40. Only God’s Three Stages of Work Are His Complete Work for Saving Mankind
All those who truly believed in the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace were able to recognize that He truly did one stage of the work of redeeming mankind. He became a sin offering successfully for corrupt mankind through being nailed to the cross, which is why corrupt humanity could come in front of God, pray in the name of the Lord Jesus and acknowledge their sins, unreservedly admit all of their sins to God, express repentance, and thus gain God’s pardon and forgiveness. They could enjoy the peace and joy deep in their hearts of being immediately pardoned, and then no matter what they requested in prayer in the name of the Lord Jesus, God would bestow it upon them. They could find what they sought, they could knock, and He would open, and thus people could see God’s faithfulness and His almightiness and also know that God’s disposition is full of mercy and love, which fully proves that the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption was genuine. Because of this, people developed true faith in God. But people excitedly believed that they could rely on the Lord Jesus’ sin offering to gain forgiveness for their sins, and rely on grace to be saved and enter into the kingdom of heaven, yet they also agonized because of getting a taste of being subjected to the bonds of Satan’s sinful nature, frequently sinning, and shaming and resisting God. So, when they read this from the Book of Hebrews in the Bible: “For if we sin willfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remains no more sacrifice for sins” (Hebrews 10:26), they suddenly felt puzzled: “Could it be that those who often sin this way can enter the kingdom of heaven?” Although it is a fact that those who believe in the Lord can be forgiven of their sins, people’s sinful nature has not been changed or resolved, so they will continue to sin and resist God as always. This is also a fact. However, God is a holy and righteous God, so could He truly allow those corrupt humans who frequently sin and resist God to enter into the kingdom of heaven? Particularly when people see in the Book of Revelation that there is a scroll in God’s right hand that is sealed with seven seals and no man is worthy of opening it and man cries, they feel that there must be some hidden mysteries in God’s work of saving mankind that have not yet been unraveled, and that God’s work of saving mankind absolutely cannot be that simple. These things are unfathomable mysteries for all those who believe in God because the Lord Jesus never said that all those who call out to the Lord can enter the kingdom of heaven. He said that only those who obey the will of the heavenly Father can enter the kingdom of heaven. This stumps everyone who believes in the Lord Jesus. It seems that believing in God, obtaining salvation, and entering into the kingdom of heaven is no easy thing. This is a far cry from the imagination and expectation of believing that just by believing in the Lord, one can gain salvation and enter the kingdom of heaven. In all religious churches they mention “justification by faith” and “salvation through grace,” but hardly anyone can explain what kind of people are ones who do God’s will, and what is being truly saved and being able to enter into the kingdom of heaven. No one can actually explain this clearly. However, just as everyone in the religious world was gazing up to the heaven and hoping for the Lord Jesus to descend on a cloud, God had long ago quietly been incarnated, becoming the Son of Man and secretly descending to the Chinese mainland. In 1991, He officially started His work of judgment beginning with the house of God. Almighty God in the flesh has expressed all the truths of saving mankind, and has totally revealed the mysteries of God’s management of saving mankind, fully opening up the completely sealed scroll from the Book of Revelation. Only then God’s chosen people who have accepted God’s work in the last days have seen that the work of redemption done by the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace was only to pave the way for the work of God’s judgment of mankind in the last days and that of thoroughly saving mankind. Only those who accept God’s work of judgment and chastisement in the last days can be fully cleansed, gain salvation, cast off their sins, and genuinely turn toward God to live in front of Him, becoming people who truly obey and worship God. Only now have God’s chosen people really seen the work in the last days done by the return of the Lord Jesus, Almighty God, is the work of thoroughly saving mankind and ending the age. In Almighty God’s work of the last days, He has fully revealed all truth and all mysteries, allowing people to open their eyes wide and see their fill. He has also revealed and exposed the mysteries of the little scroll from the Book of Revelation: “I will tell you this when I open My scroll in the last days. (The scroll refers to all of the words that I have spoken, My words in the last days—this is all inside of it)” (Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning). “The three stages of work are the inside story of God’s management of man, the advent of the gospel of the entire universe, the greatest mystery among all mankind, and are also the foundation of spreading the gospel. If you only focus on understanding simple truths that relate to your life, and know nothing of this, the greatest of all mysteries and visions, then is your life not akin to a defective product, good for nothing except being looked at?” (“Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). The words of Almighty God have fully proven that only God’s three stages of work are His complete work for saving mankind. It’s clear that the mysteries of God’s management of saving mankind have been fully opened up. How could this not be exhilarating for people!
In all of the words expressed by Almighty God, there are many concerning the mysteries of the management of His three stages of work. Only a few passages have been excerpted here, but if people earnestly read all of them and then give serious consideration to them, they will be able to have some understanding and knowledge of God’s three stages of work.
My entire management plan, which spans six thousand years, consists of three phases, or three ages: first, the Age of Law; second, the Age of Grace (which is also the Age of Redemption); and finally, the Age of Kingdom. My work in these three ages differs according to the nature of each age, but at each stage it accords with man’s needs—or rather, it varies according to the tricks that Satan employs in My war against it. The purpose of My work is to defeat Satan, to make manifest My wisdom and omnipotence, to expose all Satan’s tricks and thereby to save all of humanity, which lives under its domain. It is to show My wisdom and omnipotence while at the same time revealing the hideousness of Satan. Moreover, it is to teach My creations to discriminate between good and evil, to recognize that I am the Ruler of all things, to see clearly that Satan is humanity’s foe, the lowest of the low, the evil one, and to make the difference between good and evil, truth and falsehood, holiness and filth, greatness and baseness, as clear as day. This way, ignorant humanity may bear witness to Me that it is not I who corrupt humanity, and only I—the Creator—can save humanity, can bestow upon them things for enjoyment; and they may come to know that I am the Ruler of all things and Satan is merely one of My creations, which later turned against Me. My six-thousand-year management plan is divided into three stages in order to achieve the following effect: to allow My creations to be My witnesses, to know My will, to see that I am the truth (“The Truth Concerning the Work in the Age of Redemption” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The core of these three stages of work is the salvation of man—namely, making all of creation worship the Lord of creation. Therefore, every stage of this work is very meaningful; God absolutely will not do something without meaning or value. On one hand, this stage of work consists of launching an era and ending the previous two ages; on the other hand it consists of shattering all human conceptions and all old ways of human belief and knowledge. The work of the previous two ages was carried out according to different human conceptions; this stage, however, completely eliminates human conceptions, thereby completely conquering humanity (“God Is the Lord of All Creation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Only the three stages of God’s work can fully express the entirety of God’s disposition, and completely express God’s intention of saving the whole of mankind, and the entire process of mankind’s salvation. This is proof that He has defeated Satan and gained mankind, it is proof of God’s victory, and is the expression of God’s entire disposition (“Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The three stages of work are at the heart of God’s entire management, and in them are expressed the disposition of God and what He is. Those who do not know of the three stages of God’s work are incapable of realizing how God expresses His disposition, nor do they know the wisdom of God’s work, and they remain ignorant of the many ways in which He saves mankind, and His will for the whole of mankind (“Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The three stages of work are a record of the entire work of God, they are a record of God’s salvation of mankind, and they are not imaginary. If you truly wish to seek a knowledge of God’s entire disposition, then you must know the three stages of work carried out by God, and, what’s more, you must not omit any stage. This is the minimum that must be achieved by those who seek to know God (“Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The three stages of work are the entirety of God’s work in saving mankind. Man must know God’s work and God’s disposition in the work of salvation, and without this fact, your knowledge of God is but hollow words, nothing more than armchair pontification. Such knowledge can neither convince nor conquer man, such knowledge is out of line with reality, and is not the truth. It may be very plentiful, and pleasing to the ear, but if it is at odds with God’s inherent disposition, then God will not spare you. Not only will He not commend your knowledge, but He will also take retribution on you for being a sinner who blasphemed Him (“Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The three stages of work carried out from the beginning until today were all carried out by God Himself, and were carried out by the one God. The fact of the three stages of work is the fact of God’s leadership of all mankind, a fact that no one can deny. At the end of the three stages of work, all things will be classed according to kind and return under the dominion of God, for throughout the entire universe there only exists this one God, and there are no other religions (“Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
In the work of man’s salvation, three stages have been carried out, which is to say that the battle with Satan has been split into three stages prior to the complete defeat of Satan. Yet the inner truth of the entire work of the battle with Satan is that its effects are achieved through bestowing grace upon man, and becoming a sin offering of man, forgiving the sins of man, conquering man, and making man perfect. As a matter of fact, the battle with Satan is not the taking up of arms against Satan, but the salvation of man, the working of the life of man, and the changing of man’s disposition so that he may bear testimony to God. This is how Satan is defeated. Satan is defeated through changing the corrupt disposition of man. When Satan has been defeated, that is, when man has been completely saved, then the ashamed Satan will be completely bound, and in this way, man will have been completely saved. And so, the substance of man’s salvation is the battle with Satan, and the war with Satan is primarily reflected in the salvation of man (“Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The aim of the three stages of work is the salvation of all mankind—which means the complete salvation of man from the domain of Satan (“Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
From Almighty God’s words above, we are completely able to recognize that God has already done the three stages of work of saving mankind. Each stage has been higher than the last with, each closely linked to the next. God’s three stages of work really are the complete work of saving mankind. Just as Almighty God says, “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 the entire breadth of God’s management, and are all the work of one Spirit. From when He created the world, God has always been 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 surely carried out by one Spirit. All those who separate these three stages oppose God” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
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 uplifting of that done in the Age of Law. The three stages are closely interconnected and linked one to the next. … It could be said that this stage of work is built on the foundation of the Age of Law and the rock of the work of Jesus. The work is built stage by stage, and this stage is not a new beginning. Only the combination of the three stages of work can be deemed the six-thousand-year management plan (“The Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of the Incarnation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
In each age, God makes plain different deeds. In each age He makes plain part of the deeds of God, and the work of each age represents one part of the disposition of God, and represents one part of the deeds of God. The deeds that He makes plain vary with the age in which He works, but they all give man a knowledge of God that is deeper, a belief in God that is more down-to-earth, and more true. Man believes in God because of all of the deeds of God, and because God is so wondrous, so great, because He is almighty, and is unfathomable (“Knowing God’s Work Today” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God will always be God, and will never become Satan; Satan will always be Satan, and will never become God. God’s wisdom, God’s wondrousness, God’s righteousness, and God’s majesty shall never change. His essence and what He has and is shall never change. His work, however, is always progressing forward and always going deeper, for He is always new and never old (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The work of God is always new and never old, and it never forms doctrine and is, instead, continually changing and renewing to a greater or lesser extent. This work is the expression of the inherent disposition of God Himself. It is also the inherent principle of God’s work, and one of the means by which God accomplishes His management. If God did not work in this way, man would not change or be able to know God, and Satan would not be defeated. Thus, in His work there continually occur changes that appear erratic, but which are actually periodic (“Only Those Who Know the Work of God Today Can Serve God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
All of God’s disposition has been revealed throughout the six-thousand-year management plan. It is not revealed only in the Age of Grace, only in the Age of Law, or even less so, only in this period of the last days. The work done in the last days represents judgment, wrath and chastisement. The work done in the last days cannot replace the work of the Age of Law or that of the Age of Grace. However, the three stages interconnect into one entity and are all the work done by one God. Naturally, the execution of this work is divided into separate ages. The work done in the last days brings everything to a close; that done in the Age of Law is of commencement; and that done in the Age of Grace is of redemption (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
We can clearly see from Almighty God’s words above that from the Age of Law to the Age of Grace to the final Age of Kingdom, God’s three stages of work have all been the work of the same Spirit. That is, the work of the Holy Spirit. Whether the Holy Spirit utilizes people to work or if He works directly in the flesh, it is all the work of God Himself. This is a fact that not a single person can deny. Only God’s three stages of work is the complete work of saving mankind. All those who believe in God must accept God’s work of the last days in order to be cleansed and gain salvation. They must recognize that only through God’s three stages of work can one truly know God and be perfected, and all those who cannot recognize His three stages of work are people who do not truly know God. Thus, they are still capable of resisting and betraying God. These are facts that no person can deny. In every stage of His work God has expressed and revealed a portion of His disposition, and He has also had different requirements of mankind in different stages of His work. In particular, all the words of judgment and chastisement that God has expressed in His work of the last days fully represent His righteousness, judgment, wrath, and chastisement of corrupt humanity. They are the revealing of God’s righteous disposition and almightiness and wisdom. This is why only God’s work in the last days can fully purify, eliminate, and resolve corrupt humanity’s satanic dispositions, allowing corrupt humanity to fully break free from Satan’s influence and achieve true obedience of God. Without God’s judgment, majesty, wrath, and chastisement, mankind would never be able to realize the truth of their deep corruption by Satan and the substance of their nature, so they would never be able to gain purification, and they would never be able to truly revere and obey God. It is clear that it is only God’s work in the last days that is the critical, decisive work of completely saving mankind. It holds great significance for saving and perfecting mankind.
How to actually know God’s three stages of work is really very significant. We must know and experience His three stages of work through His words, and we must have a genuine understanding of His work in every age. This is how we can understand the relationships between and the particular significance of every stage of God’s work, and at that time we are able to see that His three stages of work are closely linked and united into one, and that they truly are the work of one God. When we have a genuine understanding of God’s three stages of work, we are able to fully see God’s almightiness and wisdom as well as His righteous disposition, and we can fully see how God leads and redeems mankind, and finally, how He saves and perfects mankind. We can also see that in each stage of His work, God is victorious in His battles with Satan and He is fully glorified. When people achieve salvation, not only do they understand God’s righteous disposition and His essence, but they also see through how Satan’s evil forces corrupt mankind and resist God, and in the end, how they fail and perish. When God’s chosen people gain salvation, they will thoroughly cast off the influence of Satan and genuinely turn toward God. This is why knowing the three stages of God’s work is so significant for God’s chosen people’s genuinely understanding God and achieving salvation.
I. The Significance of God’s Work in the Age of Law Was Primarily to Guide Mankind
What Almighty God has revealed about the significance of God’s work in the Age of Law is as follows:
The work that Jehovah did in the Israelites established among humanity God’s earthly place of origin, His sacred place where He was present. He confined His work to the Israelite people. At first, He did not work outside of Israel; instead, He chose a people He found suitable in order to restrict the scope of His work. Israel is the place where God created Adam and Eve, and out of the dust of that place Jehovah made man; it is the base of His work on earth. The Israelites, who are the descendants of Noah and of Adam, were the foundation of Jehovah’s work on earth.
