d. Why God must complete three stages of work to save 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

In the beginning, guiding man during the Old Testament Age of Law was like guiding the life of a child. Earliest mankind was newly born of Jehovah; they were the Israelites. They had no understanding of how to fear God or how to live on earth. Which is to say, Jehovah created mankind, that is, He created Adam and Eve, but He did not give them the faculties to understand how to fear Jehovah or follow the laws of Jehovah on earth. Without the direct guidance of Jehovah, no one could know this directly, for in the beginning man did not possess such faculties. Man only knew that Jehovah was God, but as for how to fear Him, what kind of conduct could be called fearing Him, with what kind of mind one was to fear Him, or what to offer up in fear of Him, man had absolutely no idea. Man only knew how to enjoy that which could be enjoyed among all the things created by Jehovah, but as for what kind of life on earth was worthy of a creature of God, man had no inkling whatsoever. Without someone to instruct them, without someone to guide them personally, this mankind would never have led a life properly befitting humanity, but would only have been furtively held captive by Satan. Jehovah created mankind, that is to say, He created the ancestors of mankind, Eve and Adam, but He did not bestow upon them any further intellect or wisdom. Although they were already living on earth, they understood almost nothing. And so, Jehovah’s work in creating mankind was only half finished, and was far from complete. He had only formed a model of man from clay and given it His breath, but without bestowing unto man sufficient willingness to fear Him. In the beginning, man did not possess a heart of fear or fright for Him. Man only knew how to listen to His words but was ignorant of the basic knowledge for life on earth and of the normal rules of human life. And so, although Jehovah created man and woman and finished the project of seven days, He by no means completed the creation of man, for man was but a husk, and lacked the reality of being human. Man only knew that it was Jehovah who had created mankind, but he had no inkling of how to abide by the words or the laws of Jehovah. And so, after mankind came into being, the work of Jehovah was far from over. He still had to fully guide mankind to come before Him, so that they might be able to live together on earth and fear Him, and so that they might be able, with His guidance, to enter upon the right track of a normal human life on earth. Only in this way was the work that had been principally conducted under the name of Jehovah fully completed; that is, only in this way was Jehovah’s work of creating the world fully concluded. And so, having created mankind, He had to guide mankind’s life on earth for several thousand years, in order that mankind might be able to abide by His decrees and laws, and partake in all the activities of a normal human life on earth. Only then was Jehovah’s work fully complete.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Vision of God’s Work (3)

In the Age of Grace, man had already been corrupted by Satan, and so to achieve the work of redeeming all humanity required an abundance of grace, infinite forbearance and patience, and even more than that, an offering sufficient to atone for humanity’s sins, in order to have an effect. What humanity saw in the Age of Grace was merely My offering of atonement for the sins of humanity: Jesus. All they knew was that God could be merciful and forbearing, and all they saw was the mercy and lovingkindness of Jesus. This was entirely because they were born in the Age of Grace. And so, before they could be redeemed, they had to enjoy the many kinds of grace that Jesus bestowed on them in order to benefit from it. This way, they could be forgiven of their sins through their enjoyment of grace, and could also have the chance to be redeemed through enjoying Jesus’ forbearance and patience. Only through Jesus’ forbearance and patience did they win the right to receive forgiveness and enjoy the abundance of grace bestowed by Jesus. Just as Jesus said: I have come to redeem not the righteous but sinners, to allow sinners to be forgiven of their sins. If, when He became flesh, Jesus had brought the disposition of judgment, curse, and intolerance of man’s offenses, then man would never have had the chance to be redeemed, and would have remained forever sinful. Had this been so, the six-thousand-year management plan would have come to a stop in the Age of Law, and the Age of Law would have been prolonged for six thousand years. Man’s sins would only have grown more numerous and more grievous, and the creation of humanity would have been for naught. Men would only have been able to serve Jehovah under the law, but their sins would have exceeded those of the first created humans. The more Jesus loved mankind, forgiving them their sins and bringing unto them sufficient mercy and lovingkindness, the more mankind was entitled to be saved by Jesus, to be called the lost lambs that Jesus bought back at a great price. Satan could not meddle in this work, for Jesus treated His followers as a loving mother treats the infant at her bosom. He did not grow angry or disdainful toward them, but was full of comfort; He never flew into a rage among them, but forbore with their sins and turned a blind eye to their foolishness and ignorance, to the point of saying, “Forgive others seventy times seven times.” Thus were the hearts of others transformed by His heart, and only thus did people receive forgiveness of their sins through His forbearance.

…………

Without Jesus’ redemption, mankind would forever have lived in sin and become the progeny of sin, the descendants of demons. Continuing thus, the whole world would have become the land where Satan dwells, the place of its habitation. The work of redemption, however, required showing mercy and lovingkindness toward mankind; only by such means could mankind receive forgiveness and ultimately win the right to be made complete and fully gained by God. Without this stage of work, the six-thousand-year management plan would not have been able to progress. If Jesus had not been crucified, if He had only healed the sick and exorcised demons, then people could not have been completely forgiven of their sins. In the three and a half years that Jesus spent doing His work on earth, He completed only half of His work of redemption; then, by being nailed to the cross and becoming the likeness of sinful flesh, by being handed over to the evil one, He completed the work of crucifixion and mastered the destiny of mankind. Only after He was delivered into Satan’s hands did He redeem mankind. For thirty-three and a half years He suffered on earth, being ridiculed, slandered, and forsaken, even to the point where He had no place to lay His head, no place of rest, and He was later crucified, with His whole being—a holy and innocent body—nailed to the cross. He endured every kind of suffering there is. Those in power mocked and whipped Him, and the soldiers even spat in His face; yet He remained silent and endured until the end, submitting unconditionally to the point of death, whereupon He redeemed all of humanity. Only then was He permitted to rest. The work that Jesus did represents only the Age of Grace; it does not represent the Age of Law, nor is it a substitute for the work of the last days. This is the essence of Jesus’ work in the Age of Grace, the second age that mankind has passed through—the Age of Redemption.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The True Story Behind the Work of the Age of Redemption

Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering; He did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to become the sin offering and bear the sins of man, but it also required God to do even greater work to rid man completely of his satanically corrupted disposition. And so, now that man has been forgiven of his sins, God has returned to the flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment. This work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and they shall gain the truth, the way, and the life.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Preface

The work of the last days is to speak words. Great changes can be effected in man by means of words. The changes now effected in these people upon their accepting these words are much greater than those effected in people upon their accepting the signs and wonders of the Age of Grace. For, in the Age of Grace, the demons were cast out from man with the laying on of hands and prayer, but the corrupt dispositions within man still remained. Man was healed of his sickness and forgiven his sins, but as for just how man was to be purged of the corrupt satanic dispositions within him, this work had yet to be done. Man was only saved and forgiven his sins for his faith, but the sinful nature of man was not extirpated and still remained within him. The sins of man were forgiven through the agency of the incarnate God, but this did not mean that man no longer had sin within him. The sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but as for just how man can be made to sin no more, and how his sinful nature may be extirpated completely and transformed, he has no way of solving this problem. The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within his corrupt satanic disposition of old. This being so, man must be completely saved from his corrupt satanic disposition, so that his sinful nature may be completely extirpated, never to develop again, thus enabling the disposition of man to be transformed. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation. At the time that Jesus was doing His work, man’s knowledge of Him was still vague and unclear. Man always believed Him to be the son of David, and proclaimed Him to be a great prophet, the benevolent Lord who redeemed man’s sins. Some, on the strength of their faith, were healed just from touching the edge of His garment; the blind could see and even the dead could be restored to life. However, man was unable to discover the corrupt satanic disposition deeply rooted within himself, neither did he know how to cast it away. Man received much grace, such as the peace and happiness of the flesh, the faith of one member bringing blessing on an entire family, the healing of sickness, and so on. The rest were the good deeds of man and his godly appearance; if someone could live on the basis of these, they were considered an acceptable believer. Only believers of this kind could enter heaven after death, which meant that they were saved. But, in their lifetime, these people did not understand at all the way of life. All they did was to commit sins and then confess their sins in a constant cycle without any path to change their disposition: Such was the condition of man in the Age of Grace. Has man received complete salvation? No! Therefore, after that stage of work was finished, there still remained the work of judgment and chastisement. This stage is to make man pure by means of the word, and thereby give him a path to follow. This stage would not be fruitful or meaningful if it continued with the casting out of demons, for it would fail to extirpate man’s sinful nature, and man would come to a standstill at the forgiveness of his sins. Through the sin offering, man has been forgiven his sins, for the work of the crucifixion has already come to an end and God has prevailed over Satan. But the corrupt disposition of man still remaining within him, man can still sin and resist God, and God has not gained mankind. That is why in this stage of work God uses the word to expose the corrupt disposition of man, causing him to practice in accordance with the right path. This stage is more meaningful than the previous one, as well as more fruitful, for now it is the word that directly supplies man’s life and enables the disposition of man to be completely renewed; it is a much more thorough stage of work. Therefore, the incarnation in the last days has completed the significance of God’s incarnation and completely finished God’s management plan for man’s salvation.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)

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. They also remain ignorant of the many ways in which He saves mankind, and of His will for the whole of mankind. The three stages of work are the full expression of the work of saving mankind. Those who do not know the three stages of work will be ignorant of the various methods and principles of the Holy Spirit’s work, and those who only rigidly stick to doctrine that is left over from a certain stage of work are people who limit God to doctrine, and whose belief in God is vague and uncertain. Such people will never receive God’s salvation. 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. Those who understand only one stage of the three stages of God’s work know only part of God’s disposition. In the notions of man, it is easy for this single stage of work to become doctrine, and it becomes likely that man will establish fixed rules about God and use this single part of God’s disposition as a representation of God’s entire disposition. Furthermore, much of man’s imagination is mixed within, such that man rigidly constrains the disposition, being, and wisdom of God, as well as the principles of God’s work, within limited parameters, believing that if God was like this once, then He will remain the same for all time and never change. Only those who know and appreciate the three stages of work can fully and accurately know God. At the very least, they will not define God as the God of the Israelites, or the Jews, and will not see Him as a God who will be forever nailed to the cross for the sake of man. If one only comes to know God from one stage of His work, then their knowledge is far too small, and amounts to no more than a drop in the ocean. If not, why would many of the religious old guard nail God to the cross alive? Is it not because man confines God within certain parameters?

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God

The final stage of work does not stand alone, but is part of the whole formed together with the two previous stages, which is to say that it is impossible to complete the entire work of salvation by only doing one of the three stages of work. Even though the final stage of work is able to fully save man, this does not mean that it is only necessary to carry out this single stage on its own, and that the two previous stages of work are not required to save man from the influence of Satan. No single stage of the three stages can be held up as the only vision that must be known by all mankind, for the entirety of the work of salvation is the three stages of work, not a single stage among them. As long as the work of salvation has not been accomplished, the management of God will be unable to come to a complete end. God’s being, His disposition, and His wisdom are expressed in the entirety of the work of salvation; they are not revealed to man at the very beginning, but have been gradually expressed in the work of salvation. Each stage of the work of salvation expresses part of the disposition of God, and part of His being; no one stage of work can directly and completely express the entirety of God’s being. As such, the work of salvation can only be fully concluded once the three stages of work have been completed, and so man’s knowledge of the entirety of God is inseparable from the three stages of God’s work. What man gains from one stage of work is merely the disposition of God that is expressed in a single part of His work. It cannot represent the disposition and being that is expressed in the stages before or after. That is because the work of saving mankind cannot be finished straight away during one period, or in one location, but gradually becomes deeper according to man’s level of development at different times and places. It is work that is carried out in stages, and it is not completed in a single stage. So, God’s entire wisdom is crystallized in the three stages, rather than in one individual stage. His entire being and His entire wisdom are laid forth in these three stages, and each stage contains His being, and each stage is a record of the wisdom of His work. Man should know the entire disposition of God expressed in these three stages. All this of God’s being is of the utmost importance to all mankind, and if people do not have this knowledge when they worship God, then they are no different from those who worship Buddha. God’s work among man is not hidden from man, and should be known by all of those who worship God. Since God has carried out the three stages of the work of salvation among man, man should know the expression of what He has and is during these three stages of work. This is what must be done by man. What God hides from man is that which man is incapable of achieving, and that which man should not know, whereas that which God shows to man is that which man should know, and that which man should possess. Each of the three stages of work is carried out upon the foundation of the previous stage; it is not carried out independently, separate from the work of salvation. Though there are great differences in the age and the work that is carried out, at its core is still the salvation of mankind, and each stage of the work of salvation is deeper than the last.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God

