9. Why it is necessary to experience God’s work of judgment in the last days in order to be able to achieve knowledge of God
Relevant Words of God:
In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the substance of man, and to dissect the words and deeds of man. These words comprise various truths, such as man’s duty, how man should obey God, how man should be loyal to God, how man ought to live out normal humanity, as well as the wisdom and the disposition of God, and so on. These words are all directed at the substance of man and his corrupt disposition. In particular, the words that expose how man spurns God are spoken in regard to how man is an embodiment of Satan, and an enemy force against God. In undertaking His work of judgment, God does not simply make clear the nature of man with a few words; He exposes, deals with, and prunes over the long term. These methods of exposure, dealing, and pruning cannot be substituted with ordinary words, but with the truth of which man is utterly bereft. Only methods such as these can be called judgment; only through judgment of this kind can man be subdued and thoroughly convinced into submission to God, and moreover gain true knowledge of God. What the work of judgment brings about is man’s understanding of the true face of God and the truth about his own rebelliousness. The work of judgment allows man to gain much understanding of the will of God, of the purpose of God’s work, and of the mysteries that are incomprehensible to him. It also allows man to recognize and know his corrupt essence and the roots of his corruption, as well as to discover the ugliness of man. These effects are all brought about by the work of judgment, for the essence of this work is actually the work of opening up the truth, the way, and the life of God to all those who have faith in Him.
Excerpted from “Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God does the work of judgment and chastisement so that man may gain knowledge of Him, and for the sake of His testimony. Without His judgment of man’s corrupt disposition, man could not possibly know His righteous disposition, which brooks no offense, and nor would man be able to turn his old knowledge of God into a new one. For the sake of His testimony, and for the sake of His management, He makes His entirety public, thus enabling man, through His public appearance, to arrive at knowledge of God, to be transformed in his disposition, and to bear resounding testimony to God. The transformation of the disposition of man is achieved through many different kinds of God’s work; without such changes in his disposition, man would be unable to bear testimony to God and to be after God’s heart. The transformation of man’s disposition signifies that man has freed himself from Satan’s bondage and from the influence of darkness, and has truly become a model and specimen of God’s work, a witness of God, and one who is after God’s heart. Today, God incarnate has come to do His work on earth, and He requires that man achieve knowledge of Him, obedience to Him, testimony to Him, to know His practical and normal work, to obey all of His words and work which do not accord with the notions of man, and to bear testimony to all the work He does to save man, as well as all the deeds He accomplishes to conquer man. Those who bear testimony to God must have knowledge of God; only this kind of testimony is accurate and real, and only this kind of testimony can shame Satan. God uses those who have come to know Him through undergoing His judgment and chastisement, dealing and pruning, to bear testimony to Him. He uses those who have been corrupted by Satan to bear testimony to Him, and so too does He use those whose disposition has changed, and who have thus gained His blessings, to bear testimony to Him. He does not need man to praise Him with his mouth, nor does He need the praise and testimony of the ilk of Satan, who have not been saved by Him. Only those who know God are qualified to bear testimony to Him, and only those who have been transformed in their disposition are qualified to bear testimony to Him. God will not allow man intentionally to bring shame upon His name.
Excerpted from “Only Those Who Know God Can Bear Testimony to God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
During the last days, God has come chiefly in order to speak His words. He speaks from the perspective of the Spirit, from the perspective of man, and from a third person perspective; He speaks in different ways, using one way for a period of time, and He uses the method of speaking to change the notions of man and remove the image of the vague God from man’s heart. This is the main work done by God. Because man believes that God has come to heal the sick, to cast out demons, to perform miracles, and to bestow material blessings upon man, God carries out this stage of work—the work of chastisement and judgment—in order to remove such things from the notions of man, so that man may know the reality and normality of God, and so that the image of Jesus may be removed from his heart and replaced by a new image of God. As soon as the image of God within man becomes old, then it becomes an idol. When Jesus came and carried out that stage of work, He did not represent the entirety of God. He performed some signs and wonders, spoke some words, and was ultimately crucified. He represented one part of God. He could not represent all that is of God, but rather He represented God in doing one part of God’s work. That is because God is so great, and so wondrous, and He is unfathomable, and because God only does one part of His work in every age. The work done by God during this age is chiefly the provision of the words for the life of man; the exposure of man’s nature essence and corrupt disposition; and the elimination of religious notions, feudal thinking, outdated thinking, and the knowledge and culture of man. These things must all be cleansed through being exposed by God’s words. In the last days, God uses words, not signs and wonders, to make man perfect. He uses His words to expose man, to judge man, to chastise man, and to make man perfect, so that in the words of God, man comes to see the wisdom and loveliness of God, and comes to understand the disposition of God, and so that through the words of God, man beholds the deeds of God. During the Age of Law, Jehovah led Moses out of Egypt with His words, and spoke some words to the Israelites; at that time, part of the deeds of God were made plain, but because the caliber of man was limited and nothing could make his knowledge complete, God continued to speak and work. In the Age of Grace, man once more saw part of the deeds of God. Jesus was able to show signs and wonders, to heal the sick and cast out demons, and be crucified, three days after which He was resurrected and appeared in the flesh before man. Of God, man knew no more than this. Man knows as much as is shown to him by God, and if God were to show nothing more to man, then such would be the extent of man’s delimitation of God. Thus, God continues to work, so that man’s knowledge of Him may become deeper, and so that man may gradually come to know the essence of God. In the last days, God uses His words to make man perfect. Your corrupt disposition is disclosed by the words of God, and your religious notions are replaced by the reality of God. God incarnate of the last days has chiefly come to fulfill the words “the Word becomes flesh, the Word comes into the flesh, and the Word appears in the flesh,” and if you do not have a thorough knowledge of this, then you will be unable to stand fast. During the last days, God primarily intends to accomplish a stage of work in which the Word appears in the flesh, and this is one part of God’s management plan. Thus, your knowledge must be clear; regardless of how God works, God does not allow man to delimit Him. If God did not do this work during the last days, then man’s knowledge of Him could go no further. You would only know that God can be crucified and can destroy Sodom, and that Jesus can be raised from the dead and appear to Peter…. But you would never say that God’s words can accomplish all, and can conquer man. Only through experiencing God’s words can you speak of such knowledge, and the more of God’s work that you experience, the more thorough your knowledge of Him will become. Only then will you cease to delimit God within your own notions. Man comes to know God by experiencing His work; there is no other correct way to know God.
