V. One Must Bear Witness to the Truths Concerning the Differences Between God’s Work of Judgment in the Last Days and His Work of Redemption in the Age of Grace
1. What are the differences between the words expressed by the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace and the words expressed by Almighty God in the Age of Kingdom?
Bible Verses for Reference:
“Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat 4:17).
“And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luk 24:47).
“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” (Jhn 16:12–13).
“And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (Jhn 12:47–48).
Relevant Words of God:
The work of Jesus was only for the sake of man’s redemption and the crucifixion. Thus, there was no need for Him to say more words in order to conquer any man. Much of what He taught man was drawn from the words of the Scriptures, and even if His work did not exceed the Scriptures, still He was able to accomplish the work of the crucifixion. His was not the work of the word, nor for the sake of conquering mankind, but in order to redeem mankind. He only acted as the sin offering for mankind, and did not act as the source of the word for mankind.
from “The Vision of God’s Work (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
At the time, Jesus only spoke to His disciples a series of sermons in the Age of Grace, such as how to practice, how to gather together, how to ask in prayer, how to treat others, and so forth. The work He carried out was that of the Age of Grace, and He expounded only on how the disciples and those who followed Him ought to practice. He did only the work of the Age of Grace and none of the last days. When Jehovah set down Old Testament law in the Age of Law, why did He not then do the work of the Age of Grace? Why did He not make clear in advance the work of the Age of Grace? Would this not have been of benefit to the acceptance of man? He only prophesied that a male infant would be born and come to power, but He did not carry out in advance the work of the Age of Grace. The work of God in each age has clear boundaries; He does only the work of the current age and never does He carry out the next stage of work in advance. Only in this way can His representative work of each age be brought to the fore. Jesus had spoken only of the signs of the last days, of how to be patient and how to be saved, how to repent and confess, as well as how to bear the cross and endure suffering; never did He speak of how man in the last days should enter in, or how to seek to satisfy God’s will.
from “How Can Man Who Has Defined God in His Conceptions Receive the Revelations of God?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Let’s first look at each part of “The Sermon on the Mount.” What are all of these related to? It can be said with certainty that these are all more elevated, more concrete, and closer to people’s lives than the regulations of the Age of Law. To speak in modern terms, it’s more relevant to people’s actual practice.
Let’s read the specific content of the following: How should you understand the beatitudes? What should you know about the law? How should anger be defined? How should adulterers be dealt with? What is said, and what kind of rules are there about divorce, and who can get divorced and who cannot get divorced? How about vows, eye for eye, love your enemies, instruction about giving? And so on. All of these things have to do with every aspect of the practice of mankind’s belief in God, and of their following God. Some of these practices are still applicable today, but they are more rudimentary than the current requirements of people. They are fairly elementary truths people encounter in their belief in God. From the time the Lord Jesus began working, He was already beginning to work on the life disposition of humans, but it was based on the foundation of the laws. Did the rules and the sayings on these topics have anything to do with the truth? Of course they did! All of the previous regulations, principles, and the sermon in the Age of Grace were all related to God’s disposition and what He has and is, and of course to the truth. No matter what God expresses, in what way He expresses it, or using what kind of language, its foundation, its origin, and its starting point are all based on the principles of His disposition and what He has and is. This is without error. So even though now these things He said seem a little shallow, you still can’t say that they’re not the truth, because they were things that were indispensable for people in the Age of Grace in order to satisfy God’s will and to achieve a change in their life disposition. Can you say that any of the things in the sermon are not in line with the truth? You can’t! Each one of these is the truth because they were all God’s requirements for mankind; they were all principles and a scope given by God for how to conduct oneself, and they represent God’s disposition. However, based on the level of their growth in life of that time, they were only able to accept and comprehend these things. Because mankind’s sin had not yet been resolved, the Lord Jesus could only issue these words, and He could only utilize such simple teachings within this kind of scope to tell the people of that time how they should act, what they should do, within what principles and scope they should do things, and how they should believe in God and meet His requirements. All of this was determined based on the stature of mankind at that time. It was not easy for people living under the law to accept these teachings, so what the Lord Jesus taught had to stay within this scope.
from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The words spoken by God in this age are different to those spoken during the Age of Law, and so, too, do they differ from the words spoken during the Age of Grace. In the Age of Grace, God did not do the work of the word, but simply described the crucifixion in order to redeem all mankind. The Bible only describes why Jesus was to be crucified, and the sufferings He was subjected to on the cross, and how man should be crucified for God. During that age, all the work done by God was centered around the crucifixion. During the Age of Kingdom, God incarnate speaks words to conquer all those who believe in Him. This is “the Word appearing in the flesh”; God has come during the last days to do this work, which is to say, He has come to accomplish the actual significance of the Word appearing in the flesh. He only speaks words, and rarely is there the advent of facts. This is the very substance of the Word appearing in the flesh, and when God incarnate speaks His words, this is the appearance of the Word in the flesh, and is the Word coming into the flesh. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh.” This (the work of the appearance of the Word in the flesh) is the work that God will accomplish in the last days, and is the final chapter of His entire management plan, and so God has to come to earth and manifest His words in the flesh. That which is done today, that which will be done in the future, that which will be accomplished by God, man’s final destination, those who will be saved, those who will be destroyed, and so on—this work that should be achieved in the end has all been clearly stated, and is all in order to accomplish the actual significance of the Word appearing in the flesh. The administrative decrees and constitution that were previously issued forth, those who will be destroyed, those who will enter into rest—these words must all be fulfilled. This is the work principally accomplished by God incarnate during the last days. He makes people understand where those predestined by God belong and where those not predestined by God belong, how His people and sons will be classified, what will happen to Israel, what will happen to Egypt—in the future, every one of these words will be accomplished. The steps of God’s work are accelerating. God uses the word as the means to reveal to man what is to be done in every age, what is to be done by God incarnate of the last days, and His ministry that is to be performed, and these words are all in order to accomplish the actual significance of the Word appearing in the flesh.
