A Selection From the Three Passages of God’s Word on “The Vision of God’s Work” (Part One)
1. John began to spread the gospel of the kingdom of heaven seven years before the baptism of Jesus. To the people, the work he did seemed above the subsequent work of Jesus, yet he was, nevertheless, still only a prophet. He worked and spoke not within the temple, but in the towns and villages outside of it. This he did, of course, among the Jewish nation, particularly those who were impoverished. Rarely did John come into contact with people from the upper echelons of society, only spreading the gospel among the ordinary people of Judea in order to prepare the right people for the Lord Jesus, and prepare suitable places for Him to work in. With a prophet such as John to pave the way, the Lord Jesus was able to embark upon His way of cross as soon as He arrived. When God became flesh to do His work, He did not have to do the work of choosing people, and did not need to personally seek people or a place in which to work. He did not do such work when He came; the right person had already prepared for Him before He arrived. … John worked for seven years, which is to say he spread the gospel for seven years. During his work, John did not perform many miracles, for his work was to pave the way, it was the work of preparation. All other work, and the work Jesus was going to do, was unrelated to him; he only asked man to confess his sins and repent, and baptized people, so that they could be saved. Though he did new work, and opened a path that man had never walked upon before, still he only paved the way for Jesus. He was merely a prophet that did the work of preparation, and was incapable of doing the work of Jesus. Though Jesus was not the first to speak of the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, and though He continued along the path that John had embarked upon, still there was no one else who could do His work, and it was above the work of John. Jesus could not prepare His own way; His work was carried out directly on behalf of God. And so, no matter how many years John worked, he was still a prophet, and still one who paved the way. The three years of work done by Jesus surpassed the seven years of work by John, for the substance of His work was not the same. 2. At the time, part of Jesus’ work was in accordance with the Old Testament, as well as with the laws of Moses and the words of Jehovah during the Age of Law. All these Jesus used to do part of His work. He preached to the people and taught them in the synagogues, and He employed the predictions of the prophets in the Old Testament to rebuke the Pharisees that were in enmity with Him, and used the words in the Scriptures to reveal their disobedience and thus condemn them. For they despised what Jesus had done; in particular, they hated that much of Jesus’ work was not according to the laws in the Scriptures, and, furthermore, that what He taught was higher than their own words, and even higher than that which had been foretold by the prophets in the Scriptures. The work of Jesus was only for the sake of man’s redemption and the crucifixion. Thus, there was no need for Him to say more words in order to conquer any man. Much of what He taught man was drawn from the words of the Scriptures, and even if His work did not exceed the Scriptures, still He was able to accomplish the work of the crucifixion. His was not the work of the word, nor for the sake of conquering mankind, but in order to redeem mankind. He only acted as the sin offering for mankind, and did not act as the source of the word for mankind. He did not do the work of the Gentiles, which was the work of conquering man, but did the work of the crucifixion, work that was done among those who believed there was a God. Even though His work was carried out upon the foundation of the Scriptures, and He used that foretold by the old prophets to condemn the Pharisees, this was sufficient to complete the work of the crucifixion. If the work of today were still carried out upon the foundation of the predictions of the old prophets in the Scriptures, then it would be impossible to conquer you, for the Old Testament contains no record of the disobedience and sins of you Chinese people, there is no history of your sins. And so, if this work still lingered in the Bible, you would never yield. The Bible records but a limited history of the Israelites, one which is incapable of establishing whether you are evil or good, or of judging you. Imagine that I were to judge you according to the history of the Israelites—would you still follow Me as you do today? Do you know how difficult you are? If no words were spoken during this stage, then it would be impossible to complete the work of conquest. Because I have not come to be nailed to the cross, I must speak words that are separate from the Bible, in order that you may be conquered. 3. All that is done today is based upon the present, yet it still rests upon the foundation of the work of Jehovah in the Age of Law, and does not transgress this scope. To watch your tongue, and not commit adultery, for example—are these not the laws of the Old Testament? Today, what is required of you is not only limited to the Ten Commandments, but are commandments and laws that are higher than those of before, yet this does not mean that what came before has been abolished, for each stage of God’s work is carried out upon the foundation of the stage that came before. … If, today, you were only required to follow the commandments and abide by the laws of the Old Testament, in the same way as the Israelites, and if, even, you were required to memorize the laws laid down by Jehovah, there would be no possibility that you could change. If you were only to abide by those few