Question 21: The Lord Jesus was nailed to the cross as a sin offering for man, thereby redeeming us from sin. If we stray from the Lord Jesus and believe in Almighty God, would this not be a betrayal of the Lord Jesus? Would this not be apostasy?
In our years of believing in the Lord, each of us has received from the Lord Jesus much grace and blessing, with hearts full of love and thanks to the Lord. And precisely for this reason, when we hear the gospel of Almighty God of the last days, we can’t help but get a kind of concern in our hearts: If we leave the Lord Jesus and put our faith in Almighty God, isn’t that betraying the Lord Jesus?
Brothers and sisters, let us make an analogy. Suppose we lived in the period when the Age of Law turned into the Age of Grace, and it was the time when the Lord Jesus came to earth to work. What would our hearts be like inside? Would we think the believers in the Lord Jesus were betraying Jehovah God? Actually, all the thoughts in our hearts now are the same as those of the devout believers in Jehovah God. Jews of that time must also have thought: To follow the Lord Jesus would be disloyalty to Jehovah God, departure from the way of Jehovah God, and betrayal of Jehovah God. As they saw it, the work of the Lord Jesus was not the same as the work of Jehovah God, and His name was not Messiah, but Jesus. They did not realize that the Lord Jesus and Jehovah God were one, but thought the Lord Jesus and Jehovah God were unrelated, saying the Lord Jesus was misleading people (see Jhn 7:45-48), saying that to believe in the Lord Jesus was heresy (see Act 24:14), which meant betraying Jehovah God. Clearly, the reason those people condemned the work of the Lord Jesus as heresy, as a cult, and condemned departing from the Old Testament law to believe in the Lord Jesus as apostasy, was that they did not know the working principles of God—always new and never old. They were using God’s previous work to measure God’s new work, and they condemned and resisted the new work which they thought didn’t tally with the previous work. They clung to the old! … We all know, God’s work is not unchanging, but, based on mankind’s needs and God’s own management plan, it keeps developing. Only in this way can mankind be saved step by step from Satan’s influence. In fact, the Lord Jesus is Jehovah God’s Spirit incarnate. His work is the continuation of Jehovah God’s work. That is to say, the work of the Age of Grace is a continuation of the work of the Age of Law, and the work done by the Lord Jesus is a furtherance on the basis of Jehovah God’s work. The two stages of work are two kinds of work done in two different ages by one God. Although due to difference of the ages God’s names were not the same and God’s work was not the same, still Jesus and Jehovah are one (see Jhn 10:30). Both are God Himself. Those who accepted God’s new work, the followers of the Lord Jesus, certainly were not betraying Jehovah God, but were following God’s footsteps, were loyal to God, which was completely after God’s heart. And those who thought themselves to be loyal to Jehovah God refused to accept God’s new work and did not leave the temple to follow the Lord Jesus, were the ones resisting God. They not only did not receive God’s approval, but on the contrary became objects of God’s rejection.
The age keeps moving forward and has developed until the last days, which means the time to end the age that God preordained two thousand years ago has arrived, and God will finish the work of the Age of Grace, and do the work of the Age of Kingdom. This work is a new stage of work God does based on the Lord Jesus’ work in the Age of Grace. Of course, this work is also the work of rewarding good and punishing evil that two thousand years ago the Lord predicted would be done on His second coming in the last days. Since the present age is no longer the Age of Grace, then God must choose a new name (see Rev 3:12) to represent His new work. This name representing His new work is Almighty God (see Rev 1:8, 11:16-17, 15:2-3), and Christ of the last days, Almighty God, no longer does the work of redemption, but does the work of judgment (see Rev 14:6-7; Jhn 12:48). It is a higher stage of work based on the work the Lord Jesus did. Just as at that time the Lord Jesus, on the basis of Jehovah God’s work of making man “know sin,” did a stage of work of “redeeming sin,” today, Almighty God on the foundation of “forgiving sin” does a stage of work of “casting out sin.” Jehovah, Jesus, Almighty God: these three are different names chosen by God in different ages based on different work. Although the names are different, and the work is different, still God is one. Just as Almighty God says: “I was once known as Jehovah. I was also called the Messiah, and people once called Me Jesus the Savior because they loved and respected Me. But today I am not the Jehovah or Jesus that people knew in times past—I am the God who has returned in the last days, the God who shall bring the age to an end. I am the God Himself that rises up at the ends of the earth, replete with My entire disposition, and full of authority, honor and glory. People have never engaged with Me, have never known Me, and have always been ignorant of My disposition. From the creation of the world until today, not one person has seen Me. This is the God who appears to man during the last days but is hidden among man. He resides among man, true and real, like the burning sun and the flaming fire, filled with power and brimming with authority. There is not a single person or thing that shall not be judged by My words, and not a single person or thing that shall not be purified through the burning of fire. Eventually, all nations shall be blessed because of My words, and also smashed to pieces because of My words. In this way, all people during the last days shall see that I am the Savior returned, I am the Almighty God that conquers all of mankind, and I was once the sin offering for man, but in the last days I also become the flames of the sun that burn all things, as well as the Sun of righteousness that reveals all things. Such is My work of the last days. I took this name and am possessed of this disposition so that all people may see that I am a righteous God, and am the burning sun, and the flaming fire. It is so that all may worship Me, the only true God, and so that they may see My true face: I am not only the God of the Israelites, and am not just the Redeemer—I am the God of all creatures throughout heavens and earth and seas” (“The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“The work being done at present has pushed forward the work of the Age of Grace; that is, the work under the entire six-thousand-year management plan has moved forward. Though the Age of Grace has ended, God’s work has made progress. Why do I say time and again that this stage of work builds upon the Age of Grace and the Age of Law? This means that the work of this day is a continuation of the work done in the Age of Grace and an advance over that done in the Age of Law. The three stages are tightly interconnected and each link in the chain is closely tied to the next. Why do I also say that this stage of work builds on that done by Jesus? Supposing that this stage did not build on the work done by Jesus, He would have to be crucified again in this stage, and the redemptive work of the previous stage would have to be done all over again. This would be meaningless. And so it is not that the work is completely finished, but that the age has moved forward and the level of the work has been raised even higher than before. It may be said that this stage of work is built on the foundation of the Age of Law and on the rock of Jesus’ work. The work is built stage by stage, and this stage is not a new beginning. Only the combination of the three stages of work may be deemed the six-thousand-year management plan” (“The Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of the Incarnation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“Jesus and I come from one Spirit. Even though We are unrelated in Our fleshes, Our Spirits are one; even though the content of what We do and the work that We take on are not the same, We are alike in essence; Our fleshes take different forms, but this is due to the change in era and the differing requirements of Our work; Our ministries are not alike, so the work We bring forth and the disposition We reveal to man are also different. That is why what man sees and understands this day is unlike that of the past; this is so because of the change in era” (“The Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of the Incarnation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“From the work of Jehovah to that of Jesus, and from the work of Jesus to that of this current stage, these three stages cover in a continuous thread the entire gamut of God’s management, and are all the work of one Spirit. Since the creation of the world, God has always been at work managing mankind. He is the Beginning and the End, He is the First and the Last, and He is the One who begins an age and the One who brings the