I. One Must Bear Witness to the Truths Concerning God’s Incarnation
7. Why is it said that God’s two incarnations complete the significance of the incarnation?
“So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin to salvation” (Heb 9:28).
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jhn 1:1).
Relevant Words of God:
The first incarnation was to redeem man from sin, to redeem him by means of the fleshly body of Jesus, that is, He saved man from the cross, but the corrupt satanic disposition still remained within man. The second incarnation is no longer to serve as a sin offering but rather to save fully those who were redeemed from sin. This is done so that those who have been forgiven may be delivered from their sins and made fully clean, and by attaining a changed disposition, break free of Satan’s influence of darkness and return before the throne of God. Only in this way can man be fully sanctified. After the Age of Law had come to an end, and beginning with the Age of Grace, God began the work of salvation, which continues until the last days when, in judging and chastising the human race for their rebelliousness, He will completely purify mankind. Only then will God conclude His work of salvation and enter into rest. Therefore, in the three stages of work, only twice did God become flesh to carry out His work among man Himself. That is because only one in the three stages of work is to guide men in leading their lives, while the other two consist of the work of salvation. Only by becoming flesh can God live alongside man, experience the suffering of the world, and live in an ordinary body of flesh. Only in this way can He supply men with the practical word that as created beings they need. It is through the incarnation of God that man receives full salvation from God, and not directly from heaven in answer to his prayers. For, man being of the flesh, he has no way of seeing the Spirit of God, much less of approaching His Spirit. All that man can come into contact with is God’s incarnate flesh, and only by means of this is man able to grasp all the words and all the truths and receive full salvation. The second incarnation will be sufficient to purge away the sins of man and to fully purify him. Hence, with the second incarnation, the entirety of God’s work in the flesh will be brought to a close and the significance of God’s incarnation be made complete.
from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
At the time that Jesus was doing His work, man’s knowledge of Him was still vague and unclear. Man always believed Him to be the son of David, and proclaimed Him to be a great prophet, the benevolent Lord who redeemed man’s sins. Some, on the strength of their faith, were healed just from touching the edge of His garment; the blind could see and even the dead could be restored to life. However, man was unable to discover the corrupt satanic disposition deeply rooted within himself, neither did he know how to cast it away. Man received much grace, such as the peace and happiness of the flesh, the faith of one member bringing blessing on an entire family, the healing of sickness, and so on. The rest were the good deeds of man and his godly appearance; if man could live on the basis of these, he was considered an acceptable believer. Only believers of this kind could enter heaven after death, which means that they were saved. But, in their lifetime, these people did not understand at all the way of life. All they did was to commit sins and then confess their sins in a constant cycle without making any path toward changing their disposition: Such was the condition of man in the Age of Grace. Has man received complete salvation? No! Therefore, after that stage of work was finished, there still remained the work of judgment and chastisement. This stage is to make man pure by means of the word and thereby give him a path to follow. This stage would not be fruitful or meaningful if it continued with the casting out of demons, for it would fail to extirpate man’s sinful nature, and man would come to a standstill at the forgiveness of his sins. Through the sin offering, man has been forgiven his sins, for the work of the crucifixion has already come to an end and God has prevailed over Satan. But the corrupt disposition of man still remaining within him, man can still sin and resist God, and God has not gained mankind. That is why in this stage of work God uses the word to expose the corrupt disposition of man, causing him to practice in accordance with the right path. This stage is more meaningful than the previous one, as well as more fruitful, for now it is the word that directly supplies man’s life and enables the disposition of man to be completely renewed; it is a much more thorough stage of work. Therefore, the incarnation in the last days has completed the significance of God’s incarnation and completely finished God’s plan of management for man’s salvation.
