The Difference Between the Ministry of God Incarnate and the Duty of Man
You must come to know the visions of God’s work and grasp the general direction of His work. This is positive entry. Once you have accurately mastered the truth of visions, your entry will be secure; no matter how God’s work changes, you will remain steadfast in your heart, be clear about the visions, and have a goal for your entry and your pursuit. In this way, all the experience and knowledge within you will grow deeper and become more detailed. Once you have grasped the bigger picture in its entirety, you will suffer no losses in life, nor will you go astray. If you do not come to know these steps of work, you shall suffer loss at each step, and it will take you more than a few days to turn things around, nor will you be able to set upon the right track in even a couple of weeks. Will this not cause delays? There is much in the way of positive entry and practice that you must master. As for the visions of God’s work, you must grasp the following points: the significance of His work of conquest, the future path to being made perfect, what must be achieved through experiencing trials and tribulations, the significance of judgment and chastisement, the principles behind the work of the Holy Spirit, and the principles behind perfection and conquest. These all belong to the truth of visions. The rest are the three stages of work in the Age of Law, the Age of Grace, and the Age of Kingdom, as well as future testimony. These, too, are the truth of visions, and they are what is most fundamental as well as most crucial. At present, there is so much that you should enter into and practice, and it is now more layered and more detailed. If you have no knowledge of these truths, this proves that you have yet to achieve entry. Most of the time, people’s knowledge of the truth is too shallow; they are unable to put into practice certain basic truths and do not know how to handle even trivial matters. The reason that people are unable to practice truth is because their disposition is rebellious, and because their knowledge of the work of today is too superficial and one-sided. Thus, it is no easy task for people to be made perfect. You are much too rebellious, and you retain too much of your old self; you are unable to stand on the side of truth, and you are unable to practice even the most self-evident of truths. Such people cannot be saved and are those who have not been conquered. If your entry has neither detail nor objectives, growth will be slow in coming to you. If there is not the slightest reality to your entry, then your pursuit will be in vain. If you are unaware of the substance of truth, you will remain unchanged. Growth in man’s life and changes in his disposition are achieved by entering into reality and, moreover, through entering into detailed experiences. If you have many detailed experiences during your entry, and you have much actual knowledge and entry, your disposition shall quickly change. Even if, at present, you are not completely clear about practice, you must at the very least be clear about the visions of God’s work. If not, you shall be incapable of entry; entry is only possible once you have knowledge of the truth. Only if the Holy Spirit enlightens you in your experience will you gain a deeper understanding of the truth, and deeper entry. You must come to know the work of God.
In the beginning, after the creation of mankind, it was the Israelites who served as the basis of God’s work. The whole of Israel was the base of Jehovah’s work on earth. The work of Jehovah was to lead and shepherd man directly by setting forth the laws, so that man could live a proper life and worship Jehovah in a proper manner on earth. God in the Age of Law could be neither seen nor touched by man. Because all He did was to guide the earliest people corrupted by Satan, teaching and shepherding them, His words contained nothing but laws, statutes, and the norms of human behavior, and did not provide them with the truths of life. The Israelites under His leadership had not been profoundly corrupted by Satan. His work of law was only the very first stage in the work of salvation, the very beginning of the work of salvation, and had practically nothing to do with changes in the life disposition of man. Therefore, there was no need at the beginning of the work of salvation for Him to assume flesh for His work in Israel. This is why He required a medium—a tool—through which to engage with man. Thus, there arose among created beings those who spoke and worked on behalf of Jehovah, which is how the sons of man and prophets came to work among man. The sons of man worked among man on behalf of Jehovah. To be called “sons of man” by Jehovah means that such people set forth the laws on behalf of Jehovah. They were also priests among the people of Israel, priests who were watched over and protected by Jehovah, and in whom the Spirit of Jehovah worked; they were leaders among the people and directly served Jehovah. The prophets, on the other hand, were dedicated to speaking, on behalf of Jehovah, to the people of all lands and tribes. They also prophesied the work of Jehovah. Be they the sons of man or the prophets, all were raised up by the Spirit of Jehovah Himself and had the work of Jehovah in them. Among the people, they were the ones who directly represented Jehovah; they did their work only because they were raised up by Jehovah and not because they were the flesh in which the Holy Spirit Himself was incarnated. Therefore, though they were alike in speaking