God’s management is very unfamiliar to everyone. People all feel that God’s management is something that has nothing to do with them and it is only God’s work and is God’s own business, so mankind is unconcerned about God’s management. Thus, mankind’s salvation has become a very vague thing and a very empty saying. Although people follow God in order to be saved and to enter into the pleasant destination, they do not care about how God works, what God plans to do, and how mankind should cooperate to be saved. This is a very sad thing. Mankind’s salvation cannot do without God’s management, much less be isolated from God’s plan, but mankind does not regard God’s management as important. So, mankind becomes more and more distant from God. Consequently, more and more people who do not know about the matters closely related to man’s salvation, such as, what it means to be created, what it means to believe in God, how to worship God, and so on, also join the followers of God. Therefore, it is very necessary for us to talk about the subject of God’s management here, so that everyone who follows God can know very clearly the meaning of following God and believing in God and can choose more accurately the way he should walk, instead of following God only in order to receive blessings, avoid disasters, or stand out among others.
God’s management, though very profound to man, is not incomprehensible to man, because every work God does has to do with God’s management and with the work of saving mankind and is related to mankind’s life and living and mankind’s destination. It can be said that the works God does among people and on people are all very realistic and meaningful, can be seen and experienced by people, and are not very abstract. If none of the works God does can be received by people, what is the meaning of God’s doing them? How can such management cause people to be saved? Many people, while following God, only care about how they can receive blessings and how they can avoid disasters. Whenever God’s work and God’s management are mentioned, they keep silent and do not have any interest in them. They think that knowing these dull issues cannot help them to grow in life or bring any benefit to them. So even if they hear the messages about God’s management, they just treat them carelessly, but do not accept them as treasures, much less receive them as a part of life. The purpose of these people’s following God is very simple, which is for one goal―receiving blessings. Apart from this, anything unrelated to their goal they are disinclined to care about. They think that to receive blessings is the most right purpose for their believing in God, and it is also the worth of their believing in God. If this purpose cannot be achieved, then nothing can touch their heart.
This is the present situation of more believers in God now. Their purpose and intent sound very right, because they, while believing in God, are spending, consecrating, and performing duty, and they are dedicating their youth, also leave their families and give up their careers, and even run around and labor for years away from home. For the ultimate purpose they change their likes, change their outlook on life, and even change the direction of their pursuit, but they cannot change the purpose of their believing in God. They all are running for managing their own ideals, and no matter how far the way is and how many difficulties and dangers there are on the way, they are persevering and face death unflinchingly. What power enables them to expend continuously like this? Is it their conscience? Is it their great and lofty personality? Is it their determination to fight against the evil forces to the end? Is it their faith of testifying for God without seeking rewards? Is it their faithfulness of unhesitatingly expending their all to accomplish God’s will? Or is it their spirit of devoting without ever having their own extravagant demands? It is simply a great miracle that a person who never knows God’s management work can expend so much painstaking effort and price! We will not discuss for the moment how much such people have expended, but their doings well deserve our dissection. A person who never knows God can pay so much price for God; can there be any other reason for it than the interests closely related to him? At this point, we discover a problem that no one has ever discovered: Man’s relationship with God is only a naked interest-based relationship and a relationship of blessing-receiver with blessing-bestower. Plainly speaking, it is an employee-employer relationship. The employee’s labor is only for receiving the reward bestowed by the employer. In such an interest-based relationship, there is no affection, but only a deal; there is no loving and being loved, but only charity and mercy; there is no understanding, but only resigned endurance and deception; there is no intimacy, but only an unbridgeable gulf. Things having come to such a state, who can reverse such a tendency? And how many people can truly perceive the criticalness of such a relationship? I believe that when people are all bathed in the joyful atmosphere of receiving blessings, none of them can realize that man’s relationship with God is so embarrassing and so intolerable to the eye.
The saddest thing in mankind’s believing in God is that they engage in their own management in God’s work but disregard God’s management. The biggest failure is that while pursuing to obey God and worship God, they are weaving the dream of their ideal destination and are calculating how they can obtain the greatest blessing and the best destination. Even if people have all realized that they are pitiable, hateful, and poor, how many of them can give up their ideals and expectations easily? And who can stop his footsteps from making plans for himself? God needs the ones who cooperate with him closely and accomplish his management, the ones who devote themselves body and soul to his management work for the sake of obeying him, not the ones who stretch out their hands to beg food from him every day, much less the ones who wait to ask for repayment after spending a little for him. God hates those who consecrate a little and then wait to live off it, hates the cold-blooded humans who dislike his management work but only like to talk about going to heaven to receive blessings, and even more hates those who seek personal gains through the opportunity of his work of salvation. This is because these people never care about what God wants to accomplish and gain in his management work, and they only care about how they can receive blessings through the opportunity of God’s work. They do not at all care for God’s heart, but only care about their own future and destiny. Those who dislike God’s management work and do not have any interest in how God saves mankind and in God’s will are all doing the things they like to do outside God’s management work. Their actions are not remembered by God and not approved by God, much less favored by God.
