a. The purpose of the three stages of work of God’s management of mankind
Words of Almighty God of the Last Days
My entire management plan, the six-thousand-year management plan, consists of three stages, or three ages: the Age of Law of the beginning; the Age of Grace (which is also the Age of Redemption); and the Age of Kingdom of the last days. My work in these three ages differs in content according to the nature of each age, but at each stage this work befits the needs of man—or, to be more precise, 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 Satan’s power. It is to show My wisdom and omnipotence, and to reveal the unbearable hideousness of Satan; even more than that, it is to allow created beings to discriminate between good and evil, to know that I am the Ruler of all things, to see clearly that Satan is the enemy of humanity, a degenerate, the evil one, and to allow them 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. Thus will ignorant humanity become able to bear witness to Me that it is not I who corrupt humanity, and only I—the Creator—can save humanity, can bestow upon people the things that they can enjoy; 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, and I work thus to achieve the effect of enabling created beings to bear witness to Me, and comprehend My will, and know that I am the truth.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The True Story Behind the Work of the Age of Redemption
The 6,000 years of work of God’s management are divided into three stages: the Age of Law, the Age of Grace, and the Age of Kingdom. These three stages of work are all for the sake of mankind’s salvation, which is to say, they are for the salvation of mankind that has been severely corrupted by Satan. At the same time, however, they are also so that God may do battle with Satan. Thus, just as the work of salvation is divided into three stages, so the battle with Satan is also divided into three stages, and these two aspects of God’s work are conducted simultaneously. The battle with Satan is actually for the sake of mankind’s salvation, and because the work of mankind’s salvation is not something that can be successfully completed in a single stage, the battle with Satan is also divided into phases and periods, and war is waged upon Satan in accordance with the needs of man and the extent of Satan’s corruption of him. Perhaps, in man’s imagination, he believes that in this battle God will take up arms against Satan, in the same way that two armies would fight each other. This is just what man’s intellect is capable of imagining; it is a supremely vague and unrealistic idea, yet it is what man believes. And because I say here that the means of man’s salvation is through battle with Satan, man imagines that this is how the battle is conducted. There are three stages to the work of man’s salvation, which is to say that the battle with Satan has been split into three stages in order to defeat Satan once and for all. Yet the inner truth of the entire work of the battle with Satan is that its effects are achieved through several steps of work: bestowing grace upon man, becoming man’s sin offering, 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 humiliated Satan will be completely bound, and in this way, man will have been completely saved. Thus, the essence of man’s salvation is the war against Satan, and this war is primarily reflected in the salvation of man. The stage of the last days, in which man is to be conquered, is the last stage in the battle with Satan, and it is also the work of man’s complete salvation from the power of Satan. The inner meaning of man’s conquest is the return of the embodiment of Satan—man who has been corrupted by Satan—to the Creator following his conquest, through which he will forsake Satan and completely return to God. In this way, man will have been completely saved. And so, the work of conquest is the last work in the battle against Satan and the final stage in God’s management for the sake of Satan’s defeat. Without this work, the full salvation of man would ultimately be impossible, the utter defeat of Satan would also be impossible, and mankind would never be able to enter the wonderful destination, or get free from Satan’s influence. Consequently, the work of salvation of man cannot be concluded before the battle with Satan is concluded, for the core of the work of God’s management is for the sake of mankind’s salvation. Earliest mankind was in the hands of God, but because of Satan’s temptation and corruption, man was bound up by Satan and fell into the hands of the evil one. Thus, Satan became the object to be defeated in the work of God’s management. Because Satan took possession of man, and because man is the capital which God uses to carry out all management, if man is to be saved, then he must be snatched back from the hands of Satan, which is to say that man must be taken back after having been held captive by Satan. Thus, Satan must be defeated through changes in man’s old disposition, changes which restore man’s original sense of reason. In this way, man, who has been taken captive, can be snatched back from the hands of Satan. If man is freed from the influence and bondage of Satan, then Satan will be shamed, man will ultimately be taken back, and Satan will be defeated. And because man has been freed from the dark influence of Satan, man will become the spoils of this entire battle, and Satan will become the object to be punished once the battle has finished, after which the entire work of mankind’s salvation will have been completed.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Restoring the Normal Life of Man and Taking Him to a Wonderful Destination