The significance, purpose, and step of Jehovah’s work in Israel were to begin His work on the whole earth, gradually spreading to Gentile nations from its center in Israel. This is the principle according to which He works throughout the universe—to establish a model, then broaden it until all people in the universe have accepted His gospel. The first Israelites were the descendants of Noah. These people only had the breath of Jehovah, and could take care of the basic necessities of life, but they did not know what kind of a God Jehovah was, nor did they know His will for man, much less how they should revere the Lord of all creation. Adam’s descendants did not know what rules and laws they must obey, or what work the created must do for the Creator. All they knew was that the husband must sweat and labor to provide for his family, and that the wife must submit to her husband and perpetuate the race of humans that Jehovah created. In other words, this people had only Jehovah’s breath and His life, but did not know how to follow God’s laws or how to satisfy the Lord of all creation. They understood far too little. So although there was nothing crooked or cunning in their hearts, and though they seldom had jealousy and strife, they did not know or understand Jehovah, the Lord of all creation. These ancestors of man knew only to eat what Jehovah made, to enjoy what Jehovah made, but they did not know to revere Jehovah; they did not know that they should worship Him on bended knee. How could they be called His creatures? And so, were not the words, “Jehovah is the Lord of all creation” and “He created man as an expression of Himself, to glorify Him and represent Him,” spoken in vain? How can people who do not revere Jehovah be a testament to His glory? How can they be expressions of His glory? Do not Jehovah’s words “I created man in My image” then become a weapon in the hand of Satan—the evil one? Do these words not then become a mark of humiliation to Jehovah’s creation of man? In order to complete that stage of work, Jehovah, after creating mankind, did not instruct or guide them from Adam to Noah. It was not until after the flood that He formally began to guide the Israelites, who were the descendants of Adam and of Noah. His work and words in Israel guided the lives of all the people across the land, showing them that Jehovah was not only able to blow breath into man, so that he had His life, and was resurrected from the dust and made a creature of God, but could also scorch mankind with flames, and curse mankind, using His rod to govern mankind. So, too, did they see that Jehovah could guide man’s life on earth, and speak and work among them by day and by night. He did the work only so that His creatures might know that man came from dust picked up by Him, that man was made by Him. Furthermore, the work He began in Israel was meant so that other peoples and nations (who in fact were not separate from Israel, but had branched off from the Israelites, yet were still descended from Adam and Eve) might receive the gospel of Jehovah from Israel, so that all creatures in the universe would revere Him and hold Him to be great. Had Jehovah not begun His work in Israel, but instead, having created mankind, let them live carefree lives on the earth, then because of man’s physical nature (nature means that man can never know the things he cannot see, that is, that he does not know that Jehovah created mankind, let alone why He did so), he would never know that Jehovah created mankind and is the Lord of all things. If Jehovah had created man and placed him on the earth as His enjoyment, then simply dusted off His hands and left rather than leading among man for a period of time, then all humanity would have returned to nothingness; even the heaven and earth and all things that He created, including all humanity, would have returned to nothingness and been trampled upon by Satan. And so Jehovah’s wish that “He should have a place to stand on earth, a holy place among His creation” would have been shattered. So instead, after God created mankind, He guided them in their lives, and spoke to them, all in order to realize His desire, to achieve His plan. God’s work in Israel was meant only to execute the plan He had set in place before His creation of all things, and therefore His working first among the Israelites and His creation of all things were not at odds with each other, but were both for the sake of His management, His work, and His glory, deepening the meaning of His creation of mankind. He guided the life of mankind on earth for two thousand years after Noah, during which He taught them how to revere Jehovah the Lord of all things, taught them how to conduct themselves and live their lives, and most of all, how to act as a witness for Jehovah, obey Him, and revere Him, and to praise Him with music like David and his priests.
Before the two thousand years during which Jehovah did His work, man knew nothing, and almost all degenerated to the depth of promiscuity and corruption that preceded the flood; their hearts were devoid of Jehovah, let alone His way. They never understood the work Jehovah was going to do; they lacked reason, much less knowledge, like living, breathing machines, ignorant of man, God, the world, and life alike. On earth they engaged in much seduction, like the serpent, and said many things that were offensive to Jehovah, but because they were ignorant Jehovah did not chastise or discipline them. After the flood, when Noah was 601 years old, Jehovah formally appeared to Noah and guided him and his family, leading him, the birds, and the beasts that survived the flood, and his descendants until the end of the Age of Law, a total of 2,500 years. He was formally at work in Israel for 2,000 years, and the period for which He was at work both in Israel and outside of it was 500 years, which together makes 2,500 years. During this period He instructed the Israelites that to serve Jehovah, they should build the temple and wear priests’ robes, and walk barefoot into the temple at dawn, lest their shoes sully the temple and the fire be sent down on them from the top of the temple and burn them to death. They carried out their duties and submitted to Jehovah’s plans. They prayed to Jehovah in the temple, and after they were inspired by Jehovah, that is, after Jehovah had spoken, they led the people and taught them they should revere Jehovah—their God. And Jehovah told them that they should build the temple and the altar, and at the time set by Jehovah, that is, on Passover, they should prepare newborn calves and lambs on the altar as sacrifices to serve Jehovah, so as to restrain them and put reverence for Jehovah in their hearts. Whether they obeyed this law would be the measure of their loyalty to Jehovah. Jehovah also set the Sabbath day for them, the seventh day of His creation. The day after that He made the first day, a day for them to praise Jehovah, to offer Him sacrifices, and to make music for Him. On this day, Jehovah called together all the priests and divided the sacrifices on the altar for the people to eat so that they could enjoy the sacrifices offered to Jehovah. And Jehovah said that they were blessed and had a part with Him, and that they were His chosen people (which was Jehovah’s covenant with the Israelites). This is why, up to this day, the people of Israel still say that Jehovah is only their God, and not the God of other peoples.
During the Age of Law, Jehovah laid down many commandments for Moses to pass on to the Israelites who followed him out of Egypt. Jehovah gave these commandments to the Israelites, which were unrelated to the Egyptians, and they were meant to restrain the Israelites, and were His requirements for them. Whether one observed the Sabbath, whether one respected one’s parents, whether one worshiped idols, and so forth, these were the principles by which one was judged sinful or righteous. Whether one was struck by Jehovah’s fire, or stoned to death, or received Jehovah’s blessing, was determined according to whether one obeyed these commandments. Those who did not observe the Sabbath were stoned to death. Those priests who did not observe the Sabbath were smitten by Jehovah’s fire. Those who did not respect their parents were also stoned to death. This was all commended by Jehovah. Jehovah established His commandments and laws so that as He led their lives, the people would listen to and obey His word and not rebel against Him. He used these laws to control the newborn human race, to lay the foundation for His work to come. And so, because of the work that Jehovah did, the first age was called the Age of Law. Though Jehovah spoke much and did much work, He only guided them positively, teaching these ignorant people how to be human, how to live, how to understand Jehovah’s way. For the most part the work He did was intended to allow the people to observe His way and follow His law. The work was done on people who were shallowly corrupted; it was not concerned with the transformation of disposition or the growth in life. He was only concerned with using laws to restrict and control the people. For the Israelites at that time, Jehovah was merely a God in the temple, a God in the heavens. He was a pillar of cloud, a pillar of flame. All Jehovah required them to do was obey what people today know as His laws and commandments—one could even say rules—because Jehovah’s work was not meant to change them, but to give them more things that man ought to have, to tell them from His own mouth, because after man was created, man knew nothing about what he ought to possess. And so Jehovah gave them the things they ought to possess for their lives on earth, made the people that He had led surpass their ancestors, Adam and Eve, because what Jehovah gave them surpassed what He had given Adam and Eve in the beginning. Regardless, the work Jehovah did in Israel was only to guide humanity and make humanity recognize their Creator. He did not conquer them or change them, merely guided them. This is the sum of Jehovah’s work in the Age of Law. It is the background, the true story, the essence of His work in the whole land of Israel, and the beginning of His six thousand years of work—to control mankind by Jehovah’s hand. Out of this came more work in His six-thousand-year management plan (“The Work in the Age of Law” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After the creation of mankind in the beginning, it was the Israelites who served as the basis of work, and the whole of Israel was the base of Jehovah’s work on earth. The work of Jehovah was to directly lead and shepherd man through setting forth the laws so that man could live a normal life and worship Jehovah in a normal manner on earth. God in the Age of Law was One who could neither be seen nor touched by man. He was merely leading men first corrupted by Satan, and He was there to instruct and shepherd these men, so the words He spoke were only of statutes, ordinances, and common knowledge of living life as a man, and not at all of truths that supply the life of man. The Israelites under His leadership were not those deeply corrupted by Satan. His work of law was only the very first stage in the work of salvation, the very beginning of the work of salvation, and had practically nothing to do with the changes in the life disposition of man (“The Difference Between the Ministry of the Incarnate God and the Duty of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“Jehovah” is the name that I took during My work in Israel, and it means the God of the Israelites (God’s chosen people) who can take pity on man, curse man, and guide the life of man. It means the God who possesses great power and is full of wisdom. … That is to say, only Jehovah is the God of the chosen people of Israel, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, the God of Jacob, the God of Moses, and the God of all the people of Israel. And so in the current age, all the Israelites apart from the tribe of Judah worship Jehovah. They make sacrifices to Him on the altar, and serve Him wearing priests’ robes in the temple. What they hope for is the reappearance of Jehovah. … The name Jehovah is a particular name for the people of Israel who lived under the law. In each age and each stage of work, My name is not baseless, but holds representative significance: Each name represents one age. “Jehovah” represents the Age of Law, and is the honorific for the God worshiped by the people of Israel (“The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Nothing was more symbolic than the first stage being carried out in Israel: The Israelites were the most holy and least corrupt of all peoples, and so the dawn of the new epoch in this land held the utmost significance. It can be said that mankind’s forefathers came from Israel, and that Israel was the birthplace of God’s work. In the beginning, these people were the most holy, and they all worshiped Jehovah, and God’s work in them was able to yield the greatest results (“The Vision of God’s Work (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
In the time of the Old Testament, Jehovah built the temple and the altar in Israel, He guided the life of the Israelites on earth, proving that they were His chosen people, the first group of people that He selected on earth and who were after His own heart, the first group that He had personally led; which is to say, the twelve tribes of Israel were Jehovah’s first chosen ones, and so God always worked in them, right up until the work of Jehovah of the Age of Law was concluded (“Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
During the Age of Law, the work of guiding mankind was done under the name of Jehovah, and the first stage of work was carried out on earth. The work of this stage was to build the temple and the altar, and to use the law to guide the people of Israel and work among them. By guiding the people of Israel, He established a base for His work on earth. From this base, He expanded His work beyond Israel, which is to say that, starting from Israel, He extended His work outward, so that later generations gradually came to know that Jehovah was God, and that Jehovah had created the heavens and earth and all things, had made all creatures. He spread His work through the people of Israel. The land of Israel was the first holy place of Jehovah’s work on earth, and God’s earliest work on earth was throughout the land of Israel. That was the work of the Age of Law (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
II. The Necessary Understanding of God’s Work in the Age of Law
If we can earnestly ponder Almighty God’s words revealing the significance and essence of His work in the Age of Law, we will be fully able to recognize that God’s work in the Age of Law was His initial work of guiding mankind after creating man. Jehovah was the eternal, one-and-only true God in the Age of Law who appeared to the Israelites, who first led them out from under the control and slavery by the king of Egypt, and then He issued the laws and commandments to the Israelites, thus initiating God’s personal guidance of mankind’s lives. In the Age of Law, God issued many laws and commandments that mankind must abide by, and among them, the three most important kinds were: First were the Ten Commandments; second was the Sabbath; third were sacrifices, which were primarily sin offerings, peace offerings, and burnt offerings. These three requirements put forward by God were His primary work in the Age of Law, and the essential significances of His three requirements were the primary indications for guiding the Israelites of the time in how to live on the earth. Next, we’ll speak about some understanding of the essential significance of these three basic requirements of God during the Age of Law.
1. The significance of the Ten Commandments issued by God during the Age of Law was profound. Their content was:
“You shall have no other gods before me.
You shall not make to you any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I Jehovah your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; And showing mercy to thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.
You shall not take the name of Jehovah your God in vain; for Jehovah will not hold him guiltless that takes his name in vain.
Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shall you labor, and do all your work: But the seventh day is the sabbath of Jehovah your God: in it you shall not do any work, you, nor your son, nor your daughter, your manservant, nor your maidservant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger that is within your gates: For in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: why Jehovah blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.
Honor your father and your mother: that your days may be long on the land which Jehovah your God gives you.
You shall not kill.
You shall not commit adultery.
You shall not steal.
You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
You shall not covet your neighbor’s house, you shall not covet your neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is your neighbor’s” (Exo 20:3-17).
Those are the most critical and famous Ten Commandments that God guided people with in the Age of Law. God’s Ten Commandments that He established for corrupt mankind are simple and clear, completely reasonable, they clearly differentiate good and evil, and they are candid and upright. His Ten Commandments fully embody fairness and justice, the principles of heaven and earth, what is awe-inspiring and righteous, and morality. People can see from this that God is an upright, righteous, holy, and a God who hates evil. The Ten Commandments fully represent God’s requirements and will for mankind, His creation. They are concise, rich, and comprehensive, and they are all just and honorable, positive things that can be proven through people’s consciences and reason. The significance of the Ten Commandments is profound. Every single commandment is very meaningful, and they can all make people understand God, shun evil, know what God hates and what He loves, and what mankind should uphold. All those who have a conscience and possess reason should acclaim and celebrate the Ten Commandments issued by God, which have allowed people to live out the likeness of normal humanity under their guidance. As long as people live according to the Ten Commandments, they are fully capable of gaining God’s blessings. This is true. If every country in the world would establish their constitutional law and rule their country according to the Ten Commandments, they would certainly gain God’s blessings and their country would become much more orderly. And if they could incorporate the Ten Commandments into their schoolbooks so that everyone would accept them from childhood, they would all be able to worship God. That would be even more meaningful. If the people of all countries had been living on earth according to the principles of the Ten Commandments, mankind absolutely would not be as corrupt as it is today. But mankind’s corruption by Satan is too deep, and it is only mankind being fully controlled by Satan which has led to the entire world being under the appalling darkness of evil. This is why the Ten Commandments were so difficult to accept and uphold for deeply corrupted mankind in the Age of Law. The only outcome they achieved was to have people recognize their sins, but God’s work continued step by step, gradually building on itself, each stage complementing each other. The laws and commandments issued by God must be fulfilled.
2. The principle behind observing the Sabbath is also extremely important. God reiterated His requirement many times that man observe the Sabbath, and Jehovah said: “Truly my sabbaths you shall keep: for it is a sign between me and you throughout your generations; that you may know that I am Jehovah that does sanctify you. You shall keep the sabbath therefore; for it is holy to you: every one that defiles it shall surely be put to death: for whoever does any work therein, that soul shall be cut off from among his people. Six days may work be done; but in the seventh is the sabbath of rest, holy to Jehovah: whoever does any work in the sabbath day, he shall surely be put to death. Why the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath, to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, for a perpetual covenant. It is a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever: for in six days Jehovah made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested, and was refreshed” (Exo 31:13-17). God’s chosen people must be clear that the significance of God requiring man to observe the Sabbath is profound. When God created heaven and earth and all things, He did so in six days. He rested on the seventh day. This is why God also requires people to work for six days and to rest on the seventh. This not only contains God’s love, but it also contains profound significance. Without a doubt, God requiring mankind to observe the Sabbath is a testimony to His guidance for mankind’s lives. It fully reveals His care, consideration, and love that knows no bounds for mankind. He does not want people to always be harried, to be working by sunrise and only rest at sunset, to subsist only for the aim and the meaning of adequate food, clothing, and shelter, and to feed their families. God’s day of rest was also to give mankind a day of rest, which is why He decreed that people observe the Sabbath. This truly is significant.
3. As for the principle of sin offerings, burnt offerings, and peace offerings, regardless of who among the Israelites committed a sin forbidden by the God Jehovah, and no matter whether they were aware that they had committed a sin or not, they had to go to the priest to offer up a sin offering, burnt offering, or peace offering to God in order for their sin to be pardoned. This allowed people to see that God’s disposition not only contains righteousness and majesty, but also mercy and love. Because people have been corrupted by Satan, it is natural for them to sin, but God established sin offerings, peace offerings, and burnt offerings for mankind, and no matter what kind of sin people commit, as long as they make a sin offering, burnt offering, or peace offering to God, they can be fully pardoned by Him. This is sufficient to cause people to know God’s disposition toward corrupt mankind includes His mercy and kindness. God does not condemn people lightly, and He particularly does not punish people lightly. From this, God’s care and protection, and His grace and blessings for mankind are even clearer. This fully shows that the principle behind God establishing the offerings for sin for corrupt mankind was His work of guiding people’s lives.
All of the work God completed in the Age of Law was to lead mankind into the proper path for human life, to allow all people to live in front of Him, to be able to worship Him, and gain His blessings. This is His will. In the Age of Law, God utilized laws and commandments to guide the Israelites’ lives on earth. Essentially, this was paving the way for God’s work of redemption in the Age of Grace. First, it was necessary to have the Israelites come in front of God and acknowledge Him, that is, acknowledge the Lord of Creation, and to know how people should live in front of Him. Without a doubt, this was the true testimony of God guiding people’s lives on earth. Not only did it reveal His love for mankind, but even more, it allowed people to understand that not only did God create heaven, earth, all things, and mankind, but He also guides people to know how to live, and how to live in front of God and gain His blessings. This way, people know how to live in front of God, how to worship Him, how to gain His blessings, and how to live in order to gain peace, longevity, and happiness. This is truly very meaningful for corrupt human beings. If all of mankind could live according to the laws and commandments issued by God, they wouldn’t be so corrupted by Satan that they don’t have any human likeness, and the world would not be as dark and evil as it is today. It would be such a happy thing if people could live under God’s guidance! Just as Almighty God said: “By guiding the people of Israel, He established a base for His work on earth. From this base, He expanded His work beyond Israel, which is to say that, starting from Israel, He extended His work outward, so that later generations gradually came to know that Jehovah was God, and that Jehovah had created the heavens and earth and all things, had made all creatures. He spread His work through the people of Israel” (The Vision of God’s Work (3) in The Word Appears in the Flesh). This indicates that in doing each of God’s three stages of work, God gradually expands His scope of work, and in the end saves all of mankind to thoroughly cast off the influence of Satan to fully turn toward God’s throne. This is the management plan for saving mankind.