from “All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
What I’m saying today is to judge people’s sins and their unrighteousness; it is to curse people’s rebelliousness. Their deceit and crookedness, and their words and actions, all things that are not in line with His will undergo judgment, and people’s rebelliousness is condemned as sinful. He speaks according to the principles of judgment, and He reveals His righteous disposition through judging their unrighteousness, cursing their rebelliousness, and exposing all of their ugly faces.
from “How the Second Step of the Work of Conquering Bears Fruit” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The work done by God during this age is chiefly the provision of the words for the life of man, the disclosure of the substance of the nature of man and the corrupt disposition of man, the elimination of religious conceptions, feudal thinking, outdated thinking, as well as the knowledge and culture of man. This must all be laid bare and cleansed away through the words of God. In the last days, God uses words, and not signs and wonders, to make man perfect. He uses His words to expose man, to judge man, to chastise man, and to make man perfect, so that in the words of God, man comes to see the wisdom and loveliness of God, and comes to understand the disposition of God, so that through the words of God, man beholds the deeds of God.
from “Knowing God’s Work Today” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When it comes to the word “judgment,” you will think of the words that Jehovah spoke to all the places and the words of rebuke that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees. For all their severity, these words are not God’s judgment of man, only words spoken by God within different environments, that is, different settings; these words are unlike the words spoken by Christ as He judges man in the last days. In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, expose the essence of man, and dissect his words and deeds. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out the normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the essence of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, those words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with just a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth that man does not possess at all. Only methods of this kind are deemed judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt substance and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the substance of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him. This work is the work of judgment done by God.
from “Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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 there are even more human beings who 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.
from “The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
At the time, Jesus did much work that was incomprehensible to His disciples, and said much that people did not understand. This is because, at the time, He did not give explanation. … Jesus did not come to perfect and gain man, but to do one stage of work: bringing forth the gospel of the kingdom of heaven and completing the work of the crucifixion—and so once Jesus was crucified, His work came to a complete end. But in the current stage—the work of conquest—more words must be spoken, more work must be done, and there must be many processes. So too must the mysteries of the work of Jesus and Jehovah be revealed, so that all people may have understanding and clarity in their belief, for this is the work of the last days, and the last days are the end of God’s work, the time of this work’s conclusion. This stage of work will elucidate for you the law of Jehovah and the redemption of Jesus, and is principally so that you may understand the entire work of God’s six-thousand-year management plan, and appreciate all the significance and substance of this six-thousand-year management plan, and understand the purpose of all the work done by Jesus and the words He spoke, and even your blind credence in and adoration of the Bible. All this it will allow you to perceive. You will come to understand both the work done by Jesus, and the work of God today; you will understand and behold all of the truth, the life, and the way. In the stage of work done by Jesus, why did Jesus depart without concluding God’s work? Because the stage of Jesus’ work was not the work of conclusion. When He was nailed to the cross, His words also came to an end; after His crucifixion, His work completely finished. The current stage is different: Only after the words are spoken to the end and God’s entire work is concluded will His work have finished. During Jesus’ stage of work, there were many words that remained unsaid, or which were not fully articulated. Yet Jesus cared not what He did or did not say, for His ministry was not a ministry of words, and so after He was nailed to the cross He departed. That stage of work was chiefly for the sake of the crucifixion, and is unlike the stage today. This stage of work is principally for the sake of completion, of clearing up, and of bringing all work to a conclusion. If the words are not spoken to their very end, there will be no way of concluding this work, for in this stage of work all work is brought to an end and accomplished using words. At the time, Jesus did much work that was incomprehensible to man. He departed quietly, and today there are still many who do not understand His words, whose understanding is erroneous yet still believed by them to be correct, who do not know that they are wrong. In the end, this current stage will bring God’s work to a complete end, and will provide its conclusion. All will come to understand and know of God’s management plan. The conceptions within man, his intentions, his erroneous understanding, his conceptions toward the work of Jehovah and Jesus, his views about the Gentiles, and his other deviations and errors will be corrected. And man will understand all the right paths of life, and all the work done by God, and the entire truth. When that happens, this stage of work will come to an end.
from “The Vision of God’s Work (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh