God’s Word “God’s Work and Man’s Practice”
’s work among man is inseparable from man, for man is the object of this work, and the only creature made by God that can bear testimony to God. The life of man and all of man’s activities are inseparable from God, and are all controlled by the hands of God, and it may even be said that no person can exist independently of God. None can deny this, for it is a fact. All that God does is for the profit of mankind, and directed at the schemes of Satan. All that man needs comes from God, and God is the source of man’s life. Thus, man is simply unable to part from God. God, furthermore, has never had any intention of parting from man. The work that God does is for the sake of all mankind, and His thoughts are always kind. For man, then, the work of God and the thoughts of God (which is to say, God’s will) are both “visions” that should be known by man. Such visions are also the management of God, and work that is incapable of being done by man. The requirements that God makes of man during His work, meanwhile, are called the “practice” of man. “Visions” are the work of God Himself, or are His will for mankind and the aims or significance of His work. Visions can also be said to be a part of the “management,” for this management is the work of God, and is directed at man, which means that it is the work that God does among man. This work is the evidence and the path through which man comes to know God, and it is of the utmost importance for man. If, instead of paying attention to the knowledge of God’s work, people only pay attention to the doctrines of belief in God, or to triflingly unimportant details, then they simply will not know God, and, moreover, will not be after God’s heart. The work of God is exceedingly helpful to man’s knowledge of God, and is called “visions.” These visions are the work of God, the will of God, and the aims and significance of God’s work; they are all of benefit to man. “Practice” refers to that which should be done by man, that which should be done by the creatures that follow God. It is also the duty of man. What man is supposed to do is not something that was understood by man from the very beginning, but is the requirements that God makes of man during His work. These requirements become gradually deeper and more elevated as God works. For example, during the Age of Law, man had to follow the law, and during the Age of Grace, man had to bear the cross. The Age of Kingdom is different: the requirements of man are higher than during the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. As the visions become more elevated, the requirements of man become ever higher, and become ever clearer and more real. Likewise, the visions also become increasingly real. These many real visions are not only conducive to man’s obedience to God, but are, moreover, conducive to his knowledge of God.
Compared to previous ages, the work of God during the Age of Kingdom is more practical, more directed at man’s substance and changes in his disposition, and more able to bear testimony to God Himself for all those that follow Him. Which is also to say that, during the Age of Kingdom, as He works, God shows more of Himself to man than at any time in the past, which means that the visions that should be known by man are higher than in any previous age. Because God’s work among man has entered unprecedented territory, the visions known by man during the Age of Kingdom are the highest among all of the management work. God’s work has entered unprecedented territory, and so the visions to be known by man have become the highest of all visions, and the resultant practice of man is also higher than in any previous age, for the practice of man changes in step with the visions, and the perfection of the visions also marks the perfection of the requirements of man. As soon as all of God’s management comes to a halt, so too does the practice of man cease, and without the work of God, man will have no choice but to keep to the doctrine of times past, or else will simply have nowhere to turn. Without new visions, there will be no new practice by man; without complete visions, there will be no perfect practice by man; without higher visions, there will be no higher practice by man. The practice of man changes with the footsteps of God, and, likewise, the knowledge and experience of man also change with God’s work. Regardless of how capable man is, still he is inseparable from God, and if God were to stop working for a just moment, man would immediately die from His wrath. Man has nothing to boast of, for no matter how high man’s knowledge today, no matter how profound his experiences, they are all inseparable from God’s work—for the practice of man, and that which he should seek in his belief in God, are inseparable from the visions. In every instance of God’s work are the visions that should be known by man, visions that are followed by God’s fitting requirements of man. Without these visions as the foundation, man would be simply incapable of practice, nor would man be able to follow God unwaveringly. If man does not know God or understand God’s will, then all that man does is in vain, and incapable of being approved by God. No matter how plentiful man’s gifts, still he is inseparable from God’s work and the guidance of God. No matter how good or many are the actions of man, still they cannot replace the work of God. And so, under no circumstance is the practice of man separable from the visions. Those who do not accept the new visions have no new practice. Their practice bears no relation to the truth because they abide by doctrine and keep to the dead law; they have no new visions at all, and as a result, they put nothing in the new age into practice. They have lost the visions, and in doing so they have also lost the work of the , and have lost the truth. Those who are without the truth are the progeny of falsehood, they are the embodiment of Satan. No matter what kind of person one is, they cannot be without the visions of God’s work, and cannot be bereft of the presence of the Holy Spirit; as soon as one loses the visions, they instantly descend into Hades and live among darkness. People without visions are those who follow God foolishly, they are those who are devoid of the work of the Holy Spirit, and they are living in hell. Such people do not pursue the truth, and hang out the name of God like a signboard. Those who do not know the work of the Holy Spirit, who do not know God incarnate, who do not know the three stages of work in the entirety of God’s management—they do not know the visions, and so are without the truth. And are not those who do not possess the truth all evildoers? Those who are willing to put the truth into practice, who are willing to seek a knowledge of God, and who truly cooperate with God are people for whom the visions act as a foundation. They are approved by God because they cooperate with God, and it is this cooperation that should be put into practice by man.
