During the time of church building, God barely mentioned kingdom building. Even on the odd occasion that He did make mention, He did so in the language of the time of church building. Once the Age of Kingdom came, God wrote off some methods and the concerns of the time of church building with a single stroke and never again said even a single word with regard to it. This is precisely the fundamental meaning of “God Himself” who is always new and never old. As well as things might have been done in the past, insofar as they are part of a bygone era, God groups such things as coming in the time before Christ, while the present day is known as the time “after Christ.”[a] In this regard, the building of the church can be viewed as a necessary predecessor to the building of the kingdom. It laid the foundation for God to wield His sovereign power in the kingdom. Today, the work of church building is but a shadow in the face of the building of the kingdom, which is the primary focus of God’s work on earth. God prepared all the details of His work before the work of church building was completed, and when the time was right, He set right upon His work. As such, God spoke thusly, “The Age of Kingdom is, after all, different from times past. It does not concern what man does. Instead, I personally carry out My work after descending upon the earth—work that human beings can neither conceive nor accomplish.” Indeed, this work must be carried out by God personally—no human is capable of such work, they just aren’t up to it. Other than God, who could carry out such great work among men? Who else is capable of tormenting the whole of mankind half to death? Could men possibly arrange such a work? Why is it that He says, “I personally carry out My work after descending upon the earth”? Could God’s Spirit have truly disappeared from all of space? “I personally carry out My work after descending upon the earth,” refers both to the fact that God’s Spirit is incarnated in the flesh to do work, and to the fact that God’s Spirit is clearly working through humankind. By personally carrying out His work, God allows many people to see God Himself with their naked eyes, so that they needn’t search carefully in their spirits. Furthermore, it allows for all of man to see the workings of the Spirit with their own eyes and shows them that there is an essential difference between the flesh of man and that of God. Simultaneously, throughout all of space and the universe world, the Spirit of God is still at work. All those people who are enlightened, having accepted God’s name, see how the Spirit of God works and, thereby, become even more acquainted with the incarnation of God. As such, only if God’s divinity works directly, that is God’s Spirit is able to work without the slightest interference, can man become acquainted with the “practical God Himself.” This is the essence of kingdom building.
How many times has God been incarnated in the flesh? Could it be several times? Why is it that God has remarked many times, “I once descended into the world of men and experienced and observed their suffering, but without fulfilling the purpose of My incarnation”? Is it that God has been incarnated several times, but has never once been known by man? That is not what is meant by this statement. The first time God was incarnated, His aim was actually not for man to know Him. Instead, He carried out His work and then “disappeared” without anyone noticing or having even the opportunity to know Him. He didn’t allow man to fully know Him and also did not completely possess the significance of incarnation, so He could not be said to be fully incarnated. In the first incarnation, He merely used a fleshly body free of a sinful nature to carry out one work—the work having been completed, there was no need of further mention. As for those men who have been used by God throughout the ages, such instances are even less worthy of being called incarnation. Today, only He who is the practical God Himself, who has the outward appearance of normal humanity concealing a complete divinity inward, and whose aim is to allow man to know Him can be fully called incarnation. The meaning of God’s first visit to this world comprises only one aspect of the significance of what is called incarnation today—this visit by no means possessed the full meaning of what is now called incarnation. This is why God said, “without fulfilling the significance of incarnation.” “Experience and observation of man’s suffering” refers to God’s Spirit and the two incarnations, thus God said, “When the building of the kingdom gets under way, My incarnate flesh formally begins to perform the ministry; that is, the King of the kingdom formally takes up His sovereign power.” Though the construction of the church was a testimony to God’s name, the work had not yet formally begun—only today can be said to be kingdom building. All that was done previously was just a foretaste, it wasn’t the real thing. Even though it was said that the kingdom had been entered into, no work was yet being done within it. Only today, now that work is being done within God’s divinity and God has formally begun His work has man finally entered into the kingdom. Thus, “the descent of the kingdom into the human world, far from being merely a matter of words and appearances, is one of actual reality; this is one aspect of the meaning of ‘the reality of practice.’” This excerpt is an apt summary of the above exposition. Having provided this description, God moves on to characterize the general state of mankind, leaving man in a state of constant busyness. “Throughout the world, all humanity lies within My love, My compassion, but so does all humanity lie under My judgment, and likewise under My trial.” Man’s life is governed according to certain principles and rules, which God has set in place. These principles and rules are as follows: There will be times of happiness, moments of frustration and moreover, times of the refinement of hardships to endure. Thus, no man will live a life of pure happiness or pure suffering. Every life will have its ups and downs. Throughout all of mankind, not only is God’s love and compassion apparent, so is His judgment and the whole of His disposition. It can be said thusly: Men all live through God’s trial, do they not? Throughout this vast world, all of mankind labors busily in the work of finding their own way. They are not sure what role they play and some even damage or forfeit their lives for the sake of their fate. Even Job was no exception to the rule: Living through God’s trial, he nonetheless carried on seeking his own way. No man is capable of standing fast through God’s trials. Because of his greed or his human nature, no man is fully satisfied with his current condition, and no man may stand fast through the trials: Every man crumbles under God’s judgment. If God were still to be so serious with man, if He were still to hold such exacting demands of man, it would be just as God said: “the entire human race would topple under My burning gaze.”