limited commandments or memorize innumerable laws, your old nature would remain deeply embedded, and there would be no way to uproot it. Thus you would become increasingly depraved, and not one of you would become obedient. Which is to say that a few simple commandments or countless laws are incapable of helping you know the deeds of Jehovah. You are not the same as the Israelites: By following the laws and memorizing the commandments they were able to witness the deeds of Jehovah, and give their unswerving devotion to Him, but you are unable to achieve this, and a few commandments of the Old Testament age are not only incapable of making you give over your heart, or of protecting you, but will instead make you lax, and will lower you to Hades. Because My work is the work of conquest, and is aimed at your disobedience and old nature, the kind words of Jehovah and Jesus fall far short of the severe words of judgment today. Without such severe words, it would be impossible to conquer you “experts,” who have been disobedient for thousands of years. The laws of the Old Testament lost their power on you long ago, and the judgment of today is far more formidable than the old laws. Most suitable for you is judgment, and not the trifling restrictions of laws, for you are not the mankind of the very beginning, but a mankind that has been corrupt for thousands of years. What you must achieve now is according to the real state of man today, according to the caliber and actual stature of present-day man, and it is not required that you follow doctrine. This is so that changes may be achieved in your old nature, and in order that you may cast aside your conceptions. 4. 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. … Jesus did not come to perfect and gain man, but to do one stage of work: bringing forth the gospel of the kingdom of heaven and completing the work of the crucifixion—and so once Jesus was crucified, His work came to a complete end. But in the current stage—the work of conquest—more words must be spoken, more work must be done, and there must be many processes. So too must the mysteries of the work of Jesus and Jehovah be revealed, so that all people may have understanding and clarity in their belief, for this is the work of the last days, and the last days are the end of God’s work, the time of this work’s conclusion. This stage of work will elucidate for you the law of Jehovah and the redemption of Jesus, and is principally so that you may understand the entire work of God’s six-thousand-year management plan, and appreciate all the significance and substance of this six-thousand-year management plan, and understand the purpose of all the work done by Jesus and the words He spoke, and even your blind credence in and adoration of the Bible. All this it will allow you to perceive. You will come to understand both the work done by Jesus, and the work of God today; you will understand and behold all of the truth, the life, and the way. In the stage of work done by Jesus, why did Jesus depart without concluding God’s work? Because the stage of Jesus’ work was not the work of conclusion. When He was nailed to the cross, the words that He had spoken also came to an end; after His crucifixion, His work consequently finished. The current stage is different: Only after the words are spoken to the end and God’s entire work is concluded will His work have finished. During Jesus’ stage of work, there were many words that remained unsaid, or which were not fully articulated. Yet Jesus cared not what He did or did not say, for His ministry was not a ministry of words, and so after He was nailed to the cross He departed. That stage of work was chiefly for the sake of the crucifixion, and is unlike the stage today. This stage of work is principally for the sake of completion, of clearing up, and of bringing all work to a conclusion. If the words are not spoken to their very end, there will be no way of concluding this work, for in this stage of work all work is brought to an end and accomplished using words. At the time, Jesus did much work that was incomprehensible to man. He departed quietly, and today there are still many who do not understand His words, whose understanding is erroneous yet still believed by them to be correct, who do not know that they are wrong. In the end, this current stage will bring God’s work to a complete end, and will provide its conclusion. All will come to understand and know of God’s management plan. The conceptions within man, his intentions, his erroneous understanding, his conceptions toward the work of Jehovah and Jesus, his views about the Gentiles, and all his absurdities 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. 5. The work of Jehovah was the creation of the world, it was the beginning; this stage of work is the end of work, and it is the conclusion. At the start, God’s work was carried out among the chosen ones of Israel, and it was the dawn of a new epoch in the most holy of all places. The last stage of work is carried out in the most impure of all countries, to judge the world and bring the age to an end. In the first stage, God’s work was done in the brightest of all places, and the last stage is carried out in the darkest of all places, and this darkness will be driven out, the light brought forth, and all the people conquered. When the people of this most impure and darkest of all places have been conquered, and the entire population has acknowledged that there is a God, who is the true God, and every person has been utterly convinced, then this fact will be used to carry out the work of conquest throughout the entire universe. This stage of work is symbolic: Once the work of this age has been finished, the work of 6,000 years of management will come to a complete