from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The first incarnate God did not complete the work of incarnation; He only completed the first step of the work that it was necessary for God to do in the flesh. So, in order to finish the work of incarnation, God has returned into the flesh once again, living out all the normality and reality of the flesh, that is, making God’s Word manifest in an entirely normal and ordinary flesh, thereby concluding the work that He left undone in the flesh. The second incarnate flesh is in essence similar to the first, but is even more real, even more normal than the first. As a consequence, the suffering the second incarnate flesh endures is greater than that of the first, but this suffering is a result of His ministry in the flesh, which is different from the suffering of corrupted man. It also stems from the normality and reality of His flesh. Because He performs His ministry in utterly normal and real flesh, the flesh must endure a great deal of hardship. The more normal and real this flesh is, the more He will suffer in the performance of His ministry. God’s work is expressed in a very common flesh, one that is not supernatural at all. Because His flesh is normal and must also shoulder the work of saving man, He suffers in even greater measure than a supernatural flesh would—all this suffering stems from the reality and normality of His flesh. From the suffering that the two incarnate fleshes have undergone while performing Their ministries, one can see the essence of the incarnate flesh. The more normal the flesh, the greater hardship He must endure while undertaking the work; the more real the flesh is that undertakes the work, the harsher are the notions that people get, and the more dangers are likely to befall Him. And yet, the more real the flesh is, and the more the flesh possesses the needs and complete sense of a normal human being, the more capable He is of taking on God’s work in the flesh. It was Jesus’ flesh that was nailed to the cross, His flesh that He gave up as a sin offering; it was by means of a flesh with normal humanity that He defeated Satan and completely saved man from the cross. And it is as a complete flesh that the second incarnate God performs the conquering work and defeats Satan. Only a flesh that is completely normal and real can perform the conquering work in its entirety and make a forceful testimony. That is to say, the work of[a] conquering man is made effective through the reality and normality of God in the flesh, not through supernatural miracles and revelations. The ministry of this incarnate God is to speak, and thereby to conquer and perfect man; in other words, the work of the Spirit realized in the flesh, the flesh’s duty, is to speak and thereby conquer, reveal, perfect, and eliminate man completely. And so, it is in the conquering work that God’s work in the flesh will be accomplished in full. The initial redemptive work was only the beginning of the work of incarnation; the flesh who does the conquering work will complete the entire work of incarnation. In gender, one is male and the other female; in this the meaning of God’s incarnation has been completed. It dispels man’s misconceptions of God: God can become both male and female, and the incarnate God is in essence genderless. He made both man and woman, and He does not differentiate between the genders. In this stage of the work, God does not perform signs and wonders, so that the work will achieve its results by means of words. The reason for this, moreover, is because the work of God incarnate this time is not to heal the sick and cast out demons, but to conquer man by speaking, which is to say that the native ability possessed by this incarnate flesh of God is to speak words and to conquer man, not to heal the sick and cast out demons. His work in normal humanity is not to perform miracles, not to heal the sick and cast out demons, but to speak, and so the second incarnate flesh seems to people much more normal than the first. People see that God’s incarnation is no lie; but this incarnate God is different from Jesus incarnate, and though They are both God incarnate, They are not completely the same. Jesus possessed normal humanity, ordinary humanity, but He was accompanied by many signs and wonders. In this incarnate God, human eyes will see no signs or wonders, neither healing the sick nor driving out demons, nor walking on the sea, nor fasting for forty days…. He does not do the same work that Jesus did, not because His flesh is in essence any different from Jesus’, but because it is not His ministry to heal the sick and cast out demons. He does not tear down His own work, does not disturb His own work. Since He conquers man through His real words, there is no need to subdue him with miracles, and so this stage is to complete the work of incarnation.