age to an end. The three stages of work, in different ages and different locations, are unmistakably the work of one Spirit. All those who separate these three stages stand in opposition to God. Now, it behooves you to understand that all the work from the first stage until today is the work of one God, the work of one Spirit. Of this there can be no doubt” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“If man can see in the three stages of work that they were carried out by God Himself at different times, in different places, and in different people, then man will see that,[a] although the work is different, it is all done by one God. Since it is work done by one God, then it must be right, and without error, and though it is at odds with the conceptions of man, there is no denying that it is the work of one God. If man can say for sure that it is the work of one God, then the conceptions of man will become mere trifles, unworthy of mention. Because the visions of man are unclear, and man only knows Jehovah as God, and Jesus as the Lord, and is in two minds about the God incarnate of today, many people remain devoted to the work of Jehovah and Jesus, and are beset by conceptions about the work of today, most people are always doubtful, and do not take the work of today seriously” (“Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
From what Almighty God has said we know, Almighty God is Jehovah God who promulgated the laws to guide man in their lives and is also the Lord Jesus who was crucified to redeem us humans. No matter how the name of God changes, how the work changes, the purpose of God’s work, that is, His intention of saving man, never changes, God’s essence never changes. God’s three stages of work certainly do not contradict; rather, each stage of work is based upon a previous stage; and each stage of work is a deeper, higher stage than the last. The work of God is done according to the development of the times and mankind’s needs, all for the sake of better saving mankind. That is to say, the work of judgment done by Almighty God in the last days and the work of redemption done by the Lord Jesus and the work of law done by Jehovah God all are the work of one God; God according to His own plan, according to mankind’s needs, saves mankind in stages. We must understand, all that was done by Jehovah God, all that was done by the Lord Jesus, all that is done by Almighty God, are three successive stages of God’s whole management to save mankind. Today, our acceptance of Almighty God’s work in the last days is not ingratitude or betrayal of the Lord Jesus; rather, it is our keeping pace with God’s work, following the Lamb’s footsteps; and he who does so truly has conscience, has loyalty, has insight, and earns God’s approval.
Today, the age has changed, God’s work has changed, so man’s practice must change. Loyalty to the law and to the cross no longer satisfies God’s present will and cannot gain God’s approval. Only those who accept Almighty God’s work in the last days, who follow God to the end, can gain God’s ultimate blessing. Just as Almighty God says: “Only those who follow the footsteps of the Lamb to the very end can gain the final blessing, whereas those ‘clever people,’ who are unable to follow to the very end yet believe they have gained all, are incapable of witnessing the appearance of God. They all believe they are the smartest person on earth, and they cut short the continued development of God’s work for no reason at all, and seem to believe with absolute certainty that God will take them up to heaven, they who ‘have the utmost loyalty to God, follow God, and abide by the words of God.’ … Those who do not follow to the very end, who do not keep up with the work of the Holy Spirit, and who only cleave to the old work have not only failed to achieve loyalty to God, but on the contrary, have become those who oppose God, have become those who are rejected by the new age, and who will be punished. Are there any more pitiable than them? Many even believe that all those who reject the old law and accept the new work are without conscience. These people, who only talk of ‘conscience,’ and do not know the work of the Holy Spirit, will ultimately have their prospects cut short by their own consciences. God’s work does not abide by doctrine, and even though it is His own work, still God does not cling to it. That which should be denied is denied, that which should be eliminated is eliminated. Yet man places himself in enmity of God by holding onto but one small part of the work of God’s management. Is this not the absurdity of man? Is this not the ignorance of man? The more that people are timid and overcautious because they are afraid of not gaining God’s blessings, the more that they are incapable of gaining greater blessings, and of receiving the final blessing. Those people who slavishly abide by the law all display the utmost loyalty toward the law, and the more they display such loyalty toward the law, the more they are rebels who oppose God. For now is the Age of Kingdom and not the Age of Law, and the work of today cannot be held up against the work of the past, and the work of the past cannot be compared to the work of today. The work of God has changed, and the practice of man has also changed; it is not to hold onto the law or bear the cross. So, people’s loyalty toward the law and the cross will not gain God’s approval” (“God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Brothers and sisters, now do you still think that accepting God’s new work of the last days and following Almighty God means betraying the Lord Jesus? Presumably at this moment you have understood: To believe in Almighty God is to be loyal to the Lord Jesus, is to follow the Lamb’s footsteps, because Almighty God is the second coming of the Lord Jesus.
