My entire management plan, a plan that spans six thousand years, consists of three stages, or three ages: the Age of Law in the beginning; the Age of Grace (which is also the Age of Redemption); and the Age of Kingdom in the last days. My work in these three ages differs in content according to the nature of each age, but at each stage it accords with man’s needs—or, to be more precise, it 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 its domain. It is to show My wisdom and omnipotence while at the same time revealing the unbearable hideousness of Satan. Even more, it is to teach My creations to discriminate between good and evil, to know that I am the Ruler of all things, to see clearly that Satan is humanity’s foe, the lowest of the low, the evil one, and 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. This way, ignorant humanity will become able to bear witness to Me that it is not I who corrupt humanity, and only I—the Lord of creation—can save humanity, can bestow upon man things for their enjoyment; 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 so as to achieve the following effect: to enable My creations to become My witnesses, to comprehend My will, and to know that I am the truth. Thus, during the initial phase of work in My six-thousand-year management plan, I did the work of the law, which was the work in which Jehovah led His people. The second stage initiated the work of the Age of Grace in the villages of Judea. Jesus represents all the work of the Age of Grace; He was incarnated in the flesh and crucified on the cross, and He also inaugurated the Age of Grace. He was crucified in order to complete the work of redemption, to end the Age of Law and begin the Age of Grace, and so He was called the “Supreme Commander,” the “Sin Offering,” the “Redeemer.” Thus the work of Jesus differed in content from the work of Jehovah, although they were the same in principle. Jehovah began the Age of Law, established the home base, that is, the point of origin, of His work on earth, and issued the commandments; these were two of His accomplishments, which represent the Age of Law. The work Jesus did in the Age of Grace was not to issue commandments but to fulfill the Commandments, thereby ushering in the Age of Grace and concluding the Age of Law that had lasted two thousand years. He was the trailblazer, who came in order to begin the Age of Grace, yet the main part of His work lay in redemption. And so His accomplishments were also twofold: opening up a new age, and completing the work of redemption through His crucifixion. Then He departed. At this point, the Age of Law came to an end and mankind entered into the Age of Grace.
The work Jesus did was in accordance with the needs of man in that age. His task was to redeem humanity, to forgive them their sins, and so His disposition was wholly one of humility, patience, love, piety, forbearance, mercy, and lovingkindness. He blessed humanity richly and brought them grace in abundance, and all the things that they could possibly enjoy, He gave them for their enjoyment: peace and happiness, His tolerance and love, His mercy and lovingkindness. In those days, all that man encountered was an abundance of things to enjoy: Their hearts were at peace and reassured, their spirits were consoled, and they were sustained by the Savior Jesus. That they could obtain these things was a consequence of the age in which they lived. In the Age of Grace, man had already undergone Satan’s corruption, and so the work of redeeming all humanity required an abundance of grace, infinite forbearance and patience, and even more, an offering sufficient to atone for humanity’s sins, in order to arrive at its effect. What humanity saw in the Age of Grace was merely My offering of atonement for the sins of humanity, that is, Jesus. All they knew was that God could be merciful and forbearing, and all they saw was Jesus’ mercy and lovingkindness. This was entirely because they lived in the Age of Grace. And so, before they could be redeemed, they had to enjoy the many kinds of grace that Jesus bestowed on them; only this was beneficial to them. This way, they could be forgiven of their sins through their enjoyment of grace, and could also have the chance to be redeemed through enjoying Jesus’ forbearance and patience. Only through Jesus’ forbearance and patience did they win the right to receive forgiveness and enjoy the abundance of grace bestowed by Jesus—just as Jesus said, “I have come to redeem not the righteous but sinners, to allow sinners to be forgiven of their sins.” If Jesus had been incarnated with the disposition of judgment, curse, and intolerance of man’s offenses, then man would never have had the chance to be redeemed, and would then have remained forever sinful. Had this been so, the six-thousand-year management plan would have come to a stop in the Age of Law, and the Age of Law would have been prolonged for six thousand years. Man’s sins would only have grown more numerous and more grievous, and the creation of humanity would have been for naught. Men would only have been able to serve Jehovah under the law, but their sins would have exceeded those of the first created humans. The more Jesus loved mankind, forgiving them their sins and bringing unto them enough mercy and lovingkindness, the more mankind gained the capacity to be saved, to be called the lost lambs that Jesus bought back at a great price. Satan could not meddle in this work, because Jesus treated His followers as a loving mother treats the infant in her bosom. He did not grow angry at them or despise them, but was full of consolation; He never flew into a rage in their midst, but forbore with their sins and turned a blind eye to their foolishness and ignorance, to the point of saying, “Forgive others seventy times seven times.” So His heart transformed the hearts of others. It was in this way that the people received forgiveness of sins through His forbearance.
