A Mystery Revealed: There Is Still God’s Word Outside the Bible
- Editor’s Note:
In the past, the protagonist firmly believed that all of God’s words were in the Bible and that going beyond the Bible was heresy. Because of holding on to these conceptions, she once rejected the salvation of the returned Lord. It was God’s words that allowed her let go of her conceptions and imaginations and keep up with the footsteps of the Lamb.
The Church Became Desolate and I Expected the Return of the Lord
When I was 16, I believed in the Lord. At that time, every time I went to church, I was especially peaceful within. Particularly when hearing hymns of praise to God, I felt enjoyment and was often moved by the love of the Lord. So regardless of how my parents hindered me, I still kept going to church. Gradually, through reading the Bible, I understood that God had done much work for the sake of saving mankind; moreover, He became flesh and was personally nailed to the cross to be our sin offering, to redeem us from sin. And that the Lord Jesus promised that, in the last days, He would return to lift us into the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, my faith became even more steadfast: I would definitely follow God.
After growing up, I pursued enthusiastically and actively shouldered the various administrative works of the church, organizing all kinds of church activities and positively serving my brothers and sisters. At night every day after I finished work, I would go to the church to read the Bible for a while and then go home, for I firmly believed that it was the only supply for my life and that all of the truth was in it, and that only the words in it were the lamp to my feet and the light to my path. So, I persisted in reading the Bible, praying and serving, feeling quite peaceful and enriched in my heart.
Unknowingly, the condition of the church was getting worse day by day. Many brothers and sisters became passive and weak, and some didn’t even attend gatherings. Every time the pastors preached, they always repeated the literal meaning of the Bible passages. Furthermore, they were unable to resolve the difficulties of brothers and sisters. Also, I couldn’t attain supply, so I felt parched in my spirit and didn’t feel the joy and peace of the presence of the Lord. Gradually, that I had meetings to worship the Lord became a ceremony. During that time, I often prayed to the Lord, begging Him to give me faith and strength. However, no matter how I prayed, I was unable to summon the strength to thirst for and pursue the Lord as before. I only hoped that the Lord could come quickly to let me get rid of this negative and weak life without His presence.
Holding on to My Conceptions, I Refused to Accept Almighty God’s Work of the Last Days
In June 2017, when my friend and I went out to run an errand, we met a believer in the Lord. Owing to sharing common topics, we had a very good talk. When we talked about the desolation of the church, he told us, “It is because God has already left the churches of the Age of Grace, He is now incarnated in human form, called Almighty God. He has returned among men, expresses the truth, and does His work of judging and purifying mankind in the last days, and all of the work of the Holy Spirit has been transferred into this stage of work. Just as during the later stages of the Age of Law, the Lord Jesus did a new work. The Holy Spirit left the temple, so the temple became desolate. At that time, only those who followed the Lord Jesus were able to receive the work of the Holy Spirit. Similarly, today, only by keeping up with Almighty God’s work in the last days can we gain the work of the Holy Spirit and obtain the provision of life; on the contrary, those who refuse to accept Almighty God’s work in the last days will sink into darkness. This precisely fulfills the prophecy in the Bible, ‘And also I have withheld the rain from you, when there were yet three months to the harvest: and I caused it to rain on one city, and caused it not to rain on another city: one piece was rained on, and the piece whereupon it rained not withered’” (Amos 4:7). Each word of his fellowship was in accordance with the Bible, and my heart immediately felt enlightened. I had never thought that the Lord I pined for day and night and desperately awaited has already come. I felt a surge of excitement, wanting to ask him about what was behind the work of Almighty God. At that moment, he took out a book from his bag and gave it to me. He said that the words within it were the truth that God expressed in the last days, and that they were able to resolve all my confusions. He advised us to investigate Almighty God’s work.
I took this book on which it said The Scroll Opened by the Lamb. I couldn’t help but be shocked, thinking to myself: I have never seen this book. Though Revelation prophesies that a scroll will be opened in the last days, how can it be possible that the words in this book are God’s words? Only the Bible records God’s words, how can there be God’s words outside of the Bible? The pastors often say that all of the words of the Lord are in the Bible, and that departing from and exceeding the Bible is straying from the Lord’s way, and is heresy. When I thought of this, I unwittingly generated conflicts and became wary of the brother, no longer willing to listen to what he said. However, my friend felt his fellowship and testimony were very good, and decided to read the book given by him, and she was even going to go to The Church of Almighty God to investigate. I was astonished at her reaction, thinking: How can you agree with him so casually? Do you forget that there is no utterance of God outside of the Bible? I tried to block her from investigating. However, it didn’t work and instead she tried to persuade me to investigate. Thinking that she had believed in the Lord for over 20 years, had a good understanding of the Bible, and had her own views in her faith and was determined to investigate, I didn’t say anything else. After all everyone had freedom of choice.