In the visions are contained many paths to practice. The practical demands made of man are also contained within the visions, as is the work of God that should be known by man. In the past, during the special gatherings or the grand gatherings that were held in various places, only one aspect of the path of practice was spoken of. Such practice was that which was to be put into practice during the Age of Grace, and bore no particular relation to the knowledge of God, for the vision of the Age of Grace was only the vision of ’ crucifixion, and there were no greater visions. Man was supposed to know no more than the work of His redemption of mankind through the crucifixion, and so during the Age of Grace there were no other visions for man to know. In this way, man had only a scant knowledge of God, and apart from the knowledge of Jesus’ love and compassion, there were but a few simple and pitiful things for him to put into practice, things that were so much more straightforward than is the case today. In the past, no matter what form his assembly, man was incapable of speaking of a practical knowledge of God’s work, much less was any able to clearly say which was the most suitable path of practice for man to enter upon. He merely added a few simple details to a foundation of forbearance and patience; there was simply no change in the substance of his practice, for within the same age God did not do any newer work, and the only requirements He made of man were forbearance and patience, or bearing the cross. Apart from such practices, there were no higher visions than the crucifixion of Jesus. In the past, there was no mention of other visions because God did not do a great deal of work, and because He only made limited demands of man. In this way, regardless of what man did, he was incapable of transgressing these bounds, bounds which were but a few simple and shallow things for man to put into practice. Today I talk of other visions because today, more work has been done, work that is several times in excess of the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. The requirements of man, too, are several times higher than in ages past. If man is incapable of fully knowing such work, then it would possess no great significance; it can be said that man would have difficulty fully knowing such work if he does not devote an entire lifetime’s effort to it. In the work of conquest, to talk only of the path of practice would make the conquest of man impossible. Mere talk of the visions, without any requirements of man, would also render the conquest of man impossible. If nothing were spoken of but the path of practice, then it would be impossible to strike at man’s Achilles’ heel, or to dispel the conceptions of man, and so too would it be impossible to completely conquer man. Visions are the main instrument of man’s conquest, yet if there were no path apart from the visions, then man would have no way of following, much less would he have any means of entry. This has been the principle of God’s work from beginning to end: in the visions there is that which can be put into practice, and so too are there visions that are exclusive of such practice. The degree of changes in both man’s life and his disposition accompanies changes in the visions. Were man only to rely on his own efforts, then it would be impossible for him to achieve any great degree of change. The visions speak of the work of God Himself and the management of God. Practice refers to the path of man’s practice, and to the way of man’s existence; in all of God’s management, the relationship between visions and practice is the relationship between God and man. If the visions were removed, or if they were spoken of without the talk of practice, or if there were only visions and the practice of man were eradicated, then such things could not be considered the management of God, much less could it be said that the work of God is for the sake of mankind; in this way, not only would man’s duty be removed, but it would be a denial of the purpose of God’s work. If, from beginning to end, man were merely required to practice, without the involvement of God’s work, and, moreover, if man were not required to know the work of God, much less could such work be called the management of God. If man did not know God, and were ignorant of God’s will, and blindly carried out his practice in a vague and abstract way, then he would never become a fully qualified creature. And so, these two things are both indispensable. If there were only the work of God, which is to say, if there were only the visions and if there were no cooperation or practice by man, then such things could not be called the management of God. If there were only the practice and entry of man, then regardless of how high the path that man entered upon, then this, too, would be unacceptable. The entry of man must gradually change in step with the work and visions; it cannot change at whim. The principles of man’s practice are not free and unrestrained, but within certain bounds. Such principles change in step with the visions of the work. So God’s management ultimately comes down to God’s work and the practice of man.