from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Why do I say that the meaning of incarnation was not completed in Jesus’ work? Because the Word did not entirely become flesh. What Jesus did was only one part of God’s work in the flesh; He only did the redemptive work and did not do the work of completely gaining man. For this reason God has become flesh once again in the last days. This stage of the work is also done in an ordinary flesh, done by an utterly normal human being, one whose humanity is not in the least bit transcendent. In other words, God has become a complete human being, and it is a person whose identity is that of God, a complete human being, a complete flesh, who is performing the work. To the human eye, He is just a flesh who is not transcendent at all, a very ordinary person who can speak the language of heaven, who shows no miraculous signs, works no miracles, much less exposes the inside truth about religion in great meeting halls. The work of the second incarnate flesh seems to people utterly unlike that of the first, so much so that the two seem to have nothing in common, and nothing of the first’s work can be seen this time. Though the work of the second incarnate flesh is different from that of the first, that does not prove that Their source is not one and the same. Whether Their source is the same depends on the nature of the work done by the fleshes and not on Their outer shells. During the three stages of His work, God has been incarnated twice, and both times the work of God incarnate inaugurates a new age, ushers in a new work; the incarnations complement each other. It is impossible for human eyes to tell that the two fleshes actually come from the same source. Needless to say, it is beyond the capacity of the human eye or of the human mind. But in Their essence They are the same, for Their work originates from the same Spirit. Whether the two incarnate fleshes arise from the same source cannot be judged by the era and the place in which They were born, or other such factors, but by the divine work expressed by Them. The second incarnate flesh does not perform any of the work that Jesus did, for God’s work does not adhere to convention, but each time it opens up a new path. The second incarnate flesh does not aim to deepen or solidify the impression of the first flesh in people’s minds, but to complement it and to perfect it, to deepen man’s knowledge of God, to break all the rules that exist in people’s hearts, and to wipe out the fallacious images of God in their hearts. It can be said that no individual stage of God’s own work can give man a complete knowledge of Him; each gives only a part, not the whole. Though God has expressed His disposition in full, because of man’s limited faculties of understanding, his knowledge of God still remains incomplete. It is impossible, using human language, to convey the entirety of God’s disposition; how much less can a single stage of His work fully express God? He works in the flesh under the cover of His normal humanity, and one can only know Him by the expressions of His divinity, not by His bodily shell. God comes into the flesh to allow man to know Him by means of His various work, and no two stages of His work are alike. Only in this way can man have a full knowledge of God’s work in the flesh, not confined to one single facet.
from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The stage of work which Jesus performed only fulfilled the substance of “the Word was with God”: The truth of God was with God, and the Spirit of God was with the flesh and was inseparable from that flesh. That is, the flesh of God incarnate was with the Spirit of God, which is greater proof that Jesus incarnate was the first incarnation of God. This stage of work precisely fulfills the inner meaning of “the Word becomes flesh,” lent deeper meaning to “the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” and allows you to firmly believe the words “In the beginning was the Word.” Which is to say, at the time of creation God was possessed of words, His words were with Him and inseparable from Him, and the final age makes even clearer the power and authority of His words, and allows man to see all of His words—to hear all of His words. Such is the work of the final age. You must come to understand these things through and through. It is not a question of knowing the flesh, but of how you understand the flesh and the Word. This is that to which you must bear witness, that which everyone must know. Because this is the work of the second incarnation—and the last time that God becomes flesh—it fully completes the significance of the incarnation, thoroughly carries out and issues forth all of God’s work in the flesh, and brings to an end the era of God’s being in the flesh.
from “Practice (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Whether in this stage God incarnate is enduring hardship or performing His ministry, He does so to complete the meaning of incarnation, for this is God’s last incarnation. God can only be incarnated twice. There cannot be a third time. The first incarnation was male, the second female, and so the image of God’s flesh is completed in man’s mind; moreover, the two incarnations have already finished God’s work in the flesh. The first time God incarnate possessed normal humanity, in order to complete the meaning of incarnation. This time He also possesses normal humanity, but the meaning of this incarnation is different: It is deeper, and His work is of more profound significance. The reason God has become flesh again is to complete the meaning of incarnation. When God has completely ended this stage of His work, the entire meaning of incarnation, that is, God’s work in the flesh, will be complete, and there will be no more work to be done in the flesh. That is, from now on God will never again come into the flesh to do His work.
from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
(Selected Passage of God’s Word)
The Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of the Incarnation
Each stage of work done by God has its own practical significance. Back then, when Jesus came, He was male, and when God comes this time, He is female. From this, you can see that God created both male and female for the sake of His work, and with Him there is no distinction of gender. When His Spirit comes, He can take on any flesh He pleases, and that flesh can represent Him; whether male or female, it can represent God as long as it is His incarnate flesh. If Jesus had appeared as a female when He came, in other words, if an infant girl, and not a boy, had been conceived by the Holy Spirit, that stage of work would have been completed all the same. If that had been the case, then the present stage of work would have to be completed by a male instead, but the work would be completed all the same. The work done in either stage is equally significant; neither stage of work is repeated, nor does it conflict with the other. At the time, Jesus, in doing His work, was called the only Son, and “Son” implies the male gender. Why is the only Son not mentioned in this current stage? Because the requirements of the work have necessitated a change in gender from that of Jesus. With God there is no distinction of gender. He does His work as He wishes, and in doing His work He is not subject to any restrictions, but is especially free. Yet every stage of work has its own practical significance. God became flesh twice, and it is self-evident that His incarnation during the last days is the final time. He has come to make known all His deeds. If in this stage He did not become flesh in order personally to do work for man to witness, man would forever cling to the notion that God is only male, not female. Before this, all humanity believed that God could only be male and that a female could not be called God, for all humanity regarded men as having authority over women. They believed that no woman could take on authority, only men. What is more, they even said that man was the head of woman and that woman must obey man and could not surpass him. In times past, when it was said that man was woman’s head, this was directed at Adam and Eve, who had been beguiled by the serpent—not at man and woman as they had been created by Jehovah in the beginning. Of course, a woman must obey and love her husband, and a husband must learn to feed and support his family. These are the laws and decrees set forth by Jehovah that humankind must abide by in their lives on earth. Jehovah said to woman, “Your desire shall be to your husband, and he shall rule over you.” He spoke thus only so that humankind (that is, both man and woman) might live normal lives under the dominion of Jehovah, and so that the lives of humankind might have a structure, and not fall out of their proper order. Therefore, Jehovah made appropriate rules for how man and woman should act, though this was only in regard to all the created beings living on the earth, and bore no relation to God’s incarnate flesh. How could God be the same as His created beings? His words were directed only toward the humankind of His creation; it was in order for humankind to live normal lives that He established rules for man and woman. In the beginning, when Jehovah created humankind, He made two kinds of human being, both male and female; and so there is the division of male and female in His incarnate fleshes. He did not decide His work based on the words He spoke to Adam and Eve. The two times He has become flesh have been determined entirely according to His thinking at the time He first created humankind; that is, He has completed the work of His two incarnations based on the male and the female before they were corrupted. If humanity took the words spoken by Jehovah to Adam and Eve, who had been beguiled by the serpent, and applied them to the work of God’s incarnation, would not Jesus also have to love His wife as He ought? This way, would God still be God? And this being so, would He still be able to complete His work? If it be wrong for God’s incarnate flesh to be female, then would it not also have been an error of the greatest magnitude for God to have created woman? If people still believe that it would be wrong for God to be incarnated as female, then would not Jesus, who did not get married and was therefore unable to love His wife, be as much in error as the present incarnation? Since you use the words spoken to Eve by Jehovah to measure the truth of God’s incarnation in the present day, then you must use Jehovah’s words to Adam to judge the Lord Jesus who became flesh in the Age of Grace. Are these not one and the same? Since you take the measure of the Lord Jesus according to the male who had not been beguiled by the serpent, then you may not judge the truth of today’s incarnation according to the female who had been beguiled by the serpent. This would be unfair! Measuring God in this way proves that you lack rationality. When Jehovah twice became flesh, the gender of His flesh was related to the male and the female who had not been beguiled by the serpent; it was in accordance with the male and the female who had not been beguiled by the serpent that He twice became flesh. Do not think that the maleness of Jesus was the same as that of Adam, who was beguiled by the serpent. The two are completely unrelated, they are males of two different natures. Surely it cannot be that the maleness of Jesus proves He is the head of all women but not of all men? Is He not the King of all the Jews (including both men and women)? He is God Himself, not just the head of woman but the head of man as well. He is the Lord of all creatures and the head of all creatures. How could you determine the maleness of Jesus to be the symbol of the head of woman? Would this not be blasphemy? Jesus is a male who has not been corrupted. He is God; He is Christ; He is the Lord. How could He be a male like Adam who was corrupted? Jesus is the flesh worn by the most holy Spirit of God. How could you say He is a God who possesses the maleness of Adam? In that case, would not all of God’s work have been wrong? Would Jehovah have been able to incorporate within Jesus the maleness of Adam who was beguiled by the serpent? Is not the incarnation of the present time another instance of the work of God incarnate, who is different in gender from Jesus but like Him in nature? Do you still dare say that God incarnate could not be female, because woman was the first to be beguiled by the serpent? Do you still dare say that, as woman is the most unclean and the source of the corruption of humankind, God could not possibly become flesh as a female? Do you dare to persist in saying that “woman shall always obey man and may never manifest or directly represent God”? You did not understand in the past, but can you now go on blaspheming the work of God, especially the incarnate flesh of God? If this is not clear to you, best mind your tongue, lest your foolishness and ignorance be revealed and your ugliness exposed. Do not think that you understand everything. I tell you that all you have seen and experienced is insufficient for you to understand even a thousandth of My management plan. So why then do you act so haughty? That little bit of talent and tiny bit of knowledge you have are insufficient for Jesus to use in even a single second of His work! How much experience do you actually possess? What you have seen and all that you have heard in your lifetime and what you have imagined are less than the work I do in a single moment! You had best not nitpick and find fault. You can be as arrogant as you want, but you are nothing more than a creature not even the equal of an ant! All that you hold within your belly is less than what’s in an ant’s belly! Do not think, just because you have gained some experience and seniority, that this entitles you to gesticulating wildly and talking big. Are not your experience and your seniority the product of the words I have uttered? Do you believe that they were in exchange for your own labor and toil? Today, you see that I have become flesh, and on this account alone there is in you a glut of concepts, and no end of notions therefrom. If not for My incarnation, even if you were possessed of extraordinary talents, you would not have so many concepts; and isn’t it from these that your notions arise? If Jesus had not become flesh that first time, would you even know of the incarnation? Is it not because the first incarnation gave you knowledge that you have the impudence to try to judge the second incarnation? Why, instead of being an obedient follower, are you subjecting it to study? When you have entered into this stream and come before the incarnate God, would He allow you to research Him? You can research your own family history, but if you try to research the “family history” of God, would the God of today allow you to conduct such a study? Are you not blind? Do you not bring contempt upon yourself?
If only the work of Jesus was done, and was not complemented by work in this stage of the last days, man would forever cling to the notion that Jesus alone is the only Son of God, that is, that God has only one son, and that anyone who comes thereafter by another name would not be the only Son of God, much less God Himself. Man has the notion that anyone who serves as a sin offering or who assumes power on God’s behalf and redeems all humankind, is the only Son of God. There are some who believe that as long as the One who comes is a male, He may be deemed the only Son of God and God’s representative. There are even those who say that Jesus is the Son of Jehovah, His only Son. Are such notions not overblown? If this stage of work were not done in the final age, then toward God the whole of humankind would be veiled under a dark shadow. If this were the case, man would think himself higher than woman, and women would never be able to hold their heads up, and then not even a single woman could be saved. People always believe that God is male, and moreover that He has always despised woman and would not grant her salvation. If this were the case, would it not be true that all women, who were created by Jehovah and who have also been corrupted, would never have the opportunity to be saved? Then would it not have been pointless for Jehovah to have created woman, that is, to have created Eve? And would not woman perish for eternity? For this reason, the stage of work in the last days is to be undertaken in order to save the whole of humankind, not just woman. If anyone should think that were God to be incarnated as female, it would solely be for the sake of saving woman, then that person would indeed be a fool!
The work of today 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, there has been progress in God’s work. Why do I say time and again that this stage of work builds upon the Age of Grace and the Age of Law? Because 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, with each link in the chain 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, another crucifixion would have to take place 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 higher than before. It can be said that this stage of work is built on the foundation of the Age of Law and upon the rock of Jesus’ work. God’s 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 of 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, but instead come to judge and chastise man directly? If My work to judge and chastise 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 judge and 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 dispositions We reveal to man are also different. That is why what man sees and understands this day is unlike in the past, which is 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 incarnate fleshes 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 only 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 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 allocate to Them different work in different time periods, and Their fleshes to different bloodlines. 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. Similarly, the incarnate God of today and Jesus are not related by blood, but 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 in living their lives on earth, and to guide them in building the temple and altars, holding all the Israelites under His dominion. Because of 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. Such was the work that was done by virtue of His authority and His omnipotence. Then, during the Age of Grace, Jesus came to redeem the whole of fallen humankind (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 humankind 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, patient, and loving. And all those who followed Jesus in the Age of Grace likewise sought to be patient and loving in all things. They were long-suffering, and never fought back even when beaten, cursed, or stoned. But during the final stage it can no longer be so. The work of Jesus and Jehovah was not entirely the same even though They were of one Spirit. The work of Jehovah did not bring the age to an end, but guided the age, ushering in the life of humankind on earth, and the work of today 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 spread abroad. Why is it that people outside China seek the true way, time and time again? It is because the Spirit has already set to work, and the words spoken today are directed toward people throughout the universe. With this, half of the work is already under way. From the creation of the world to the present, the Spirit of God has set this great work in motion, and has moreover done different work in different ages and among 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 corrupted humankind from sin. Today, He is also able to conquer humankind, who does not know Him, and to 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 people 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 furthermore, a God who judges man. To the evil ones among humankind, He is burning, judgment, and punishment; to those who are to be perfected, He is tribulation, refinement, and trials, as well as comfort, sustenance, the provision of words, dealing, and pruning. And to those who are eliminated, He is punishment and retribution. Tell Me, is God not almighty? He is capable of any and all work, not just the crucifixion, as you imagine. You think too little of God! Do you believe that all He can do is redeem the whole of humankind through His crucifixion, and that’s it? And after that, you will follow Him up to heaven to eat of the fruit from the tree of life and drink from the river of life? … Could it be that simple? Tell Me, what have you accomplished? Do you have the life of Jesus? You were indeed redeemed by Him, but the crucifixion was the work of Jesus Himself. What duty have you fulfilled as a human being? You have only outward piety, but you do not understand His way. Is that how you manifest Him? If you have not attained the life of God or seen the entirety of His righteous disposition, then you cannot claim to be one that has life, and you are not worthy to pass through the gate of the kingdom of heaven.
Not only is God a Spirit, He can also become flesh. He is, moreover, a body of glory. Jesus, though you have not seen Him, was witnessed by the Israelites—the Jews of that time. He was at first a fleshly body, but after He was crucified, He became the body of glory. He is the all-encompassing Spirit and can do work in every place. He can be Jehovah, or Jesus, or Messiah; in the end, He can also become Almighty God. He is righteousness, judgment, and chastisement; He is curse and wrath; but He is also mercy and lovingkindness. All the work He has done is capable of representing Him. What manner of God do you say He is? You can’t explain. All you can say is: “I, too, cannot say what manner of God He is.” Do not draw the conclusion that God is forever a God of mercy and lovingkindness just because He did the work of redemption in one stage. Can you be certain that He is only a merciful and loving God? If He is a merciful and loving God, why will He bring the age to an end in the last days? Why will He send down so many disasters? If it is as you think, that He is merciful and loving toward man to the very end, even to the final age, then why is He going to send down disasters from the heavens? If He loves man as Himself and as His only Son, then why is He going to send down plagues and hailstones from the heavens? Why does He allow man to suffer from famine and pestilence? Why does He allow man to suffer these disasters? As for what manner of God He is, no one among you dares to say, and none is able to explain. Can you be certain that He is the Spirit? Do you dare say that He is none other than the flesh of Jesus? And do you dare say that He is a God who will forever be crucified for man’s sake?
from The Word Appears in the Flesh
a. The original text does not contain the phrase “the work of.”