Daily Words of God: Knowing God's Work | Excerpt 160
After the creation of mankind in the beginning, it was the Israelites who served as the basis of work, and the whole of Israel was the base of Jehovah’s work on earth. The work of Jehovah was to directly lead and shepherd man through setting forth the laws so that man could live a normal life and worship Jehovah in a normal manner on earth. God in the Age of Law was One who could neither be seen nor touched by man. He was merely leading men first corrupted by Satan, and He was there to instruct and shepherd these men, so the words He spoke were only of statutes, ordinances, and common knowledge of living life as a man, and not at all of truths that supply the life of man. The Israelites under His leadership were not those deeply corrupted by Satan. His work of law was only the very first stage in the work of salvation, the very beginning of the work of salvation, and had practically nothing to do with the changes in the life disposition of man. Therefore, there was no need at the beginning of the work of salvation for Him to assume a flesh for His work in Israel. This is why He required a medium, that is, a tool, through which to have contact with man. Thus, there arose among created beings those who spoke and worked on behalf of Jehovah, and this is how the sons of man and prophets came to work among man. The sons of man worked among man on behalf of Jehovah. To be so called by Him means that such men set forth the laws on behalf of Jehovah and they were also priests among the people of Israel; such men were priests watched over, protected by Jehovah, and worked in by the Spirit of Jehovah; they were leaders among the people and directly served Jehovah. The prophets, on the other hand, were those dedicated to speaking on behalf of Jehovah to men of all lands and all tribes. They were also those who prophesied the work of Jehovah. Be it the sons of man or the prophets, all were raised up by the Spirit of Jehovah Himself and had the work of Jehovah in them. Among the people, they were those who directly represented Jehovah; they worked only because they were raised up by Jehovah and not because they were the flesh the Holy Spirit Himself was incarnated in. Therefore, though they similarly spoke and worked on behalf of God, those sons of man and prophets in the Age of Law were not the flesh of God incarnate. This was precisely the opposite in the Age of Grace and the last stage, for the work of salvation and judgment of man were both done by God incarnate Himself, and there was therefore no need to again raise up the prophets and sons of man to work on His behalf. In the eyes of man, there are no substantial differences between the substance and means of their work. And it is for this reason that man always confuses the work of the incarnate God with that of the prophets and sons of man. The appearance of the incarnate God was basically the same as that of the prophets and sons of man. And the incarnate God was even more ordinary and more real than the prophets. Hence man is completely unable to distinguish between them. Man focuses solely on appearances, completely unaware that, though both work and speak, there is a substantial difference between them. Because man’s ability of discernment is too poor, man is unable to discern basic issues, and is even less capable of distinguishing something so complex. The words and work of the prophets and those used by the Holy Spirit were all doing man’s duty, performing their function as a created being, and doing what man should do. However, the words and work of God incarnate were to carry out His ministry. Though His external form was that of a ceated being, His work was not to carry out His function but His ministry. The term “duty” is used with regard to created beings, whereas “ministry” is used with regard to the flesh of God incarnate. There is an essential difference between the two, and the two are not interchangeable. The work of man is only to do his duty, whereas the work of God is to manage, and to carry out His ministry. Therefore, though many apostles were used by the Holy Spirit and many prophets were filled with Him, their work and words were merely to do their duty as a created being. Though their prophecies might be greater than the way of life spoken of by the incarnate God, and even their humanity was more transcendent than that of the incarnate God, they were still doing their duty, and not fulfilling their ministry. The duty of man refers to the function of man, and is something attainable for man. However, the ministry carried out by the incarnate God is related to His management, and this is unattainable by man. Whether the incarnate God speaks, works, or manifests wonders, He is doing great work within His management, and such work cannot be done by man in His stead. The work of man is only to do his duty as a created being in a given stage of God’s work of management. Without such management, that is, if the ministry of God incarnate is lost, so too is the duty of a created being. God’s work in carrying out His ministry is to manage man, whereas man doing his duty is the performance of his own obligations to meet the demands of the Creator and can in no way be considered to be carrying out one’s ministry. To the inherent essence of God, that is, Spirit, the work of God is His management, but to God incarnate wearing the external form of a created being, His work is the carrying out of His ministry. Whatever work He does is to carry out His ministry, and man can only do his best within His scope of management and under His leadership.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. The Difference Between the Ministry of God Incarnate and the Duty of Man