In the light of all such states of people, we spent manpower and time putting together and compiling this book, The Extracted Records of God’s Three Stages of Works. Although this book is not complete in content, it can enable us to know about part of God’s management work. Of course, this part is also a medium for us to know God’s management work and a medium for us to know God’s disposition. Although it is only a part and is not the record of all God’s work and is only the essential parts of all stages of God’s work, it can adequately arouse man’s interest and appetite for God’s management work. If it can really produce such a result on you, our effort in compiling this book has not been wasted.
In the boundless universe and expanse, so many living beings are living and multiplying, following the law of life and following an unchanging rule repeatedly. The dead take away the stories of the living, and the living repeat the historical tragedy of the dead. Mankind cannot but ask: Why do we live? And why do we have to die? Who governs this world? And who created this mankind? Is it really the creation of nature? Is mankind really able to control his own destiny? … Throughout thousands of years mankind has kept asking these questions. Unfortunately, the more mankind is obsessed with these questions, the more it increases their thirst for science. Science brings man’s flesh temporary satisfaction and momentary enjoyment, but it cannot enable mankind to get free from the solitude and loneliness and the unconcealable dread and helplessness in the depth of their soul. Mankind just anesthetizes their heart with science and knowledge, which their physical eyes can see and their mind can understand, but they cannot stop mankind’s footsteps of probing into mysteries. Mankind does not know at all who is the Ruler of the universe and all things, much less know the beginning and the future of mankind, but is only living in this law resignedly. No one can break free from it, nor can anyone change it. This is because among all things and above the universe, there is the One from everlasting to everlasting who rules over all this. He is the One whom mankind has never seen, the One whom mankind has never known, and the One whom mankind never believes to exist, but he is the One who breathed the breath into mankind’s ancestors and gives mankind life, the One who supplies and nourishes mankind for their living, the One who leads mankind to walk to this day, and much more the only One whom mankind lives by. He rules over all things, and rules over all things and living beings in the universe; he governs the four seasons and regulates the changing of wind, frost, snow, and rain; he bestows sunshine to mankind and also brings the fall of night to mankind; he stretches out the heavens and the earth and brings mankind mountains, rivers, and lakes and the living things in them. His deeds are everywhere, his power is everywhere, his wisdom is everywhere, and his authority is everywhere. All these laws and rules are the manifestation of his deeds and are the expression of his wisdom and authority. Who can escape from his sovereignty? Who can escape from his arrangement? All things are existing in his eyes and even more living under his sovereignty. His deeds and his power cause mankind to have to acknowledge his real existence and have to acknowledge the fact that he rules over all things. Except for him, there is nothing that can govern this universe, much less is there anything that can endlessly supply this mankind like this. No matter whether you can realize God’s deeds and whether you believe in God’s existence, your destiny is undoubtedly under God’s ordination, and God is undoubtedly forever the One who rules over all things. His existence and his authority are not determined by whether mankind can know and apprehend them. Only he knows mankind’s past, present, and future, and only he can determine mankind’s destiny. No matter whether you can accept this fact, all this will be seen by mankind with their own eyes in the near future, and this is also the fact that God will soon accomplish. Mankind lives in God’s eyes and dies in God’s eyes; mankind lives for God’s management and closes their eyes for God’s management, coming and going, going and coming, repeatedly. All this is out of God’s sovereignty and arrangement. God’s management has been going forward and has never stopped. He will make mankind know his existence, believe in his sovereignty, see his deeds, and return to his kingdom. This is his plan and is the work he has been managing for thousands of years.
Since the creation of the world, God has started his management work. The center of this management work is “man.” It can be said that all the things created by God are for man. Because his management work would last for thousands of years, not for a minute, or a twinkling of an eye, or for one or two years, he had to create more things necessary for mankind’s existence, such as the sun, the moon, all kinds of creatures, the food for mankind, and the living environment for mankind. This was the beginning of God’s management.
Then God handed mankind over to satan, and so man lived under satan’s authority. Thus there gradually came into being God’s work of the first age―the story of the Age of the Law. … Over the thousands of years of the Age of the Law, mankind got used to the leading of the Age of the Law and did not take it seriously, and gradually they went far from God’s care. So while keeping the law, people all worshiped idols and did evil things. They no longer had Jehovah’s keeping and only lived their life before the altar in the temple. Actually, God’s work had long left them. Even though the people of Israel still clung to the law and called upon the name of Jehovah and they even proudly believed that only they were the people of Jehovah and the chosen people of Jehovah, God’s glory had left them quietly….
In doing his work, God always leaves one place silently, and at the same time quietly does in another place the work he newly opens. To numb people, this is just an incredible story. People always keep old things as priceless treasures, and when seeing unfamiliar and new things, they regard them as enemies or thorns in their flesh. So, no matter what new work God does, from beginning to end, among all things only man is the last to get to know the message.