The management work only came about because of mankind, which means it was only produced by the existence of mankind. There was no management before mankind, or in the beginning, when the heavens and earth and all things were created. If, in all of God’s work, there were not practice that is beneficial to man, which is to say, if God did not make fitting requirements of corrupt mankind (if, in the work done by God, there were no suitable path for man’s practice), then this work could not be called God’s management. If the entirety of God’s work only involved telling corrupt mankind how to go about their practice, and God did not carry out any of His own enterprise, and exhibited not a shred of His omnipotence or wisdom, then no matter how high God’s requirements of man, no matter how long God lived among man, man would recognize nothing of God’s disposition; if that were the case, then work of this kind would be even less worthy of being called God’s management. Simply put, the work of God’s “management” is the work done by God, and all the work carried out under the guidance of God by those who have been gained by God. Such work can be summarized as “management,” and refers to God’s work among man, as well as the cooperation with Him of all those who follow Him; all these can collectively be called “management.” Here, the work of God is called “visions,” and the cooperation of man is called “practice.” The higher God’s work (which is to say, the higher the visions), the more that God’s disposition is made plain to man, and the more that it is at odds with the conceptions of man, and the higher are the practice and cooperation of man. The higher the requirements of man, the more that God’s work is at odds with the conceptions of man, as a result of which the trials of man, and the standards that he is required to meet, also become higher. At the conclusion of this work, all visions will have been made complete, and that which man is required to put into practice will have reached the acme of perfection. This will also be the time when each is classed according to kind, for that which man is required to know will have been shown to man. So, when the visions reach their apogee, the work will accordingly approach its end, and man’s practice will have also reached its zenith. The practice of man is based on the work of God, and the management of God is only fully expressed thanks to the practice of man and cooperation of man. Man is the showpiece of God’s work, and the object of the work of all of God’s management, and also the product of God’s entire management. If God worked alone, without the cooperation of man, then there would be nothing that could serve as the crystallization of His entire work, and in this way there would not be the slightest significance to God’s management. Only by choosing a fitting object that is outside of God’s work, and which can express this work, and prove its omnipotence and wisdom, is it possible to achieve the aim of God’s management, and achieve the aim of using all of this work to completely defeat Satan. And so, man is an indispensable part of the work of God’s management, and man is the only one that can make God’s management bear fruit and achieve its ultimate aim; apart from man, no other life form can undertake such a role. If man is to become the true crystallization of the management work, then the disobedience of corrupt mankind must be entirely dispelled. This requires that man perform practice suitable for different times, and that God carry out the corresponding work among man. Only in this way will there ultimately be gained a group of people who are the crystallization of the management work. God’s work among man cannot bear testimony to God Himself merely through the work of God alone; such testimony also requires living human beings that are suitable for His work in order to be achieved. God will first work upon these people, through whom His work will then be expressed, and thus such testimony of His will be borne among the creatures. And in this, God will have achieved the aim of His work. God does not work alone to defeat Satan because He cannot bear direct testimony to Himself among all creatures. If He were to do so, it would be impossible to utterly convince man, so God must work on man in order to conquer him, and only then will He be able to gain testimony among all creatures. If God were to work blindly, and there were not the cooperation of man, or if man were not required to cooperate, then man would never be able to know God’s disposition, and would forever be unaware of God’s will; in this way, it could not be called the work of God’s management. If only man himself were to strive, and seek, and work hard, but he did not understand the work of God, then man would be playing games. Without the work of the Holy Spirit, that which man does is of Satan, he is rebellious and an evildoer; Satan is exhibited in all that is done by corrupt mankind, and there is nothing that is compatible with God, and all are the manifestation of Satan. Nothing in all that has been spoken of is exclusive of visions and practice. Upon the foundation of visions, man finds practice, he finds the path of obedience, so that he may put aside his conceptions and gain those things that he has not possessed in the past. God requires that man cooperate with Him, that man completely submit to His requirements, and man asks to behold the work done by God Himself, to experience the almighty power of God, and to know God’s disposition. These, in summary, are the management of God. God’s union with man is the management, and the greatest management.
That which involves visions primarily refers to the work of God Himself, and that which involves practice should be done by man, and bears no relation to God. The work of God is completed by God Himself, and the practice of man is achieved by man himself. That which should be done by God Himself does not need to be done by man, and that which should be practiced by man is unrelated to God. The work of God is His own ministry, and has no relation to man. This work does not need to be done by man, and, furthermore, man would be incapable of doing the work to be done by God. That which man is required to practice must be accomplished by man, whether it be the sacrifice of his life, or the delivery of him over to Satan to stand testimony—these must all be accomplished by man. God Himself completes all the work that He is supposed to, and that which man should do is shown to man, and the remaining work is left to man. God does not do additional work. He does only the work that is within His ministry, and only shows man the way, and only does the work of opening the way, and does not do the work of paving the way; this should be understood by man. Putting the truth into practice means putting the