and working on behalf of God, those sons of man and prophets in the Age of Law were not the flesh of God incarnate. God’s work in the Age of Grace and the last stage was precisely the opposite, for the work of salvation and judgment of man were both done by God incarnate Himself, and so there was simply no need to raise up once more the prophets and sons of man to work on His behalf. In the eyes of man, there are no substantive differences between the substance and the method of their work. And it is for this reason that people are constantly confusing the work of God incarnate with that of the prophets and sons of man. The appearance of God incarnate was basically the same as that of the prophets and sons of man. And God incarnate was even more ordinary and more real than the prophets. Hence, man is incapable of distinguishing between them. Man focuses solely on appearances, completely unaware that, even though the two are alike in being working and speaking, there is a substantive difference between them. Because man’s ability to tell things apart is too poor, he is unable to distinguish between simple issues, much less something so complex. When the prophets and those people used by the Holy Spirit spoke and worked, this was to carry out the duties of man, it was to serve the function of a created being, and it was something that man ought to do. However, the words and the work of God incarnate were to carry out His ministry. Though His external form was that of a created being, His work was not to carry out His function but His ministry. The term “duty” is used with regard to created beings, whereas “ministry” is used with regard to the flesh of God incarnate. There is an essential difference between the two; they are not interchangeable. The work of man is only to do his duty, whereas the work of God is to manage, and to carry out His ministry. Therefore, though many apostles were used by the Holy Spirit and many prophets were filled with Him, their work and words were merely to perform their duty as created beings. Their prophecies may have exceeded the way of life spoken of by God incarnate, and their humanity may have even transcended that of God incarnate, but they were still doing their duty, and not fulfilling a ministry. The duty of man refers to the function of man; it is what is attainable by man. However, the ministry carried out by God incarnate is related to His management, and this is unattainable by man. Whether God incarnate speaks, works, or manifests wonders, He is doing great work amidst His management, and such work cannot be done by man in His stead. The work of man is only to do his duty as a created being in a given stage of God’s work of management. Without God’s management, that is, if the ministry of God incarnate were to be lost, the duty of a created being would be lost. God’s work in carrying out His ministry is to manage man, whereas man’s performance of his duty is the fulfillment of his own obligation to meet the demands of the Creator, and can in no way be considered the carrying out of one’s ministry. To the inherent essence of God—to His Spirit—the work of God is His management, but to God incarnate, who wears the external form of a created being, His work is the carrying out of His ministry. Whatever work He does is to carry out His ministry; all that man can do is to give his best within the scope of God’s management and under His guidance.
Man’s performance of his duty is, in actuality, the accomplishment of all that is inherent within man, which is to say, that which is possible for man. It is then that his duty is fulfilled. The defects of man during his service are gradually reduced through progressive experience and the process of his undergoing judgment; they do not hinder or affect man’s duty. Those who cease to serve or yield and fall back for fear that there may be drawbacks to their service are the most cowardly of all. If people cannot express what they ought to express during service or achieve what is inherently possible for them, and instead fool about and go through the motions, they have lost the function that a created being should have. Such people are what are known as “mediocrities;” they are useless refuse. How can such people properly be called created beings? Are they not corrupt beings that shine on the outside but are rotten within? If a man calls himself God yet is unable to express the being of divinity, do the work of God Himself, or represent God, he is undoubtedly not God, for he has not the essence of God, and that which God can inherently achieve does not exist within him. If man loses what is inherently attainable by him, he can no longer be considered man, and he is not worthy to stand as a created being or come before God and serve Him. Moreover, he is not worthy to receive the grace of God or to be watched over, protected, and made perfect by God. Many who have lost the trust of God go on to lose the grace of God. Not only do they not despise their misdeeds, but they brazenly propagate the idea that the way of God is incorrect, and the rebellious ones even deny the existence of God. How can such people, who are possessed of such rebelliousness, be entitled to enjoy the grace of God? Those who do not perform their duty are very rebellious against God, and owe much to Him, yet they turn around and lambaste that God is wrong. How could such kind of man be worthy of being made perfect? Is this not the precursor to being eliminated and punished? People who do not do their duty before God are already guilty of the most heinous of crimes, for