XII. One Must Fellowship Clearly on Truths Concerning the Wise Virgins Hearing the Voice of God
3. What are the differences between the words of God conveyed by prophets in the Age of Law, and the words of God expressed by God incarnate?
Relevant Words of God:
In the Age of Grace, Jesus also spoke much and did much work. How was He different from Isaiah? How was He different from Daniel? Was He a prophet? Why is it said that He is Christ? What are the differences between them? They were all men who spoke words, and their words appeared more or less the same to man. They all spoke and did work. The prophets of the Old Testament made prophecies, and similarly, so could Jesus. Why is this so? The distinction here is based on the nature of the work. In order to discern this matter, you cannot consider the nature of the flesh and you should not consider the depth or superficiality of one’s words. Always you must first consider his work and the effects his work achieves in man. The prophecies spoken by the prophets at the time did not supply the life of man, and the messages received by those such as Isaiah and Daniel were merely prophecies and not the way of life. If not for the direct revelation of Jehovah, none could have done that work, which is not possible for mortals. Jesus, too, spoke much, but such words were the way of life from which man could find a path to practice. That is to say, first, He could supply the life of man, for Jesus is life; second, He could reverse the deviations of man; third, His work could succeed that of Jehovah in order to carry on the age; fourth, He could grasp the needs of man within and understand what man lacks; fifth, He could usher in a new age and conclude the old. That is why He is called God and Christ; not only is He different from Isaiah but also from all other prophets. Take Isaiah as a comparison for the work of the prophets. First, he could not supply the life of man; second, he could not usher in a new age. He was working under the leadership of Jehovah and not to usher in a new age. Third, what he himself spoke of was beyond his comprehension. He was receiving revelations directly from the Spirit of God, and others would not understand, even having listened to them. These few things alone are sufficient to prove that his words were no more than prophecies, no more than an aspect of work done in Jehovah’s stead. He could not, however, completely represent Jehovah. He was Jehovah’s servant, an instrument in Jehovah’s work. He was only doing work within the Age of Law and within the scope of the work of Jehovah; he did not work beyond the Age of Law. On the contrary, the work of Jesus differed. He surpassed the scope of Jehovah’s work; He worked as the incarnate God and underwent crucifixion in order to redeem all mankind. That is to say, He carried out new work outside of the work done by Jehovah. This was the ushering in of a new age. Another condition is that He was able to speak of that which man could not achieve. His work was work within the management of God and involved the whole of mankind. He did not work in just a few men, nor was His work to lead a limited number of men. … As the work done by the incarnate God was mainly to usher in a new age, lead new work, and open up new circumstances, these few conditions alone are sufficient to establish that He is God Himself. This thus differentiates Him from Isaiah, Daniel, and the other great prophets.
from “The Difference Between the Ministry of the Incarnate God and the Duty of Man” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
During the Old Testament Age of Law, the great number of prophets raised up by Jehovah spoke prophecy for Him, they gave instructions to various tribes and nations, and foretold the work that Jehovah would do. These people who had been raised up had all been given the Spirit of prophecy by Jehovah: They were able to see the visions from Jehovah, and hear His voice, and thus they were inspired by Him and wrote prophecy. The work they did was the expression of the voice of Jehovah, it was the work of prophecy that they did on behalf of Jehovah, and Jehovah’s work at the time was simply to guide people using the Spirit; He did not become flesh, and people saw nothing of His face. Thus, He raised up many prophets to do His work, and gave them oracles that they passed on to every tribe and clan of Israel. Their work was to speak prophecy, and some of them wrote down Jehovah’s instructions to them to show to others. Jehovah raised these people up to speak prophecy, to foretell the work of the future or the work still to be done during that time, so that people could behold the wondrousness and wisdom of Jehovah.
from “Concerning the Bible (1)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
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.
from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
When God had not become flesh, people did not understand much of what He said because it came out of complete divinity. The perspective and context of what He said was invisible and unreachable to mankind; it was expressed from a spiritual realm that people could not see. For people who lived in the flesh, they could not pass through the spiritual realm. But after God became flesh, He spoke to mankind from the perspective of humanity, and He came out of and surpassed the scope of the spiritual realm. He could express His divine disposition, will, and attitude, through things humans could imagine and things they saw and encountered in their lives, and using methods that humans could accept, in a language they could understand, and knowledge they could grasp, to allow mankind to understand and to know God, to comprehend His intention and His required standards within the scope of their capacity, to the degree that they were able. This was the method and principle of God’s work in humanity.
from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh