The three stages of work are a record of the entire work of God, they are a record of God’s salvation of mankind, and they are not imaginary. If you truly wish to seek a knowledge of God’s entire disposition, then you must know the three stages of work carried out by God, and, what’s more, you must not omit any stage. This is the minimum that must be achieved by those who seek to know God. Man himself cannot come up with a true knowledge of God. It is not something that man himself can imagine, nor is it the consequence of the Holy Spirit’s especial favor of one person. Instead, it is a knowledge that comes after man has experienced the work of God, and is a knowledge of God that only comes after having experienced the facts of God’s work. Such a knowledge cannot be achieved on a whim, nor is it something that can be taught. It is wholly related to personal experience. God’s salvation of mankind is at the core of these three stages of work, yet within the work of salvation are included several methods of working and means by which God’s disposition is expressed. This is what is most difficult for man to identify, and is difficult for man to understand. The separation of the ages, changes in God’s work, changes in the location of work, changes in the recipient of this work, and so on—these are all included in the three stages of work. In particular, the difference in the Holy Spirit’s way of working, as well as alterations in God’s disposition, image, name, identity, or other changes, are all part of the three stages of work. One stage of work can only represent one part, and is limited within a certain scope. It does not involve the separation of the ages, or changes in God’s work, much less the other aspects. This is a clearly obvious fact. The three stages of work are the entirety of God’s work in saving mankind. Man must know God’s work and God’s disposition in the work of salvation, and without this fact, your knowledge of God is but hollow words, nothing more than armchair pontification. Such knowledge can neither convince nor conquer man, such knowledge is out of line with reality, and is not the truth. It may be very plentiful, and pleasing to the ear, but if it is at odds with God’s inherent disposition, then God will not spare you. Not only will He not commend your knowledge, but He will also take retribution on you for being a sinner who blasphemed Him. The words of knowing God are not spoken lightly. Though you may be glib and silver-tongued, and your words can bring the dead to life, and make the living dead, still you are out of your depth when it comes to speaking of the knowledge of God. God is not someone that you can judge rashly, or casually praise, or nonchalantly denigrate. You praise anyone and everyone, yet you struggle to the right words to describe the great virtuousness and graciousness of God—and this is what is learned by every loser. Even though there are many language specialists who are capable of describing God, the accuracy of what they describe is but a hundredth of the truth spoken by people who belong to God and have only a limited vocabulary, yet possess rich experience. Thus it can be seen that knowledge of God lies in accuracy and actuality, and not in the clever use of words or a rich vocabulary. Man’s knowledge and the knowledge of God are completely unrelated. The lesson of knowing God is higher than any of the natural sciences of mankind. It is a lesson that can only be achieved by an extremely small number of those who seek to know God, and cannot be achieved by just any person of talent. And so you must not view knowing God and pursuing the truth as if they can be achieved by a mere child. Perhaps you have been completely successful in your family life, or your career, or in your marriage, but when it comes to the truth, and the lesson of knowing God, you have nothing to show for yourself, you have achieved nothing. Putting the truth into practice, it can be said, is of great difficulty for you, and knowing God is an even greater problem. This is your difficulty, and is also the difficulty faced by the whole of mankind. Among those who have had some achievements in the cause of knowing God, there are almost none who are up to the standard. Man does not know what it means to know God, or why it is necessary to know God, or what extent counts as knowing God. This is what is so confounding to mankind, and is quite simply the biggest riddle faced by mankind—and no one is capable of answering this question, nor is anyone willing to answer this question, because, to date, no one among mankind has had any success in the study of this work. Perhaps, when the riddle of the three stages of work is made known to mankind, there will appear in succession a group of talents who know God. Of course, I hope that is the case, and, what’s more, I am in the process of carrying out this work, and hope to see the appearance of more such talents in the near future. They will become those who bear testimony to the fact of these three stages of work, and, of course, will also be the first to bear testimony to these three stages of work. If there are not such talents, on the day that God’s work comes to an end, or there are only one or two, and they have personally accepted being made perfect by God incarnate, then nothing is more distressing and regrettable than this—although it is only the worst case scenario. Whatever the case, I still hope that those who truly pursue can gain this blessing. Since the beginning of time, there has never before been work such as this, such an undertaking has never occurred in the history of human development. If you can truly become one of the first of those who know God, would this not be the highest honor among all creatures? Would any creature among mankind be more commended by God? Such work is not easy to achieve, but will ultimately still reap rewards. Regardless of their gender or nationality, all those who are capable of achieving the knowledge of God will, in the end, receive God’s greatest honor, and will be the only ones that possess the authority of God. This is the work of today, and is also the work of the future; it is the last, and highest work to be accomplished in 6,000 years of work, and is a way of working that reveals each category of man. Through the work of causing man to know God, the different ranks of man are revealed: Those who know God are qualified to receive God’s blessings and accept His promises, while those who do not know God are unqualified to receive God’s blessings and accept His promises. Those who know God are the intimates of God, and those who do not know God cannot be called the intimates of God; the intimates of God can receive any of God’s blessings, but those who are not His intimates are not worthy of any of His work. Whether it be tribulations, refinement, or judgment, all are for the sake of allowing man to ultimately achieve a knowledge of God and so that man may submit to God. This is the only effect that will ultimately be achieved. Nothing of the three stages of work is hidden, and this is advantageous to man’s knowledge of God, and helps man gain a more complete and thorough knowledge of God. All this work is of benefit to man.
Excerpted from The Word Appears in the Flesh