Unexceptionally, after Jehovah did the work in the Age of the Law, God started the new work of the second part―being clothed with a flesh, that is, being incarnated to be a man, for ten years, twenty years, and working and speaking among the believers. But not a single person knew it. Only after the Lord Jesus was crucified and resurrected were there a small number of people who acknowledged that he was God’s incarnated flesh. However, it was a headache that there was a man named Paul, who acted against God to the end unyieldingly. Even after he was struck down and became an apostle, he remained unchanged in his old nature and wrote many epistles. Unfortunately, men later actually enjoyed his epistles as God’s word and even compiled them into the New Testament and equated them with God’s utterance and word. This is really a big scandal since mankind had the scriptures. Isn’t this a mistake men made out of their extreme foolishness? Little did they know that in the record of God’s work of the Age of the Grace there simply should not be man’s epistles or man’s spiritual writings to pass for God’s works and words. These are beside the point. Let’s come back to our main topic. After the second stage of God’s work was finished, that is, after he was crucified, he had accomplished the work of his regaining man from sin (that is, from satan’s hand). So, from then on, as long as mankind accepted the Lord Jesus as the Savior, they would be forgiven of their sins. Nominally speaking, man’s sin was no longer a barrier to his being saved and coming before God and was no longer a handle by which satan accused man, because God Godself had done a practical work and become the likeness and the foretaste of sinful flesh, and God Godself was a sin offering. Thus, mankind came down from the cross, being redeemed and saved through God’s flesh―the likeness of sinful flesh. So, men, after having been taken captive by satan, came a step further before God to accept God’s salvation. Of course, this stage of work was a further step and a deeper level of God’s management than that in the Age of the Law.
This is how God’s management goes: He handed over to satan the mankind who did not know at all what God is, what the Creator is, how to worship God, and why to obey God, and let them be corrupted by satan at will, and then he takes mankind back from satan’s hand stage by stage, until mankind can absolutely worship God and reject satan. This is God’s management. This sounds like a fairy tale and seems very puzzling. Man feels that it is like a fairy tale, because man does not know how many things have happened to man over these several thousand years, much less know how many stories have happened in this universe and expanse, and even more because man’s mortal eyes cannot see at all the more wonderful and more frightful world behind this physical world. Man feels it puzzling, because he does not know at all the meaning of God’s saving mankind and the meaning of God’s management work, and does not know what kind of mankind God wants. Is it mankind like Eve and Adam who had not been corrupted by satan at all? No! God’s management is for gaining a group of human beings who worship God and obey God. This mankind, though corrupted by satan, no longer takes satan as their father, but knows satan’s ugly face, rejects it, and comes before God to accept God’s judgment and chastisement, knowing the contrast of what ugliness is and what holiness is and also knowing God’s greatness and satan’s evilness. Such mankind will no longer do service for satan and will no longer worship satan and enshrine satan. This is because they are a group of human beings who have been truly gained by God. This is the meaning of the work of God’s managing mankind. In this management work, mankind is the object of satan’s corruption, and also the object of God’s salvation and the product God and satan fight for. While doing the work, God takes man back from satan’s hand stage by stage. So, man is nearer and nearer to God….
Then it comes to the Age of the Kingdom. This is a stage of work that is more realistic but most difficult for man to accept. This is because the nearer man is to God, the more God’s rod approaches man, and at the same time God’s face is revealed to man more and more clearly. After mankind have been redeemed, they have formally returned to God’s family. They thought that they could have a good enjoyment, but they are showered with a hail of hard blows by God. This is unexpected to anyone. So, to be God’s people, one has to “enjoy” such baptism. Treated like that, man has to quiet his heart to think carefully: I am the sheep that was lost for years and bought back by God at a high price; why does God treat me like this? Does God ridicule me and expose me in his way? … Years of experience have passed, and mankind who have gone through the suffering of refining and the suffering of chastisement become weather-beaten. Although they have lost their former “luster” and “romance,” unconsciously they understand the truth of being a man and understand God’s thoughtful kind intention in saving man for years. Gradually, they begin to hate their wildness and hate their indocility and their various misunderstandings of and extravagant demands on God. Time past cannot be called back again. The bygone things become man’s penitential memories, and God’s word and God’s tender love become man’s motive power for a new life. Man’s wounds are healing day by day; he becomes strong and stands up and sees the face of the Almighty…. So he has been watching by my side. His smile and his beautiful countenance are still so pleasant, his heart is still so concerned about the mankind created by him, and his hands are still as warm and powerful as in the beginning. Man seems to be back to the time in the Garden of Eden, but man at this time no longer follows the serpent’s deception and no longer hides himself from the countenance of Jehovah. He bows down on his knees before God, and in God’s smiling face, presents the most precious offering―Oh! My Lord and my God!
Every bit of God’s management work drips with God’s love and mercy. No matter whether man can understand God’s thoughtful kind intention, he is still persistently doing the work he intends to accomplish. No matter how much man knows about God’s management, the help and benefit God’s work brings to man can be experienced by everyone. Maybe today you have not felt any love or supply of life from God, but as long as you do not leave God and do not give up your determination to pursue the truth, one day God’s smiling face will appear to you. This is because the purpose of God’s management work is to regain the mankind under satan’s authority, not to give up the mankind who is corrupted by satan and resists him.
September 23, 2005