A Selection From the Four Passages of God’s Word on “The Mystery of the Incarnation” (Part One)
1. In the Age of Grace, John paved the way for Jesus. He could not do the work of God Himself and merely fulfilled the duty of man. Though John was the forerunner of the Lord, he could not represent God; he was only a man used by the Holy Spirit. Following the baptism of Jesus, “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 He came from God. No matter the manner of His faith before this—perhaps it was weak, or perhaps it was strong—that was all His normal human life before He performed His ministry. After He was baptized (anointed), He immediately had the power and the glory of God with Him, and thus began to perform His ministry. He could work signs and wonders, perform miracles, have power and authority. This is because He worked directly on behalf of God Himself, and He did the work of the Spirit in His stead and expressed the voice of the Spirit, and so He was God Himself. This is indisputable. John was used by the Holy Spirit. He could not represent God, and it was not possible for him to represent God. If he had wished to do so, the Holy Spirit would not have allowed it, for he could not do the work that God Himself intended to accomplish. Perhaps there was much in him that was of man’s will or deviation; under no circumstances could he directly represent God. His mistakes and erroneousness 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 he had deviation in representing God, then would that not be a dishonor to God? Would that not be blasphemy against the Holy Spirit? The Holy Spirit does not allow man to stand in God’s place at will, even if he is exalted by others. If he is not God, then he would be unable to remain standing in the end. The Holy Spirit does not allow man to represent God as man pleases! For instance, the Holy Spirit bore witness to John and also revealed him to be the one to pave the way for Jesus, but the work done in 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, no other. John represented Elijah, the prophet who paved the way. This was upheld by the Holy Spirit; as long as his work was to pave the way, the Holy Spirit upheld it. However, if he had laid claim to be God Himself and come to finish the work of redemption, the Holy Spirit must discipline him. However great the work of John, and be it upheld by the Holy Spirit, his work remained within boundaries. It is indeed true that his work was upheld by the Holy Spirit, but 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 man is permitted to do by the Holy Spirit is even more crucial.
2. There are some who are possessed by evil spirits and persistently cry out, “I am God!” Yet in the end, they cannot remain standing, for they act on behalf of the wrong being. They represent Satan and the Holy Spirit pays them no attention. However emphatically you speak or strongly you cry out, you are still a created being and one that belongs to Satan. I never cry out, I am God, I am the beloved Son of God! But the work I do is God’s work. Need I shout? There is no need for exaltation. God does His work Himself and does not need for man to accord Him a status or honorific title, and His work is sufficient to represent His identity and status. Prior to His baptism, was not Jesus God Himself? Was He not the incarnate flesh of God? Surely it cannot be said that He became the only Son of God only after He was testified to? Was there not a man by the name of Jesus long before He began His work? You cannot bring forth new paths or represent the Spirit. You cannot express the work of the Spirit or the words that He speaks. You cannot do the work of God Himself or that of the Spirit. You cannot express the wisdom, wonder, and unfathomableness of God, or all the disposition by which God chastises man. So your repeated claims to be God do not matter; you have only the name and none of the substance. God Himself has come, but none recognize Him, yet He continues on in His work and does so in representation of the Spirit. Whether you call Him man or God, the Lord or Christ, or call Her sister, it is all right. But the work He does is that of the Spirit and represents the work of God Himself. He does not care about the name by which man calls Him. Can that name determine His work? Regardless of what you call Him, from the perspective of God, He is the incarnate flesh of the Spirit of God; He represents the Spirit and is approved by Him. You cannot make way for a new age, and you cannot bring the old to an end and cannot usher in a new age or do new work. Therefore, you cannot be called God!
3. Even a man who is used by the Holy Spirit cannot represent God Himself. And not only can this man not represent God, but his work cannot directly represent God. That is to say, the experience of man cannot be placed directly within the management of God, and it cannot represent the management of God. All the work that God Himself does is the work He intends to do in His own management plan and relates to the great management. The work done by man (man used by the Holy Spirit) supplies his individual experience. He finds a new path of experience from that walked by those before him and leads his brothers and sisters under guidance of the Holy Spirit. What these men supply is their individual experience or spiritual writings of spiritual men. Though they are used by the Holy Spirit, the work of such men is unrelated to the great management work in the six-thousand-year plan. They are merely raised up by the Holy Spirit in different periods to lead people in the stream of the Holy Spirit until they have fulfilled their function or their lives come to an end. The work they do is only to prepare an appropriate way for God Himself or to continue one item in the management of God Himself on earth. Such men are unable to do the greater work in His management, and they cannot open up new ways out, much less conclude all the work of God from the former age. Therefore, the work they do represents only a created being performing his function and cannot represent God Himself performing His ministry. This is because the work they do is unlike that done by God Himself. The work of ushering in a new age cannot be done by man in God’s place. It cannot be done by any other than God Himself. All the work done by man is performing his duty as one of creation and is done when moved or enlightened by the Holy Spirit. The guidance that such men provide is how to practice in man’s daily life and how man should act to the will of God. The work of man neither involves the management of God nor represents the work of the Spirit. … Therefore, since the work of the men used by the Holy Spirit is unlike the work done by God Himself, their identities and who they act on behalf of are likewise different. This is because the work the Holy Spirit intends to do is different, thereby according different identity and status to all those who work. The men used by the Holy Spirit may also do some work that is new and may also eliminate some work done in the former age, but their work cannot express the disposition and will of God in the new age. They work only to take away the work of the former age, not to do the new work to directly represent the disposition of God Himself. Thus, no matter how many outdated practices they abolish or new practices they introduce, they still represent man and created beings. When God Himself carries out work, however, He does not openly declare abolishment of practices of the old age or directly declare the commencement of a new age. He is direct and straightforward in His work. He is forthright in performing the work He intends; that is, He directly expresses the work He brought about, directly does His work as originally intended, expressing His being and disposition. As man sees it, His disposition and so too His work are unlike those in ages past. However, from the perspective of God Himself, this is merely a continuation and further development of His work. When God Himself works, He expresses His word and directly brings the new work. In contrast, when man works, it is through deliberation and study, or it is the development of knowledge and systematization of practice built upon the foundation of others’ work. That is to say, the essence of the work done by man is to keep to convention and to “walk old paths in new shoes.” This means that even the path walked by the men used by the Holy Spirit is built upon that opened up by God Himself. So man is after all man, and God is God.
4. John was born by promise, and his name given by the angel. At the time, some wanted to name him after his father Zechariah, but his mother spoke out, saying, “This child cannot be called by that name. He should be called John.” This was all directed by the Holy Spirit. Then why was John not called God? The name of Jesus was also by the direction of the Holy Spirit, and He was born of the Holy Spirit, and by the promise of the Holy Spirit. Jesus was God, Christ, and the Son of man. The work of John was great as well, but why was he not called God? Exactly what was the difference between the work done by Jesus and that done by John? Was the only reason that John was the one who paved the way for Jesus? Or because it had been predestined by God? Though John also said, “Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand,” and preached too the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, his work was not in-depth and constituted merely a beginning. In contrast, Jesus ushered in a new age and brought the old to an end, but He also fulfilled the law of the Old Testament. The work He did was greater than that of John, and He did this stage of work to redeem all mankind. John simply prepared the way. Though his work was great, his words many, and those disciples who followed him numerous, his work did no more than bring to man a new beginning. Never did man receive from him life, the way, or deeper truths, and neither did they gain through him an understanding of the will of God. John was a great prophet (Elijah) who pioneered new ground for Jesus’ work and prepared the chosen; he was the forerunner for the Age of Grace. Such matters cannot be discerned simply by observing their normal human appearances. Especially, John did quite great work; moreover, he was born by the promise of the Holy Spirit, and his work was upheld by the Holy Spirit. As such, distinguishing between their respective identities can be done only through their work, for a man’s outward appearance is not telling of his substance, and man is unable to ascertain the true testimony of the Holy Spirit. The work done by John and that done by Jesus were not alike and of different natures. It is this that should determine whether or not he is God. The work of Jesus was to begin, continue, conclude, and accomplish. Each of these steps was carried out by Jesus, whereas the work of John was no more than that of a beginning. In the beginning, Jesus spread the gospel and preached the way of repentance, then went on to baptize man, heal sickness, and cast out demons. In the end, He redeemed mankind from sin and completed His work for the entire age. He preached to man and spread the gospel of the kingdom of heaven in all places. This was the same with John, with the difference being that Jesus ushered in a new age and brought the Age of Grace to man. From His mouth came the word on what man should practice and the way that man should follow in the Age of Grace, and in the end, He finished the work of redemption. Such work could never be carried out by John. And so, it was Jesus who did the work of God Himself, and it is He who is God Himself and directly represents God.
5. If you do not recognize that the stage of work this day is that of God Himself, it is because you have want of vision. Still, you cannot deny this stage of work; your failure to recognize it does not prove that the Holy Spirit is not working or that His work is wrong. Some even check the work of the present against that of Jesus within the Bible, and use any inconsistencies to deny this stage of work. Is this not the action of one blinded? All that is recorded within the Bible is limited and unable to represent all the work of God. The Four Gospels have fewer than one hundred chapters altogether in which are written a finite number of happenings, such as Jesus cursing the fig tree, Peter’s three denials of the Lord, Jesus appearing to the disciples following His crucifixion and resurrection, teaching about fasting, teaching about prayer, teaching about divorce, the birth and genealogy of Jesus, Jesus’ appointment of the disciples, and so forth. These are but a few writings, yet man values them as treasures, even verifying the work of today against them. They even believe that Jesus only did so much in the time after His birth. It is as if they believe God can only do this much, that there can be no further work. Is this not ludicrous?
6. People believe that God become flesh definitely does not live as man does; they believe that He is clean without having to brush His teeth or wash His face, for He is a holy person. Are not these purely the conceptions of man? The Bible makes no record of the life of Jesus as a man, only His work, but this does not prove that He did not have normal humanity or that He did not live a normal human life prior to the age of thirty. He officially commenced His work at the age of 29, but you cannot deny His entire life as a man prior to that age. It is merely that the Bible omitted that from its records. It was His life as an ordinary man, not the phase of His divine work, and so there was no need for it to be written down. For prior to the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit did not do His work straightaway, but merely maintained His life as an ordinary man until the day Jesus was due to perform His ministry. Though He was the incarnate flesh, He underwent the process of becoming mature as an ordinary man does. This process was omitted from the Bible. Because it could provide little assistance to man’s growth in life, it was omitted. Prior to His baptism was a stage in which He remained unrevealed, and neither did He work signs and wonders. Only after the baptism of Jesus did He begin all the work of mankind’s redemption, work that was richly abundant in grace, in truth, and in love and mercy. The beginning of this work was also the commencement of the Age of Grace; for this reason, it was written down and passed down to the present. … Prior to Jesus performing His ministry, or as is said in the Bible, prior to the Spirit descending upon Him, Jesus was but an ordinary man and possessed of not the slightest of the supernatural. Upon the descent of the Holy Spirit, that is, when He commenced the performance of His ministry, He became imbued with the supernatural. As such, man held the mistaken belief that God’s incarnate flesh was no ordinary man and that God incarnate had no humanity. Certainly, the work and all that man sees of God on earth are supernatural. What you behold with your eyes and what you hear with your ears are all of the supernatural, for His work and His words are incomprehensible and unattainable to man. If something of heaven is brought to earth, how can it be anything but supernatural? The mysteries of the kingdom of heaven were brought to earth, mysteries too wondrous and wise for man to comprehend or fathom—were they not all of the supernatural? However, you must know that no matter how supernatural, they were carried out in His normal humanity. God’s incarnate flesh has humanity, otherwise, He would not be God’s incarnate flesh.
7. The work of God’s Spirit in the flesh also has its own principles. He could only undertake the work and charge of the Father on the basis that He was possessed of normal humanity. Only then could He begin His work. In His childhood, Jesus could not at all comprehend much of what had occurred in ancient times, and only through asking rabbis did He come to understand. If He had begun His work upon first having learned to speak, how would it have been possible for Him not to make any errors? How could God make missteps? Therefore, it was only after He was able that He began His work; He did not carry out any work until He was fully capable of undertaking such. At the age of 29, Jesus was already quite mature and His humanity sufficient to undertake the work He was to do. It was only then that the Holy Spirit, who had lain hidden for thirty years, began to reveal Himself, and the Spirit of God officially began to work in Him. At that time, John had labored for seven years in preparation of the way for Him, and upon concluding his work, John was thrown into prison. The burden then fell entirely to Jesus. If He had undertaken this work at the age of 21 or 22, when He lacked much in humanity and just entered young adulthood, still lacking an understanding in many things, He would have been incapable of taking control. At that time, John had already carried out his work for some time before Jesus began His work in His middle age. At that age, His normal humanity was sufficient to undertake the work that He should do.
8. The work of God incarnate in the flesh has many principles. There is much that man simply does not understand, yet man constantly uses his own notions to measure it or to make excessive demands of Him. And even this day there are many who are unaware at all that their knowledge comprises nothing more than their own notions. Whatever the age or place in which God is incarnated, the principles for His work in the flesh remain unchanging. He cannot become flesh yet transcend the flesh to work; moreover, He cannot become flesh yet not work within the normal humanity of the flesh. Otherwise, the significance of God’s incarnation would dissolve into nothing, and the Word become flesh would become entirely meaningless. Moreover, only the Father in heaven (the Spirit) knows of God’s incarnation, and none other, not even the flesh Himself or the messengers of heaven. As such, God’s work in the flesh is even more normal and better able to demonstrate that indeed the Word becomes flesh; the flesh means an ordinary and normal man.
9. Some may wonder, Why must the age be ushered in by God Himself? Cannot a created being stand in His stead? You are all aware that God becomes flesh expressly for the purpose of ushering in a new age, and, of course, when He ushers in a new age, He has concluded the former age at the same time. God is the Beginning and the End; it is He Himself who carries out His work and so it must be He Himself who concludes the former age. That is the proof that He defeats Satan and conquers the world. Each time He Himself works among man, it is the beginning of a new battle. Without the beginning of new work, there would naturally be no conclusion of the old. And no conclusion of the old is proof that the battle with Satan has yet to come to a close. Only if God Himself comes among man and carries out new work can man fully break free of the domain of Satan and gain a new life and new beginning. Otherwise, man shall forever live in the old age and forever live under the old influence of Satan. With every age led by God, a part of man is set free, and thus man advances along with the work of God toward the new age. The victory of God is a victory for all those who follow Him. If mankind of creation were charged with concluding the age, then be it from the viewpoint of man or Satan, this is no more than an act that opposes or betrays God, not one of obedience to God, and the work of man would thus give a handle to Satan. Only if man obeys and follows God in an age ushered in by God Himself would Satan be fully convinced, for that is the duty of a created being. And so I say that you need only follow and obey, and no more is asked of you. That is what is meant by each keeping his duty and performing his function. God does His own work and does not need for man to do His work in His stead, nor does He involve Himself in the work of created beings. Man performs his own duty and does not interfere with the work of God, and that is true obedience and proof that Satan is defeated. After God Himself has ushered in the new age, He no longer works among man Himself. It is only then that man officially steps into the new age to perform his duty and carry out his mission as a created being. Such are the working principles that can be transgressed by none. Only working in this way is sensible and reasonable. The work of God is done by God Himself. It is He who sets His work in motion, and also He who concludes it. It is He who plans the work, and also He who manages it, and even more, it is He who brings the work to fruition. It is as stated in the Bible, “I am the Beginning and the End; I am the Sower and the Reaper.” All that is related to the work of His management is done by His hand. He is the Ruler of the six-thousand-year management plan; none can do His work in His stead or bring His work to a close, for it is He who is in control of all. Since He created the world, He will lead the entire world to live in His light, and He will conclude the entire age to bring all of His plan to fruition!