The Vision of God’s Work (3)
The first time that God became flesh was through conception by the , and it was related to the work He intended to do. ’ name marked the start of the Age of Grace. When Jesus began to perform His ministry, the Holy Spirit began to testify to the name of Jesus, and the name of Jehovah was no longer spoken of, and instead the Holy Spirit began the new work principally under the name of Jesus. The testimony of those who believed in Him was borne for , and the work they did was also for Jesus Christ. The conclusion of the Old Testament Age of Law meant that the work principally conducted under the name of Jehovah had come to an end. After this, the name of God was no longer Jehovah; instead He was called Jesus, and from here on the Holy Spirit began the work principally under the name of Jesus. So today, when you still eat and drink the words of Jehovah, and still apply the work of the Age of Law, are you not following regulation? Are you not stuck in the past? Today, you know that the last days have arrived. When Jesus comes, will He still be called Jesus? Jehovah told the people of Israel that a Messiah would come, yet when He arrived, He was not called Messiah but Jesus. that He would come again, and that He would arrive as He had departed. These were the words of Jesus, but did you witness how Jesus departed? Jesus left on a white cloud, but would He really personally return among man on a white cloud? If that were so, would He not still be called Jesus? When Jesus comes again, the age will have already changed, so could He still be called Jesus? Is God only known by the name of Jesus? Could He not be called by a new name in a new age? Can the image of one “person” and one particular name represent God in His entirety? In each age, God does new work and is called by a new name; how could He do the same work in different ages? How could He cling to the old? The name of “Jesus” was taken for the work of redemption, so would He still be called by the same name when He returns in the last days? Would He still do the work of redemption? Why is it that Jehovah and Jesus are one, yet They are called by different names in different ages? Is it not because Their work in these ages is different? Could a single name represent God in His entirety? In this way, God must be called by a different name in a different age, must use the name to change the age and represent the age, for no one name can fully represent God Himself. And each name can only represent God’s disposition during a certain age and needs only to represent His work. Therefore, God can choose whatever name befits His disposition to represent the entire age. Regardless of whether it is the age of Jehovah, or the age of Jesus, each age is represented by a name. After the Age of Grace, the final age has arrived and Jesus has already come. How could He still be called Jesus? How could He still assume the form of Jesus among man? Have you forgotten that Jesus was just the image of a Nazarene? Have you forgotten that “Jesus” was just the Redeemer of mankind? How could He take on the work of conquering and perfecting man in the last days? Jesus left on a white cloud, this is fact, but how could He return on a white cloud among man and still be called Jesus? If He really did arrive on a cloud, wouldn’t He be recognized by man? Wouldn’t people all over the world recognize Him? In that case, wouldn’t “Jesus” alone be God? In that case, the image of God would be the appearance of a Jew, and would be the same forever. Jesus said that He would arrive as He had departed, but do you know the true meaning of His words? Could He really have told you? You only know He will arrive as He left on a cloud, but do you know exactly how God Himself does His work? If you were truly able to see, then how are the words of Jesus to be explained? He said, “When the Son of man comes in the last days, He Himself will not know, the angels will not know, the messengers in heaven will not know, and all of the people will not know. Only the Father will know, that is, only the Spirit shall know.” If you are capable of knowing and seeing, then are these not empty words? Even the Son of man Himself does not know, yet you are able to see and know? If you have seen it with your own eyes, were those words not said in vain? And what did Jesus say at the time? “But of that day and hour knows no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only. But as the days of Noe were, so shall also the coming of the Son of man be. … Therefore be you also ready: for in such an hour as you think not the Son of man comes.” When that day comes, the Son of man Himself will not know it. The Son of man refers to the incarnate flesh of God, who shall be a normal and ordinary person. Even He Himself does not know, so how could you know? Jesus said that He would arrive as He had departed. When He arrives, even He Himself does not know, so could He inform you in advance? Are you able to see His arrival? Is that not a joke? Each time God arrives on earth, He shall change His name, His gender, His image, and His work; He does not repeat His work, for He is always new and never old. When He came before, He was called Jesus; could He still be called Jesus when He comes again this time? When He