words of God into practice, and all this is the duty of man, is that which should be done by man, and has nothing to do with God. If man demands that God also suffer torment and refinement in the truth, in the same way as man, then man is being disobedient. God’s work is to perform His ministry, and the duty of man is to obey all of God’s guidance, without any resistance. That which man must attain he is behooved to accomplish, regardless of the manner in which God works or lives. Only God Himself can make requirements of man, which is to say, only God Himself is fit to make requirements of man. Man should not have any choice, should do nothing but submit and practice; this is the sense that should be possessed by man. Once the work that should be done by God Himself is completed, man is required to experience it, step by step. If, in the end, when all of God’s management has been completed, man has still not done that which is required by God, then man should be punished. If man does not fulfill the requirements of God, then this is due to the disobedience of man; it does not mean that God has not been thorough enough in His work. All those who cannot put God’s words into practice, those who cannot fulfill God’s requirements, and those who cannot give their loyalty and fulfill their duty—they will all be punished. Today, what you are required to achieve are not additional demands, but the duty of man, and that which should be done by all people. If you are incapable of even doing your duty, or of doing it well, then are you not bringing troubles upon yourselves? Are you not courting death? How could you still expect future and prospects? The work of God is for the sake of mankind, and the cooperation of man is for the sake of God’s management. After God has done all that He is supposed to do, man is required to be unstinting in his practice, and to cooperate with God. In the work of God, man should spare no effort, should offer up his loyalty, and should not indulge in numerous conceptions, or sit passively and await death. God can sacrifice Himself for man, so why can man not offer his loyalty to God? God is of one heart and mind towards man, so why can man not offer a little cooperation? God works for mankind, so why can man not perform some of his duty for the sake of God’s management? God’s work has come this far, yet you still see but do not act, you hear but do not move. Are not such people the objects of perdition? God has already devoted His all to man, so why, today, is man incapable of earnestly performing his duty? For God, His work is His first priority, and the work of His management is of the utmost importance. For man, putting God’s words into practice and fulfilling God’s requirements are his first priority. This you should all understand. The words spoken to you have reached the very core of your essence, and God’s work has entered unprecedented territory. Many people still do not understand the truth or falsehood of this way; they are still waiting and seeing, and not performing their duty. Instead, they examine every word and action by God, they focus on what He eats and wears, and their conceptions become ever more grievous. Are such people not making a fuss about nothing? How could such people be those who seek God? And how could they be those who intentionally submit to God? They put their loyalty and duty to the back of their minds, and instead concentrate on the “whereabouts” of God. They are an outrage! If man has understood all that he is supposed to understand, and has put into practice all that he is supposed to put into practice, then God will surely bestow His blessings upon man, for that which He requires of man is the duty of man, and that which should be done by man. If man is incapable of comprehending what he is supposed to understand, and is incapable of putting into practice what he should put into practice, then man will be punished. Those who do not cooperate with God are in enmity to God, those who do not accept the new work are opposed to it, even though such people do nothing that is obviously in opposition to it. All those who do not put into practice the truth required by God are people who deliberately oppose and are disobedient towards the words of God, even if such people pay special “attention” to the work of the Holy Spirit. People who do not obey God’s words and submit to God are rebellious, and in opposition to God. People who do not perform their duty are those who do not cooperate with God, and people who do not cooperate with God are those who do not accept the work of the Holy Spirit.
When God’s work reaches a certain point, and His management reaches a certain point, those who are after His heart are all capable of fulfilling His requirements. God makes requirements of man according to His own standards, and according to that which man is capable of achieving. Whilst talking of His management, He also points the way for man, and provides man with a path to survival. The management of God and the practice of man are both of the same stage of work, and are carried out simultaneously. Talk of God’s management touches upon changes in man’s disposition, and talk of that which should be done by man, and the changes in man’s disposition, touches upon the work of God; there is no time at which these two may be separated. The practice of man is changing, step-by-step. That is because God’s requirements of man are also changing, and because God’s work is always changing and progressing. If man’s practice remains ensnared in doctrine, this proves that he is bereft of God’s work and guidance; if man’s practice never changes or goes deeper, then this proves that the practice of man is carried out according to the will of man, and is not the practice of the truth; if man has no path on which to tread, then he has already fallen into the hands of Satan, and has been controlled by Satan, which is to say that he has been controlled by the evil spirit. If man’s practice does not go deeper, then God’s work will not develop, and if there is no change in God’s work, then man’s entry will come to a halt; this is inevitable. Throughout all of God’s work, if man were to always abide by the law of Jehovah, then God’s work could not progress, much less would it be possible to bring the entire age to an end. If man always held to the cross and practiced patience and humility, then it would be impossible for God’s work to continue progressing. Six thousand years of management simply cannot be brought to an end among people who only abide by the law, or only hold to the cross and practice patience and humility. Instead, the entire work of God’s management is concluded among those of the last days, who know God, and have been recovered from the clutches of Satan, and have fully divested themselves from the influence of Satan. This