The Significance of God’s Tasting of Worldly Suffering
God incarnate suffers on behalf of man in exchange for man’s beautiful destination in the future. The step of work performed by Jesus was to be crucified as the image of a sinful body, to be a sin offering, to redeem all of mankind, to lay the foundation for man’s entry into the beautiful destination. He was crucified and bore man’s sin, and redeemed mankind from sin. In other words, He served as proof of man being forgiven his sins and able to come before God, He was a bargaining chip in the battle with Satan. Now that the last days have arrived, God wishes to bring His work to a close, to end this era, and to lead those who remain into a beautiful destination. God has become flesh once more, and at the same time as conquering, judging, and purifying man, He suffers on behalf of man, and offers this as proof, and as fact, for man’s exemption from all pain; that is, God bears His own testimony, and He uses this proof, this testimony, to defeat Satan, to bring shame upon the devils, and as an exchange for man’s beautiful destination.
Some people say, “The incarnate body working is still God working. It is not the fleshly body working; the Spirit of God controls Him from within.” Is this right? No. It was previously said that God’s incarnation to carry out a step of the work of conquest is done amid normal humanity; what you see is normal humanity, but this is actually God Himself working; when this fleshly body works, it is actually God Himself working. Explained and fellowshiped thus, people often believe that this fleshly body is but a tool, an outer shell, that He only acts when God’s Spirit speaks and controls Him from within, and that He does not act without this control; the fleshly body says whatever He is directed to by the Spirit, and when not thus directed, He says nothing. Is this the case? No. When the Spirit is embodied in the flesh, the Spirit and the flesh become one. The flesh acting is the Spirit acting, the Spirit acting is the flesh acting—only this can be called the incarnation. Today, one of the most powerful explanations is this: When God becomes flesh during the last days, on the one hand He is coming to do the work of conquest and bringing this era to an end. On the other hand, the fleshly body coming to experience the pain of man is God Himself coming to experience the pain of man; the flesh of God and God Himself are one. The fleshly body is not the tool that people believe Him to be, nor merely a shell—nor, as people believe, some sort of controllable physical entity. This flesh is the embodiment of God Himself. People’s previous understanding was too superficial. If fellowships followed the notions of man, then people would be liable to separate the flesh and the Spirit, with the flesh as the flesh, and the Spirit as the Spirit. This is an aberration. So, too, would it be easy for people to have notions.
What people must also understand today is this: God has become flesh to experience the pain of man, but the pain and ailments suffered by the incarnation are not things that He should suffer. Some people believe that since He is of ordinary and normal flesh, and not some supernatural being, but an ordinary person, then this pain is unavoidable. They think that He should suffer the headaches and hardships of man, that He should feel hot when people feel hot, and that He should suffer the cold along with everyone else when the weather lacks warmth. If this is the way you think, then you see this ordinary and normal fleshly body as exactly the same as any person, with no differences. But the fact is, there is meaning to the hardship this body suffers. Normal human illnesses or other hardships are what people ought to suffer, these are the hardships that corrupt mankind should suffer—this is a normal law. But to what end does God’s fleshly body suffer these hardships? Was Jesus being nailed to the cross something that should have happened to Him? Jesus was the incarnation, He was without sin, and according to the laws of that time, and what He did at that time, He should not have been crucified—so why was He put on the cross? It was to redeem all mankind. All of the hardships suffered by the present incarnation, all of the persecution that has befallen Him—have all these happened accidentally? Or were they deliberately arranged by God? They were not deliberately arranged, nor have they happened accidentally; instead, they have played out according to normal laws. Why do I say this? Because God has placed Himself among man, given Himself the freedom to act in this way, and during the time of this work, He has suffered the same pain as man. If God had deliberately arranged pain, then He would only have suffered but a few days of pain; most of the time, things would not be suffering. And so, the suffering God experiences among man as He works has not been deliberately arranged, but neither has He suffered a little hardship unintentionally; instead, He has come to experience the suffering that exists among man, He has placed Himself among man, suffered as man does, and has been treated the same, without any exceptions. Just as you are persecuted, is Christ not also persecuted? You are hunted; is Christ not also hunted? People are tormented by illness; does Christ suffer any less? He is not exempt. Is this not easy to understand? There are also those who believe that God ought to suffer after coming to work in the country of the great red dragon—and is this not wrong, too? To God, it is not a case of whether He should or should not suffer. God personally pays the price of suffering among man so that people shall suffer no more, and then He leads man into the beautiful destination, leaving Satan utterly convinced. To God, it is necessary to suffer these pains. If He did not wish to suffer this pain during this step of work, but merely to comprehend man’s pain and nothing more, and used a few apostles or people used by the Holy Spirit in His stead, who then reported to God of the pains they had suffered—or, if He used a few special individuals to bear testimony, and made them suffer the most painful things among man—then, if they were able to suffer this pain and bear this testimony, Satan itself would be utterly convinced, and in return for what they do, man would not have to suffer in the future. Could God do this? He could, but only God Himself does the work of God Himself. No matter how lofty people’s testimony, it does not ring out to Satan, who would say, “Since You became flesh, why not experience the pain of man personally?” Which is to say, if God did not work thus, then such testimony would not be very powerful. God’s own work must be done by God Himself, for only then will it be real and practical. And from this step of work done by God, it can also be seen that there is meaning to everything that God does, that there is meaning to all of the pain suffered by the incarnation, that He doesn’t do anything at random, nor does He do work that has no use. The incarnation’s arrival to work and to experience the pain of man is not optional, but of the utmost necessity: It is of the utmost necessity for mankind and the future destination of mankind, it is carried out and expended for the sake of saving man, gaining man, and bringing man into the beautiful destination.
Truths relating to the incarnation should be discussed from several angles:
1. The necessity of ordinary and normal flesh.
2. The practical aspect of this ordinary and normal flesh’s work.
3. The meaning—which is also to say, the necessity—of God’s coming among man to experience the pain of man.
Why must God personally experience the pain of man? Is it not okay for Him not to do this? There is also another aspect of meaning here. The work of this ordinary and normal flesh can conquer and perfect people, but people’s essence and the laws of man’s existence mean that they will still live in emptiness, pain, agony, and sighing, and that they will remain incapable of escaping their ailments. For example, your love of God has reached a certain point, you have some experience of understanding God, your corrupt dispositions have been resolved, and God says that you have been made perfect, and that you are someone who loves God. If God saves people to this extent and then leaves—if the work of the incarnation thus ends—then people’s ailments, emptiness, and the sorrows and troubles of the flesh would still exist, which means that God’s work of saving people would not be finished. A person may have been made perfect, and may know, love, and worship God, but are they able to resolve their ailments and troubles? Having the truth cannot resolve this. Nobody has ever said that now that they have the truth, the illnesses of the flesh no longer ail them or cause them to suffer—no one can fix that kind of pain. You can only say, “Living feels so meaningful to me now, but I still hurt when I am ill.” Is this the case? And is this feeling real? Thus, if the incarnation only did the work of conquering and perfecting man, if the incarnation only made people perfect, and did not resolve the pain suffered by their flesh, then all the pain faced by people on earth, people’s sicknesses, the joys and sorrows of man, and people’s individual worries—these would all be unsolvable, and even if you allowed people to live for a thousand, ten thousand years on earth, these troubles and matters of birth, old-age, illness and death would not be resolved. God has come to experience this pain of man; having experienced it, He solves it from the very root, and afterward, man is not troubled by matters of birth, old age, illness, or death. Jesus experienced death. This incarnation only experiences the pain of life and illness (old age need not be experienced, and in the future people will not grow old). Once He has experienced all of this pain, the pain of man will ultimately be eliminated. After God suffers all pain on behalf of man, He will have powerful evidence that is ultimately exchanged for mankind’s beautiful destination, eliminating the birth, old age, illness, and death of man. Is there not meaning to this? And so, be it life, illness, hardship, or agony, the incarnation experiences man’s pain, and regardless of what aspect of such pain it is, the incarnation does so on behalf of man, serving as a symbol and as a prophetic sign. He has experienced all this pain, He has personally borne it, so that mankind need suffer it no more. This is where the significance lies. Once people have been made perfect, they are able to worship God, and to love God, and they are able to act in accordance with God’s will, act in accordance with God’s word, and act in accordance with God’s requirements, after which their troubles and pain are resolved. This is the significance of God’s suffering on behalf of man, and it allows people to not only worship God on earth, but also to be free from the torment and encumbrance of these ailments, to be free of matters of birth, old age, sickness, and death, to be free of the cycles of life. In suffering and perceiving this pain during the current incarnation, God bears these things on behalf of man, and once He has borne them, those who remain need not suffer this pain—which is the prophetic sign. Some absurd people ask, “So God does this on behalf of man all by Himself?” It is sufficient that God becomes flesh and suffers on behalf of man—who else needs to? This is because God can do all things by Himself and can take the place of anything, He can represent all, and He can symbolize all things, all things that are beautiful, good, and positive. What’s more, now that He has really and practically experienced man’s pain, He is even more qualified to use even more powerful testimony and evidence to eliminate all of man’s future pain.
Thus performed, the work of the two steps of incarnation is completed and becomes a clear line: From the first step of incarnation to this step of incarnation, the work of these two steps has solved all the pain of human existence and people’s own individual suffering. Why must God personally do this in the flesh? First of all, people must understand where the pain of birth, old age, illness and death throughout their lives comes from and why man suffers these things. Did they exist when man was first created? Where did these pains come from? These pains came about after man was tempted by Satan and after man fell following Satan’s corruption. The pain of man’s flesh, the troubles, and emptiness, and all of the wretched things in the world of man—they all appeared after Satan corrupted man. After man was corrupted by Satan, Satan began to torment man, and so man fell ever further, his sickness became ever more profound, his pain ever greater, and he had an increasing sense that the world is empty and miserable, that it is impossible to survive in this world, and that living in this world is increasingly hopeless. So this pain was all brought upon man by Satan and the fall that resulted from Satan’s corruption of man. To return people from the hands of Satan and give them a beautiful destination requires God to personally experience this pain. Even if people are without sin, there are still things that are painful to them, Satan still controls them, can still manipulate them, and cause them to suffer the utmost pain and torment. And so, the incarnation’s personally experiencing these pains, and returning people from the clutches of Satan, and stopping them from suffering any more pain—is this not profoundly meaningful? When Jesus came to do the work of redemption, in appearance it seemed that He did not abide by the law, but in fact this fulfilled the law, it brought the Age of Law to an end and ushered in the Age of Grace, bringing mercy and compassion to man, and afterward, when Jesus was crucified, this absolved all of man’s sin. Jesus used His own precious blood to entitle man to return before God’s throne. It can be said that He used the proof and fact of the crucifixion to redeem man. Although man’s sins were forgiven by God, man had already been too profoundly corrupted by Satan, his sinful nature still remained, and he continued to sin and defy God. This is an undeniable fact, and so God has become flesh for a second time to do the work of cleansing man of his sinful nature, that is, He judges and chastises man to purify him of his corrupt disposition. The first time God became flesh, He was crucified for mankind’s sins, He redeemed mankind, and man has returned before God. The second time God became flesh, He came to conquer man, to save man by conquering him. Although many have accepted the work of God, and often eat and drink of the words of God, they remain ignorant of God, they do not know where He is, they would not recognize Him even if He were right before their eyes, and they are also liable to have notions and misunderstandings about God, and sometimes, the way they see things is hostile to God. Why is this the case? Because they do not understand the truth, and lack true knowledge of God. When people have knowledge of God, they are glad to suffer and live for God, but Satan still controls the weaknesses inside them, Satan is still able to make them suffer, evil spirits are still able to work and cause disruption inside them, to entrance them, to make them deranged and ill at ease, and utterly disturbed. There are things in people’s thoughts and consciousness that are liable to be controlled and manipulated by Satan. Therefore, sometimes you are ill or troubled, there are times when you feel the world to be desolate, or that there is no point in living, and there are even times when you may seek death and want to kill yourself. That is to say, these pains are wielded by Satan, and they are man’s mortal weakness. Something that has been corrupted and trampled on by Satan can still be used by Satan; this is the screw that Satan turns. And so, God has become flesh once more during the last days to do the work of judgment, and at the same time as doing the work of conquest, He suffers in man’s stead, paying the price of suffering in the flesh, paying this cost to address and resolve the pain and mortal weakness in man. Once He has returned man by paying the price of suffering among man, Satan will no longer be able to have a handle on man, and man will completely return to God, and only then will he belong to God completely! Why is it that you are able to live for God, and worship God, but you do not necessarily completely belong to God? Evil spirits can still exploit your weak points, they can still toy with you, can still use you, because people are too stupid. Some people can’t tell the difference between being moved by the Holy Spirit and interfered with by an evil spirit. They can’t even tell the difference between the work of the Holy Spirit and the work of evil spirits. Is this not a mortal weakness? When evil spirits work, there is no gap they will not exploit. They may speak within you or into your ear, or they may disturb your mind and disrupt your thoughts, numbing you to the touch of the Holy Spirit, stopping you from feeling it, and then the evil spirits will begin to interfere with you, to throw your thoughts into chaos and make you lose your sense, even causing your soul to leave your body. This is the work that evil spirits do in people, and people are in great danger if they cannot tell it for what it really is. Today, God has borne this pain for man, and once man has a beautiful destination, they will not only live for God, but they will no longer belong to Satan, and no longer have anything that Satan can turn the screws on; man’s thoughts, spirit, soul and body will all belong to God. Today, your heart may be turned toward God, but there are times when you can’t help but be used by Satan, and so, when people obtain the truth, they are capable of completely obeying and worshiping God, but it would be impossible for them to be totally free of Satan’s disruption, and even more impossible for them to be without any ailment, for people’s bodies and souls have been trampled on by Satan. People’s souls are a filthy place, they are the place where Satan has dwelt, and the place that Satan takes advantage of. Satan is still capable of disruption and control, of stopping your mind from being clear, preventing you from being able to distinguish the truth. And so, God’s becoming flesh to experience the pain of man and suffer on behalf of man is not optional, but of the utmost necessity!
You must understand that God has become flesh twice in order to complete the work of saving mankind. If there were only the first incarnation, it would not be possible to completely save mankind, for the first incarnation did the work of redemption and mainly appeared to resolve the problem of the forgiveness of man’s sins and make man worthy of coming before God. The second incarnation is doing the work of judgment in order to cleanse man’s corruption and fix man’s corrupt disposition, but it would still not be possible to solve the problem of man fully belonging to God. In addition, there must also be the second incarnation’s experience of man’s pain to fully remedy the part of man that has been corrupted by Satan—utterly solving, from the root, the problem of man’s suffering and torment. Such are the steps of the work of the two incarnations. Not one of them is dispensable. And so, you must not look lightly upon the pain suffered by the incarnation. Sometimes He cries, sometimes He is in pain and upset, and sometimes He seems weak and grief-stricken. You must not look lightly upon any of this, much less must you have notions about it. If you do have notions about this, then you are extremely stupid and rebellious. Nor, moreover, should you believe that this is what ought to be suffered by normal flesh; that is even more wrong, and if you say this, then you blaspheme against God. People must understand that the pain suffered by the two incarnations is necessary. It is not of the utmost necessity for God Himself, but for mankind. Mankind’s corruption is so great that this cannot not be done, it has to be done for corrupt mankind to be completely saved. The way God works is for people to see with their own eyes. Everything He does is public, not hidden from anyone. He does not endure in secret, all by Himself, fearful that people will see and have notions. He does not hide Himself from anyone, regardless of whether the time they have believed in God is long or short, of whether they are old or young, or whether they are able to comprehend the truth or not. Because this is proof, and anyone can prove that the incarnation of God has suffered the utmost pain, that He truly has borne the pain of mankind. He has not just suffered a few days of pain in a place no one knows about, He does not spend the majority of His time in comfort of pleasure—that is not the case. The work and suffering of Christ is not hidden from anyone; He does not fear that you will be weak, or that you will have notions, or that you will stop believing. And what does it show that this is not hidden from anyone? That it has the utmost meaning! The incarnation is never idle. You see that there are times when He does not speak or make a sound, but He is still working, He is still suffering in His heart! Does man realize this? Even when people do see this, they do not understand it. Some people do know that today, God is of ordinary and normal flesh, but do you know what work this ordinary and normal flesh does today? You do not. Your eyes only see the outside, you cannot see the inner essence. And so, no matter how many years the incarnation appears to have officially worked, God has actually never had a moment’s rest; though there are times when He does not speak or make a sound, and does not work on a great scale, His work has not ceased, and He is still suffering on behalf of man. Some people, when trying to measure whether God has become flesh, and whether or not He is Christ, look at whether God speaks: If He does not speak for two or three years, then He is not God, and so they hurry off and stop believing in God. Such people have a “wait-and-see” attitude toward their faith in God, and have no knowledge of God. There may be people who are “waiting and seeing” today, and who, seeing that God has not spoken for a period of time, in their hearts think, “Has God’s Spirit left and gone up to heaven?” Is it wrong to think thus? Do not blithely make judgments. If you have notions or doubts, pray to God, seek the truth, read God’s word more, and all these problems will be resolved. Don’t blindly delineate matters with “maybe this, or perhaps that”—these words of “maybe” and “perhaps” of yours are fallacies, and they are the opinions of the devil Satan! God’s work does not cease for a single moment. He does not rest, He is always working, and always in service of mankind!
The essence of Christ must be understood in all aspects. How can you know the essence of Christ? What is key is that you must know all of the work done by this fleshly body. If you only believe that the Spirit acts thus, and that the flesh does not, that the flesh is merely controlled by the Spirit, then this is wrong! Why say that suffering, being crucified, conquering all mankind, and experiencing the suffering of man is work done by Christ? Because God became man and works among man. The Spirit and the flesh work simultaneously; it is not as people imagine, where the flesh does not speak and the Spirit forces Him to speak—that is not the case. Instead, there is great liberty: The Spirit and the flesh do the same thing; when the flesh sees a matter to be almost done, the Spirit also sees the matter in the same way. They work at the same time. So, too, is it wrong to say that the physical body prevails. What would it mean for “the physical body to prevail”? There is context for this: Once God becomes man, everything man sees is an action of the body, and that the body prevails during the time of incarnation. In any case, the Spirit and the flesh work simultaneously. It would never be that the Spirit forces the flesh to speak, but the flesh is unwilling, or else the flesh wishes to speak but the words are not granted by the Spirit. That would never happen. If people believe this, then they are wrong—and ridiculous. The Spirit and the flesh are one. The Spirit is embodied in the flesh, so how could it happen that the Spirit wishes to speak yet the flesh does not speak? Or else the flesh wishes to speak and the Spirit does not grant the words? There could be no such thing. The incarnation of God is the embodiment of the Spirit in the flesh. When the flesh works, He can speak at any time or place, which is completely different from when the Holy Spirit works in a person. Only the Holy Spirit embodied in the flesh is the incarnation, and there is no question of the Holy Spirit departing. When the Holy Spirit works in people, there is choice and context involved. If people do not pursue the truth, if they go their own way, then the Holy Spirit leaves them, and they will feel it. There is always fallacy to people’s understanding. They think that with God’s work having reached this stage, He has no more words, and that He could not speak even if He wanted to. Is this the case? God can speak at any time, there has never been any break between the Spirit and the body. No matter what work or aspect of the truth is being expressed, regardless of what side you view it from, this is the embodiment of the Spirit in the flesh, God has become man, which is to say that all of the pain suffered by the flesh is also the Spirit personally experiencing the pain of man. The body and the Spirit absolutely must not be talked of separately. The truth of the incarnation is most profound of all, and requires people to have ten or twenty years of experience, or even a lifetime, before they can truly know it.