came before, He was male; could He be male again this time? His work when He came during the Age of Grace was to be nailed to the cross; when He comes again will He still redeem mankind from sin? Will He still be nailed to a cross? Would that not be a repetition of His work? Did you know that God is always new and never old? There are those who say that God is immutable. That is correct, but it refers to the immutability of God’s disposition and substance. Changes in His name and work do not prove that His substance has altered; in other words, God will always be God, and this will never change. If you say that the work of God always stays the same, then would He be able to finish His six-thousand-year management plan? You merely know that God is forever unchanging, but do you know that God is always new and never old? If the work of God never changed, then could He have brought mankind to today? If God is immutable, then why is it that He has already done the work of two ages? His work is always progressing forward, and so His disposition is gradually revealed to man, and what is revealed is His inherent disposition. In the beginning, God’s disposition was hidden from man, He never openly revealed His disposition to man, and man had no knowledge of Him, so He used His work to gradually reveal His disposition to man, but this does not mean that His disposition changes in each age. It is not the case that God’s disposition is constantly changing because His will is always changing. Rather, because the work of God is different in each age, His inherent disposition in its entirety is gradually revealed to man, so that man is able to know Him. But this is by no means proof that God originally has no particular disposition and His disposition has gradually changed with the passing of the ages—such belief is nonsense. God reveals to man His inherent, particular disposition, what He is, according to the passing of the ages. The work of a single age cannot express the entire disposition of God. And so, the word “God is always new and never old” is in reference to His work, and the word “God is immutable” is in regard to what God inherently has and is. Regardless, you cannot define the six-thousand-year work in one point, or portray it with mere static words. Such is the stupidity of man. God is not as simple as man imagines, and His work will not stop in one age. Jehovah, for example, will not always stand for the name of God; God also does His work under the name of Jesus, which is a symbol of how God’s work is always progressing forward.
God will always be God, and will never become Satan; Satan will always be Satan, and will never become God. God’s wisdom, God’s wondrousness, God’s righteousness, and God’s majesty shall never change. His substance and what He has and is shall never change. His work, however, is always progressing forward, always going deeper, for God is always new and never old. In every age God assumes a new name, in every age He does new work, and in every age He allows the creatures to see His new will and His new disposition. If people do not see the expression of God’s new disposition in the new age, would they not forever nail Him to the cross? And by doing so, would they not define God? If God was only incarnated as a male, people would define Him as male, as the God of men, and would never believe Him to be the God of women. Then, men would believe that God is of the same gender as men, that God is the head of men—and what of women? This is unfair; is it not preferential treatment? If this were the case, then all those whom God saved would be men like Him, and there would be no salvation for women. When God created mankind, He created Adam and He created Eve. He did not create only Adam, but made both male and female in His image. God is not only the God of men, He is also the God of women. God has new work to do during the last days. He shall reveal more of His disposition, and it shall not be the compassion and love of the time of Jesus. Since He has new work, this new work shall be accompanied by new disposition. So if this work is done by the Spirit—if God does not become flesh, and instead the Spirit speaks directly through thunder, so that man has no contact with Him, would man know His disposition? If only the Spirit does the work, then man would have no way of knowing His disposition. People can only behold God’s disposition with their own eyes when He becomes flesh, and reveals His words in the flesh, and expresses His entire disposition through the flesh. God truly lives among man. He is tangible; man can truly engage with His disposition and what He has and is; only in this way can man truly know Him. At the same time, God has also completed the work of “God being the God of both men and women,” and so has achieved the entirety of His work in the flesh. God does not duplicate His work in each new age. Since the last days have arrived, He will do the work of the last days, and reveal His entire disposition in the last days. The last days are a separate age, one in which Jesus said you must suffer disaster, and be subjected to earthquakes, famines, and plagues, which will show that this is a new age, and is no longer the old Age of Grace. If, as people say, God is forever unchanging, His disposition is always compassionate and loving, and He loves man as Himself, and He offers every man salvation and never hates man, then would He ever be able to complete His work? When Jesus came, He was nailed to the cross, and He sacrificed Himself for all sinners by offering Himself upon the altar. He had already completed the work of redemption and already brought the Age of Grace to an end, so what would be the point of repeating the work of that age in the last days? Wouldn’t doing the same thing be a denial of the work of Jesus? If God does not do the work of crucifixion when He comes in this stage, but He remains loving and compassionate, then would He be able to bring the age to an end? Could a loving and compassionate God conclude the age? In His final work of concluding the age, God’s disposition is one of chastisement and judgment, which reveals all that is unrighteous, and publicly judges all peoples, and perfects those who truly love Him. Only a disposition such as this can bring the age to an end. The last days have already arrived. All things will be classed according to kind, and will be divided into different categories based on their nature. This is the time in which God reveals the end and the destination of man. If man does not undergo chastisement and judgment, then there will be no way of revealing the disobedience and unrighteousness of man. Only through chastisement and judgment can the end of all things be revealed. Man only shows his true colors when he is chastised and judged. Evil shall return to evil, good shall return to good, and all of man shall be classified according to kind. Through chastisement and judgment, the end of all things shall be revealed, so that the evil shall be punished and the good shall be rewarded, and all people shall become subject under the dominion of God. All the work requires righteous chastisement and judgment to be achieved. Because man’s corruption has reached its peak and his disobedience has been too serious, only God’s righteous disposition, which is principally one of chastisement and judgment, and is revealed during the last days, can fully transform and complete man. Only this disposition can expose evil and thus severely punish all the unrighteous. Therefore, a disposition such as this possesses the significance of the age, and the revelation and exhibition of His disposition is for the sake of the work of each new age. God does not reveal His disposition arbitrarily and without significance. If, when the end of man is revealed during the last days, God still bestows upon man inexhaustible compassion and love, if He is still loving towards man, and He does not show man righteous judgment, but shows him tolerance, patience, and forgiveness, if He still pardons man no matter how serious sins he commits, without any righteous judgment, then would there ever be an end to all of God’s management? When would a disposition such as this be able to lead mankind into the right destination? Take, for example, a judge who is always loving, kindhearted and gentle. He loves people irrespective of the sins they have committed, and he is loving and tolerant of people whoever they are. Then when will he be able to reach a just verdict? During the last days, only righteous judgment can classify man and bring man into a new realm. In this way, the entire age is brought to an end through God’s righteous disposition of judgment and chastisement.
The work of God throughout all of His management is perfectly clear: the Age of Grace is the Age of Grace, and the last days are the last days. There are distinct differences between each age, for in each age God does work which represents that age. For the work of the last days to be done, there must be burning, judgment, chastisement, wrath, and destruction to bring the age to an end. The last days refer to the final age. During the final age, will God not bring the age to an end? And only through chastisement and judgment can the age be brought to an end. Jesus’ purpose was so that man could continue to exist, to live, and could exist in a better way. He saved man from sin so that man would cease the constant depravity and no longer live in Hades and hell, and by saving man from hell He allowed man to continue to live. Now, the last days have arrived. He shall annihilate man, shall completely destroy man, which means that He shall reverse man’s disobedience. As such, God’s compassionate and loving disposition of times past would be incapable of ending the age, and incapable of completing God’s six-thousand-year management plan. Every age features a special representation of God’s disposition, and every age contains work that should be done by God. So, the work done by God Himself in each age contains the expression of His true disposition, and His name and the work He does change with the age; they are all new. During the Age of Law, the work of guiding mankind was done under the name of Jehovah, and the first stage of work was carried out on earth. The work of this stage was to build the temple and the altar, and to use the law to guide the people of Israel and work among them. By guiding the people of Israel, He established a base for His work on earth. From this base, He expanded His work beyond Israel, which is to say that, starting from Israel, He extended His work outwards, so that later generations gradually came to know that Jehovah was God, and that Jehovah had created the heavens and earth and all things, had made all creatures. He spread His work through the people of Israel. The land of Israel was the first holy place of Jehovah’s work on earth, and God’s earliest work on earth was throughout the land of Israel. That was the work of the Age of Law. In the work of the Age of Grace, Jesus was the God who saved man. What He has and is was gracious, loving, compassionate, forbearing, patient, humble, caring, and tolerant, and so much of the work that He did was the redemption of man. And as for His disposition, it was compassionate and loving, and because He was compassionate and loving, He had to be nailed to the cross for man, in order to show that God loved man as Himself, to the extent that He sacrificed Himself in His entirety. Satan said, “Since You love man, You must love him to the ultimate extreme: You must be nailed to the cross, to deliver man from the cross, from sin, and You shall offer up Yourself in exchange for all of mankind.” Satan made the following wager: “Since You are a loving and compassionate God, You must love man to the ultimate extreme: You must offer Yourself up to the cross.” Jesus said, “As long as it is for mankind, then I am willing to lay down My all.” Afterwards, He went up onto the cross without hesitation and redeemed all of mankind. During the Age of Grace, the name of God was Jesus, which means that God was a God who saved man, and that He was a compassionate and loving God. God was with man. His love, His compassion, and His salvation accompanied each and every person. Man could only gain peace and joy, receive His blessing, receive His vast and numerous graces, and receive His salvation if man accepted His name and accepted His presence. Through the crucifixion of Jesus, all those who followed Him received salvation and were forgiven their sins. During the Age of Grace, the name of God was “Jesus.” In other words, the work of the Age of Grace was done principally under the name of Jesus. During the Age of Grace, God was called Jesus. He did new work beyond the Old Testament, and His work ended with the crucifixion, and that was the entirety of His work. Therefore, during the Age of Law Jehovah was the name of God, and in the Age of Grace the name of Jesus represented God. During the last days, His name is —the Almighty, and He uses His power to guide man, conquer man, and gain man, and in the end, conclude the age. In every age, in every stage of His work, God’s disposition is evident.
In the beginning, guiding man during the Old Testament Age of Law was like guiding the life of a child. Earliest mankind was newly born of Jehovah, who was the Israelites. They did not understand how to revere God or live on earth. Which is to say, Jehovah created mankind, that is, He created Adam and Eve, but He did not give them the faculties to understand how to revere Jehovah or follow the laws of Jehovah on earth. Without the direct guidance of Jehovah, no one could know this directly, for in the beginning man did not possess such faculties. Man only knew that Jehovah was God, and had no idea how to revere Him, what to do to revere Him, with what mind to revere Him, and what to offer up in reverence of Him. Man only knew how to enjoy that which could be enjoyed among all the things created by Jehovah. Man had no inkling of what kind of life on earth befitted that of a creature of God. Without instructions, without someone to personally guide them, such mankind could never lead a proper life, and could only be furtively held captive by Satan. Jehovah created mankind, which is to say that He created the ancestors of mankind: Eve and Adam. But He did not bestow upon them any further intellect or wisdom. Although they were already living on earth, they understood almost nothing. And so, Jehovah’s work of creating mankind was only half-finished. It was by no means complete. He had only formed a model of man from clay and gave it His breath, but had not bestowed unto man sufficient willingness to revere Him. In the beginning, man was not of a mind to revere Him, or to fear Him, and only knew how to listen to His words. Man was ignorant of the basic knowledge for life on earth and the proper rules of life. And so, although Jehovah created man and woman and finished seven days of enterprise, He did not fully complete man, for man was but a husk, and was not truly a man. Man only knew that it was Jehovah who had created mankind, but man had no inkling of how to abide by the words and laws of Jehovah. And so, after the creation of mankind, the work of Jehovah was far from over. He also had to fully guide mankind before Him so that mankind was able to live together on earth and revere Him, and so that mankind would be able to lead a proper way of life on earth after being guided by Him. Only then was the work that had been principally conducted under the name of Jehovah fully completed; that is, only then was Jehovah’s work of creating the world fully concluded. And so, since He created mankind, He had to guide mankind’s life on earth for several thousand years, so that mankind was able to abide by His