The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)
You should know of the story behind the Bible and of its making. This knowledge does not belong to those who have not accepted the new work of God. They do not know. If you were to speak plainly of these matters of substance to them, they would no longer be sticklers about the Bible with you. They are constantly digging into what has been prophesied: Has this statement come to pass? Has that statement come to pass? Their acceptance of the gospel is in accordance with the Bible; and they preach the gospel according to the Bible. Their belief in God rests on the words of the Bible; without the Bible, they will not believe in God. This is the manner in which they live, subjecting the Bible to petty scrutiny. When they once again come digging into the Bible and ask you for explanations, you can say, “First, let us not verify each statement. Instead, let us look at how the Holy Spirit works. Let us take the path we walk and compare it with the truth to see if this path is in line with the work of the Holy Spirit, and use the work of the Holy Spirit to check whether such path is correct. As for whether this statement or that statement has come to pass as foretold, we humans should not stick our noses into it. It is better for us to speak instead of the work of the Holy Spirit and the latest work that God has been doing. The Bible comprises the words of God told by the prophets and the words written by the men God used at the time; only God Himself can explain those words, only the Holy Spirit can make known the meaning of those words, and only God Himself can break the seven seals and open the scroll. You are not God, and neither am I, so who dares lightly to explain the words of God? Do you dare to explain those words? Even if the prophets Jeremiah, John and Elijah were to come, they would not dare to try and explain those words, for they are not the Lamb. Only the Lamb can break the seven seals and open the scroll, and none other can explain His words. I dare not usurp the name of God, much less attempt to explain God’s words. I can only be one who obeys God. Are you God? None of God’s creatures dare to open the scroll or explain those words, and so I dare not explain them either. You had better not attempt to explain them. No one shall try to explain. Let us talk about the work of the Holy Spirit; this much man can do. I know a little of the work of Jehovah and Jesus, but as I have no personal experience of such work, I can only speak of it to a slight extent. As for the meaning of the words that Isaiah or Jesus spoke in their time, I will make no explanation. I do not study the Bible; rather, I follow the present work of God. You actually regard the Bible as the little scroll, but is it not something that only the Lamb can open? Apart from the Lamb, who else can do so? You are not the Lamb, and even less do I dare claim to be God Himself, so let us not analyze the Bible or subject it to petty scrutiny. Far better to discuss the work done by the Holy Spirit, that is, the present work done by God Himself. Let us see what are the principles by which God works and what the substance of His work, using these to verify whether the path we walk on today is right, and in this way make certain of it.” If you wish to preach the gospel, particularly to those in the religious world, you must understand the Bible and have a mastery of its inside story; otherwise, there is no way for you to preach the gospel. Once you have mastered the bigger picture, and cease to scrutinize the dead words of the Bible in a petty way, but speak only of the work of God and the truth of life, then you shall be able to gain those who seek with a true heart.
Jehovah’s work, the laws He put in place, and the principles by which He guided men in living their lives, the content of the work He did in the Age of Law, the purpose for which He put His laws in place, the significance of His work to the Age of Grace, and what work God does in this final stage: these are things that you should understand. The first stage is the work of the Age of Law, the second the work of the Age of Grace, and the third the work of the last days. You must be clear about these stages of God’s work. From beginning to end, there are three stages in total. What is the substance of each stage of work? How many stages are carried out in the work of the six-thousand-year plan of management? How are these stages carried out, and why is each carried out in its particular way? These are all crucial questions. The work of each age has representational value. What work did Jehovah carry out? Why did He do it in that particular way? Why was He called Jehovah? Again, what work did Jesus carry out in the Age of Grace, and in what manner did He do it? Which aspects of God’s disposition are represented by each stage of work and each age? Which aspects of His disposition came out in the Age of Law? And which in the Age of Grace? And then in the final age? These are substantive questions that you must be clear about. The whole of God’s disposition has been revealed in the course of the six-thousand-year plan of management. It is not revealed only in the Age of Grace, nor only in the Age of Law, even less so only in this period of the last days. The work carried out in the last days represents judgment, wrath, and chastisement. The work carried out in the last days cannot replace the work of the Age of Law or that of the Age of Grace. However, the three stages, interconnecting, form one entity, and all are the work of one God. Naturally, the execution of this work is divided into separate ages. The work done in the last days brings everything to a close; that done in the Age of Law is the work of commencement; and that done in the Age of Grace is of redemption. As for the visions of the work in this entire six-thousand-year plan of management, no one is able to gain insight or understanding, and these visions remain riddles. In the last days, only the work of the word is carried out in order to usher in the Age of Kingdom, but it is not representative of all the ages. The last days are no more than the last days and no more than the Age of Kingdom, which do not represent the Age of Grace or the Age of Law. It is just that, during the last days, all the work in the six-thousand-year plan of management is revealed to you. This is the unveiling of the mystery. This kind of mystery is something that can be unveiled by no man. No matter how great an understanding man has of the Bible, it remains nothing more than words, for man does not understand the substance of the Bible. In reading the Bible, man may understand some truths, explain some words, or subject some famous passages and chapters to his petty scrutiny, but he will never be able to extricate the meaning contained within those words, for all man sees are dead words, not the scenes of the work of Jehovah and of Jesus, and man has no way of unraveling the mystery of this work. Therefore, the mystery of the six-thousand-year plan of management is the greatest mystery, the most profoundly hidden, and wholly unfathomable to man. No one can directly grasp the will of God, unless He Himself explains and opens it up to man; otherwise, these things will forever remain riddles to man, remaining forever sealed mysteries. Never mind those in the religious world; if you had not been told today, you would not have grasped it either. This work of six thousand years is more mysterious than all the prophecies of the prophets. It is the greatest mystery from creation to the present, and no one among the prophets throughout the ages has ever been able to fathom it, for this mystery is only unveiled in the final age and has never before been revealed. If you can grasp this mystery, and if you are able to receive it in its entirety, then all religious persons will be vanquished by this mystery. Only this is the greatest of visions; it is that which man longs most keenly to grasp but it is also that which is most unclear to him. When you were in the Age of Grace, you did not know what the work done by Jesus or that done by Jehovah was about. People did not understand why Jehovah set forth laws, why He asked the multitude to keep the laws or why the temple had to be built, and still less did people understand why the Israelites were led from Egypt into the wilderness and then on to Canaan. It was not until this day that these matters have been revealed.
The work in the last days is the final stage of the three. It is the work of another new age and does not represent the entirety of the work of management. The six-thousand-year plan of management is divided into three stages of work. No one stage alone can represent the work of the three ages, but only one part of a whole. The name Jehovah cannot represent the whole of God’s disposition. The fact that He carried out His work in the Age of Law does not prove that God can only be God under the law. Jehovah set forth laws for man and handed down commandments to him, asking man to build the temple and the altars; the work He did represents only the Age of Law. This work that He did does not prove that God is only a God who asks man to keep the law, or that He is the God in the temple, or that He is the God before the altar. To say this would be untrue. The work done under the law can only represent one age. Therefore, if God only did the work in the Age of Law, then man would confine God within the following definition, saying, “God is the God in the temple, and, in order to serve God we must put on priestly robes and enter the temple.” If the work in the Age of Grace had never been carried out and the Age of Law had continued until the present, man would not know that God is also merciful and loving. If the work in the Age of Law had not been done, and instead only the work in the Age of Grace, then all man would know is that God can only redeem man and forgive man’s sins. Man would know only that He is holy and innocent, and that for man’s sake He is able to sacrifice Himself and be crucified. Man would know only these things but have no understanding of all else. And so each age represents one part of God’s disposition. As for which aspects of God’s disposition are represented in the Age of Law, which in the Age of Grace, and which in this present stage: only when all three stages have been integrated into one whole can they reveal the entirety of God’s disposition. Only when man has come to know all three stages can he understand it fully. None of the three stages can be omitted. You will only see the disposition of God in its entirety after coming to know these three stages of work. The fact that God completed His work in the Age of Law does not prove that He is only the God under the law, and the fact that He completed His work of redemption does not mean that God will forever redeem mankind. These are all conclusions drawn by man. The Age of Grace having come to an end, you cannot then say that God belongs only to the cross and that the cross alone represents the salvation of God. To do so would be to define God. In the present stage, God is mainly doing the work of the word, but you cannot say then that God has never been merciful to man and that all He has brought is chastisement and judgment. The work in the last days lays bare the work of Jehovah and Jesus and all mysteries not understood by man, so as to reveal the destination and the end of mankind and end all the work of salvation among mankind. This stage of work in the last days brings everything