The work being done at present has pushed forward the work of the Age of Grace; that is, the work under the entire six-thousand-year management plan has moved forward. Though the Age of Grace has ended, God’s work has made progress. Why do I say time and again that this stage of work builds upon the Age of Grace and the Age of Law? This means that the work of this day is a continuation of the work done in the Age of Grace and an advance over that done in the Age of Law. The three stages are tightly interconnected and each link in the chain is closely tied to the next. Why do I also say that this stage of work builds on that done by Jesus? Supposing that this stage did not build on the work done by Jesus, He would have to be crucified again in this stage, and the redemptive work of the previous stage would have to be done all over again. This would be meaningless. And so it is not that the work is completely finished, but that the age has moved forward and the level of the work has been raised even higher than before. It may be said that this stage of work is built on the foundation of the Age of Law and on the rock of Jesus’ work. The work is built stage by stage, and this stage is not a new beginning. Only the combination of the three stages of work may be deemed the six-thousand-year management plan. The work at this stage is done on the foundation of the work of the Age of Grace. If these two stages of work were unrelated, then why is the crucifixion not repeated in this stage? Why do I not bear the sins of man? I do not come through conception by the Holy Spirit, nor do I bear the sins of man through crucifixion; rather, I am here to chastise man directly. If My chastisement of man and My coming now not by the conception of the Holy Spirit did not follow the crucifixion, then I would not be qualified to chastise man. It is precisely because I am one with Jesus that I come directly to chastise and judge man. The work at this stage is built entirely on the work in the preceding stage. That is why only work of this kind can bring man, step by step, into salvation. Jesus and I come from one Spirit. Even though We are unrelated in Our fleshes, Our Spirits are one; even though the content of what We do and the work that We take on are not the same, We are alike in essence; Our fleshes take different forms, but this is due to the change in era and the differing requirements of Our work; Our ministries are not alike, so the work We bring forth and the disposition We reveal to man are also different. That is why what man sees and understands this day is unlike that of the past; this is so because of the change in era. For all that They are different in the gender and the form of Their fleshes, and that They were not born of the same family, still less in the same time period, Their Spirits are nonetheless one. For all that Their fleshes share neither blood nor physical kinship of any kind, it cannot be denied that They are the incarnation of God in two different time periods. That They are the incarnate fleshes of God is an irrefutable truth, even though They are not of the same bloodline and do not share a common human language (one was a male who spoke the language of the Jews and the other a female who exclusively speaks Chinese). It is for these reasons that They have lived in different countries to do the work that it behooves each one to do, and in different time periods too. Despite the fact that They are the same Spirit, possessed of the same essence, there are no absolute similarities at all between the outward shells of Their fleshes. All They share is the same humanity, but as far as external appearance of Their fleshes and the circumstances of Their birth are concerned, They are not alike. These things have no impact on Their respective work or on the knowledge that man has of Them, for, in the final analysis, They are the same Spirit and none can separate Them. Even though They are not related by blood, Their entire beings are in the charge of Their Spirits, which allocates to Them different work in different time periods, and Their fleshes to different bloodlines. Similarly, the Spirit of Jehovah is not the father of the Spirit of Jesus, and the Spirit of Jesus is not the son of the Spirit of Jehovah: They are one and the same Spirit. Just like the incarnate God of today and Jesus. Though They are not related by blood, They are one; this is because Their Spirits are one. God can do the work of mercy and lovingkindness, as well as that of the righteous judgment and of chastisement of man, and that of calling down curses on man; and in the end, He can do the work of destroying the world and punishing the wicked. Does He not do all of this Himself? Is this not the omnipotence of God? He was able both to promulgate laws for man and to issue him commandments, and He was also able to lead the early Israelites to live their lives on earth and to guide them to build the temple and altars, holding all the Israelites under His dominion. Relying on His authority, He lived on earth with the people of Israel for two thousand years. The Israelites dared not rebel against Him; all revered Jehovah and observed His commandments. This was the work that was done relying on His authority and His omnipotence. Then, during the Age of Grace, Jesus came to redeem the whole of fallen mankind (and not only the Israelites). He showed mercy and lovingkindness to man. The Jesus that man saw in the Age of Grace was filled with lovingkindness and was always loving toward man, for He had come to save humanity from sin. He was able to forgive men their sins until His crucifixion completely redeemed mankind from sin. During this period, God appeared before man with mercy and lovingkindness; that is, He became a sin offering for man and was crucified for the sins of man so that they might forever be forgiven. He was merciful, compassionate, enduring, and loving. And all those who followed Jesus in the Age of Grace likewise sought to be enduring and loving in all things. They were long-suffering, and never fought back even when beaten, cursed, or stoned. But during the final stage this can no longer be so. Similarly, even though Their Spirits were one, the work of Jesus and Jehovah was not entirely alike. Jehovah’s work was not to bring the age to an end but to guide it, ushering in mankind’s life on earth. However, the work now in hand is to conquer those in the Gentile nations who have been deeply corrupted, and to lead not just the family of China, but the entire universe. It may appear to you that this work is being done only in China, but in fact it has already begun to expand abroad. Why is it that foreigners are, time and again, seeking the true way? That is because the Spirit has already set to work, and the words that are being spoken now are directed toward people throughout the universe. With this, half of the work is already under way. From the creation of the world down to the present, the Spirit of God has set this great work in motion, and has moreover done different work in different ages and in different nations. The people of each age see a different disposition of His, which is naturally revealed through the different work that He does. He is God, filled with mercy and lovingkindness; He is the sin offering for man and man’s shepherd; but He is also man’s judgment, chastisement, and curse. He could lead man to live on earth for two thousand years, and He could also redeem the corrupted mankind from sin. Today, He is also able to conquer mankind, who do not know Him, and prostrate them under His dominion, so that all submit to Him fully. In the end, He will burn away all that is unclean and unrighteous within men throughout the universe, to show them that He is not only a merciful and loving God, not only a God of wisdom and wonders, not only a holy God, but, even more, a God who judges man. To the evil ones among mankind, He is burning, judgment, and punishment; to those who are to be perfected, He is tribulation, refinement, and trial, as well as comfort, sustenance, provision of words, dealing, and pruning. And to those who are eliminated, He is punishment and also retribution.
Excerpted from The Word Appears in the Flesh