is the inevitable direction of God’s work. Why is it said that the practice of those in the religious churches is outdated? It is because what they put into practice is divorced from the work of today. In the Age of Grace, what they put into practice was right, but as the age has passed and God’s work has changed, their practice has gradually become outdated. It has been left behind by the new work and the new light. Based upon its original foundation, the work of the Holy Spirit has progressed several steps deeper. Yet those people still remain stuck at the original stage of God’s work, and still cleave to the old practices and the old light. God’s work can change greatly in three or five years, so would not even greater transformations occur over the course of 2,000 years? If man has no new light or practice, then he has not kept up with the work of the Holy Spirit. This is the failing of man; the existence of God’s new work cannot be denied because, today, those with the Holy Spirit’s original work still abide by outdated practices. The work of the Holy Spirit is always moving forward, and all those who are in the stream of the Holy Spirit should also be progressing deeper and changing, step-by-step. They should not stop at a single stage. Only those who do not know the work of the Holy Spirit would remain amongst His original work, and not accept the new work of the Holy Spirit. Only those who are disobedient would be incapable of gaining the Holy Spirit’s work. If the practice of man does not keep pace with the new work of the Holy Spirit, then the practice of man is surely dissevered from the work of today, and is surely incompatible with the work of today. Such outdated people as these are simply incapable of accomplishing God’s will, much less could they become those final people that will stand testimony to God. The entire management work, furthermore, could not be concluded amongst such a group of people. For those who once held to the law of Jehovah, and those who once suffered for the cross, if they cannot accept the stage of work of the last days, then all that they did will have been in vain, and useless. The clearest expression of the Holy Spirit’s work is in embracing the here and now, not clinging to the past. Those who have not kept up with the work of today, and who have become separated from the practice of today, are those who oppose and do not accept the work of the Holy Spirit. Such people defy the present work of God. Though they hold onto the light of the past, this does not mean it is possible to deny that they do not know the work of the Holy Spirit. Why has there been all this talk of the changes in the practice of man, of the differences in the practice between the past and today, of how the practice was carried out during the previous age, and of how it is done today? Such divisions in the practice of man are always spoken of because the work of the Holy Spirit is constantly moving forward, and thus the practice of man is required to constantly change. If man remains stuck in one stage, then this proves that he is incapable of keeping up with God’s work and the new light; it does not prove that God’s plan of management has not changed. Those who are outside the stream of the Holy Spirit always think they are right, but in fact, God’s work in them ceased long ago, and the work of the Holy Spirit is absent from them. The work of God was long since transferred to another group of people, a group on whom He intends to complete His new work. Because those in religion are incapable of accepting God’s new work, and only hold to the old work of the past, thus God has forsaken these people, and does His new work on the people who accept this new work. These are people who cooperate in His new work, and only in this way can His management be accomplished. The management of God is always moving forward, and the practice of man is always ascending higher. God is always working, and man is always in need, such that both reach their zenith; God and man are in complete union, and this is the expression of the accomplishment of God’s work, and is the final outcome of God’s entire management.
In each stage of God’s work there are also corresponding requirements of man. All those who are within the stream of the Holy Spirit are possessed of the presence and discipline of the Holy Spirit, and those who are not within the stream of the Holy Spirit are under the command of Satan, and without any of the work of the Holy Spirit. People who are in the stream of the Holy Spirit are those who accept the new work of God, the ones who cooperate in the new work of God. If those who are within this stream are incapable of cooperating, and unable to put into practice the truth required by God during this time, then they will be disciplined, and at worst will be forsaken by the Holy Spirit. Those who accept the new work of the Holy Spirit, will live within the stream of the Holy Spirit, receive the care and protection of the Holy Spirit. Those who are willing to put the truth into practice are enlightened by the Holy Spirit, and those who are unwilling to put the truth into practice are disciplined by the Holy Spirit, and may even be punished. Regardless of what kind of person they are, provided that they are within the stream of the Holy Spirit, God will take responsibility for all those who accept His new work for the sake of His name. Those who glorify His name and are willing to put His words into practice will receive His blessings; those who disobey Him and do not put His words into practice will receive His punishment. People who are in the stream of the Holy Spirit are those who accept the new work, and since they have accepted the new work, they should have the appropriate cooperation with God, and should not act as rebels who do not perform their duty. This is God’s only requirement of man. Not so for the people who do not accept the new work: they are outside the stream of the Holy Spirit, and the discipline and reproach of the Holy Spirit do not apply to them. All day, these people live within the flesh, they live within their minds, and all that they do is according to the doctrine produced by the analysis and research of their own brains. It is not the requirements of the Holy Spirit’s new work, much less is it cooperation with God. Those who do not accept the new work of God are bereft of the presence of God, and, moreover, devoid of the blessings and protection of God. Most of their words and actions hold to the past requirements of the Holy Spirit’s work; they are doctrine, not truth. Such doctrine and regulation are sufficient to prove that the only thing that brings them together is religion; they are not the chosen ones, or the objects of God’s work. The assembly of all those among them can only be called a grand congress of religion, and