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A Selection From the Four Passages of God’s Word on “The Mystery of the Incarnation”

Utterances of Christ of the Last Days (Selections)

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A Selection From the Four Passages of God’s Word on “The Mystery of the Incarnation”

1. In the Age of Grace, John paved the way for Jesus. He could not do the work of God Himself and merely fulfilled the duty of man. Though John was the forerunner of the Lord, he was unable to represent God; he was only a man used by the Holy Spirit. Following the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit descended upon Him like a dove. He then began His work, that is, He began to perform the ministry of Christ. That is why He assumed the identity of God, for it was from God that He came. No matter what His faith was like before this—it may have been weak at times, or sometimes it was strong—that all belonged to the normal human life He led before performing His ministry. After He was baptized (that is, anointed), the power and the glory of God were immediately with Him, and so He began to perform His ministry. He could work signs and wonders, perform miracles, and He had power and authority, for He was working directly on behalf of God Himself; He was doing the work of the Spirit in His stead and expressing the voice of the Spirit. Therefore, He was God Himself; this is indisputable. John was used by the Holy Spirit. He could not represent God, nor was it possible for him to represent God. If he had wished to do so, the Holy Spirit would not have allowed it, for he was unable to do the work that God Himself intended to accomplish. Perhaps there was much in him that was of man’s will, or something that was deviant; under no circumstances could he directly represent God. His mistakes and erroneousness represented only himself, but his work was representative of the Holy Spirit. Yet, you cannot say that all of him represented God. Could his deviation and erroneousness represent God as well? To be erroneous in representing man is normal, but if one is deviant in representing God, then would that not be a dishonor to God? Would that not be blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit does not lightly allow man to stand in God’s place, even if he is exalted by others. If he is not God, he would be unable to stand fast in the end. The Holy Spirit does not allow man to represent God as man pleases! For instance, it was the Holy Spirit that bore witness to John and it was also the Holy Spirit that revealed him to be the one to pave the way for Jesus, but the work done upon him by the Holy Spirit was well measured. All that was asked of John was to be the way-paver for Jesus, to prepare the way for Him. That is to say, the Holy Spirit only upheld his work in paving the way and allowed him only to do such work—he was allowed to do no other. John represented Elijah, and he represented a prophet who paved the way. The Holy Spirit upheld him in this; as long as his work was to pave the way, the Holy Spirit upheld him. However, if he had laid claim to being God Himself and said that he had come to finish the work of redemption, the Holy Spirit would have had to discipline him. No matter how great the work of John, and even though it was upheld by the Holy Spirit, his work was not without boundaries. Granted that the Holy Spirit did indeed uphold his work, the power given him at the time was limited to his paving the way. He could not, at all, do any other work, for he was only John who paved the way, and not Jesus. Therefore, the testimony of the Holy Spirit is key, but the work that the Holy Spirit permits man to do is even more crucial. Had not John received resounding witness at the time? Was not his work also great? But the work he did could not surpass that of Jesus, for he was no more than a man used by the Holy Spirit and could not directly represent God, and so the work he did was limited. After he finished the work of paving the way, there was no one to uphold his testimony, no new work followed him, and he departed as the work of God Himself began.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

2. There are some who are possessed by evil spirits and cry out vociferously, “I am God!” Yet, in the end, they are revealed, for they are wrong in what they represent. They represent Satan, and the Holy Spirit pays them no heed. However highly you exalt yourself or however strongly you cry out, you are still a created being and one that belongs to Satan. I never cry out, “I am God, I am the beloved Son of God!” But the work I do is God’s work. Need I shout? There is no need for exaltation. God does His own work Himself and does not need man to accord Him a status or give Him an honorific title: His work is sufficient to represent His identity and status. Prior to His baptism, was not Jesus God Himself? Was He not the incarnate flesh of God? Surely it cannot be said that it was only after receiving witness that He became the only Son of God? Long before He began His work, was there not already a man by the name of Jesus? You are unable to bring forth new paths or to represent the Spirit. You cannot express the work of the Spirit or the words that He speaks. You are unable to do the work of God Himself, and that of the Spirit you are unable to do. The wisdom, wonder, and unfathomability of God, and the entirety of the disposition by which God chastises man: all of these are beyond your capacity to express. So it would be useless to try to claim to be God; you would have only the name and none of the substance. God Himself has come, but no one recognizes Him, yet He continues on in His work and does so in representation of the Spirit. Whether you call Him man or God, the Lord or Christ, or call Her sister, it does not matter. But the work He does is that of the Spirit and represents the work of God Himself. He does not care about the name by which man calls Him. Can that name determine His work? Regardless of what you call Him, as far as God is concerned, He is the incarnate flesh of the Spirit of God; He represents the Spirit and is approved by the Spirit. If you are unable to make way for a new age, or to bring the old to an end, or to usher in a new age, or to do new work, then you cannot be called God!

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

3. Even a man who is used by the Holy Spirit cannot represent God Himself. This is not only to say that such a man cannot represent God, but also that the work he does cannot directly represent God. In other words, human experience cannot be placed directly within the management of God, and it cannot represent the management of God. The work that God Himself does is entirely the work He intends to do in His own management plan and pertains to the great management. The work done by men (that is, men used by the Holy Spirit) consists of supplying their individual experience. It consists of finding out a new path of experience beyond that trodden by those who have gone before, and of guiding their brothers and sisters while under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. What these men supply is their individual experience or the spiritual writings of spiritual men. Although these men are used by the Holy Spirit, the work they do is unrelated to the great work of management in the six-thousand-year plan. They are merely men who have been raised up by the Holy Spirit in different periods to lead the people in the stream of the Holy Spirit, until the functions they can perform are at an end or until their lives come to an end. The work they do is only to prepare an appropriate path for God Himself or to continue a certain aspect of the management of God Himself on earth. In themselves, these men are unable to do the greater work in His management, nor can they open up new ways out, even less can any of them bring to a conclusion all of God’s work from the former age. Therefore, the work they do represents only a created being performing his function, and cannot represent God Himself performing His ministry. This is because the work they do is unlike that done by God Himself. The work of ushering in a new age is not something that can be done by man in God’s place. It cannot be done by any other than God Himself. All the work done by man consists of performing his duty as a created being and is done when moved or enlightened by the Holy Spirit. The guidance that these men provide consists entirely of showing man the path of practice in daily life and how he should act in harmony with the will of God. The work of man neither involves the management of God nor represents the work of the Spirit. As an example, the work of Witness Lee and Watchman Nee was to lead the way. Be the way new or old, the work was premised upon the principle of remaining within the Bible. Whether it was to restore the local church or build the local church, their work had to do with establishing churches. The work they did carried on the work that Jesus and His apostles had left unfinished or had not further developed in the Age of Grace. What they did in their work was to restore what Jesus had in His early work asked of the generations coming after Him, such as keeping their heads covered, receiving baptism, breaking bread, or drinking wine. It could be said that their work was to keep to the Bible and to seek paths within the Bible. They made no new advances of any kind. Therefore, one can see in their work only the discovery of new ways within the Bible, as well as better and more realistic practices. But one cannot find in their work the present will of God, much less find the new work that God in the last days plans to do. This is because the path they walked was still an old one; there was no renewal and no advancement. They continued to hold onto the fact of the crucifixion of Jesus, to observe the practice of asking people to repent and confess their sins, to adhere to the sayings that he who endures to the end shall be saved and that man is the head of woman, and woman must obey her husband, and even more to the traditional conception that sisters cannot preach, but only obey. If such manner of leadership had continued to be observed, the Holy Spirit would never have been able to carry out new work, to set men free from doctrine, or to lead them into a realm of freedom and beauty. Therefore, this stage of work, which changes the age, must be done and spoken by God Himself; otherwise no man can do so in His stead. Thus far, all the work of the Holy Spirit outside of this stream has come to a standstill, and those who were used by the Holy Spirit have lost their bearings. Therefore, since the work of the men used by the Holy Spirit is unlike the work done by God Himself, their identities and the subjects on behalf of whom they act are likewise different. This is because the work the Holy Spirit intends to do is different, and on this account those who alike do work are accorded different identities and statuses. The men used by the Holy Spirit may also do some work that is new and may also eliminate some work done in the former age, but what they do cannot express the disposition and the will of God in the new age. They work only to do away with the work of the former age, and not in order to do new work for the purpose of directly representing the disposition of God Himself. Thus, no matter how many outdated practices they abolish or how many new practices they introduce, they still represent man and created beings. Whereas, when God Himself carries out work, He does not openly declare the abolishment of the practices of the old age or directly declare the commencement of a new age. He is direct and straightforward in His work. He is forthright in performing the work He intends; that is, He directly expresses the work that He has brought about, directly does His work as originally intended, expressing His being and disposition. As man sees it, His disposition and so too His work differ from those in ages past. However, from the perspective of God Himself, this is merely a continuation and further development of His work. When God Himself works, He expresses His word and directly brings the new work. In contrast, when man works, it is through deliberation and study, or it is an extension of knowledge and systematization of practice founded on the work of others. That is to say, the essence of the work done by man is to follow an established order and to “walk old paths in new shoes.” This means that even the path walked by the men used by the Holy Spirit is built upon that opened up by God Himself. So, when all is said and done, man is still man, and God is still God.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

4. John was born by promise, much as Isaac was born to Abraham. He paved the way for Jesus and did much work, but he was not God. Rather, he was one of the prophets, because he only paved the way for Jesus. His work was also great, and it was only after he had paved the way that Jesus officially began His work. In essence, he simply labored for Jesus, and the work he did was in service to the work of Jesus. After he had finished paving the way, Jesus began His work, work that was newer, more concrete, and in greater detail. John did only the initial portion of the work; the greater part of the new work was done by Jesus. John did new work as well, but he was not the one who ushered in a new age. John was born by promise, and his name given by the angel. At the time, some wanted to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke out, saying, “This child cannot be called by that name. He should be called John.” This was all at the behest of the Holy Spirit. In that case, why was John not called God? Jesus was also named at the behest of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the Holy Spirit, and He was promised by the Holy Spirit. Jesus was God, Christ, and the Son of man. But, the work of John also being great, why was he not called God? Exactly what was the difference between the work done by Jesus and that done by John? Was the only reason that John was the one who paved the way for Jesus? Or because this had been predestined by God? Though John also said, “Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and he too preached the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, his work was not further developed and merely constituted a beginning. In contrast, Jesus ushered in a new age as well as bringing the old to an end, but He also fulfilled the law of the Old Testament. The work He did was greater than that of John, and what is more He came to redeem all mankind—He accomplished that stage of work. As for John, he simply prepared the way. Though his work was great, his words many, and those disciples who followed him numerous, his work did no more than bring to man a new beginning. Never did man receive from him life, the way, or deeper truths, nor did man gain through him an understanding of the will of God. John was a great prophet (Elijah) who opened up new ground for Jesus’ work and prepared the chosen; he was the forerunner of the Age of Grace. Such matters cannot be discerned simply by observing their normal human appearances. This is all the more so as John also did work that was quite considerable and moreover was promised by the Holy Spirit and his work was upheld by the Holy Spirit. This being so, it is only through the work that they do that one can distinguish between their respective identities, for there is no way to tell a man’s substance from his outward appearance, nor is there any way for man to ascertain what is the testimony of the Holy Spirit. The work done by John and that done by Jesus were not alike as well as of different natures. It is from this that one determines whether or not he is God. The work of Jesus was to initiate, to continue, to conclude, and to bring to fruition. He carried out each of these steps, whereas the work of John was no more than making a beginning. In the beginning, Jesus spread the gospel and preached the way of repentance, and then went on to baptize man, heal the sick, and cast out demons. In the end, He redeemed mankind from sin and completed His work for the entire age. He also went about in every place, preaching to man and spreading the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. In this regard He and John were alike, the difference being that Jesus ushered in a new age and brought the Age of Grace to man. From His mouth came the word on what man should practice and the way that man should follow in the Age of Grace, and in the end, He finished the work of redemption. John could never have carried out this work. And so it was Jesus who did the work of God Himself, and it is He who is God Himself, and who directly represents God. The conceptions of man say that all those who are born by promise, born of the Spirit, upheld by the Holy Spirit, and who open up new ways out are God. According to this reasoning, John too would be God, and Moses, Abraham, and David…, they too would all be God. Is this not a consummate joke?

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

5. Men believe that God who comes in the flesh definitely does not live as a normal man does; they believe that He is clean without having to brush His teeth or wash His face, because He is a holy person. Are not these purely the conceptions of man? The Bible makes no record of the life of Jesus as a man, only of His work, but this does not prove that He did not have normal humanity or that He did not live a normal human life prior to the age of thirty. He officially commenced His work at the age of 29, but you cannot write off His entire life as a man prior to that age. The Bible merely omitted that period from its records; as it was His life as an ordinary man and not the period of His divine work, there was no need for it to be written down. For prior to the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit did not work directly, but merely maintained Him in His life as an ordinary man until the day Jesus was due to perform His ministry. Though He was God incarnate, He underwent the process of becoming mature as an ordinary man does. This process of maturation was omitted from the Bible. It was omitted because it could provide no great assistance to man’s growth in life. The period before His baptism was a hidden period, one in which He worked no signs and wonders. Only after the baptism of Jesus did He begin all the work of mankind’s redemption, work that was richly abundant in grace, in truth, and in love and mercy. The beginning of this work was precisely also the commencement of the Age of Grace; for this reason, it was written down and passed down to the present. It was to open up a way out and bring all to fruition for those in the Age of Grace to tread the path of the Age of Grace and the path of the cross. Although it comes out of records written down by man, everything is fact, except that here and there small errors are to be found. Even so, these records cannot be said to be untruthful. The things are entirely factual, only in writing them down men made errors. There are some who will say that, if Jesus was one with normal and ordinary humanity, how could it be that He was capable of working signs and wonders? The forty days of temptation that Jesus underwent is a miraculous sign, one that an ordinary man would be incapable of achieving. His forty days of temptation was in the nature of the Holy Spirit’s working; how then can one say that there is not a bit of the supernatural in Him? His ability to work signs and wonders does not prove that He was a transcendent man and no ordinary man; it is merely that the Holy Spirit worked in an ordinary man such as Him, thus making it possible for Him to perform miracles and do even greater work. Prior to Jesus performing His ministry, or as the Bible says, prior to the Spirit descending upon Him, Jesus was but an ordinary man and in no way supernatural. When the Holy Spirit descended upon Him, that is, when He commenced the performance of His ministry, He became imbued with the supernatural. In this way, man comes to believe that God’s incarnate flesh does not have normal humanity and moreover mistakenly thinks that God incarnate has no humanity. Certainly, when God comes to earth, His work and all that man sees of Him are supernatural. What you behold with your eyes and what you hear with your ears are all supernatural, for His work and His words are incomprehensible and unattainable to man. If something of heaven is brought to earth, how can it be anything but supernatural? When the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven are brought to earth, mysteries that are incomprehensible and unfathomable to man, that are too wondrous and wise—are they not all supernatural? However, you should know, no matter how supernatural it is, everything is carried out within His normal humanity. God’s incarnate flesh is imbued with humanity; otherwise, He would not be God’s incarnate flesh.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

6. The work of God’s Spirit in the flesh is also governed by its own principles. Only when He is equipped with the normal humanity can He undertake the work and assume the charge of the Father. Only then may He begin His work. In His childhood, Jesus simply could not comprehend anything about much of what had occurred in ancient times, and only through asking the teachers in the synagogue did He come to understand. If He had begun His work as soon as He learned to speak, how would it have been possible for Him not to make mistakes? How can God make missteps? Therefore, it was only after He was able to work that He began His work; He did not carry out any work until He was fully capable of undertaking it. At the age of 29, Jesus was already quite mature and His humanity sufficient to undertake the work He was to do. It was only then that the Holy Spirit, who had lain hidden for thirty years, began to reveal Himself, and the Spirit of God officially began to work in Him. At that time, John had prepared for seven years in order to open up the way for Him, and upon concluding his work, was thrown into prison. The burden then fell entirely to Jesus. If He had undertaken this work at the age of 21 or 22, at a time when His humanity was still lacking, when He had only just entered young adulthood, and there were many things He still did not understand, then He would have been incapable of taking control. At that time, John had already carried out his work for some time before Jesus began His work, by which time He was already in middle age. At that age, His normal humanity was sufficient to undertake the work that He should do.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

7. When God incarnate works in the flesh, there are many principles, and there are many matters that man simply does not understand; man constantly uses his own notions to take its measure, or to make excessive demands of God. Yet to this day, many people are unaware at all that their knowledge is comprised solely of their own notions. Whatever the age or the place in which God is incarnated, the principles for His work in the flesh remain unchanging. He cannot become flesh and yet transcend the flesh in His work; even less can He become flesh and yet not work within the normal humanity of the flesh. Otherwise, the significance of God’s incarnation would dissolve into nothing, and the Word become flesh would become entirely meaningless. Moreover, only the Father in heaven (the Spirit) knows of God’s incarnation, and none other, not even the flesh Himself or the messengers of heaven. This being so, God’s work in the flesh is all the more normal and all the better able to demonstrate that the Word has indeed become flesh, and the flesh means an ordinary and normal man.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

8. Some may wonder, Why must the age be ushered in by God Himself? Cannot a created being stand in His stead? You are all aware that God becomes flesh for the express purpose of ushering in a new age, and, of course, when He ushers in a new age, He will have concluded the former age at the same time. God is the Beginning and the End; it is He Himself who sets His work in motion and so it must be He Himself who concludes the former age. That is the proof that He defeats Satan and conquers the world. Each time He Himself works among man, it is the beginning of a new battle. Without the beginning of new work, there would naturally be no conclusion of the old. And when there is no conclusion of the old, this is proof that the battle with Satan has yet to come to a close. Only if God Himself comes, and carries out new work among man, can man break completely free of the domain of Satan and gain a new life and a new beginning. Otherwise, man shall forever live in the old age and forever live under the old influence of Satan. With every age led by God, a part of man is set free, and thus man advances along with the work of God toward the new age. The victory of God means a victory for all those who follow Him. If the race of created human beings were charged with concluding the age, then be it from the viewpoint of man or of Satan, this would be no more than an act of opposing or betraying God, not one of obedience to God, and the work of man would become a tool for Satan. Only if man obeys and follows God in an age ushered in by God Himself can Satan be fully convinced, for that is the duty of a created being. And so I say that you need only follow and obey, and no more is required of you. This is what is meant by each keeping to his duty and each performing his respective function. God does His own work and has no need for man to do it in His stead, nor does He participate in the work of created beings. Man performs his own duty and does not participate in the work of God. Only this is obedience, and proof of Satan’s defeat. After God Himself has finished ushering in the new age, He no longer comes down to work in the midst of mankind Himself. It is only then that man officially steps into the new age to perform his duty and carry out his mission as a created being. These are the principles governing work, which no one may transgress. Only working in this way is sensible and reasonable. The work of God is to be done by God Himself. It is He who sets His work in motion, and it is He who concludes His work. It is He who plans the work, and it is He who manages it, and even more, it is He who brings the work to fruition. As stated in the Bible, “I am the Beginning and the End; I am the Sower and the Reaper.” All that pertains to the work of His management is done by God Himself. He is the Ruler of the six-thousand-year management plan; no one can do His work in His stead and no one can bring His work to a close, for it is He who holds everything in His hand. Having created the world, He will lead the entire world to live in His light, and He will also conclude the entire age, thereby bringing His entire plan to fruition!

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

9. At that time when Jesus worked in Judea, He did so openly, but now, I work and speak among you in secret. The unbelievers are completely unaware of it. My work among you is closed to those on the outside. These words, these chastisements and judgments, are known only to all of you and no others. All of this work is carried out in your midst and opened up only to you; none among the unbelievers knows of this, for the time has not yet come. These people here are near to being made complete after enduring chastisements, but those on the outside know nothing of this. This work is much too hidden! To them, God become flesh is hidden, but to those in this stream, one can say that He is open. Although in God all is open, all is revealed, and all is set free, this is only true for those who believe in Him; as far as the rest, the unbelievers, are concerned, nothing is made known. The work being carried out here now is strictly closed in order to keep them from knowing. Should they become aware of this work, then all they would do is condemn it and subject it to persecution. They would not believe in it. To work in the nation of the great red dragon, this most backward of places, is no easy task. If this work were to be put out into the open, it would be impossible to continue. This stage of work simply cannot be carried out in this place. If this work were to be carried out in the open, how could they allow it to go forward? Would this not put the work under even greater risk? If this work were not concealed, but rather carried out as in the time of Jesus, when He spectacularly healed the sick and cast out demons, then would it not have long ago been “taken prisoner” by the devils? Would they be able to tolerate the existence of God? If I were to now enter into the halls to preach and lecture man, then would I not have long ago been dashed to pieces? And if this had happened, how could My work have continued to be carried out? The reason that no signs and wonders are openly manifested at all is for the sake of concealment. So, to unbelievers, My work cannot be seen, known, or discovered. If this stage of work were to be done in the same manner as that of Jesus in the Age of Grace, it could not be so steady as it now is. So, to work secretly in this way is of benefit to you and to the work as a whole. When God’s work on earth comes to an end, that is, when this secret work concludes, then this stage of work will explode into the open. All will know that there are a group of overcomers in China; all will know that God become flesh is in China and that His work has come to an end. Only then will it dawn on man: Why is it that China has yet to show decline or collapse? It turns out that God is personally carrying out His work in China and has perfected a group of people into overcomers.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

10. God become flesh only manifests Himself to a portion of the people who follow Him during this period when He personally carries out His work, and not to all creatures. He became flesh only to complete one stage of His work, and not for the sake of showing man His image. However, His work must be carried out by Himself, thus it is necessary for Him to do so in the flesh. When this work concludes, He will depart from the human world; He cannot remain for the long term among mankind for fear of standing in the way of the work to come. What He manifests to the multitude is only His righteous disposition and all His deeds, and not the image of His body when He twice became flesh, for the image of God can only be shown through His disposition, and cannot be replaced by the image of His incarnate flesh. The image of His flesh is shown only to a limited number of people, only to those who follow Him as He works in the flesh. This is why the work being carried out now is done so in secret. In the same way, Jesus only showed Himself to the Jews when He did His work, and never publicly showed Himself to any other nation. Thus, once He had completed His work, He promptly departed from man and did not stay; afterward, it was not He, this image of man, who showed Himself to man, but the Holy Spirit who carried out the work directly. Once the work of God become flesh is completely finished, He departs from the mortal world, and never again does work similar to what He did when He was in flesh. After this, the work is all done directly by the Holy Spirit. During this period, man is hardly able to see the image of His fleshly body; He does not show Himself to man at all, but remains forever hidden. The time for the work of God become flesh is limited. It is carried out in a specific age, period, nation, and among specific people. This work represents only the work during the period of God’s incarnation, and is particular to the age; it represents the work of the Spirit of God in one particular age, and not the entirety of His work. Therefore, the image of God become flesh will not be shown to all peoples. What is shown to the multitude is the righteousness of God and His disposition in its entirety, rather than His image when He twice became flesh. It is neither the one single image that is shown to man, nor the two images combined. Therefore, it is imperative that God’s incarnate flesh should depart the earth upon completion of the work that He needs to do, for He comes only to do the work He ought to do, and not to show people His image. Even though the significance of the incarnation has already been fulfilled by God twice becoming flesh, still He will not openly manifest Himself to any nation that has never before seen Him.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

11. Once the work of God’s two incarnations comes to an end, He will begin to show His righteous disposition across the Gentile nations, allowing the multitude to see His image. He will manifest His disposition and by this means make clear the end of the different categories of man, thereby bringing the old age entirely to an end. The reason why His work in the flesh does not extend over a great expanse (just as Jesus worked only in Judea, and today I work only among you) is because His work in the flesh has boundaries and limits. He is merely carrying out a short period of work in the image of an ordinary and normal flesh; He is not using this incarnate flesh to do the work of eternity or the work of appearing to the peoples of the Gentile nations. The work in the flesh can only be limited in scope (such as working only in Judea or only among you), and then, by means of the work carried out within these boundaries, its scope can then be expanded. Of course, the work of expansion is to be carried out directly by His Spirit and will then no longer be the work of His incarnate flesh. For the work in the flesh has boundaries and does not extend to all corners of the universe—this, it cannot accomplish. Through the work in the flesh, His Spirit carries out the work that is to follow. Therefore, the work done in the flesh is of an inaugural nature that is carried out within certain boundaries; after this, it is His Spirit that carries on with this work, and does so moreover in an expanded scope.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

12. The work that God comes to do on this earth is only to guide the age, to open up a new age and bring the old one to an end. He has not come to live out the course of a man’s life on earth, to experience for Himself the joys and sorrows of life as a man, or to perfect a certain person by His hand or personally watch a certain person as he grows. This is not His work; His work is merely to open up the new age and bring an end to the old. That is, He will in person open up an age, in person bring the other to an end, and defeat Satan by carrying out His work in person. Each time He carries out His work in person, it is as if He is putting a foot onto the battleground. First, He vanquishes the world and prevails over Satan in the flesh; He takes possession of all glory and raises the curtain on the entirety of the work of the two thousand years, making it so that all men on earth have the right path to tread and a life of peace and joy to live. However, God cannot live with man on earth for long, for God is God, and unlike man after all. He cannot live the lifetime of a normal man, that is, He cannot reside on earth as a man that is nothing out of the ordinary, for He has only a minimal part of the normal humanity of an ordinary man to sustain His human life. In other words, how could God start a family, have a career, and raise children on earth? Would this not be a disgrace to Him? That He is endowed with normal humanity is only for the purpose of carrying out work in a normal manner, not to enable Him to have a family and career as an ordinary man would. His normal sense, normal mind, and the normal feeding and clothing of His flesh are sufficient to prove that He has a normal humanity; there is no need for Him to have a family or a career in order to prove that He is furnished with a normal humanity. This would be completely unnecessary! God’s coming to earth is the Word becoming flesh; He is simply allowing man to understand His word and to see His word, that is, allowing man to see the work carried out by the flesh. His intention is not for people to treat His flesh in a certain way, but only for man to be obedient to the end, that is, to obey all words that issue forth from His mouth, and to submit to all the work that He does. He is merely working in the flesh; He is not intentionally asking for man to exalt the greatness and holiness of His flesh, but showing man the wisdom of His work and all the authority He wields. Therefore, even though He has an outstanding humanity, He makes no announcements, and focuses only on the work that He should do. You should know why it is that God became flesh and yet does not publish forth or testify to His normal humanity, but instead simply carries out the work that He wishes to do. Therefore, all that you can see from the incarnate God is what He divinely is; this is because He never proclaims what He humanly is for man to emulate. Only when man leads men does he speak of what he humanly is, the better to gain their admiration and submission and thereby achieve leadership of others. In contrast, God conquers man through His work alone (that is, work unattainable to man); there is no question of His being admired by man, or making man adore Him. All He does is to instill in man a feeling of reverence for Him or a sense of His unfathomability. God has no need of impressing man; all He needs is for you to revere Him once you have witnessed His disposition. The work God does is His own; it cannot be done by man in His stead, nor can it be attained by man. Only God Himself can do His own work and usher in a new age to lead man into new lives. The work He does is to enable man to come into possession of a new life and enter into a new age. The rest of the work is handed over to those men with normal humanity and who are admired by others. Therefore, in the Age of Grace, He completed the work of two thousand years in just three and a half years out of His thirty-three years in the flesh. When God comes to earth to carry out His work, He always completes the work of two thousand years or of an entire age within the shortest span of a few years. He wastes no time, and He does not delay; He simply condenses the work of many years so that it is completed within just a few short years. This is because the work He does in person is wholly for the sake of opening up a new way out and ushering in a new age.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

13. The work of the incarnate God is unlike that of the men used by the Holy Spirit. When God comes to do His work on earth, He is only concerned with the fulfillment of His ministry. As for all other matters unrelated to His ministry, He takes almost no part, even to the extent of turning a blind eye. He simply carries out the work that He ought to do, and least of all is He concerned about the work that man ought to do. The work He does is solely that which pertains to the age He is in and to the ministry that He ought to fulfill, as if all other matters lie outside His purview. He does not furnish Himself with more basic knowledge about living as a man, nor does He learn more social skills, nor equip Himself with anything else that man understands. All that man ought to possess concerns Him not at all and He simply does the work that is His duty. And so, as man sees it, the incarnate God is deficient in so much that He even pays no heed to many of the things that man ought to have, and has moreover no understanding of such matters. Such things as common knowledge about life, as well as the principles governing personal conduct and interaction with others, appear to bear no relation to Him. But you simply cannot sense from the incarnate God the slightest hint of abnormality. That is to say, His humanity only maintains His life as an ordinary man and the normal reasoning of His brain, giving Him the ability to discern between right and wrong. However, He is not furnished with anything else, all of which is what men (created beings) alone should possess. God becomes flesh only to fulfill His own ministry. His work is directed at an entire age, not at any one person or place but at the entire universe. This is the direction of His work and the principle by which He works. No one can alter this, and man has no way of becoming involved in it. Each time God becomes flesh, He brings with Him the work of that age, and has no intention of living alongside man for twenty, thirty, forty, or even seventy or eighty years in order that he may better understand and gain insight into Him. There is no need for that! To do so would in no way deepen the knowledge man has of God’s inherent disposition; instead, it would only add to his notions and cause his notions and thoughts to become fossilized. And so it behooves you all to understand exactly what is the work of the incarnate God. Surely you cannot fail to have understood the words I spoke unto you: “It was not to experience the life of an ordinary man that I have come”? Have you forgotten the words: “God comes to earth not to live the life of an ordinary man”? You do not understand God’s purpose in becoming flesh, nor do you know the meaning of “How could God come to earth with the intent of experiencing the life of a created being?” God comes to earth solely to complete His work, and so His work on earth is short-lived. He comes to earth not with the intent of causing the Spirit of God to cultivate His fleshly body into a superior man who will lead the church. When God comes to earth, it is the Word becoming flesh; man, however, does not know of His work and forcibly attributes things to Him. But you should all realize that God is the “Word become flesh,” not a fleshly body that has been cultivated by the Spirit of God to assume the role of God for the moment. God Himself is not the product of cultivation, but is the Word become flesh, and today He officially carries out His work among you all.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

14. God becomes flesh solely to lead the age and set in motion new work. It is necessary for you to understand this point. This is much different from the function of man, and the two cannot be mentioned in the same breath. Man needs to be cultivated and perfected over a long period before he can be used to carry out work, and the kind of humanity that is needed is of an especially high order. Not only must man be able to sustain his normal human power of reasoning, but he must further understand many of the principles and rules governing his conduct in relation to others, and he must moreover commit to studying even more about the wisdom and ethical knowledge of man. This is what man should be furnished with. However, this is not so for God become flesh, for His work neither represents man nor is the work of man; it is, rather, a direct expression of His being and a direct implementation of the work that He ought to do. (Naturally, His work is carried out at the appropriate time, and not casually and at random, and is begun when it is time to fulfill His ministry.) He does not take part in the life of man or the work of man, that is, His humanity is not furnished with any of these (although this does not affect His work). He only fulfills His ministry when it is time for Him to do so; whatever His status, He simply forges ahead with the work that He ought to do. Whatever man knows of Him and whatever man’s opinion of Him, His work is wholly unaffected. For example, when Jesus carried out His work, no one knew exactly who He was, but He simply forged ahead in His work. None of this hindered Him in carrying out the work that He ought. Therefore, He did not at first confess or proclaim His own identity, and merely had man follow Him. Naturally this was not only the humility of God; it was also the way in which God worked in the flesh. He could only work in this way, for man had no way of recognizing Him by the naked eye. And even if man had recognized Him, he would not have been able to help in His work. Furthermore, He did not become flesh in order to have man come to know His flesh; it was to carry out work and fulfill His ministry. For this reason, He placed no importance on making His identity public. When He had completed all the work that He ought to do, His entire identity and status naturally became clear to man. God become flesh keeps silent and never makes any proclamations. He pays mind neither to man nor to how man is getting along in following Him, but simply forges ahead in fulfilling His ministry and carrying out the work that He ought. No one is able to stand in the way of His work. When the time comes for Him to conclude His work, it will without fail be concluded and brought to an end, and no one is able to dictate otherwise. Only after He departs from man on completing His work will man understand the work that He does, though still not entirely clearly. And it will take a long time for man to fully understand the intent with which He first carried out His work. In other words, the work of the age of the incarnate God is divided into two parts. One part consists of the work that the incarnate flesh of God Himself does and the words that the incarnate flesh of God Himself speaks. Once the ministry of His flesh is completely fulfilled, the other part of the work remains to be carried out by those who are used by the Holy Spirit. It is at this time that man should fulfill his function, for God has already opened up the way, and it needs to be walked by man himself. That is to say, God become flesh carries out one part of the work, and then the Holy Spirit as well as those used by the Holy Spirit will succeed to this work. Therefore, man should know what is the work primarily to be carried out by God become flesh at this stage, and he must understand exactly what is the significance of God becoming flesh and what is the work that He ought to do, rather making demands of God according to the demands made upon man. Herein lie man’s mistake, his notion, and even more, his disobedience.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

15. God becomes flesh not with the intention of allowing man to know His flesh, or to allow man to distinguish the differences between the flesh of God incarnate and that of man; nor does God become flesh to train man’s ability of discernment, and still less does He do so with the intention of allowing man to worship the incarnate flesh of God, thereby winning great glorification. None of these things is the original intention of God in becoming flesh. Nor does God become flesh in order to condemn man, nor deliberately to reveal man, nor to make things difficult for him. None of these things is the original intention of God. Every time God becomes flesh, it is a form of work that is unavoidable. It is for the sake of His greater work and His greater management that He acts as He does, and not for the reasons that man imagines. God comes unto earth only as His work requires, and only as necessary. He does not come unto earth with the intention of wandering around on earth, but to carry out the work that He ought to do. Why else would He assume such a heavy burden and take such great risks to carry out this work? God becomes flesh only when He has to, and always with unique significance. If it were only for the sake of allowing men to have a look at Him and to open up their horizons, then He would, with absolute certainty, never come among men so lightly. He comes unto earth for the sake of His management and His greater work, and in order that He might obtain more men. He comes to represent the age, He comes to defeat Satan, and in order to defeat Satan He puts on the flesh. Even more, He comes in order to guide the entire human race in living their lives. All of this concerns His management, and it concerns the work of the whole universe. If God became flesh merely to allow men to come to know His flesh and to open up men’s eyes, then why would He not travel to every nation? Is this not a matter of exceeding ease? But He did not do so, instead choosing a suitable place in which to settle and begin the work that He ought to do. Just this flesh alone is of considerable significance. He represents an entire age, and also carries out the work of an entire age; He both brings the former age to an end and ushers in the new. All of this is an important matter that concerns God’s management, and it is the significance of one stage of work that God comes to earth to carry out.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (3)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

16. 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.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

17. 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.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

18. 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.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

19. 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.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

20. 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.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

21. 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.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

22. 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.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

23. 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.

from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Footnotes:

a. The original text does not contain the phrase “trial of.”

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