1. How one knows Christ’s divine essence
Bible Verses for Reference:
“Jesus said to him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man comes to the Father, but by Me. If you had known Me, you should have known My Father also: and from now on you know Him, and have seen Him” (Jhn 14:6–7).
“The words that I speak to you I speak not of Myself: but the Father that dwells in Me, He does the works. Believe Me that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me: or else believe Me for the very works’ sake” (Jhn 14:10–11).
“I and My Father are one” (Jhn 10:30).
Relevant Words of God:
He who is God incarnate shall possess the essence of God, and He who is God incarnate shall possess the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He intends to do, and since God becomes flesh, He shall express what He is, and shall be able to bring the truth to man, bestow life upon him, and point the way for him. Flesh that does not have the essence of God is decidedly not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt. If man intends to inquire into whether it is God’s incarnate flesh, then he must corroborate this from the disposition He expresses and the words He speaks. Which is to say, to corroborate whether or not it is God’s incarnate flesh, and whether or not it is the true way, one must discriminate on the basis of His essence. And so, in determining whether it is the flesh of God incarnate, the key lies in His essence (His work, His utterances, His disposition, and many other aspects), rather than external appearance. If man scrutinizes only His external appearance, and as a result overlooks His essence, this shows that man is benighted and ignorant.
Excerpted from Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh
What should you know about the practical God? The Spirit, the Person, and the Word make up the practical God Himself, and this is the true meaning of the practical God Himself. If you only know the Person—if you know His habits and personality—but do not know the work of the Spirit, or what the Spirit does in the flesh, and if you only pay attention to the Spirit, and the Word, and only pray before the Spirit, but do not know the work of God’s Spirit in the practical God, then this yet proves that you do not know the practical God. Knowledge of the practical God includes knowing and experiencing His words, and grasping the rules and principles of the work of the Holy Spirit and how the Spirit of God works in the flesh. It also includes knowing that every action of God in the flesh is governed by the Spirit, and that the words He speaks are the direct expression of the Spirit. Thus, to know the practical God, it is paramount to know how God works in humanity and in divinity; this, in turn, concerns the expressions of the Spirit, with which all people engage.
Excerpted from “You Should Know That the Practical God Is God Himself” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Knowing God must be achieved through reading and understanding God’s words. Some say: “I haven’t seen God incarnate, so how could I know God?” In fact, God’s words are an expression of His disposition. From God’s words, you can see His love and salvation for humans, as well as His method for saving them…. This is because His words are expressed by God Himself, not written by humans. They have been personally expressed by God; God Himself is expressing His own words and His inner voice. Why are they called words from the heart? It is because they are issued from deep down, and express His disposition, His will, His thoughts, His love for mankind, His salvation of mankind, and His expectations of mankind…. God’s utterances include harsh words, and gentle and considerate words, as well as some revelatory words that are not in line with human wishes. If you look only at the revelatory words, you might feel that God is rather stern. If you look only at the gentle words, you might feel that God is not very authoritative. You therefore should not take them out of context; rather, look at them from every angle. Sometimes God speaks from a gentle and compassionate perspective, and then people see His love for mankind; sometimes He speaks from a very strict perspective, and then people see the disposition of His that will tolerate no offense. Man is deplorably filthy, and is not worthy of seeing God’s face or of coming before Him. That people are now allowed to come before Him is purely by His grace. God’s wisdom can be seen from the way He works and in the significance of His work. People can still see these things in God’s words, even without any direct contact from Him. When someone who genuinely knows God comes into contact with Christ, his encounter with Christ can correspond with his existing knowledge of God; however, when someone who has only a theoretical understanding encounters God, he cannot see the correlation. This aspect of the truth is the most profound of mysteries; it is difficult to fathom. Sum up God’s words on the mystery of the incarnation, look at them from all angles, and then pray together, ponder, and fellowship further on this aspect of the truth. In doing so, you will be able to gain the enlightenment of the Holy Spirit and come to understand. Because humans have no chance of having direct contact with God, they must rely on this kind of experience to feel their way through and enter a little bit at a time in order to attain true knowledge of God.
Excerpted from “How to Know God Incarnate” in Records of Christ’s Talks
Although the outward appearance of God incarnate is exactly the same as a human, and although He learns human knowledge and speaks human language, and sometimes even expresses His ideas through mankind’s own methods or ways of speaking, nevertheless, the way He sees humans and sees the essence of things is absolutely not the same as the way corrupt people see mankind and the essence of things. His perspective and the elevation at which He stands is something unattainable for a corrupt person. This is because God is truth, because the flesh that He wears also possesses the essence of God, and His thoughts and that which is expressed by His humanity are also the truth. For corrupt people, what He expresses in the flesh are provisions of the truth, and of life. These provisions are not just for one person, but for all of mankind. In any corrupt person’s heart, there are only those few people who are associated with them. They care and are concerned only for this handful of people. When disaster is on the horizon, they first think of their own children, spouse, or parents. At most, a more compassionate person would spare some thought for some relative or good friend, but do the thoughts of even such a compassionate person extend further than that? No, never! Because humans are, after all, humans, and they can only look at everything from the elevation and perspective of a human being. However, God incarnate is entirely different from a corrupt human. No matter how ordinary, how normal, how lowly God’s incarnate flesh is, or even with what contempt people look down on Him, His thoughts and His attitude toward mankind are things that no man could possess, that no man could imitate. He will always observe mankind from the perspective of divinity, from the elevation of His position as the Creator. He will always see mankind through the essence and the mindset of God. He absolutely cannot see mankind from the lowly elevation of an average person, or from the perspective of a corrupt person. When people look at mankind, they do so with human vision, and they use things such as human knowledge and human rules and theories as their measure. This is within the scope of what people can see with their eyes and the scope that is achievable by corrupt people. When God looks at mankind, He looks with divine vision, and He uses His essence and what He has and is as a measure. This scope includes things that people cannot see, and this is where God incarnate and corrupt humans are entirely different. This difference is determined by humans’ and God’s different essences—it is these different essences that determine their identities and positions as well as the perspective and elevation from which they see things.
Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
You will never see God hold similar views on things to human beings, and moreover you will not see Him use mankind’s viewpoints, knowledge, science, philosophy or imagination to handle matters. Rather, everything God does and everything He reveals is connected to truth. That is, every word He has said and every action He has taken is bound to the truth. This truth is not the product of some baseless fantasy; this truth and these words are expressed by God by virtue of His essence and His life. Because these words and the essence of everything God has done are truth, we can say that God’s essence is holy. In other words, everything God says and does brings vitality and light to people, enables people to see positive things and the reality of those positive things, and points the way for humanity so that they may walk the right path. These things are all determined by God’s essence and by the essence of His holiness.
Excerpted from “God Himself, the Unique V” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
God, too, was born in the land of filth, yet He remains unsullied by filth. He lives in the same filthy world as you, but He is possessed of reason and perception, and He despises the filth. You may not even be able to detect anything filthy in your words and deeds, but He can, and He points them out to you. Those old things of yours—your lack of cultivation, insight, and sense, and your backward ways of living—have now been brought into the light by today’s revelations; only by God coming to earth to work thus do people behold His holiness and righteous disposition. He judges and chastises you, causing you to gain understanding; sometimes, your demonic nature is manifested, and He points it out to you. He knows man’s essence like the back of His hand. He lives among you, He eats the same food as you, and He lives in the same environment—but even so, He knows more; He can expose you and see through the corrupt essence of humanity. There is nothing He despises more than man’s philosophies for living and crookedness and deceitfulness. He particularly abhors people’s fleshly interactions. He may not be familiar with man’s philosophies for living, but He can clearly see and expose the corrupt dispositions that people reveal. He works to speak and teach man through these things, He uses these things to judge people, and to make manifest His own righteous and holy disposition. Thus do people become foils to His work. Only God incarnate can make plain the corrupt dispositions of man and all the ugly faces of Satan. Though He does not punish you, and merely uses you as a foil to His righteousness and holiness, you feel ashamed and find no place to hide yourself, for you are too filthy. He speaks using those things which are exposed in man, and only when these things are brought to light do people become aware of how holy God is. He does not overlook even the slightest impurity in people, not even the filthy thoughts in their hearts; if people’s words and deeds are at odds with His will, then He does not excuse them. In His words, there is no room for the filth of humans or of anything else—it all must be brought to light. Only then do you see that He really is unlike man. If there is the slightest filth in people, then He utterly detests them. There are even times when people are unable to understand, and say, “God, why are You so angry? Why are You not mindful of man’s weaknesses? Why can’t You be a little forgiving of people? Why are You so inconsiderate to man? Clearly, You know to what extent people have been corrupted, so why do You still treat them like this?” He despises sin, He is disgusted by it, and He is particularly disgusted if there is any trace of disobedience in you. When you reveal a rebellious disposition, He sees it and is deeply disgusted—extraordinarily disgusted. It is through these things that His disposition and what God is are manifested. When you hold yourself up in comparison, you see that although He eats the same food as man, wears the same clothes, enjoys the same things they do, and lives and dwells with them, He is yet unlike man. Is this not the significance of a foil? It is through these human things that the power of God is shown; it is darkness that sets off the precious existence of the light.
Excerpted from “How the Effects of the Second Step of the Work of Conquest Are Achieved” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
He is well aware of the substance of man and can reveal all kinds of practices pertaining to all kinds of people. He is even better at revealing the corrupt dispositions and the rebellious behavior of humans. He does not live among worldly people, but He is aware of the nature of mortals and all the corruptions of worldly people. This is His being. Though He does not deal with the world, He knows the rules of dealing with the world, because He understands human nature fully. He knows about the Spirit’s work that man’s eyes cannot see and man’s ears cannot hear, both of today and of the past. This includes wisdom that is not a philosophy for living and wonders that are hard for people to fathom. This is His being, open to people and also hidden from people. What He expresses is not the being of an extraordinary person, but the inherent attributes and being of the Spirit. He does not travel the world but knows everything of it. He contacts the “anthropoids” who have no knowledge or insight, but He expresses words that are higher than knowledge and above great men. He lives within a group of obtuse and numb people who are without humanity and who do not understand the conventions and life of humanity, but He can ask mankind to live out normal humanity, at the same time revealing the base and low humanity of mankind. All this is His being, higher than the being of any flesh-and-blood person. For Him, it is unnecessary to experience a complicated, cumbersome, and sordid social life to do the work He needs to do and reveal the substance of corrupt mankind thoroughly. A sordid social life does not edify His flesh. His work and words only reveal man’s disobedience and do not provide man with experience and lessons for dealing with the world. He does not need to investigate society or man’s family when He supplies man with life. Exposing and judging man is not an expression of the experiences of His flesh; it is His revelation of man’s unrighteousness after having known man’s disobedience for a long time and abhorring mankind’s corruption. The work He does is all meant to reveal His disposition to man and to express His being. Only He can do this work; it is not something a flesh-and-blood person could achieve. From His work, man cannot tell what kind of person He is. Man is also unable to classify Him as a created person on the basis of His work. His being also makes Him unclassifiable as a created person. Man can only consider Him a non-human, but does not know in which category to put Him, so man is forced to list Him in the category of God. It is not unreasonable for man to do so, for God has done much work among people that man is unable to do.
Excerpted from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The Spirit of God is the authority over all creation. The flesh with the essence of God is also possessed of authority, but God in the flesh can do all the work that obeys the will of the heavenly Father. This cannot be attained or conceived by any one person. God Himself is authority, but His flesh can submit to His authority. This is what is implied when it is said that “Christ obeys the will of God the Father.” God is a Spirit and can do the work of salvation, as can God become man. At any rate, God Himself does His own work; He neither interrupts nor interferes, much less does He carry out work that contradicts itself, for the essence of the work done by the Spirit and the flesh is alike. Be it the Spirit or the flesh, both work to fulfill one will and to manage the same work. Though the Spirit and the flesh have two disparate qualities, their essences are the same; both have the essence of God Himself, and the identity of God Himself. God Himself possesses no elements of disobedience; His essence is good. He is the expression of all beauty and goodness, as well as all love. Even in the flesh, God does not do anything that disobeys God the Father. Even at the expense of sacrificing His life, He would be wholeheartedly willing to do so, and He would make no other choice. God possesses no elements of self-righteousness or self-importance, or those of conceit and arrogance; He possesses no elements of crookedness. Everything that disobeys God comes from Satan; Satan is the source of all ugliness and wickedness. The reason that man has qualities similar to those of Satan is because man has been corrupted and processed by Satan. Christ has not been corrupted by Satan, hence He possesses only the characteristics of God, and none of the characteristics of Satan. No matter how arduous the work or weak the flesh, God, while He lives in the flesh, will never do anything that interrupts the work of God Himself, much less forsake the will of God the Father in disobedience. He would rather suffer pains of the flesh than betray the will of God the Father; it is just as Jesus said in prayer, “Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from Me: nevertheless not as I will, but as You will.” People make their own choices, but Christ does not. Though He has the identity of God Himself, He still seeks the will of God the Father, and fulfills what is entrusted to Him by God the Father, from the perspective of the flesh. This is something that man cannot attain to.
Excerpted from “The Essence of Christ Is Obedience to the Will of the Heavenly Father” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Unbeknownst to us, this insignificant man has led us into one step after another of God’s work. We undergo countless trials, bear innumerable chastenings, and are tested by death. We learn of God’s righteous and majestic disposition, enjoy, too, His love and mercy, come to appreciate God’s great power and wisdom, witness the loveliness of God, and behold God’s eager desire to save man. In the words of this ordinary person, we come to know the disposition and essence of God, to understand God’s will, to know the nature essence of man, and see the way to salvation and perfection. His words cause us to “die,” and they cause us to be “reborn”; His words bring us comfort, yet also leave us wracked with guilt and a sense of indebtedness; His words bring us joy and peace, but also infinite pain. Sometimes we are as lambs to the slaughter in His hands; sometimes we are like the apple of His eye, and enjoy His tender love; sometimes we are like His enemy, and under His gaze are turned to ashes by His wrath. We are the human race saved by Him, we are the maggots in His eyes, and we are the lost lambs that, day and night, He is bent on finding. He is merciful toward us, He despises us, He raises us up, He comforts and exhorts us, He guides us, He enlightens us, He chastens and disciplines us, and He even curses us. Night and day, He never ceases to worry about us, and protects and cares for us, night and day, never leaving our side, but spills His heart’s blood for our sake and pays any price for us. Within the utterances of this small and ordinary body of flesh, we have enjoyed the entirety of God and beheld the destination that God has bestowed upon us. Notwithstanding this, vanity still stirs up trouble within our hearts, and we are still unwilling actively to accept a person like this as our God. Though He has given us so much manna, so much to enjoy, none of this can take the Lord’s place in our hearts. We honor this person’s special identity and status only with great reluctance. As long as He does not open His mouth to ask us to acknowledge that He is God, we will never take it upon ourselves to acknowledge Him as the God that is soon to arrive and yet has long been working in our midst.
God continues His utterances, employing various methods and perspectives to admonish us about what we should do while, at the same time, giving voice to His heart. His words carry life power, show us the way we should walk, and enable us to understand what the truth is. We begin to be drawn by His words, we begin to focus on the tone and manner of His speaking, and subconsciously we begin to take an interest in the innermost feelings of this unremarkable person. He spits up His heart’s blood in working on our behalf, loses sleep and appetite on our account, weeps for us, sighs for us, groans in sickness for us, suffers humiliation for the sake of our destination and salvation, and our numbness and rebelliousness draw tears and blood from His heart. This way of being and of having belongs to no ordinary person, nor can it be possessed or attained by any corrupted human being. He shows tolerance and patience possessed by no ordinary person, and His love is not something with which any created being is endowed. No one apart from Him can know all of our thoughts, or have such a clear and complete grasp of our nature and essence, or judge the rebelliousness and corruption of mankind, or speak to us and work among us like this on behalf of God in heaven. No one apart from Him is endowed with the authority, wisdom, and dignity of God; the disposition of God and what God has and is are brought forth, in their entirety, in Him. No one apart from Him can show us the way and bring us light. No one apart from Him can reveal the mysteries that God has not disclosed since creation until today. No one apart from Him can save us from Satan’s bondage and our own corrupt disposition. He represents God. He expresses the inmost heart of God, the exhortations of God, and God’s words of judgment toward all mankind. He has begun a new age, a new era, and ushered in a new heaven and earth and new work, and He has brought us hope, ending the life we led in vagueness and enabling our whole being to behold, in total clarity, the path to salvation. He has conquered our whole being and gained our hearts. From that moment onward, our minds have become conscious, and our spirits seem to be revived: This ordinary, insignificant person, who lives among us and has long been rejected by us—is this not the Lord Jesus, who is ever in our thoughts, waking or dreaming, and for whom we long night and day? It is He! It really is He! He is our God! He is the truth, the way, and the life! He has enabled us to live again and to see the light and has stopped our hearts from wandering. We have returned to the home of God, we have returned before His throne, we are face-to-face with Him, we have witnessed His countenance, and we have seen the road that lies ahead. At this time, our hearts are completely conquered by Him; we no longer doubt who He is, no longer oppose His work and His word, and we fall down prostrate before Him. We wish for nothing more than to follow the footprints of God for the rest of our lives, and to be made perfect by Him, and to repay His grace, and repay His love for us, and to obey His orchestrations and arrangements, and to cooperate with His work, and to do everything we can to complete what He entrusts to us.
Being conquered by God is like a martial arts contest.
Each of God’s words strikes at one of our mortal spots, leaving us wounded and filled with dread. He exposes our notions, our imaginings, and our corrupt disposition. From all that we say and do, down to every one of our thoughts and ideas, our nature essence is revealed in His words, putting us in a state of fear and trembling with nowhere to hide our shame. One by one, He tells us about all of our actions, our aims and intentions, even the corrupt disposition that we ourselves have never discovered, making us feel exposed in all our wretched imperfection and, even more, completely won over. He judges us for opposing Him, chastises us for blaspheming and condemning Him, and makes us feel that, in His eyes, we have not one single redeeming feature, that we are the living Satan. Our hopes are dashed, we no longer dare to make any unreasonable demands or to entertain any hopes of Him, and even our dreams vanish overnight. This is a fact that none of us can imagine and which none of us can accept. Within the space of a moment, we lose our inward equilibrium and do not know how to continue on the road that lies ahead, or how to continue in our beliefs. It seems as if our faith has gone back to square one, and as if we have never met the Lord Jesus or gotten to know Him. Everything before our eyes fills us with perplexity and makes us vacillate indecisively. We are dismayed, we are disappointed, and deep in our hearts there is irrepressible rage and disgrace. We try to vent, to find a way out, and, what is more, to continue waiting for our Savior Jesus, that we may pour our hearts out to Him. Though there are times when we appear on the outside to be on an even keel, neither haughty nor humble, in our hearts we are afflicted with a sense of loss we have never felt before. Though sometimes we may seem unusually calm on the outside, our minds are roiling with torment like a stormy sea. His judgment and chastisement have stripped us of all our hopes and dreams, putting an end to our extravagant desires and leaving us unwilling to believe that He is our Savior and capable of saving us. His judgment and chastisement have opened a chasm between us and Him, one so deep that no one is willing to cross it. His judgment and chastisement are the first time that we have suffered such a great setback, such great humiliation in our lives. His judgment and chastisement have caused us truly to appreciate God’s honor and intolerance of man’s offense, compared to which we are exceedingly base, exceedingly impure. His judgment and chastisement have made us realize for the first time how arrogant and pompous we are, and how man will never be the equal of God, or on a par with God. His judgment and chastisement have made us yearn to live no more in such a corrupt disposition, to rid ourselves of this nature essence as soon as possible, and to cease being vile and detestable to Him. His judgment and chastisement have made us happy to obey His words, no longer rebelling against His orchestrations and arrangements. His judgment and chastisement have once more given us the desire to survive and made us happy to accept Him as our Savior…. We have stepped out of the work of conquest, out of hell, out of the valley of the shadow of death…. Almighty God has gained us, this group of people! He has triumphed over Satan and defeated the multitudes of His enemies!
Excerpted from “Beholding the Appearance of God in His Judgment and Chastisement” in The Word Appears in the Flesh