2. The Aim of the Three Stages of God’s Work
Relevant Words of God:
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 domain. 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.
from “The True Story Behind the Work of the Age of Redemption” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You must know that regardless of what work He does, the aim of God’s work does not change, the heart of His work does not change, and His will toward man does not change. No matter how severe His words, no matter how adverse the environment, the principles of His work will not change, and His intention of saving man will not change. Provided that it is not the work of the revelation of the end of man or the destination of man, and is not the work of the final phase, or the work of bringing God’s entire plan of management to an end, and provided that it is during the time He works man, then the heart of His work will not change. It will always be the salvation of mankind. This should be the foundation of your belief in God. The aim of the three stages of work is the salvation of all mankind—this means the complete salvation of man from the domain of Satan. Though each of the three stages of work has a different objective and significance, each is part of the work of saving mankind, and each is different work of salvation carried out according to the requirements of mankind.
from “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Today we will first summarize God’s thoughts, ideas, and His each and every move since He created mankind. We will take a look at what work He has carried out, from creating the world to the official start of the Age of Grace. We can then discover which of God’s thoughts and ideas are unknown to man, and from there we can clarify the order of God’s management plan, and thoroughly understand the context in which God created His management work, its source and development process, and also thoroughly understand what results He wants from His management work—that is, the core and the purpose of His management work. To understand these things we need to go back to a distant, still and silent time when there were no humans …
When God arose from His bed, the first thought that He had was this: to create a living person—a real, living human—someone to live with and be His constant companion; this person could listen to Him, and He could confide in and speak with him. Then, for the first time, God scooped up a handful of dirt and used it to create the very first living person according to the image that He had imagined in His mind, and then He gave this living creature a name—Adam. Once God had this living and breathing person, how did He feel? For the first time, He felt the joy of having a loved one, a companion. He also felt for the first time the responsibility of being a father and the concern that comes along with it. This living and breathing person brought God happiness and joy; He felt comforted for the first time. This was the first thing God had ever done that was not accomplished with His thoughts or even words, but was done with His own hands. When this kind of being—a living and breathing person—stood in front of God, made of flesh and blood, with body and form, and able to speak with God, He experienced a kind of joy He had never felt before. God truly felt His responsibility, and this living being not only tugged at His heart but warmed and moved His heart with every little move he made. When this living being stood in front of God, it was the first time He had the thought to gain more of such people. This was the series of events that began with this first thought that God had. For God, all of these events were occurring for the first time, but in these first events, no matter what He felt at the time—joy, responsibility, concern—there was no one for Him to share it with. Starting from that moment, God truly felt a loneliness and a sadness that He had never experienced before. He felt that man could not accept or comprehend His love and concern, or His intentions for man, so He still felt sorrow and pain in His heart. Although He had done these things for man, man was not aware of it and did not understand. Aside from happiness, the joy and comfort man brought to Him quickly brought with it His first feelings of sorrow and loneliness. These were God’s thoughts and feelings at that time. While God was doing all these things, in His heart He went from joy to sorrow and from sorrow to pain, and these feelings were mixed with anxiety. All He wanted to do was to make haste to let this person, this mankind know what was in His heart and understand His intentions sooner. Then, they could become His followers and share His thoughts and align with His will. They would no longer merely listen to God speak and remain speechless; they would no longer be unaware of how to join God in His work; above all, they would no longer be people indifferent to God’s requirements. These first things that God did are very meaningful and hold great value for His management plan and for human beings today.
After creating all things and mankind, God did not rest. He was restless and eager to carry out His management, and to gain the people He so loved among mankind.
… God considers this instance of His management of mankind, of His salvation of mankind, as more important than anything else. He does these things not only with His mind, not only with His words, and certainly not with a casual attitude—He does all of these things with a plan, with a goal, with standards, and with His will. It is clear that this work to save mankind holds great significance for both God and man. No matter how difficult the work is, no matter how great the obstacles are, no matter how weak humans are, or how deep mankind’s rebelliousness is, none of this is difficult for God. God keeps Himself busy, expending His painstaking effort and managing the work He Himself wants to carry out. He is also arranging everything and exercising His sovereignty over all those people on whom He will work and all the work He wants to complete—none of this has ever been done before. This is the first time God has used these methods and paid such a great price for this major project of managing and saving mankind. While God is carrying out this work, little by little He is expressing and releasing to mankind, without reservation, His painstaking effort, what He has and is, His wisdom and almightiness, and every aspect of His disposition. He releases and expresses these things as He has never done before. So, in the entire universe, aside from the people who God aims to manage and save, there have never been any creatures so close to God, that have had such an intimate relationship with Him. In His heart, mankind, which He wants to manage and save, is most important; He values this mankind above all else; even though He has paid a great price for them, and even though He is continually hurt and disobeyed by them, He never gives up on them and continues tirelessly in His work, with no complaints or regrets. This is because He knows that sooner or later, people will awaken to His call and be moved by His words, recognize that He is the Lord of creation, and return to His side …
from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Regardless of what God does or the means by which He does it, regardless of the cost, regardless of His objective, the purpose of His actions does not change. His purpose is to work God’s words into man, as well as God’s requirements and will for man; in other words, it is to work into man all that God believes to be positive in accordance with His steps, enabling man to understand God’s heart and comprehend God’s essence, and allowing man to obey God’s sovereignty and arrangements, thus allowing man to attain fear of God and shunning of evil—all of this is one aspect of God’s purpose in all He does. The other aspect is that, because Satan is the foil and service object in God’s work, man is often given to Satan; this is the means God uses to allow people to see in Satan’s temptations and attacks the wickedness, ugliness, and contemptibility of Satan, thus causing people to hate Satan and be able to know and recognize that which is negative. This process allows them to gradually free themselves from Satan’s control and accusations, interference, and attacks—until, thanks to God’s words, their knowledge and obedience of God, and their faith in God and fear of Him, they triumph over the attacks and accusations of Satan; only then will they have been completely delivered from the domain of Satan. People’s deliverance means that Satan has been defeated, it means that they are no longer the food in Satan’s mouth—instead of swallowing them, Satan has relinquished them. This is because such people are upright, because they have faith, obedience, and fear toward God, and because they completely break with Satan. They bring shame upon Satan, they make a coward of Satan, and they utterly defeat Satan. Their conviction in following God, and obedience to and fear of God defeat Satan, and make Satan completely give them up. Only people such as this have truly been gained by God, and it is this which is God’s ultimate objective in saving man.
