The Vision of God’s Work (3) Part One
The first time God became flesh was through conception by the Holy Spirit, and this was relevant to the work He intended to do. The Age of Grace began with Jesus’ name. When Jesus began to perform His ministry, the Holy Spirit began to testify to the name of Jesus, and the name of Jehovah was no longer spoken of; instead, the Holy Spirit undertook the new work principally under the name of Jesus. The testimony of those who believed in Him was borne for Jesus Christ, and the work they did was also for Jesus Christ. The conclusion of the Old Testament Age of Law meant that the work principally conducted under the name of Jehovah had come to an end. Henceforth, the name of God was no longer Jehovah; instead He was called Jesus, and from here on the Holy Spirit began the work principally under the name of Jesus. So, people who still today eat and drink the words of Jehovah, and still do everything according to the work of the Age of Law—are you not blindly conforming to rules? Are you not stuck in the past? You know now that the last days have arrived. Can it be that, when Jesus comes, He will still be called Jesus? Jehovah told the people of Israel that a Messiah would be coming, and yet when He did come, He was not called Messiah but Jesus. Jesus said that He would come again, and that He would arrive as He had departed. These were the words of Jesus, but did you see the way in which Jesus departed? Jesus left riding on a white cloud, but can it be that He will personally return among men on a white cloud? If that were so, would He not still be called Jesus? When Jesus comes again, the age will have already changed, so could He still be called Jesus? Is it that God can only be known by the name of Jesus? May He not be called by a new name in a new age? Can the image of one person and one particular name represent God in His entirety? In each age, God does new work and is called by a new name; how could He do the same work in different ages? How could He cling to the old? The name of Jesus was taken for the sake of the work of redemption, so would He still be called by the same name when He returns in the last days? Would He still be doing the work of redemption? Why is it that Jehovah and Jesus are one, yet They are called by different names in different ages? Is it not because the ages of Their work are different? Could a single name represent God in His entirety? This being so, God must be called by a different name in a different age, and He must use the name to change the age and to represent the age. For no one name can fully represent God Himself, and each name is able only to represent the temporal aspect of God’s disposition in a given age; all it needs to do is to represent His work. Therefore, God can choose whatever name befits His disposition to represent the entire age. Regardless of whether it is the age of Jehovah, or the age of Jesus, each age is represented by a name. At the end of the Age of Grace, the final age has arrived, and Jesus has already come. How could He still be called Jesus? How could He still assume the form of Jesus among men? Have you forgotten that Jesus was no more than the image of a Nazarene? Have you forgotten that Jesus was only the Redeemer of mankind? How could He take on the work of conquering and perfecting man in the last days? Jesus left riding on a white cloud—this is fact—but how could He return on a white cloud among men and still be called Jesus? If He really did arrive on a cloud, how would man fail to recognize Him? Would people all over the world not recognize Him? In that case, would Jesus alone not be God? In that case, the image of God would be the appearance of a Jew and would moreover be the same forever. Jesus said that He would arrive as He had departed, but do you know the true meaning of His words? Can it be that He told this group of you? All you know is that He will arrive as He departed, riding on a cloud, but do you know exactly how God Himself does His work? If you were truly able to see, then how are the words that Jesus spoke to be explained? He said: When the Son of man comes in the last days, He Himself will not know, the angels will not know, the messengers in heaven will not know, and all humanity will not know. Only the Father will know, that is, only the Spirit shall know. Even the Son of man Himself does not know, yet you are able to see and know? If you were capable of knowing and seeing with your own eyes, would these words not have been spoken in vain? And what did Jesus say at the time? “But of that day and hour knows no man, not the angels of heaven, nor the Son, but My Father only. But as the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. … Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes.” When that day comes, the Son of man Himself will not know it. The Son of man refers to the incarnate flesh of God, a normal and ordinary person. Even the Son of man Himself does not know, so how could you know? Jesus said that He would arrive as He had departed. When He arrives, even He Himself does not know, so can He inform you in advance? Are you able to see His arrival? Is that not a joke? Each time God comes to earth, He changes His name, His gender, His image, and His work; He does not repeat His work. He is a God who is always new and never old. When He came before, He was called Jesus; can He still be called Jesus this time when He comes again? When He came before, He was male; can He be male again this time? His work when He came during the Age of Grace was to be nailed to the cross; when He comes again, can He still redeem mankind from sin? Can He be nailed to the cross again? Would that not be to repeat His work? Did you not know that God is always new and never old? There are those who say that God is immutable. That is correct, but it refers to the immutability of God’s disposition and His substance. Changes in His name and work do not prove that His substance has altered; in other words, God will always be God, and this will never change. If you say that the work of God is unchanging, then would He be able to finish His six-thousand-year management plan? You only know that God is forever unchanging, but do you know that God is always new and never old? If the work of God is unchanging, then could He have led mankind all the way to the present day? If God is immutable, then why is it that He has already done the work of two ages? His work never ceases to move forward, which is to say that His disposition is gradually revealed to man, and what is revealed is His inherent disposition. In the beginning, God’s disposition was hidden from man, He never openly revealed His disposition to man, and man simply had no knowledge of Him. Because of this, He uses His work to gradually reveal His disposition to man, but working in this way does not mean that God’s disposition changes in every age. It is not the case that God’s disposition is constantly changing because His will is always changing. Rather, it is that, because the ages of His work are different, God takes His inherent disposition in its entirety and, step by step, reveals it to man, so that man may be able to know Him. But this is by no means proof that God originally has no particular disposition or that His disposition has gradually changed with the passing of the ages—such an understanding would be erroneous. God reveals to man His inherent and particular disposition—what He is—according to the passing of the ages; the work of a single age cannot express the entire disposition of God. And so, the words “God is always new and never old” refer to His work, and the words “God is immutable” refer to what God inherently has and is. Regardless, you cannot make the work of six thousand years hinge upon a single point, or circumscribe it with dead words. Such is the stupidity of man. God is not as simple as man imagines, and His work cannot linger in any one age. Jehovah, for example, cannot always stand for the name of God; God can also do His work under the name of Jesus. This is a sign that God’s work is always progressing in a forward direction.
God is always God, and He will never become Satan; Satan is always Satan, and it will never become God. God’s wisdom, God’s wondrousness, God’s righteousness, and God’s majesty shall never change. His essence and what He has and is shall never change. As for His work, however, it is always progressing in a forward direction, always going deeper, for He is always new and never old. In every age God assumes a new name, in every age He does new work, and in every age He allows His creations to see His new will and new disposition. If, in a new age, people fail to see the expression of God’s new disposition, would they not nail Him to the cross forever? And by doing so, would they not define God? If God came into the flesh only as a male, people would define Him as male, as the God of men, and would never believe Him to be the God of women. Men would then hold that God is of the same gender as men, that God is the head of men—but what then of women? This is unfair; is it not preferential treatment? If this were the case, then all those whom God saved would be men like Him, and not one woman would be saved. When God created mankind, He created Adam and He created Eve. He did not only create Adam, but made both male and female in His image. God is not only the God of men—He is also the God of women. God enters upon a new stage of work in the last days. He will reveal even more of His disposition, and it will not be the compassion and love of the time of Jesus. Since He has new work in hand, this new work will be accompanied by a new disposition. So, if this work were done by the Spirit—if God did not become flesh, and instead the Spirit spoke directly through thunder so that man had no way to have contact with Him, would man be able to know His disposition? If it were solely the Spirit that did the work, then man would have no way of coming to know God’s disposition. People can only behold God’s disposition with their own eyes when He becomes flesh, when the Word appears in the flesh, and He expresses His entire disposition through the flesh. God really and truly lives among men. He is tangible; man can actually engage with His disposition, engage with what He has and is; only in this way can man truly come to know Him. At the same time, God has also completed the work in which “God is the God of men and the God of women,” and accomplished the entirety of His work in the flesh. He does not duplicate the work in any age. Since the last days have arrived, He will do the work that He does in the last days and reveal the entire disposition that is His in the last days. In speaking of the last days, this refers to a separate age, one in which Jesus said you will surely encounter disaster, and encounter earthquakes, famines, and plagues, which will show that this is a new age, and is no longer the old Age of Grace. Supposing that, as people say, God is forever unchanging, His disposition is always compassionate and loving, that He loves man as Himself, and He offers every man salvation and never hates man, would His work ever be able to come to an end? When Jesus came and was nailed to the cross, sacrificing Himself for all sinners and offering Himself upon the altar, He had already completed the work of redemption and brought the Age of Grace to an end. So what would be the point of repeating the work of that age in the last days? Would doing the same thing not be a denial of the work of Jesus? If God did not do the work of crucifixion when He came in this stage, but remained loving and compassionate, then would He be able to bring the age to an end? Would a loving and compassionate God be able to bring the age to an end? In His final work of concluding the age, God’s disposition is one of chastisement and judgment, in which He reveals all that is unrighteous, in order to publicly judge all peoples, and to perfect those who love Him with a sincere heart. Only a disposition such as this can bring the age to an end. The last days have already arrived. All things in creation will be separated according to their kind, and divided into different categories based on their nature. This is the moment when God reveals humanity’s outcome and their destination. If people do not undergo chastisement and judgment, then there will be no way of exposing their disobedience and unrighteousness. Only through chastisement and judgment can the outcome of all creation be revealed. Man only shows his true colors when he is chastised and judged. Evil shall be put with evil, good with good, and all humanity shall be separated according to their kind. Through chastisement and judgment, the outcome of all creation will be revealed, so that the evil may be punished and the good rewarded, and all people become subject to the dominion of God. All this work must be achieved through righteous chastisement and judgment. Because man’s corruption has reached its peak and his disobedience become exceedingly severe, only God’s righteous disposition, one that is principally compounded of chastisement and judgment and is revealed during the last days, can fully transform and complete man. Only this disposition can expose evil and thus severely punish all the unrighteous. Therefore, a disposition such as this is imbued with the significance of the age, and the revelation and exhibition of His disposition is made manifest for the sake of the work of each new age. It is not that God reveals His disposition arbitrarily and without significance. Supposing that, in revealing the outcome of man during the last days, God were still to bestow upon man infinite compassion and love and continue to be loving toward him, not subjecting man to righteous judgment but rather showing him tolerance, patience, and forgiveness, and pardoning man no matter how grave his sins, without any jot of righteous judgment: when then would all of God’s management ever be brought to a close? When would a disposition such as this be able to lead people into mankind’s appropriate destination? Take, for example, a judge who is always loving, a judge with a kindly face and a gentle heart. He loves people irrespective of the crimes they may have committed, and he is loving to and forbearing with them whoever they may be. In that case, when will he ever be able to reach a just verdict? During the last days, only righteous judgment can separate man according to their kind and bring man into a new realm. In this way, the entire age is brought to an end through God’s righteous disposition of judgment and chastisement.
The work of God throughout all of His management is perfectly clear: The Age of Grace is the Age of Grace, and the last days are the last days. There are distinct differences between each age, for in each age God does work which is representative of that age. For the work of the last days to be done, there must be burning, judgment, chastisement, wrath, and destruction to bring the age to an end. The last days refer to the final age. During the final age, will God not bring the age to an end? To end the age, God must bring chastisement and judgment with Him. Only in this way can He bring the age to an end. Jesus’ purpose was so that man might continue to survive, to live on, and that he might exist in a better way. He saved man from sin so that he might cease his descent into depravity and no longer live in Hades and hell, and by saving man from Hades and hell, Jesus allowed him to go on living. Now, the last days have arrived. God shall annihilate man and completely destroy the human race, that is, He shall transform mankind’s rebellion. For this reason, it would be impossible, with the compassionate and loving disposition of the past, for God to end the age or to bring His six-thousand-year management plan to fruition. Every age features a special representation of God’s disposition, and every age contains work that should be done by God. So, the work done by God Himself in each age contains the expression of His true disposition, and both His name and the work that He does change along with the age—they are all new. During the Age of Law, the work of guiding mankind was done under the name of Jehovah, and the first stage of work was initiated on earth. At this stage, the work consisted of building the temple and the altar, and using the law to guide the people of Israel and to work in their midst. By guiding the people of Israel, He launched a base for His work on earth. From this base, He expanded His work beyond Israel, which is to say that, starting from Israel, He extended His work outward, so that later generations gradually came to know that Jehovah was God, and that it was Jehovah who created the heavens and earth and all things, and that it was Jehovah who made all creatures. He spread His work through the people of Israel outward beyond them. The land of Israel was the first holy place of Jehovah’s work on earth, and it was in the land of Israel that God first went to work on earth. That was the work of the Age of Law. During the Age of Grace, Jesus was the God who saved man. What He had and was was grace, love, compassion, forbearance, patience, humility, care, and tolerance, and so much of the work that He did was for the sake of the redemption of man. His disposition was one of compassion and love, and because He was compassionate and loving, He had to be nailed to the cross for man, in order to show that God loved man as Himself, so much so that He offered up Himself in His entirety. During the Age of Grace, the name of God was Jesus, that is to say, God was a God who saved man, and He was a compassionate and loving God. God was with man. His love, His compassion, and His salvation accompanied each and every person. Only by accepting the name of Jesus and His presence was man able to gain peace and joy, to receive His blessing, His vast and numerous graces, and His salvation. Through the crucifixion of Jesus, all those who followed Him received salvation and were forgiven their sins. During the Age of Grace, Jesus was the name of God. In other words, the work of the Age of Grace was done principally under the name of Jesus. During the Age of Grace, God was called Jesus. He undertook a stage of new work beyond the Old Testament, and His work ended with the crucifixion. This was the entirety of His work. Therefore, during the Age of Law Jehovah was the name of God, and in the Age of Grace the name of Jesus represented God. During the last days, His name is Almighty God—the Almighty, who uses His power to guide man, conquer man, and gain man, and in the end, bring the age to its close. In every age, at every stage of His work, God’s disposition is evident.