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2. What is the incarnation? What is the essence of the incarnation?

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I. One Must Bear Witness to the Truths Concerning God’s Incarnation

2. What is the incarnation? What is the essence of the incarnation?

gods-incarnation-2

Bible Verses for Reference:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jhn 1:1).

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (Jhn 1:14).

I am the way, the truth, and the life” (Jhn 14:6).

“Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me, Philip? he that has seen Me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father? Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? the words that I speak to you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwells in Me, He does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake” (Jhn 14:9–11).

I and My Father are one” (Jhn 10:30).

Relevant Words of God:

The meaning of incarnation is that God appears in the flesh, and He comes to work among man of His creation in the image of a flesh. So, for God to be incarnated, He must first be flesh, flesh with normal humanity; this, at the very least, must be true. In fact, the implication of God’s incarnation is that God lives and works in the flesh, God in His very essence becomes flesh, becomes a man.

from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Incarnation means that God’s Spirit becomes a flesh, that is, God becomes flesh; the work that He does in the flesh is the work of the Spirit, which is realized in the flesh, expressed by the flesh. No one except God’s flesh can fulfill the ministry of the incarnate God; that is, only God’s incarnate flesh, this normal humanity—and no one else—can express the divine work.

from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The Christ with normal humanity is a flesh in which the Spirit is realized, possessing normal humanity, normal sense, and human thought. “Being realized” means God becoming man, the Spirit becoming flesh; to put it plainly, it is when God Himself inhabits a flesh with normal humanity, and through it expresses His divine work—this is what it means to be realized, or incarnated.

from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

God become flesh is called Christ, and so the Christ that can give people the truth is called God. There is nothing excessive about this, for He possesses the substance of God, and possesses God’s disposition, and wisdom in His work, that are unattainable by man. Those who call themselves Christ, yet cannot do the work of God, are frauds. The real Christ is not merely the manifestation of God on earth, but also the particular flesh assumed by God as He carries out and completes His work among man. This flesh is not one that can be replaced by just any man, but one that can adequately bear God’s work on earth, and express the disposition of God, and well represent God, and provide man with life.

from “Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Because He is a man with the essence of God, He is above any of created humans, above any man who can perform God’s work. And so, among all those with a human shell like His, among all those who possess humanity, only He is the incarnate God Himself—all others are created humans. Though they all have humanity, created humans are nothing but human, while God incarnate is different: In His flesh He not only has humanity but more importantly has divinity. His humanity can be seen in the outer appearance of His flesh and in His everyday life, but His divinity is difficult to perceive. Because His divinity is expressed only when He has humanity, and is not as supernatural as people imagine it to be, it is extremely difficult for people to see. Even today it is most difficult for people to fathom the true essence of the incarnate God. In fact, even after I have spoken about it at such length, I expect it is still a mystery to most of you. This issue is very simple: Since God becomes flesh, His essence is a combination of humanity and divinity. This combination is called God Himself, God Himself on earth.

from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The implication of God’s incarnation is that God lives and works in the flesh, God in His very essence becomes flesh, becomes a man. His incarnate life and work can be divided into two stages. First is the life He lives before performing His ministry. He lives in an ordinary human family, in utterly normal humanity, obeying the normal morals and laws of human life, with normal human needs (food, clothing, shelter, sleep), normal human weaknesses, and normal human emotions. In other words, during this first stage He lives in non-divine, completely normal humanity, engaging in all the normal human activities. The second stage is the life He lives after beginning to perform His ministry. He still dwells in the ordinary humanity with a normal human shell, showing no outward sign of the supernatural. Yet He lives purely for the sake of His ministry, and during this time His normal humanity exists entirely in service of the normal work of His divinity; for by then His normal humanity has matured to the point of being able to perform His ministry. So the second stage of His life is to perform His ministry in His normal humanity, is a life both of normal humanity and of complete divinity. The reason that, during the first stage of His life, He lives in completely ordinary humanity is that His humanity is not yet equal to the entirety of the divine work, is not yet mature; only after His humanity grows mature, becomes capable of shouldering His ministry, can He set about performing His ministry. Since He, as flesh, needs to grow and mature, the first stage of His life is that of normal humanity, while in the second stage, because His humanity is capable of undertaking His work and performing His ministry, the life the incarnate God lives during His ministry is one of both humanity and complete divinity. If from the moment of His birth the incarnate God began His ministry in earnest, performing supernatural signs and wonders, then He would have no corporeal essence. Therefore, His humanity exists for the sake of His corporeal essence; there can be no flesh without humanity, and a person without humanity is not a human being. In this way, the humanity of God’s flesh is an intrinsic property of God’s incarnate flesh. To say that “when God becomes flesh He is entirely divine, is not at all human,” is a blasphemy, because this is an impossible stance to take, one that violates the principle of incarnation. Even after He begins to perform His ministry, His divinity still inhabits the human outer shell when He does His work; it is just that at the time, His humanity serves the sole purpose of allowing His divinity to perform the work in the normal flesh. So the agent of the work is the divinity inhabiting His humanity. It is His divinity, not His humanity, at work, yet it is a divinity hidden within His humanity; His work is in essence done by His complete divinity, not by His humanity. But the performer of the work is His flesh. One could say that He is a man and also is God, for God becomes a God living in the flesh, with a human shell and a human essence but also the essence of God.

from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The life that Jesus lived on earth was a normal life of the flesh. He lived in the normal humanity of His flesh. His authority—to do His work and speak His word, or to heal the sick and cast out demons, to do such extraordinary things—did not manifest itself, for the most part, until He began His ministry. His life before age twenty-nine, before He performed His ministry, was proof enough that He was just a normal flesh. Because of this, and because He had not yet begun to perform His ministry, people saw nothing divine in Him, saw nothing more than a normal human being, an ordinary man—just as at that time some people believed Him to be Joseph’s son. People thought that He was the son of an ordinary man, had no way of telling that He was God’s incarnate flesh; even when, in the course of performing His ministry, He worked many miracles, most people still said that He was Joseph’s son, for He was the Christ with the outer shell of normal humanity. His normal humanity and His work both existed in order to fulfill the significance of the first incarnation, proving that God had entirely come into the flesh, become an utterly ordinary man. That He had normal humanity before He began His work was proof that He was an ordinary flesh; and that He worked afterward also proved that He was an ordinary flesh, for He performed signs and wonders, healed the sick and cast out demons in the flesh with normal humanity. The reason that He could work miracles was that His flesh bore the authority of God, was the flesh in which God’s Spirit was clothed. He possessed this authority because of the Spirit of God, and it did not mean that He was not a flesh. Healing the sick and casting out demons was the work that He needed to perform in His ministry, an expression of His divinity hidden in His humanity, and no matter what signs He showed or how He demonstrated His authority, He still lived in normal humanity and was still a normal flesh. Up to the point that He was resurrected after dying upon the cross, He dwelt within a normal flesh. Bestowing grace, healing the sick, and casting out demons were all part of His ministry, were all work He performed in His normal flesh. Before He went to the cross, He never departed from His normal human flesh, regardless of what He was doing. He was God Himself, doing God’s own work, yet because He was the incarnate flesh of God, He ate food and wore clothing, had normal human needs, had normal human reason and a normal human mind. All of this was proof that He was a normal man, which proved that God’s incarnate flesh was a flesh with normal humanity, not a supernatural one.

from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The humanity of God incarnate exists to maintain the normal divine work in the flesh; His normal human thinking sustains His normal humanity and all His normal corporeal activities. One could say that His normal human thinking exists in order to sustain all the work of God in the flesh. If this flesh did not possess a normal human mind, then God could not work in the flesh, and what He needs to do in the flesh could never be accomplished. Though the incarnate God possesses a normal human mind, His work is not adulterated by human thought; He undertakes the work in the humanity with a normal mind, under the precondition that He possesses the humanity with a mind, not by the exercise of normal human thought. No matter how lofty the thoughts of His flesh are, His work does not bear the stamp of logic or thinking. In other words, His work is not conceived by the mind of His flesh, but is a direct expression of the divine work in His humanity. All of His work is the ministry He needs to fulfill, and none of it is conceived by His brain. For example, healing the sick, casting out demons, and the crucifixion were not products of His human mind, could not have been achieved by any man with a human mind. Likewise, the conquering work of today is a ministry that must be performed by the incarnate God, but it is not the work of a human will, it is the work His divinity should do, work of which no fleshly human is capable. So the incarnate God must possess a normal human mind, must possess normal humanity, because He must perform His work in the humanity with a normal mind. This is the essence of the work of the incarnate God, the very essence of the incarnate God.

from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The incarnate Son of man expressed God’s divinity through His humanity and conveyed the will of God to mankind. And through the expression of God’s will and disposition, He also revealed to people the God that cannot be seen or touched in the spiritual realm. What people saw was God Himself, tangible and with flesh and bones. So the incarnate Son of man made things such as God’s own identity, status, image, disposition, and what He has and is concrete and humanized. Even though the external appearance of the Son of man had some limitations regarding the image of God, His essence and what He has and is were entirely able to represent God’s own identity and status—there were merely some differences in the form of expression. No matter whether it’s the Son of man’s humanity or His divinity, we cannot deny that He represented God’s own identity and status. During this time, however, God worked through the flesh, spoke from the perspective of the flesh, and stood in front of mankind with the identity and status of the Son of man, and this gave people the opportunity to encounter and experience the true words and work of God among mankind. It also allowed people insight into His divinity and His greatness in the midst of humility, as well as to gain a preliminary understanding and a preliminary definition of the authenticity and the reality of God.

from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Although the appearance of God incarnate is exactly the same as a human, He learns human knowledge and speaks human language, and sometimes He even expresses His ideas through mankind’s means or expressions, the way He sees humans, the essence of things, and the way corrupt people see mankind and the essence of things are absolutely not the same. His perspective and the height at which He stands is something unattainable for a corrupt person. This is because God is truth, the flesh that He wears also possesses the essence of God, and His thoughts and that which is expressed by His humanity are also the truth. … No matter how ordinary, how normal, how lowly God’s incarnate flesh is, or even how much people look down on Him, His thoughts and His attitude toward mankind are things that no man could possess, and no man could imitate. He will always observe mankind from the perspective of divinity, from the height of His position as the Creator. He will always see mankind through the essence and the mindset of God. He absolutely cannot see mankind from the height of an average person, and from the perspective of a corrupt person. When people look at mankind, they look with human vision, and they use things such as human knowledge and human rules and theories as a measure. This is within the scope of what people can see with their eyes; it’s within the scope that corrupt people can achieve. When God looks at mankind, He looks with divine vision, and He uses His essence and what He has and is as a measure. This scope includes things that people cannot see, and this is where God incarnate and corrupt humans are entirely different. This difference is determined by humans’ and God’s different essences, and it is these different essences that determine their identities and positions as well as the perspective and height from which they see things.

from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The incarnate God is called Christ, and Christ is the flesh donned by the Spirit of God. This flesh is unlike any man that is of the flesh. This difference is because Christ is not of flesh and blood but is the incarnation of the Spirit. He has both a normal humanity and a complete divinity. His divinity is not possessed by any man. His normal humanity sustains all His normal activities in the flesh, while His divinity carries out the work of God Himself. Be it His humanity or divinity, both submit to the will of the heavenly Father. The substance of Christ is the Spirit, that is, the divinity. Therefore, His substance is that of God Himself; this substance will not interrupt His own work, and He could not possibly do anything that destroys His own work, nor would He ever utter any words that go against His own will. Therefore, the incarnate God would absolutely never do any work that interrupts His own management. This is what all man should understand. The essence of the work of the Holy Spirit is to save man and is for the sake of God’s own management. Similarly, the work of Christ is to save man and is for the sake of God’s will. Given that God becomes flesh, He realizes His substance within His flesh, such that His flesh is sufficient to undertake His work. Therefore, all the work of God’s Spirit is replaced by the work of Christ during the time of incarnation, and at the core of all work throughout the time of incarnation is the work of Christ. It cannot be commingled with work from any other age. And since God becomes flesh, He works in the identity of His flesh; since He comes in the flesh, He then finishes in the flesh the work that He ought to do. Be it the Spirit of God or be it Christ, both are God Himself, and He does the work that He ought to do and performs the ministry that He ought to perform.

The substance of God itself wields authority, but He is able to fully submit to the authority that comes from Him. Be it the work of the Spirit or the work of the flesh, neither conflicts with the other. The Spirit of God is the authority over all creation. The flesh with the substance of God is also possessed of authority, but God in the flesh can do all the work that obeys the will of the heavenly Father. This cannot be attained or conceived by any man. God Himself is authority, but His flesh can submit to His authority. This is the inner meaning of the words: “Christ obeys the will of God the Father.” God is a Spirit and can do the work of salvation, as can God become man. Anyway, God Himself does His own work; He neither interrupts nor interferes, much less carries out work that is mutually conflicting, for the substance of the work done by the Spirit and the flesh are alike. Be it the Spirit or the flesh, both work to fulfill one will and to manage the same work. Though the Spirit and the flesh have two disparate qualities, their substances are the same; both have the substance of God Himself, and the identity of God Himself. God Himself has no elements of disobedience; His substance is good. He is the expression of all beauty and goodness, as well as all love. Even in the flesh, God does not do any that disobeys God the Father. Even at the expense of sacrificing His life, He would be whole-heartedly willing and make no other choice. God has no elements of self-rightness and self-importance, or those of conceit and arrogance; He has no elements of crookedness. All that disobeys God comes from Satan; Satan is the source of all ugliness and wickedness. The reason that man has qualities alike those of Satan is because man has been corrupted and worked on by Satan. Christ has not been corrupted by Satan, hence He has only the characteristics of God and none of those of Satan. No matter how arduous the work or weak the flesh, God, while He lives in the flesh, will never do anything that interrupts the work of God Himself, much less forsake the will of God the Father in disobedience. He would rather suffer pains of the flesh than go against the will of God the Father; it is just as Jesus said in prayer, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as You will.” Man will choose, but Christ would not. Though He has the identity of God Himself, He still seeks the will of God the Father, and fulfills what is entrusted to Him by God the Father, from the perspective of the flesh. This is something that is unattainable to man. That which comes from Satan cannot have the substance of God, only one that disobeys and resists God. It cannot fully obey God, much less willingly obey the will of God. All man apart from Christ can do that which resists God, and not one can directly undertake the work entrusted by God; not one is able to regard the management of God as their own duty to perform. Submitting to the will of God the Father is the substance of Christ; disobedience against God is the characteristic of Satan. These two qualities are incompatible, and any who has the qualities of Satan cannot be called Christ. The reason that man cannot do the work of God in His stead is because man does not have any of the substance of God. Man works for God for the sake of man’s personal interests and of his future prospects, but Christ works to do the will of God the Father.

from “The Substance of Christ Is Obedience to the Will of the Heavenly Father” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The humanity of Christ is governed by His divinity. Though He is in the flesh, His humanity is not entirely like that of a man of the flesh. He has His own unique character, and this too is governed by His divinity. His divinity has no weakness; the weakness of Christ refers to that of His humanity. To a certain degree, this weakness constrains His divinity, but such limits are within a certain scope and time, and are not boundless. When it comes time to carry out the work of His divinity, it is done regardless of His humanity. The humanity of Christ is entirely directed by His divinity. Aside from the normal life of His humanity, all other actions of His humanity are influenced, affected and directed by His divinity. Though Christ has a humanity, it does not disrupt the work of His divinity. This is precisely because the humanity of Christ is directed by His divinity; though His humanity is not mature in His conduct before others, it does not affect the normal work of His divinity. When I say that His humanity has not been corrupted, I mean that the humanity of Christ can be directly directed by His divinity, and that He is possessed of a higher sense than that of the ordinary man. His humanity is most suited to being directed by the divinity in His work; His humanity is ablest to express the work of the divinity, as well as ablest to submit to such work. As God works in the flesh, He never loses sight of the duty that a man in the flesh ought to fulfill; He is able to worship God in heaven with a true heart. He has the substance of God, and His identity is that of God Himself. It is only that He has come to earth and become a created being, with the exterior shell of a created being, and now possessed of a humanity that He did not have before; He is able to worship God in heaven. This is the being of God Himself and is inimitable to man. His identity is God Himself. It is from the perspective of the flesh that He worships God; therefore, the words “Christ worships God in heaven” are not in error. What He asks of man is precisely His own being; He has already achieved all that He asks of man prior to asking such of them. He would never make demands of others while He Himself gets free from them, for this all constitutes His being. Regardless of how He carries out His work, He would not act in a manner that disobeys God. No matter what He asks of man, no demand exceeds that which is attainable by man. All that He does is doing the will of God and is for the sake of His management. The divinity of Christ is above all men, therefore He is the highest authority of all created beings. This authority is His divinity, that is, the disposition and being of God Himself, which determines His identity. Therefore, no matter how normal His humanity, it is undeniable that He has the identity of God Himself; no matter from which standpoint He speaks and howsoever He obeys the will of God, it cannot be said that He is not God Himself.

from “The Substance of Christ Is Obedience to the Will of the Heavenly Father” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

God continues His utterances, employing various methods and perspectives to admonish us about what we should do while at the same time giving voice to His heart. His words carry life power, show us the way we should walk, and enable us to understand what the truth is. We begin to be drawn by His words, we begin to focus on the tone and manner of His speaking, and subconsciously we begin to take an interest in the innermost feelings of this unremarkable person. He spits up His heart’s blood in working on our behalf, loses sleep and appetite on our account, weeps for us, sighs for us, groans in sickness for us, suffers humiliation for the sake of our destination and salvation, and our numbness and rebelliousness draw tears and blood from His heart. This way of being and of having belongs to no ordinary person, nor can it be possessed or attained by any corrupted human being. He shows tolerance and patience possessed by no ordinary person, and His love is not something with which any created being is endowed. No one apart from Him can know all of our thoughts, or have such a clear and complete grasp of our nature and substance, or judge the rebelliousness and corruption of mankind, or speak to us and work among us like this on behalf of God in heaven. No one apart from Him is endowed with the authority, wisdom, and dignity of God; the disposition of God and what God has and is are brought forth, in their entirety, in Him. No one apart from Him can show us the way and bring us light. No one apart from Him can reveal the mysteries that God has not disclosed from creation until today. No one apart from Him can save us from Satan’s bondage and our own corrupt disposition. He represents God. He expresses the inmost heart of God, the exhortations of God, and God’s words of judgment toward all mankind. He has begun a new age, a new era, and ushered in a new heaven and earth and new work, and He has brought us hope, ending the life we led in vagueness and enabling our whole being to behold, in total clarity, the path to salvation. He has conquered our whole being, and gained our hearts. From that moment onward, our minds have become conscious, and our spirits seem to be revived: This ordinary, insignificant person, who lives among us and has long been rejected by us—is this not the Lord Jesus, who is ever in our thoughts, waking or dreaming, and for whom we long night and day? It is He! It really is He! He is our God! He is the truth, the way, and the life!

from “Beholding the Appearance of God in His Judgment and Chastisement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The flesh worn by the Spirit of God is God’s own flesh. The Spirit of God is supreme; He is almighty, holy, and righteous. So likewise, His flesh is also supreme, almighty, holy, and righteous. Flesh such as that is only able to do that which is righteous and beneficial to mankind, that which is holy, glorious, and mighty, and is incapable of doing anything that violates the truth or morality and justice, much less anything that betrays God’s Spirit.

from “A Very Serious Problem: Betrayal (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

God can save corrupt man from the influence of Satan, but this work cannot be directly accomplished by the Spirit of God; rather, it can only be done by the flesh God’s Spirit wears, by God’s incarnate flesh. This flesh is man and also God, is a man possessed of normal humanity and also God possessed of full divinity. And so, even though this flesh is not the Spirit of God, and differs greatly from the Spirit, it is still the incarnate God Himself who saves man, who is the Spirit and also the flesh. No matter what He is called by, ultimately it is still God Himself who saves mankind. For the Spirit of God is indivisible from the flesh, and the work of the flesh is also the work of the Spirit of God; it is just that this work is not done using the identity of the Spirit, but is done using the identity of the flesh.

from “Corrupt Mankind Is More in Need of the Salvation of God Become Flesh” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

What is covered in the expressions of the Spirit? Sometimes the practical God works in humanity, and sometimes in divinity—but overall, in both cases the Spirit is in command. … The practical God Himself that is spoken of today works both in humanity and in divinity. Through the appearance of the practical God, His normal human work and life and His completely divine work are achieved. His humanity and divinity are combined in one, and the work of both is[a] accomplished through words; whether in humanity or divinity, He utters words. When God works in humanity, He speaks the language of humanity, so that people may engage and understand. His words are spoken plainly, and are easy to understand, such that they can be provided to all people; regardless of whether these people are possessed of knowledge, or poorly educated, they can all receive God’s words. God’s work in divinity is also carried out through words, but it is full of provision, it is full of life, it is untainted by human ideas, it does not involve human preferences, and it is without human limits, it is outside the bounds of any normal humanity; it, too, is carried out in the flesh, but it is the direct expression of the Spirit. … God’s appearance in the flesh means that all of the work and words of the Spirit of God are done through His normal humanity, and through His incarnate flesh. In other words, God’s Spirit both directs His human work and carries out the work of divinity in the flesh, and in God incarnate you can see both God’s work in humanity and completely divine work; this is the even more practical significance of God’s appearance in the flesh. If you can see this clearly, you will be able to connect all of the different parts of God, and will cease to place too much of a premium on His work in divinity, and to be too dismissive of His work in humanity, and you will not go to extremes, nor take any detours. Overall, the meaning of the practical God is that the work of His humanity and of His divinity, as directed by the Spirit, is expressed through His flesh, so that people can see that He is vivid and lifelike, and real and actual.

from “You Should Know That the Practical God Is God Himself” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Footnotes:

a. The original text reads “and both are.”

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