V. 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).
“Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said to them, Thus it is written, and thus it behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem” (Luk 24:45–47).
“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. He did not do the work of the Gentiles, which was the work of conquering man, but did the work of the crucifixion, work that was done among those who believed there was a God. Even though His work was carried out upon the foundation of the Scriptures, and He used that foretold by the old prophets to condemn the Pharisees, this was sufficient to complete the work of the crucifixion. If the work of today were still carried out upon the foundation of the predictions of the old prophets in the Scriptures, then it would be impossible to conquer you, for the Old Testament contains no record of the disobedience and sins of you Chinese people, there is no history of your sins. And so, if this work still lingered in the Bible, you would never yield. The Bible records but a limited history of the Israelites, one which is incapable of establishing whether you are evil or good, or of judging you. Imagine that I were to judge you according to the history of the Israelites—would you still follow Me as you do today? Do you know how difficult you are? If no words were spoken during this stage, then it would be impossible to complete the work of conquest. Because I have not come to be nailed to the cross, I must speak words that are separate from the Bible, in order that you may be conquered.
Excerpted from “The Vision of God’s Work (1)” 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.
Excerpted 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 from 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 suffering 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 essence 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—all of 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 pace of God’s work is 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 during 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.
Excerpted 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.
Excerpted from “How the Effects of the Second Step of the Work of Conquest Are Achieved” 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.
Excerpted from “Knowing God’s Work Today” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
At the mention of the word “judgment,” you are likely to 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 were not God’s judgment of man; they were but words spoken by God within different environments, that is, in different contexts. These words are unlike the words spoken by Christ as He judges man during the last days. In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the essence of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. 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 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, the 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 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 of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called 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.
Excerpted from “Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In the Age of Kingdom, God uses words to usher in the new age, to change the means by which He works, and to do the work of the entire age. This is the principle by which God works in the Age of Word. He became flesh to speak from different perspectives, so that man could truly see God, who is the Word appearing in the flesh, and could behold His wisdom and wondrousness. Such work is done in order better to achieve the goals of conquering man, perfecting man, and eliminating man, which is the true meaning of the use of words to work in the Age of Word. Through these words, people come to know the work of God, the disposition of God, the essence of man, and what man ought to enter into. Through words, the work God wishes to do in the Age of Word is brought to fruition in its entirety. Through these words, people are exposed, eliminated, and tried. People have seen God’s words, heard these words, and recognized the existence of these words. As a result, they have come to believe in the existence of God, in the omnipotence and wisdom of God, as well as in God’s love for man and His desire to save man. The word “words” may be simple and ordinary, but the words spoken from the mouth of the incarnate God shake the universe, they transform people’s hearts, transform their notions and old dispositions, and transform the way the whole world used to appear. Through the ages, only the God of today has worked in this way, and only He speaks thus and comes to save man thus. From this time forward, man lives under the guidance of God’s words, shepherded and supplied by His words. People live in the world of God’s words, amid the curses and the blessings of God’s words, and there are even more people who have come to live under the judgment and chastisement of His words. 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 using words, He leads people throughout the universe using words, and He conquers and saves them using words. Ultimately, He shall use words to bring the entire world of old to an end, thus completing the entirety of His management plan.
Excerpted 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. Thus, several years after He departed, Matthew created His genealogy, and others also did much work that was of the will of man. 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.
Excerpted from “The Vision of God’s Work (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh