The Man’s Fellowship
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” (Heb 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 obey 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 returned 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)” (“The One Hundred and Tenth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “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, a plan that spans six thousand years, consists of three stages, or three ages: the Age of Law in the beginning; the Age of Grace (which is also the Age of Redemption); and the Age of Kingdom in the last days. My work in these three ages differs in content according to the nature of each age, but at each stage it accords with man’s needs—or, to be more precise, it is done according to the tricks that Satan employs in the war that I wage against it. The purpose of My work is to defeat Satan, to make manifest My wisdom and omnipotence, to expose all of Satan’s tricks, and thereby to save the entire human race, which lives under its domain. It is to show My wisdom and omnipotence while at the same time revealing the unbearable hideousness of Satan. Even more, it is to teach My creations to discriminate between good and evil, to know 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 tell, with absolute certainty, the difference between good and evil, truth and falsehood, holiness and filth, and what is great and what is ignoble. This way, ignorant humanity will become able to bear witness to Me that it is not I who corrupt humanity, and only I—the Lord of creation—can save humanity, can bestow upon man things for their enjoyment; and they will come to know that I am the Ruler of all things and Satan is merely one of the beings that I created and that later turned against Me. My six-thousand-year management plan is divided into three stages so as to achieve the following effect: to enable My creations to become My witnesses, to comprehend My will, and to know that I am the truth (“The True Story Behind 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 in a continuous thread the entire gamut of God’s management, and are all the work of one Spirit. Since the creation of the world, God has always been at work 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 unmistakably the work of one Spirit. All those who separate these three stages stand in opposition to 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 advance over that done in the Age of Law. The three stages are tightly interconnected and each link in the chain is closely tied to the next. … It may be said that this stage of work is built on the foundation of the Age of Law and on the rock of Jesus’ work. The work is built stage by stage, and this stage is not a new beginning. Only the combination of the three stages of work may 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 is always God, and will never become Satan; Satan is always 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. As for His work, however, it is always progressing in a forward direction, 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 and finally to the 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 are 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. Only if they recognize God’s three stages of work can they 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:
(God’s Words Are Omitted)
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 required 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 busy, 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 Jehovah God, 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 to guide 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 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 guided 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 launched 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 it was Jehovah who created the heavens and earth and all things, and that it was Jehovah who made all creatures. He spread His work through the people of Israel outward beyond them” (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 thoroughly from the influence of Satan to fully turn toward God’s throne. This is the management plan for saving mankind.
If I am 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:
(God’s Words Are Omitted)
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, sin offerings, 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 returned Lord Jesus, Almighty God’s work of judgment and chastisement in the last days 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 God’s management plan to save mankind had already been halfway completed while the work of redemption paved 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.
(God’s Words Are Omitted)
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 book, The Word Appears in the Flesh, that is expressed by Almighty God during His work in the last days in its entirety 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 put to rout the evil one of mankind, so that it can no longer rebel against Me, much less have the breath to interrupt or disturb My work. Thus, as far as man is concerned, it has come to mean conquest” (“What It Means to Be a Real Man” 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 knowing 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 their life disposition. 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 (“The Seventy-ninth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
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).
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 (“The Ninetieth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
In the end, He will burn away all that is unclean and unrighteous within men throughout the universe, to show them that He is not only a merciful and loving God, not only a God of wisdom and wonders, not only a holy God, but, even more, a God who judges man. To the evil ones among 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, provision of words, dealing, and pruning. And to those who are eliminated, He is punishment and also 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 (“The Ninety-sixth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
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 also lives 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! (“The Forty-fourth Utterance” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
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 be separated 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 sects and denominations of the religious world will become antichrist forces who resist and oppose God. 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
(God’s Words Are Omitted)
1. “Ravages” is used to expose the disobedience of mankind.
September 1, 2013
God has already spoken very clearly about the essence of every stage of work in the three stages of God’s work. The main outcome of the laws promulgated in the Age of Law, in particular, the Ten Commandments, was to guide mankind to live on earth. The Ten Commandments were what God demanded of mankind. If mankind wished to survive on earth and live in the presence of God, not be condemned but be commended by God then they must live according to the Ten Commandments. People must adhere to every one of the Ten Commandments. It would not do for anyone to not abide by them. Therefore, according to the requirements of the Ten Commandments, the work of the Age of Law was to let mankind know how they should live on earth in conformance with God’s demands and in accordance with God’s will. The effect of the Ten Commandments was to let mankind know how to live on earth, what they should adhere to, know God’s name, that they are not allowed to worship idols and must abide by the Sabbath, etcetera. These commandments, on the one hand, constrain people and on the other hand, are to witness the one true God and make you believe Jehovah alone is the one true God. These commandments are the most important content for God guiding mankind in life and also the most fundamental in the life of mankind. Mankind cannot violate any of them at any time or they will be cut off! Some people say: “What does it mean to be cut off?” That means that this person must die and go to hell after they die. For example, the first of the Ten Commandments stipulates that people are not allowed to believe in other gods and are only allowed to believe in the one true God. What is the consequence of people violating this? It is to be cursed. If one is cursed, one must die and after dying, go to hell to be punished. This is the commandment of God! These ten commandments are stipulated to people by God. If mankind wishes to survive on earth and be praised and blessed by God, they must abide by these ten commandments. This is the outcome of the Ten Commandments.
Of the many statutes and ordinances promulgated by God in the Age of Law, the Ten Commandments are central and most fundamental. The remaining are primarily provisions of some details of all kinds of sin offerings. Those provisions are of no use whatsoever now because the Lord Jesus became mankind’s eternal sin offering during the Age of Grace and completely resolved the issue of people offering all kinds of sin offerings. However, the Ten Commandments will always be of use. Up to the Age of Kingdom, people cannot live below this standard. The Ten Commandments indicate the only correct principles for mankind’s survival and the correct path for life. In the words of modern people, the Ten Commandments are the principles and the baseline for being people and the commandments which God has proposed for mankind that people must abide by. So these ten commandments are the ten principles for mankind’s survival on earth. With these ten commandments, mankind knows how to survive on earth to please God and be blessed by God and knows what the conditions are to be blessed by God and what the outcome will be. You only need to abide by the Ten Commandments and God will let you live a very happy long life on earth. Some people abide by the Ten Commandments well and worship God with all their heart. They are blessed by God and live for hundreds of years. Some people worship idols, not God, and are possessed by evil spirits and live for several decades and then die. People who live according to the Ten Commandments do not court disasters, and their calamities turn into blessings, their bad luck turns to good and are protected by God. Those who do not live according to the Ten Commandments, who have violated the Ten Commandments, like always coveting other people’s wealth, will be cursed and, will be followed by all kinds of calamities and disasters and their sins will still be punished even after they have died. In particular, all those who hate God are not only condemned and cursed but God will punish their sins for up to three generations; this is what “a dutiful son is obliged to pay his father’s debts” means. Their children and grandchildren will also be implicated! The consequence of people violating the Ten Commandments in the Age of Grace and the Age of Kingdom is also very serious; those people who worship false gods and worship idols are all cursed. What does God mean by saying, “The Chinese are all cursed”? The main thing is that one will be most cursed for violating the commandment regarding worshiping idols and false gods. Once cursed, that person’s life will certainly be short-lived and encounter many calamities and difficulties. If people are cursed and plagued by all sorts of adversities and disasters, they must have broken the law, violated the commandments and offended God in some way. Some people say: “I haven’t offended God, nor said anything.” You offend God just by worshiping false gods or evil spirits. This is a transgression and will be cursed. Some people coerce people who believe in God, slander the true way and judge God’s work. They will be cursed. Some people engage in promiscuity and will be cursed. What should you do if you wish to let your children and grandchildren do well? Do not violate the Ten Commandments, engage in promiscuity, worship evil spirits or covet other people’s property in this lifetime. Enjoy however much God gives you, worship the true God and do not offend God’s disposition. If you do so, not only will you be able to be blessed, but your children and grandchildren will also be blessed, because this is in keeping with God’s will. If you love God then God will bless you for a thousand generations. This is God’s promise. Based on the effect of the Ten Commandments and the significance of the Ten Commandments promulgated by God, we can confirm that the work of the Age of Law is the work of leading people to live. This is the essence of the work of the Age of Law.
We all know that the work of the Age of Grace is the work of redemption. “The work of redemption” mainly refers to the Lord Jesus being crucified as an atonement for mankind, completing the work of the redemption of mankind. Why is this stage called redemption work? Why must He be crucified for the work of redemption? Everyone who has read the Bible knows that the wages of sin is death and if you have committed a sin then you must die. This is determined by God and by God’s righteous disposition. In the Age of Law, if people broke the law, that was committing a sin and they had to die and this was predestined by God. As the sin of mankind has become more and more serious, God has adopted a most effective and most righteous way to save mankind, that is, the incarnation of God as an atonement for mankind. The Lord Jesus is a sinless flesh, conceived from the Holy Spirit and redeems the sin of mankind through crucifixion. What is to “save” and what is to “redeem”? To save means salvation and to redeem is to bring mankind back from Satan’s hands by a person’s death. The Son of God had no sin. The death of a sinless person is used to bring back corrupt mankind and then, the sin of man has all been forgiven. This is called “sin offering.” The completion of the Lord Jesus acting as a sin offering is the work of redemption.
