During the time of church building, God barely mentioned building the kingdom. Even when He brought it up, He did so in the language of the time. Once the Age of Kingdom had arrived, God wrote off certain methods and concerns of the time of church building with a single stroke, and never again uttered even a single word about them. This is precisely the fundamental meaning of “God Himself” who is always new and never old. As well as things may have been done in the past, they are, after all, part of a bygone era, so God categorizes such past events as having occurred in the time before Christ, whereas the present day is known as the time after Christ. From this it can be seen that the building of the church was a prerequisite for the building of the kingdom; it laid the foundation for God to wield His sovereign power in the kingdom. The building of the church is a snapshot of today; God’s work on earth is primarily focused on this part that is the building of the kingdom. Before He finished building the church, He had already made preparations for all the work to be done, and when the time was right, He formally began His work. This is why God said, “The Age of Kingdom is, after all, different from times past. It does not concern how humanity acts; rather, I have descended upon the earth to personally carry out My work, which is something that human beings can neither conceive of nor accomplish.” Indeed, this work must be carried out by God personally—no human is capable of such work; they are just not up to it. Who, besides God, could carry out such great work among humanity? Who else is capable of “tormenting” the whole of humankind half to death? Could humans possibly arrange such work? Why is it that He says, “I have descended upon the earth to personally carry out My work”? Could God’s Spirit have truly disappeared from all of space? The line, “I have descended upon the earth to personally carry out My work,” 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, He allows many people to see God Himself with their naked eyes; it is unnecessary for them to search carefully for Him in their own spirits. Furthermore, He allows all humans to see the workings of the Spirit with their own eyes, showing them that there is an essential difference between the flesh of man and that of God. At the same time, throughout all of space, the universe world, the Spirit of God is at work. All God’s people who are enlightened, having accepted God’s name, see how the Spirit of God works and, thereby, become even more acquainted with God incarnate. As such, only if God’s divinity works directly—that is, only when God’s Spirit is able to work without the slightest interference—can humanity 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 multiple times, “I once descended into the world of humans and experienced and observed their suffering, but did so without fulfilling the purpose of My incarnation”? Is it that God has been incarnated several times, but has never once been known by humanity? That is not what is meant by this statement. The first time God was incarnated, His aim was actually not for humans to know Him; rather, He carried out His work and then disappeared without anyone noticing or having even an opportunity to know Him. He did not allow people to fully know Him, nor did He completely possess the significance of incarnation; as such, He could not be said to have been fully incarnated. In the first incarnation, God merely used a physical body free of a sinful nature to carry out that work; after it was complete, there was no need of further mention. As for those humans who have been used by God throughout the ages, such instances are even less worthy of being called “incarnations.” Only the practical God Himself today, who is under the cover of a normal humanity and who has an inner, complete divinity, and whose aim is to allow humanity to know Him, can be fully called an “incarnation.” The significance of God’s first visit to this world is one aspect of the significance of what is called the incarnation today—but this visit by no means comprises the full meaning of what is now known as the incarnation. This is why God said, “without fulfilling the significance of My incarnation.” The words, “experienced and observed their suffering,” refer to God’s Spirit and the two incarnations. For this reason, God said, “Once the building of the kingdom got under way, My incarnate flesh formally began to perform My ministry; that is, the King of the kingdom formally took 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 it be said to be kingdom building. All that was done previously was just a foretaste; it was not the real thing. Even though it was said that the kingdom had commenced, 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 humanity finally entered the kingdom. Thus, “the descent of the kingdom into the human world—far from being merely a literal manifestation—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 humankind, leaving people in a state of constant busyness. “Throughout the world, everyone exists within My mercy and lovingkindness, but so does all humanity lie under My judgment, and likewise is subject to My trials.” Human life is governed according to certain principles and rules, as arranged by God, and they are as follows: There will be times of happiness, moments of frustration, and, moreover, times of refinement by way of hardships that must be endured. Thus, no one will live a life of pure happiness or pure suffering; every life will have its ups and downs. Throughout all of humanity, not only is God’s mercy and lovingkindness apparent, but so are His judgment and the whole of His disposition. It can be said that all humans exist amidst God’s trials, can it not? Throughout this vast world, humans are all busy with finding a way out for themselves. They are not sure what role they play, and some even damage or forfeit their lives for the sake of fate. Even Job was no exception to the rule: Though he, too, endured God’s trials, nonetheless, he looked for a way out for himself. No one has ever been able to stand fast through God’s trials. Due to human greed and nature, no one is fully satisfied with their current condition, and no one stands fast through trials; everyone crumbles under God’s judgment. If God were to be serious with humanity, and if He were still to hold such exacting demands of people, then it would be just as He said: “[T]he 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 the earth become Christ’s kingdom, then it will be the time when the seven thunders peal. The current day is a stride toward that stage; the charge has been unleashed toward that day. This is God’s plan, and in the near future it will be realized. However, God has already accomplished everything that He has uttered. 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 beneath God’s word. To ensure that His 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 against the enemy. Wherever the incarnation appears is a place from which the enemy is exterminated. China will be the first to be annihilated; it will be laid to waste by the hand of God. God will give absolutely no quarter there. Proof of the great red dragon’s progressive collapse can be seen in the continued maturation of the people; this is obvious and visible to 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 “compete with it.” Thus, God has reminded the people on numerous occasions to give beautiful testimonies to Him to undo the status held by notions, which are the great red dragon’s ugliness, in the hearts of humans. God uses such reminders to enliven people’s faith and, in so doing, achieves attainments in His work. This is because God has said, “What exactly are humans capable of doing? Is it not rather that I do it Myself?” All humans are like this; not only are they incapable, but they are also easily discouraged and disappointed. For this reason, they cannot know God. God not only revives humanity’s faith; He is also secretly and constantly imbuing people with strength.
Next, God began speaking to the entire universe. Not only has God commenced His new work in China, but throughout the universe, He has begun doing the new work of today. In this stage of the work, because God wishes to reveal all of His deeds throughout the world so that all humans who have betrayed Him will come again to submit before His throne, God’s judgment will still contain His mercy and lovingkindness. God uses current events throughout the world as opportunities to cause humans to feel panic, spurring them to seek God so that they may flow back to be before Him. Thus, God says, “This is one of the ways in which I work, and is without doubt an act of salvation for humanity, and what I extend to them is still a kind of love.” Here God exposes humanity’s true nature with an accuracy that is penetrating, unparalleled, and effortless. This leaves people hiding their faces in shame, utterly humiliated. Every time God speaks, He somehow always manages to point out some aspect of humanity’s shameful performance so that, while at ease, people do not forget to know themselves and do not think of knowing themselves as an old task. According to human nature, if God were to stop pointing out their faults for even just a moment, they are liable to become dissolute and arrogant. This is why God again says today, “Humanity—far from treasuring the titles that I have conferred upon them, so many of them, on account of the title ‘service-doer,’ nurse resentment in their hearts, and so many, on account of the title ‘My people,’ breed love for Me in their hearts. No one should try to fool Me; My eyes are all-seeing!” As soon as humans read this statement, they immediately feel uncomfortable. They feel that their past actions were far too immature—just the kind of dirty-dealing that offends God. They have recently wanted to satisfy God, but while they are more than willing, they lack the power to do so, and do not know what they ought to do. Unwittingly, they are imbued with a renewed resolve. This is the effect of reading these words after one has become at ease.
On the one hand, God says Satan is insane in the extreme, while on the other hand He points out that the old nature shared by most humans has not changed. From this, it is clear that Satan’s actions are manifested through humanity. God therefore frequently reminds humans not to be dissolute, lest they be devoured by Satan. This not only prophesies that some humans will rebel; moreover, it is an alarm bell ringing out to warn all people to set aside the past with haste and seek the present day. No one wishes to be possessed by demons or overcome by evil spirits, so God’s words are, even more so, a warning and admonishment to them. However, when most people move to the opposite extreme, attaching great importance to God’s every last word, God in turn says, “Most people are waiting for Me to reveal even more mysteries for them to feast their eyes upon. However, even if you came to understand all the mysteries of heaven, exactly what could you do with that knowledge? Would it increase your love for Me? Would it arouse your love for Me?” From this it is evident that humans do not use God’s word to know God and love God, but rather to increase the stores of their “little storehouse.” Thus, God uses the phrase “feast their eyes upon” to describe humanity’s extremism, which reflects how humans’ love of God is still not entirely pure. If God did not unveil mysteries, humans would not lay much importance on His words, but would rather just give them a cursory glance, glimpsing briefly as if admiring flowers whilst galloping past on horseback. They would not take the time to truly reflect upon or mull over God’s utterances. Most people do not truly cherish His word. They do not go to great lengths to eat and drink of His words; instead, they just skim over them perfunctorily. Why does God speak now in a different way than He did in times past? Why are all His words so unfathomable? Some examples are the word “crown” in “I would never crown them with such labels so casually,” “purest gold” in “Is there anyone who can receive the purest gold of which My words are made,” His previous mention of “processing” in “without undergoing any processing by Satan,” and other such phrases. Humans do not understand why God speaks this way; they cannot comprehend why He speaks in such a jocular, humorous, and provocative manner. It is precisely these which are manifestations of the purpose of God’s speech. Ever since the very beginning, humans have always been incapable of comprehending God’s word, and it has seemed as though His utterances are 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 allow humans to relax their muscles somewhat. In so doing, He is able to achieve an even greater effect, compelling every human to ponder over God’s word.