end. Once those in the darkest of all places have been conquered, it goes without saying that it will also be so everywhere else. As such, only the work of conquest in China carries meaningful symbolism. China embodies all forces of darkness, and the people of China represent all those who are of the flesh, of Satan, and of flesh and blood. It is the Chinese people who have been most corrupted by the great red dragon, who have the strongest opposition to God, whose humanity is most base and impure, and so they are the archetype of all corrupt humanity. … Why have I always said that you are an adjunct to My management plan? It is in the people of China that corruption, impurity, unrighteousness, opposition, and rebelliousness are manifested most completely and revealed in all their varied forms. On the one hand, they are of poor caliber, and on the other, their lives and mindset are backward, and their habits, social environment, family of birth—all are poor and the most backward. Their status, too, is low. The work in this place is symbolic, and after this test work has been carried out in its entirety, His subsequent work will go much better. If this step of work can be completed, then the subsequent work goes without saying. Once this step of work has been accomplished, and great success has been fully achieved, the work of conquest throughout the entire universe will have come to a complete end. In fact, once the work among you has been successful, this will be equivalent to the success throughout the entire universe. This is the significance of why I wish to make you a model and specimen. Rebelliousness, opposition, impurity, unrighteousness…, all are found in these people, and in them is represented all the rebelliousness of mankind—they are really something. Thus, they are held up as the epitome of conquest, and once they have been conquered they will naturally become a specimen and model for others. 6. 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. … They were the least corrupt of all mankind, and in the beginning, they were of a mind to look up to God and revere Him. They obeyed the words of Jehovah, and always served in the temple, and wore priestly robes or crowns. They were the earliest people to worship God, and the earliest object of His work. These people were a specimen and model for the whole of mankind. They were specimens and models of holiness and righteousness. People such as Job, Abraham, Lot, or Peter and Timothy—they were all Israelites, and the most holy of specimens and models. Israel was the earliest country to worship God among mankind, and more righteous people came from here than anywhere else. God worked in them in order that He could better manage mankind throughout the land in the future. Their achievements and the righteousness of their worship of Jehovah were recorded, so that they could serve as specimens and models to the people beyond Israel during the Age of Grace; and their actions have upheld several thousand years of work, right up until today. 7. 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. 8. When Jesus comes again, the age will have already changed, so could He still be called Jesus? Is God only known by the name of Jesus? Could He not be called by a new name in a new age? Can the image of one person and one particular name represent God in His entirety? In each age, God does new work and is called by a new name; how could He do the same work in different ages? How could He cling to the old? The name of Jesus was taken for the work of redemption, so would He still be called by the same name when He returns in the last days? Would He still do the work of redemption? Why is it that Jehovah and Jesus are one, yet They are called by different names in different ages? Is it not because Their work in these ages is different? Could a single name represent God in His entirety? In this way, God must be called by a different name in a different age, must use the name to change the age and represent the age, for no one name can fully represent God Himself. And each name can only represent God’s disposition during a certain age and needs only to represent His work. Therefore, God can choose whatever name befits His disposition to represent the entire age. Regardless of whether it is the age of Jehovah, or the age of Jesus, each age is represented by a name. After the Age of Grace, the final age has arrived and Jesus has already come. How could He still be called Jesus? How could He still assume the form of Jesus among man? Have you forgotten that Jesus was just the image of a Nazarene? Have you forgotten that Jesus was only the Redeemer of mankind? How could He take on the work of conquering and perfecting man in the last days? 9. Each time God arrives on earth, He shall change His name, His gender, His image, and His work; He does not repeat His work, and He is always new and never old. When He came before, He was called Jesus; could He still be called Jesus when He comes again this time? When He came before, He was male; could He be male again this time? His work when He came during the Age of Grace was to be nailed to the cross; when He comes again will He still redeem mankind from sin? Will He still be nailed to a cross? Would that not be a repetition of His work? Did you not know that God is always new and never old? 10. There are those who say that God is immutable. That is correct, but it refers to the immutability of God’s disposition and substance. Changes in His name and work do not prove that His substance has altered; in other words, God will always be God, and this will never change. If you say that the work of God always stays the same, then would He be able to finish His six-thousand-year management plan? You merely know that God is forever