Recognizing How the Three Stages of Work Are Done by One God
Today, the subject of our fellowship is “Recognizing How the Three Stages of Work Are Done by One God.” This topic is important, and directly related to our ending and destination. It is also directly related to whether we can enter the kingdom of heaven. If we believe in God but don’t know God’s work, it can be very dangerous. We can easily lose God’s salvation, which leads to perdition. So, why do we say this? We know, two thousand years ago, thecame to redeem humankind, and He said, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matthew 4:17). The Lord Jesus expressed many truths and performed many miracles, which prove that the Lord Jesus was the Messiah. But to Judaism, the Lord Jesus’ name was not Messiah, nor was He born in a royal palace, nor did He lead them out of Roman rule, so He was certainly not the Messiah. So, no matter how much truth the Lord Jesus expressed or how many miracles He performed, no one admitted the Lord Jesus was God, and everyone followed the leaders of Judaism in crucifying Him. What was the result? Israel was wiped out for nearly two thousand years. How did this painful lesson come about? People did not seek to know God’s work, they persisted in their notions and ideas, and resisted and condemned the work of God. Now, the Lord Jesus has returned as . He expressed millions of words of truth, and now does the work of judgment in the last days to completely purify and save humankind. But what about the religious world? When they see that Almighty God’s name is not Jesus, nor does He come on clouds, they refuse to admit that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus, and follow the pastors and elders in frantically resisting and condemning Almighty God, which amounts to crucifying God again. Some people may ask, “Why is it that each time God appears to work and save humankind, those who believe in Him and await His appearance always condemn and reject Him?” This is because people are corrupted too deeply by Satan, so they loathe and hate the truth, and their nature is to resist God. Another reason is that people don’t know God’s work, and they are full of notions and ideas about God’s work. You see, when God finished His work in the Age of Law, those in Judaism believed that God’s work was done, and He would do no further work. They awaited the Messiah who would rescue them from the Roman regime, but did not accept the work of redemption done by the Lord Jesus, and as a result, they lost the Lord’s salvation. When God finished the work of the Age of Grace, believers of all denominations thought since the Lord Jesus redeemed humankind, God’s work of saving humankind was complete, no new work would be done, and when the Lord returned, He would directly bring us into the kingdom of heaven. Today, as the great disaster comes, many people still await the Lord’s coming on clouds, and they refuse to accept Almighty God’s work of judgment, and as a result, they fail to receive the Savior and fall into disaster. They all think that when the Lord Jesus finished His work, God’s work to save humankind is done, and there will be no further work. So let’s think about this. Is God’s work to save humankind really as simple as people imagine? In the last days, Almighty God has revealed the mystery of God’s work to save humankind. We have all seen that after humankind was corrupted by Satan, God began a three-stage plan to save us. First, He did the work of the Age of Law under the name of Jehovah, then He came incarnate as the Lord Jesus and did the work of redemption in the Age of Grace, and in the last days, God has again come incarnate to do the work of judgment in the Age of Kingdom under the name of Almighty God. These three stages of work are God’s complete management plan to save humankind. Although the names of Jehovah, Lord Jesus, and Almighty God are different, and the work done by them in each age is different, these three stages are closely linked, each builds upon the one before, and ultimately result in completely saving humankind and bringing them into a new era. This is proof that it is one God who does different work in each age. So, how can we recognize that these three stages of work are done by one God? Understanding this aspect of truth is key to achieving salvation and entering the kingdom. Next, let’s fellowship on this issue based on .
First, I’ll read a passage of Almighty God’s word. Almighty God says, “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” (“The True Story Behind the Work of the Age of Redemption” in). We see from Almighty God’s words that God’s work to save humankind is divided into three stages. The first is the work of the Age of Law done by Jehovah God more than 3,000 years ago, the second is the work of the Age of Grace done by the Lord Jesus two thousand years ago, and the third stage is now— the work of judgment in the Age of Kingdom done by Almighty God at the end of the last days. Although the content of these three stages is different, each stage progresses from the last and deepens the work. These stages are also tightly linked, and ultimately achieve the complete salvation of humankind. Almighty God’s work of judgment in the last days ends the Age of Grace and begins the Age of Kingdom, and this stage of work determines the fate of humankind. If we don’t understand God’s work, it is easy to miss the final chance to be saved and perfected by God, which becomes a lifelong regret.
This means it is even more necessary to explain just what the three stages of work are. Let’s consider, “Why was God’s first step in saving humankind to do the work of issuing the law?” Because at first, humans were like infants. They didn’t know how to, they didn’t know how to live, and even basic moral principles, such as that murder and theft are sins, were not understood. Jehovah God issued laws and commandments to teach people how to live on earth, and told people not to kill, steal, commit adultery, and so on, so that people had a basic concept of sin, knew what to do and what not to do, knew to keep the law and the Sabbath. Those who kept the law were blessed by God, and those who violated it were condemned and must make a sin offering as atonement. When people violated certain laws and regulations, Jehovah’s wrath and punishment came, and they were stoned or burned by fire from heaven. The people of Israel tasted God’s majesty and wrath, as well as His care and mercy, and they were convinced Jehovah God is the one true God who created the heavens and the earth. Therefore, they all feared Jehovah and obeyed His law, lived normally and worshiped God on earth, and were able to live in God’s presence. This was the result achieved by God’s work in the Age of Law. So, did the end of God’s work in the Age of Law mean His work of saving humankind was done? Of course not. Although people in the Age of Law knew what sins were, how to sacrifice and atone, and how to worship God, due to corruption by Satan, people often failed to keep the law. Especially in the latter Age of Law, people sinned more and more often, and they didn’t have enough sin offerings to atone for them. If God’s work had stopped in the Age of Law, people would be condemned and executed by the law for all their sins, and humankind would be wiped out. Therefore, Jehovah God used the prophets to tell the Israelites that the Messiah would come as a sin offering to redeem humankind. The prophecies said, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given: and the government shall be on His shoulder: and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6). “And Jehovah has laid on Him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6). “You shall make His soul an offering for sin” (Isaiah 53:10). After that, as He promised, God came incarnate as the Lord Jesus to do the work of redeeming humankind. As He lived among people, the Lord Jesus expressed many truths, taught people to confess their sins and repent, to love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and mind, to love their neighbors as themselves, to worship God in spirit and in truth, and so on. These truths completely perfected the law and gave people a new path of practice. He also healed the sick, cast out demons, forgave people’s sins, bestowed blessings and grace, and finally was crucified as flesh without sin. He took on everyone’s sins and redeemed humankind. After that, people no longer had to make sacrificial offerings when they sinned. As long as they prayed and confessed, they were forgiven and enjoyed God’s blessings and grace. People experienced God’s merciful and loving disposition, and the relationship between people and God was much closer. It is clear that the Lord Jesus’ work completely fulfilled the Old Testament prophecies. It saved people from the fetters of the law, ended the Age of Law, and brought humankind into the Age of Grace. This proves that the Lord Jesus was the Savior and the coming of the Messiah. The truth expressed by the Lord Jesus and His work of redemption is the expression of God’s disposition and all that God has and is, and fully reveals God’s unique authority and power, which proves that the Lord Jesus is the incarnate God and that Lord Jesus and Jehovah are one Spirit and one God. It’s just as the Lord Jesus said, “I am in the Father, and the Father in Me” (John 14:10). “I and My Father are one” (John 10:30). The work of redemption and the work of the Age of Law are two different stages of work done in different ages by the same God. Just as Almighty God’s words say: “The work that Jesus did represented the name of Jesus, and it represented the Age of Grace; as for the work done by Jehovah, it represented Jehovah, and it represented the Age of Law. Their work was the work of one Spirit in two different ages. … Precisely because Jesus came and concluded the work of Jehovah, continued the work of Jehovah and, moreover, carried out His own work, a new work, it proves that this was a new age, and that Jesus was God Himself. They did two distinctly different stages of work. One stage was carried out in the temple, and the other was conducted outside of the temple. One stage was to lead the life of man according to the law, and the other was to offer up a sin offering. These two stages of work were markedly different; this divides the new age from the old, and it is absolutely correct to say that they are two different ages. The location of Their work was different, and the content of Their work was different, and the objective of Their work was different. As such, they can be divided into two ages: the New and the Old Testaments, which is to say, the new and the old ages. … Although They were called by two different names, it was the same Spirit that accomplished both stages of work, and the work that was done was continuous. As the name was different, and the content of the work was different, the age was different. When Jehovah came, that was the age of Jehovah, and when Jesus came, that was the age of Jesus. And so, with each coming, God is called by one name, He represents one age, and He launches a new path; and on each new path, He assumes a new name, which shows that God is always new and never old, and that His work never ceases to progress in a forward direction” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