decrees and laws, and partake in all the activities of a proper life on earth. Only then was Jehovah’s work fully completed. He began this work after creating mankind, and His work continued until the time of Jacob, when the twelve sons of Jacob became the twelve tribes of Israel. From that time onwards, everyone in Israel became the people who were officially led by Him on earth, and “Israel” became the particular location on earth where He did His work. Jehovah made these people the first group of people among whom He did His official work on earth, and made the entire land of Israel the starting point for His work. He used them as the beginning of even greater work, so that all people born from Him on earth would know how to revere Him and live on earth. And so, the deeds of the Israelites became an example to be followed by all the Gentiles, and what was said among the people of Israel became words to be heard by all the Gentiles. For they were the first to receive the laws and commandments of Jehovah, and so too were they the first to know how to revere the ways of Jehovah. They were the human ancestors who knew the ways of Jehovah, and were the representative of mankind chosen by Jehovah. When the Age of Grace arrived, Jehovah no longer guided man in this way. Man had committed sin and abandoned himself to sin, and so He began to rescue man from sin. In this way, He reproached man until man had been fully delivered from sin. Today, man has sunk to such depravity that the work of this stage can only be achieved through judgment and chastisement. This has been the work of several ages. Such work entails using the name of God, the work of God, and the different images of God, to divide and transfer the ages. The name of God and His work represent His age and represent His work in each age. If the work of God in each age is always the same, and He is always called by the same name, then how would man know Him? God must be called Jehovah, and apart from a God called Jehovah, one called by any other name is not God. Or else God can only be called Jesus, and God may not be called by any other name except Jesus; apart from Jesus, Jehovah is not God, and Almighty God is not God either. Man believes it is true that God is almighty, but God is a God with man; He must be called Jesus, for God is with man. To do this is to follow doctrine, and to constrain God within a scope. So, the work that God does in each age, the name by which He is called, and the image that He assumes, and each stage of His work until today, do not follow a single regulation, and are not subject to any constraints. He is Jehovah, but He is also Jesus, as well as the Messiah, and Almighty God. His work can gradually change, and there are corresponding changes in His name. No single name can fully represent Him, but all names by which He is called are able to represent Him, and the work that He does in each age represents His disposition. Say, for example, when the last days arrive, the God that you behold is still Jesus, and He is riding upon a white cloud, and He still has the appearance of Jesus, and the words that He speaks are still the words of Jesus: “You should love your neighbor as yourself, you should fast and , love your enemies as you cherish your own life, forbear with others, and be patient and humble. Only then can you be My disciple.” If you do all this, you may enter My kingdom. Is this not the work of the Age of Grace? Is this not the way that was spoken of during the Age of Grace? How do you feel when you hear these words? Do you not feel that this is still the work of Jesus? Is it not a duplication of His work? Could it gratify man? You may feel that the work of God can only remain as it is now, and cannot progress any further. He has only so great power, has no new work to do, and He has reached His limits. Two thousand years ago was the Age of Grace, and two thousand years later He still preaches the way of the Age of Grace, and still makes people repent. People will say, “God, You have only such great power. I believed You to be so wise, and yet You know only forbearance and patience, You know only how to love Your enemy and nothing more.” In the mind of man, God will forever be as He was in the Age of Grace, and man will always believe that God is loving and compassionate. Do you think the work of God would always tread the same old ground? And so, in this stage of His work He shall not be crucified, and everything that you see and touch shall be unlike any of what you have imagined and heard. Today, God does not concern Himself with the Pharisees, keeps the world in ignorance, and only you followers know Him, for He will not be crucified again. During the Age of Grace, Jesus preached openly throughout the land for the sake of His . He engaged with the Pharisees for the sake of the crucifixion; if He had not engaged with the Pharisees and those in power had never known of Him, how could He have been condemned, and then betrayed and nailed to the cross? And so, He engaged with the Pharisees for the sake of the crucifixion. Today, He does His work in secret in order to avoid temptation. The work, significance, and setting of the two incarnations of God were all different, so how could the work He did be completely the same?