You must know that regardless of what work He does, the aim of God’s work does not change, the heart of His work does not change, and His will toward man does not change. No matter how severe His words, no matter how adverse the environment, the principles of His work will not change, and His intention of saving man will not change. Provided that it is not the work of the revelation of the end of man or the destination of man, and is not the work of the final phase, or the work of bringing God’s entire plan of management to an end, and provided that it is during the time He works man, then the heart of His work will not change. It will always be the salvation of mankind. This should be the foundation of your belief in God. The aim of the three stages of work is the salvation of all mankind—this means the complete salvation of man from the power of Satan. Though each of the three stages of work has a different objective and significance, each is part of the work of saving mankind, and each is different work of salvation carried out according to the requirements of mankind. Once you are aware of the aim of these three stages of work, then you will be aware of how to appreciate the significance of each stage of work, and will recognize how to act in order to satisfy the desire of God. If you can reach this point, then this, the greatest of all visions, will become the foundation of your belief in God.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God
All people need to understand the aims of My work on earth, that is, what I ultimately wish to gain, and what level I must achieve in this work before it can be complete. If, after walking with Me to this day, people do not understand what My work is all about, then have they not walked with Me in vain? If people follow Me, they should know My will. I have been working on earth for thousands of years, and to this day, I continue to carry out My work thus. Although My work contains many projects, its purpose remains unchanged; though I am filled with judgment and chastisement toward man, for example, what I do is still for the sake of saving him, and for the sake of better spreading My gospel and further expanding My work among all the Gentile nations once man has been made complete. So today, at a time when many people have long since sunk deep into dismay, I still continue with My work, I continue the work I must do to judge and chastise man. Despite the fact that man is fed up with what I say, and he has no desire to concern himself with My work, I am still carrying out My duty, for the purpose of My work remains unchanged, and My original plan will not be broken. The function of My judgment is to enable man to better obey Me, and the function of My chastisement is to allow man to more effectively be changed. Though what I do is for the sake of My management, I have never done anything that was without benefit to man, for I wish to make all the nations beyond Israel as obedient as the Israelites, to make them into real human beings, that I might have a foothold in the lands outside Israel. This is My management; it is the work I am accomplishing among the Gentile nations. Even now, many people still do not understand My management, because they have no interest in such things, and care only for their own futures and destinations. No matter what I say, they remain indifferent to the work that I do, instead focusing exclusively on their destinations of tomorrow. If things go on in this way, how can My work expand? How can My gospel be spread throughout the world? Know that when My work spreads, I will scatter you, and smite you just as Jehovah smote each of the tribes of Israel. All this will be done so that My gospel may spread across the earth, so that My work may expand to the Gentile nations, so that My name may be magnified by adults and children alike, and My holy name exalted in the mouths of people from all tribes and nations. It is so that, in this final era, My name may be magnified among the Gentile nations, so that My deeds may be seen by the Gentiles and they will call Me the Almighty on account of My deeds, and so that My words may soon come to pass. I will make all people know that I am not only the God of the Israelites, but also the God of all the nations of the Gentiles, even those that I have cursed. I will let all people see that I am the God of all creation. This is My greatest work, the purpose of My work plan for the last days, and the only work to be fulfilled in the last days.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Work of Spreading the Gospel Is Also the Work of Saving Man
Perhaps, when the riddle of the three stages of work is made known to mankind, there will appear in succession a group of talented people who know God. Of course, I hope that is the case, and, furthermore, I am in the process of carrying out this work, and hope to see the appearance of more such talented people in the near future. They will become those who bear testimony to the fact of these three stages of work, and, of course, they will also be the first to bear testimony to these three stages of work. But nothing would be more distressing and regrettable than if such talented people do not emerge on the day that God’s work comes to an end, or if there are only one or two such people who have personally accepted being made perfect by God incarnate. However, this is only the worst case scenario. Whatever the case may be, I still hope that those who truly pursue can gain this blessing. Since the beginning of time, there has never before been work such as this; such an undertaking has never occurred in the history of human development. If you can truly become one of the first of those who know God, would this not be the highest honor among all creatures? Would any creature among mankind be more commended by God? Such work is not easy to achieve, but will ultimately still reap rewards. Regardless of their gender or nationality, all those who are capable of achieving the knowledge of God will, in the end, receive God’s greatest honor, and will be the only ones that possess the authority of God. This