Though Jesus in His incarnation was utterly without emotion, He always comforted His disciples, provided for them, helped them, and sustained them. However much work He did or however much suffering He endured, He never made excessive demands of the people, but was always patient and forbearing of their sins, such that people in the Age of Grace affectionately called Him “the lovable Savior Jesus.” To the people of that time—to all people—what Jesus had and was, was mercy and lovingkindness. He never remembered people’s transgressions, and His treatment of them was not based on their transgressions. Because that was a different age, He often bestowed plentiful food and drink upon the people so that they could eat their fill. He treated all His followers with grace, healing the sick, driving out demons, raising the dead. In order that the people might believe in Him and see that all that He did was done earnestly and sincerely, He went so far as to resurrect a rotting corpse, showing them that in His hands even the dead could come back to life. In this way He endured silently and did His work of redemption in their midst. Even before He was nailed to the cross, Jesus had already taken upon Himself the sins of humanity and become a sin offering for mankind. Even before being crucified, He had already opened the way to the cross in order to redeem mankind. At last He was nailed to the cross, sacrificing Himself for the sake of the cross, and He bestowed all of His mercy, lovingkindness, and holiness upon mankind. To humanity He was always tolerant, never vengeful, but forgave them their sins, exhorted them to repent, and taught them to have patience, forbearance, and love, to follow in His footsteps and sacrifice themselves for the sake of the cross. His love for the brothers and sisters exceeded His love for Mary. The work that He did took as its principle healing the people and driving out demons, all for the sake of His redemption. No matter where He went, He treated all who followed Him with grace. He made the poor rich, the lame walk, the blind see, and the deaf hear; He even invited the lowliest, destitute ones, the sinners, to sit at the same table with Him, never shunning them but always being patient, even saying, “When a shepherd loses one sheep out of a hundred, he will leave behind the ninety-nine to seek the one lost sheep, and when he finds it he will rejoice greatly.” He loved His followers as a ewe loves her lambs. Though they were foolish and ignorant, and were sinners in His eyes, and furthermore were the humblest members of society, He considered these sinners—men whom others despised—as the apple of His eye. Since He favored them, He gave up His life for them, as a lamb was offered up on the altar. He went about in their midst as if He were their servant, letting them use Him and slaughter Him, submitting to them unconditionally. To His followers He was the lovable Savior Jesus, but to the Pharisees who lectured the people from a high pedestal He showed, not mercy and lovingkindness, but loathing and resentment. He did not do much work among the Pharisees, only occasionally lecturing and rebuking them; He did not go about in their midst doing the work of redemption, nor performing signs and wonders. He bestowed all His mercy and lovingkindness upon His followers, enduring for the sake of these sinners till the very end, when He was nailed to the cross, and suffering every humiliation until He had fully redeemed all humanity. This was the sum total of His work.
Without Jesus’ redemption, mankind would forever have lived in sin, and become the children of sin, the descendants of demons. Going on in this way, the entire earth would have become a lodging place for Satan, a place for its habitation. But the work of redemption required showing mercy and lovingkindness toward mankind; only by this means could mankind receive forgiveness and at last win the right to be made complete and fully gained. Without this stage of work, the six-thousand-year management plan would not have been able to go forward. If Jesus had not been crucified, if He had only healed the people and exorcised their demons, then the people could not have been completely forgiven of their sins. In the three and a half years that Jesus spent doing His work on earth, He completed only half of His work of redemption; then, by being nailed to the cross and becoming the likeness of sinful flesh, by being handed over to the evil one, He completed the work of crucifixion and mastered mankind’s destiny. Only after He was delivered into Satan’s hands did He redeem mankind. For thirty-three and a half years He suffered on earth, being ridiculed, slandered, and forsaken, even to the point where He had no place to lay His head, no place of rest; then He was crucified, with His whole being—an immaculate and innocent body—nailed to the cross, and underwent all manner of suffering. Those in power mocked and scourged Him, and the soldiers even spat in His face; yet He remained silent and endured until the end, submitting unconditionally to the point of death, whereupon He redeemed all of humanity. Only then was He permitted to rest. The work that Jesus did represents only the Age of Grace; it does not represent the Age of Law, nor is it a substitute for the work of the last days. This is the essence of Jesus’ work in the Age of Grace, the second age that mankind has passed through—the Age of Redemption.