If I were to sum up the essential significance of God’s work in the Age of Law in a few words, it was the work of guiding people in how to live on the earth after God first created mankind. His work in the Age of Law primarily emphasized the essential significance of “guiding.”
III. The significance of God’s Work in The Age of Grace Was Mainly That of Redemption.
The significance and essence of what Almighty God has revealed of the work of redemption done by the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace is as follows:
Jesus represents all the work of the Age of Grace; He was incarnated and crucified, and inaugurated the Age of Grace. He was crucified in order to complete the redemptive work, to end the Age of Law and begin the Age of Grace, and so He was called the “Supreme Commander,” the “Sin Offering,” the “Redeemer.” Thus the work of Jesus differed in content from the work of Jehovah, though they were the same in principle. Jehovah began the Age of Law, established the home base, the birthplace, of His work on earth, and issued the commandments; these were His two accomplishments, which represent the Age of Law. Jesus’ work was not to issue commandments, but to fulfill the commandments, thereby heralding the Age of Grace and concluding the Age of Law which lasted two thousand years. He was the trailblazer, ushering in the Age of Grace, yet redemption remained the core of His work. And so His accomplishments were also twofold: opening up a new age, and completing the redemptive work through His crucifixion. Then He departed. At that point, the Age of Law came to an end and mankind entered into the Age of Grace.
Jesus’ work was done in accordance with the needs of man in that age. His task was to redeem humanity, to forgive them of their sins, and so all His disposition was one of humility, patience, love, piety, forbearance, mercy, and lovingkindness. He blessed humanity richly and brought them grace in abundance, and all things for enjoyment: peace and happiness, Jesus’ tolerance and love, His mercy and lovingkindness. In those days, all that man encountered was an abundance of things to enjoy: His heart was at peace and reassured, his spirit was consoled, and he was sustained by the Savior Jesus. That he could gain these things was a consequence of the age in which he lived. In the Age of Grace man had been corrupted by Satan, and so the work of redeeming all humanity required an abundance of grace, infinite forbearance and patience, and even more, an offering adequate to atone for humanity’s sins. What people saw in the Age of Grace was merely My sin offering for humanity, Jesus. And they knew only that God could be merciful and forbearing, saw only Jesus’ mercy and lovingkindness. This was because they lived in the Age of Grace. So before they could be redeemed, they had to enjoy much grace that Jesus bestowed on them; only this was beneficial to them. This way, they could be forgiven of their sins through their enjoyment of grace, and could have the chance to be redeemed through enjoying Jesus’ forbearance and patience. Only through Jesus’ forbearance and patience were they capable of receiving forgiveness and enjoying the abundance of grace bestowed by Jesus—just as Jesus said, “I have come not to redeem the righteous but sinners, allowing their sins to be forgiven.” If Jesus had been incarnated with the disposition of judgment, curse, and intolerance of man’s offenses, then man would never have had the chance to be redeemed, and would have remained forever sinful; and so the six-thousand-year management plan would have progressed no farther than the Age of Law. The Age of Law would have gone on for six thousand years, man’s sins would have grown greater in number and more grievous, and the creation of humanity would have been for naught. Men would only have been able to serve Jehovah under the law, but their sins would have exceeded those of the first created humans. The more Jesus loved mankind, forgiving them of their sins and giving them enough mercy and lovingkindness, the more mankind was capable of being saved, called the lost lambs that Jesus bought back at a great price. Satan could not meddle in this work, because Jesus treated His followers as a loving mother treats the infant in her arms. He did not grow angry at them or despise them, but was full of consolation; He never got furious among them, but forbore with their sins and turned a blind eye to their foolishness and ignorance, such that He said, “Forgive others seventy times seven times.” So His heart reformed the hearts of others, and in this way did the people receive forgiveness through His forbearance.
Though Jesus, being God incarnate, was utterly without emotion, He always comforted His disciples, provided for them, helped them, and sustained them. No matter how much work He did or how much suffering He endured, He never made excessive demands of the people, but was always patient and forbearing of their sins, such that in the Age of Grace He was affectionately known as “lovable Savior Jesus.” To the people of that time—to all people—what Jesus had and was, was mercy and lovingkindness. He never remembered people’s transgressions or let their transgressions affect how He treated them. Because that was a different age, He often bestowed plentiful food and drink upon the people so that they could eat their fill. He treated all His followers kindly, healing the sick, driving out demons, raising the dead. In order that the people would believe in Him and see that all that He did was done earnestly and sincerely, He went so far as to resurrect a rotting corpse, showing them that in His hands even the dead could come back to life. In this way He endured silently among them and did His redemptive work. Even before He was nailed to the cross, Jesus had already borne the sins of humanity and become a sin offering for mankind. He had already opened the way to the cross in order to redeem mankind before He was crucified. At last He was nailed to the cross, sacrificed Himself for the sake of the cross, and He bestowed all of His mercy, lovingkindness, and holiness upon mankind. He persisted in tolerating people, never seeking revenge, but forgiving them of their sins, exhorting them to repent, teaching them to have patience, forbearance, and love, to follow in His footsteps and sacrifice themselves for the sake of the cross. His love for the brothers and sisters exceeded His love for Mary. The principle of His work was to heal the people and drive out their demons, all for the sake of His redemption. No matter where He went, He treated all who followed Him with kindness. He made the poor rich, the lame walk, the blind see, and the deaf hear; He even invited the lowliest and most destitute, the sinners, to dine with Him, not shunning them but always being patient, even saying, “When a shepherd loses one sheep out of a hundred, he will leave behind the ninety-nine to seek the one lost sheep, and when he finds it he will rejoice greatly.” He loved His followers as a ewe loves its lambs. Though they were foolish and ignorant, and were sinners in His eyes, and furthermore were the dregs of society, He saw these sinners—whom others despised—as the apple of His eye. Since He favored them, He gave up His life for them, as a lamb was offered on the altar. He went among them like their servant, letting them use Him and slaughter Him, submitting to them unconditionally. To His followers He was the lovable Savior Jesus, but to the Pharisees who lectured the people from a high pedestal He did not show mercy and lovingkindness, but He loathed and detested them. He did not do much work among the Pharisees, only occasionally lectured them and rebuked them; He did not redeem them, or perform signs and wonders among them. He reserved His mercy and lovingkindness for His followers, enduring for the sake of these sinners till the very end when He was nailed to the cross, bearing every humiliation until He fully redeemed all humanity. This was the sum total of His work.
Without Jesus’ redemption, mankind would forever live in sin, and become the children of sin, the descendants of demons. If that continued, Satan would take up residence on earth, and all the earth would become its habitation. But the redemptive work required mercy and lovingkindness toward mankind; only through it could mankind receive forgiveness and at last be qualified to be made complete and fully gained. Without this stage of work, the six-thousand-year management plan would not have been able to go forward. If Jesus had not been crucified, if He had only healed the people and exorcised their demons, then the people could not have been completely forgiven of their sins. The three and a half years that Jesus did His work on earth completed only half of His redemptive work; then by being nailed to the cross and becoming the likeness of sinful flesh, by being handed over to the evil one, He completed the work of crucifixion and mastered mankind’s destiny. Only after He was delivered into Satan’s hands was mankind redeemed. For thirty-three and a half years He suffered on earth, was ridiculed, slandered, and forsaken, was even left with no place to lay His head, no resting place; then He was crucified, His whole being—an immaculate and innocent body—being nailed to the cross, and underwent all manner of suffering. Those in power mocked Him and whipped Him, and the soldiers even spat in His face; yet He remained silent and endured until the end, submitting unconditionally to the point of death, whereupon He redeemed all of humanity and thereby was permitted to rest. The work of Jesus represents only the Age of Grace; it does not represent the Age of Law and is no substitute for the work of the last days. This is the essence of Jesus’ work in the Age of Grace, the second age of mankind—the Age of Redemption (“The Truth Concerning the Work in the Age of Redemption” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
In the Age of Grace, Jesus came to redeem the whole fallen mankind (not only the Israelites). He showed mercy and lovingkindness to man. The Jesus that man saw in the Age of Grace was filled with lovingkindness and was always loving, for He had come to deliver man from sin. He could forgive man their sins until His crucifixion truly delivered mankind from sin. During that time, God appeared before man in mercy and lovingkindness; that is, He became a sin offering for man and was crucified for the sins of man so that they may forever be forgiven. He was merciful, compassionate, enduring and loving. And all those who followed Jesus in the Age of Grace also sought to be enduring and loving in all things. They endured all suffering, and never fought back even if beaten, cursed or stoned (“The Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of the Incarnation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“Jesus” is Emmanuel, and it means the sin offering that is full of love, full of compassion, and redeems man. He did the work of the Age of Grace, and represents the Age of Grace, and can only represent one part of the management plan. … Only Jesus is the Redeemer of mankind. He is the sin offering that redeemed mankind from sin. Which is to say, the name of Jesus came from the Age of Grace, and existed because of the work of redemption in the Age of Grace. The name of Jesus existed to allow the people of the Age of Grace to be reborn and saved, and is a particular name for the redemption of the whole of mankind. And so the name Jesus represents the work of redemption, and denotes the Age of Grace. … “Jesus” represents the Age of Grace, and is the name of the God of all those who were redeemed during the Age of Grace (“The Savior Has Already Returned Upon a ‘White Cloud’” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The first time that God became flesh was through conception by the Holy Spirit, and it was related to the work He intended to do. Jesus’ name marked the start of the Age of Grace. When Jesus began to perform His ministry, the Holy Spirit began to testify to the name of Jesus, and the name of Jehovah was no longer spoken of, and instead the Holy Spirit began the new work principally under the name of Jesus. The testimony of those who believed in Him was borne for Jesus Christ, and the work they did was also for Jesus Christ. The conclusion of the Old Testament Age of Law meant that the work principally conducted under the name of Jehovah had come to an end. After this, the name of God was no longer Jehovah; instead He was called Jesus, and from here on the Holy Spirit began the work principally under the name of Jesus (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Jesus’ utterances and work at the time did not hold to doctrine, and He did not carry out His work according to the work of the law of the Old Testament. It was according to the work that should be done in the Age of Grace. He labored according to the work that He had brought forth, according to His own plan, and according to His ministry; He did not work according to the law of the Old Testament. Nothing that He did was according to the law of the Old Testament, and He did not come to work to fulfill the words of the prophets. Each stage of God’s work was not expressly in order to fulfill the predictions of the ancient prophets, and He did not come to abide by doctrine or deliberately realize the predictions of the ancient prophets. Yet His actions did not disrupt the predictions of the ancient prophets, nor did they disturb the work that He had previously done. The salient point of His work was not abiding by any doctrine, and doing the work that He Himself should do. He was not a prophet or a seer, but a doer, who actually came to do the work He was supposed to do, and came to open His new era and carry out His new work (“Concerning Appellations and Identity” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
There could only be a new age when Jesus came to do new work, launched a new age, and broke through the work that had previously been done in Israel, and did not conduct His work according to the work done by Jehovah in Israel, did not abide by His old rules, and did not follow any regulations, and did the new work that He should do. God Himself comes to begin an age, and God Himself comes to bring the age to an end. Man is incapable of doing the work of beginning an age and concluding the age. If Jesus did not bring the work of Jehovah to an end, then that proves that He was merely a man, and did not represent God. Precisely because Jesus came and concluded the work of Jehovah, followed on from the work of Jehovah by beginning His own work, new work, it proves that this was a new age, and that Jesus was God Himself (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
In the work of the Age of Grace, Jesus was the God who saved man. What He had and was was grace, love, compassion, forbearance, patience, humility, care, and tolerance, and so much of the work that He did was the redemption of man. And as for His disposition, it was one of compassion and love, and because He was compassionate and loving, He had to be nailed to the cross for man, in order to show that God loved man as Himself, to the extent that He sacrificed Himself in His entirety (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
During His first incarnation, it was necessary for God to heal the sick and cast out demons because His work was to redeem. In order to redeem the entire human race, He needed to be compassionate and forgiving. The work that He did before He was crucified was healing the sick and casting out demons, which presaged His salvation of man from sin and filth. Because it was the Age of Grace, it was necessary for Him to heal the sick, thereby showing signs and wonders, which were representative of grace in that age; for the Age of Grace centered around the bestowal of grace, symbolized by peace, joy, and material blessings, all tokens of people’s faith in Jesus (“The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
At the time Jesus’ work was the redemption of all mankind. The sins of all who believed in Him were forgiven; as long as you believed in Him, He would redeem you; if you believed in Him, you were no longer a sinner, you were relieved of your sins. This is what it meant to be saved, and to be justified by faith. Yet in those who believed, there remained that which was rebellious and opposed God, and which still had to be slowly removed. Salvation did not mean man had been completely gained by Jesus, but that man was no longer of sin, that he had been forgiven his sins: Provided you believed, you would never more be of sin (“The Vision of God’s Work (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
IV. The Necessary Knowledge of God’s Work in the Age of Grace
If we are able to earnestly ponder Almighty God’s words that reveal the significance and essence of God’s work in the Age of Grace, we will be entirely able to recognize that the Lord Jesus’ work in the Age of Grace was the work of redemption, and it was the work of atonement for corrupt mankind. The Lord Jesus’ words and work in the Age of Grace all centered around the work of redemption, and it was all to have people accept Jesus as their Savior, come in front of God to acknowledge all of their sins, gain God’s forgiveness, and be able to rely upon God’s grace to live in front of Him. It was all to have people be able to enjoy all the grace and blessings bestowed upon them by God after turning toward Him, to recognize that He is a God of mercy and love, to frequently pray to Him, worship Him to live in the grace and blessings bestowed by Him. It was all to have people spread the gospel and bear witness to God’s salvation after recognizing that Jesus Christ is the Savior, and be able to inherit Jesus’ promise and know how to prepare to gain salvation of the last days. That is enough to make people see that what the Lord Jesus did in the Age of Grace was entirely the work of redeeming mankind. The Lord Jesus being nailed to the cross and becoming a sin offering is closely linked to God’s work in the Age of Law. In the Age of Law, the Israelites knew God’s leadership and knew how to follow His laws and commandments, but because of humanity’s corruption, they still frequently violated the laws and commandments, sinning against and offending God. This made people realize what a sin is, and what committing a sin is, know what sins people commit and how to make a sacrifice to obtain God’s forgiveness after having sinned. From this, we can see that the primary outcome achieved from God’s laws and commandments was having people know what a sin is, and how they should make sacrifices after having sinned so that they can be forgiven by God. That is why the Lord Jesus came in the Age of Grace to complete the work of atonement for mankind. This really is very meaningful. In the Age of Law, offering sacrifices, burnt offerings, and peace offerings only resolved a single sin, and provided one pardon, but in the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus was an eternal, thorough sin offering, and at one time forgave mankind’s sins for all of eternity. This allowed people to see how great God’s love for mankind is, and that His disposition not only includes righteousness, majesty, and wrath, but it also includes mercy and love, and in particular that the grace He bestows upon man is vast and plentiful. Once people’s sins have been forgiven, they can enjoy all of His grace as before. It can be seen that His love for mankind is true and His grace is truly great and immeasurable. Not only was the Lord Jesus a sin offering for corrupt humanity and with that one act He eternally forgave mankind’s sins, but He taught people many truths of the Age of Grace to have them love each other, have tolerance for each other, to forgive others seventy times seven times, as well as to forgive others for eternity and to pray for their enemies, and to love others as themselves. Not only did He not abolish the laws and commandments, but He fulfilled the work of the Age of Law, so that all those who accepted the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption could properly assemble and pray to God, worship God, spread the gospel and bear witness to God—that is bearing witness. It is clear that God’s work in the Age of Grace was entirely built on the foundation of His work in the Age of Law. The Lord Jesus truly became a sin offering and achieved the work of redeeming mankind, and in one action eternally forgave all of corrupt mankind’s sins of resisting God, qualifying them to come in front of God, pray to Him, and worship Him. However, the Lord Jesus being a sin offering is not the same as completely saving mankind and completing God’s management plan. There are many people in the Christian religion who believe that the Lord Jesus saying “It is finished” on the cross meant that He had already completed God’s work of saving mankind. This is incorrect—it is nothing more than a human notion and imagination which shows that people don’t have an iota of understanding of God’s work. If Jesus’ work of redemption had already completely saved mankind, then religious people today would not be constantly praying and admitting their sins, and the major denominations would not be as depressed and desolate as they currently are. The Lord Jesus also certainly would not say “I come quickly.” Only the work of judgment and chastisement in the last days done by Almighty God, the returned Jesus, is the complete work of saving mankind. Through judgment and chastisement, pruning and dealing, and trials and refinement, Almighty God is resolving the issue of mankind’s corruption so that they can thoroughly cast off the bonds and constraints of Satan’s influence, and become people who obey and worship God because they truly know Him. The facts are enough to demonstrate that the Lord Jesus’ work of redemption was just paving the way for God to completely save mankind in the last days, and only by accepting His work in the last days can people achieve complete salvation. This is an utterly indisputable fact.