is the work of today, and it is also the work of the future; it is the last and highest work to be accomplished in 6,000 years of work, and it is a way of working that reveals each category of man. Through the work of causing man to know God, the different ranks of man are revealed: Those who know God are qualified to receive God’s blessings and accept His promises, while those who do not know God are unqualified to receive God’s blessings and accept His promises. Those who know God are the intimates of God, and those who do not know God cannot be called the intimates of God; the intimates of God can receive any of God’s blessings, but those who are not His intimates are not worthy of any of His work. Whether it be tribulations, refinement, or judgment, all these things are for the sake of allowing man to ultimately achieve a knowledge of God, and so that man may submit to God. This is the only effect that will ultimately be achieved.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God
When the entire management of God is nearing its end, God will class all things according to kind. Man was made by the hands of the Creator, and in the end He must completely return man under His dominion; this is the conclusion of the three stages of work. The stage of work of the last days, and the previous two stages in Israel and Judea, are God’s plan of management in the entire universe. No one can deny this, and it is the fact of God’s work. Although people have not experienced or witnessed much of this work, the facts are still the facts, and this is undeniable by any man. People who believe in God in every land of the universe will all accept the three stages of work. If you only know one particular stage of work, and do not understand the other two stages of work, do not understand the work of God in times past, then you are unable to speak the whole truth of God’s entire plan of management, and your knowledge of God is one-sided, for in your belief in God you do not know or understand Him, and so you are not fit to bear testimony to God. Regardless of whether your current knowledge of these things is profound or superficial, in the end, you must have knowledge, and must be thoroughly convinced, and all people will see the entirety of God’s work and submit under the dominion of God. At the end of this work, all religions will become one, all creatures will return under the dominion of the Creator, all creatures will worship the one true God, and all evil religions will come to nothing, never to appear again.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God
God created humans and placed them upon earth, and He has led them ever since. He then saved them and served as a sin offering for humanity. At the end, He still must conquer humanity, save humans entirely, and restore them to their original likeness. This is the work that He has been engaged in ever since the beginning—restoring humanity to their original image and likeness. God will establish His kingdom and restore the original likeness of human beings, which means that God will restore His authority upon earth and among all creation. Humanity lost their God-fearing heart as well as the function incumbent upon God’s creatures after being corrupted by Satan, thereby becoming an enemy disobedient to God. Humanity then lived under Satan’s power and followed Satan’s orders; thus, God had no way to work among His creatures, and became all the more unable to gain their fear. Humans were created by God, and ought to worship God, but they actually turned their backs on Him and worshiped Satan instead. Satan became the idol in their hearts. Thus, God lost His standing in their hearts, which is to say that He lost the meaning behind His creation of humanity. Therefore, to restore the meaning behind His creation of humanity, He must restore their original likeness and rid humanity of their corrupt dispositions. To reclaim humans from Satan, He must save them from sin. Only in this way can God gradually restore their original likeness and function, and finally, restore His kingdom. The ultimate destruction of those sons of disobedience will also be carried out in order to allow humans to better worship God and better live upon the earth. Because God created humans, He will make them worship Him; because He wishes to restore humanity’s original function, He will restore it completely and without any adulteration. Restoring His authority means making humans worship Him and submit to Him; it means that God will make humans live because of Him and cause His enemies to perish as a result of His authority. It means that God will cause everything about Him to persist among humans without resistance from anybody. The kingdom God wishes to establish is His own kingdom. The humanity He desires is one that will worship Him, one that will submit to Him completely and manifest His glory. If God does not save corrupt humanity, then the meaning behind His creation of humanity will be lost; He will have no more authority among humans, and His kingdom will no longer be able to exist upon the earth. If God does not destroy those enemies who are disobedient to Him, He will be unable to obtain His complete glory, nor will He be able to establish His kingdom upon the earth. These will be marks of the completion of His work and of His great accomplishment: to utterly destroy those among humanity who are disobedient to Him, and to bring into rest those who have been made complete. When humans have been restored to their original likeness, and when they can fulfill their respective duties, keep to their own proper places and submit to all of God’s arrangements, God will have obtained a group of people upon the earth who worship Him, and He will also have established a kingdom upon the earth that worships Him. He will have eternal victory upon the earth, and all those who are opposed to Him will perish for all eternity. This will restore His original intention in creating humanity; it will restore His intention in creating all things, and it will also restore His authority upon earth, among all things, and among His enemies. These will be the symbols of His total victory. Thenceforth, humanity will enter into rest and begin a life that is on the right track. God will also enter into eternal rest with humanity, and commence an eternal life shared by both Himself and humans. The filth and disobedience upon the earth will have disappeared, and all the wailing will have dissipated, and everything in this world that opposes God will have ceased to exist. Only God and those people to whom He has brought salvation will remain; only His creation will remain.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together