which even death is an insufficient punishment, yet they have the gall to argue with God and match themselves against Him. What is the worth of perfecting such people? When people fail to fulfill their duty, they should feel guilt and indebtedness; they ought to despise their weakness and uselessness, their rebelliousness and corruption, and moreover, ought to give their life to God. Only then are they created beings who truly love God, and only such people are worthy of enjoying the blessings and promise of God, and of being made perfect by Him. And what of the majority of you? How do you treat the God who lives among you? How have you performed your duty before Him? Have you done all you were called upon to do, even at the expense of your own life? What have you sacrificed? Have you not received much from Me? Can you discern? How loyal are you to Me? How have you served Me? And what of all that I have bestowed upon you and have done for you? Have you taken measure of it all? Have you all judged and compared this with what little conscience you have within you? Who could your words and actions be worthy of? Could it be that such minuscule sacrifice of yours is worthy of all I have bestowed upon you? I have no other choice and have been wholeheartedly devoted to you, yet you harbor wicked intentions and are halfhearted toward Me. That is the extent of your duty, your only function. Is this not so? Do you not know that you have utterly failed to perform the duty of a created being? How can you be considered a created being? Is it not clear to you what it is you are expressing and living out? You have failed to fulfill your duty, but you seek to gain the tolerance and bountiful grace of God. Such grace has not been prepared for ones as worthless and base as you, but for those who ask for nothing and gladly sacrifice. People such as you, such mediocrities, are utterly unworthy of enjoying the grace of heaven. Only hardship and interminable punishment shall accompany your days! If you cannot be faithful to Me, your fate shall be one of suffering. If you cannot be accountable to My words and My work, your outcome will be one of punishment. All grace, blessings, and the wonderful life of the kingdom shall have nothing to do with you. This is the end you deserve to meet and a consequence of your own making! Not only do those of ignorance and arrogance not try their best, nor perform their duty, they hold out their hands for grace, as if what they ask for is deserved. And if they fail to gain what they ask for, they become ever less faithful. How can such people be considered reasonable? You are of poor caliber and devoid of reason, completely incapable of fulfilling the duty you ought to fulfill during the work of management. Your worth has already plummeted. Your failure to repay Me for showing you such grace is already an act of extreme rebelliousness, sufficient to condemn you and demonstrate your cowardice, incompetence, baseness, and unworthiness. What entitles you to keep your hands outstretched? That you are unable to be of the slightest assistance to My work, unable to be loyal, and unable to stand witness for Me are your misdeeds and failings, yet you instead attack Me, tell falsehoods of Me, and complain that I am unrighteous. Is this what constitutes your loyalty? Is this what constitutes your love? What other work can you do beyond this? How have you contributed to all the work that has been done? How much have you expended? I have already shown great tolerance by not blaming you, yet still you shamelessly make excuses to Me and complain about Me in private. Do you have even the slightest trace of humanity? Though the duty of man is tainted by the mind of man and his notions, you must do your duty and show your loyalty. The impurities in the work of man are an issue of his caliber, whereas, if man does not perform his duty, it shows his rebelliousness. There is no correlation between the duty of man and whether he is blessed or cursed. Duty is what man ought to fulfill; it is his heaven-sent vocation, and should not depend on recompense, conditions, or reasons. Only then is he doing his duty. To be blessed is when someone is made perfect and enjoys God’s blessings after experiencing judgment. To be cursed is when someone’s disposition does not change after they have experienced chastisement and judgment, it is when they do not experience being made perfect but are punished. But regardless of whether they are blessed or cursed, created beings should fulfill their duty, doing what they ought to do, and doing what they are able to do; this is the very least that a person, a person who pursues God, should do. You should not do your duty only to be blessed, and you should not refuse to act for fear of being cursed. Let Me tell you this one thing: Man’s performance of his duty is what he ought to do, and if he is incapable of performing his duty, then this is due to his rebelliousness. It is through the process of doing his duty that man is gradually changed, and it is through this process that he demonstrates his loyalty. As such, the more you are able to do your duty, the more truth you shall receive, and the more real your expression shall become. Those who merely go through the motions in doing their duty and do not seek the truth shall be eliminated in the end, for such people do not do their duty in the practice of truth, and do not practice truth in the fulfillment of their duty. They are those who remain unchanged and will be cursed. Not only are their expressions impure, but everything they express is wicked.
In the Age of Grace, Jesus also spoke many words and did much work. How was He different from Isaiah? How was He different from Daniel? Was He a prophet? Why is it said that He is Christ? What are the differences between them? They were all men who spoke words, and their words appeared more or less the same to man. They all spoke words and did work. The prophets of the Old Testament spoke prophecies, and similarly, so could Jesus. Why is this so? The distinction here is based on the nature of the work. To discern this matter, you must not consider the nature of the flesh, nor should you consider the depth or superficiality of their words. Always you must first consider their work and the effects their work achieves in man. The prophecies spoken by the prophets at the time did not supply the life of man, and the inspirations received by those such as Isaiah and Daniel were merely prophecies, and not the way of life. If not for the direct revelation of Jehovah, none could have done that work, which is not possible for mortals. Jesus, too, spoke many words, but such words were the way of life from which man could find a path to practice. That is to say, first, He could supply the life of man, for Jesus is life; second, He could reverse the deviations of man; third, His work could succeed that of Jehovah in order to carry on the age; fourth, He could grasp the needs within man and understand what man lacks; fifth, He could usher in a new age and conclude the old. That is why He is called God and Christ; not only is He different from Isaiah but also from all other prophets. Take Isaiah as a comparison for the work of the prophets. First, he could not supply the life of man; second, he could not usher in a new age. He was working under the leadership of Jehovah and not to usher in a new age. Third, the words he spoke were beyond him. He was receiving revelations directly from the Spirit of God, and others would not understand, even having listened to them. These few things alone are sufficient to prove that his words were no more than prophecies, no more than an aspect of work done in Jehovah’s stead. He could not, however, completely represent Jehovah. He was Jehovah’s servant, an instrument in Jehovah’s work. He was only doing work within the Age of Law and within the scope of the work of Jehovah; he did not work beyond the Age of Law. On the contrary, the work of Jesus differed. He surpassed the scope of Jehovah’s work; He worked as God incarnate and underwent crucifixion in order to redeem all mankind. That is to say, He carried out new work outside of the work done by Jehovah. This was the ushering in of a new age. In addition, He was able to speak of that which man could not achieve. His work was work within the management of God and involved the whole of mankind. He did not work in just a few men, nor was His work meant to lead a limited number of men. As for how God was incarnated as a man, how the Spirit gave revelations at that time, and how the Spirit descended upon a man to do work—these are matters that man cannot see or touch. It is utterly impossible for these truths to serve as proof that He is God incarnate. As such, distinction can only be made among the words and work of God, which are tangible to man. Only this is real. This is because matters of the Spirit are not visible to you and are known clearly only by God Himself, and not even God’s incarnate flesh knows all; you can only verify whether He is God from the work He has done. From His work, it can be seen that, first, He is able to open up a new age; second, He is able to supply the life of man and show man the way to follow. This is sufficient to establish that He is God Himself. At the very least, the work He does can fully represent the Spirit of God, and from such work it can be seen that the Spirit of God is within Him. As the work done by God incarnate was mainly to usher in a new age, lead new work, and open up a new realm, these alone are sufficient to establish that He is God Himself. This thus differentiates Him from Isaiah, Daniel, and the other great prophets. Isaiah, Daniel, and the others were all of a class of highly educated and cultured men; they were extraordinary men under the leadership of Jehovah. The flesh of God incarnate too was knowledgeable and had no lack of sense, but His humanity was particularly normal. He was an ordinary man, and the naked eye could not discern any special humanity about Him or detect anything in His humanity unlike that of others. He was not at all supernatural or unique, and He did not possess any higher education, knowledge, or theory. The life He spoke of and the path He led were not gained through theory, through knowledge, through life experience, or through family upbringing. Rather, they were the direct work of the Spirit, which is the work of the incarnate flesh. It is because man has great notions of God, and particularly because these notions are made of too many vague and supernatural elements that, in the eyes of man, an ordinary God with human weakness, who cannot work signs and wonders, is assuredly not God. Are these not the erroneous notions of man? If the flesh of God incarnate was not a normal man, then how could He be said to have become flesh? To be of the flesh is to be an ordinary, normal man; if He had been a transcendent being, then He would not have been of the flesh. To prove that He is of the flesh, God incarnate needed to possess normal flesh. This was simply to complete the significance of the incarnation. However, this was not the case for the prophets and sons of man. They were gifted men used by the Holy Spirit; in the eyes of man, their humanity was particularly great, and they performed many acts that surpassed normal humanity. For this reason, man regarded them as God. Now you all must understand this clearly, for it has been the issue most easily confused by all men in ages past. Additionally, the incarnation is the most mysterious of all things, and God incarnate is the most difficult for man to accept. What I say is conducive to fulfilling your function and your understanding the mystery of the incarnation. This is all related to God’s management, to the visions. Your understanding of this will be more beneficial to gaining knowledge of the visions, that is, God’s work of management. In this way, you will also gain much understanding of the duty that different kinds of people ought to perform. Though these words do not directly show you the way, they are still of great help to your entry, for your lives at present are much lacking in visions, and this will become a significant obstacle preventing your entry. If you have been unable to understand these issues, then there will be no motivation driving your entry. And how can such a pursuit enable you best to fulfill your duty?