The Lord Jesus’ work of redemption rapidly expanded the scope of God’s work in Israel, and extended it completely to the Gentiles’ world and to the ends of the earth. This is how God’s work expanded from Israel to the entire world in the Age of Grace, and many people in every country and every region came in front of God, prayed to Him, and worshiped Him. His name has spread to every country and every region. It is clear from this that the redemption work had already completed God’s management plan to save mankind halfway while also paving the way for God’s work in the last days.
If the substantive significance of God’s work in the Age of Grace is to be summed up in one sentence, it will be that God incarnate made Himself a sin offering for corrupt humanity in order to redeem mankind. The substantive significance of the work of the Age of Grace that is most prominent is that of “redemption.”
V. Only God’s Judgment and Chastisement in the Last Days Is His Critical, Decisive Work for Saving Mankind
In doing the work of judgment and chastisement of the last days, Almighty God has uttered millions of words, and a few passages have been excerpted below from what Almighty God has revealed of the significance of His judgment and chastisement in the last days. If people are able to earnestly ponder these words, they can have some understanding and knowledge of His work in the last days.
Jesus came into the world of man, He brought the Age of Grace and ended the Age of Law. During the last days, God once more became flesh, and when He became flesh this time, He ended the Age of Grace and brought the Age of Kingdom. All those who accept the second incarnation of God will be led into the Age of Kingdom, and be able to personally accept the guidance of God. … Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to take on the sins of man as the sin offering, but also required God to do greater work to completely rid man of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan. And so, after man was forgiven his sins, God has returned to flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment, and this work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and shall gain the truth, the way, and the life (“Preface” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Compared to previous ages, the work of God during the Age of Kingdom is more practical, more directed at man’s substance and changes in his disposition, and more able to bear testimony to God Himself for all those that follow Him. In other words, during the Age of Kingdom, as He works, God shows more of Himself to man than at any time in the past, which means that the visions that should be known by man are higher than in any previous age. Because God’s work among man has entered unprecedented territory, the visions known by man during the Age of Kingdom are the highest among all of the management work (“God’s Work and Man’s Practice” 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 (“Knowing God’s Work Today” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
When God becomes flesh this time, His work is to express His disposition, primarily through chastisement and judgment. Using this as the foundation, He brings more truth to man, shows more ways of practice, and so achieves His objective of conquering man and saving man from his corrupt disposition. This is what lies behind the work of God in the Age of Kingdom (“Preface” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
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 it 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. If you do not regard these truths with importance and constantly think of avoiding them or of finding a new way out apart from them, then I say you are a grievous sinner. If you have faith in God, yet seek not the truth or the will of God, nor do you love the way that brings you closer to God, then I say that you are one who is trying to evade judgment, and that you are a puppet and traitor who flees from the great white throne. God will not spare any of the rebellious that escape from under His eyes. Such men shall receive even more severe punishment (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Through this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt substance within him, and he will be able to completely change and become clean. Only in this way can man be worthy to return before the throne of God. All the work done this day is so that man can be made clean and be changed; through judgment and chastisement by the word, as well as refinement, man can cast away his corruption and be made pure. Rather than deeming this stage of work to be that of salvation, it would be more apt to say it is the work of purification. In truth, this stage is that of conquest as well as the second stage of salvation. Man is gained by God through judgment and chastisement by the word; through the use of the word to refine, judge and disclose, all of the impurities, notions, motives, and individual hopes within man’s heart are completely revealed (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God does the work of judgment and chastisement so that man may know Him, and for the sake of His testimony. Without His judgment of man’s corrupt disposition, man would not know His righteous disposition that allows no offense, and could not turn his old knowledge of God into a new one. For the sake of His testimony, and for the sake of His management, He makes His entirety public, thus enabling man to achieve the knowledge of God, and change his disposition, and bear resounding testimony to God through God’s public appearance. Change is achieved in the disposition of man through different kinds of God’s work; without such changes in man’s disposition, man would be unable to bear testimony to God, and could not be after God’s heart. Changes in man’s disposition signify that man has freed himself from Satan’s bondage, has freed himself from the influence of darkness, and has truly become a model and specimen of God’s work, has truly become a witness of God and someone who is after God’s heart. Today, God incarnate has come to do His work on earth, and He requires that man achieve knowledge of Him, obedience to Him, testimony to Him—know His practical and normal work, obey all of His words and work which do not accord with the conceptions of man, and bear testimony to all His work of saving man, and all the deeds He does that conquer man. Those who bear testimony to God must have a knowledge of God; only this kind of testimony is accurate, and real, and only this kind of testimony can shame Satan. God uses those who have come to know Him through undergoing His judgment and chastisement, dealing and pruning, to bear testimony to Him. He uses those who have been corrupted by Satan to bear testimony to Him, and so too does He use those whose disposition has changed, and who have thus gained His blessings, to bear testimony to Him. He does not need man to praise Him in word only, nor does He need the praise and testimony of the ilk of Satan, who have not been saved by Him. Only those who know God are qualified to bear testimony to God, and only those whose disposition has changed are qualified to bear testimony to God, and God will not allow man to intentionally bring shame upon His name (“Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
You ought to know that perfecting men, completing men, and gaining men have brought nothing but swords and smiting for their flesh, and brought endless suffering, the burning of fire, merciless judgment, chastisement, and curse, as well as boundless trials. Such is the inside story and truth of the work of managing man. However, all these things are aimed against man’s flesh, and all spearheads of hostility are mercilessly directed toward man’s flesh (for man was originally innocent). All of that is for the sake of His glory and testimony, and for His management. This is because His work is not solely for the sake of mankind, but it is for the entire plan and to fulfill His original will when He created mankind. Therefore, perhaps ninety percent of what people experience is sufferings and trials of fire, but there are very few or even no sweet and happy days which man’s flesh has yearned for, and they are even more unable to enjoy happy moments in the flesh spending beautiful evenings with God. The flesh is filthy, so what man’s flesh sees or enjoys is nothing but God’s chastisement which is not favored by man, and is as if it were lacking normal reason. This is because He will manifest His righteous disposition which is not favored by man, does not tolerate man’s offenses, and loathes enemies. God openly reveals all of His disposition through any means necessary, thereby concluding the work of His six-thousand-year battle with Satan—the work of the salvation of all of mankind and the destruction of the old Satan! (“The Purpose of Managing Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
You should see that the will and the work of God are not as simple as the creation of the heavens and earth and all things. For the work of today is to transform those who have been corrupted, who have grown extremely numb, and to purify those who were created then worked on by Satan, not to create Adam or Eve, much less to make the light or create all manner of plants and animals. His work now is to make pure all that has been corrupted by Satan so that they may be regained and become His possession and become His glory. Such work is not as simple as man imagines the creation of the heavens and earth and all things to be, and it is not akin to the work of cursing Satan to the bottomless pit as man imagines. Rather, it is to transform man, to turn that which is negative into the positive and to take into His possession that which does not belong to Him. This is the inside story of this stage of God’s work. You must realize it, and should not oversimplify matters. The work of God is unlike any ordinary work. Its marvel cannot be conceived by the mind of man, and its wisdom cannot be attained by such. God is not creating all things, and He is not destroying them. Rather, He is changing all of His creation and purifying all things that have been defiled by Satan. Therefore, God shall commence work of great magnitude, and this is the total significance of the work of God. From these words, do you believe that the work of God is so simple? (“Is the Work of God So Simple as Man Imagines?” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
That you are able to accept the judgment, chastisement, smiting, and refinement of God’s words, and, moreover, are able to accept God’s commissions, was predestined by God at the beginning of time, and thus you must not be too distressed when you are chastised. No one can take away the work that has been done in you, and the blessings that have been bestowed within you, and no one can take away all that has been given to you. People of religion brook no comparison with you. You are not possessed of great expertise in the Bible, and are not equipped with religious theory, but because God has worked within you, you have gained more than anyone throughout the ages—and so this is your greatest blessing. Because of this, you must be even more dedicated to God, and even more loyal to God. Because God raises you up, you must bolster your efforts, and must ready your stature to accept the commissions of God. You must stand firm in the place God has given you, pursue becoming one of the people of God, accept the training of the kingdom, be gained by God and ultimately become a glorious testament to God. How many of these resolves do you possess? If you are possessed of such resolves, then ultimately you are sure to be gained by God, and will become a glorious testament to God. You should understand that the principal commission is being gained by God and becoming a glorious testament to God. This is the will of God (“Know the Newest Work of God and Follow the Footsteps of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
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 (“All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
In the Age of Kingdom, God uses the word to usher in a new age, to change the means of His work, and to do the work for the entire age. This is the principle by which God works in the Age of Word. He became flesh to speak from different perspectives, enabling man to truly see God, who is the Word appearing in the flesh, and His wisdom and wonder. Such work is done to better achieve the goals of conquering man, perfecting man, and eliminating man. This is the true meaning of using the word to work in the Age of Word (“The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
During the last days God has come chiefly in order to speak His words. He speaks from the perspective of the Spirit, from the perspective of man, and from the perspective of the third person; He speaks in different ways, using one way for a period of time, and uses the ways of speaking to change the conceptions of man and remove the image of the vague God from man’s heart. This is the main work done by God (“Knowing God’s Work Today” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God is determined to make man complete. Whichever perspective from which He speaks, it is all for the sake of perfecting these people (“The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God of the last days principally uses the word to make man perfect. He does not use signs and wonders to oppress man, or convince man; this cannot make plain the power of God. If God only showed signs and wonders, then it would be impossible to make plain the reality of God, and thus impossible to make man perfect. God does not make man perfect by signs and wonders, but uses the word to water and shepherd man, after which is achieved the complete obedience of man and man’s knowledge of God. This is the aim of the work He does and the words He speaks (“All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Throughout the Age of Kingdom, God uses the word to do His work and achieve the results of His work; He does not work wonders or perform miracles; He merely does His work through the word. Because of the word, man is nourished and supplied; because of the word, man gains knowledge and true experience (“The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Though the word “word” is simple and ordinary, the word from the mouth of God become flesh shakes the entire universe; His word transforms the heart of man, the notions and the old disposition of man, and the old appearance of the entire world (“The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
In the work of the last days, the word is mightier than the manifestation of signs and wonders, and the authority of the word surpasses that of signs and wonders. The word reveals all the corrupt dispositions in the heart of man. You are unable to recognize them on your own. When they are revealed to you through the word, you will naturally come to the realization; you will not be able to deny them, and you will be utterly convinced. Is this not the authority of the word? This is the result achieved by the present work of the word (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
During the Age of Kingdom, God principally uses the word to conquer all people. In the future, His word will also come upon every religion, group, nation and denomination; God uses the word to conquer, to make all men see that His word carries authority and might—and so today, you face only the word of God (“All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God uses the word to govern man; you feel good if you eat and drink of the word of God, and if you do not, you will have no way to follow. The word of God becomes the food of man and the force that drives him. The Bible said that “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.” This is the work that God will accomplish this day. He will realize this truth in you (“The Age of Kingdom Is the Age of Word” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God has come to earth principally to speak His words; what you engage with is the word of God, what you see is the word of God, what you hear is the word of God, what you abide by is the word of God, what you experience is the word of God, and this incarnation of God principally uses the word to make man perfect (“All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Today, God has become flesh primarily in order to complete the work of “the Word appearing in the flesh,” to use the word to make man perfect, and make man accept the dealing of the word and the refinement of the word. In His words He causes you to gain provision and gain life; in His words, you see His work and deeds (“All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God does not use the method of showing signs and wonders to make man perfect—He uses words, and uses many different methods of work to make man perfect. Whether it be the refinement, dealing, pruning, or provision of words, God speaks from many different perspectives to make man perfect, and to give man a greater knowledge of the work, wisdom and wondrousness of God (“All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
In this final stage of work, results are achieved through the word. Through the word, man comes to understand many mysteries and God’s work throughout generations past; through the word, man is enlightened by the Holy Spirit; through the word, man comes to understand the mysteries never before unraveled by generations past, as well as the work of prophets and apostles of times past, and the principles by which they worked; through the word, man also comes to know the disposition of God Himself, as well as the rebelliousness and resistance of man, and comes to know their own substance. Through these steps of work and all words spoken, man comes to know the work of the Spirit, the work of God’s incarnate flesh, and moreover, His entire disposition. Your knowledge of God’s management work over six thousand years was also gained through the word. Was not your knowledge of your former notions and success in putting them aside also attained through the word? (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The work in the last days lays bare the work of Jehovah and Jesus and all mysteries not understood by man. This is done to reveal the destination and end of mankind and conclude all work of salvation among mankind. This stage of work in the last days brings everything to a close. All mysteries not understood by man must be unraveled to allow man to gain insight into such and have a clear understanding in their hearts. Only then can man be divided according to their kinds (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
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 (“The Vision of God’s Work (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God will use words to conquer the universe. He will do this not by His incarnate flesh, but through using the utterances from the mouth of God become flesh to conquer all people in the entire universe; only this is the Word become flesh, and only this is the appearance of the Word in the flesh. Perhaps, to people, it appears as if God hasn’t done much work—but God has but to utter His words for people to be thoroughly convinced, and for them to be overawed. Without facts, people shout and scream; with the words of God, they fall silent. God will surely accomplish this fact, for this is God’s long-established plan: accomplishing the fact of the Word’s arrival on earth (“The Millennial Kingdom Has Arrived” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The work of God in the flesh does not involve great fanfare, nor is it shrouded in mystery. It is real and actual, and it is work in which one and one equals two. It is not hidden from anyone, nor does it deceive anyone. What people see are real and genuine things, and what man gains is real truth and knowledge. When the work ends, man shall have a new knowledge of Him, and those who truly seek God shall no longer have any conceptions of Him. This is not just the effect of His work on Chinese people, but also represents the effect of His work in conquering the whole of mankind, for nothing is more beneficial to the work of conquering the whole of mankind than this flesh, and the work of this flesh, and everything of this flesh. They are beneficial to His work today, and beneficial to His work in the future. This flesh shall conquer the whole of mankind and shall gain the whole of mankind. There is no better work through which the whole of mankind shall behold God, and obey God, and know God (“Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Become Flesh” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The greatest significance of the work of words is allowing people to put the truth into practice after having understood the truth, achieve changes in their disposition, and achieve the knowledge of themselves and the work of God. Only the means of working through speaking can communicate the relationship between God and man, only words can explain the truth. Working in this way is the best means of conquering man; apart from the utterance of words, no other method is capable of giving man a clearer understanding of the truth and the work of God, and so in His final stage of work, God speaks to man in order to open up to man all the truths and mysteries that they do not understand, allowing them to gain the true way and the life from God, and thus satisfy the will of God (“You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will for the Salvation of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