from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself II” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Such is the management of God: to hand mankind over to Satan—a mankind that does not know what God is, what the Creator is, how to worship God, or why it is necessary to submit to God—and allow Satan to corrupt him. Step by step, God then recovers man from the hands of Satan, until man fully worships God and rejects Satan. This is God’s management. This may sound like a mythical tale, and it may seem perplexing. People feel like this is a mythical story because they have no inkling of how much has happened to man over the past several thousand years, much less do they know how many stories have occurred in the cosmos and the firmament. And furthermore, that is because they cannot appreciate the more astonishing, more fear-inducing world that exists beyond the material world, but which their mortal eyes prevent them from seeing. It feels incomprehensible to man because man has no understanding of the significance of God’s salvation of mankind or the significance of the work of His management, and does not comprehend how God ultimately wishes mankind to be. Is it to be utterly uncorrupted by Satan, like Adam and Eve were? No! The purpose of God’s management is to gain a group of people who worship God and submit to Him. Although these people have been corrupted by Satan, they no longer see Satan as their father; they recognize the repulsive face of Satan and reject it, and they come before God to accept God’s judgment and chastisement. They come to know what is ugly and how it contrasts with that which is holy, and to recognize the greatness of God and the evil of Satan. A mankind such as this will no longer work for Satan, or worship Satan, or enshrine Satan. This is because they are a group of people who have truly been gained by God. This is the significance of God’s work of managing mankind.
from “Man Can Only Be Saved Amidst God’s Management” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God created humans and placed them upon earth, and He has led them ever since. He then saved them and served as a sin offering for humanity. At the end, He still must conquer humanity, save humans entirely, and restore them to their original likeness. This is the work that He has been engaged in ever since the beginning—restoring humanity to their original image and likeness. God will establish His kingdom and restore the original likeness of human beings, which means that God will restore His authority upon earth and among all creation. Humanity lost their God-fearing heart as well as the function incumbent upon God’s creatures after being corrupted by Satan, thereby becoming an enemy disobedient to God. Humanity then lived under Satan’s domain and followed Satan’s orders; thus, God had no way to work among His creatures, and became all the more unable to win their fearful reverence. Humans were created by God, and ought to worship God, but they actually turned their backs on Him and worshiped Satan instead. Satan became the idol in their hearts. Thus, God lost His standing in their hearts, which is to say that He lost the meaning behind His creation of humanity. Therefore, to restore the meaning behind His creation of humanity, He must restore their original likeness and rid humanity of their corrupt dispositions. To reclaim humans from Satan, He must save them from sin. Only in this way can God gradually restore their original likeness and function, and finally, restore His kingdom. The ultimate destruction of those sons of disobedience will also be carried out in order to allow humans to better worship God and better live upon the earth. Because God created humans, He will make them worship Him; because He wishes to restore humanity’s original function, He will restore it completely and without any adulteration. Restoring His authority means making humans worship Him and submit to Him; it means that God will make humans live because of Him and cause His enemies to perish as a result of His authority. It means that God will cause everything about Him to persist among humans without resistance from anybody. The kingdom God wishes to establish is His own kingdom. The humanity He desires is one that will worship Him, one that will submit to Him completely and manifest His glory. If God does not save corrupt humanity, then the meaning behind His creation of humanity will be lost; He will have no more authority among humans, and His kingdom will no longer be able to exist upon the earth. If God does not destroy those enemies who are disobedient to Him, He will be unable to obtain His complete glory, nor will He be able to establish His kingdom upon the earth. These will be marks of the completion of His work and of His great accomplishment: to utterly destroy those among humanity who are disobedient to Him, and to bring into rest those who have been made complete. When humans have been restored to their original likeness, and when they can fulfill their respective duties, keep to their own proper places and submit to all of God’s arrangements, God will have obtained a group of people upon the earth who worship Him, and He will also have established a kingdom upon the earth that worships Him. He will have eternal victory upon the earth, and all those who are opposed to Him will perish for all eternity. This will restore His original intention in creating humanity; it will restore His intention in creating all things, and it will also restore His authority upon earth, among all things, and among His enemies. These will be the symbols of His total victory. Thenceforth, humanity will enter into rest and begin a life that is on the right track. God will also enter into eternal rest with humanity, and commence an eternal life shared by both Himself and humans. The filth and disobedience upon the earth will have disappeared, and all the wailing will have dissipated, and everything in this world that opposes God will have ceased to exist. Only God and those people to whom He has brought salvation will remain; only His creation will remain.