cannot be called a . This is an unalterable fact. They do not have the Holy Spirit’s new work; what they do seems redolent of religion, what they live out seems replete with religion; they do not possess the presence and work of the Holy Spirit, much less are they eligible to receive the discipline or enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. These people are all lifeless corpses, and maggots that are devoid of spirituality. They have no knowledge of man’s rebelliousness and opposition, have no knowledge of all of man’s evildoing, much less do they know all of God’s work and God’s present will. They are all ignorant, base people, they are scum that are unfit to be called “believers”! Nothing that they do has a bearing on the management of God, much less can it impair God’s plans. Their words and actions are too disgusting, too pathetic, and simply unworthy of mention. Nothing done by those who are not within the stream of the Holy Spirit has anything to do with the new work of the Holy Spirit. Because of this, no matter what they do, they are without the discipline of the Holy Spirit, and, moreover, without the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit. For they are all people who have no love for the truth, and have been rejected by the Holy Spirit. They are called evildoers because they walk in the flesh, and do whatever pleases them under the signboard of God. While God works, they are deliberately hostile to Him, and run in the opposite direction to Him. Man’s failure to cooperate with God is supremely rebellious in itself, to say nothing of these people’s deliberate flight from God. Will they not, then, receive their just retribution? At the mention of these people’s evildoing, some people cannot help but curse them, whereas God ignores them. To man, it appears that their actions concern God’s name, but in fact, to God, they bear no relation to His name or the testimony to Him. No matter what these people do, it is unrelated to God: it is unrelated to both His name and His work today. These people humiliate themselves, and manifest Satan; they are evildoers who are hoarding for the day of wrath. Today, regardless of their actions, and provided they do not obstruct God’s management and have nothing to do with the new work of God, such people will not be subjected to the corresponding retribution, for the day of wrath has yet to arrive. There is much that people believe God should already have dealt with, and they think that those evildoers should be subject to retribution as early as possible. But because the work of God’s management has still not come to an end, and the day of wrath has yet to arrive, the unrighteous still continue to perform their unrighteous deeds. Some say that those in religion are without the presence or work of the Holy Spirit, and that they bring shame upon God’s name; so why does God not destroy them, rather than still tolerating their defiance? These people, who are the manifestation of Satan and who express the flesh, they are ignorant, base people, they are absurd people. They will not behold the advent of God’s wrath before they have come to understand how God does His work among man, and once they have been fully conquered, those evildoers will all receive their retribution, and not one of them will be able to escape the day of wrath. Now is not the time for man’s punishment, but the time for carrying out the work of conquest, unless there are those who impair God’s management, in which case they will be subjected to punishment based on the severity of their actions. During God’s management of mankind, all those who are within the stream of the Holy Spirit bear relation to God. Those who are rejected by the Holy Spirit live under the influence of Satan, and that which they put into practice has no relationship with God. Only those who accept God’s new work, and who cooperate with God, bear relation to God, for God’s work is aimed only at those who accept it, and not all people, regardless of whether they accept it or not. The work done by God always has an object, and is not done at whim. Those who are associated with Satan are not fit to bear testimony to God, much less are they fit to cooperate with God.
Each stage of the Holy Spirit’s work simultaneously requires the testimony of man. Each stage of this work is a battle between God and Satan, and the object of the battle is Satan, while the one who will be made perfect by this work is man. Whether or not God’s work can bear fruit depends on the manner of man’s testimony to God. This testimony is what God requires of those who follow Him; it is the testimony made before Satan, and also proof of the effects of His work. The entire management of God is divided into three stages, and in each stage, fitting requirements are made of man. Furthermore, as the ages pass and progress, God’s requirements of all mankind become ever higher. Step-by-step, this work of God’s management also reaches its climax, until man beholds the fact of the “appearance of the Word in the flesh,” and in this way the requirements of man become even higher, and requirements of man to bear testimony become ever higher. The more that man is capable of truly cooperating with God, the more that he glorifies God. Man’s cooperation is the testimony that he is required to bear, and the testimony that he bears is the practice of man. And so, whether or not God’s work can have the due effect, and whether or not there can be true testimony, are inextricably linked to the cooperation and testimony of man. When the work is finished, which is to say, when all of God’s management has reached its end, man will be required to bear higher testimony, and when the work of God reaches its end, the practice and entry of man will also reach their zenith. In the past, man was required to comply with the law and the commandments, and was required to be patient and humble. Today, man is required to obey all of God’s arrangements and possess a supreme love of God, and is ultimately required to still love God amid the tribulation. These three stages are requirements that God makes of man, step-by-step, throughout His entire management. Each stage of God’s work goes deeper than the last, and in each stage the requirements of man are more profound than the last, and in this way, God’s entire management gradually takes shape. It is precisely because the requirements of man are ever higher that man’s disposition comes ever closer to the standards required by God, and it is only then that the whole of mankind gradually departs from the influence of Satan until, when God’s work comes to a complete end, the whole of mankind will have been saved from the influence of Satan. When that time comes, the work of God will have reached its end, and man’s cooperation with God in order to achieve changes in his disposition