1. What the incarnation and its essence are

Bible Verses for Reference:

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God” (Jhn 1:1).

“And the Word was made flesh, and dwelled among us, (and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth” (Jhn 1:14).

“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).

“Jesus said to him, Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me, Philip? he that has seen Me has seen the Father; and how say you then, Show us the Father? Believe you not that I am in the Father, and the Father in Me? 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 14:9–11).

“I and My Father are one” (Jhn 10:30).

Relevant Words of God:

The “incarnation” is God’s appearance in the flesh; God works among created mankind in the image of the flesh. So for God to be incarnated, He must first be flesh, flesh with normal humanity; this is the most basic prerequisite. In fact, the implication of God’s incarnation is that God lives and works in the flesh, that God in His very essence becomes flesh, becomes a man.

Excerpted from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

Incarnation means that God’s Spirit becomes a flesh, that is, God becomes flesh; the work that the flesh does is the work of the Spirit, which is realized in the flesh, expressed by the flesh. No one except God’s flesh can fulfill the ministry of the incarnate God; that is, only God’s incarnate flesh, this normal humanity—and no one else—can express the divine work. If, during His first coming, God had not possessed normal humanity before the age of twenty-nine—if as soon as He was born He could work miracles, if as soon as He learned to speak He could speak the language of heaven, if the moment He first set foot upon the earth He could apprehend all worldly matters, discern every person’s thoughts and intentions—such a person could not have been called a normal man, and such flesh could not have been called human flesh. If this were the case with Christ, then the meaning and the essence of God’s incarnation would be lost. That He possesses normal humanity proves that He is God incarnated in the flesh; the fact that He undergoes a normal human growth process further demonstrates that He is a normal flesh; moreover, His work is sufficient proof that He is God’s Word, God’s Spirit, become flesh.

Excerpted from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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

God become flesh is called Christ, and so the Christ that can give people the truth is called God. There is nothing excessive about this, for He possesses the essence of God, and possesses God’s disposition, and wisdom in His work, that are unattainable by man. Those who call themselves Christ, yet cannot do the work of God, are frauds. Christ is not merely the manifestation of God on earth, but also the particular flesh assumed by God as He carries out and completes His work among man. This flesh cannot be supplanted by just any man, but is a flesh that can adequately bear God’s work on earth, and express the disposition of God, and well represent God, and provide man with life.

Excerpted from “Only Christ of the Last Days Can Give Man the Way of Eternal Life” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The implication of God’s incarnation is that God lives and works in the flesh, that God in His very essence becomes flesh, becomes a man. His incarnate life and work can be divided into two stages. First is the life He lives before performing His ministry. He lives in an ordinary human family, in utterly normal humanity, obeying the normal morals and laws of human life, with normal human needs (food, clothing, sleep, shelter), normal human weaknesses, and normal human emotions. In other words, during this first stage He lives in non-divine, completely normal humanity, engaging in all the normal human activities. The second stage is the life He lives after beginning to perform His ministry. He still dwells in the ordinary humanity with a normal human shell, showing no outward sign of the supernatural. Yet He lives purely for the sake of His ministry, and during this time His normal humanity exists entirely in order to sustain the normal work of His divinity, for by then His normal humanity has matured to the point of being able to perform His ministry. So, the second stage of His life is to perform His ministry in His normal humanity, when it is a life both of normal humanity and complete divinity. The reason why, during the first stage of His life, He lives in completely ordinary humanity is that His humanity is not yet able to maintain the entirety of the divine work, is not yet mature; only after His humanity grows mature, becomes capable of shouldering His ministry, can He set about performing the ministry that He ought to perform. Since He, as flesh, needs to grow and mature, the first stage of His life is that of normal humanity—while in the second stage, because His humanity is capable of undertaking His work and performing His ministry, the life the incarnate God lives during His ministry is one of both humanity and complete divinity. If, from the moment of His birth, the incarnate God began His ministry in earnest, performing supernatural signs and wonders, then He would have no corporeal essence. Therefore, His humanity exists for the sake of His corporeal essence; there can be no flesh without humanity, and a person without humanity is not a human being. In this way, the humanity of God’s flesh is an intrinsic property of God’s incarnate flesh. To say that “when God becomes flesh He is entirely divine, and not at all human,” is blasphemy, for this statement simply does not exist, and violates the principle of incarnation. Even after He begins to perform His ministry, He still lives in His divinity with a human outer shell when He does His work; it is just that at the time, His humanity serves the sole purpose of allowing His divinity to perform the work in the normal flesh. So the agent of the work is the divinity inhabiting His humanity. His divinity, not His humanity, is at work, yet this divinity is hidden within His humanity; in essence, His work is done by His complete divinity, not by His humanity. But the performer of the work is His flesh. One could say that He is a man and also is God, for God becomes a God living in the flesh, with a human shell and a human essence but also the essence of God. Because He is a man with the essence of God, He is above all created humans, above any man who can perform God’s work. And so, among all those with a human shell like His, among all those who possess humanity, only He is the incarnate God Himself—all others are created humans. Though they all have humanity, created humans have nothing but humanity, while God incarnate is different: In His flesh He not only has humanity but, more importantly, divinity. His humanity can be seen in the outer appearance of His flesh and in His everyday life, but His divinity is difficult to perceive. Because His divinity is expressed only when He has humanity, and is not as supernatural as people imagine it to be, it is extremely difficult for people to see. Even today, people have the utmost difficulty fathoming the true essence of the incarnate God. Even after I have spoken about it at such length, I expect it is still a mystery to most of you. In fact, this issue is very simple: Since God becomes flesh, His essence is a combination of humanity and divinity. This combination is called God Himself, God Himself on earth.

Excerpted from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The humanity of God incarnate exists to maintain the normal divine work in the flesh; His normal human thinking sustains His normal humanity and all His normal corporeal activities. One could say that His normal human thinking exists in order to sustain all the work of God in the flesh. If this flesh did not possess a normal human mind, then God could not work in the flesh, and what He needs to do in the flesh could never be accomplished. Though the incarnate God possesses a normal human mind, His work is not adulterated by human thought; He undertakes the work in the humanity with a normal mind, under the precondition of possessing the humanity with a mind, not by the exercise of normal human thought. No matter how lofty the thoughts of His flesh are, His work is not tainted by logic or thinking. In other words, His work is not conceived by the mind of His flesh, but is a direct expression of the divine work in His humanity. All of His work is the ministry He must fulfill, and none of it is conceived by His brain. For example, healing the sick, casting out demons, and the crucifixion were not products of His human mind, and could not have been achieved by any man with a human mind. Likewise, today’s work of conquest is a ministry that must be performed by the incarnate God, but it is not the work of a human will, it is the work His divinity should do, work of which no fleshly human is capable. So the incarnate God must possess a normal human mind, must possess normal humanity, because He must perform His work in the humanity with a normal mind. This is the essence of the work of the incarnate God, the very essence of the incarnate God.

Before Jesus performed the work, He merely lived in His normal humanity. No one could tell that He was God, no one found out that He was the incarnate God; people just knew Him as a completely ordinary man. His utterly ordinary, normal humanity was proof that God was incarnated in the flesh, and that the Age of Grace was the age of the work of the incarnate God, not the age of the Spirit’s work. It was proof that the Spirit of God was realized completely in the flesh, that in the age of God’s incarnation His flesh would perform all the work of the Spirit. The Christ with normal humanity is a flesh in which the Spirit is realized, and is possessed of normal humanity, normal sense, and human thought. “Being realized” means God becoming man, the Spirit becoming flesh; to put it more plainly, it is when God Himself inhabits a flesh with normal humanity, and through it expresses His divine work—this is what it means to be realized, or incarnated.

Excerpted from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

In the period of time that the Lord Jesus was working, people could see that God had many human expressions. For example, He could dance, He could attend weddings, He could commune with people, speak with them, and discuss things with them. In addition to that, the Lord Jesus also completed a lot of work that represented His divinity, and of course all of this work was an expression and a revelation of God’s disposition. During this time, when God’s divinity was realized in ordinary flesh in a way that people could see and touch, they no longer felt that He was flickering in and out of perception or that they could not get close to Him. On the contrary, they could try to grasp the will of God or understand His divinity through every movement, through the words, and through the work of the Son of man. The incarnate Son of man expressed God’s divinity through His humanity and conveyed the will of God to mankind. And through His expression of God’s will and disposition, He also revealed to people the God that cannot be seen or touched who dwells in the spiritual realm. What people saw was God Himself in tangible form, made of flesh and blood. So the incarnate Son of man made things such as the identity of God Himself, God’s status, image, disposition, and what He has and is, concrete and humanized. Even though the external appearance of the Son of man had some limitations regarding the image of God, His essence and what He has and is were entirely able to represent the identity and status of God Himself—there were merely some differences in the form of expression. We cannot deny that the Son of man represented the identity and status of God Himself, both in the form of His humanity and in His divinity. During this time, however, God worked through the flesh, spoke from the perspective of the flesh, and stood before mankind with the identity and status of the Son of man, and this gave people the opportunity to encounter and experience the true words and work of God among mankind. It also allowed people insight into His divinity and His greatness in the midst of humility, as well as to gain a preliminary understanding and definition of the authenticity and reality of God. Even though the work completed by the Lord Jesus, His ways of working, and the perspective from which He spoke differed from God’s real person in the spiritual realm, everything about Him truly represented God Himself, whom mankind had never seen before—this cannot be denied! That is to say, no matter in what form God appears, no matter from which perspective He speaks, or in what image He faces mankind, God represents nothing but Himself. He can represent neither any one human, nor any of corrupted mankind. God is God Himself, and this cannot be denied.

Excerpted from “God’s Work, God’s Disposition, and God Himself III” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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

The incarnate God is called Christ, and Christ is the flesh donned by the Spirit of God. This flesh is unlike any man that is of the flesh. This difference is because Christ is not of flesh and blood; He is the incarnation of the Spirit. He has both a normal humanity and a complete divinity. His divinity is not possessed by any man. His normal humanity sustains all His normal activities in the flesh, while His divinity carries out the work of God Himself. Be it His humanity or divinity, both submit to the will of the heavenly Father. The essence of Christ is the Spirit, that is, the divinity. Therefore, His essence is that of God Himself; this essence will not interrupt His own work, and He could not possibly do anything that destroys His own work, nor would He ever utter any words that go against His own will. Therefore, the incarnate God would absolutely never do any work that interrupts His own management. This is what all people should understand. The essence of the work of the Holy Spirit is to save man, and is for the sake of God’s own management. Similarly, the work of Christ is also to save man, and is for the sake of God’s will. Given that God becomes flesh, He realizes His essence within His flesh, such that His flesh is sufficient to undertake His work. Therefore, all the work of God’s Spirit is replaced by the work of Christ during the time of incarnation, and at the core of all work throughout the time of incarnation is the work of Christ. It cannot be commingled with work from any other age. And since God becomes flesh, He works in the identity of His flesh; since He comes in the flesh, He then finishes in the flesh the work that He ought to do. Be it the Spirit of God or be it Christ, both are God Himself, and He does the work that He ought to do and performs the ministry that He ought to perform.

The very essence of God itself wields authority, but He is able to fully submit to the authority that comes from Him. Be it the work of the Spirit or the work of the flesh, neither conflicts with the other. 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. That which comes from Satan cannot have the essence of God; it can only have one that disobeys and resists God. It cannot fully obey God, much less willingly obey the will of God. All men apart from Christ may do that which resists God, and not a single man can directly undertake the work entrusted by God; not one is able to regard the management of God as their own duty to perform. The essence of Christ is submission to the will of God the Father; disobedience against God is the characteristic of Satan. These two qualities are incompatible, and any who has the qualities of Satan cannot be called Christ. The reason that man cannot do the work of God in His stead is because man does not have any of the essence of God. Man works for God for the sake of man’s personal interests and future prospects, but Christ works to do the will of God the Father.

Excerpted from “The Essence of Christ Is Obedience to the Will of the Heavenly Father” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

The flesh worn by the Spirit of God is God’s own flesh. The Spirit of God is supreme; He is almighty, holy, and righteous. Likewise, His flesh is also supreme, almighty, holy, and righteous. Such a flesh can only do that which is righteous and beneficial to mankind, that which is holy, glorious, and mighty; He is incapable of doing anything that violates the truth, that violates morality and justice, and much less is He capable of anything that would betray God’s Spirit. The Spirit of God is holy, and thus His flesh is incorruptible by Satan; His flesh is of a different essence than the flesh of man. For it is man, not God, who is corrupted by Satan; Satan could not possibly corrupt the flesh of God. Thus, despite the fact that man and Christ dwell within the same space, it is only man who is possessed, used, and entrapped by Satan. By contrast, Christ is eternally impervious to Satan’s corruption, because Satan will never be capable of ascending to the highest place, and will never be able to draw near to God. Today, you should all understand that it is only mankind, corrupted as it is by Satan, that betrays Me. Betrayal will never be an issue that involves Christ in the least.

Excerpted from “A Very Serious Problem: Betrayal (2)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh

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Next: 2. The differences between the work of God incarnate and the work of the Spirit

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