From then on, my friend started to investigate Almighty God’s work of the last days. Sometimes she would tell me the light she received from the book and would also advise me to read it. But as soon as I thought of how the pastors said many times that God’s word was in the Bible and that there were no words of God outside of it, I obstinately said to her, “Don’t urge me. You believe in your Almighty God, and I believe in my Lord Jesus.” In this way, I stubbornly clung to my own stance and still thought I was upholding the Lord’s way.
Letting Go of Myself and Seeking With An Open Mind
One day not long after this, I came across a former colleague on the bus whom I used to work with, and we were on good terms with each other. The moment she saw me, she excitedly said to me, “Let me tell you some good news! I’ve found a church which has the work of the Holy Spirit. They preach so well. After I listened to their sermons, my confusions I’ve had during all these years of faith have been resolved and I have understood many truths and mysteries. If you have time, I’ll take you to our church.” Hearing her words, I took them lightly, thinking: Now, the situation in most churches is the same. The pastors have nothing to preach, and believers become weak in their spirits. Even if your church is good, how good can it be? But seeing she was brimming with energy and vitality, I couldn’t help feeling curious about which church she went to. After returning home, I still pondered this thing. I thought what she believed in was certainly different from what I believed in. Then I could not help but send her a message to ask which church she went to, and she replied, “The Church of Almighty God.” I was very astonished, thinking: Could it be that The Church of Almighty God truly has the truth? Why do so many friends around me believe in Almighty God? Is God reminding me to investigate Almighty God’s work in the last days by this? Is the viewpoint I hold on to wrong? What is really going on here? Thereupon, I prayed to the Lord and waited for His preparation.
Afterward, my friend again told me the things about The Church of Almighty God. She said that, through reading the word of Almighty God during that time, she understood some mysteries of the truth, such as the origins of the church’s desolation, what false shepherds are, what religious conmen are, how God’s work in the last days fulfills and accomplishes the prophecies in the Book of Revelation, and so on. She also said that only by experiencing God’s work in the last days and accepting the judgment and chastisement of God’s word could we gradually be freed of our corrupt disposition, and become the ones who truly fear and obey God, and that only in this way would we be qualified to be face-to-face with God and receive His promises. After hearing her fellowship, I considered it was reasonable, and also envied her for understanding so many truths after she believed in Almighty God, so I came up with an idea: I would investigate The Church of Almighty God.
Which Is Greater on Earth, God, or the Bible
The next day, my friend invited the brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God to fellowship with me. After we met, Brother Chen told me, “If you have any confusions, you can share them. Let’s seek and fellowship together.”
I said, “Brother, I think that there are no other words of God outside of the Bible, and that God’s word is only in the Bible! All that goes against and surpasses the Bible is heresy. But why do you say the words in this book are God’s words?”
Brother Chen patiently listened to me, and then smiled and said, “Sister, I would like to ask you two questions: Which do you think really came first—God, or the Bible? And which is greater—God, or the Bible?” Hearing the questions, I felt they were very strange and novel, for I had never heard pastors or elders put forward such questions during these years of my faith.
I blurted out, “Of course God came first, and God is greater.”
Brother Chen said, “Right. God’s word and work came first, and then the Bible. What is recorded in the Bible is just the words once spoken by God and the work once done by God. However, we see the Bible as greater than God, don’t allow God’s work to exceed the scope of it, and consider that all of God’s words are in it and anything that exceeds it is heresy. In fact, these viewpoints are incorrect. Just as when the Lord Jesus came to work, He delivered the sermons that enabled people to confess their sins and repent, taught people to love others as themselves, love their enemies, and forgive others seventy times seven times, and healed people on the Sabbath. The word and work of the Lord Jesus wasn’t recorded in the Old Testament, and they weren’t in accordance with God’s requirements of mankind in the laws and commandments, such as, ‘An eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,’ ‘You must offer up a sin offering to God if you commit a sin,’ and ‘Don’t work on the Sabbath.’ In people’s eyes, the work of the Lord Jesus was also beyond the scope of the Bible, but can we say the Lord Jesus’ work is heresy? This is obviously invalid. At that time, the Jewish Pharisees saw that the word and work of the Lord Jesus exceeded the Old Testament, so they did their utmost to resist and condemn Him, and finally nailed Him to the cross. Actually, God is supreme and His work is always new and never old. God never works according to the Bible or by consulting the Bible, much less does He look for paths in the Bible to lead His followers. Rather, He’ll do a newer work and bestow upon man a newer way beyond the Bible. God is not only the Lord of the Sabbath, but also the Lord of the Bible. He absolutely has the right to stand above the Bible and do a newer work based on His own plan and the needs of mankind at that point in time. How can we act on our conceptions and imaginations to confine God’s work and word to the Bible? How can we say that God will never speak any other words or do any other work outside of the Bible?”