to a close. All mysteries not understood by man needs must be unraveled to allow man to plumb them to their depths and have a completely clear understanding in his heart. Only then can the human race be divided according to their kind. Only after the six-thousand-year plan of management is completed will man come to understand the disposition of God in its entirety, for His management will then have come to an end. Now that you have experienced the work of God in the final age, what is the disposition of God? Do you dare say that God is the God who merely speaks words and no more? You would not dare render such a conclusion. Some would say that God is the God who opens up mysteries, that God is the Lamb and the One who breaks the seven seals. But no one dares to render such a conclusion. Others might say that God is the incarnate flesh, but this would still not be correct. Still others might say that God incarnate only speaks words and does not work signs and wonders, but you would dare even less to speak in this way, for Jesus became flesh and worked signs and wonders, so you would not dare to define God so lightly. All of the work done throughout the six-thousand-year plan of management has only now come to a close. Only after all of this work has been revealed to man and carried out in the midst of men will humanity know all of His disposition and what He has and is. When the work of this stage has been fully completed, all mysteries not understood by man shall have been revealed, all truths previously not understood shall have been made clear, and the human race shall have been told of their future path and destination. This is the whole of the work that is to be done in the present stage. Even though the path that man walks today is also the path of the cross and the path of suffering, what man practices, and what he eats, drinks and enjoys today are greatly different from that which fell to man under the law and in the Age of Grace. What is asked of man this day is unlike that in the past and even more unlike that asked of man in the Age of Law. Now, what was asked of man under the law when He was doing His work in Israel? It was no more than that man should keep the Sabbath and the laws of Jehovah. No one was to labor on the Sabbath or transgress the laws of Jehovah. But it is not so now. On the Sabbath, man works, gathers, and prays as usual, and no restrictions are imposed on him. Those in the Age of Grace had to be baptized, and they were further asked to fast, break bread, drink wine, cover their heads and wash the feet of others for them. Now, these rules have been abolished, but greater demands are made of man, for the work of God incessantly deepens and the entry of man reaches ever higher. In the past, Jesus laid His hands upon man and prayed, but now that everything has been said, what is the use of the laying on of hands? Words alone can achieve results. When He laid His hands upon man in the past, it was to bless man and also to heal him of his diseases. This was how the Holy Spirit worked at that time, but it is not so now. Now the Holy Spirit uses words in order to work and achieve results. His words have been made clear to you, and you should put them into practice just as you have been told. His words are His will; they are the work He wishes to do. Through His words, you will understand His will and that which He asks you to attain, and you just put His words into practice directly without any need for the laying on of hands. Some may say, “Lay Your hands upon me! Lay Your hands upon me that I may receive Your blessing and that I may partake of You.” All these are outdated practices from the past, now obsolete, for the age has changed. The Holy Spirit works in accordance with the age, neither at random nor in conformity to set rules. The age has changed, and a new age necessarily brings with it new work. This is true of every stage of work, and so His work is never repeated. In the Age of Grace, Jesus did a fair amount of that kind of work, such as healing sickness, casting out demons, laying His hands upon man to pray for him, and blessing man. However, to do so again would be meaningless in the present day. The Holy Spirit worked in that way at the time, for it was the Age of Grace, and there was sufficient grace for man to enjoy. No payment of any kind was asked of him, and so long as he had faith he would receive grace. All were treated very graciously. Now the age has changed, and the work of God has progressed further; it is through chastisement and judgment that the rebelliousness of man and the unclean things within man will be purged away. That stage being the stage of redemption, it behooved God to work in that way, showing enough grace for man to enjoy, so that man might be redeemed from sin and by means of grace be forgiven his sins. This present stage is to expose the unrighteousness within man by means of chastisement, judgment, the smiting of words, as well as the discipline and revelation of words, so that humanity may afterward be saved. This is work more in-depth than redemption. The grace in the Age of Grace was sufficient for man’s enjoyment; now that man has already experienced this grace, he is no longer to enjoy it. This work is now past its time and is no longer to be done. Now man is to be saved through the judgment of the word. After man is judged, chastised, and refined, his disposition is thereby changed. Is this not all because of the words I have spoken? Each stage of work is done in line with the progress of the whole human race and with the age. The work is all significant, and it is all done for the sake of the final salvation, that mankind may have a good destination in the future, and that humanity may be divided according to their kind in the end.
The work of the last days is to speak words. Great changes can be effected in man by means of words. The changes now effected in these people upon their accepting these words are much greater than those effected in people upon their accepting the signs and wonders of the Age of Grace. For, in the Age of Grace, the demons were cast out from man with the laying on of hands and prayer, but the corrupt dispositions within man still remained. Man was healed of his sickness and forgiven his sins, but as for just how man was to be purged of the corrupt satanic dispositions within him, this work had yet to be done. Man was only saved and forgiven his sins for his faith, but the sinful nature of man was not extirpated and still remained within him. The sins of man were forgiven through the agency of the incarnate God, but this does not mean that man no longer has sin within him. The sins of man could be forgiven through the sin offering, but as for just how man can be made to sin no more, and how his sinful nature may be extirpated completely and transformed, he has no way of solving this problem. The sins of man were forgiven, and this is because of the work of God’s crucifixion, but man continued to live within the corrupt satanic disposition of old. This being so, man must be completely saved from his corrupt satanic disposition, so that his sinful nature may be completely extirpated, never to develop again, thus enabling the disposition of man to be transformed. This would require man to grasp the path of growth in life, to grasp the way of life, and to grasp the way to change his disposition. Furthermore, it would require man to act in accordance with this path, so that his disposition may gradually be changed and he may live under the shining of the light, so that all that he does may be in accord with the will of God, so that he may cast away his corrupt satanic disposition, and so that he may break free from Satan’s influence of darkness, thereby emerging fully from sin. Only then will man receive complete salvation. 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.
God’s saving of man is not done directly using the method of the Spirit and the identity of the Spirit, for His Spirit can neither be touched nor seen by man, neither can man draw near. If He tried to save man directly using the perspective of the Spirit, man would be unable to receive His salvation. If God did not put on the outward form of a created man, there would be no way for man to receive this salvation. For man has no way of approaching Him, much as no one was able to go near the cloud of Jehovah. Only by becoming a created human being, that is, only by putting His word into the body of flesh that He is about to become, can He personally work the word into all who follow Him. Only then can man personally see and hear His word, and moreover enter into possession of His word, and by this means come to be fully saved. If God did not become flesh, no man of flesh and blood would be able to receive such great salvation, nor would a single man be saved. If the Spirit of God worked directly in the midst of mankind, all humanity would be struck down, or else, with no way of coming into touch with God, they would be completely carried away captive by Satan. 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. Thenceforth, the work of God in the flesh will have entirely come to an end. After the second incarnation, He will not become flesh a third time for His work. For His entire management will have come to an end. The incarnation of the last days will have fully gained His chosen people, and humanity in the last days will all have been divided according to their kind. He will no longer do the work of salvation, nor will He return to the flesh to carry out any work. In the work of the last days, the word is mightier than the manifestation of signs and wonders, and the authority of the word surpasses that of signs and wonders. The word exposes all the corrupt dispositions buried deep in the heart of man. You have no way of recognizing them on your own. When they are laid bare before you through the word, you will naturally come to discover them; you will not be able to deny them, and you will be utterly convinced. Is this not the authority of the word? This is the result achieved by the work of the word today. Therefore, it is not through the healing of sickness and casting out of demons that man can be fully saved from his sins, nor can he be fully made complete by the manifestation of signs and wonders. The authority to heal sickness and cast out demons only gives man grace, but the flesh of man still belongs to Satan and the corrupt satanic disposition still remains within man. In other words, that which has not been made clean still belongs to sin and to filth. Only after he has been made clean through the agency of the word can he be gained by God and become a sanctified man. When the demons were cast out of man and he was redeemed, this meant only that he was wrested out of Satan’s hands and returned to God. However, without being made clean or changed by God, he remains a corrupt man. Within man still exist filth, opposition, and rebelliousness; man has only returned to God through His redemption, but he has not the slightest knowledge of God and still resists and rebels against Him. Before man was redeemed, many of Satan’s poisons had already been planted within him and, after thousands of years of being corrupted by Satan, he has within him an established nature that resists God. Therefore, when man has been redeemed, it is nothing more than a case of redemption in which man is bought at a high price, but the poisonous nature within him has not been eliminated. Man that is so defiled must undergo a change before becoming worthy to serve God. By means of this work of judgment and chastisement, man will fully come to know the filthy and corrupt substance within his own self, and he will be able to change completely and become clean. Only in this way can man become worthy to return before the throne of God. All the work done this day is so that man can be made clean and be changed; through judgment and chastisement by the word, as well as through refinement, man can purge away his corruption and be made pure. Rather than deeming this stage of work to be that of salvation, it would be more apt to say it is the work of purification. In truth, this stage is that of conquest as well as the second stage in the work of salvation. It is through judgment and chastisement by the word that man arrives at being gained by God; and it is through the use of the word to refine, judge, and disclose that all of the impurities, notions, motives, and individual aspirations within man’s heart are completely revealed. For all that man may have been redeemed and forgiven of his sins, it can only be considered as God not remembering the transgressions of man and not treating man in accordance with his transgressions. However, when man, who lives in a body of flesh, has not been set free from sin, he can only continue to sin, endlessly revealing his corrupt satanic disposition. This is the life that man leads, an endless cycle of sinning and being forgiven. The majority of men sin in the day only to confess in the evening. This way, even if the sin offering is forever effective for man, it will not be able to save man from sin. Only half the work of salvation has been completed, for man still has a corrupt disposition. For instance, when people realized that they were descended from Moab, they brought forth words of complaint, ceased to pursue life, and became utterly passive. Does this not show that humanity is still unable to fully submit under the dominion of God? Is this not precisely their corrupt satanic disposition? When you were not being subjected to chastisement, your hands were raised higher than all others, even that of Jesus. And you cried out in a loud voice: “Be a beloved son of God! Be an intimate of God! We would rather die than bow down to Satan! Revolt against the old Satan! Revolt against the great red dragon! May the great red dragon fall abjectly from power! May God make us complete!” Your cries were louder than all others. But then came the times of chastisement and, once again, the corrupt disposition of humanity was revealed. Then, their cries ceased, and their resolution failed. This is the corruption of man; running deeper than sin, it is something planted by Satan and deeply rooted within man. It is not easy for man to become aware of his sins; he has no way of recognizing his own deeply rooted nature, and must rely on judgment by the word in order to achieve this result. Only thus can man gradually be changed from this point onward. Man shouted thus in the past because he had no understanding of his original corrupt disposition. These are the impurities that exist within man. Throughout such a long period of judgment and chastisement, man lived in an atmosphere of tension. Was this not all achieved through the agency of the word? Did you not also cry out with a very loud voice prior to the trial of[a] service-doers? “Enter the kingdom! All those who accept this name shall enter into the kingdom! All shall partake of God!” When the trial of service-doers came, you no longer cried out. At the very beginning, all cried out, “Oh God! Wherever You place me, I shall submit to being steered by You.” Upon reading the words of God, “Who will be My Paul?” man said, “I am willing!” Then he saw the words, “And what of the faith of Job?” and said, “I am willing to take upon myself the faith of Job. God, please put me to the test!” When the trial of service-doers came, he collapsed at once and almost could not stand up again. After that, little by little, the impurities in man’s heart gradually diminished. Was this not achieved through the word? So, what you have experienced today are results achieved through the word, even greater than those achieved through Jesus’ working of signs and wonders. The glory of God that you see and the authority of God Himself that you see are not merely seen by means of the crucifixion, by means of the healing of sickness and the casting out of demons, but even more so by means of the judgment by His word. This shows you that the authority and power of God do not consist only of the working of signs, the healing of sickness, and the casting out of demons, but judgment by the word is better able to represent the authority of God and to reveal His almightiness.
What man has achieved now—his present stature, knowledge, love, loyalty, obedience, and insight—these are results attained through judgment by the word. That you are able to have loyalty and to remain standing until this day is attained through the agency of the word. Now man sees that the work of God incarnate is indeed extraordinary, and there is much in it that cannot be attained by man; these are mysteries and wonders. Therefore, many have submitted. Some have never submitted to any man since the day of their birth, yet when they see the words of God this day, they fully submit without noticing they have done so, and they do not venture to scrutinize or say anything else. Humanity has fallen under the word and lies prostrate under the judgment by the word. If the Spirit of God spoke directly to man, men would all submit to the voice, falling down without words of revelation, much in the way that Paul fell to the ground in the light on the road to Damascus. If God continued to work in this way, man would never be able to come to know his own corruption through judgment by the word and thereby attain salvation. Only through becoming flesh can He personally deliver His words into the ears of each and every human being, so that all who have ears may hear His words and receive His work of judgment by the word. Only this is the result achieved by His word, rather than the Spirit becoming manifest to frighten man into submission. It is only through this practical and yet extraordinary work that the old disposition of man, hidden deep within for many years, can be fully exposed, so that man may recognize it and have it changed. These things are all the practical work of God incarnate, in which, speaking and executing judgment in a practical manner, He achieves the results of judgment upon man by the word. This is the authority of God incarnate and the significance of God’s incarnation. It is done to make known the authority of God incarnate, to make known the results achieved by the work of the word, and to make known that the Spirit has come in the flesh and demonstrates His authority through judging man by the word. Although His flesh is the outward form of an ordinary and normal humanity, it is the results His words achieve that show to man He is full of authority, that He is God Himself, and that His words are the expression of God Himself. By this means all humanity is shown that He is God Himself, that He is God Himself who became flesh, and that He is to be offended by none. No one can surpass His judgment by the word, and no force of darkness can prevail over His authority. Man submits to Him entirely because He is the Word become flesh, because of His authority, and because of His judgment by the word. The work brought by His incarnate flesh is the authority that He possesses. The reason why He becomes flesh is because the flesh can also possess authority, and He is capable of carrying out work in a practical manner among mankind, in such a way that it is visible and tangible to man. This work is much more realistic than the work done directly by the Spirit of God, who possesses all authority, and its results are also apparent. This is because God’s incarnate flesh can speak and work in a practical way. The outward form of His flesh holds no authority, and can be approached by man, whereas His substance does carry authority, but His authority is visible to none. When He speaks and works, man is unable to detect the existence of His authority; this facilitates Him in doing work of a practical nature. And all this practical work can achieve results. Even though no man realizes that He holds authority, or sees that He is not to be offended, or sees His wrath, He achieves the intended results of His words through His veiled authority, His hidden wrath, and the words He openly speaks. In other words, through His tone of voice, the sternness of His speech, and all the wisdom of His words, man is utterly convinced. In this way, man submits to the word of God incarnate, who seemingly has no authority, thereby fulfilling God’s aim of saving man. This is another aspect of the significance of His incarnation: to speak more realistically and allow the reality of His words to have an effect upon man, so that man may witness the power of the word of God. Therefore, this work, if not done through incarnation, would not achieve the slightest results and would not be able to fully save sinners. If God did not become flesh, He would remain the Spirit who is both invisible and intangible to man. Man being a creature of flesh, he and God belong to two different worlds and are endowed with different natures. The Spirit of God is incompatible with man, who is of flesh, and there is simply no way of establishing relations between them, not to mention that man is incapable of turning into a spirit. This being so, the Spirit of God must become a created being in order to do His original work. God can both ascend to the highest place and humble Himself to become a human creature, doing work among men and living in their midst, but man cannot ascend to the highest place and become a spirit, and even less can he descend to the lowest place. This is why God must become flesh to carry out His work. By the same token, during the first incarnation, only the flesh of God incarnate could redeem man through His crucifixion, whereas there would have been no way for the Spirit of God to be crucified as a sin offering for man. God could directly become flesh to serve as a sin offering for man, but man could not directly ascend to heaven to take the sin offering that God had prepared for him. This being so, all that is possible would be to ask God to run back and forth a few times between heaven and earth, not to have man ascend to heaven to take this salvation, for man had fallen and moreover man simply could not ascend to heaven, much less obtain the sin offering. Therefore, it was necessary for Jesus to come among men and personally do the work that simply could not be accomplished by man. Every time God becomes flesh, it is out of absolute necessity. If any of the stages could have been carried out directly by the Spirit of God, He would not have submitted to the indignity of being incarnated.
