4. The essential differences between the incarnate God and those who are used by God
Relevant Words of God:
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 Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Essence of Christ Is Obedience to the Will of the Heavenly Father
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.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God
If, when He came to the flesh, God only did the work of divinity, and there were no people after His heart to work in concert with Him, then man would be incapable of understanding God’s will or engaging with God. God must use normal people who are after His heart to complete this work, to watch over and shepherd the churches, so that the level that man’s cognitive processes, his brain, are capable of imagining can be achieved. In other words, God uses a small number of people who are after His heart to “translate” the work that He does within His divinity, so that it can be opened up—to transform divine language into human language, so that people can comprehend and understand it. If God did not do so, no one would understand God’s divine language, because the people after God’s heart are, after all, a small minority, and man’s ability to comprehend is weak. That is why God chooses this method only when working in the incarnate flesh. If there were only divine work, there would be no way for man to know or engage with God, because man does not understand God’s language. Man is able to understand this language only through the agency of the people after God’s heart, who clarify His words. However, if there were only such people working within humanity, that could only maintain man’s normal life; it could not transform man’s disposition. God’s work could not have a new starting point; there would only be the same old songs, the same old platitudes. Only through the agency of the incarnate God, who says all that needs to be said and does all that needs to be done during the period of His incarnation, after which people work and experience according to His words, only thus will their life disposition be able to change, and only thus will they be able to flow with the times. He who works within divinity represents God, while those who work within humanity are people used by God. Which is to say, the incarnate God is essentially different from the people used by God. The incarnate God is able to do the work of divinity, whereas the people used by God are not. At the beginning of each age, God’s Spirit speaks personally and launches the new era to bring man into a new beginning. When He has finished speaking, this signifies that God’s work within His divinity is done. Thereafter, people all follow the lead of those used by God to enter into their life experience.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Essential Difference Between the Incarnate God and the People Used by God
The work carried out by the one who is used by God is in order to cooperate with the work of Christ or the Holy Spirit. This man is raised up among man by God, he is there to lead all of God’s chosen ones, and he is also raised up by God in order to do the work of human cooperation. With someone such as this, who is able to do the work of human cooperation, more of God’s requirements toward man and the work that the Holy Spirit must do among man can be achieved through him. Another way of putting it is like this: God’s aim in using this man is so that all those who follow God can better understand God’s will, and can attain more of God’s requirements. Because people are incapable of directly understanding God’s words or God’s will, God has raised someone up who is used to carry out such work. This person who is used by God can also be described as a medium through which God guides people, as the “translator” who communicates between God and man. Thus, such a man is unlike any of those who work in God’s household or who are His apostles. Like them, he can be said to be someone who serves God, yet in the essence of his work and the background of his use by God he differs greatly from the other workers and apostles. In terms of the essence of his work and the background of his use, the man who is used by God is raised up by Him, he is prepared by God for God’s work, and he cooperates in the work of God Himself. No person could ever do his work in his stead—this is human cooperation that is indispensable alongside the divine work. The work carried out by other workers or apostles, meanwhile, is but the conveyance and implementation of the many aspects of the arrangements for the churches during each period, or else the work of some simple provision of life in order to maintain the church life. These workers and apostles are not appointed by God, much less can they be called those who are used by the Holy Spirit. They are selected from among the churches and, after they have been trained and cultivated for a period of time, those who are fit are kept on, while those who are unfit are sent back to where they came from. Because these people are selected from among the churches, some show their true colors after becoming leaders, and some even do many bad things and end up being eliminated. The man who is used by God, on the other hand, is someone who has been prepared by God, and who possesses a certain caliber, and has humanity. He has been prepared and made perfect in advance by the Holy Spirit, and is completely led by the Holy Spirit, and, particularly when it comes to his work, he is directed and commanded by the Holy Spirit—as a result of this there is no deviation on the path of leading God’s chosen ones, for God surely takes responsibility for His own work, and God does His own work at all times.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Concerning God’s Use of Man
When God comes to the earth, He does only His work within divinity, which is what the heavenly Spirit has entrusted to the incarnate God. When He comes, He but speaks across the land, to give voice to His utterances by different means and from different perspectives. He chiefly takes supplying man and teaching man as His goals and working principle, and does not concern Himself with such things as interpersonal relationships or the details of people’s lives. His main ministry is to speak for the Spirit. That is, when God’s Spirit appears tangibly in the flesh, He only provides for man’s life and releases the truth. He does not involve Himself in man’s work, which is to say, He does not partake in the work of humanity. Humans cannot do divine work, and God does not partake in human work. In all the years since God came to this earth to perform His work, He has always done it through people. These people, however, cannot be considered God incarnate—only those who are used by God. The God of today, meanwhile, can speak directly from the perspective of divinity, sending forth the Spirit’s voice and working on behalf of the Spirit. All those whom God has used throughout the ages are, likewise, instances of God’s Spirit working within a fleshly body—so why can’t they be called God? But today’s God is also God’s Spirit working directly in the flesh, and Jesus too was God’s Spirit working in the flesh; both of Them are called God. So what’s the difference? The people that God has used throughout the ages have all been capable of normal thought and reason. They have all understood the principles of human conduct. They have had normal human ideas, and have been possessed of all the things that normal people should possess. Most of them have had exceptional talent and innate intelligence. In working upon these people, God’s Spirit harnesses their talents, which are their God-given gifts. God’s Spirit brings their talents into play, using their strengths in God’s service. Yet the essence of God is without ideas or thought, unadulterated with human intentions, and even lacks what normal humans possess. Which is to say, He is not even conversant with the principles of human conduct. This is how it is when today’s God comes to the earth. His work and His words are unadulterated with human intentions or human thought, but they are a direct manifestation of the intentions of the Spirit, and He works directly on God’s behalf. This means that the Spirit directly speaks, that is, the divinity directly does the work, without mixing in even one bit of man’s intentions. In other words, the incarnate God embodies divinity directly, is without human thought or ideas, and has no understanding of the principles of human conduct. If only divinity were at work (meaning if only God Himself were at work), there would be no way for God’s work to be carried out on earth. So when God comes to earth, He must have a small number of people He uses to work within humanity in conjunction with the work that God does in divinity. In other words, He uses human work to uphold His divine work. If not, there would be no way for man to directly engage with the divine work. This is how it was with Jesus and His disciples. During His time in the world, Jesus abolished the old laws and established new commandments. He also spoke many words. All this work was done in divinity. The others, such as Peter, Paul, and John, all rested their subsequent work on the foundation of Jesus’ words. Which is to say, God launched His work in that age, ushering in the beginning of the Age of Grace; that is, He ushered in a new era, abolishing the old, and also fulfilling the words, “God is the Beginning and the End.” In other words, man must perform human work upon the foundation of divine work. Once Jesus had said all He needed to say and finished His work on earth, He left man. After this, all people, in working, did so according to the principles expressed in His words, and practiced according to the truths of which He spoke. All of these people worked for Jesus. If it had been Jesus alone doing the work, no matter how many words He spoke, people would have had no means of engaging with His words, because He was working in divinity and could only speak words of divinity, and He could not have explained things to the point where normal people could understand His words. And so He had to have the apostles and prophets who came after Him supplement His work. This is the principle of how God incarnate does His work—using the incarnate flesh to speak and to work so as to complete the work of divinity, and then using a few, or perhaps more, people after God’s own heart to supplement His work. That is, God uses people after His heart to do the work of shepherding and watering in humanity so that God’s chosen people may enter truth reality.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Essential Difference Between the Incarnate God and the People Used by God
In the Age of Grace, John paved the way for Jesus. John could not do the work of God Himself but 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. After Jesus was baptized, 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 strong at times—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 someone who 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 absurdity 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 dishonor 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 work. 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 his work not 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, the Holy Spirit no longer upheld his testimony, no new work followed him, and he departed as the work of God Himself began.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Mystery of the Incarnation (1)
The word of God cannot be made out to be the word of man, and still less can one make the word of man to be the word of God. A man used by God is not the incarnate God, and the incarnate God is not a man used by God. In this, there is an essential difference. Perhaps, after reading these words, you do not acknowledge them to be the words of God, but only as the enlightenment that man has gained. In that case, you are blinded by ignorance. How can the words of God be the same as the enlightenment that man has gained? The words of God incarnate open up a new age, guide all of mankind, reveal mysteries, and show man the direction he is to take in the new age. The enlightenment obtained by man is but simple instructions for practice or knowledge. It cannot guide all of mankind into a new age or reveal the mysteries of God Himself. When all is said and done, God is God, and man is man. God has the essence of God, and man has the essence of man. If man views the words spoken by God as simple enlightenment by the Holy Spirit, and takes the words of the apostles and prophets as words personally spoken by God, that would be man’s mistake.
—Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh
The work in the stream of the Holy Spirit, whether it is God’s own work or the work of people being used, is the work of the Holy Spirit. The essence of God Himself is the Spirit, which can be called the Holy Spirit or the sevenfold intensified Spirit. All in all, They are the Spirit of God, though the Spirit of God has been called different names in different eras. Their essence is still one. Therefore, the work of God Himself is the work of the Holy Spirit, while the work of the incarnate God is nothing less than the Holy Spirit at work. The work of people who are used is also the work of the Holy Spirit. Yet the work of God is the complete expression of the Holy Spirit, which is absolutely true, whereas the work of people being used is mixed with many human things, and is not the direct expression of the Holy Spirit, let alone His complete expression. The work of the Holy Spirit is varied and not limited by any conditions. The work of the Holy Spirit varies in different people; it manifests different essences, and it differs by era, as well as by country. Of course, although the Holy Spirit works in many different ways and according to many principles, no matter how the work is done or on what kind of people, its essence is always different; all the work done on different people has its principles, and all of it can represent the essence of its objects. This is because the work of the Holy Spirit is quite specific in scope and quite measured. The work done in the incarnate flesh is not the same as the work conducted on people, and the work varies, too, according to the caliber of the person on whom it is conducted. Work done in the incarnate flesh is not done on people, and it is not the same work as that done on people. In brief, no matter how it is done, the work performed on different objects is never the same, and the principles by which He works differ in accordance with the states and natures of the different people on whom He works. The Holy Spirit works on different people based on their inherent essence and does not make demands on them that exceed that essence, nor does He do work on them that exceeds their inherent caliber. So, the work of the Holy Spirit on man allows people to see the essence of that work’s object. The inherent essence of man does not change; his inherent caliber is limited. The Holy Spirit uses people or works on them in accordance with the limitations of their caliber, that they may benefit from it. When the Holy Spirit works on people being used, those people’s talents and inherent caliber are unleashed, not withheld. Their inherent caliber is exerted in service of the work. It may be said that He uses the parts of men that can be used in His work, in order to achieve results in that work. By contrast, work done in the incarnate flesh expresses the work of the Spirit directly and is unadulterated by the human mind and thoughts; neither man’s gifts, nor man’s experience, nor man’s innate condition can reach it.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Work and Man’s Work
My speech represents My being, but what I say is beyond the reach of man. What I say is not that which man experiences, and it is not something that man can see; it is also not something that man can touch, but is what I am. Some people acknowledge only that what I fellowship is what I have experienced, but they do not recognize that it is the direct expression of the Spirit. Of course, what I say is what I have experienced. It is I who have done the management work for six thousand years. I have experienced everything from the beginning of the creation of mankind until now; how would I be unable to discuss that? When it comes to man’s nature, I have seen clearly; I observed it long ago. How would I be unable to talk clearly about it? Since I have seen the substance of man clearly, I am qualified to chastise man and judge him, because all of man came from Me but has been corrupted by Satan. Of course, I am also qualified to assess the work I have done. Although this work is not done by My flesh, it is the direct expression of the Spirit, and this is what I have and what I am. Therefore, I am qualified to express it and to do the work I ought to do. What people say is what they have experienced. It is what they have seen, what their minds can reach, and what their senses can detect. That is what they can fellowship. The words spoken by God’s incarnate flesh are the direct expression of the Spirit and they express the work that has been done by the Spirit, which the flesh has not experienced or seen, yet He still expresses His being, for the essence of the flesh is the Spirit, and He expresses the work of the Spirit. It is work already done by the Spirit, though it is beyond the reach of the flesh. After incarnation, through the expression of the flesh, He enables people to know God’s being and allows people to see God’s disposition and the work that He has done. The work of man gives people greater clarity about what they should enter into and what they should understand; it involves leading people toward understanding and experiencing the truth. Man’s work is to sustain people; God’s work is to open up new paths and new eras for mankind, and to reveal to people that which is not known by mortals, enabling them to know His disposition. God’s work is to lead all of mankind.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. God’s Work and Man’s Work