from “God and Man Will Enter Into Rest Together” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When the three stages of work come to an end, there will be made a group of those who bear testimony to God, a group of those who know God. These people will all know God and will be able to put the truth into practice. They will possess humanity and sense, and will all know the three stages of God’s work of salvation. This is the work that will be accomplished at the end, and these people are the crystallization of the work of 6,000 years of management, and are the most powerful testimony to the ultimate defeat of Satan.
from “Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
After having carried out His six thousand years of work through the present day, God has already revealed many of His acts, the primary purpose of which has been to defeat Satan and bring salvation to all of humanity. He is using this opportunity to allow everything in heaven, everything upon the earth, everything within the seas, and every last object of God’s creation on earth to see His almightiness and to witness all of His acts. He is seizing the opportunity provided by His defeat of Satan to reveal all of His deeds to humans, and to enable them to praise Him and exalt His wisdom in defeating Satan. Everything on earth, in heaven, and within the seas brings God glory, praises His almightiness, praises every one of His deeds, and shouts His holy name. This is proof of His defeat of Satan; it is proof of His vanquishing of Satan. More importantly, it is proof of His salvation of humanity. The whole of God’s creation brings Him glory, praises Him for defeating His enemy and returning victoriously, and extols Him as the great victorious King. His purpose is not merely to defeat Satan, which is why His work has continued for six thousand years. He uses Satan’s defeat to save humanity; He uses Satan’s defeat to reveal all His acts and all of His glory. He will obtain glory, and all the multitude of angels will see all His glory. The messengers in heaven, the humans upon earth, and all objects of creation upon earth will see the glory of the Creator. This is the work that He does. His creation in heaven and on earth will all witness His glory, and He will return triumphantly after utterly defeating Satan, and allow humanity to praise Him, thus achieving a double victory in His work. In the end, all of humanity will be conquered by Him, and He will wipe out anyone who resists or rebels; in other words, He will wipe out all those who belong to Satan.
from “You Should Know How the Whole of Humanity Has Developed to the Present Day” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
All people need to understand the aims of My work on earth, that is, what I ultimately wish to gain, and what level I must achieve in this work before it can be complete. If, after walking with Me to this day, people do not understand what My work is all about, then have they not walked with Me in vain? If people follow Me, they should know My will. I have been working on earth for thousands of years, and to this day, I continue to carry out My work thus. Although My work contains many projects, its purpose remains unchanged; though I am filled with judgment and chastisement toward man, for example, what I do is still for the sake of saving him, and for the sake of better spreading My gospel and further expanding My work among all the Gentile nations once man has been made complete. So today, at a time when many people have long since sunk deep into dismay, I still continue with My work, I continue the work I must do to judge and chastise man. Despite the fact that man is fed up with what I say, and he has no desire to concern himself with My work, I am still carrying out My duty, for the purpose of My work remains unchanged, and My original plan will not be broken. The function of My judgment is to enable man to better obey Me, and the function of My chastisement is to allow man to more effectively be changed. Though what I do is for the sake of My management, I have never done anything that was without benefit to man, for I wish to make all the nations beyond Israel as obedient as the Israelites, to make them into real human beings, that I might have a foothold in the lands outside Israel. This is My management; it is the work I am accomplishing among the Gentile nations. Even now, many people still do not understand My management, because they have no interest in such things, and care only for their own futures and destinations. No matter what I say, they remain indifferent to the work that I do, instead focusing exclusively on their destinations of tomorrow. If things go on in this way, how can My work expand? How can My gospel be spread throughout the world? Know that when My work spreads, I will scatter you, and smite you just as Jehovah smote each of the tribes of Israel. All this will be done so that My gospel may spread across the earth, so that it may reach the Gentile nations, so that My name may be magnified by adults and children alike, and My holy name exalted in the mouths of people from all tribes and nations. It is so that, in this final era, My name may be magnified among the Gentile nations, so that My deeds may be seen by the Gentiles and they will call Me the Almighty on account of My deeds, and so that My words may soon come to pass. I will make all people know that I am not only the God of the Israelites, but also the God of all the nations of the Gentiles, even those that I have cursed. I will let all people see that I am the God of all creation. This is My greatest work, the purpose of My work plan for the last days, and the only work to be fulfilled in the last days.
from “The Work of Spreading the Gospel Is Also the Work of Saving Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh