5. You testify that the Lord has returned to do the work of judgment of the last days, but 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). We believe that after the resurrection and ascension of the Lord Jesus, the Holy Spirit came down to work upon man during the Pentecost, reproving man of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment. So long as we confess our sins and repent to the Lord, we shall be reproached and disciplined by the Holy Spirit, and this is our judgment by the Lord. Just what is the difference between the work of judgment of the last days that you speak of, and the work of the Lord Jesus?
Based purely on the Lord Jesus’ words that “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), do you dare to claim that the Holy Spirit descended on the Pentecost to work in man and carry out the work of judgment of the last days? Is there any basis for this in the words of God? Does such an understanding of the Lord’s words conform to His will? The Lord Jesus plainly 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 words of the Lord Jesus are unambiguous: His actions were not the work of judgment, and He would only express the truth and carry out the work of judgment when He returned during the last days. Thus, it is safe to say that taking the Holy Spirit’s work of the Age of Grace and calling it God’s work of judgment of the last days is wrong. When we come before the Lord to confess our sins and repent, tears of anguish streaming down our faces, this is only us being touched and reproached by the Holy Spirit. It means that the Holy Spirit’s work of the Age of Grace has been effective. It is completely different to God’s work of judgment of the last days. To understand just what judgment is, let us look at two passages of Almighty God’s words.
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 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. 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).
Almighty God makes it abundantly clear what judgment is and what the effect of the work of judgment is: Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days is the work of cleansing and saving man once and for all. It is not just saying a few words that reprove and curse mankind, nor is it the expression of several passages of text. Instead, God expresses a sufficient amount of words. God expresses all the various aspects of the truth which man should understand and enter into for his cleansing and salvation, and reveals all the mysteries of His six-thousand-year management plan to mankind. God now expresses hundreds, thousands, of times more words than were expressed by the Lord Jesus during the Age of Grace. At the heart of God’s work of judgment of the last days is the expression of the truth and the expression of the words of mankind’s judgment. He has judged and exposed man’s sinful and God-resisting satanic nature and disposition; He has revealed the fact of mankind’s corruption by Satan; He has demonstrated the holy, righteous and unoffendable disposition of God; and He has told us various aspects of the truth such as God’s will and requirements for mankind, as well as who shall be saved and who shall be punished. We have experienced God’s work of judgment of the last days, we understand the purpose of God’s management plan, we clearly see the demonic face of Satan’s rabid resistance toward God, we understand the truth and essence of our profound corruption by Satan, and we know our own satanic natures, which oppose and betray God. We also have a little real knowledge of God’s righteous disposition, His almightiness and wisdom, and what He has and is. There is born in us a heart that fears God, and we prostrate ourselves upon the ground, with nowhere to hide our shame, feeling that we are not fit to live before God, loathing ourselves and forsaking ourselves in our hearts. We are gradually freed from the bonds of sin, we live out a true human likeness, and become those who truly fear and obey God. Such is the effect achieved by our experiencing God’s work of judgment of the last days—and only this work is God’s work of judgment of the last days.
Now let us look at the Age of Grace. Although the Lord Jesus spoke some words of judgment—words that condemned and cursed the Pharisees—He did only the work of redemption, at the heart of which was forgiveness and asking that people repent, and showing mercy toward man, and bestowing grace upon man. It was not work at the heart of which was judgment and cleansing of man’s sins, and so the Lord Jesus merely expressed a limited amount of words based around the work of redemption, teaching us how to repent and confess, how to be humble and patient, how to be baptized, bear the cross, and suffer, and so on. Believing in the Lord, we needed only to confess and repent in accordance with the Lord’s words for our sins to be forgiven and for us to no longer be condemned by the law and put to death; we were thus qualified to pray to God and enjoy His grace and blessings. Such was the effect achieved by God’s work of redemption during the Age of Grace, and it was radically different from the effect achieved by the work of judgment of the last days. Yet there are some who believe that experiencing the Holy Spirit’s work of the Age of Grace, being enlightened, reproached, and disciplined by the Holy Spirit, having tears of anguish stream down their faces as they pray before the Lord and confess their sins, and exhibiting certain good behaviors, is experiencing the judgment of God and being cleansed. So we ask you this: Do you know the root of your sins? Do you know your satanic nature essence that opposes God? Do you know the truth of mankind’s profound corruption? Have you beheld the wicked essence of Satan? Do you know God’s righteous, majestic, and unoffendable disposition? Have you truly escaped the bonds and fetters of sin? Has your satanic disposition been cleansed? Have you become someone who fears and obeys God? You have attained none of these things, so how can you say you have been cleansed after experiencing God’s judgment? Thus, the work that the Lord Jesus did in the Age of Grace was not the work of judgment. Only what Almighty God does in the Age of Kingdom is God’s work of judgment of the last days.