77. How should believers distinguish God’s voice to confirm that it is the true way?
The Answer from God’s Word:
The words of God incarnate initiate a new age, guide the whole of mankind, reveal mysteries, and show man the direction ahead in a new age. The enlightenment obtained by man is but simple practice or knowledge. It cannot guide the whole of mankind into a new age or reveal the mystery of God Himself. God, after all, is God, and man is man. God has the substance of God, and man has the substance of man.
from Preface to The Word Appears in the Flesh
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 Isaiah at the time did not supply the life of man, and the messages received by those such as Daniel were merely prophecies and not the way of life. If not for the direct revelation of Jehovah, none could have done that work, for it 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 for how God was incarnated to be a man, how the Spirit gave revelations at that time, and how the Spirit descended upon a man to do work, these are matters that man cannot see or touch. It is utterly impossible for these truths to serve as proof that He is the incarnate God. As such, distinction can only be made upon the words and work of God, which are tangible to man. Only this is real. This is because matters of the Spirit are not visible to you and are known clearly only by God Himself, and not even God’s incarnate flesh knows all; you can only verify whether He is God[a] from the work He has done. From His work, it can be seen that, first, He is able to open up a new age; second, He is able to supply the life of man and show man the way to follow. This is sufficient to establish that He is God Himself. At the very least, the work He does can fully represent the Spirit of God, and from such work it can be seen that the Spirit of God is within Him. 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
You have to know how to differentiate God’s work from the work of man. What can you see from the work of man? There are a lot of elements of man’s experience in the work of man; what man expresses is what he is. God’s own work also expresses what He is, but what He is is different from what man is. What man is is representative of man’s experience and life (what man experiences or encounters in his life, or life philosophies that he has), and people living in different environments express different beings. Whether or not you have social experiences and how you actually live and experience in your family can be seen in what you express, whereas you cannot see from the work of God incarnate whether or not He has social experiences. He is well aware of the essence of man, He can reveal all kinds of practices pertaining to all kinds of people. He is even better at revealing human corrupt disposition and rebellious behavior. He does not live among the worldly people, but He is aware of the nature of the mortals and all the corruptions of the worldly people. This is what He is. Though He does not deal with the world, He knows the rules of dealing with the world, because He fully understands human nature. He knows about the Spirit’s work that man’s eyes cannot see and that man’s ears cannot hear, both of today and of the past. This includes wisdom that is not a life philosophy and wonder that people find hard to fathom. This is what He is, made open to people and also hidden from people. What He expresses is not what an extraordinary person is, but the inherent attributes and being of the Spirit. He does not travel around 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 among a group of obtuse and numb people who do not have humanity and who do not understand the human conventions and lives, but He can ask mankind to live out normal humanity, at the same time revealing the base and low humanity of mankind. All of this are what He is, higher than what any flesh-and-blood person is. For Him, it is unnecessary to experience a complicated, cumbersome and sordid social life to do the work that He needs to do and thoroughly reveal the essence of corrupt mankind. The sordid social life does not edify His flesh. His work and words only reveal man’s disobedience and do not provide man with the 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 to reveal man’s unrighteousness after long knowing man’s disobedience and abhorring mankind’s corruption. The work He does is all to reveal His disposition to man and express His being. Only He can do this work, it is not something that a flesh-and-blood person could achieve.
from “God’s Work and Man’s Work” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
a. The original text omits “whether He is God.”