To Be Continued ...
Part Two: Is There Really No Word of God Outside the Bible? (II)
Is There Really No Word of God Outside the Bible? (II)
By Fudan, South Korea
After he fellowshiped, I was amazed, thinking: I have believed in the Lord for years, but I have never heard such sermons. What he fellowships is reasonable and indeed the actual situation. How can he understand so much?
As if he had read my thoughts, he continued talking with me, “Because of reading God’s words, I am able to understand so much and have this knowledge. If God’s words didn’t reveal the mysteries within, who could understand them?” Then he read to me a paragraph of God’s words, “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? … To people, it appeared as if His work had no basis, and there was much of it that was at odds with the records of the Old Testament. Was this not man’s error? Does doctrine need to be applied to the work of God? And must God work according to the foretelling of prophets? 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! Being the Lord of the Sabbath, could He not also be the Lord of the Bible?”
Right! How God works is His freedom. God has the authority to work outside of the Bible, and we aren’t qualified to confine His work within it. Though I thought like this, I was unable to put aside my notions immediately, for I blindly worshiped the Bible. Later on, brothers and sisters patiently searched for many scriptures concerning God’s returning to do new work in the last days, and integrated them to testify Almighty God’s judgment work in the last days. Hearing their sermons, I thought they were rational and I also approved of their fellowship in my heart, but I wasn’t willing to admit that I was wrong, and even took some chances: Is it possible that the Bible they read is different from the one I read?
Coming back home, I hurriedly flipped through the Bible, and carefully read the scriptures they had fellowshiped about. I discovered the judgment work they witnessed thoroughly fulfilled the prophecies in the Bible. I couldn’t help but feel shocked: Could it be that Almighty God is the returned Lord? As I thought of this, I quickly knelt down and prayed to the Lord, “O Lord! Today I listened to the fellowship of the brothers and sisters from The Church of Almighty God. I feel it is very illuminating, and it is something that I haven’t understood after reading the Bible for years. Almighty God’s word is indeed the truth. Lord! I’m still unable to be completely certain that Almighty God is Your return. May You enlighten and guide me. I’m willing to continue investigating.”
Is Anything That Exceeds the Bible Heresy?
On the second day, my friend and I went to The Church of Almighty God together. Brothers and sisters gave me a warm reception and let me see the movie called Disclose the Mystery About the Bible. It deeply attracted me for the protagonist’s thoughts were the same as mine. She also thought, “There is no word of God outside of the Bible, and anything that exceeds the Bible is heresy.” In the movie, what particularly moved me was what the brother from The Church of Almighty God communed with the protagonist in regard to her viewpoints. The brother fellowshiped, “All those who are familiar with the Bible know that in the compilation of the Bible, because of the compilers’ disagreement and omission, some of God’s words conveyed through the prophets were not included in the Old Testament. This is a generally acknowledged fact. How can we say that outside the Bible there are no God’s work and word? Aren’t those omitted prophecies of the prophets God’s words? The Lordmore words than those in the New Testament. As John said, ‘And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written’ (John 21:25). This proves that not all of the Lord Jesus’ work and word are recorded in the New Testament. Thus, the saying “outside the Bible there are no God’s work and word” doesn’t accord with the fact. We should also know that whether the Old Testament or the New Testament, it came into being from man’s record after God finished one stage of His work. The Bible at the very beginning was only the Old Testament. All of the Lord Jesus’ work and word went beyond the Old Testament. If according to “any belief beyond the Bible is a heresy,” won’t we condemn the Lord Jesus? Brothers and sisters, from these facts we can see the saying “outside the Bible there are no God’s work and word and any belief beyond the Bible is a heresy” is groundless.”
I pondered as I watched: Indeed. The Old Testament didn’t record all of the words of Jehovah God. Because Jehovah God led mankind’s live on earth for several thousand years, the words He conveyed through prophets are far more than those in the Old Testament. And the Lord Jesus preached for three-and-a-half years, how could He only say those words recorded in the Bible? So I should no longer jump to conclusions, but should treat Almighty God’s work with caution. Hence, I couldn’t wait to continue seeing the following plots.