In this final stage of work, results are achieved through the agency of the word. Through the word, man comes to understand many mysteries and the work that God has done through generations past; through the word, man is enlightened by the Holy Spirit; through the word, man comes to understand the mysteries never before unraveled by past generations, as well as the work of prophets and apostles of times past, and the principles by which they worked; through the word, man also comes to understand the disposition of God Himself, as well as the rebelliousness and resistance of man, and comes to know his own substance. Through these steps of work and through all the words spoken, man comes to know the work of the Spirit, the work God’s incarnate flesh does, and even more, His entire disposition. Your knowledge of God’s work of management over six thousand years was also gained through the word. Was not the knowledge of your former notions and your success in putting them aside also attained through the word? In the previous stage, Jesus worked signs and wonders, but there are no signs and wonders in this stage. Was not your understanding of why He does not reveal signs and wonders also achieved through the word? Therefore, the words spoken in this stage surpass the work done by the apostles and prophets of generations past. Even the prophecies told by the prophets could not have achieved this result. The prophets spoke only prophecies, they spoke of what would happen in the future, but not of the work God wished to do at the time. Nor did they speak to guide men in their lives, or to bestow truths upon men, or to reveal mysteries to them, much less to bestow life. Of the words spoken in this stage, there is prophecy and truth, but mainly these words serve to bestow life upon man. The words at present are unlike the prophecies of the prophets. This is a stage of work for the life of man, to change man’s life disposition, and not for the sake of speaking prophecy. The first stage was the work of Jehovah: His work was to prepare a path for man to worship God on earth. It was the work of commencement to find a place of origin for the work on earth. At that time, Jehovah taught the Israelites to observe the Sabbath, respect their parents, and live peaceably with one another. This was because men of that time did not understand what constituted man, nor did they understand how to live on earth. It was necessary for Him in the first stage of work to guide men in leading their lives. All that Jehovah spoke to them had not previously been known to mankind or been in their possession. At that time many prophets were raised up to speak prophecies, and they all did so under the guidance of Jehovah. This was simply one item in the work. In the first stage, God did not become flesh, and so He instructed all tribes and nations through the prophets. When Jesus worked in His time, He did not speak as much as in the present day. This stage of the work of the word in the last days has never been done before in ages and generations past. Though Isaiah, Daniel and John spoke many prophecies, their prophecies were entirely different from the words spoken now. What they spoke were only prophecies, but the words spoken now are not. If I turned all I speak of now into prophecies, would you be able to understand? Supposing that what I speak of were about matters after I have gone, how could you gain understanding? The work of the word was never done in the time of Jesus or in the Age of Law. Perhaps some will say, “Did not Jehovah also speak words in the time of His work? Did Jesus not, in addition to healing sickness, casting out demons, and working signs and wonders, also speak words at that time He was working?” There are differences in how words are spoken. What was the substance of the words uttered by Jehovah? He was only guiding men to lead their lives on earth, which did not touch on spiritual matters in life. Why is it said that, when Jehovah spoke, it was to instruct the people of all places? The word “instruct” refers to tell explicitly and command directly. He did not supply man with life; rather, He simply took man by the hand and taught man how to revere Him, without too much in the way of parables. The work Jehovah did in Israel was not to deal with or discipline man or to deliver judgment and chastisement; it was to guide him. Jehovah commanded Moses to tell His people to gather manna in the wilderness. Every morning before sunrise, they were to gather manna, just enough for them to eat that day. The manna could not be kept until the next day, as it would then become moldy. He did not lecture men or expose their natures, nor did He expose their ideas and thoughts. He did not change men but rather guided them in leading their lives. The men of that time were like children, understanding nothing and capable only of some basic mechanical movements; and so Jehovah only decreed laws to guide the multitudes.
In order to spread the gospel, so that all who seek with a true heart may gain knowledge of the work done this day and be thoroughly convinced, you must arrive at a clear understanding of the inside story, the substance, and the significance of the work done in each stage. Make it so that, by listening to your fellowship, others may understand the work of Jehovah, the work of Jesus and, even more, all the work of the God of today, as well as the connections and the differences among the three stages of work. Make it so that, after they have finished listening, others will see that the three stages do not disrupt one another, but that all are the work of the same Spirit. Although They work in different ages, the content of the work They carry out is different, and the words They speak are also different, the principles by which They work are one and the same. These things are the greatest visions that all people should understand.
a. The original text does not contain the phrase “trial of.”