In understanding the substance of Christ, one aspect is being able to differentiate between the incarnate flesh and mankind; in addition, people who understand the substance of Christ are more able to be certain about the incarnate God and more able to believe that He truly exists, that He is not a prophet, an apostle, nor a revelator, and especially not a minor person who was sent here by God; rather, He is God’s incarnate flesh, He is the Christ, and He is God Himself. Even though the flesh was a member of mankind, He was a normal person with divine substance. The substance of Christ is understood through understanding the disposition of God, experiencing His work, and through eating and drinking His words. The result of understanding the substance of the incarnate flesh is that it allows people to determine the truth that God is indeed incarnate, and that this flesh is actually God. Only in this way can people establish a true faith in God and attain a true submission and true love. Only when you attain this result can it prove that you have an understanding of God’s substance.
Now, people do not have an understanding of Christ, they only read God’s words and acknowledge that there is the Spirit, thinking that[a] if the words are correct, then the Spirit is of course correct. They have contempt for the flesh and don’t know what the origin of the flesh is or how the flesh and the Spirit are related. Many people believe that the flesh is just to express words, He is just used in speaking and working. That is His ministry. He speaks when He is moved, and after speaking, He has nothing left to do, just like a voice tube. If this is how it is, then they are not acknowledging the incarnate flesh or the Christ; they are only acknowledging Him as a prophet. Some people even think: “Christ is a person. Regardless of what the substance of the incarnate flesh is, or what disposition He expresses, He is not able to completely represent the God in heaven and is not able to completely represent the Lord of creation who controls all things in the universe. Since He is God incarnate and is the God in heaven who comes down to the earth, why doesn’t He know how the heavens and earth and all things were created when He is asked? Why aren’t there any supernatural miracles? If He has authority, then why doesn’t He destroy the great red dragon?” People who say this do not understand the spiritual things, they don’t understand what the incarnation means, and they especially don’t understand what the management scope is of the work during the incarnation, what the target of salvation is, what is expressed, and what it is that people should understand. The substance of the incarnate flesh is the substance of God; He can represent God to do anything, He is God Himself and can do anything that He desires. However, through taking on the flesh this time, He carries out the last stage of work within the management scope; it has nothing to do with controlling everything or having jurisdiction over various kingdoms; it does not involve those things, therefore, what you ought to understand are the things that people can make contact with and the things that people can understand in this stage of work. That is, they need to understand the substance of this stage of work, and the expression of what He has and is and of His disposition. Is what Christ expresses the substance of God? Is it the disposition of God? Of course it is. Is it complete? Now I will tell you, it is not complete; it is only what people can see with their own eyes, what people can make contact with, and what people can understand in their hearts during the time of the incarnation; it is not complete, it is only the work that is supposed to be done according to God’s plan.
To give an example that people can easily understand regarding the incarnation: God divided Himself and came down to the earth. Then is God’s Spirit elsewhere? Yes. He controls everything in the universe, there is only one God in control; God is omnipotent, and now He comes down to the earth incarnate, unlike how people imagine that He takes on the flesh and merely works on the earth, and He doesn’t care about any other work. In the past I have asked some people: Is there still a God in heaven now that God has come down to the earth incarnate? They ponder that since there is only one God, then there is no God in heaven. They are wrong again. God controls everything in the universe, He is Spirit; He now comes to the earth, yet He is still in charge of heavenly matters, and He also works on the earth. Does His Spirit leave from time to time? Some people ponder: Perhaps He has to leave, perhaps sometimes the flesh doesn’t know anything; when His flesh is living normally, then the Spirit leaves, and when it comes time to speak, then the Spirit returns again; while sleeping, maybe the Spirit is busy with other things, and when waking up, the Spirit returns again, speaking and working along with the flesh. If there is no work, then while eating, the Spirit finds the time to go and do something else, and the flesh may behave like a normal human. Many people think this way. There are even some people who worry: I don’t know how God’s money is allocated; can it be privately given to other people to be used? People’s thoughts really are complicated. These people harbor evil thoughts; how can they pursue the truth? All in all, understanding God—whether it is understanding the substance of the incarnate flesh, or understanding God’s disposition—neither is very easy; that is, you just try to understand the things you are able to experience and the things you are able to come in contact with during the time of the work of God incarnate. Do not think rashly in the things you cannot come in contact with. For example: After God’s flesh leaves, what form will He appear in to work again? Will He still come down to the earth and meet with us? If the incarnate flesh really wanted to manifest a miracle now, and asked the Father in heaven and asked the Spirit, would the Spirit do something? Some people may have thought about these matters. Did Jesus not curse the fig tree at that time? The fig tree then withered at the time. Is the God of today able to attain to this level? Some people say: “God incarnate is normal and practical, and He does not do supernatural things.” Some people say: “He doesn’t do supernatural things? If He had the substance of God, then why are His words of no use?” Currently, the majority of people all focus on these outward matters, these things fundamentally do not involve the substance of Christ, and understanding these things is actually of no use; there are some things that do not require your understanding, and when the time comes for you to understand, you will understand; it does not matter whether or not you understand these things, they don’t have the slightest impact on people’s belief in the incarnate God, their faith in Christ, or their following of Christ. You could know, but you still wouldn’t increase in faith at all. What have people obtained from prophets in the past manifesting miracles? Regardless of how many miracles those prophets were able to perform, they are not God. If He has the substance of God yet performs no miracles, He is still God; if He has the substance of God, yet manifests no miracles, it does not mean that He is unable to manifest them. There are benefits to you seeking to understand God’s substance now; it is the only correct path of believing in God. You need to know that during the work at the time of the incarnation, what people are able to come in contact with and see the most is what God has and is, as well as His substance and His disposition. This is the most golden opportunity to know God. The understanding of God’s actions and disposition which people spoke of in the past was not easy to obtain, because people could not have contact with God. Initially, Moses understood Jehovah and saw some of His actions. How much practical understanding did he have? Is it higher than that of the people nowadays? Is it more practical than that of the people nowadays? Of course not. When Jehovah was working at the time, His actions were revealed abundantly in Israel; many people saw Jehovah manifest miracles and there were people who saw the back of Jehovah. Many people also saw angels, but in the end, how many people knew God? Too few! There were practically no people who truly knew God. It is only people of the last days who understand God much by experiencing His work during the time of His incarnation, because everything is told to the people face to face: What the purpose is of the work I do, what My will is, what My attitude toward mankind is, and what the situation and substance is of mankind who is corrupted. It is only through these things that people can see that God has always been this kind of God, His will has always been this way toward mankind, God has always had this kind of disposition and His actions have always been this marvelous; His wisdom has always been this deep, His mercy on mankind has always been this real, and this time it has been truly experienced. He allows you to experience that His love and tolerance for mankind is indeed without limits. His will to save people is all embodied in His work and in His words, and He allows people to truly experience them. Therefore, your understanding of the substance of the incarnate flesh is from the time of the incarnation. Except for this time period, your understanding won’t be practical. After His work is completed and He leaves, if you say that I will continue to experience God’s work, that won’t be as real as it is now, because now your eyes can see, and you can truly feel it; furthermore, it has always been done face to face this way and people have gradually experienced it personally. What Peter experienced at the time was not as real as what people experience nowadays. Initially, during the time Jesus worked in the land of Judea, Peter followed and experienced some things, but it was superficial and his stature was small at that time, after all; after Jesus left, he carefully reflected and tasted and was able to feel some things. At that time, Jesus also expressed some of what God has and is, God’s lovingkindness, God’s mercy, God’s salvation for mankind, God’s boundless tolerance and grace for mankind, and people at that time were able to experience some of these things. Later, the things people experienced were not as deep as what those people tasted during that time. In addition, during the time when people were moved by the Holy Spirit and felt after God’s will in prayer, what they experienced was vague. Sometimes, they didn’t feel it clearly and no one would dare confirm whether they understood correctly or not. In the end, Peter went to prison and those people rescued him, but in fact, Jesus’ intention at the time was to allow him to be crucified as a last testament. When his road came to an end, God allowed him to give a testimony in this manner and to have a good final destination. This was Peter’s path. Initially, when Peter came to the end of his path, he didn’t understand Jesus’ true intention. Only after Jesus told him did he know Jesus’ intention. Therefore, if you want to understand God’s substance, the most beneficial time for you to understand is the time of His incarnation. You can see and feel, you can listen and hear, and you can feel deeply about it. When the work during the incarnation is finished, if you continue to experience how the Holy Spirit works, and you reflect back, it won’t be that deep, and your understanding will be shallow anyway. At that time, He will only refine people’s corrupt dispositions, and after refining them, people are able to understand more truths and use the truths they have obtained as the foundation for their lives and to change themselves inside. Regardless of how you love God, your understanding of Him when the time comes will not have made that much progress, which is not as beneficial as understanding God during the time of the incarnation. During the time of the incarnation, many people see, but do not understand, they hear, but do not know; God loves and tolerates people so much, yet they aren’t able to feel it; people are all so numb; they will only have some understanding and begin to walk on the right track when the work of God is finished.
What is the substance of Christ? The substance of Christ is love for mankind; with regard to those who follow Him, it is unlimited love. If He has no love or mercy, then people would not be able to follow Him to the present time. Some people say: “Then is God not still righteous?” Yes! It is correct that He is still righteous, but from the perspective of His disposition, His righteousness is hatred toward the corruption and wickedness of mankind. What if He merely had righteousness without love? What if love could not overcome righteousness? Then it could be said that mankind is done for. Therefore, I am speaking frankly with you, that is, in the work God does for mankind during the time of His incarnation, His most apparent and prominent substance is love; it is unlimited tolerance. If it was not love but God destroying people as you imagine; by speaking destruction, people were destroyed, and by speaking hatred for people, people were punished, cursed, judged, and chastised, then that would be very severe! If He was angry at people, people would fear and tremble and would not be able to stand in God’s sight…. This is only one method for expressing God’s disposition, and in the end, His purpose is still salvation. His love runs through all revelations of His disposition. Reflect on this, during the work at the time of the incarnation, the thing that is revealed the most for people is love. What is patience? Patience is having pity because there is love within, and its purpose is still to save people. God is able to have pity on people because He has love. Just like if there is true love between a husband and wife, they don’t look at each other’s shortcomings and faults. If they were provoked to anger, they would still be able to be patient. Everything is established on the foundation of love. What if He was hateful? Then His attitude would not be the way it is, His expression would not be the way it is, and the outcome would not be the way it is. If God only had hate and anger, and there were only judgment and chastisement, and there was no love in it, then the situation would not be what you see now and you people would not be in good situations. Would He provide you with truth? You would be cursed after being chastised and judged, and then you would suffer calamities, such as contracting an illness, developing ulcers, developing scabies, losing hair, losing your head, going blind, having worn-out lips, losing ears, and losing heels, etc. You would be completely done for. Even though you wouldn’t die right away, you would be sick, crippled, insane, and blind, would be trampled by evil spirits and filthy ghosts…. You would not be in your current situation. Therefore, I say that you have enjoyed so much love and you have enjoyed so much tolerance, mercy, and lovingkindness; however, people take this for granted, and they think: God should be like this to people; God also has righteousness and wrath, and we have enjoyed it much! Have you really enjoyed it? If you had really enjoyed it, then you would have been done for. How would there still be this mankind now? God’s hatred, wrath, and righteousness are all expressed on the basis of saving this group of people. Love and mercy as well as enormous patience are also contained within these dispositions. This hate carries a sense of having no other choice, it includes boundless concern and anticipation for mankind! God’s hatred is aimed at mankind’s corruption, it is aimed at mankind’s rebelliousness and sins; it is one-sided, and it is established on the basis of love. Only when there is love can there be hate. God’s hatred toward mankind is different from His hatred toward Satan, because God saves people, and He doesn’t save Satan. God’s righteous disposition has always existed; He has always had wrath, righteousness, and judgment. They did not just come about when they were expressed toward mankind. In fact, God had this disposition before mankind saw it. It was only when people experienced it that they knew of it—God’s righteousness has actually been like this. In fact, regardless of whether He is righteous or majestic, or He expresses rage, He saves people and carries out His management plan all because of love. Some people say: “Then how much love?” It is not how much love He has, rather He has one hundred percent love. If He had any less love, then mankind would not be saved. God has offered all of His love to people. Why does He take on the flesh? It has been said before that God did not hesitate to pay any price to save mankind. The incarnation includes complete love, and this allows you to see that mankind rebels against God to the extreme, they have already reached the condition where they cannot be saved; therefore, God had no alternative but to take on the flesh and devote Himself to mankind. God has offered up all of His love. If He didn’t love mankind, then there is no way He would have taken on the flesh. God can make thunder rumble and directly express His majesty and wrath, and mankind would fall on the ground; there would be no need for Him to take on the flesh and expend so much effort and pay such a great price and suffer such great humiliation. This is an obvious example. He would rather Himself suffer, be humiliated, be forsaken, and be persecuted to save mankind. He would still rather come to this kind of environment to save mankind. Is this not love? If there was only righteousness and unbounded hate for mankind, then He wouldn’t have taken on the flesh to do the work, and God could have waited until mankind was extremely corrupt and destroyed them, and it would be over. It is because God loves mankind and because He has an enormous love for mankind that He took on the flesh to save mankind who is extremely corrupt. While experiencing God’s judgments and chastisements, many people come to understand their natures and say: “It’s over, I cannot be saved.” It is when you think that you cannot be saved that you can know that God is truly extremely patient and loving! Without God’s love, what can people do? Human nature is this way, but God still speaks to you, and answers without delay every time you ask a question. He is very afraid that you won’t understand, He is very afraid that people will walk deviant paths and walk in the extremes. Do you still not understand how great of love God has for you!
Right now, there are many people observing. Why has the flesh delayed and not left right after He finishes the work? Could there be another step in the work? Why does He not rush to do the next step of the work? Of course there is meaning in this. After He has said so many things, what are the actual results obtained in people? People merely listen and remember in their hearts, but they haven’t entered in much. Their transformations are also not all that apparent. Regarding your current situation, you are not clear about many truths and entering into reality is basically out of the question. Tell Me: God incarnate has spoken so many words during His work, and what’s His purpose? What’s the final outcome? If He now started doing the next step of the work and dropped these people and didn’t care about them, then this work would be left unfinished. The work during the incarnation must have two complete steps. For example, Jesus came in the Age of Grace, and from His birth to His crucifixion and ascension to heaven, it was a total of thirty-three and a half years. Based on a normal lifespan, it was not a long time; however, according to the time God was on the earth, it was not a short period! The thirty-three and a half years were quite tormenting! God is not man and He came down to the earth to associate with corrupt mankind for thirty-three and a half years; this was a painful matter. Regardless of whether people were good or bad to Him, or whether He had a place to live—all that aside—even if His flesh did not suffer too great of pain, living together with mankind is a painful thing, because they were not of the same kind! To draw an example: If a person lived with a pig all day, then after a while, he would certainly be extremely annoyed, because they are not of the same kind; people and pigs don’t have a common language, so how could that not be painful! A husband and wife who are not of the same heart and mind will dislike each other when living together. God’s being incarnated on earth for thirty-three and a half years is a most painful thing in itself, and furthermore, not a single person could understand Him. People even think: “God incarnate can do whatever He wants and say whatever He wants. So many people follow Him. What pain does He have? It is only that He doesn’t have a place to live, His flesh suffers some pain, and He takes on some pain, but this doesn’t count as being too bitter!” It can be said that this pain can be taken on and endured by people. The incarnate flesh is no exception, and He is also able to endure, so it doesn’t count as great suffering. Most importantly, the pain that He suffers is that He lives with extremely corrupt people, and undergoes all kinds of sneering, reviling, judgment, and condemnation. He is also pursued by the devil and is rejected and opposed by religious circles. No one can make up for this hurt in His heart! These are painful things. He saves corrupt mankind through extreme patience; He loves people with a bruised heart. This is the most painful work. Mankind’s ferocious resistance, condemnations and slanders, false accusations, persecutions and their hunting and slaughtering cause God’s flesh to face extreme dangers in doing this work. He suffers these pains, yet who can understand Him and who can comfort Him? Mankind only has a little bit of enthusiasm and complaints, or they treat Him with negativity and ignore Him. How can He not suffer because of these things? The pain His heart suffers is too great. Are the mere material benefits He enjoys able to make up for the harm mankind does to Him? Do you think that eating well and dressing well is happiness? This perspective is too ridiculous! The Lord Jesus worked on the earth and lived for thirty-three and a half years. Only until after He was crucified, died, was resurrected and appeared to mankind for forty days was He relieved, thus concluding the painful years of living with mankind. However, God’s heart has always suffered this same kind of pain due to being worried about mankind’s destination. This pain cannot be understood by anyone, nor can it be borne by anyone. The Lord Jesus was crucified and took on the sins of all people. His precious blood gives people a basis on which to be saved; He used His precious blood to redeem mankind from Satan’s grasp; only after He completed the entire work of redemption was His life of pain on earth completed. After the whole work was finished, He didn’t delay a single day, and He merely appeared to people, allowing them to all know that God has indeed completed the redemption, He finished the work, and finished the plan of His incarnation. If there had been even a little work that He didn’t complete, then He wouldn’t have left. During the Age of Grace, Jesus frequently said: Only the time is not yet. “The time is not yet” means that the work has not come to its end; that is to say, the work of the incarnate flesh is not as people imagine where He goes around speaking and viewing the situation of life in the church, and then has nothing left to do after saying everything that needs to be said. After the incarnate flesh completes His work, after having said so many words, He still has to wait for the final result, He has to wait for the effects of His words to see the likeness of mankind after they receive salvation. Isn’t this natural and right? He has put all His efforts in this work. Could He just leave everything behind? He has to keep watching till the end and wait until after the matter bears fruits before He can relax and move on to the next step of the work; only God Himself can accomplish His own management plan and work. How mankind will be in the end, how people who are saved will be in the end, how many people will conform with His will, how many people truly love Him, how people who follow Him will be in the end, how many people truly know Him, how many people love Him, how many people dedicate themselves to Him, how many people truly worship Him—shouldn’t these things all have an outcome? It is not as people think: When God is finished working on the earth, He should rest and wait and enjoy! How wonderful! How carefree! I tell you: It is not carefree at all, waiting is more unbearable! Some people don’t understand; they think: If God completed His work and doesn’t have any more to say, then has His Spirit left? Some people say: “After God incarnate completes the work and is done speaking, is it okay if He doesn’t wait?” It is not okay. He has a scope to work within during the incarnation. It is not as people imagine where there is nothing left to do once the work is completed and the Spirit alone watches. It is not like that. There are also some things that require the assistance of the flesh and that the flesh must handle. People can’t substitute for Him; this is the significance of God becoming flesh to do the work. Do you understand this? Previously I have spoken angrily with some people, saying: “Associating with you is too painful.” Some people have said: “If You are not willing to be with us, then why are You still waiting?” This is love! Without love, would He be able to be patient up to now? Sometimes He is angry and says some angry words, but He doesn’t work any less and doesn’t miss a step of the work. He doesn’t hold back any of the work He should do or any words He should say. He does what He is supposed to do and says what He is supposed to say. Some people say: “Why does God say less today, unlike when He said so much in the past?” Because the steps of the work are already completed, and in this last stage it is just waiting. I am just doing some complementary work and have worried enough. Why is My body always not doing well in this last time period? It can be said that there is significance in this. In order to take on some of mankind’s pain and illnesses, the incarnate flesh suffers some pain. This is actually all part of a stage. Work that should not be done is restricted through the illnesses of the flesh and is not allowed to be done. When the time comes, the flesh must suffer some pain. If there weren’t too great of restrictions, then there would always be a little more He would have wanted to say to mankind, and a little more He would have wanted to help them with, because He is doing the work of salvation. If the environment of these two years permitted, or if My body was much stronger than it is now, then I would have gone everywhere and visited all the churches. However, My body is helpless and doesn’t permit, then I can only rest, and when a great matter comes upon, all that needs to be done is to say a few words and give some direction. Since the beginning, all that the work of the incarnate flesh has revealed is love, the substance of His work is love; He has offered His all, His everything to mankind.
a. The original text omits “thinking that.”