Daily Words of God: Exposing Religious Notions | Excerpt 292
Only by putting aside your old conceptions can you gain new knowledge, yet old knowledge is not necessarily old conceptions. “Conceptions” refers to the things imagined by man that are at odds with reality. If the old knowledge was already outdated in the old age, and it stopped man from entering into the new work, then such knowledge is also a conception. If man is able to take the correct approach to such knowledge, and can come to know God from several different aspects, combining the old and the new, then the old knowledge becomes an aid to man, and becomes the basis by which man enters the new age. The lesson of knowing God requires you to master many principles: how to enter onto the path to knowing God, which truths you must understand in order to know God, and how to make your conceptions and old nature submit to all of the arrangements of God’s new work. If you use these principles as the foundation for entering into the lesson of knowing God, then your knowledge will become deeper and deeper. If you have a clear knowledge of the three stages of work—which is to say, of God’s entire plan of management—and if you can fully correlate the previous two stages of God’s work with the present stage, and can see that it is work done by one God, then you will have no firmer foundation. The three stages of work were done by one God; this is the greatest vision, and is the only path to knowing God. The three stages of work could only have been done by God Himself, and no man could do such work on His behalf—which is to say that only God Himself could have done His own work from the beginning until today. Though the three stages of God’s work have been carried out in different ages and locations, and though the work of each is different, it is all work done by one God. Of all the visions, this is the greatest vision that man should know, and if it can be completely understood by man, then he will be able to stand fast. Today, the biggest problem facing various religions and denominations is that they do not know the work of the Holy Spirit, and are unable to differentiate between the work of the Holy Spirit and work that is not of the Holy Spirit—and so they cannot tell whether this stage of work is, like the last two stages of work, also done by Jehovah God. Though people follow God, most are still unable to tell whether it is the right way. Man worries whether this way is the way personally led by God Himself, and whether God’s incarnation is a fact, and most people still have no clue about how to discern when it comes to such things. Those who follow God are unable to determine the way, and so the messages which are spoken only have a partial effect among these people, and are incapable of being fully effective, and so this then affects the life of such people. If man can see in the three stages of work that they were carried out by God Himself at different times, in different places, and in different people, then man will see that, although the work is different, it is all done by one God. Since it is work done by one God, then it must be right, and without error, and though it is at odds with the conceptions of man, there is no denying that it is the work of one God. If man can say for sure that it is the work of one God, then the conceptions of man will become mere trifles, unworthy of mention. Because the visions of man are unclear, and man only knows Jehovah as God, and Jesus as the Lord, and is in two minds about the God incarnate of today, many people remain devoted to the work of Jehovah and Jesus, and are beset by conceptions about the work of today, most people are always doubtful, and do not take the work of today seriously. Man has no conceptions toward the last two stages of work, which were invisible. That is because man does not understand the reality of the last two stages of work, and did not personally witness them. It is because they cannot be seen that man imagines as he likes; regardless of what he comes up with, there are no facts to prove it, and no one to correct it. Man gives free rein to his natural instinct, throwing caution to the wind and letting his imagination run free, for there are no facts to verify it, and so man’s imaginings become “fact,” regardless of whether there is any proof to them. Thus man believes in his own imagined God in his mind, and does not seek the God of reality. If one person has one kind of belief, then among a hundred people there are a hundred kinds of belief. Man is possessed of such beliefs because he has not seen the reality of God’s work, because he has only heard it with his ears and has not beheld it with his eyes. Man has heard legends and stories—but rarely has he heard the knowledge of the facts of God’s work. It is through their own conceptions that people who have only been believers for a year believe in God, and the same is true for those who have believed in God their entire lives. Those who cannot see the facts will never be able to escape from a faith in which they have conceptions of God. Man believes that he has freed himself from the bonds of his old conceptions, and has entered new territory. Does man not know that the knowledge of those who cannot see the true face of God is nothing but conceptions and hearsay? Man thinks that his conceptions are right, and without error, and thinks that these conceptions come from God. Today, when man witnesses the work of God, he lets loose conceptions that have built up over many years. The imaginings and ideas of the past became an obstruction to the work of this stage, and it becomes difficult for man to let go of such conceptions and refute such ideas. The conceptions toward this step-by-step work of many of those who have followed God until today have become ever more grievous and these people have gradually formed a stubborn enmity to the God incarnate, and the source of this hatred is the conceptions and imaginings of man. It is precisely because facts do not allow man to give free rein to his imagination, and, moreover, cannot be easily refuted by man, and the conceptions and imaginings of man do not brook the existence of facts, and, furthermore, because man does not give thought to the correctness and veracity of facts, and merely single-mindedly lets loose his conceptions, and employs his own imagination, that the conceptions and imaginings of man have become the enemy of the work of today, work which is at odds with the conceptions of man. This can only be said to be the fault of the conceptions of man, and cannot be said to be a fault of the work of God. Man may imagine whatever he wishes, but he may not freely dispute any stage of God’s work or any bit of it; the fact of God’s work is inviolable by man. You may give free rein to your imagination, and may even compile fine stories about the work of Jehovah and Jesus, but you may not refute the fact of each stage of the work of Jehovah and Jesus; this is a principle, and is also an administrative decree, and you should understand the importance of these issues. Man believes that this stage of work is incompatible with the conceptions of man, and that this is not the case for the two previous stages of work. In his imagination, man believes that the work of the two previous stages is surely not the same as the work of today—but have you ever considered that the principles of God’s work are all the same, that His work is always practical, and that, regardless of the age, there will always be a deluge of people who resist and oppose the fact of His work? All those who today resist and oppose this stage of work would also undoubtedly have opposed God in times past, for such people will always be the enemies of God. The people who know the fact of God’s work will see the three stages of work as the work of one God, and will let go of their conceptions. These are people who know God, and such people are those who truly follow God. When the entire management of God is nearing its end, God will class all things according to kind. Man was made by the hands of the Creator, and in the end He must completely return man under His dominion; this is the conclusion of the three stages of work. The stage of work of the last days, and the previous two stages in Israel and Judea, are God’s plan of management in the entire universe. No one can deny this, and it is the fact of God’s work. Although people have not experienced or witnessed much of this work, the facts are still the facts, and this is undeniable by any man. People who believe in God in every land of the universe will all accept the three stages of work. If you only know one particular stage of work, and do not understand the other two stages of work, do not understand the work of God in times past, then you are unable to speak the whole truth of God’s entire plan of management, and your knowledge of God is one-sided, for in your belief in God you do not know Him, or understand Him, and so you are not fit to bear testimony to God. Regardless of whether your current knowledge of these things is profound or superficial, in the end, you must have knowledge, and must be thoroughly convinced, and all people will see the entirety of God’s work and submit under the dominion of God. At the end of this work, all denominations will become one, all creatures will return under the dominion of the Creator, all creatures will worship the one true God, and all evil religions will come to nothing, never to appear again.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God