Daily Words of God: Knowing God's Work | Excerpt 165
Every step of God’s work follows one and the same stream, and so in God’s six-thousand-year management plan, each step has been closely followed by the next, from the foundation of the world right up until today. If there were no one to pave the way, then there would be no one to come after; since there are those who come after, there are those who pave the way. In this way the work has been passed down, step-by-step. One step follows the other, and without someone to open the way, it would be impossible to begin the work, and God would have no means of taking His work forward. No step contradicts the other, and each follows the other in sequence to form a stream; this is all done by the same Spirit. But regardless of whether someone opens the way, or carries on the work of another, this does not determine their identity. Is this not right? John opened the way, and Jesus carried on his work, so does this prove that the identity of Jesus is lower than that of John? Jehovah carried out His work before Jesus, so can you say that Jehovah is greater than Jesus? Whether they paved the way or carried on the work of others is not important; what’s most important is the substance of their work, and the identity that it represents. Is this not right? Since God intended to work among man, He had to raise up those who could do the work of paving the way. When John just started preaching, he said, “Prepare you the way of the Lord, make His paths straight. Repent you: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” He spoke thus from the very beginning, and why was he able to say these words? In terms of the order in which these words were spoken, it was John who first spoke the gospel of the kingdom of heaven, and Jesus who spoke afterward. According to the conceptions of man, it was John who opened up the new path, and of course John was greater than Jesus. But John did not say he was Christ, and God did not bear testimony to him as the beloved Son of God, but merely used him to open up the way and prepare the way for the Lord. He paved the way for Jesus, but could not work on behalf of Jesus. All the work of man was also maintained by the Holy Spirit.
In the age of the Old Testament, it was Jehovah who led the way, and the work of Jehovah represented the entire age of the Old Testament, and all of the work done in Israel. Moses merely upheld this work on earth, and his labors count as the cooperation provided by man. At the time, it was Jehovah who spoke, and He called Moses, and raised him up among the people of Israel, and made Moses lead them into the wilderness to Canaan. This was not the work of Moses himself, but that which was personally directed by Jehovah, and so Moses cannot be called God. Moses also set down the law, but this law was personally decreed by Jehovah, who caused it to be spoken by Moses. Jesus also made commandments, and abolished the law of the Old Testament and set out the commandments for the new age. Why is Jesus God Himself? Because these are not the same thing. At the time, the work done by Moses did not represent the age, nor did it open a new way; he was directed ahead by Jehovah, and was merely one who was used by God. When Jesus came, John had carried out a step of work of paving the way, and had begun to spread the gospel of the kingdom of heaven (the Holy Spirit had started this). When Jesus appeared, He directly did the work of His own, but there was a great difference between His work and the work and utterances of Moses. Isaiah also spoke many prophecies, yet why was he not God Himself? Jesus did not speak so many prophecies, yet why was He God Himself? No one dares to say that the work of Jesus at that time all came from the Holy Spirit, nor do they dare to say it all came from the will of man, or it was totally the work of God Himself. Man has no way of analyzing such things. It can be said that Isaiah did such work, and spoke such prophecies, and they all came from the Holy Spirit; they did not come directly from Isaiah himself, but were revelations from Jehovah. Jesus did not do a great amount of work, and did not say many words, nor did He speak many prophecies. To man, His preaching did not seem particularly exalted, yet He was God Himself, and this is inexplicable by man. No one has ever believed in John, or Isaiah, or David, nor has anyone ever called them God, or David the God, or John the God; no one has ever spoken thus, and only Jesus has ever been called Christ. This classification is made according to God’s testimony, the work He undertook, and the ministry He performed. With regard to the great men of the Bible—Abraham, David, Joshua, Daniel, Isaiah, John and Jesus—through the work they did, you can tell who is God Himself, and which kinds of people are prophets, and which are apostles. Who was used by God, and who was God Himself, is differentiated and determined by the substance and the kind of work they did. If you are unable to tell the difference, then this proves that you do not know what it means to believe in God. Jesus is God because He spoke so many words, and did so much work, in particular His demonstration of many miracles. Likewise, John, too, did much work, and spoke many words, so did Moses; why were they not called God? Adam was created directly by God; why was he not called God, instead of only being called a creature? If someone says to you, “Today, God has done so much work, and spoken so many words; He is God Himself. Then, since Moses spoke so many words, he too must be God Himself!” you should ask them in return, “At that time, why did God bear testimony to Jesus, and not John, as God Himself? Did John not come before Jesus? Which was greater, the work of John or Jesus? To man, John appears greater than Jesus, but why did the Holy Spirit bear testimony to Jesus, and not John?” The same thing is happening today! At the beginning, when Moses led the people of Israel, Jehovah spoke to him from amongst the clouds. Moses did not speak directly, but instead was guided directly by Jehovah. This was the work of the Israel of the Old Testament. Within Moses there was not the Spirit, or God’s being. He could not do that work, and so there is a great difference between that done by him and Jesus. And that is because the work they did is different! Whether someone is used by God, or is a prophet, an apostle, or God Himself, can be discerned by the nature of his work, and this will put an end to your doubts. In the Bible it is written that only the Lamb can open the seven seals. Throughout the ages, there have been many expositors of the scriptures among those great figures, and so can you say that they are all the Lamb? Can you say that their explanations all come from God? They are merely expositors; they do not have the identity of the Lamb. How could they be worthy to open the seven seals? It is true that “Only the Lamb can open the seven seals,” but He does not only come to open the seven seals; there is no necessity to this work, it is done incidentally. He is perfectly clear about His own work; is it necessary for Him to spend much time interpreting the scriptures? Must “the age of the Lamb interpreting the scriptures” be added in six thousand years of work? He comes to do new work, but He also provides some revelations about the work of times past, making people understand the truth of six thousand years of work. There is no need to explain too many passages from the Bible; it is the work of today that is key, that is important. You should know that God does not come to especially break the seven seals, but to do the work of salvation.
—The Word, Vol. 1. The Appearance and Work of God. Concerning Appellations and Identity