Some people say: “Why is sin offering also called redemption?” Because the Lord Jesus acted as a sin offering and died for us and the Lord Jesus took on these sins from people. As soon as people believe in Him, God regards this person as without sin. In the Bible, according to people’s understanding, this is called “justification by faith.” Because you believe in Jesus, God says that you have no sin. Your sin has been forgiven because the Lord Jesus took it on and after it has been forgiven, you can pray to God and God will answer your prayer. As a result, Satan has nothing to say, so the essence of this stage of work is a stage of redemption work. We see that all those who believe in the Lord Jesus just need to pray to the Lord Jesus and admit all of their sins to the Lord Jesus to immediately have peace and happiness in their soul and feel especially liberated, like a bird set free from its cage. People are in high spirits when they experience some happy event. The outlook of a person whose sins have been forgiven looks different. They have obtained the work of the Holy Spirit. This is different from their previous state of living in sin and darkness without the work of the Holy Spirit, without being liberated and free, or peace and joy. This is the grace God has given which was enjoyed by people who believed in the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace. Whatever sin people have committed, simply pray to God and all will be forgiven. After they have been forgiven, people begin to happily and freely live in the presence of God again. This is a testimony shared by all those who believe in the Lord Jesus. Based on the outcomes of believing in Jesus, people see: Their sins are really forgiven. They indeed enjoy peace and joy and if they pray to God, God will indeed listen. In so many matters, God mysteriously grants people so much grace and people get so much enjoyment from God. They see that God does so much for mankind and all those people who have experience can make such testimony. In this way, what kind of understanding do we have of the work of the Age of Grace? The work of the Age of Grace is a stage of the work of redemption. This is the essence of the work of the Age of Grace.
The work that God did in the Age of Grace was the work of redemption. Now there are some people who point out that the last thing the Lord Jesus said on the cross was, “It is finished.” And then they say: “When the Lord Jesus served as a sin offering, He accomplished God’s work of salvation. We have been forgiven our sins because we believe in the Lord Jesus. We have also been justified through faith alone and so we will be able to enter the kingdom of heaven. We just have to wait for the Lord’s rapture.” Or they say: “Everything’s ready, we just need the rapture.” Can this be verified? No, it can’t. We can only verify that our sins have been forgiven. How do we verify it? Regardless of what kind of sin you commit you only need to pray and admit to your sin and you will feel joy, peace, and your spirit will be freed from the bondage of sin. One feels released when he has no sin! So we can say that the sin offering is totally real and is something that all believers in the Lord Jesus can confirm through their experiences. But it is by no means certain to say: “Believing in the Lord Jesus will bring salvation from God and complete separation from sin. If you believe in the Lord Jesus, you’ll be commended by God and will enter the kingdom of heaven.” The Lord Jesus did not say this, and there is no evidence for it. Why is there no evidence? Man’s sins have been forgiven, but can his satanic disposition, the sinful nature, be forgiven? No. Did the Lord Jesus ever say: “Once your sins are forgiven you can enter the kingdom of heaven”? Did the Lord Jesus ever say: “You just need to believe in Me and there’ll be a place for you in the kingdom of heaven”? God has never said that. What did the Lord Jesus say in the Bible? “Not every one that said to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that does the will of my Father which is in heaven” (Mat 7:21). So what does “does the will of my Father which is in heaven” refer to? It means you have to do God’s will, follow God’s way, put into practice the way of the truth, that is, God’s word. A person must do whatever God requires him to do and must keep on abiding strictly by God’s instructions, and only then can he enter the kingdom of heaven. But how many people were able to meet God’s requirements in the Age of Grace? Not one. So we can say that the work of the Age of Grace is a stage of work of redemption. It is prophesied in the Bible that when the Lord returns He will do a stage of work of judgment and chastisement to purify all those who come before God. In other words, God is going to undertake a stage of purification work before He ends the age in the last days. And all that the Lord Jesus prophesied about separating the wheat from the tares, the sheep from the goats, the wise virgins from the foolish virgins, and also those who serve God from those who don’t and good servants from evil servants—all this will come true. According to the Lord Jesus’ prophecy, during the last days God will undertake a stage of work of judging people, purifying people, the work of separating all according to their own kind, as prophesied clearly in the Bible. As it says in the Bible: “For the time is come that judgment must begin at the house of God” (1Pe 4:17), and it also mentions the “salvation ready to be revealed in the last time” (1Pe 1:5), and how the victorious Lord will come to receive them(see Jhn 14:3), and how the Lord will come like a thief to steal treasures (see Rev 16:15). All these prophecies refer to the work to be done during our Lord’s return. This proves that from the Age of Law to the time of the Lord’s return to end the age, there are three stages of work. This is true, and can be seen in biblical prophecies, in the Book of Revelation.