The Age of Grace lasted for two thousand years, and almost all believers thought when the Lord Jesus was crucified to redeem humankind, God’s work to save humankind was complete, and when the Lord returns in the last days, He will directly lift the faithful up to heaven. So, is this really the case? It’s true that believers have their sins forgiven, but people’s sinful natures are still unresolved. We are still controlled by our sinful natures, we often involuntarily lie and sin, we fight for fame and gain, we are jealous, arrogant, self-righteous, and defiant, we are incapable of tolerance, we can’t practice loving our neighbors as ourselves, and it is even harder to love and obey the Lord. For two thousand years, all believers have lived trapped in this cycle of sinning by day and confessing by night, and we deeply experience the pain and suffering of living in sin. This is an irrefutable fact. Are those who live in sin like this saved? Can they enter the kingdom of heaven? The Lord Jesus said, “Truly, truly, I say to you, Whoever commits sin is the servant of sin. And the servant stays not in the house for ever: but the son stays ever” (John 8:34–35). “You shall therefore be holy, for I am holy” (Leviticus 11:45). “Without holiness no man shall see the Lord” (Hebrews 12:14). God is righteous and holy. How could He allow people who often sin and resist Him to enter His kingdom? So, when the Lord Jesus finished the work of redemption, He stated He would come again to do the work of judgment in the last days to thoroughly purify and save humankind, and bring people into the kingdom. It’s just as the Lord Jesus prophesied, “I have yet many things to say to you, but you cannot bear them now. However, when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth” (John 16:12–13). “Sanctify them through Your truth: Your word is truth” (John 17:17). “He that rejects Me, and receives not My words, has one that judges him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). In the last days, the Lord Jesus returned incarnate as He promised as Almighty God to express all truth required to purify and save humankind and do the work of judgment starting from God’s house, which completely resolves people’s sinful natures and allows them to be fully saved by God. This shows us that Almighty God is “the Spirit of truth,” and He is the Lord Jesus appearing and working in the last days.
Almighty God says, “This incarnation is God’s second incarnation, which follows upon Jesus’ work. Of course, this incarnation does not occur independently; it is the third stage of work after the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. Every time God initiates a new stage of work, there must always be a new beginning and it must always bring a new age. So too are there corresponding changes in the disposition of God, in the manner of His working, in the location of His work, and in His name. No wonder, then, that it is difficult for man to accept the work of God in the new age. But regardless of how He is opposed by man, God is always doing His work, and is always leading the whole of mankind forward. When Jesus came into the world of man, He ushered in the Age of Grace and ended the Age of Law. During the last days, God once more became flesh, and with this incarnation He ended the Age of Grace and ushered in the Age of Kingdom. All those who are able to accept the second incarnation of God will be led into the Age of Kingdom, and will moreover become able to personally accept the guidance of God. Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering; He did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to become the sin offering and bear the sins of man, but it also required God to do even greater work to rid man completely of his satanically corrupted disposition. And so, now that man has been forgiven of his sins, God has returned to the flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment. This work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and they shall gain the truth, the way, and the life” (Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt essence within his own self, and he will be able to change completely and become clean. Only in this way can man become worthy to return before the throne of God. All the work done this day is so that man can be made clean and be changed; through judgment and chastisement by the word, as well as through refinement, man can purge away his corruption and be made pure. Rather than deeming this stage of work to be that of salvation, it would be more apt to say it is the work of purification. In truth, this stage is that of conquest as well as the second stage in the work of salvation” (“The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
“The work of today has pushed forward the work of the Age of Grace; that is, the work under the entire six-thousand-year management plan has moved forward. Though the Age of Grace has ended, there has been progress in God’s work. Why do I say time and again that this stage of work builds upon the Age of Grace and the Age of Law? Because the work of this day is a continuation of the work done in the Age of Grace, and an advance over that done in the Age of Law. The three stages are tightly interconnected, with each link in the chain closely tied to the next. Why do I also say that this stage of work builds on that done by Jesus? Supposing that this stage did not build on the work done by Jesus, another crucifixion would have to take place in this stage, and the redemptive work of the previous stage would have to be done all over again. This would be meaningless. And so it is not that the work is completely finished, but that the age has moved forward and the level of the work has been raised higher than before. It can be said that this stage of work is built on the foundation of the Age of Law and upon the rock of Jesus’ work. God’s work is built stage by stage, and this stage is not a new beginning. Only the combination of the three stages of work may be deemed the six-thousand-year management plan” (“The Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of the Incarnation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).
