6. You say that God expresses the truth to judge and cleanse man in the last days. God speaks words judging mankind in both the Old and New Testaments—God’s judgment has never left man. Are you saying that these words are incapable of judging and cleansing man? What is the difference between the words of judgment expressed by God in the last days, and God’s words which judge man as recorded in the Bible?
Relevant Words of God:
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.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Christ Does the Work of Judgment With the Truth
The first stage was the work of Jehovah: His work was to prepare a path for man to worship God on earth. It was the work of commencement to find a place of origin for the work on earth. At that time, Jehovah taught the Israelites to observe the Sabbath, honor their parents, and live peaceably with one another. This was because the people of that time did not understand what constituted man, nor did they understand how to live on earth. It was necessary for Him in the first stage of work to guide mankind in leading their lives. All that Jehovah spoke to them had not previously been known to mankind or been in their possession. At that time, God raised up many prophets to speak prophecies, and they all did so under the guidance of Jehovah. This was simply one item in the work of God. In the first stage, God did not become flesh, and so He instructed all tribes and nations through the prophets. When Jesus worked in His time, He did not speak as much as in the present day. This stage of the work of the word in the last days has never been done before in ages and generations past. Though Isaiah, Daniel and John spoke many prophecies, their prophecies were entirely different from the words spoken now. What they spoke were only prophecies, but the words spoken now are not. If I turned all I speak of now into prophecies, would you be able to understand? Supposing that what I spoke of was about matters after I had gone, how could you then gain understanding? The work of the word was never done in the time of Jesus or in the Age of Law. Perhaps some will say, “Did not Jehovah also speak words in the time of His work? Did Jesus not, in addition to healing sickness, casting out demons, and working signs and wonders, also speak words at that time He was working?” There are differences in how words are spoken. What was the essence of the words uttered by Jehovah? He was only guiding mankind to lead their lives on earth, which did not touch on spiritual matters in life. Why is it said that, when Jehovah spoke, it was to instruct the people of all places? The word “instruct” means to tell explicitly and command directly. He did not supply man with life; rather, He simply took man by the hand and taught man how to revere Him, without too much in the way of parables. The work Jehovah did in Israel was not to deal with or discipline man or to deliver judgment and chastisement, it was to guide him. Jehovah commanded Moses to tell His people to gather manna in the wilderness. Every morning before sunrise, they were to gather manna, just enough for them to eat that day. The manna could not be kept until the next day, as it would then become moldy. He did not lecture people or expose their natures, nor did He expose their ideas and thoughts. He did not change people but rather guided them in leading their lives. The people of that time were like children, understanding nothing and capable only of some basic mechanical movements, and so Jehovah only decreed laws to guide the multitudes.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)
Sermon and Fellowship Excerpts for Reference:
God’s judgment of man in the last days chiefly employs multiple aspects of the truth to admonish people. Without these many aspects of the truth, they would not be words of judgment. Did the words Jehovah spoke to all the places and the Lord Jesus’ reproach of the Pharisees contain multiple aspects of the truth? Did they give man a path to practice? Did they reveal the nature essence of man? They did not, and so they were not the judgment of man; they were merely reproach and admonishment. Reproach and admonishment are direct condemnation and elimination, followed by cursing. God’s judgment and salvation of man during the Age of Kingdom is chiefly the expression of many truths. It is the use of the truth to admonish people, reveal their essence, and dissect their words and actions. These words contain many aspects of the truth. Only when there is the truth is there judgment; without the truth, there is no judgment. Thus, there is a clear difference between the words of Christ of the last days, and the words Jehovah spoke to all the places in the Age of Law, and the Lord Jesus’ reproach of the Pharisees during the Age of Grace. This difference primarily lies in Christ of the last days’ use of multiple aspects of the truth to admonish people; God did not express multiple aspects of the truth during the Age of Law or the Age of Grace. Moreover, there is also a difference in the nature of God’s work. During the Age of Law and Age of Grace, God’s admonishment and reproach of those who opposed Him was direct condemnation and cursing. God did not save them, and He took no mercy on them. God’s work of judgment during the last days is in order to save, purify, and perfect man. During the Age of Grace, the Lord Jesus did the work of redemption. He preached the way of repentance and performed some miracles and signs and wonders, and the Pharisees judged, condemned, and resisted Him. Against this background, the Lord Jesus spoke certain words of reproach and cursing toward the Pharisees, words which merely exposed the essence of the Pharisees’ actions and behavior. These words did not expose the root of their opposition to God, nor their nature essence. He did not express any relevant truths. He said nothing of how man should obey God, what the duty of man is, or how man should be faithful to God, and so on, and so those words cannot be called judgment. The Pharisees did not truly believe in God. They loathed the truth, they did not accept it at all, and they were utterly unfit to receive God’s judgment. God did not perform the work of judgment upon them, and so the Lord Jesus merely damned them—He did not save them. Some people say, “Were the words that exposed the actions and behavior of the Pharisees the truth?” These words were also the truth, and they revealed, too, God’s disposition that brooks no offense by man. But judgment is not the same as simple reproach and condemnation. In the last days, God uses multiple aspects of the truth to admonish man. Each time He expresses an aspect of the truth, certain corrupt dispositions and manifestations of man are revealed. God uses the revelation of the true face of man’s corruption and the dissection of the words and actions of man to express the truth. Only when all of the truths necessary for the salvation of man have been directly expressed, causing people to understand, experience, know, and be cleansed—only words that achieve such an effect are genuine judgment, and only these are words of judgment. Otherwise, they are not words of judgment, they are merely words uttered toward certain individuals in the context of God’s work at the time.
—Sermons and Fellowship on Entry Into Life