Why Is It Said That Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God?
(A Selected Piece of ’s Word)
Knowing the Three Stages of God’s Work Is the Path to Knowing God
The work of managing mankind is divided into three stages, which means that the work of saving mankind is divided into three stages. These three stages do not include the work of creating the world, but are rather the three stages of the work of the Age of Law, the Age of Grace, and the Age of Kingdom. The work of creating the world was the work of producing the whole of mankind. It was not the work of saving mankind, and bears no relation to the work of saving mankind, for when the world was created mankind had not been corrupted by Satan, and so there was no need to carry out the work of mankind’s salvation. The work of saving mankind only began once mankind had been corrupted, and so the work of managing mankind also only began once mankind had been corrupted. In other words, God’s “management” of man began as a result of the work of saving mankind, and did not arise from the work of creating the world. There could be no work of managing mankind without the corrupt disposition of mankind, and so the work of managing mankind includes three parts, rather than four stages, or four ages. Only this is the correct way to refer to God’s management of mankind. When the final age arrives, the work of managing mankind has come to a complete end. The conclusion of the work of management means that the work of saving all mankind has been completely finished, and that mankind has reached the end of that stage of his existence. Without the work of saving all mankind, the work of managing mankind would not exist, nor would there be the three stages of work. It was precisely because of mankind’s depravity, and, furthermore, because mankind was in such urgent need of salvation, that Jehovah concluded the creation of the world and began the work of the Age of Law. Only then did the work of managing mankind begin, which means that only then did the work of saving mankind begin. “Managing mankind” does not mean guiding the life of newly-created mankind on earth (which is to say, a mankind that had yet to be corrupted). Rather, it is the salvation of a mankind that has been corrupted by Satan, which is to say, it is the changing of this corrupt mankind. This is the meaning of “managing mankind.” The work of saving mankind does not include the work of creating the world, and so the work of “managing mankind” does not include the work of creating the world, and only includes three stages of work that are separate from the world’s creation. To understand the work of managing mankind, it is necessary to be aware of the history of the three stages of work—this is what everyone must be aware of in order to be saved. As creatures of God, you should recognize that man was created by God, and should recognize the source of mankind’s corruption, and, moreover, should recognize the process of man’s salvation. If you only know how to act according to doctrine in order to gain God’s favor, but have no inkling of how God saves mankind, or of the source of mankind’s corruption, then this is what you lack as a creature of God. You should not only be satisfied with understanding those truths that can be put into practice, while remaining ignorant of the wider scope of God’s management work—if this is the case, then you are too dogmatic. The three stages of work are the inside story of God’s management of man, the advent of the of the entire universe, the greatest mystery among all mankind, and are also the foundation of spreading the gospel. If you only focus on understanding simple truths that relate to your life, and know nothing of this, the greatest of all mysteries and visions, then is your life not akin to a defective product, good for nothing except being looked at?
If man only concentrates on practice, and sees the work of God and man’s knowledge as secondary, then is this not the same as being penny wise and pound foolish? That which you must know, you must know, and that which you must put into practice, you must put into practice. Only then will you be someone who knows how to pursue the truth. When the day comes for you to spread the gospel, you will only be able to say that God is a great and righteous God, that He is the supreme God, a God who is unmatched by any great man, that there is none who is higher than God…. You will only be able to say these irrelevant, superficial words, and will be utterly incapable of speaking words which are of crucial importance, and which have substance. You will have nothing to say about knowing God, or the work of God, nor will you be able to explain the truth, or provide that which is lacking within man. People such as this will not be able to perform their duty well. Bearing testimony to God and spreading the gospel of the is no simple matter. You must first be equipped with the truth, and the visions that are to be understood. When you are clear about the visions and truth of the different aspects of God’s work, in your heart you come to know the work of God, and regardless of what God does—whether it be righteous judgment or refinement—you possess the greatest vision as your foundation, and possess the right truth to put into practice, then you will be able to follow God to the very end. You must know that regardless of what work He does, the aim of God’s work does not change, the heart of His work does not change, and His will towards man does not change. No matter how severe His words, no matter how adverse the environment, the principles of His work will not change, and His intention of saving man will not change. Provided that it is not the revelation of the end of man or the of man, and is not the work of the final phase, or the work of bringing God’s entire plan of management to an end, and provided that it is during the time He works man, then the heart of His work will not change: it will always be the salvation of mankind. This should be the foundation of your belief in God. The aim of the three stages of work is the salvation of all mankind—which means the complete salvation of man from the domain of Satan. Though each of the three stages of work has a different objective and significance, each is part of the work of saving mankind, and is different work of salvation carried out according to the requirements of mankind. Once you are aware of the aim of these three stages of work, then you will be aware of how to appreciate the significance of each stage of work, and will recognize how to act in order to satisfy the desire of God. If you can reach this point, then this, the greatest of all visions, will become your foundation. You should not only seek after easy ways of practice, or deep truths, but should combine visions with practice, so that there are both truths that can be put into practice, and knowledge that is based on visions. Only then will you be someone that wholly pursues the truth.
The three stages of work are at the heart of God’s entire management, and in them are expressed the disposition of God and what He is. Those who do not know of the three stages of God’s work are incapable of realizing how God expresses His disposition, nor do they know the wisdom of God’s work, and they remain ignorant of the many ways in which He saves mankind, and His will for the whole of mankind. The three stages of work are the full expression of the work of saving mankind. Those who do not know the three stages of work will be ignorant of the various methods and principles of the ’s work; those who only rigidly stick to doctrine that remains from one stage of work are people who limit God to doctrine, and whose belief in God is vague and uncertain. Such people will never receive God’s salvation. Only the three stages of God’s work can fully express the entirety of God’s disposition, and completely express God’s intention of saving the whole of mankind, and the entire process of mankind’s salvation. This is proof that He has defeated Satan and gained mankind, it is proof of God’s victory, and is the expression of God’s entire disposition. Those who understand but one stage of the three stages of God’s work only know part of God’s disposition. In the conception of man, it is easy for this single stage of work to become doctrine, it becomes likely that man will establish rules about God, and man uses this single part of God’s disposition as a representation of God’s entire disposition. Furthermore, much of man’s imagination becomes tainted, and they rigidly constrain the disposition, being, and wisdom of God, as well as the principles of God’s work, within limited parameters, believing that if God was like this once, then He will remain the same for all time, and will never ever change. Only those who know and appreciate the three stages of work can fully and accurately know God. At the very least, they will not define God as the God of the Israelites, or the Jews, and will not see Him as a God who will be forever nailed to the cross for the sake of man. If you only come to know God from one stage of His work, then your knowledge is too, too little. Your knowledge is but a drop in the ocean. If not, why would many of the religious old guard nail God to the cross alive? Is it not because man confines God within certain parameters? Do many people not oppose God and obstruct the work of the Holy Spirit because they do not know the varied and diverse work of God, and, furthermore, because they possess but a smidgeon of knowledge and doctrine with which to measure the work of the Holy Spirit? Though the experiences of such people are superficial, they are arrogant and indulgent in nature, and they regard the work of the Holy Spirit with contempt, ignore the disciplines of the Holy Spirit and, moreover, use their trivial old arguments to “confirm” the work of the Holy Spirit. They also put on an act, and are wholly convinced of their own learning and erudition, and that they are able to travel across the world. Are such people not those who are rejected by the Holy Spirit, and will they not be eliminated by the new age? Are not those who come before God and openly oppose Him myopic little people, who are merely trying to show how clever they are? With but a meager knowledge of the , they try to straddle the world’s “academia,” with but superficial doctrine to teach people, they try to reverse the work of the Holy Spirit, and attempt to make it revolve around their own thought process, and with but a short sight, they try to behold in one glance 6,000 years of God’s work. Do these people have any reason to speak of? In fact, the greater people’s knowledge of God, the slower they are to judge His work. Furthermore, they only talk a little of their knowledge of God’s work today, but they are not rash in their judgments. The less people know of God, the more arrogant and overconfident they are, and the more wantonly they proclaim God’s being—yet they only talk of theory, and offer no real evidence. Such people are of no value whatsoever. Those who see the work of the Holy Spirit as trivial are frivolous! Those who are not cautious when they encounter the new work of the Holy Spirit, who run their mouths off, are quick to judge, who give free rein to their natural instinct to deny the rightness of the Holy Spirit’s work, and also insult and blaspheme it—are such disrespectful people not ignorant of the Holy Spirit’s work? Are they not, furthermore, the ones of arrogance, inherently proud and ungovernable? Even if a day comes when such people accept the new work of the Holy Spirit, still God will not tolerate of them. Not only do they look down upon those who work for God, but also blaspheme against God Himself. Such foolhardy people will not be forgiven, either in this age or the age to come and they shall forever perish in hell! Such disrespectful, indulgent people are pretending to believe in God, and the more they do so, the more likely they are to offend God’s administration. Do not all those arrogant ones who are innately unbridled, and have never obeyed anyone, all walk upon this path? Do they not oppose God day after day, He who is always new and never old? Today, you should understand the importance of why you must know the three stages of God’s work. The words I say are of benefit to you, and are not just empty talk. If you rush things through, will not all My hard work be for naught? Each of you should know your own nature. Most people are skilled at argument, the answers to theoretical questions roll off your tongue, but you have nothing to say to questions involving substance. Even today, you still indulge in frivolous conversation, incapable of changing your old nature, and most of you have no intention of changing the way in which you pursue in order to achieve higher truth, only living your lives half-heartedly. How are such people capable of following God to the very end? Even if you do make it to the end of the path, what benefit will it be to you? It is better to change your ideas before it is too late, either truly pursuing, or else throwing in the towel early. As time goes on you will become a freeloading parasite—are you willing to play such a low and ignoble role?
from The Word Appears in the Flesh