“We all used to read the Bible in the past, but we were not clear on the reality of the Bible. Today, the word of Almighty God has revealed it all to us: ‘No one knows the reality of the Bible: that it is nothing more than a historical record of God’s work, and a testament to the previous two stages of God’s work, and that it offers you no understanding of the aims of God’s work. Everyone who has read the Bible knows that it documents the two stages of God’s work during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. The Old Testament chronicles the history of Israel and Jehovah’s work from the time of creation until the end of the Age of Law. The New Testament records Jesus’ work on earth, which is in the Four Gospels, as well as the work of Paul—are these not historical records? 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.’ Brothers and sisters, from the word of Almighty God we can see that the Bible is just a historical record of God’s past work and cannot save man. The Bible cannot be compared to God at all. God is the source of the living water of life; His words and utterances have no end, never stopping flowing, whereas what is recorded in the Bible is very limited. This is a fact nobody can deny. Brothers and sisters, God is always new and never old. He performs new work and expresses new words in every age. During the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus performed new work and expressed new words, but the Jewish priests and Pharisees at the time held on to the Old Testament and not only rejected and condemned the Lord Jesus’ work but even nailed Him to the cross, committing a monstrous sin. Now, Almighty God—Christ of the last days—has expressed all truths that save and purify mankind, which are not recorded in the Bible at all. Since they are not recorded, then the Bible cannot represent God’s work of the last days and all His words. Brothers and sisters, we cannot keep holding on to the Bible. We must seek God’s present will and the work of the Holy Spirit. Only that conforms with God’s will.”
Then, according to the word of Almighty God and the fellowship of the brother, I pondered carefully: God’s work is always moving forward. If the work and word of God had merely been limited to the Old Testament and God hadn’t done the work of redemption in the Age of Grace, we mankind would have lived under the law and been convicted and executed by the law due to being unable to keep the laws. If it had been that way, mankind couldn’t possibly have developed up until this day. Facing the condition of the churches now, if the Lord didn’t do the work of judging and purifying mankind when He returns in the last days, we could only live in sin and wouldn’t be able to extricate ourselves from sin. How can we whose bodies are covered in filth all over be fit to see the Lord’s face when He comes? The more I pondered, the more I felt enlightened within, feeling the viewpoint I held on to before was indeed ridiculous.
Setting Aside the Conceptions and Following the Footprints of the Lamb
After seeing the movie, I still recalled the story of it. The previous viewpoints I clung to had been refuted by the word of Almighty God. I thought: God’s words are very clear. If I still stubbornly hold on to my own viewpoints, will I not be the same as the Pharisees of those days who resisted and condemned the Lord Jesus? I will be detested, rejected, and cursed by God! Thus, I determined that I would often go to The Church of Almighty God to seek and investigate, and determined that if I was sure that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, I would accept Him and no longer go to my previous church.
Subsequently, they gave me the book The Scroll Opened by the Lamb. I saw the word of Almighty God thoroughly reveals our thoughts, wrong motivations, and our corrupt disposition, such as arrogance and self-importance, deception, selfishness and despicableness, and so forth. The more I read, the more I found the word of Almighty God comes from the Holy Spirit, and comes from God, for only God is able to examine the bottom of mankind’s heart and expose all our incorrect motivations and corruption. Moreover, there are so many truths expressed by Almighty God, such as, the substance and inside story of the Bible, the three stages of God’s work, what true belief in God is, what type of person can enter into the kingdom of heaven, and so on. I had never heard these truths when I believed in the Lord. It truly allowed me to open my eyes wide, and completely fulfills the words in the Bible, “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). Through reading Almighty God’s words, I confirmed that He is the returned Lord Jesus. I was extremely excited within, because I had never thought I could welcome the Lord’s return during my lifetime. I am determined to follow Almighty God with all my heart and soul.
I thank God for moving so many brothers and sisters to help me with a loving heart so that I was fortunate to accept God’s work. Through reading the words of Almighty God, I’ve gained more in just over a few months than I did in ten years in the religious community. I’ve seen the word of God is truly the wellspring of living water and constantly and unceasingly provides for us. Thinking back, I blindly believed the pastors’ words and limited God’s words within the Bible relying on my own conceptions and imaginations. I was totally without reason! Thank God for saving me and reversing my wrong viewpoints, so that I didn’t miss the return of the Lord. Thank God! All the glory be to God!