unchanging, but do you know that God is always new and never old? If the work of God never changed, then could He have brought mankind to today? If God is immutable, then why is it that He has already done the work of two ages? His work is always progressing forward, and so His disposition is gradually revealed to man, and what is revealed is His inherent disposition. In the beginning, God’s disposition was hidden from man, He never openly revealed His disposition to man, and man had no knowledge of Him, so He used His work to gradually reveal His disposition to man, but this does not mean that His disposition changes in each age. It is not the case that God’s disposition is constantly changing because His will is always changing. Rather, because the work of God is different in each age, His inherent disposition in its entirety is gradually revealed to man, so that man is able to know Him. But this is by no means proof that God originally has no particular disposition and His disposition has gradually changed with the passing of the ages—such belief is nonsense. God reveals to man His inherent, particular disposition, what He is, according to the passing of the ages. The work of a single age cannot express the entire disposition of God. And so, the words “God is always new and never old” are in reference to His work, and the words “God is immutable” are in regard to what God inherently has and is. Regardless, you cannot define the six-thousand-year work in one point, or portray it with mere static words. Such is the stupidity of man. God is not as simple as man imagines, and His work will not stop in one age. Jehovah, for example, will not always stand for the name of God; God also does His work under the name of Jesus, which is a symbol of how God’s work is always progressing forward. 11. 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 substance and what He has and is shall never change. His work, however, is always progressing forward, always going deeper, for God is always new and never old. In every age God assumes a new name, in every age He does new work, and in every age He allows the creatures to see His new will and His new disposition. If people do not see the expression of God’s new disposition in the new age, would they not forever nail Him to the cross? And by doing so, would they not define God? 12. God does not duplicate His work in each new age. Since the last days have arrived, He will do the work of the last days, and reveal His entire disposition in the last days. The last days are a separate age, one in which Jesus said you must suffer disaster, and be subjected to earthquakes, famines, and plagues, which will show that this is a new age, and is no longer the old Age of Grace. If, as people say, God is forever unchanging, His disposition is always compassionate and loving, and He loves man as Himself, and He offers every man salvation and never hates man, then would He ever be able to complete His work? When Jesus came, He was nailed to the cross, and He sacrificed Himself for all sinners by offering Himself upon the altar. He had already completed the work of redemption and already brought the Age of Grace to an end, so what would be the point of repeating the work of that age in the last days? Wouldn’t doing the same thing be a denial of the work of Jesus? If God does not do the work of crucifixion when He comes in this stage, but He remains loving and compassionate, then would He be able to bring the age to an end? Could a loving and compassionate God conclude the age? In His final work of concluding the age, God’s disposition is one of chastisement and judgment, which reveals all that is unrighteous, and publicly judges all peoples, and perfects those who truly love Him. Only a disposition such as this can bring the age to an end. 13. The last days have already arrived. All things will be classed according to kind, and will be divided into different categories based on their nature. This is the time in which God reveals the end and the destination of man. If man does not undergo chastisement and judgment, then there will be no way of revealing the disobedience and unrighteousness of man. 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 man shall be classified according to kind. Through chastisement and judgment, the end of all things shall be revealed, so that the evil shall be punished and the good shall be rewarded, and all people shall become subject under the dominion of God. All the work requires righteous chastisement and judgment to be achieved. 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. Therefore, a disposition such as this possesses the significance of the age, and the revelation and exhibition of His disposition is for the sake of the work of each new age. God does not reveal His disposition arbitrarily and without significance. If, when the end of man is revealed during the last days, God still bestows upon man inexhaustible compassion and love, if He is still loving toward man, and He does not show man righteous judgment, but shows him tolerance, patience, and forgiveness, if He still pardons man no matter how serious sins he commits, without any righteous judgment, then would there ever be an end to all of God’s management? When would a disposition such as this be able to lead mankind into the right destination? Take, for example, a judge who is always loving, kindhearted and gentle. He loves people irrespective of the sins they have committed, and he is loving and tolerant of people whoever they are. Then when will he be able to reach a just verdict? During the last days, only righteous judgment can classify man and bring man into a new realm. In this way, the entire age is brought to an end through God’s righteous disposition of judgment and chastisement.