In truth, the work being done now is to have people forsake Satan, forsake their old ancestor. All judgments by the word aim to expose humanity’s corrupt disposition and to enable people to understand the essence of life. These repeated judgments all pierce people’s hearts. Every judgment directly impacts their fate and is meant to wound their hearts so that they can let go of all those things and thereby come to know life, know this filthy world, and also know God’s wisdom and almightiness and know this Satan-corrupted mankind. The more of this kind of chastisement and judgment, the more man’s heart can be wounded and the more his spirit can be awakened. Awakening the spirits of these extremely corrupted and most deeply deceived of people is the goal of this kind of judgment (“Only the Perfected Can Live a Meaningful Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Right now, God truly wants to perfect you, and this is not a manner of speaking. In the future, regardless of what trials befall you, what events take place, or what disasters befall you, God wants to perfect you—this is a definite and undoubted fact. From where can this be seen? From the fact that the word of God through the ages and generations has never attained such a great height as it has today—it has entered the highest realm, and the work of the Holy Spirit among all men today is unprecedented (“On Everyone Performing Their Function” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).Man will be fully made complete in the Age of Kingdom. After the work of conquest, man will be subjected to refinement and tribulation. Those who can overcome and stand testimony during this tribulation are the ones who will ultimately be made complete; they are the overcomers. During this tribulation, man is required to accept this refinement, and this refinement is the last instance of God’s work. It is the last time that man will be refined prior to the conclusion of all the work of God’s management, and all those who follow God must accept this final test, must accept this last refinement (“God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God has not come to kill, or destroy, but to judge, curse, chastise, and save. Prior to the conclusion of His 6,000-year management plan—before He makes plain the end of each category of man—God’s work on earth is for the sake of salvation, it is all in order to make those who love Him totally complete, and bring them into submission to His dominion. No matter how God saves people, it is all done by making them break away from their old satanic nature; that is, He saves them by making them seek life. If they do not seek life then they will have no way to accept God’s salvation (“You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will for the Salvation of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
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 all his deviation 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 (“The Vision of God’s Work (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
This stage of work will create a group of overcomers, and after He has made this group of overcomers, they will be able to testify to His deeds, they will be able to live out reality, and actually satisfy Him and be loyal to Him unto death, and in this way God will be glorified (“A Brief Talk About ‘The Millennial Kingdom Has Arrived’” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Each stage of God’s work goes deeper than the last, and in each stage the requirements of man are more profound than the last, and in this way, God’s entire management gradually takes shape. It is precisely because the requirements of man are ever higher that man’s disposition comes ever closer to the standards required by God, and it is only then that the whole of mankind gradually departs from the influence of Satan until, when God’s work comes to a complete end, the whole of mankind will have been saved from the influence of Satan. When that time comes, the work of God will have reached its end, and man’s cooperation with God in order to achieve changes in his disposition will be no more, and the whole of mankind will live in the light of God, and from then on, there will be no rebelliousness or opposition to God (“God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
After the conquering work comes the work of rewarding good and punishing evil: People who obey completely, meaning the thoroughly conquered, will be placed in the next step of spreading the work to the entire universe; the unconquered will be placed in darkness and will meet with calamity. Thus, man will be classified according to kind, the evildoers grouped with evil, never again to see the sunlight, and the righteous grouped with good, to receive light and live forever in the light. The end is near for all things, man’s end has been clearly shown to his eyes, and all things will be classified according to kind. How then can people escape suffering this classifying? (“The Inside Truth of the Conquering Work (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
When I created the world, I fashioned all things according to their kind, making everything with a visible form gather together with its kind. As the end of My management plan draws near, I will restore the former state of creation, I will restore everything to the way it originally was, profoundly changing everything, so that everything will return into the bosom of My plan. The time has come! (“The Twenty-sixth Utterance”of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The last days have already arrived. All things will be classed according to their kind, and will be divided into different categories based on their nature. This is the time when God reveals people’s outcome and their destination. If people do not undergo chastisement and judgment, then there will be no way of revealing their disobedience and unrighteousness. Only through chastisement and judgment can the end of all things be revealed. Man only shows his true colors when he is chastised and judged. Evil shall return to evil, good shall return to good, and people shall be classified according to their kind. Through chastisement and judgment, the end of all things will be revealed, so that the evil will be punished and the good will be rewarded, and all people will become subject under the dominion of God. All the work must be achieved through righteous chastisement and judgment. Because man’s corruption has reached its peak and his disobedience has been too serious, only God’s righteous disposition, which is principally one of chastisement and judgment and is revealed during the last days, can fully transform and complete man. Only this disposition can expose evil and thus severely punish all the unrighteous. (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The work of the last days is to separate all according to their kind, to conclude the management plan of God, for the time is near and the day of God has come. God brings all who have entered His kingdom, that is, all those who have been loyal to Him to the end, into the age of God Himself. However, until the coming of the age of God Himself, the work that God shall do is not to observe the deeds of man or to inquire into the life of man, but to judge his rebellion, for God shall purify all those who come before His throne. All those who have followed the footsteps of God to this day are those who have come before the throne of God, and this being so, every single person who accepts God’s work in its final phase is the object of God’s purification. In other words, everyone who accepts God’s work in its final phase is the object of God’s judgment (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Do you understand now what is judgment and what is truth? If you have understood, then I exhort you to submit obediently to being judged, otherwise you shall never have the opportunity to be commended by God or to be brought by Him into His kingdom. Those who only accept judgment but can never be purified, that is, those who flee in the midst of the work of judgment, shall forever be detested and rejected by God. Their sins are more numerous, and more grievous, than those of the Pharisees, for they have betrayed God and are rebels against God. Such men who are not worthy even to do service shall receive more severe punishment, a punishment that is moreover everlasting. God shall not spare any traitor who once evinced loyalty with words but then betrayed Him. Men like these shall receive retribution through punishment of the spirit, soul, and body. Is this not precisely a revelation of the righteous disposition of God? Is this not God’s purpose in judging man, and revealing him? God consigns all those who perform all kinds of wicked deeds during the time of judgment to a place infested with evil spirits, letting these evil spirits destroy their fleshly bodies at will. Their bodies give off the stench of corpses, and such is their fitting retribution. God writes down in their record books each and every one of the sins of those disloyal false believers, false apostles, and false workers; then, when the time is right, He casts them amidst the unclean spirits, letting these unclean spirits defile their entire bodies at will, so that they may never be reincarnated and never again see the light. Those hypocrites who did service at one time but are unable to remain loyal to the end are numbered by God among the wicked, so that they walk in the counsel of the wicked and become part of their disorderly rabble; in the end, God shall annihilate them. God casts aside and takes no notice of those who have never been loyal to Christ or dedicated any effort, and shall annihilate them all in the change of ages. They shall no longer exist on earth, much less gain passage into the kingdom of God. Those who have never been sincere to God but are forced by circumstance into dealing with Him perfunctorily are numbered among those who do service for His people. Only a small number of such men can survive, while the majority shall perish along with those who are not qualified even to do service. Finally, God shall bring into His kingdom all those who are of the same mind as God, the people and the sons of God as well as those predestined by God to be priests. Such is the distillate obtained by God through His work. As for those who are unable to fall into any of the categories set by God, they shall be numbered among the unbelievers. And you can surely imagine what their outcome shall be. I have already said to you all that I should say; the road that you choose shall be your decision to make. What you should understand is this: The work of God never waits for any that cannot keep pace with Him, and the righteous disposition of God shows no mercy to any man. (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Those who are able to stand firm during God’s work of judgment and chastisement during the last days—that is, during the final work of cleansing—will be those who will enter into the final rest with God; therefore, those who enter into rest will all have broken free of Satan’s influence and been obtained by God only after having undergone His final cleansing work. These people who have been ultimately obtained by God will enter into the final rest. The essence of God’s work of chastisement and judgment is to cleanse humanity, and it is for the day of final rest. Otherwise, the whole of humanity will not be able to follow their own kind or enter into rest. This work is humanity’s only path to enter into rest. (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Since He created man, He leads him; since He saves man, He will thoroughly save him, and will completely gain him; since He leads man, He will bring him to the proper destination; and since He created and manages man, He must take responsibility for man’s fate and prospects. It is this which is the work done by the Creator. Though the work of conquest is achieved by purging man of his prospects, man must ultimately be brought into the proper destination prepared for him by God (“Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
He who is incapable of creating the world will be incapable of bringing it to an end, whereas He who created the world will surely bring it to an end, and so if one is unable to bring the age to an end and is merely to help man cultivate his mind, then he will surely not be God, and will surely not be the Lord of mankind. He will be incapable of doing such great work; there is only one who can carry out such work, and all that are unable to do this work are surely the enemies other than God. If they are cults, then they are incompatible with God, and if they are incompatible with God, then they are the enemies of God (“Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
When the nations and the peoples of the world all return before My throne, I will thereupon take all the bounty of heaven and confer it upon the human world, so that, thanks to Me, it will brim with matchless bounty. But so long as the old world continues to exist, I will hurl forth My rage upon its nations, openly promulgating My administrative decrees throughout the universe, and visit chastisement on whomever violates them: As I turn My face to the universe to speak, all mankind hears My voice, and thereupon sees all the works I have wrought throughout the universe. Those who go contrary to My will, that is to say, who oppose Me with the deeds of man, will fall down under My chastisement. I will take the multitudinous stars in the heavens and make them anew, and thanks to Me the sun and the moon will be renewed—the skies will no longer be as they were; the myriad things on the earth will be renewed. All will become complete through My words. The many nations within the universe will be partitioned afresh and replaced by My nation, so that the nations upon the earth will disappear forever and become a nation that worships Me; all the nations of the earth will be destroyed, and will cease to exist. Of the human beings within the universe, all those belonging to the devil will be exterminated; all who worship Satan will be laid low by My burning fire—that is, except for those now within the stream, the rest will be turned to ashes. When I chastise the many peoples, those in the religious world will, in differing degrees, return to My kingdom, conquered by My works, because they will have seen the advent of the Holy One riding on a white cloud. All of humanity will follow their own kind, and will receive chastisements varying with what they have done. Those who have stood against Me will all perish; as for those whose deeds on the earth have not involved Me, they will, because of how they have acquitted themselves, continue to exist on the earth under the governance of My sons and My people. I will reveal Myself to the myriad peoples and the myriad nations, sounding forth with My own voice upon the earth to proclaim the completion of My great work for all mankind to see with their own eyes (“The Twenty-sixth Utterance” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
His ultimate work of punishing evil and rewarding good is entirely done in order to utterly purify all of humanity, so that He may bring an entirely holy humanity into eternal rest. This stage of His work is His most crucial work. It is the final stage of the whole of His management work. If God did not destroy the wicked but rather let them remain, then the whole of humanity would still not be able to enter into rest, and God would not be able to bring all of humanity into a better realm. This kind of work would not be completely finished. When He finishes His work, the whole of humanity will be entirely holy. Only in this manner can God peacefully live in rest (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
My work lasts for but six thousand years, and I promised that the evil one’s control over the whole of mankind would also be for no more than six thousand years. And so, the time is up. I will neither continue nor delay any longer: During the last days I will vanquish Satan, I will take back all My glory, and I will reclaim all the souls that belong to Me on earth so that these distressed souls may escape from the sea of suffering, and thus will be concluded My entire work on earth. From this day onward, never again will I become flesh on earth, and never again will My all-controlling Spirit work upon the earth. I will do but one thing on earth: I will remake mankind, a mankind that is holy, and which is My faithful city on earth (“None Who Are of the Flesh Can Escape the Day of Wrath” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The kingdom He wishes to establish is His own kingdom. The humanity He wishes for is one that worships Him, one that completely obeys Him and has His glory. If He does not save corrupt humanity, the meaning of His creation of man will come to nothing; He will have no more authority among man, and His kingdom will no longer be able to exist upon the earth. If He does not destroy those enemies who are disobedient to Him, He will be unable to obtain His complete glory, nor will He be able to establish His kingdom upon the earth. These are the symbols of the completion of His work and the symbols of the completion of His great accomplishment: to utterly destroy those among humanity who are disobedient to Him, and to bring those who have been made complete into rest (“God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Following the completion of My words, the kingdom is gradually formed on earth and man is gradually returned to normality, and thus there is established on earth the kingdom in My heart. In the kingdom, all the people of God recover the life of normal man. Gone is the frosty winter, replaced by a world of cities of spring, where it is spring all year round. No longer are people faced with the gloomy, miserable world of man, no longer do they endure the cold chill of the world of man. People do not fight with each other, countries do not go to war against each other, no longer is there carnage and the blood that flows from carnage; all lands are filled with happiness, and everywhere teems with warmth between men (“The Twentieth Utterance” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
When I formally take My power and reign as King in the kingdom, all My people shall over time be made complete by Me. When all the nations of the world are disrupted, that is precisely when My kingdom will be established and shaped and also when I will be transfigured and turn to the entire universe. At that time, all people shall see My glorious face, see My true countenance (“The Fourteenth Utterance” of God’s Utterances to the Entire Universe in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
VI. The Necessary Understanding of God’s Work of Judgment and Chastisement in the Last Days
After having read the words about the significance of Almighty God’s work in the last days, if you can earnestly ponder them, you will certainly be able to gain some knowledge and understanding of His work in the last days. If you can then read the entire book, The Word Appears in the Flesh, that is expressed by Almighty God during His work in the last days and experience several years of His work in the last days, you will most certainly be able to truly understand that God’s work in the Age of Kingdom is that of completely saving mankind through judgment and chastisement. Through this, you can gain salvation and be perfected.
To understand God’s work in the last days, you must first be clear on why He is doing the work of judgment and chastisement in the last days. After the Lord Jesus completed the work of redemption in the Age of Grace, all of God’s chosen people could come in front of the Lord Jesus, admit to their sins and repent, and be forgiven. They could also enjoy a lot of grace bestowed upon them by God, but there wasn’t a single person who was able to cast off the constraints and the shackles of their sinful nature after humanity’s corruption by Satan. Everyone continued to sin even after accepting the Lord Jesus as their Savior and being forgiven of their sins. They lived in the repeated cycle of sinning and acknowledging their sins. That is why, even though all those who had been redeemed by the Lord Jesus had been forgiven of their sins and they enjoyed all of the grace bestowed upon them by God, they were completely unable to cast off the constraints and shackles of the satanic nature that leads mankind to sinfulness. That is why all people cry out in pain: “I truly am miserable! What can I do to finally throw off the constraints of my satanic nature and achieve true salvation?” It is clear that corrupt mankind has no way of resolving their own sinful nature, and no one can free themselves of the control of their own satanic sinful nature. They all cannot help but frequently sin and live within sin, which is why although the sins of corrupt humanity have been forgiven, they are unable to live out normal humanity, so how could they possibly live out a true human life? This is the real experience of all of God’s chosen people who accepted God’s work of redemption in the Age of Grace. So the work of judgment and chastisement God incarnate does personally in the last days is the work of thoroughly saving corrupt humanity from their satanic sinful nature and transforming their life disposition. Almighty God expresses all of the truths of judgment and chastisement to completely save mankind. He not only uses the truth in His words to expose and judge the essence of corrupt humanity’s satanic nature and the truth of their corruption, but He also utilizes the methods of pruning and dealing and trials and refinement to resolve and transform people’s satanic disposition. This allows corrupt humanity to truly recognize their own satanic nature and the truth of their corruption, and to genuinely see that corrupt humanity really is full of satanic dispositions such as selfishness and despicableness, deceit and crookedness, greed and evil, and being fed up with the truth. By being pruned and dealt with, and through trials and refinement, people can understand the truth and know the work of God, which makes their views on issues, outlook on life, and values undergo a fundamental transformation, and that will be followed by a change in their life disposition. All of this is the fruit borne by God’s work of judgment in the last days, and the transformation brought about by this is so much greater than what was brought about by the forgiveness of sin after believing in the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace. It is enough to prove that it is only God’s judgment and chastisement in the last days that is the work of completely saving mankind. Aside from this there is no other path for corrupt humanity to fully break free from Satan’s dark influence and genuinely turn toward God, obey Him, and be obtained by Him to achieve full salvation.
Deeply corrupted mankind must undergo God’s judgment and chastisement before they can be saved. This is because people are corrupted so deeply and they are completely taken over by the knowledge and the philosophies of Satan and they are full of satanic dispositions. It is only through the method of judgment and chastisement that God is able to purify and save mankind, which is why in carrying out His work of judgment in the last days, He first expresses the truth to conquer mankind. When God uses the truth to fully conquer corrupt mankind and they are truly convinced, only then will they see His true appearance, and only then will they be able to bow down in front of God and be utterly remorseful. At that time, they will finally see that they truly are people who resist God and because of that they will know their own arrogance and self-conceit, that there is absolutely no place for God in their hearts, they absolutely have not been living out the likeness of a human being, and that they truly have been so deeply, so pitifully corrupted by Satan. It is only after mankind has been conquered by God’s words that they can truly understand the fact and the essential nature of their corruption by Satan, and only then can they genuinely acknowledge that after believing in God within a religion for all those years, they understood no more than some knowledge from the Bible and some letters and doctrines, and that they do not have the reality of the truth at all. They are truly poor, pitiable, blind, and naked. Only at that time can people start to be quiet in front of God, formally accept and obey the judgment and chastisement of His words, and begin to enter the right track of belief in God. This is the first outcome of conquering achieved by God’s judgment and chastisement. It is just like in the Age of Law, when Job was undergoing trials and after hearing the words of God, he was fully conquered. Only if people are conquered by the words of God are they people who acknowledge and accept the truth, and then they can enter the right track of belief in God and be people who are capable of being saved. All those who can still deny and hate the truth and be enemies of God even after hearing many of His words belong to the category of antichrists. There truly is no way for them to be saved, and those people will be the objects of elimination and punishment. Salvation must be built on the foundation of being conquered by God’s words. Just as God has said: “My intent is to completely extinguish and reduce to ruin the evil one of mankind, so that it can no longer rebel against Me, much less have a breath to interrupt or disturb My work. Thus, as far as people are concerned, it means to be conquering” (“What a Real Man Means” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “How exactly is mankind to be conquered? It will be done by using this work of words to fully convince man; by using disclosure, judgment, chastisement, and merciless curse to thoroughly subdue him; and by disclosing man’s rebelliousness and judging his resistance so he can know mankind’s unrighteousness and filth, which will be used to highlight God’s righteous disposition. Mainly, it will be the use of these words that conquers man and fully convinces him” (“The Inside Truth of the Conquering Work (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
These are the preliminary results achieved by God’s work of judgment and chastisement, that is, the results of His work of conquering. God perfecting people is built on the foundation of conquering them, and if those who are conquered are able to pursue the truth and obey all of God’s work of judgment and chastisement, then they have already stepped onto the path of being saved and perfected. Everyone should be clear that corrupt humanity is this arrogant, self-conceited, lawless, and lacking in reason only because they have never been conquered. They are totally lacking in self-knowledge and they have denied and resisted God to this degree of madness, which is why only by undergoing God’s judgment and chastisement can corrupt humanity gain purification and salvation. This is also the only path for corrupt humanity to be saved and perfected.
God’s judgment and chastisement of corrupt humanity fully reveals His righteous disposition, and it brings them a wonderful opportunity to know God. If they do not undergo His judgment and chastisement, they will never be able to know His righteous disposition. Once they have undergone the judgment and chastisement of His righteousness, majesty, and wrath, it is only then that they can feel the truth that His disposition will not tolerate any offenses, and experience for themselves that God truly is able to search people’s innermost parts and keep watch over all of their hearts, that He is well acquainted with people’s corrupt essences and satanic natures, and also understand God’s almightiness and wisdom. Because they can accept God’s judgment and chastisement, they can achieve true knowledge of God’s disposition and essence, thus gaining His salvation and perfection. It’s clear that the process of corrupt humanity being saved is the process of acknowledging God’s appearance, and it is the process of knowing His righteous disposition.
There is a direct relationship between corrupt humanity gaining salvation and being perfected, and God’s righteous disposition that He has revealed in His work in the last days. It is entirely because of knowing God’s righteous disposition and recognizing God’s almightiness and wisdom that God’s chosen people have come to fear God and shun evil, and it is particularly from knowing God’s disposition and what He has and is that they have understood all of the truths that He has expressed. This is why people’s outlooks on things, outlooks on life, and their values have undergone a fundamental transformation, gradually achieving a change in disposition in their lives. This is a fact that no one can deny, and it is just as God said:
People have seen His disposition due to His work of chastisement and judgment, and they therefore revere Him in their hearts. God is meant to be revered and obeyed, because His being and His disposition are not the same as those of a created being, and they are above those of a created being. God is a non-created being, and only He is worthy of reverence and submission; man is not qualified for this (“God’s Work and Man’s Practice” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
My righteousness, majesty and judgment will endure forever and ever. At first, I was loving and merciful, but this is not the disposition of My complete divinity; righteousness, majesty and judgment are just the disposition of Me—the complete God Himself (Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning).
Righteousness is holiness, and is a disposition that is intolerant of offense by man, and all that is filthy and has not changed is the target of God’s disgust. God’s righteous disposition is not law, but administrative decree: It is administrative decree within the kingdom, and this administrative decree is the righteous punishment of anyone who does not possess the truth and has not changed, and there is no margin for salvation (“The Experiences of Peter: His Knowledge of Chastisement and Judgment” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Through what is God’s perfection of man accomplished? Through His righteous disposition. God’s disposition primarily consists of righteousness, wrath, majesty, judgment, and curse, and His perfection of man is primarily through judgment (“Only by Experiencing Painful Trials Can You Know the Loveliness of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Know that today, whether it be righteous judgment or heartless refinement and chastisement, all are for the sake of salvation. Regardless of whether today there is the classification of each according to kind, or the laying bare of the categories of man, all of God’s utterances and work are in order to save those who truly love God. Righteous judgment is in order to purify man, heartless refinement is in order to cleanse man, harsh words or chastening are all in order to purify, and for the sake of salvation (“You Should Put Aside the Blessings of Status and Understand God’s Will for the Salvation of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God has now officially begun to perfect people. In order to be made complete, people must undergo the revelation, judgment, and chastisement of God’s words, and experience the trials and refinement of His words (such as the trial of service-doers). In addition, people must be able to withstand the trial of death. That is, someone who truly carries out God’s will can emit praise from deep in their heart in the midst of God’s judgment, chastisement, and trials, and is able to fully obey God and forsake themselves, thus loving God with a heart of sincerity, single-mindedness, and purity; such is a complete person, and it is also the work that God wants to do, and is what God wants to accomplish (“On the Steps of God’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God of heaven has come to this most filthy land of vice, and has never vented His grievances, or complained about man, but instead quietly accepts the ravages and oppression of man. Never has He hit back at the unreasonable demands of man, never has He made excessive demands of man, and never has He made unreasonable demands of man; He merely does all the work required by man without complaint: teaching, enlightening, reproaching, the refinement of words, reminding, exhorting, consoling, judging, and revealing. Which of His steps has not been for the life of man? Though He has removed the prospects and fate of man, which of the steps carried out by God has not been for the fate of man? Which of them has not been for the sake of man’s survival? Which of them has not been to free man from the suffering and oppression of dark forces that are black as night? Which of them is not for the sake of man? Who can understand God’s heart, which is as a loving mother? Who can comprehend God’s eager heart? (“Work and Entry (9)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God’s true love is His entire disposition, and when God’s entire disposition is shown to you, what does this bring to your flesh? When God’s righteous disposition is shown to you, your flesh will inevitably suffer much pain. If you don’t suffer this pain, then you cannot be made perfect by God, nor will you be able to devote true love to God. If God makes you perfect, He will surely show His entire disposition to you (“Only Loving God Is Truly Believing in God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Though now you are suffering some pain and refinement because of the judgment, this pain is valuable and meaningful. Although chastisement and judgment are refinements and merciless disclosures to man, meant to punish his sins and punish his flesh, none of this work is intended to condemn and extinguish his flesh. The severe disclosures of the word are all for the purpose of leading you to the right path. You have personally experienced so much of this work and, clearly, it has not led you to an evil path! All of it is to enable you to live out a normal humanity; all of it is something your normal humanity can achieve. Every step of the work is done based on your needs, according to your weaknesses, and according to your actual stature, and no unbearable burden is placed on you. Although you are unable to see this clearly now and you feel as if I am being hard on you, although you keep thinking that the reason I chastise and judge you every day and reproach you every day is because I hate you, and although what you receive is chastisement and judgment, in reality it is all love for you, also a great protection for you (“The Inside Truth of the Conquering Work (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
My righteousness, majesty and judgment show no mercy to Satan. But for you, they are to save you, yet you are just incapable of understanding My disposition, nor do you know the principles behind My actions (Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning).
In the end, He will burn away all that is unclean and unrighteous within men in the entire universe, to show them that not only is He a God of mercy, lovingkindness, wisdom, wonder and holiness, but even more, He is a God who judges man. To the evil among all mankind, He is burning, judgment and punishment; to those who are to be perfected, He is tribulation, refinement, and trial, as well as comfort, sustenance, supply of words, dealing, and pruning. And to those who are eliminated, He is punishment, as well as retribution (“The Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of the Incarnation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Only by God becoming flesh in the most backward and the filthiest place can He reveal the entirety of His holy and righteous disposition. And through what is His righteous disposition revealed? Through judgment of people’s sins, judgment of Satan, disgust toward sins, and hatred of His enemies who rebel against and resist Him (“How the Second Step of the Work of Conquering Bears Fruit” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
I shall chastise everyone born of Me who yet does not know Me to show all My wrath, show My great power, and show My full wisdom. In Me everything is righteous and there is absolutely no unrighteousness, no deceit, and no crookedness; whosoever is crooked and deceitful must be a son of hell—must be born in Hades. In Me everything is overt; whatever I say to accomplish is accomplished and whatever I say to establish is established, and no one can change or emulate these things because I am the one and only God Himself (Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning).
It is because of these judgments that you have been able to see that God is the righteous God, that God is the holy God. It is because of His holiness and righteousness that He has judged you and visited His wrath upon you. Because He can reveal His righteous disposition when seeing mankind’s rebelliousness, and because He can reveal His holiness when seeing mankind’s filth, this is enough to show that He is God Himself who is holy and without taint, but who was also born in a land of filth (“How the Second Step of the Work of Conquering Bears Fruit” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
I am righteous, I am faithful, I am the God who examines the innermost heart of man! (Utterances and Testimonies of Christ in the Beginning).
No person and no thing can escape suffering this chastisement and judgment, and no person and no thing can skirt this classifying by kind; everyone will be sorted into classes. That is because the end is near for all things and all the heavens and earth arrive at their conclusion. How can man escape the end of his existence? (“The Inside Truth of the Conquering Work (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
We trust that no country or power can stand in the way of what God wishes to achieve. Those that obstruct God’s work, resist the word of God, disturb and impair the plan of God shall ultimately be punished by God. He who defies the work of God shall be sent to hell; any country that defies the work of God shall be destroyed; any nation that rises up to oppose the work of God shall be wiped from this earth, and shall cease to exist (“God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
I want each and every man to see that all I have done is right, and that all I have done is an expression of My disposition; it is not man’s doing, least of all nature, that brought forth mankind. On the contrary, it is I who nourish every living being in creation. Without My existence, mankind will only perish and undergo the scourge of calamities. No human being will ever again see the beauteous sun and moon or the green world; mankind shall encounter only the frigid night and the inexorable valley of the shadow of death (“You Ought to Prepare a Sufficiency of Good Deeds for Your Destination” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The image of God is not made known to man through the incarnate image, but rather through the work carried out by the incarnate God of image and form; and through His (Her) work, His image is shown and His disposition is made known. This is the significance of the work He wishes to do in the flesh (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
What He manifests to the multitude is only His righteous disposition and all His deeds, and not the image of His body when He twice became flesh, for the image of God can only be shown through His disposition, and not replaced by the image of His incarnate flesh. … What is shown to the multitude is the righteousness of God and His disposition in its entirety, rather than His image when He twice became flesh. It is neither the single image that is shown to man, nor the two images combined (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
It is fully evident from God’s working methods of judgment and chastisement to thoroughly save and perfect people in the last days that His salvation and perfection of people is achieved entirely by means of revealing His righteous disposition. Once His disposition of righteousness, majesty, judgment, and wrath has been fully revealed, corrupt humanity will naturally act according to their own kind. All those who love the truth and are able to accept it will be able to accept and obey God’s work of judgment and chastisement, and they will then attain salvation and be perfected. All those who detest the truth, who hate the truth will, as a matter of course, resist, deny, and condemn Christ, and they will reject God’s work of judgment and chastisement in the last days. In particular, the majority of the leaders and pastors from various denominations of the religious world will become antichrist forces who resist and oppose Christ. This is why they will be exposed and eliminated, and in the end they will be subjected to punishment. They will be the objects of God’s judgment in the peak of His fury. God’s work in the last days completely reflects that where corruption exists, judgment must take place, and where there is sin, chastisement must occur. This is the rule of heaven decreed by God and no one can escape it. Corrupt humanity resists and betrays God, and if they do not undergo His judgment and chastisement, it will not be tolerated by God. This is why it is an unalterable principle of heaven and God’s inviolable will that corrupt humanity undergoes God’s judgment and chastisement in the last days. Mankind is corrupted to the utmost depth. They are all the offspring of Satan, who betrayed God. If the judgment and chastisement of God’s majesty and wrath did not befall them, then how could they prostrate themselves in front of God in full submission? And how could they attain genuine purification and salvation? This is why God’s disposition of righteousness, judgment, chastisement, and wrath that is revealed in the last days has become the greatest salvation for corrupt humanity, and it is precisely God’s blessing for mankind. God revealing His righteous disposition to mankind is His true love and His complete love for man.
VII. One Must Know That Only God’s Three Stages of Work Are His Complete Work for Saving Mankind
God’s discourse on His three stages of work is fully adequate for us to clearly see that it is built up stage by stage, and each stage is closely linked to the next. Each and every stage of work is very practical and reasonable, and it is only these three stages of work that are the complete work of saving mankind, and God’s three stages of work are His management plan for saving mankind. That is why only understanding the three stages is truly understanding God’s work, and only in that way is it possible to fully understand God’s righteous disposition and His essence. Thus, we must have clear knowledge and understanding of the essence and significance of every stage of God’s work, and only then can we truly recognize that only the three stages of God’s work are the complete work of saving mankind. In every stage of God’s work all of us can clearly see how He has been victorious in the war against Satan’s evil forces. Mankind has been deeply corrupted by Satan, and in every stage of His work there have been many people who have taken on the role of Satan, demon, doing their utmost to interrupt and disturb His work, and they have also confused, roped in, controlled, and made use of God’s chosen people, attempting to destroy the work of God. However, God is the almighty, wise God, and He has always made use of Satan’s trickery as a service to achieve His work of redeeming and saving mankind. In His work in the Age of Grace, He used Satan to do service and through the betrayal of Judas and getting the Lord Jesus nailed to the cross, He completed His work of redemption. In the Age of Kingdom, through the disruption, sabotage, and confusion brought by antichrists, false leaders, and all sorts of evil spirits, He trains His chosen people and perfects them to understand the truth, be able to discern Satan, hate evil, turn their backs on the great red dragon, and enter into the reality of His words. Finally, He makes complete His chosen people and brings them into the kingdom. Understanding the three stages of God’s work of saving mankind is so meaningful. Not only can we see where God’s omnipotence and wisdom lie, but even more, we can understand His disposition and what He has and is that are revealed in every stage of His work. This way the fruits of our truly understanding God can be borne. The reality is, the process of undergoing God’s three stages of work is the process of understanding God, and it is also the process of people’s viewpoints and life dispositions undergoing gradual change to achieve salvation and being perfected. Only after people experience God’s work in the last days will they be truly saved and completely gained by God, so that they no longer sin and resist God. This is because the satanic dispositions of corrupt humanity have been changed and they have genuine understanding of God. They no longer define and resist God based on human notions and imagination, and no matter how God leads them and how He designs and arranges things, they will be able to be obedient in front of Him with a heart of reverence. Only these are people who are truly in line with God’s will, and who can gain His blessings. Only those who truly gain God’s salvation are able to enter into the rest bestowed by God and truly obtain their final destination. There is no doubt about this.
God has done three stages of work in His salvation of mankind, and these three stages of work have allowed people to truly understand His righteous disposition and His wisdom and omnipotence, and thus turn toward Him and be saved. This is why understanding God’s three stages of work is so meaningful. If we read the piece of God’s word, “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” again, it will feel really novel, and it will be easier to understand His will. We must quote these words of Almighty God here so that people can truly understand that God’s three stages of work are the complete work of God saving mankind, such that they are able to genuinely understand the three stages and achieve a true understanding of God. This is the critical element of people undergoing God’s work in the last days to achieve salvation and be perfected.