from Questions and Answers on the Testimony of the Kingdom Gospel
What is the key to believing in God? To believe in God we must accept God’s name and accept His present work. We should experience and obey God’s present work, only then can we be saved by God and receive the praise of God. When the Lord Jesus came, He was given a name, called “Jesus,” and those who believed in the Lord Jesus were saved. This “saved” is what form of salvation? It doesn’t mean to be able to enter into the kingdom of heaven, but rather is to be removed from the condemnation and the curse of the law. If you break the law of Jehovah after believing in Jesus you will not be condemned, and the Lord Jesus can forgive your sins, this is separating yourself from the power of the curse of the law. Your sins will be forgiven. But when your sins have been forgiven by faith in Jesus, can you enter the kingdom of heaven? The Lord Jesus didn’t say that, right? What did the Lord Jesus say? The Lord foretold what type of work He would accomplish when He returns in the last days. When the last days come, if you accept His return, if you can hear His voice and accept His work of the last days, you will be put on the road to the kingdom of heaven. So Almighty God came in the last days and does His work of judgment. What does the work of judgment in the last days bring? It is the perpetual way of life. Why say that Christ of the last days brings us the perpetual way of life? Hasn’t the Lord Jesus also spoken many words when He came to do His work? Why can’t we say that the word of the Lord Jesus is the perpetual way of life? All of those who have believed in the Lord for many years and have experienced the work of the Lord Jesus know that believing in the Lord Jesus can only bring the forgiveness of sins. After being forgiven from our sins, why do we keep sinning? Sinning then confessing our sin and then sinning again? Why can’t we remove ourselves from our fleshly bindings and our sinful nature? Why can’t we detach ourselves from sin, why can’t we live by God’s words, live out the image of the truth? This difficult problem is something that all those who believed in the Lord in the Age of Grace admitted to, isn’t that so? (Yes, it is.) In the last days when the Lord Jesus returns, what work will be done? Does the Lord have any prophecies? The Lord said: “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). This prophecy has now been fulfilled, fulfilled by the work of Almighty God in the last days. Almighty God has expressed all the truths that believers in God should understand and enter. Then the truth that Almighty God expressed, is it the expression of the Spirit of truth? (Yes.) It is the expression of the Spirit of truth. Almighty God has made known all the truths that God saves man with; these truths are essential to man and they are the perpetual way of life, that is, the way of eternal life.
from Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life (Series 131)
Almighty God is Jehovah God, who once proclaimed the law to mankind by which to lead their lives. He is also the Lord Jesus, who was nailed to the cross to redeem mankind. The judgment of Almighty God, the redemption of the Lord Jesus, and the law of Jehovah God are all the work of the same God; according to His own plan and the needs of mankind, God saves man step by step.
Today we accept the name of Almighty God, which does not mean that we are ungrateful to the Lord Jesus and have betrayed Him. It means that we are following the footsteps of the Lamb, staying true to the way of God, and following Him with loyalty, and only thus will we meet with God’s approval. As it says in Revelation 14:4, “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever he goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb.” Those who insist on the name of Jesus and refuse to accept that of Almighty God just become the betrayers of God, and will be eliminated by Him. In the time when God came to do His work with the name of Jesus, those disciples who accepted God’s new work and followed the Lord Jesus had not abandoned the true way nor betrayed Jehovah God. In fact, they had kept pace with God’s footsteps and were the ones faithful to God, while the Pharisees, who thought themselves faithful to Jehovah God, and insisted on Jehovah’s name alone, rejected the Lord Jesus. The result is that their loyalty did not meet with Jehovah God’s approval, but rather quite the opposite: They were subject to God’s curses and punishment. We must, therefore, learn from the failure of the Pharisees. We must accept the name of Almighty God and keep pace with the footsteps of God’s work. Only thus can we receive God’s salvation.
from Answers to Screenplay Questions
a. The original text omits “then man will see that.”