of God. When Jesus was performing His work in the Age of Grace, He did not observe these things, but instead He proposed more suitable requirements according to the needs of the people at that time. For example, in the Age of Law, people were required to take an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth, but when the Lord Jesus arrived, He said, “That you resist not evil: but whoever shall smite you on your right cheek, turn to him the other also” (Matthew 5:39); the law dictated that one must hate one’s enemies, but the Lord Jesus said, “Love your enemies, … and pray for them which spitefully use you, and persecute you” (Matthew 5:44). As stated in the Old Testament, people in the Age of Law worshiped God in the temple. When the Lord Jesus arrived, He did not enter the temple, but instead went out into the wilderness and into the villages to preach and spread the gospel, requiring the people to worship God in spirit and in truth. The laws stipulated that people could not work on the Sabbath and that they must observe the Sabbath, and yet the Lord Jesus did such things as heal the sick and cast out demons on the Sabbath, and He said: “the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day” (Matthew 12:8). The laws in the Old Testament stipulated that sinners had to make a sin offering, and yet the Lord Jesus required that people confess and repent in order to have their sins forgiven. Also, in the age of the Old Testament, people were required to make burned offerings, grain offerings and peace offerings, and so on, and men had to be circumcised. As soon as the Lord Jesus arrived, He abolished these rules. These are just some examples of the suitable requirements the Lord Jesus had for people at that time. Jesus’ work did away with some old rules and regulations, and He proposed new requirements for man, and this was all the work of God Himself. In the eyes of those who adhered to the laws, however, this work went beyond the Scripture, and to them it was adding to and taking away from the Scripture that was being done outside the laws. As a result, the Jews used the laws of Jehovah to condemn the Lord Jesus (see John 19:7). This was an expression of man’s lack of reason, and man should not take God’s word where He requests man not to add nor diminish and turn this around to restrict God and make demands of God. Man should not use God’s old work that He carried out in the past to delimit His new work being carried out now. God is the Master of all creation. God carries out work according to His own management plan and His own free will. He has no need to discuss it with man or try to win their approval, much less does created mankind have any right to interfere. No matter how God carries out His work, it is always righteous, because God’s essence is righteous; no matter how God carries out His work, it is always the truth, and it always meets mankind’s most real, most practical needs, because God’s essence is the truth; no matter how God carries out His work, it is always able to bring life to those who sincerely believe in Him and pursue the truth, because God’s essence is the source of life. God’s work and God’s word absolutely can never be restricted by people, events, objects, place or time, much less be restricted by the letters of the Scripture. Almighty God says: “The work done by Jesus during the time of the New Testament opened up new work: He did not work according to the work of the Old Testament, nor did He apply the words spoken by Jehovah of the Old Testament. He did His own work, and He did newer work, and work that was higher than the law. Thus, He said: ‘Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill.’ Thus, in accordance with what He accomplished, much doctrine was broken with. On the Sabbath when He took the disciples through the grain fields, they picked and ate the heads of grain; He did not keep the Sabbath, and said ‘the Son of man is Lord even of the sabbath day.’ At the time, according to the rules of the Israelites, whosoever didn’t keep the Sabbath would be stoned to death. Jesus, however, neither entered the temple nor kept the Sabbath, and His work had not been done by Jehovah during the time of the Old Testament. 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” (“Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). We can see from God’s words that God’s work has never clung to old things, but instead He performs newer and higher works according to the real needs of man—this is the principle of God’s work throughout the ages. God is faithful, and every word spoken by God and every one of God’s prophecies will be accomplished and fulfilled. Till heaven and earth pass, not one of God’s words will pass away, till all be fulfilled. In Revelation 5:1–5 it says: “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.” From this scripture, we can see that God will perform the work of opening the book and loosing the seven seals in the last days, which is to say that He will speak to mankind with His own mouth, express His disposition of a majestic and wrathful lion and perform the work of judgment; He is the God who judges mankind, and is no longer the Lamb of atonement that is led and slaughtered by others. In Revelation 10:1–4 it says: “And I saw another mighty angel come down from heaven, clothed with a cloud: and a rainbow was on his head, and his face was as it were the sun, and his feet as pillars of fire: And he had in his hand a little book open: and he set his right foot on the sea, and his left foot on the earth, And cried with a loud voice, as when a lion roars: and when he had cried, seven thunders uttered their voices. And when the seven thunders had uttered their voices, I was about to write: and I heard a voice from heaven saying to me, Seal up those things which the seven thunders uttered, and write them not.” These lines from the Scripture allow us to know that the voices of the seven thunders were not written by John. In other words, the voices of the seven thunders are simply not present in the Bible. In summary of these two pieces of Scripture, the details of this little book and the voices of the seven thunders are not recorded in the Bible. From this it can be seen that, if man were to use the words about adding or taking away to delimit God’s work, and delimit God, saying that He cannot say new things that go beyond the Bible, then how could this little book be opened? How could God carry out judgment in the last days? If God did not open this little book, how could man know what this little book contains? How could he understand all the mysteries? How could man know what the details are of the voices of the seven thunders? And then how could the prophecies in the Bible be fulfilled? In the last days, Almighty God has come, expressing many truths and revealing the mysteries that man has not understood for generations past, thus fulfilling the prophecies in Revelation. These truly are the voices of the seven thunders, and the Lamb opening the scroll. This has already become an irrefutable fact! Almighty God says: “Those who obey the truth and submit to the work of God shall come under the name of the second incarnate God—the Almighty. They will be able to accept the personal guidance of God, and shall acquire more and higher truth and receive the real human life. They shall behold the vision that people of the past have never seen: ‘And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the middle of the seven candlesticks one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the breasts with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; And His feet like to fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shines in His strength’ (Revelation 1:12–16). This vision is the expression of God’s entire disposition, and such an expression of His entire disposition is also the expression of the work of God when He becomes flesh this time. In the torrents of chastisements and judgments, the Son of man expresses His inherent disposition through the speaking of words, allowing all those who accept His chastisement and judgment to see the true face of the Son of man, a face that is a faithful depiction of the face of the Son of man seen by John. (Of course, all this will be invisible to those who do not accept the work of God in the Age of Kingdom)” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh).
However, there is a great difference between prophecies and the facts of their fulfillment. It is not possible for prophecies to record in detail things which have not yet come to pass, therefore we cannot say that the fulfillment of a prophecy is something that is in addition to the Bible. It’s like in the Old Testament when it was prophesied that the Messiah would come. In the minds of the Israelites, they all knew He would come to save them, and they also knew that a virgin would become pregnant and have a son, and that He would be named Emanuel, who would become a sin offering, and so on. However, as for the specifics on how He would come and, when He came, how He would be a sin offering, they did not know. Moreover, these prophecies were just words, they were not facts that had already come about. But when Jesus came to carry out His work, all of the prophecies related to the Messiah that were recorded in the Old Testament were fulfilled. So then can we say that the New Testament (that is, the work of Jesus) is an addition to the prophecies in the Old Testament? Of course it’s not. Although Jesus’ new work did not conform to the Old Testament in the eyes of people of that time, nor did it conform to people’s notions, nor was it the same as the work and word of Jehovah, yet, what Jesus did was not taking away from or adding to the law, rather it was fulfilling the law. The work of Jesus was a new stage of work being carried out on the foundation of the work from the Age of Law, it fulfilled the law, and it gave man new things to put into practice and a new understanding of God, just as the Lord Jesus said: “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17). Since the work of Jesus in the New Testament was not recorded in detail in the Old Testament, people thought that the work of Jesus went beyond the law of the Old Testament and that it added new commandments. However, in the eyes of God, He was just carrying out the work of His plan. The work of Jesus was a newer, higher stage of work being carried out by God on the foundation of the work of the law, and it accomplished the prophecies of the prophets. In the same way, God’s work in the last days shall accomplish the prophecies of the New Testament, and it is a new stage of work based on God’s work of redemption. Can we say that this is adding to the Bible? The Lord Jesus has already told us the answer to this question: “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: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come” (John 16:12–13). This stage of work by God in the last days precisely fulfills the Lord’s words. The word of God in the last days has already revealed to man mysteries that were concealed for generations past, and it has brought us many truths that we had never heard before. It has given us the path to being cleansed, being saved and entering into the kingdom. The work of Almighty God in the last days is a newer stage of work based on the two stages of work carried out by Jehovah and Jesus, and it is a higher work than those of the previous two stages.
Almighty God says: “The work done by Jesus was merely a stage higher than the Old Testament; it was used to begin an age, and to lead that age. Why did He say, ‘I have not come to destroy the law, but to fulfill’? Yet in His work there was much which differed from the laws practiced and the commandments followed by the Israelites of the Old Testament, for He did not come to obey the law, but to fulfill it. The process of fulfilling it included many actual things: His work was more practical and real, and, furthermore, it was alive, and not the blind adherence to doctrine. Did the Israelites not keep the Sabbath? When Jesus came He did not observe the Sabbath, for He said that the Son of man was the Lord of the Sabbath, and when the Lord of the Sabbath arrived, He would do as He wished. He had come to fulfill the laws of the Old Testament and to change the laws. All that is done today is based upon the present, yet it still rests upon the foundation of the work of Jehovah in the Age of Law, and does not transgress this scope. To watch your tongue, and not commit adultery, for example—are these not the laws of the Old Testament? Today, what is required of you is not only limited to the Ten Commandments, but consists of commandments and laws of a higher order than those that came before, yet this does not mean that what came before has been abolished, for each stage of God’s work is carried out upon the foundation of the stage that came before. As for that which Jehovah introduced to Israel, such as requiring people to offer up sacrifices, honor their parents, not to worship idols, not to assault or curse others, not to commit adultery, not to smoke or drink, and not to eat dead things or drink blood: does this not form the foundation for your practice even today? It is upon the foundation of the past that the work has been carried out up until today. Though the laws of the past are no longer mentioned and new demands have been made of you, these laws, far from being abolished, have instead been elevated to higher status. To say that they have been abolished means that the previous age is outdated, whereas there are some commandments that you must honor for all eternity. The commandments of the past have already been put into practice, have already become the being of man, and there is no need to reiterate commandments to not smoke, not drink, and so on. Upon this foundation, new commandments are laid down according to your needs today, according to your stature, and according to the work of today. Decreeing commandments for the new age does not mean abolishing the commandments of the old age, but lifting them higher upon this foundation, to make the actions of man more complete, and more in line with reality” (“The Vision of God’s Work (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). God’s words enable us to see that each stage of His work appears on the outside to be contradictory, when in fact they all form a complete whole, with each stage of work being a deeper, higher work that is performed on the foundation of the previous stage. We cannot split apart the work of God, we cannot say that the work of Jesus is adding to the Old Testament, and much less can we say that the work and word of God in the last days is adding to the Bible. To know God, we must know God’s three stages of work. If we only know one or two of the three stages of work, then we will not have a comprehensive and complete understanding of God’s work of saving mankind. Only by knowing all three stages of God’s work can we know God’s entire disposition, His wisdom and wondrousness.
Brothers and sisters, what is recorded in the Bible is just the work that God carried out in the Age of Law and the Age of Grace, as well as prophecies pertaining to God’s work in the last days, but it is not recorded in detail how this work in the last days will be carried out, or how mankind will be saved. We must therefore take the correct view on the Bible. Before God had come, we had to act in accordance with the teachings of God’s words in the Bible and seek to satisfy His will. But, when God begins a new age to carry out new work, then we must follow the footsteps of God and accept His new work and words. We cannot use the work that has been carried out by God that is recorded in the Bible to delimit God’s new work, much less say that God’s new work and new words are adding to the Bible. God was able to go beyond the law of the Old Testament to carry out His work in the time of the New Testament, and in the same way, He can also go beyond the Bible to carry out His work in the last days. The work and word of Almighty God take the previous two stages of work to a higher plane, and even more so they are the accomplishment and the fulfillment of the prophecies in Revelation. Today, Almighty God has incarnated and come among man, and He expresses the truth and has begun the work of judgment that begins in God’s house. We can no longer stubbornly refuse to accept God’s work and word in the last days. We all must set aside our notions, emulate the Lord Jesus’ disciples, leave the Bible behind us and seek and study the work and word of God in the last days while keeping reverence for Him in our hearts, and God will enlighten us, allowing us to understand God’s will and follow God’s footsteps, for only in this way can we attain the salvation in the last days that we have looked forward to for so long!