will be no more, and the whole of mankind will live in the light of God, and from then on, there will be no rebelliousness or opposition to God. God will also make no demands of man, and there will be a more harmonious cooperation between man and God, one which will be the life of man and God together, the life that comes after the management of God has been completely concluded, and after man has been fully saved by God from the clutches of Satan. Those who cannot closely follow the footsteps of God are incapable of attaining such a life. They will have lowered themselves into darkness, where they will weep and gnash their teeth; they are people who believe in God but do not follow Him, who believe in God but do not obey all of His work. Since man believes in God, he must closely follow the footsteps of God, step-by-step; he should “follow the Lamb wherever He goes.” Only these are the people who seek the true way, only they are the ones who know the work of the Holy Spirit. People who slavishly follow letters and doctrines are those who have been eliminated by the work of the Holy Spirit. In each period of time, God will begin new work, and in each period, there will be a new beginning among man. If man only abides by the truths that “Jehovah was God” and “Jesus was Christ,” which are truths that only apply to a single age, then man will never keep up with the work of the Holy Spirit, and will forever be incapable of gaining the work of the Holy Spirit. Regardless of how God works, man follows without the slightest doubt, and he follows closely. In this way, how could man be eliminated by the Holy Spirit? Regardless of what God does, as long as man is certain that it is the work of the Holy Spirit, and cooperates in the work of the Holy Spirit without any misgivings, and tries to meet the requirements of God, then how could he be punished? The work of God has never ceased, His footsteps have never halted, and prior to the completion of His work of management, He has always been busy, and never stops. But man is different: having gained but a modicum of the Holy Spirit’s work, he treats it as if it will never change; having gained a little knowledge, he does not go forth to follow the footsteps of God’s newer work; having seen but a bit of God’s work, he immediately prescribes God as a particular wooden figure, and believes that God will always remain in this form that he sees before him, that it was like this in the past and will always be thus in the future; having gained but a superficial knowledge, man is so proud that he forgets himself and begins to wantonly proclaim disposition and being of God that simply do not exist; and having fastened upon one stage of the Holy Spirit’s work, no matter what kind of person it is that proclaims the new work of God, man does not accept it. These are people who cannot accept the new work of the Holy Spirit; they are too conservative, and incapable of accepting new things. Such people are those who believe in God but also reject God. Man believes that the Israelites were wrong to “only believe in Jehovah and not believe in Jesus,” yet the majority of people act out a role in which they “only believe in Jehovah and reject Jesus” and “long for the return of the Messiah, but oppose the Messiah who was called Jesus.” No wonder, then, that people still live under the domain of Satan after accepting one stage of the work of the Holy Spirit, and still do not receive God’s blessings. Is this not the result of man’s rebelliousness? Christians across the world who have not kept up with the new work of today all hold onto the belief that they are the lucky ones, that God will fulfill each of their wishes. Yet they cannot say for sure why God will take them up to the third heaven, nor are they certain about how Jesus will come to collect them riding upon a white cloud, much less can they say with absolute certainty whether Jesus will truly arrive upon a white cloud on the day that they imagine. They are all anxious, and at a loss; they themselves don’t even know whether God will take up each of them “small handfuls of people,” who are so varied, and hail from every denomination. The work that God does now, the age that man is in today, God’s will—they have no grasp of any of these, and can do nothing but count down the days on their fingers. Only those who follow the footsteps of the Lamb to the very end can gain the final , whereas those “clever people,” who are unable to follow to the very end yet believe they have gained all, are incapable of witnessing the appearance of God. They all believe they are the smartest person on earth, and they cut short the continued development of God’s work for no reason at all, and seem to believe with absolute certainty that God will take them up to heaven, they who “have the utmost loyalty to God, follow God, and abide by the words of God.” Even though they have the “utmost loyalty” towards the words spoken by God, their words and actions still feel so disgusting because they oppose the work of the Holy Spirit, and commit trickery and evil. Those who do not follow to the very end, who do not keep up with the work of the Holy Spirit, and who only cleave to the old work have not only failed to achieve loyalty to God, but on the contrary, have become those who oppose God, have become those who are rejected by the new age, and who will be punished. Are there any more pitiable than them? Many even believe that all those who reject the old laws and accept the new work are without conscience. These people, who only talk of “conscience,” and do not know the work of the Holy Spirit, will ultimately have their prospects cut short by their own consciences. God’s work does not abide by doctrine, and even though it is His own work, still God does not cling to it. That which should be denied is denied, that which should be eliminated is eliminated. Yet man places himself in enmity of God by holding onto but one small part of the work of God’s management. Is this not the absurdity of man? Is this not the ignorance of man? The more that people are timid and overcautious because they are afraid of not gaining God’s blessings, the more that they are incapable of gaining greater blessings, and of receiving the final blessing. Those people who slavishly abide by the law all display the utmost loyalty towards the law, and the more they display such loyalty towards the law, the more they are rebels who oppose God. For now is the Age of Kingdom and not the Age of Law, and the work of today cannot be held up against the work of the past, and the work of the past cannot be compared to the work of today. The work of God has changed, and the practice of man has also changed; it is not the time to hold onto the law or bear the cross, and so people’s loyalty towards the law and the cross will not gain God’s approval.
