The Mystery of the Incarnation (4) Part One
You should know of the story behind the Bible and of its making. This knowledge does not belong to those who have not accepted the new work of God. They do not know. If you were to speak plainly of these matters of essence to them, they would no longer be sticklers about the Bible with you. They are constantly digging into what has been prophesied: Has this statement come to pass? Has that statement come to pass? Their acceptance of the gospel is in accordance with the Bible, and they preach the gospel according to the Bible. Their belief in God rests on the words of the Bible; without the Bible, they will not believe in God. This is the manner in which they live, subjecting the Bible to petty scrutiny. When they once again come digging into the Bible and ask you for explanations, you say, “First, let us not verify each statement. Instead, let us look at how the Holy Spirit works. Let us take the path we walk and compare it with the truth to see if this path is indeed the work of the Holy Spirit, and let us use the work of the Holy Spirit to check whether such a path is correct. As for whether this statement or that statement has come to pass as foretold, we humans should not stick our noses into it. It is better for us to speak instead of the work of the Holy Spirit and the latest work that God has been doing.” The prophecies in the Bible are words of God transmitted at the time by the prophets and words written by men whom God used, having obtained inspiration; only God Himself can explain those words, only the Holy Spirit can make known the meaning of those words, and only God Himself can break the seven seals and open the scroll. You say: “You are not God, and neither am I, so who dares lightly to explain the words of God? Do you dare to explain those words? Even if the prophets Jeremiah, John and Elijah were to come, they would not dare to try and explain those words, for they are not the Lamb. Only the Lamb can break the seven seals and open the scroll, and none other can explain His words. I dare not usurp the, much less attempt to explain . I can only be one who obeys God. Are you God? None of God’s creatures dare to open the scroll or explain those words, and so I dare not explain them either. You had better not attempt to explain them. No one should try to explain them. Let us talk about the work of the Holy Spirit; this much man can do. I know a little of the work of Jehovah and Jesus, but as I have no personal experience of such work, I can only speak of it to a slight extent. As for the meaning of the words that Isaiah or Jesus spoke in their time, I will make no explanation. I do not study the Bible, but rather I follow the present work of God. You actually regard the Bible as the little scroll, but is it not something that only the Lamb can open? Apart from the Lamb, who else can open it? You are not the Lamb, and even less do I dare claim to be God Himself, so let us not analyze the Bible or subject it to petty scrutiny. Far better to discuss the work done by the Holy Spirit, that is, the present work done by God Himself. Let us see what the principles by which God works are and what the essence of His work is, using these to verify whether the path we walk on today is right, and in this way make certain of it.” If you wish to preach the gospel, particularly to those in the religious world, you must understand the Bible and have a mastery of its inside story; otherwise, there is no way for you to preach the gospel. Once you have mastered the bigger picture, and cease to scrutinize the dead words of the Bible in a petty way, but speak only of the work of God and the truth of life, then you shall be able to gain those who seek with a true heart.
Jehovah’s work, the laws He put in place, and the principles by which He guided men in living their lives, the content of the work He did in the Age of Law, the significance of Him putting His laws in place, the significance of His work to the Age of Grace, and what work God does in this final stage: these are things that you should understand. The first stage is the work of the Age of Law, the second the work of the Age of Grace, and the third the work of the last days. You must be clear about these stages of God’s work. From beginning to end, there are three stages in total. What is the essence of each stage of work? How many stages are carried out in the work of the six-thousand-year management plan? How are these stages carried out, and why is each carried out in its particular way? These are all crucial questions. The work of each age has representational value. What work did Jehovah carry out? Why did He do it in that particular way? Why was He called Jehovah? Again, what work did Jesus carry out in the Age of Grace, and in what manner did He do it? Which aspects of God’s disposition are represented by each stage of work and each age? Which aspects of His disposition were expressed in the Age of Law? And which in the Age of Grace? And which in the final age? These are essential questions that you must be clear about. The whole of God’s disposition has been revealed in the course of the six-thousand-year management plan. It is not revealed only in the Age of Grace, nor only in the Age of Law, even less so only in this period of the last days. The work carried out in the last days represents judgment, wrath, and chastisement. The work carried out in the last days cannot replace the work of the Age of Law or that of the Age of Grace. However, the three stages, interconnecting, form one entity, and all are the work of one God. Naturally, the execution of this work is divided into separate ages. The work done in the last days brings everything to a close; that done in the Age of Law was the work of commencement; and that done in the Age of Grace was the work of redemption. As for the visions of the work in this entire six-thousand-year management plan, no one is able to gain insight or understanding, and these visions remain riddles. In the last days, only the work of the word is carried out in order to usher in the Age of Kingdom, but it is not representative of all the ages. The last days are no more than the last days and no more than the Age of Kingdom, and they do not represent the Age of Grace or the Age of Law. It is just that, during the last days, all the work in the six-thousand-year management plan is revealed to you. This is the unveiling of the mystery. This kind of mystery is something that can be unveiled by no man. No matter how great an understanding man has of the Bible, it remains nothing more than words, for man does not understand the essence of the Bible. In reading the Bible, man may understand some truths, explain some words, or subject some famous passages and chapters to his petty scrutiny, but he will never be able to extricate the meaning contained within those words, for all man sees are dead words, not the scenes of the work of Jehovah and of Jesus, and man has no way of unraveling the mystery of this work. Therefore, the mystery of the six-thousand-year management plan is the greatest mystery, the most profoundly hidden, and wholly unfathomable to man. No one can directly grasp the will of God, unless God Himself explains and reveals it to man; otherwise, these things will forever remain riddles to man, remaining forever sealed mysteries. Never mind those in the religious world; if you had not been told today, you would not have grasped it either. This work of six thousand years is more mysterious than all the prophecies of the prophets. It is the greatest mystery from creation to the present, and no one among the prophets throughout the ages has ever been able to fathom it, for this mystery is only unveiled in the final age and has never before been revealed. If you can grasp this mystery, and if you are able to receive it in its entirety, then all religious persons will be vanquished by this mystery. Only this is the greatest of visions; it is that which man longs most keenly to grasp but it is also that which is most unclear to him. When you were in the Age of Grace, you did not know what the work done by Jesus or that done by Jehovah was about. People did not understand why Jehovah set forth laws, why He asked the multitude to keep the laws or why the temple had to be built, and still less did people understand why the Israelites were led from Egypt into the wilderness and then on to Canaan. It was not until this day that these matters have been revealed.
The work in the last days is the final stage of the three. It is the work of another new age and does not represent the entirety of the work of management. The six-thousand-year management plan is divided into three stages of work. No one stage alone can represent the work of the three ages, but only one part of a whole. The name Jehovah cannot represent the whole of God’s disposition. The fact that He carried out His work in the Age of Law does not prove that God can only be God under the law. Jehovah set forth laws for man and handed down commandments to him, asking man to build the temple and the altars; the work He did represents only the Age of Law. This work that He did does not prove that God is only a God who asks man to keep the law, or that He is the God in the temple, or that He is the God before the altar. To say this would be untrue. The work done under the law can only represent one age. Therefore, if God only did the work in the Age of Law, then man would confine God within the following definition, saying, “God is the God in the temple, and, in order to serve God we must put on priestly robes and enter the temple.” If the work in the Age of Grace had never been carried out and the Age of Law had continued until the present, man would not know that God is also merciful and loving. If the work in the Age of Law had not been done, and instead only the work in the Age of Grace, then all man would know is that God can only redeem man and forgive man’s sins. Man would know only that He is holy and innocent, and that for man’s sake He is able to sacrifice Himself and be crucified. Man would know only these things but have no understanding of anything else. Each age therefore represents one part of God’s disposition. As for which aspects of God’s disposition are represented in the Age of Law, which in the Age of Grace, and which in this present stage: only when all three stages have been integrated into one whole can they reveal the entirety of God’s disposition. Only when man has come to know all three stages can he understand it fully. None of the three stages can be omitted. You will only see the disposition of God in its entirety after coming to know these three stages of work. The fact that God completed His work in the Age of Law does not prove that He is only the God under the law, and the fact that He completed His work of redemption does not mean that God will forever redeem mankind. These are all conclusions drawn by man. The Age of Grace having come to an end, you cannot then say that God belongs only to the cross and that the cross alone represents the. To do so would be to define God. In the present stage, God is mainly doing the work of the word, but you cannot say then that God has never been merciful to man and that all He has brought is chastisement and judgment. The work in the last days lays bare the work of Jehovah and Jesus and all mysteries not understood by man, so as to reveal the destination and the end of mankind and end all the work of salvation among mankind. This stage of work in the last days brings everything to a close. All mysteries not understood by man need to be unraveled to allow man to plumb them to their depths and have a completely clear understanding in his heart. Only then can the human race be classed according to kind. Only after the six-thousand-year management plan is completed will man come to understand the disposition of God in its entirety, for His management will then have come to an end. Now that you have experienced the work of God in the final age, what is the disposition of God? Do you dare say that God is the God who merely speaks words and no more? You would not dare render such a conclusion. Some would say that God is the God who unveils mysteries, that God is the Lamb and the One who breaks the seven seals. But no one dares to render such a conclusion. Others might say that God is the incarnate flesh, but this would still not be correct. Still others might say that God incarnate only speaks words and does not work signs and wonders, but you would dare even less to speak in this way, for Jesus became flesh and worked signs and wonders, so you would not dare to define God so lightly. All of the work done throughout the six-thousand-year management plan has only now come to a close. Only after all of this work has been revealed to man and carried out in the midst of mankind will humanity know all of God’s disposition and what He has and is. When the work of this stage has been fully completed, all mysteries not understood by man shall have been revealed, all truths previously not understood shall have been made clear, and the human race shall have been told of their future path and destination. This is the whole of the work that is to be done in the present stage. Even though the path that man walks today is also the path of the cross and the path of suffering, what man practices, and what he eats, drinks and enjoys today are greatly different from that which fell to man under the law and in the Age of Grace. What is asked of man this day is unlike that in the past and even more unlike that asked of man in the Age of Law. Now, what was asked of man under the law when God was doing His work in Israel? It was no more than that man should keep the Sabbath and the laws of Jehovah. No one was to labor on the Sabbath or transgress the laws of Jehovah. But it is not so now. On the Sabbath, man works, gathers, and prays as usual, and no restrictions are imposed on him. Those in the Age of Grace had to be baptized, and they were further asked to fast, break bread, drink wine, cover their heads and wash the feet of others for them. Now, these rules have been abolished, but greater demands are made of man, for the work of God grows ever deeper and the entry of man reaches ever higher. In the past, Jesus laid His hands upon man and prayed, but now that everything has been said, what is the use of the laying on of hands? Words alone can achieve results. When He laid His hands upon man in the past, it was to bless man and also to heal him of his diseases. This was how the Holy Spirit worked at that time, but it is not so now. Now the Holy Spirit uses words in order to work and achieve results. His words have been made clear to you, and you should put them into practice just as you have been told. His words are His will; they are the work He wishes to do. Through His words, you will understand His will and that which He asks you to attain, and you may just put His words into practice directly without any need for the laying on of hands. Some may say, “Lay Your hands upon me! Lay Your hands upon me that I may receive Your blessing and that I may partake of You.” All these are outdated practices from the past, now obsolete, for the age has changed. The Holy Spirit works in accordance with the age, neither at random nor in conformity to set rules. The age has changed, and a new age necessarily brings with it new work. This is true of every stage of work, and so His work is never repeated. In the Age of Grace, Jesus did a fair amount of that kind of work, such as healing sickness, casting out demons, laying His hands upon man to pray for him, and blessing man. However, to do so again would be meaningless in the present day. The Holy Spirit worked in that way at the time, for it was the Age of Grace, and there was sufficient grace for man to enjoy. No payment of any kind was asked of him, and so long as he had faith, he would receive grace. All were treated very graciously. Now the age has changed, and the work of God has progressed further; it is through chastisement and judgment that the rebelliousness of man and the unclean things within man will be purged away. That stage being the stage of redemption, it behooved God to work in that way, showing enough grace for man to enjoy, so that man might be redeemed from sin and, by means of grace, be forgiven his sins. This present stage is to expose the unrighteousness within man by means of chastisement, judgment, the smiting of words, as well as the discipline and revelation of words, so that humanity may afterward be saved. This is work more in-depth than redemption. The grace in the Age of Grace was sufficient for man’s enjoyment; now that man has already experienced this grace, he is no longer to enjoy it. This work is now past its time and is no longer to be done. Now man is to be saved through the judgment of the word. After man is judged, chastised, and refined, his disposition is thereby changed. Is this not all because of the words I have spoken? Each stage of work is done in line with the progress of the whole human race and with the age. The work is all significant, and it is all done for the sake of the final salvation, that mankind may have a good destination in the future, and that humanity may be classed according to kind in the end.
The work of the last days is to speak words. Great changes can be effected in man by means of words. The changes now effected in these people upon their accepting these words are much greater than those effected in people upon their accepting the signs and wonders of the Age of Grace. For, in the Age of Grace, the demons were cast out from man with the laying on of hands and prayer, but the corrupt dispositions within man still remained. Man was healed of his sickness and forgiven his sins, but as for just how man was to be purged of the corrupt satanic dispositions within him, this work had yet to be done. Man was only saved and forgiven his sins for his faith, but the sinful nature of man was not extirpated and still remained within him. The sins of man were forgiven through the agency of the incarnate God, but this did not mean that man no longer had sin within him. The sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but as for just how man can be made to sin no more, and how his sinful nature may be extirpated completely and transformed, he has no way of solving this problem. The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within his corrupt satanic disposition of old. This being so, man must be completely saved from his corrupt satanic disposition, so that his sinful nature may be completely extirpated, never to develop again, thus enabling the disposition of man to be transformed. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation. At the time that Jesus was doing His work, man’s knowledge of Him was still vague and unclear. Man always believed Him to be the son of David, and proclaimed Him to be a great prophet, the benevolent Lord who redeemed man’s sins. Some, on the strength of their faith, were healed just from touching the edge of His garment; the blind could see and even the dead could be restored to life. However, man was unable to discover the corrupt satanic disposition deeply rooted within himself, neither did he know how to cast it away. Man received much grace, such as the peace and happiness of the flesh, the faith of one member bringing blessing on an entire family, the healing of sickness, and so on. The rest were the good deeds of man and his godly appearance; if someone could live on the basis of these, they were considered an acceptable believer. Only believers of this kind could enter heaven after death, which meant that they were saved. But, in their lifetime, these people did not understand at all the way of life. All they did was to commit sins and then confess their sins in a constant cycle without any path to change their disposition: Such was the condition of man in the Age of Grace. Has man received complete salvation? No! Therefore, after that stage of work was finished, there still remained the work of judgment and chastisement. This stage is to make man pure by means of the word, and thereby give him a path to follow. This stage would not be fruitful or meaningful if it continued with the casting out of demons, for it would fail to extirpate man’s sinful nature, and man would come to a standstill at the forgiveness of his sins. Through the sin offering, man has been forgiven his sins, for the work of the crucifixion has already come to an end and God has prevailed over Satan. But the corrupt disposition of man still remaining within him, man can still sin and resist God, and God has not gained mankind. That is why in this stage of work God uses the word to expose the corrupt disposition of man, causing him to practice in accordance with the right path. This stage is more meaningful than the previous one, as well as more fruitful, for now it is the word that directly supplies man’s life and enables the disposition of man to be completely renewed; it is a much more thorough stage of work. Therefore, the incarnation in the last days has completed the significance of God’s incarnation and completely finished God’s management plan for man’s salvation.