The work of the Age of Grace was the work of redemption—it certainly wasn’t the work of purification to eliminate mankind’s sinful nature. There has not been a believer in the Lord Jesus whose sinful nature has been totally eliminated, not a single one who has not sinned again after being forgiven, not one who has achieved a total transformation of their disposition, not one who has truly known God. These are the facts of the matter. During the Age of Grace mankind believed in God for 2,000 years, but five fundamental problems remained unresolved: First, mankind’s satanic nature toward committing sins was not resolved; second, the issue of mankind revealing satanic disposition remained unresolved; third, the issue of the transformation of each person’s life disposition was not resolved; fourth, the problem of how mankind should know God and obey God was not thoroughly resolved; fifth, the question of how mankind can attain purification was not completely resolved, either. These five fundamental problems remained unresolved, proving that God’s work of the Age of Grace was one stage of work of redemption and not the final stage of the work of mankind’s salvation. The work of the Age of Grace was paving the way, building the foundations, for the salvation work of the last days.
Let us talk again about God’s judgment work of the last days. In the Age of Grace people who believed in the Lord Jesus were forgiven for their sins as soon as they prayed to the Lord after sinning and enjoyed the peace and joy that God granted them. Therefore, people who believed in God in the Age of Grace all knew what sin was, but were unable to understand what people’s sinful satanic nature was, what the corrupt disposition people revealed was and what the root of the sin was. Even those spiritual celebrities, exegetes and priests did not know. In the last days, God has returned to the flesh and expressed all the truths to judge and chastise and cleanse people and through the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, people start to have a true knowledge of the origin of mankind’s sin, mankind’s deeply corrupt satanic nature and the satanic disposition revealed by people. They all admit they have been deeply corrupted by Satan and that what they live out is the devil Satan. People are all conquered by the word of God, utterly convinced and admit that they are descendants of Satan and think: “We are the devil Satan. What blessings does the devil Satan ask for? And yet what extravagant desires do we speak of? We are unworthy! We should be at the mercy of God and if God asks us to serve, we should serve well and do our duty well. If God asks us to pursue the truth or has other demands for us, this is all God’s exceptional uplifting. God treats us as people, so let’s pursue hard and press onward! It need not be said that we must repay God’s love!” This is how they follow God. This is the outcome of God’s judgment and chastisement.
So how does God’s work of the last days achieve this outcome? Through judgment and chastisement. What disposition do we discover God has revealed through His judgment and chastisement? It includes righteousness, majesty, wrath and curse. God is not only loving and compassionate. Another side of God’s disposition is predominantly righteousness, majesty and wrath. When God redeemed people, His loving and compassionate side was shown. When God judges and cleanses people, the predominantly righteous disposition is shown. When God started the age, God’s disposition was loving and compassionate. When He ends the age, He reveals His righteous disposition. Through the judgment and chastisement of God’s words, we see that the manifestation of God’s disposition and the coming of God’s disposition makes us develop a God-fearing heart and dare not offend God’s disposition again, and we have a different mentality from people in the Age of Grace and the Age of Law toward keeping God’s commandments and God’s demands on people. In the Age of Grace people just knew that God was loving and compassionate. No matter how much people had transgressed, God would always forgive and pardon them, up to seventy-seven times, that is, infinite times. Once the Age of Kingdom came, through the judgment and chastisement of the word of God, people realized that God’s disposition cannot be offended and that offenses must be punished. People gradually developed God-fearing hearts and once they had God-fearing hearts and shunned evil, their life disposition started to change and so people became more and more cleansed. This is the effect of judgment and chastisement. The essence of the stage of work of God saving and perfecting people and eventually people getting cleansed in the Age of Kingdom is God’s judgment and chastisement work. Only God’s judgment and chastisement can make people know the origins of mankind’s sin, the nature of sin and the essence of mankind’s corruption. Only judgment and chastisement can make people know God’s righteous disposition, God’s almightiness and wisdom, that God’s real identity is the Lord of Creation and that the authority of God is unique and above all else. These are all the effects of God’s judgment and chastisement. Therefore all those who receive God’s judgment and chastisement are all people who are approved by God, most blessed by God and who have God’s greatest blessing! When God incarnate of the last days comes, all those who accept and obey will get great blessings and all those who resist and refuse will get great misfortune and in this way, people will be separated according to their kind. In summary, God’s work of the last days is judgment and chastisement work and there are four main outcomes: Firstly, it makes people know what sin is and most importantly, see through mankind’s sinful nature, essence and origins and know the truth that all that people live out is Satan’s disposition and Satan’s image; secondly, it makes people know that God’s disposition is primarily righteous, know God’s authority, God’s almightiness and wisdom and that God’s true identity is the Lord of Creation, and so develop a God-fearing heart; thirdly, it makes people achieve changes to life disposition, be able to truly obey God and worship the one true God; fourthly, it enables mankind to truly be cleansed and eventually see God and enter the real rest of mankind. These are all outcomes of God’s judgment and chastisement work of the Age of Kingdom.
from “Fellowship and Answers Regarding the Issue of Spreading the Gospel 2”