Question 11: You bear witness that Almighty God expresses the truth and is doing His work of judgment of the last days, but I believe that our belief in the Lord Jesus and acceptance of the work of the Holy Spirit means that we have already undergone God’s work of judgment. Here are the words of the Lord Jesus as proof: “For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (Jhn 16:7–8). We believe that, although the Lord Jesus did the work of redemption, on the day of Pentecost after He rose to heaven, the Holy Spirit descended and worked in men: “… reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment.” That should be God’s work of judgment in the last days, so what I’d like to seek is, what exactly are the differences between the work of judgment in the last days done by Almighty God and the work of the Lord Jesus?
Since you acknowledge that what the Lord Jesus did was redemptive work, and He brought to us the way of repentance, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Mat 4:17), then what is the basis for you to determine that the Holy Spirit did the work of judgment of the last days when He came at Pentecost? You merely based on what the Lord Jesus said, “For if I go not away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. And when He is come, He will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment” (Jhn 16:7–8), and dared to determine that the Holy Spirit had come to do the work of judgment in the last days. Is there any basis in the word of God? Had the Lord Jesus ever said, “The Holy Spirit has come to do the work of judgment in the last days”? The Lord Jesus had never said this. The Lord Jesus clearly said, “And if any man hear My words, and believe not, I judge him not: for I came not to judge the world, but to save the world. He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (Jhn 12:47–48). The message of the Lord Jesus is very clear that judgment is not His work. When the Lord Jesus returns in the last days, He will then express the truth to do the work of judgment. To be sure, it is wrong for us to refer the work of the Holy Spirit in the Age of Grace as God’s judgment work. Naturally, it requires the moving, enlightenment, and illumination of the Holy Spirit for us to attain true confession and repentance of sins. However, confessing and repenting before the Lord in bitter tears, it is the result of the Holy Spirit’s work, which is entirely different from God’s work of judgment in the last days. Let us read two passages of Almighty God’s words, and we will understand what judgment really means.
Almighty God says, “At the mention of the word ‘judgment,’ you are likely to think of the words that Jehovah spoke to all the places and the words of rebuke that Jesus spoke to the Pharisees. For all their severity, these words were not God’s judgment of man; they were but words spoken by God within different environments, that is, in different contexts. These words are unlike the words spoken by Christ as He judges man during the last days. In the last days, Christ uses a variety of truths to teach man, to expose the essence 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 essence 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 substance 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 substance 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. This work is the work of judgment done by God” (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“The work of judgment is God’s own work, so it must naturally be carried out by God Himself; it cannot be done by man in His stead. Because judgment is the use of the truth to conquer humankind, there is no question that God would still appear in the incarnate image to perform this work among man. That is to say, in the last days, Christ shall use the truth to teach people across the world and make all truths known to them. This is God’s work of judgment” (“Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
God’s judgment work is a mystery, and no one could discern it without His revelation—and this is a fact. Almighty God has elucidated clearly what judgment is and the effects achievable by the work of judgment. After reading the words of Almighty God, we understand more about God’s judgment work in the last days. In the last days, the judgment work of God is to thoroughly cleanse and save mankind. God will not just say a few reproaching and imprecatory words to people. Nor can a few passages of words suffice to free us from the binding of sin and allow us to receive cleansing and salvation of God. God speaks enough words to express all aspects of truths that mankind should understand and enter for purification and salvation, and open up to mankind all the mysteries of God’s management plan. The number of words is hundreds, even thousands, of times more than those expressed by the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace. The focus of God’s judgment work in the last days is the expression of the truth and words of judgment on man. By judging and revealing our satanic nature of resisting and betraying God, as well as the essence and truth of our being corrupted by Satan, the holy, righteous, and unoffendable disposition of God is revealed. All aspects of the truth about God’s intention and requirements on mankind, about who will be saved and who will be punished, and so on, are told to us. Experiencing God’s judgment work in the last days, we will be able to understand the purpose of God’s management plan. We will be able to distinguish positive things from negative ones. We will be able to see the demonic face of Satan’s mad resistance to God, discern the substance and truth of our being utterly corrupted by Satan, and recognize our satanic nature that resists and betrays God. When we gain some true understanding about God’s righteous disposition, God’s almightiness and wisdom, about what God has and is, we will develop a reverent heart for God. We will prostrate in abject shame and feel that we are not fit to live before God. We will hate ourselves in our hearts, rebel against ourselves, and gradually break away from the binding of sin to live like a real man, becoming a person who truly reveres and obeys God. This is the result of having experienced God’s judgment work in the last days. Only this kind of work is God’s judgment work in the last days.
Let us then look at the Age of Grace. What the Lord Jesus did was the work of redemption, and what He preached was the way of repentance. He only showed the merciful and compassionate side of God’s disposition to us. Although the Lord Jesus had also said some words of judgment, condemnation, and imprecation against the Pharisees, His work was only the work of redemption which was centered upon forgiveness of sins, teaching of repentance, mercy on man, and bestowal of grace. It was not the kind of work that focused on judging and cleansing the sins of man. So the work of the Lord Jesus only revolved around the work of redemption and He expressed limited words on teaching us how to repent and admit our sin, how to be humble and patient, how to be baptized, how to bear the cross and suffer, etc. We only needed to follow the Lord’s word to admit our sins and repent when we believed in the Lord. Then our sins would be forgiven, and we would not be convicted and executed by the law. We would be qualified to pray to God and enjoy the grace and blessings of God. This was the result of God’s redemption work in the Age of Grace, which was utterly different than the result of His judgment work in the last days. However, some people believe that by experiencing the Holy Spirit’s work in the Age of Grace, receiving His enlightenment, reproach and discipline, praying and admitting sin in bitter tears, and doing some good deeds, it is experiencing God’s judgment and attaining purification. If that is the case, then do you know the roots of your sins? Do you know the essence of your satanic nature that resists God, the truth about mankind’s utter corruption, and Satan’s evil essence? Do you know about God’s righteous, majestic and unoffendable disposition? Have you really broken away from the bondage and control of sin? Have you cleansed yourselves of satanic disposition and become reverent and obedient to God? If you haven’t accomplished these, how can you speak of having experienced God’s judgment and attained purification? Does everyone understand the communication this way? The work that the Lord Jesus did in the Age of Grace was not judgment work. Only the work of Almighty God in the Age of Kingdom is the judgment work of God in the last days.
Excerpted from Classic Questions and Answers on the Gospel of the Kingdom