Almighty God’s words are very clear. The Lord Jesus’ work of redemption only forgave people’s sins, but it did not eliminate people’s sinful natures or completely save people from sin, so God’s work to save humankind is not finished. The Lord Jesus’ work of redemption paved the way for the work of judgment in the last days. The work of judging, purifying, and saving humankind done by Almighty God is the final stage of God’s management plan, and it is also the most critical stage. Almighty God expresses so much truth, which reveals all the mysteries in the Bible as well as all the mysteries of God’s management plan, including the purpose of God’s management plan, the inside truth of the three stages of work, the mystery of incarnation, how God does the work of judgment to purify and save people, the ending and destination of all types of people, how Christ’s kingdom will be realized on earth, and so on. Almighty God also reveals and judges the root cause of people’s sin and resistance to God, which is the satanic natures and satanic dispositions in people. He also expresses all aspects of truth that people must practice and enter into in belief in God, like the proper views to hold in belief in God, how to have a normal relationship with God, how to be an honest person, how to fear God and shun evil, and how to achieve obedience to God, love God, etc. People must enter into the realities of all these truths to cast off corruption and be fully saved by God. The judgment, chastisement, pruning, dealing, trials, and refinement in God’s word, for many God’s chosen, have allowed them to gradually understand and hate their own satanic dispositions and natures, to realize that God’s disposition is holy, righteous, and cannot be offended, to produce fear of God in their hearts and genuine repentance, to have their corrupt dispositions purified and changed, and to achieve true obedience to God. No matter what persecution, adversity, trials, or refinement they encounter, they can steadfastly follow Almighty God, spread and testify Almighty God’s kingdom gospel, and produce many beautiful testimonies of victory over Satan. Their experiential testimonies are published online, and bear witness to the entire world of Almighty God’s appearance and work. These people are the overcomers God completes before the great disaster, and they are the first fruits, which completely fulfills the prophecy in Revelation, “These are they which follow the Lamb wherever He goes. These were redeemed from among men, being the first fruits to God and to the Lamb” (Revelation 14:4). And it is also like what Almighty God says. “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. Those who can bear testimony to God will be able to receive God’s promise and blessing, and will be the group that remains at the very end, the group which possesses the authority of God and bears testimony to God” (“Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). Almighty God has expressed so much truth and accomplished such great work, which fully reveals God’s unique authority and power, and this proves that Almighty God is the returned Lord Jesus. Almighty God and the Lord Jesus are one Spirit and one God. So, at this point, let’s stop and consider: Except for God, who can express so many truths and reveal the mystery of God’s management plan? Who can expose the root cause of people’s sin and resistance to God? Except for God, who can judge people’s corruption and completely save humankind from sin? Who can express God’s holy and righteous disposition that tolerates no offense? The facts prove that Almighty God is the practical God incarnate, the one true God who is the beginning and end of all things!
So, now does everyone understand clearly? The three stages of work done in the Age of Law, the Age of Grace, and the Age of Kingdom are three different stages of God’s work to save humankind in different ages. The work of law taught man what sin is, the work of redemption redeemed their sins, and the work of judgment allows them to eliminate sin. These three stages of work are tightly linked, each builds upon the last, and finally, people are fully saved from Satan’s influence and brought into God’s kingdom. This is the entire process by which God manages and saves humankind. From start to end, it is done by one God. Although God’s name is different, and His methods and work are different, God’s essence, what God has and is, and God’s disposition are the same, and they never change. If we look at the words spoken by Jehovah God in the Age of Law, the words of the Lord Jesus in the Age of Grace, and of Almighty God in the Age of Kingdom, all of these words are the truth. They are the expression and revelation of God’s disposition and what God has and is, they come from the same source, and they are the voice and words of one Spirit. This is proof that the three stages of work are done by one God. It is just as what Almighty God’s words say. “From the work of Jehovah to that of Jesus, and from the work of Jesus to that of this current stage, these three stages cover in a continuous thread the entire gamut of God’s management, and they are all the work of one Spirit. Since the creation of the world, God has always been at work managing mankind. He is the Beginning and the End, He is the First and the Last, and He is the One who begins an age and the One who brings the age to an end. The three stages of work, in different ages and different locations, are unmistakably the work of one Spirit. All those who separate these three stages stand in opposition to God. Now, it behooves you to understand that all the work from the first stage until today is the work of one God, the work of one Spirit. Of this there can be no doubt” (“The Vision of God’s Work (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh). “He is God, filled with mercy and lovingkindness; He is the sin offering for man and man’s shepherd; but He is also man’s judgment, chastisement, and curse. He could lead man to live on earth for two thousand years, and He could also redeem corrupted humankind from sin. Today, He is also able to conquer humankind, who does not know Him, and to prostrate them under His dominion, so that all submit to Him fully. In the end, He will burn away all that is unclean and unrighteous within people throughout the universe, to show them that He is not only a merciful and loving God, not only a God of wisdom and wonders, not only a holy God, but furthermore, a God who judges man” (“The Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of the Incarnation” in The Word Appears in the Flesh).