After having carried out His six thousand years of work through the present day, God has already revealed many of His acts, the primary purpose of which has been to defeat Satan and bring salvation to all of humanity. He is using this opportunity to allow everything in heaven, everything upon the earth, everything within the seas, and every last object of God’s creation on earth to see His almightiness and to witness all of His acts. He is seizing the opportunity provided by His defeat of Satan to reveal all of His deeds to humans, and to enable them to praise Him and exalt His wisdom in defeating Satan. Everything on earth, in heaven, and within the seas brings God glory, praises His almightiness, praises every one of His deeds, and shouts His holy name. This is proof of His defeat of Satan; it is proof of His vanquishing of Satan. More importantly, it is proof of His salvation of humanity. The whole of God’s creation brings Him glory, praises Him for defeating His enemy and returning victoriously, and extols Him as the great victorious King. His purpose is not merely to defeat Satan, which is why His work has continued for six thousand years. He uses Satan’s defeat to save humanity; He uses Satan’s defeat to reveal all His acts and all of His glory. He will obtain glory, and all the multitude of angels will see all His glory. The messengers in heaven, the humans upon earth, and all objects of creation upon earth will see the glory of the Creator. This is the work that He does. His creation in heaven and on earth will all witness His glory, and He will return triumphantly after utterly defeating Satan, and allow humanity to praise Him, thus achieving a double victory in His work. In the end, all of humanity will be conquered by Him, and He will wipe out anyone who resists or rebels; in other words, He will wipe out all those who belong to Satan.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. You Should Know How the Whole of Humanity Has Developed to the Present Day
Such is the management of God: to hand mankind over to Satan—a mankind that does not know what God is, what the Creator is, how to worship God, or why it is necessary to submit to God—and allow Satan to corrupt him. Step by step, God then recovers man from the hands of Satan, until man fully worships God and rejects Satan. This is God’s management. This may sound like a mythical tale, and it may seem perplexing. People feel like this is a mythical story because they have no inkling of how much has happened to man over the past several thousand years, much less do they know how many stories have occurred in the cosmos and the firmament. And furthermore, that is because they cannot appreciate the more astonishing, more fear-inducing world that exists beyond the material world, but which their mortal eyes prevent them from seeing. It feels incomprehensible to man because man has no understanding of the significance of God’s salvation of mankind or the significance of the work of His management, and does not comprehend how God ultimately wishes mankind to be. Is it to be utterly uncorrupted by Satan, like Adam and Eve were? No! The purpose of God’s management is to gain a group of people who worship God and submit to Him. Although these people have been corrupted by Satan, they no longer see Satan as their father; they recognize the repulsive face of Satan and reject it, and they come before God to accept God’s judgment and chastisement. They come to know what is ugly and how it contrasts with that which is holy, and to recognize the greatness of God and the evil of Satan. A mankind such as this will no longer work for Satan, or worship Satan, or enshrine Satan. This is because they are a group of people who have truly been gained by God. This is the significance of God’s work of managing mankind. During the work of God’s management of this time, mankind is the object both of Satan’s corruption and God’s salvation, and man is the product that God and Satan are fighting over. As God performs His work, He is gradually recovering man from the hands of Satan, and so man comes ever closer to God …
The love and compassion of God permeates each and every detail of the work of His management, and regardless of whether people are able to understand God’s good intentions, He is still tirelessly doing the work He set out to accomplish. Irrespective of how much people understand about God’s management, the help and the benefits brought to man by God’s work can be appreciated by everyone. Perhaps, on this day, you have not felt any of the love or life provided by God, but as long as you do not abandon God and do not give up on your determination to pursue the truth, there will come a day when God’s smile will be revealed to you. For the aim of the work of God’s management is to recover the people who are under the power of Satan, not to abandon the people who have been corrupted by Satan and oppose God.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Appendix 3: Man Can Only Be Saved Amidst God’s Management
The Work to Manage Man Is the Work to Defeat Satan
God Will Restore the Meaning of His Creation of Man