Despite the fact that construction of the kingdom has formally begun, the salute to the kingdom has yet to formally ring out—now it is but a prophecy of what is to come. When the people have all been made complete and all the nations of earth become Christ’s kingdom, then will be the time when “the seven thunders peal.” The current day is a stride forth in the direction of that stage, the charge has been unleashed on the coming time. This is God’s plan—in the near future it will be realized. However, God has already accomplished all which He has said. Thus, it is clear that the nations of earth are but castles in the sand trembling as high tide nears: The last day is imminent and the great red dragon will topple under God’s word. To ensure that God’s plan is carried out successfully, the angels of heaven have descended upon earth, doing their utmost to satisfy God. The incarnate God Himself has deployed to the field of battle to wage war on the enemy. Wherever the incarnation appears, so the enemy is destroyed from that place. China is the first to be annihilated, to be laid to waste by the hand of God. God gives absolutely no quarter to China. Proof of the great red dragon’s progressive collapse can be seen in the continued maturation of the people. This can be obviously seen by anyone. The maturation of the people is a sign of the enemy’s demise. This is a bit of an explanation of what is meant by “do battle.” Thus, God reminded the people on numerous occasions to give beautiful testimonies to God to undo the status of notions, the great red dragon’s ugliness in the hearts of men. God uses such reminders to enliven man’s faith and, in so doing, achieve attainments in His work. This is because God has said, “What is man capable of doing? Is it not rather that I do it Myself?” All of mankind is as such. Not only are they incapable, they are also easily discouraged and disappointed. For this reason, they are incapable of knowing God. God not only revives man’s faith, in secret He is also constantly imbuing man with strength.
Next, God began speaking to the entire universe. Not only did God commence His new work in China, throughout the universe He began doing the new work of today. In this stage of the work, because God wants to reveal all of His deeds throughout the earth so that all of mankind who has betrayed Him will come again to bow down in submission before His throne, thus within God’s judgment there is still God’s compassion and love. God uses current events throughout the world to shake the hearts of men, stirring them to seek God so that they may stream to Him. Thus God says, “This is one of the ways in which I work, and is without doubt an act of salvation for man, and what I extend to him is still a kind of love.” God exposes man’s true nature with an accuracy that is penetrating, unparalleled, and effortless. This leaves man hiding his face in shame, utterly humiliated. Every time God speaks, in some way He always points out some aspect of man’s wretchedness so that, at his ease, man does not forget to know himself and does not think of knowing himself as an old task. Knowing man’s nature, if God were to not point out his faults for just one moment, man could become dissolute and arrogant. Thus, today God says, “Humanity—far from treasuring the names that I have conferred upon you, so many of you, at the title ‘service-doers,’ nurse resentment in your hearts, and so many, at the title ‘My people,’ breed love in your hearts. Do not dare try to fool Me—My eyes see and penetrate all!” As soon as man sees this statement, he immediately feels uncomfortable. He feels that his past actions were far too immature—just the kind of dirty-dealing that offends God. He has recently wanted to satisfy God, but while he is more than willing, he lacks the power and doesn’t know what he ought to do. Unwittingly, he is imbued with a renewed resolve. This is the effect of reading these words when one is at ease.
On the one hand, God says Satan is insane in the extreme, while on the other hand He also says most humans do not change their old nature. From this, it is clear that Satan’s actions are manifested through man. Thus, God often reminds man not to be dissolute, lest he be devoured by Satan. This is not only prophesying that some men will rebel, it is further an alarm bell ringing out to warn all men to set aside the past with haste and seek that of the present day. No man wishes to be possessed by demons or overcome by evil spirits, so God’s word is even more so a warning and admonishment to them. However, when most people move to the polar opposite extreme, attaching great importance to God’s every last word, God in turn says, “The majority of people are waiting for Me to reveal even more mysteries for them to feast their eyes upon. And yet, should you come to understand all the mysteries of heaven, what could you do with that knowledge? Would it increase your love for Me? Would it inflame your love for Me?” From this it is clear that man does not use God’s word to know God and love God, but rather to increase the stores of his “little storehouse.” So, God’s use of the phrase “feast their eyes upon” to describe man’s extremism reflects how man’s love of God is still not entirely pure. If God did not unveil the mysteries, man would not lay much importance on His words, but would rather just give them a passing glance. They wouldn’t take the time to really reflect upon and mull over His words. Most people don’t truly cherish God’s word. They don’t go to great lengths to eat and drink His words, but rather skim over them perfunctorily. Why does God speak now in a different way than time’s past? Why is it all inscrutable language? For instance, “crown” in “I would never casually put a label on man’s head to wear as a crown,” “purest gold” in “Is there anyone who can receive into himself the purest gold of which My words are made up,” His previous mention of “processing” in “without passing through any processing by Satan” and other such phrases. Man does not understand why God speaks this way. They don’t get why He speaks in such a jocular, humorous and provocative manner. This is precisely a manifestation of the purpose of God’s speech. From the very beginning until now, man has always been incapable of comprehending God’s word and it has seemed as though God’s word was indeed quite grave and stern. By adding the slightest strain of humor—adding a few quips here and there—He is able to lighten the mood with His word and let those listening un-tense all those muscles drawn taut. In so doing, He is able to achieve an even greater effect, compelling man to all ponder over God’s word.
a. “After Christ” means “AD (Addo Domini).”