Could the name of Jesus, “God with us,” represent God’s disposition in its entirety? Could it fully articulate God? If man says that God can only be called Jesus, and may not have any other name because God cannot change His disposition, then such words are blasphemy! Do you believe that the name “Jesus,” God with us, can represent God in His entirety? God can be called many names, but among these many names, there is not one which can encapsulate all that God has, there is not one which can fully represent God. And so God has many names, but these many names cannot fully articulate God’s disposition, for God’s disposition is too rich, and extends beyond the knowledge of man. The language of man is incapable of fully encapsulating God. Man has but a limited vocabulary with which to encapsulate all that he knows of God’s disposition: great, honorable, wondrous, unfathomable, supreme, holy, righteous, wise, and so on. Too many words! Such a limited vocabulary is incapable of describing what little man has witnessed of God’s disposition. Later on, many people added more words to better describe the fervor in their hearts: God is too great! God is too holy! God is too lovely! Today, sayings such as these have reached their peak, yet man is still incapable of clearly expressing God. And so, for man, God has many names, yet He has no one name, and that is because God’s being is too bountiful, and the language of man is too inadequate. One particular word or name is powerless to represent God in His entirety. So can God take one fixed name? God is so great and holy, so why do you not permit Him to change His name in each new age? As such, in each age that God personally does His own work, He uses a name that befits the age to encapsulate the work that He does. He uses this particular name, one that possesses the significance of the age, to represent His disposition in that age. God uses the language of man to express His own disposition. Even then, many people who have had a spiritual experience and have personally seen God still feel that one particular name is incapable of representing God in His entirety—and what a pity that is! They do not call God by any name, and simply call Him “God.” Their heart seems full of love, yet it also seems beset with contradictions, for they do not know how to explain “God.” What God is is too bountiful, there is simply no way of describing Him. There is no single name that can summarize God’s disposition, and there is no single name that can describe all that God has and is. If someone asks Me, “Exactly what name do You use?” I will tell him, “God is God!” Is that not the best name for God? Is it not the best encapsulation of God’s disposition? So why spend so much effort seeking the name of God? Why think so hard, going without food and sleep, for the sake of a name? The day will arrive when God is not called Jehovah, Jesus, or the Messiah—He will simply be called the “.” At that time, all the names that He took on earth shall come to an end, for His work on earth will have come to an end, after which He shall have no name. When all things come under the dominion of the Creator, why call Him by a highly appropriate yet incomplete name? Do you still seek God’s name now? Do you still dare to say that God is only called Jehovah? Do you still dare to say that God can only be called Jesus? Can you bear the sin of blasphemy against God? You should know that God originally had no name. He only took on one, or two, or many names because He had work to do and had to manage mankind. Whatever name He is called by, isn’t it freely chosen by Him? Does He need you, a creature, to decide it? The name by which God is called is according to what man can apprehend and the language of man, but this name cannot be encapsulated by man. You can only say that there is a God in heaven, that He is called God, that He is God Himself with great power, too wise, too exalted, too wondrous, too mysterious, too almighty, and you can say no more; that is all you know. In this way, can the name of Jesus alone represent God Himself? When the last days come, although it is still God who does His work, His name has to change, for it is a different age.
God is the greatest in the entire universe, so could He fully explain Himself using the image of a flesh? God puts on the flesh in order to do a stage of His work. There is no significance to the image of the flesh, and it bears no relation to the passing of ages, and has nothing to do with God’s disposition. Why did Jesus not allow the image of Him to remain? Why did He not let man paint His image, so that it could be passed on to later generations? Why did He not allow people to acknowledge that His image was the image of God? Although the image of man was created in the image of God, how could the appearance of man represent the exalted image of God? When God becomes flesh, He merely descends from heaven into a particular flesh. His Spirit descends into a flesh, through which He does the work of the Spirit. The Spirit is expressed in the flesh, and the Spirit does His work in the flesh. The work done in the flesh fully represents the Spirit, and the flesh is for the sake of work, but that does not make the image of the flesh a substitute for the true image of God Himself; this is not the purpose and significance of God become flesh. He becomes flesh only so that the Spirit can have somewhere appropriate to reside when doing His work, so that He can achieve His work in the flesh—so that people can see His work, come into contact with His disposition, hear His words, and know the wonder of His work. His name represents His disposition, His work represents His identity, but He has never said that His appearance in the flesh represents His image; that is merely a notion of man. And so, the key points of the incarnation of God are His name, His work, His disposition, and His gender. He uses these to represent His management in this age. His appearance in the flesh has no bearing on His management, and is merely for the sake of His work at the time. Yet it is impossible for to have no particular appearance, and so He chooses the appropriate family to determine His appearance. If the appearance of God has representative significance, then all those who possess similar facial features to Him also represent God. Is that not an egregious error? The portrait of Jesus was painted by man so that man could worship Him. At the time, no special instructions were provided by the Holy Spirit, and so man passed the portrait on until today. In fact, according to the original intention of God, man should not have done this. It is only the zeal of man which has caused the portrait of Jesus to remain until this day. God is Spirit, and man will never be capable of summing up exactly what His image is. His image can only be represented by His disposition. You are unable to encapsulate the appearance of His nose, of His mouth, of His eyes, and of His hair. When revelation came to John, he beheld the image of the Son of man: Out of His mouth was a sharp double-edged sword, His eyes were like flames of fire, His head and hair were white like wool, His feet were like polished bronze, and there was a golden sash around His chest. Though his words were very vivid, the image of God he described was not the image of a creature. What he saw was merely a vision, and was not the image of a person from the material world. John had seen a vision, but he had not witnessed the true “appearance” of God. The image of God’s incarnate flesh is the image of a creation, and is incapable of representing God’s disposition in its entirety. When Jehovah created mankind, He said He did so in His image and created male and female. At that time, He said He made male and female in the image of God. Although the image of man resembles the image of God, it does not mean that the appearance of man is the image of God. You cannot use the language of man to fully epitomize the image of God, for God is too exalted, too great, too wondrous and unfathomable!
When Jesus came to do His work, it was under the direction of the Holy Spirit; He did what the Holy Spirit wanted, and it was not according to the Old Testament Age of Law or according to the work of Jehovah. Although the work that Jesus came to do was not to abide by the laws of Jehovah or the commandments of Jehovah, Their source was the same. The work that Jesus did represented the name of Jesus, and represented the Age of Grace; the work done by Jehovah, represented Jehovah, and represented the Age of Law. Their work was the work of one Spirit in two different ages. The work that Jesus did could only represent the Age of Grace, and the work that Jehovah did could only represent the Old Testament Age of Law. He only guided the people of Israel and Egypt, and all the nations beyond Israel. The work of Jesus in the New Testament Age of Grace was the work of God under the name of Jesus as He guided the age. If you say that the work of Jesus was based upon that of Jehovah, and He did not carry out any new work, and all that He did was according to the words of Jehovah, according to the work of Jehovah and the prophecies of Isaiah, then Jesus was not God become flesh. If He conducted His work in this way, then He was an apostle or a worker of the Age of Law. If it is as you say, then Jesus could not open an age, and could not do other work. In the same way, the Holy Spirit must principally do His work through Jehovah, and apart from Jehovah the Holy Spirit could not do any new work. Man is wrong to see the work of Jesus in this way. If man believes that the work done by Jesus was according to the words of Jehovah and the prophecies of Isaiah, then was Jesus God incarnate, or was He a prophet? According to this view, there was not the Age of Grace, and Jesus was not the incarnation of God, for the work that He did could not represent the Age of Grace and could only represent the Old Testament Age of Law. There could only be a new age when Jesus came to do new work, launched a new age, and broke through the work that had previously been done in Israel, and did not conduct His work according to the work done by Jehovah in Israel, did not abide by His old rules, and did not follow any regulations, and did the new work that He should do. God Himself comes to begin an age, and God Himself comes to bring the age to an end. Man is incapable of doing the work of beginning an age and concluding the age. If Jesus did not bring the work of Jehovah to an end, then that proves that He was merely a man, and did not represent God. Precisely because Jesus came and concluded the work of Jehovah, followed on from the work of Jehovah by beginning His own work, 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 unmistakably different; this is the division of the new and old ages, and there is no fault in saying that they are two 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 Old Testaments, which is to say, the new and old ages. When Jesus came He did not go into the temple, which proves that the age of Jehovah had ended. He did not enter the temple because the work of