VIII. The full version of God’s words: Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God
The work of managing mankind is divided into three stages, which means that the work of saving mankind is divided into three stages. These three stages do not include the work of creating the world, but are rather the three stages of the work of the Age of Law, the Age of Grace, and the Age of Kingdom. The work of creating the world was the work of producing the whole of mankind. It was not the work of saving mankind, and bears no relation to the work of saving mankind, for when the world was created mankind had not been corrupted by Satan, and so there was no need to carry out the work of mankind’s salvation. The work of saving mankind only began once mankind had been corrupted, and so the work of managing mankind also only began once mankind had been corrupted. In other words, God’s management of man began as a result of the work of saving mankind, and did not arise from the work of creating the world. There could be no work of managing mankind without the corrupt disposition of mankind, and so the work of managing mankind includes three parts, rather than four stages, or four ages. Only this is the correct way to refer to God’s management of mankind. When the final age comes to a close, the work of managing mankind will have come to a complete end. The conclusion of the work of management means that the work of saving all mankind has been completely finished, and that mankind has reached his journey’s end. Without the work of saving all mankind, the work of managing mankind would not exist, nor would there be the three stages of work. It was precisely because of mankind’s depravity, and because mankind was in such urgent need of salvation, that Jehovah concluded the creation of the world and began the work of the Age of Law. Only then did the work of managing mankind begin, which means that only then did the work of saving mankind begin. “Managing mankind” does not mean guiding the life of newly-created mankind on earth (which is to say, a mankind that had yet to be corrupted). Rather, it is the salvation of a mankind that has been corrupted by Satan, which is to say, it is the changing of this corrupt mankind. This is the meaning of managing mankind. The work of saving mankind does not include the work of creating the world, and so the work of managing mankind does not include the work of creating the world, and only includes three stages of work that are separate from the world’s creation. To understand the work of managing mankind, it is necessary to be aware of the history of the three stages of work—this is what everyone must be aware of in order to be saved. As creatures of God, you should recognize that man was created by God, and should recognize the source of mankind’s corruption, and, moreover, should recognize the process of man’s salvation. If you only know how to act according to doctrine in order to gain God’s favor, but have no inkling of how God saves mankind, or of the source of mankind’s corruption, then this is what you lack as a creature of God. You should not only be satisfied with understanding those truths that can be put into practice, while remaining ignorant of the wider scope of God’s management work—if this is the case, then you are too dogmatic. The three stages of work are the inside story of God’s management of man, the advent of the gospel of the entire universe, the greatest mystery among all mankind, and are also the foundation of spreading the gospel. If you only focus on understanding simple truths that relate to your life, and know nothing of this, the greatest of all mysteries and visions, then is your life not akin to a defective product, good for nothing except being looked at?
If man only concentrates on practice, and sees the work of God and man’s knowledge as secondary, then is this not the same as being penny wise and pound foolish? That which you must know, you must know, and that which you must put into practice, you must put into practice. Only then will you be someone who knows how to pursue the truth. When the day comes for you to spread the gospel, if you are only able to say that God is a great and righteous God, that He is the supreme God, a God with whom no great man can compare, and than whom none is higher…, if you can only say these irrelevant and superficial words, and are utterly incapable of speaking words which are of crucial importance, and which have substance, if you have nothing to say about knowing God, or the work of God, and, furthermore, cannot explain the truth, or provide what is lacking in man, then someone such as you is incapable of performing their duty well. Bearing testimony to God and spreading the gospel of the kingdom is no simple matter. You must first be equipped with the truth, and the visions that are to be understood. When you are clear about the visions and truth of the different aspects of God’s work, in your heart you come to know the work of God, and regardless of what God does—whether it be righteous judgment or refinement of man—you possess the greatest vision as your foundation, and possess the right truth to put into practice, then you will be able to follow God to the very end. You must know that regardless of what work He does, the aim of God’s work does not change, the heart of His work does not change, and His will toward man does not change. No matter how severe His words, no matter how adverse the environment, the principles of His work will not change, and His intention of saving man will not change. Provided that it is not the revelation of the end of man or the destination of man, and is not the work of the final phase, or the work of bringing God’s entire plan of management to an end, and provided that it is during the time He works man, then the heart of His work will not change: It will always be the salvation of mankind. This should be the foundation of your belief in God. The aim of the three stages of work is the salvation of all mankind—which means the complete salvation of man from the domain of Satan. Though each of the three stages of work has a different objective and significance, each is part of the work of saving mankind, and is different work of salvation carried out according to the requirements of mankind. Once you are aware of the aim of these three stages of work, then you will be aware of how to appreciate the significance of each stage of work, and will recognize how to act in order to satisfy the desire of God. If you can reach this point, then this, the greatest of all visions, will become your foundation. You should not only seek after easy ways of practice, or deep truths, but should combine visions with practice, so that there are both truths that can be put into practice, and knowledge that is based on visions. Only then will you be someone that wholly pursues the truth.
The three stages of work are at the heart of God’s entire management, and in them are expressed the disposition of God and what He is. Those who do not know of the three stages of God’s work are incapable of realizing how God expresses His disposition, nor do they know the wisdom of God’s work, and they remain ignorant of the many ways in which He saves mankind, and His will for the whole of mankind. The three stages of work are the full expression of the work of saving mankind. Those who do not know the three stages of work will be ignorant of the various methods and principles of the Holy Spirit’s work; those who only rigidly stick to doctrine that remains from one stage of work are people who limit God to doctrine, and whose belief in God is vague and uncertain. Such people will never receive God’s salvation. Only the three stages of God’s work can fully express the entirety of God’s disposition, and completely express God’s intention of saving the whole of mankind, and the entire process of mankind’s salvation. This is proof that He has defeated Satan and gained mankind, it is proof of God’s victory, and is the expression of God’s entire disposition. Those who understand but one stage of the three stages of God’s work only know part of God’s disposition. In the conception of man, it is easy for this single stage of work to become doctrine, it becomes likely that man will establish rules about God, and man uses this single part of God’s disposition as a representation of God’s entire disposition. Furthermore, much of man’s imagination is mixed within, such that he rigidly constrains the disposition, being, and wisdom of God, as well as the principles of God’s work, within limited parameters, believing that if God was like this once, then He will remain the same for all time, and will never ever change. Only those who know and appreciate the three stages of work can fully and accurately know God. At the very least, they will not define God as the God of the Israelites, or the Jews, and will not see Him as a God who will be forever nailed to the cross for the sake of man. If you only come to know God from one stage of His work, then your knowledge is too, too little. Your knowledge is but a drop in the ocean. If not, why would many of the religious old guard nail God to the cross alive? Is it not because man confines God within certain parameters? Do many people not oppose God and obstruct the work of the Holy Spirit because they do not know the varied and diverse work of God, and, furthermore, because they possess but a smidgeon of knowledge and doctrine with which to measure the work of the Holy Spirit? Though the experiences of such people are superficial, they are arrogant and indulgent in nature, and they regard the work of the Holy Spirit with contempt, ignore the disciplines of the Holy Spirit and, moreover, use their trivial old arguments to confirm the work of the Holy Spirit. They also put on an act, and are wholly convinced of their own learning and erudition, and that they are able to travel across the world. Are such people not those who are despised and rejected by the Holy Spirit, and will they not be eliminated by the new age? Are not those who come before God and openly oppose Him myopic little people, who are merely trying to show how clever they are? With but a meager knowledge of the Bible, they try to straddle the world’s “academia,” with but a superficial doctrine to teach people, they try to reverse the work of the Holy Spirit, and attempt to make it revolve around their own thought process, and short-sighted as they are, they try to behold in one glance 6,000 years of God’s work. Do these people have any reason to speak of? In fact, the greater people’s knowledge of God, the slower they are to judge His work. Furthermore, they only talk a little of their knowledge of God’s work today, but they are not rash in their judgments. The less people know of God, the more arrogant and overconfident they are, and the more wantonly they proclaim God’s being—yet they only talk of theory, and offer no real evidence. Such people are of no value whatsoever. Those who see the work of the Holy Spirit as a game are frivolous! Those who are not cautious when they encounter the new work of the Holy Spirit, who run their mouths off, are quick to judge, who give free rein to their natural instinct to deny the rightness of the Holy Spirit’s work, and also insult and blaspheme it—are such disrespectful people not ignorant of the Holy Spirit’s work? Are they not, furthermore, the ones of arrogance, inherently proud and ungovernable? Even if a day comes when such people accept the new work of the Holy Spirit, still God will not tolerate of them. Not only do they look down upon those who work for God, but also blaspheme against God Himself. Such foolhardy people will not be forgiven, either in this age or the age to come and they shall forever perish in hell! Such disrespectful, indulgent people are pretending to believe in God, and the more they do so, the more likely they are to offend God’s administrative decrees. Do not all those arrogant ones who are innately unbridled, and have never obeyed anyone, all walk upon this path? Do they not oppose God day after day, He who is always new and never old? Today, you should understand the importance of why you must know the three stages of God’s work. The words I say are of benefit to you, and are not just empty talk. If you rush things through, will not all My hard work be for naught? Each of you should know your own nature. Most of you are skilled at argument, the answers to theoretical questions roll off your tongue, but you have nothing to say to questions involving substance. Even today, you still indulge in frivolous conversation, incapable of changing your old nature, and most of you have no intention of changing the way in which you pursue in order to achieve higher truth, only living your lives half-heartedly. How are such people capable of following God to the very end? Even if you do make it to the end of the path, what benefit will it be to you? It is better to change your ideas before it is too late, either truly pursuing, or else throwing in the towel early. As time goes on you will become a freeloading parasite—are you willing to play such a low and ignoble role?
The three stages of work are a record of the entire work of God, they are a record of God’s salvation of mankind, and they are not imaginary. If you truly wish to seek a knowledge of God’s entire disposition, then you must know the three stages of work carried out by God, and, what’s more, you must not omit any stage. This is the minimum that must be achieved by those who seek to know God. Man himself cannot come up with a true knowledge of God. It is not something that man himself can imagine, nor is it the consequence of the Holy Spirit’s especial favor of one person. Instead, it is a knowledge that comes after man has experienced the work of God, and is a knowledge of God that only comes after having experienced the facts of God’s work. Such a knowledge cannot be achieved on a whim, nor is it something that can be taught. It is wholly related to personal experience. God’s salvation of mankind is at the core of these three stages of work, yet within the work of salvation are included several methods of working and means by which God’s disposition is expressed. This is what is most difficult for man to identify, and is difficult for man to understand. The separation of the ages, changes in God’s work, changes in the location of work, changes in the recipient of this work, and so on—these are all included in the three stages of work. In particular, the difference in the Holy Spirit’s way of working, as well as alterations in God’s disposition, image, name, identity, or other changes, are all part of the three stages of work. One stage of work can only represent one part, and is limited within a certain scope. It does not relate to the separation of the ages, or changes in God’s work, much less to the other aspects. This is a clearly obvious fact. The three stages of work are the entirety of God’s work in saving mankind. Man must know God’s work and God’s disposition in the work of salvation, and without this fact, your knowledge of God is but hollow words, nothing more than armchair pontification. Such knowledge can neither convince nor conquer man, such knowledge is out of line with reality, and is not the truth. It may be very plentiful, and pleasing to the ear, but if it is at odds with God’s inherent disposition, then God will not spare you. Not only will He not commend your knowledge, but He will also take retribution on you for being a sinner who blasphemed Him. The words of knowing God are not spoken lightly. Though you may be glib and silver-tongued, and your words can bring the dead to life, and make the living dead, still you are out of your depth when it comes to speaking of the knowledge of God. God is not someone that you can judge rashly, or casually praise, or nonchalantly denigrate. You praise anyone and everyone, yet you struggle to the right words to describe the great virtuousness and graciousness of God—and this is what is learned by every loser. Even though there are many language specialists who are capable of describing God, the accuracy of what they describe is but a hundredth of the truth spoken by people who belong to God and have only a limited vocabulary, yet possess rich experience. Thus it can be seen that knowledge of God lies in accuracy and actuality, and not in the clever use of words or a rich vocabulary. Man’s knowledge and the knowledge of God are completely unrelated. The lesson of knowing God is higher than any of the natural sciences of mankind. It is a lesson that can only be achieved by an extremely small number of those who seek to know God, and cannot be achieved by just any person of talent. And so you must not view knowing God and pursuing the truth as if they can be achieved by a mere child. Perhaps you have been completely successful in your family life, or your career, or in your marriage, but when it comes to the truth, and the lesson of knowing God, you have nothing to show for yourself, you have achieved nothing. Putting the truth into practice, it can be said, is of great difficulty for you, and knowing God is an even greater problem. This is your difficulty, and is also the difficulty faced by the whole of mankind. Among those who have had some achievements in the cause of knowing God, there are almost none who are up to the standard. Man does not know what it means to know God, or why it is necessary to know God, or what extent counts as knowing God. This is what is so confounding to mankind, and is quite simply the biggest riddle faced by mankind—and no one is capable of answering this question, nor is anyone willing to answer this question, because, to date, no one among mankind has had any success in the study of this work. Perhaps, when the riddle of the three stages of work is made known to mankind, there will appear in succession a group of talents who know God. Of course, I hope that is the case, and, what’s more, I am in the process of carrying out this work, and hope to see the appearance of more such talents in the near future. They will become those who bear testimony to the fact of these three stages of work, and, of course, will also be the first to bear testimony to these three stages of work. If there are not such talents, on the day that God’s work comes to an end, or there are only one or two, and they have personally accepted being made perfect by God incarnate, then nothing is more distressing and regrettable than this—although it is only the worst case scenario. Whatever the case, I still hope that those who truly pursue can gain this blessing. Since the beginning of time, there has never before been work such as this, such an undertaking has never occurred in the history of human development. If you can truly become one of the first of those who know God, would this not be the highest honor among all creatures? Would any creature among mankind be more commended by God? Such work is not easy to achieve, but will ultimately still reap rewards. Regardless of their gender or nationality, all those who are capable of achieving the knowledge of God will, in the end, receive God’s greatest honor, and will be the only ones that possess the authority of God. This is the work of today, and is also the work of the future; it is the last, and highest work to be accomplished in 6,000 years of work, and is a way of working that reveals each category of man. Through the work of causing man to know God, the different ranks of man are revealed: Those who know God are qualified to receive God’s blessings and accept His promises, while those who do not know God are unqualified to receive God’s blessings and accept His promises. Those who know God are the intimates of God, and those who do not know God cannot be called the intimates of God; the intimates of God can receive any of God’s blessings, but those who are not His intimates are not worthy of any of His work. Whether it be tribulations, refinement, or judgment, all are for the sake of allowing man to ultimately achieve a knowledge of God and so that man may submit to God. This is the only effect that will ultimately be achieved. Nothing of the three stages of work is hidden, and this is advantageous to man’s knowledge of God, and helps man gain a more complete and thorough knowledge of God. All this work is of benefit to man.