Man will be made complete in the Age of Kingdom. After the work of conquest, man will be subjected to refinement and tribulation. Those who can overcome and stand testimony during this tribulation are the ones who will ultimately be made complete; they are the overcomers. During this tribulation, man is required to accept this refinement, and this refinement is the last instance of God’s work. It is the last time that man will be refined prior to the conclusion of all of God’s management, and all those who follow God must accept this final test, must accept this last refinement. Those who are beset by tribulation are without the work of the Holy Spirit and the guidance of God, but those who have been truly conquered and truly seek after God will ultimately stand fast; they are the ones who are possessed of humanity, and who truly love God. No matter what God does, these victorious ones will not be bereft of the visions, and will still put the truth into practice without failing in their testimony. They are the ones who will finally emerge from the great tribulation. Even though those who fish in troubled waters can still freeload today, no one is able to escape the final tribulation, and no one can escape the final test. For those who overcome, such tribulation is the tremendous refinement; but for those who fish in troubled waters, it is the work of complete elimination. No matter how they are tried, the allegiance of those who have God in their heart remains unchanged; but for those who do not have God in their heart, once the work of God is not advantageous to their flesh, they change their view of God, and even depart from God. Such are those who will not stand fast in the end, who only seek God’s blessings and have no desire to expend themselves for God and dedicate themselves to Him. This kind of base people will all be expelled when God’s work comes to an end, and are unworthy of any sympathy. Those without humanity are incapable of truly loving God. When the environment is safe and secure, or they can get profits, they are totally obedient towards God, but once that which they desire is compromised or finally refuted, they immediately revolt. Even in the space of just one night, they may go from a smiling, kind-hearted person to an ugly-looking and ferocious killer, suddenly treating their benefactors of yesterday as their mortal enemy, without rhyme or reason. If these demons are not cast out, demons that would kill in the blink of an eye, will they not become the source of further suffering? The work of saving man is not achieved following the completion of the work of conquest. Although the work of conquest has come to an end, the work of purifying man has not; such work will only be finished once man has been wholly purified, once those who truly submit to God have been made complete, and once those disguisers who are without God in their heart have been purged. Those who do not satisfy God in the final stage of His work will be completely eliminated, and those who are eliminated are of the Devil. As they are incapable of satisfying God, they are rebellious against God, and even though these people follow God today, this does not prove that they are those who will finally remain. In the words that “those who follow God to the end will receive salvation,” the meaning of “follow” is to stand firm in the midst of tribulation. Today, many believe that following God is easy, but when God’s work is about to end, you will know the true meaning of “follow.” Just because you are still able to follow God today after being conquered, this does not prove that you are one of those who will be made perfect. Those who are unable to endure the trials, who are incapable of being victorious amid tribulation will, ultimately, be incapable of standing fast, and so will be unable to follow God to the very end. Those who truly follow God are able to withstand the test of their work, whereas those who do not truly follow God are incapable of withstanding any of God’s trials. Sooner or later they will be expelled, while the overcomers will remain in the . Whether or not man truly seeks God is determined by the test of his work, that is, by God’s trials, and has nothing to do with the decision by man. God does not reject any person at whim; all that He does is so that man may be utterly convinced. He does not do anything that is invisible to man, or any work that cannot convince man. Whether man’s belief is true or not is proved by the facts, and cannot be decided by man. That “wheat cannot be made into tares, and tares cannot be made into wheat” is without doubt. All those who truly love God will ultimately remain in the kingdom, and God will not mistreat anyone who truly loves Him. Based on their functions and their different testimonies, the overcomers within the kingdom will serve as priests or followers, and all those who are victorious amid tribulation will become the body of priests within the kingdom. The body of priests will be formed when the work of the throughout the universe has come to an end. When that time comes, that which should be done by man will be the performance of his duty within the kingdom of God, and his living together with God within the kingdom. In the body of priests there will be chief priests and priests, and the remainder will be the sons and people of God. This is all determined by their testimonies to God during tribulation; they are not titles that are given at whim. Once man’s status has been established, the work of God will cease, for each is classed according to kind and returned to their original position, and this is the mark of the accomplishment of God’s work, this is the final outcome of the work of God and the practice of man, and is the crystallization of the visions of God’s work and the cooperation of man. In the end, man will find repose in the kingdom of God, and God, too, will return to His dwelling place to rest. This is the final outcome of 6,000 years of cooperation between God and man.
from The Word Appears in the Flesh