Jehovah in the temple had finished, and did not need to be done again, and so to do it again would be to repeat it. Only by leaving the temple, beginning a new work and opening up a new path outside of the temple, was He able to bring God’s work to its zenith. If He had not gone out of the temple to do His work, the work of God would never be able to progress beyond the temple, and there would never be any new changes. And so, when Jesus came He did not enter the temple, and did not do His work in the temple. He did His work outside of the temple, and went about His work freely accompanied by the disciples. God’s departure from the temple to do His work meant that God had a new plan. His work was to be conducted outside of the temple, and it was to be new work that was unconstrained in the manner of its implementation. Jesus’ arrival brought the work of Jehovah during the age of the Old Testament to an end. Although They were called by two different names, both stages of work were done by one Spirit, and the work of the second was a continuation of the first. 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, so there was the age of Jesus. And so, each time God comes, He is called by one name, He represents one age, and He opens up 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 is always progressing forward. History is always moving forward, and the work of God is always moving forward. For His six-thousand-year management plan to reach its end, it must keep progressing onwards. Each day He must do new work, each year He must do new work; He must open up new paths, must begin new ages, begin new and greater work, and bring new names and new work. The Spirit of God is always doing new work, and never clings to the old ways and regulations. His work also never ceases, and is happening all the time. If you say that the work of the Holy Spirit is immutable, then why did Jehovah allow the priests to serve Him in the temple, yet Jesus did not enter the temple—even though when He came, people also said that He was the high priest, and that He was of the house of David and also the high priest, and the great king? And why did He not offer sacrifices? Entering the temple or not—is this not all the work of God Himself? If, as man imagines, Jesus will come, still called Jesus during the last days, and still on a white cloud, descending among man in the image of Jesus, is that not a repetition of His work? Would the Holy Spirit cling to the old? All that man believes are conceptions, and all that man accepts is according to the literal meaning, and is according to his imagination; it is out of line with the principles of the work of the Holy Spirit, and does not conform to the intentions of God. God would not do so; God is not so foolish and stupid, and His work is not so simple as you imagine. According to all that is done and imagined by man, Jesus will arrive on a cloud and will descend among you. You shall behold Him, and, riding a cloud, He shall tell you He is Jesus. You shall also behold the nail marks in His hands, and you shall know Him to be Jesus. And He shall save you again, and shall be your mighty God. He shall save you, bestow upon you a new name, and give each of you a white stone, after which you shall be allowed to enter and be received into paradise. Are such beliefs not the conceptions of man? Does God work according to the conceptions of man, or does He work counter to the conceptions of man? Do not the conceptions of man all come from Satan? Has not all of man been corrupted by Satan? If God did His work according to the conceptions of man, would God not become Satan? Would He not be the same as the creatures? Since the creatures have now been so corrupted by Satan that man has become the embodiment of Satan, if God worked according to the things of Satan, would He not be in league with Satan? How can man fathom the work of God? And so, God does not work according to the conceptions of man, and does not work as you imagine. There are those who say that God Himself said that He would arrive on a cloud. It is true that God said so Himself, but do you know that the mysteries of God are unfathomable to man? Do you know that the words of God cannot be explained by man? Are you so certain that you were enlightened by the Holy Spirit? Did the Holy Spirit show you in so direct a manner? Are these the directions of the Holy Spirit, or are they your conceptions? He said, “This was said by God Himself.” But we cannot use our own conceptions and minds to measure the words of God. As for the words of Isaiah, can you explain his words with complete confidence? Do you dare to explain his words? Since you do not dare to explain the words of Isaiah, why do you dare to explain the words of Jesus? Who is more exalted, Jesus or Isaiah? Since the answer is Jesus, why do you explain the words spoken by Jesus? Would God tell you of His work in advance? No creature can know, not even the messengers in heaven, nor the Son of man, so how could you know? Man is too lacking. What is crucial for you now is to know the three stages of work. 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 the entire breadth of God’s management, and are all the work of one Spirit. From when He created the world, God has always been 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 surely carried out by one Spirit. All those who separate these three stages oppose God. Now, you must understand that all the work from the first stage until today is the work of one God, the work of one Spirit, of which there is no doubt.