The work of God Himself is the vision that man must know, for the work of God cannot be achieved by man, and is not possessed by man. The three stages of work are the entirety of God’s management, and there is no greater vision that should be known by man. If man does not know this mighty vision, then it is not easy to know God, and not easy to understand God’s will, and, furthermore, the path that man walks upon becomes increasingly arduous. Without visions, man would not have been able to come this far. It is the visions that have safeguarded man until today, and which have provided the greatest protection to man. In the future, your knowledge must become deeper, and you must come to know the entirety of His will and the substance of His wise work in the three stages of work. Only this is your true stature. The final stage of work does not stand alone, but is part of the whole formed together with the two previous stages, which is to say that it is impossible to complete the entire work of salvation by only doing one of the three stages of work. Even though the final stage of work is able to fully save man, this does not mean that it is only necessary to carry out this single stage on its own, and that the two previous stages of work are not required to save man from the influence of Satan. No single stage of the three stages can be held up as the only vision that must be known by all mankind, for the entirety of the work of salvation is the three stages of work, not a single stage among them. As long as the work of salvation has not been accomplished, the management of God will be unable to come to a complete end. God’s being, disposition, and wisdom are expressed in the entirety of the work of salvation, not revealed to man at the very beginning, but have been gradually expressed in the work of salvation. Each stage of the work of salvation expresses part of the disposition of God, and part of His being; not every stage of work can directly and completely express the entirety of God’s being. As such, the work of salvation can only be fully concluded once the three stages of work have been completed, and so man’s knowledge of the entirety of God is inseparable from the three stages of God’s work. What man gains from one stage of work is merely the disposition of God that is expressed in a single part of His work. It cannot represent the disposition and being that is expressed in the stages before or after. That is because the work of saving mankind cannot be finished straight away during one period, or in one location, but gradually becomes deeper according to man’s level of development at different times and places. It is work that is carried out in stages, and is not completed in a single stage. And so, God’s entire wisdom is crystallized in the three stages, rather than in one individual stage. His entire being and entire wisdom are laid forth in these three stages, and each stage contains His being, and is a record of the wisdom of His work. Man should know the entire disposition of God expressed in these three stages. All this of God’s being is of the utmost importance to all mankind, and if people do not have this knowledge when they worship God, then they are no different from those who worship Buddha. God’s work among man is not hidden from man, and should be known by all of those who worship God. Since God has carried out the three stages of the work of salvation among man, man should know the expression of what He has and is during these three stages of work. This is what must be done by man. What God hides from man is that which man is incapable of achieving, and that which man should not know, whereas that which God shows to man is that which man should know, and that which man should possess. Each of the three stages of work is carried out upon the foundation of the previous stage; it is not carried out independently, separate from the work of salvation. Though there are great differences in the age and type of work that is carried out, at its core is still the salvation of mankind, and each stage of the work of salvation is deeper than the last. Each stage of work continues on from the foundation of the last, which is not abolished. In this way, in His work that is always new and never old, God is constantly expressing an aspect of His disposition that has never before been expressed to man, and is always revealing to man His new work, and His new being, and even though the religious old guard does its utmost to resist this, and openly opposes it, God always does the new work that He intends to do. His work is always changing, and because of this, it is always encountering the opposition of man. So, too, is His disposition always changing, as are the age and recipients of His work. Furthermore, He is always doing work that has never been done before, even carrying out work that appears to man to be in contradiction to the work done before, to run counter to it. Man is only able to accept one kind of work, or one way of practice. It is difficult for man to accept work, or ways of practice, that are at odds with them, or higher than them—but the Holy Spirit is always doing new work, and so there appear group after group of religious experts that oppose the new work of God. These people have become experts precisely because man has no knowledge of how God is always new and never old, and has no knowledge of the principles of God’s work, and, what’s more, has no knowledge of the many ways in which God saves man. As such, man is utterly unable to tell if it is work that comes from the Holy Spirit, and if it is the work of God Himself. Many people cling to an attitude in which, if it corresponds with the words that came before, then they accept it, and if there are differences with the work of before, then they oppose and reject it. Today, do you all not abide by such principles? The three stages of the work of salvation have not had any great effect on you, and there are those who believe that the two previous stages of work are a burden that is simply unnecessary to know. They think that these stages should not be declared to the masses and should be retracted as soon as possible, so that people do not feel overwhelmed by the previous two stages of the three stages of work. Most believe that making the two previous stages of work known is a step too far, and is of no help to knowing God—that is what you think. Today, you all believe that it is right to act in this way, but the day will come when you realize the importance of My work: Know that I do not do any work that is of no significance. Since I am declaring the three stages of work to you, so they must be of benefit to you; since these three stages of work are at the heart of God’s entire management, so they must become the focus of everyone throughout the universe. One day, you will all realize the importance of this work. Know that you oppose God’s work, or use your own conceptions to measure the work of today, because you do not know the principles of God’s work, and because you do not take the work of the Holy Spirit seriously enough. Your opposition to God and obstruction of the work of the Holy Spirit is caused by your conceptions and inherent arrogance. It is not because God’s work is wrong, but because you are naturally too disobedient. After finding their belief in God, some people can’t even say with certainty where man came from, yet they dare to make public speeches appraising the rights and wrongs of the Holy Spirit’s work. And they even lecture the apostles who have the Holy Spirit’s new work, passing comment and speaking out of turn; their humanity is too low, and there is not the slightest sense in them. Will the day not come when such people are rejected by the work of the Holy Spirit, and burned by the fires of hell? They do not know the work of God, but instead criticize His work, and also try to instruct God how to work. How can such unreasonable people know God? Man comes to know God during the process of seeking and experiencing Him; it is not through criticizing Him at whim that he comes to know God through the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. The more accurate people’s knowledge of God, the less they oppose Him. In contrast, the less people know of God, the more likely they are to oppose Him. Your conceptions, your old nature, and your humanity, character and moral outlook are the “capital” with which you resist God, and the more corrupt, degraded and low you are, the more you are the enemy of God. Those who are possessed of grievous conceptions and have a self-righteous disposition are even more in enmity of God incarnate, and such people are the antichrists. If your conceptions are not rectified, then they will always be against God; you will never be compatible with God, and will always be apart from Him.
Only by putting aside your old conceptions can you gain new knowledge, yet old knowledge is not necessarily old conceptions. “Conceptions” refers to the things imagined by man that are at odds with reality. If the old knowledge was already outdated in the old age, and it stopped man from entering into the new work, then such knowledge is also a conception. If man is able to take the correct approach to such knowledge, and can come to know God from several different aspects, combining the old and the new, then the old knowledge becomes an aid to man, and becomes the basis by which man enters the new age. The lesson of knowing God requires you to master many principles: how to enter onto the path to knowing God, which truths you must understand in order to know God, and how to make your conceptions and old nature submit to all of the arrangements of God’s new work. If you use these principles as the foundation for entering into the lesson of knowing God, then your knowledge will become deeper and deeper. If you have a clear knowledge of the three stages of work—which is to say, of God’s entire plan of management—and if you can fully correlate the previous two stages of God’s work with the present stage, and can see that it is work done by one God, then you will have no firmer foundation. The three stages of work were done by one God; this is the greatest vision, and is the only path to knowing God. The three stages of work could only have been done by God Himself, and no man could do such work on His behalf—which is to say that only God Himself could have done His own work from the beginning until today. Though the three stages of God’s work have been carried out in different ages and locations, and though the work of each is different, it is all work done by one God. Of all the visions, this is the greatest vision that man should know, and if it can be completely understood by man, then he will be able to stand fast. Today, the biggest problem facing various religious factions is that they do not know the work of the Holy Spirit, and are unable to differentiate between the work of the Holy Spirit and work that is not of the Holy Spirit—and so they cannot tell whether this stage of work is, like the last two stages of work, also done by Jehovah God. Though people follow God, most are still unable to tell whether it is the right way. Man worries whether this way is the way personally led by God Himself, and whether God’s incarnation is a fact, and most people still have no clue about how to discern when it comes to such things. Those who follow God are unable to determine the way, and so the messages which are spoken only have a partial effect among these people, and are incapable of being fully effective, and so this then affects the life of such people. 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. Man has no conceptions toward the last two stages of work, which were invisible. That is because man does not understand the reality of the last two stages of work, and did not personally witness them. It is because they cannot be seen that man imagines as he likes; regardless of what he comes up with, there are no facts to prove it, and no one to correct it. Man gives free rein to his natural instinct, throwing caution to the wind and letting his imagination run free, for there are no facts to verify it, and so man’s imaginings become “fact,” regardless of whether there is any proof to them. Thus man believes in his own imagined God in his mind, and does not seek the God of reality. If one person has one kind of belief, then among a hundred people there are a hundred kinds of belief. Man is possessed of such beliefs because he has not seen the reality of God’s work, because he has only heard it with his ears and has not beheld it with his eyes. Man has heard legends and stories—but rarely has he heard the knowledge of the facts of God’s work. It is through their own conceptions that people who have only been believers for a year believe in God, and the same is true for those who have believed in God their entire lives. Those who cannot see the facts will never be able to escape from a faith in which they have conceptions of God. Man believes that he has freed himself from the bonds of his old conceptions, and has entered new territory. Does man not know that the knowledge of those who cannot see the true face of God is nothing but conceptions and hearsay? Man thinks that his conceptions are right, and without error, and thinks that these conceptions come from God. Today, when man witnesses the work of God, he lets loose conceptions that have built up over many years. The imaginings and ideas of the past became an obstruction to the work of this stage, and it becomes difficult for man to let go of such conceptions and refute such ideas. The conceptions toward this step-by-step work of many of those who have followed God until today have become ever more grievous and these people have gradually formed a stubborn enmity to the God incarnate, and the source of this hatred is the conceptions and imaginings of man. It is precisely because facts do not allow man to give free rein to his imagination, and, moreover, cannot be easily refuted by man, and the conceptions and imaginings of man do not brook the existence of facts, and, furthermore, because man does not give thought to the correctness and veracity of facts, and merely single-mindedly lets loose his conceptions, and employs his own imagination, that the conceptions and imaginings of man have become the enemy of the work of today, work which is at odds with the conceptions of man. This can only be said to be the fault of the conceptions of man, and cannot be said to be a fault of the work of God. Man may imagine whatever he wishes, but he may not freely dispute any stage of God’s work or any bit of it; the fact of God’s work is inviolable by man. You may give free rein to your imagination, and may even compile fine stories about the work of Jehovah and Jesus, but you may not refute the fact of each stage of the work of Jehovah and Jesus; this is a principle, and is also an administrative decree, and you should understand the importance of these issues. Man believes that this stage of work is incompatible with the conceptions of man, and that this is not the case for the two previous stages of work. In his imagination, man believes that the work of the two previous stages is surely not the same as the work of today—but have you ever considered that the principles of God’s work are all the same, that His work is always practical, and that, regardless of the age, there will always be a deluge of people who resist and oppose the fact of His work? All those who today resist and oppose this stage of work would also undoubtedly have opposed God in times past, for such people will always be the enemies of God. The people who know the fact of God’s work will see the three stages of work as the work of one God, and will let go of their conceptions. These are people who know God, and such people are those who truly follow God. When the entire management of God is nearing its end, God will class all things according to kind. Man was made by the hands of the Creator, and in the end He must completely return man under His dominion; this is the conclusion of the three stages of work. The stage of work of the last days, and the previous two stages in Israel and Judea, are God’s plan of management in the entire universe. No one can deny this, and it is the fact of God’s work. Although people have not experienced or witnessed much of this work, the facts are still the facts, and this is undeniable by any man. People who believe in God in every land of the universe will all accept the three stages of work. If you only know one particular stage of work, and do not understand the other two stages of work, do not understand the work of God in times past, then you are unable to speak the whole truth of God’s entire plan of management, and your knowledge of God is one-sided, for in your belief in God you do not know Him, or understand Him, and so you are not fit to bear testimony to God. Regardless of whether your current knowledge of these things is profound or superficial, in the end, you must have knowledge, and must be thoroughly convinced, and all people will see the entirety of God’s work and submit under the dominion of God. At the end of this work, all denominations will become one, all creatures will return under the dominion of the Creator, all creatures will worship the one true God, and all cults will come to nothing, never to appear again.
Why this continual reference to the three stages of work? The passing of the ages, social development, and the changing face of nature all follow alterations in the three stages of work. Mankind changes in time with the work of God, and does not develop by itself. Mention of the three stages of God’s work is in order to bring all creatures, and people throughout every religion and denomination, under the dominion of one God. Regardless of what religion you belong to, ultimately you will all submit under the dominion of God. Only God Himself can carry out this work; it cannot be done by any religious head. There are several major religions in the world, and each has its own head, or leader, and the followers are spread across different countries and regions all over the world; every country, be it large or small, has different religions within it. However, regardless of how many religions there are across the world, all people within the universe ultimately exist under the guidance of one God, and their existence is not guided by religious heads or leaders. Which is to say that mankind is not guided by a particular religious head or leader; instead the whole of mankind is led by the Creator, who created the heavens and earth, and all things, and also created mankind—and this is a fact. Although the world has several major religions, regardless of how great they are, they all exist under the dominion of the Creator, and none of them can exceed the scope of this dominion. The development of mankind, social progress, the development of natural sciences—each is inseparable from the arrangements of the Creator, and this work is not something that can be done by a particular religious head. Religious heads are merely the leaders of a particular religion, and cannot represent God, or the One who created the heavens and earth and all things. Religious heads can lead all those within the entire religion, but cannot command all creatures beneath the heavens—this is a universally acknowledged fact. Religious heads are mere leaders, and cannot stand equal to God (the Creator). All things are in the hands of the Creator, and in the end they will all return to the hands of the Creator. Mankind was originally made by God, and regardless of the religion, every person will return under the dominion of God—this is inevitable. Only God is the Most High among all things, and the highest ruler among all creatures must also return under His dominion. No matter how high the status of man, he cannot take mankind to a suitable destination, and no one is able to class all things according to kind. Jehovah Himself created mankind and classed each according to kind, and when the end time arrives He will still do His own work Himself, classing all things according to kind—and this cannot be done by any apart from God. The three stages of work carried out from the beginning until today were all carried out by God Himself, and were carried out by the one God. The fact of the three stages of work is the fact of God’s leadership of all mankind, a fact that no one can deny. At the end of the three stages of work, all things will be classed according to kind and return under the dominion of God, for throughout the entire universe there only exists this one God, and there are no other religions. He who is incapable of creating the world will be incapable of bringing it to an end, whereas He who created the world will surely bring it to an end, and so if one is unable to bring the age to an end and is merely to help man cultivate his mind, then he will surely not be God, and will surely not be the Lord of mankind. He will be incapable of doing such great work; there is only one who can carry out such work, and all that are unable to do this work are surely the enemies other than God. If they are cults, then they are incompatible with God, and if they are incompatible with God, then they are the enemies of God. All work is done by this one true God, and the entire universe is commanded by this one God. Regardless of whether He is working in Israel or China, regardless of whether the work is carried out by the Spirit or the flesh, all is done by God Himself, and can be done by no one else. It is precisely because He is the God of all mankind that He works freely, unconstrained by any conditions—and this is the greatest of all visions. As a creature of God, if you wish to perform the duty of a creature of God and understand the will of God, you must understand the work of God, must understand God’s will for creatures, must understand His plan of management, and must understand all the significance of the work He does. Those who do not understand this are not qualified to be creatures of God! As a creature of God, if you do not understand where you came from, do not understand the history of mankind and all the work done by God, and, furthermore, do not understand how mankind has developed up to today, and do not understand who commands the whole of mankind, then you are incapable of performing your duty. God has led mankind up until today, and ever since He created man upon the earth He has never left him. The Holy Spirit never stops working, has never stopped leading mankind, and has never left mankind. But mankind does not realize that there is a God, much less does he know God, and is there anything more humiliating than this for all creatures of God? God personally leads man, but man does not understand the work of God. You are a creature of God, yet you do not understand your own history, and are unaware of who has led you on your journey, you are oblivious of the work done by God, and so you cannot know God. If you do not know now, then you will never be qualified to bear testimony to God. Today, the Creator personally leads all people once again, and causes all people to behold His wisdom, almightiness, salvation, and wonderfulness. Yet you still do not realize or understand—and so are you not the one who will not receive salvation? Those who belong to Satan do not understand the words of God, and those who belong to God can hear the voice of God. All those who realize and understand the words I speak are the ones who will be saved, and bear testimony to God; all those who do not understand the words that I speak cannot bear testimony to God, and are the ones who will be eliminated. Those who do not understand God’s will and do not realize the work of God are incapable of achieving the knowledge of God, and such people will not bear testimony to God. If you wish to bear testimony to God, then you must know God, and the knowledge of God is accomplished through the work of God. All in all, if you wish to know God, then you must know God’s work: Knowing God’s work is of the utmost importance. When the three stages of work come to an end, there will be made a group of those who bear testimony to God, a group of those who know God. These people will all know God and will be able to put the truth into practice. They will possess humanity and sense, and will all know the three stages of God’s work of salvation. This is the work that will be accomplished at the end, and these people are the crystallization of the work of 6,000 years of management, and are the most powerful testimony to the ultimate defeat of Satan. Those who can bear testimony to God will be able to receive God’s promise and blessing, and will be the group that remains at the very end, which possesses the authority of God and bears testimony to God. Perhaps those among you can all become a member of this group, or perhaps only half, or only a few—it depends on your will and your pursuit.
1. “Ravages” is used to expose the disobedience of mankind.
a. The original text omits “then man will see that.”
September 1, 2013