The six-thousand-year management plan is divided into three stages of work. No one stage alone can represent the work of the three ages, but only one part of a whole. The name Jehovah cannot represent the whole of God’s disposition. The fact that He carried out His work in the Age of Law does not prove that God can only be God under the law. Jehovah set forth laws for man and handed down commandments to him, asking man to build the temple and the altars; the work He did represents only the Age of Law. This work that He did does not prove that God is only a God who asks man to keep the law, or that He is the God in the temple, or that He is the God before the altar. To say this would be untrue. The work done under the law can only represent one age. Therefore, if God only did the work in the Age of Law, then man would confine God within the following definition, saying, “God is the God in the temple, and, in order to serve God we must put on priestly robes and enter the temple.” If the work in the Age of Grace had never been carried out and the Age of Law had continued until the present, man would not know that God is also merciful and loving. If the work in the Age of Law had not been done, and instead only the work in the Age of Grace, then all man would know is that God can only redeem man and forgive man’s sins. Man would know only that He is holy and innocent, and that for man’s sake He is able to sacrifice Himself and be crucified. Man would know only these things but have no understanding of anything else. Each age therefore represents one part of God’s disposition. As for which aspects of God’s disposition are represented in the Age of Law, which in the Age of Grace, and which in this present stage: only when all three stages have been integrated into one whole can they reveal the entirety of God’s disposition. Only when man has come to know all three stages can he understand it fully. None of the three stages can be omitted. You will only see the disposition of God in its entirety after coming to know these three stages of work. The fact that God completed His work in the Age of Law does not prove that He is only the God under the law, and the fact that He completed His work of redemption does not mean that God will forever redeem mankind. These are all conclusions drawn by man. The Age of Grace having come to an end, you cannot then say that God belongs only to the cross and that the cross alone represents the salvation of God. To do so would be to define God. In the present stage, God is mainly doing the work of the word, but you cannot say then that God has never been merciful to man and that all He has brought is chastisement and judgment. The work in the last days lays bare the work of Jehovah and Jesus and all mysteries not understood by man, so as to reveal the destination and the end of mankind and end all the work of salvation among mankind. This stage of work in the last days brings everything to a close. All mysteries not understood by man need to be unraveled to allow man to plumb them to their depths and have a completely clear understanding in his heart. Only then can the human race be classed according to kind. Only after the six-thousand-year management plan is completed will man come to understand the disposition of God in its entirety, for His management will then have come to an end.

—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)

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Question 4: If we accept Almighty God’s work in the last days, how should we then seek to receive the way of everlasting life?

“The work of the last days is to separate all according to their kind, to conclude the management plan of God, for the time is near and the day of God has come. God brings all who have entered His kingdom, that is, all those who have been loyal to Him to the end, into the age of God Himself. However, before the coming of the age of God Himself, the work that God desires to do is not to observe the deeds of man or to inquire about the lives of man, but to judge his rebellion, for God shall purify all those who come before His throne."

God Presides Over the Fate of All Mankind

Human development and progress is inseparable from the sovereignty of God, and the history and future of mankind are inextricable from the designs of God. If you are a true Christian, then you will surely believe that the rise and fall of any country or nation occurs according to the designs of God.

Question 1: I have studied the Bible for more than 20 years. I can be certain that there is no word of God outside of the Bible. All of God’s word is in the Bible. Anything that violates or goes beyond the Bible is heresy and fallacy!

Almighty God says. “In Jesus’ day, He led the Jews and all those who followed Him according to the work of the Holy Spirit in Him. He did not look to the Bible for evidence, but spoke as His work dictated. He did not concern Himself with what the Bible said, did not lead His followers down a path found in the Bible. From the very beginning, He preached the way of repentance, and the word ‘repentance’ was not mentioned at all in all the prophecies in the Old Testament."

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