Excerpted from “Knowing God’s Work Today” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Today, God has become flesh primarily to complete the work of “the Word appearing in the flesh,” to use the word to make man perfect, and make man accept the dealing with the word and the refinement of the word. In His words He causes you to gain provision and gain life; in His words you see His work and deeds. God uses the word to chastise and refine you, and thus, if you suffer hardship, it is also because of the word of God. Today, God does work not with facts, but with words. Only after His word has come upon you can the Holy Spirit work within you and cause you to suffer pain or feel sweetness. Only the word of God can bring you into reality, and only the word of God is capable of making you perfect. And so, at the very least you must understand this: The work done by God during the last days is principally the use of His word to make every person perfect and to guide man. All the work that He does is through the word; He does not use facts to chastise you. There are times when some people resist God. God does not cause you great discomfort, your flesh is not chastised, nor do you suffer hardship—but as soon as His word comes upon you, and refines you, it is unbearable for you. Is that not so? During the time of the service-doers, God said to throw man into the bottomless pit. Did man really arrive at the bottomless pit? Simply through the use of words to refine man, man entered into the bottomless pit. And so, during the last days, when God becomes flesh, He principally uses the word to accomplish all and make all clear. Only in His words can you see what He is; only in His words can you see that He is God Himself. When God incarnate comes to earth, He does no other work but the speaking of words—thus there is no need for facts; words suffice. That is because He has principally come to do this work, to allow man to behold His power and supremacy in His words, to allow man to see in His words how He humbly hides Himself, and to allow man to know His entirety in His words. All that He has and all that He is are in His words. His wisdom and wondrousness are in His words. In this are you made to see the many methods with which God speaks His words. Most of God’s work during all this time has been provision, revelation, and dealing to man. He does not curse a person lightly, and even when He does, it is through the word that He curses them. And so, in this age of God become flesh, do not try to see God heal the sick and cast out demons again, and stop constantly looking for signs—there is no point! Those signs cannot make man perfect! To speak plainly: Today, the real God Himself of the flesh does not act; He only speaks. This is the truth! He uses words to make you perfect, and uses words to feed and water you. He also uses words to work, and He uses words in place of facts to make you know His reality. If you are capable of perceiving this manner of God’s work, then it is difficult to be negative. Instead of focusing on things that are negative, you should focus only on that which is positive—which is to say, regardless of whether or not the words of God are fulfilled, or whether or not there is the advent of facts, God causes man to gain life from His words, and this is the greatest of all signs; and even more so, it is an undisputable fact. This is the best evidence through which to know God, and is an even greater sign than signs. Only these words can make man perfect.
Excerpted from “All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God became flesh in the most backward and filthy place of all, and it is only in this way that God is able to clearly show the entirety of His holy and righteous disposition. And through what is His righteous disposition shown? It is shown when He judges man’s sins, when He judges Satan, when He abhors sin, and when He despises the enemies that oppose and rebel against Him. The words I speak today are to judge man’s sins, to judge man’s unrighteousness, to curse man’s disobedience. Man’s crookedness and deceitfulness, man’s words and deeds—all that is at odds with God’s will must be subjected to judgment, and man’s disobedience denounced as sin. His words revolve around the principles of judgment; He uses judgment of man’s unrighteousness, the curse of man’s rebelliousness, and exposure of man’s ugly faces to make manifest His own righteous disposition. Holiness is a representation of His righteous disposition, and in fact God’s holiness actually is His righteous disposition. Your corrupt dispositions are the context of today’s words—I use them to speak and to judge, and to carry out the work of conquest. This alone is the real work, and this alone fully makes God’s holiness shine. If there is no trace of a corrupt disposition in you, then God will not judge you, nor will He show you His righteous disposition. Since you have a corrupt disposition, God will not let you off, and it is through this that His holiness is shown. If God were to see that man’s filthiness and rebelliousness were too great but He did not speak or judge you, nor chastise you for your unrighteousness, then this would prove that He is not God, for He would have no hatred of sin; He would be just as filthy as man. Today, it is because of your filth that I judge you, and it is because of your corruption and rebelliousness that I chastise you. I am not flaunting My power to you or deliberately oppressing you; I do these things because you, who have been born in this land of filth, have been so severely contaminated by filth. You have simply lost your integrity and humanity and you have become like pigs born in the dirtiest corners of the world, and so it is because of this that you are judged and that I unleash My wrath upon you. It is precisely because of this judgment that you have been able to see that God is the righteous God, and that God is the holy God; it is precisely because of His holiness and His righteousness that He judges you and unleashes His wrath upon you. Because He can reveal His righteous disposition when He sees the rebelliousness of man, and because He can reveal His holiness when He sees the filth of man, this is enough to show that He is God Himself, who is holy and pristine, and yet lives in the land of filth.
Excerpted from “How the Effects of the Second Step of the Work of Conquest Are Achieved” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Faced with man’s state and man’s attitude toward God, God has done new work, allowing man to possess both knowledge of and obedience toward Him, and both love and testimony. Thus, man must experience God’s refinement of him, as well as His judgment, dealing and pruning of him, without which man would never know God and would never be capable of truly loving and bearing witness to Him. God’s refinement of man is not merely for the sake of a one-sided effect, but for the sake of a multi-faceted effect. Only in this way does God do the work of refinement in those who are willing to seek the truth, in order that their resolve and love be made perfect by God. To those who are willing to seek the truth and who yearn for God, nothing is more meaningful, or of greater assistance, than refinement such as this. God’s disposition is not so easily known or understood by man, for God, in the end, is God. Ultimately, it is impossible for God to have the same disposition as man, and thus it is not easy for man to know His disposition. The truth is not inherently possessed by man, and is not easily understood by those who have been corrupted by Satan; man is devoid of the truth, and of the resolve to put the truth into practice, and if he does not suffer and is not refined or judged, then his resolve will never be made perfect. For all people, refinement is excruciating, and very difficult to accept—yet it is during refinement that God makes plain His righteous disposition to man, and makes public His requirements for man, and provides more enlightenment, and more actual pruning and dealing; through the comparison between the facts and the truth, He gives man a greater knowledge of himself and the truth, and gives man a greater understanding of God’s will, thus allowing man to have a truer and purer love of God. Such are God’s aims in carrying out refinement.
Excerpted from “Only by Experiencing Refinement Can Man Possess True Love” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
If people remain stuck in the Age of Grace, then they shall never be rid of their corrupt disposition, let alone know the inherent disposition of God. If people always live in the midst of an abundance of grace, but do not have the way of life that allows them to know God or to satisfy Him, then they will never truly gain Him in their belief in Him. This type of belief is pitiful indeed. When you have finished reading this book, when you have experienced each step of the work of God incarnate in the Age of Kingdom, you will feel that desires you have had for many years have finally been realized. You will feel that only now have you truly seen God face to face; only now have you gazed upon His countenance, heard His personal utterances, appreciated the wisdom of His work, and truly sensed how real and almighty He is. You will feel that you have gained many things that people in times past had never seen nor possessed. At this time, you will clearly know what it is to believe in God, and what it is to conform to God’s will. Of course, if you cling to views of the past, and reject or deny the fact of the second incarnation of God, then you will remain empty-handed, acquiring nothing, and ultimately you will be pronounced guilty of opposing God. Those who are able to obey the truth and submit to the work of God shall be claimed under the name of the second incarnate God—the Almighty. They will be able to accept God’s personal guidance, gaining more and higher truths, as well as real life. They shall behold the vision never seen before by people of the past: “And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the middle of the seven candlesticks one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the breasts with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; And His feet like to fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shines in its strength” (Revelation 1:12–16). This vision is the expression of God’s entire disposition, and the expression of His entire disposition is also the expression of the work of God in His present incarnation. In the torrents of chastisements and judgments, the Son of man expresses His inherent disposition by means of utterances, allowing all those who accept His chastisement and judgment to see the true face of the Son of man, which is a faithful depiction of the face of the Son of man seen by John. (Of course, all of this will be invisible to those who do not accept the work of God in the Age of Kingdom.) The true face of God cannot be fully articulated using human language, and so God uses the means by which He expresses His inherent disposition to show His true face to man. Which is to say that all those who have appreciated the inherent disposition of the Son of man have seen the true face of the Son of man, for God is too great and cannot be fully articulated using human language. Once man has experienced each step of God’s work in the Age of Kingdom, then he shall know the true meaning of John’s words when he spoke of the Son of man among the lampstands: “His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; And His feet like to fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shines in its strength.”
Excerpted from Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh