Though many people believe in God, few understand what faith in God means, and what they must do to be after God’s heart. This is because, though people are familiar with the word “God” and phrases such as “the work of God,” they do not know God, much less do they know His work. No wonder, then, that all those who do not know God are possessed of a muddled belief. People do not take belief in God seriously because believing in God is too unfamiliar, too strange for them. In this way, they fall short of the demands of God. In other words, if people do not know God, do not know His work, then they are not fit for God’s use, much less can they fulfill the desire of God. “Belief in God” means believing that there is a God; this is the simplest concept of faith in God. What’s more, believing that there is a God is not the same as truly believing in God; rather, it is a kind of simple faith with strong religious overtones. True faith in God means experiencing the words and work of God based on a belief that God holds sovereignty over all things. So you shall be freed of your corrupt disposition, shall fulfill the desire of God, and shall come to know God. Only through such a journey can you be said to believe in God. Yet people often see belief in God as something very simple and frivolous. The belief of such people is meaningless and shall never gain the approval of God, because they tread the wrong path. Today, there are still those who believe in God in letters, in hollow doctrines. They are unaware that their belief in God has no substance, and that they are unable to gain the approval of God, and they still pray for peace and sufficient grace from God. We should stop and ask ourselves: Could believing in God really be the easiest thing on earth? Does believing in God mean nothing more than receiving much grace from God? Can people who believe in God but do not know Him, and believe in God yet oppose Him, really fulfill the desire of God?
God and man cannot be spoken of as equals. His substance and His work are most unfathomable and incomprehensible to man. If God does not personally do His work and speak His words in the world of man, then man would never be able to understand the will of God, and so, even those who have devoted their entire life to God would be incapable of gaining His approval. Without God’s work, no matter how good man’s doing, it will count for nothing, for the thoughts of God shall always be higher than the thoughts of man, and the wisdom of God is unfathomable to man. And so I say that those who “clearly see” God and His work are ineffectual, they are all arrogant and ignorant. Man should not define the work of God; moreover, man cannot define the work of God. In the eyes of God, man is smaller than an ant, so how can man fathom God’s work? Those who are constantly saying, “God does not work in this or that way” or “God is like this or that”—are they not all arrogant? We should all know that people, who are of the flesh, have all been corrupted by Satan. It is their nature to oppose God, and they are not on a parity with God, much less can they offer counsel for the work of God. How God guides man is the work of God Himself. Man should submit, and should not hold such and such a view, for man is but dust. Since we try to seek God, we should not superimpose our conceptions on the work of God for God’s consideration, least of all should we employ our corrupt disposition to deliberately try to oppose the work of God. Would that not make us antichrists? How could such people say that they believe in God? Since we believe that there is a God, and since we wish to satisfy Him and to see Him, we should seek the way of truth, and should look for a way to be compatible with God. We should not stand in stiff-necked opposition to God; what good could come of such actions?
Today, God has new work. You may not accept these words, they may feel odd to you, but I advise you not to reveal your naturalness, for only those who truly hunger and thirst for righteousness before God can obtain the truth, and only those who are truly devout can be enlightened and guided by God. Nothing will come of seeking the truth through quarreling. Only by seeking calmly can we obtain results. When I say that “Today, God has new work,” I am referring to God’s return to flesh. Perhaps you do not mind these words, perhaps you despise them, or perhaps they are of great interest to you. Whatever the case, I hope that all those who truly yearn for the appearance of God can face this fact and give it careful consideration. It is best not to jump to conclusions. This is the way that wise people should act.
To study such a thing is not difficult, but requires each of us to know this truth: He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the substance of God, and He who is God’s incarnation shall hold the expression of God. Since God becomes flesh, He shall bring forth the work He must do, and since God becomes flesh, He shall express what He is, and shall be able to bring the truth to man, bestow life upon man, and show man the way. Flesh that does not contain the substance of God is surely not the incarnate God; of this there is no doubt. To investigate whether it is God’s incarnate flesh, man must determine this from the disposition He expresses and the words He speaks. Which is to say, whether or not it is God’s incarnate flesh, and whether or not it is the true way, must be judged from His substance. And so, in determining[a] whether it is the flesh of God incarnate, the key is to pay attention to His substance (His work, His words, His disposition, and many more), rather than external appearance. If man sees only His external appearance, and overlooks His substance, then that shows the ignorance and naivety of man. External appearance does not determine substance; what’s more, the work of God has never conformed with the conceptions of man. Did not the outward appearance of Jesus conflict with the conceptions of man? Were not His appearance and dress unable to provide any clues as to His true identity? Was not the reason why the earliest Pharisees opposed Jesus because they merely looked at His external appearance, and did not take to heart the words that He spoke? It is My hope that the brothers and sisters who seek the appearance of God will not repeat the tragedy of history. You must not become the Pharisees of modern times and nail God to the cross again. You should carefully consider how to welcome the return of God, and should have a clear mind of how to be someone who submits to the truth. This is the responsibility of everyone who is waiting for Jesus to return with the clouds. We should rub our spiritual eyes, and not fall prey to the words full of flights of fancy. We should think about the practical work of God, and should take a look at the real side of God. Do not get carried away or lose yourselves in daydreams, always looking forward to the day that the Lord Jesus suddenly descends among you on a cloud to take you who have never known Him or seen Him, and do not know how to do His will. It is better to think upon practical matters!
You may have opened this book for the purpose of research, or with the intention to accept; whatever your attitude, I hope that you will read it to the end, and will not put it aside easily. Perhaps, after reading these words, your attitude will change, but that depends on how motivated you are, and how easily you take things to heart. There is, however, one thing that you should know: The word of God cannot be spoken as the word of man, much less can the word of man be spoken as the word of God. A man used by God is not the incarnate God, and the incarnate God is not a man used by God; in this, there is a substantial difference. Perhaps, after reading these words, you do not accept that they are the words of God, and only accept them as the words of a man who has been enlightened. In that case, you are blinded by ignorance. How can the words of God be the same as the words of a man who has been enlightened? 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. If man views the words spoken by God as simple enlightenment of the Holy Spirit, and takes the words of the apostles and prophets as words personally spoken by God, then man is wrong. Regardless, you should never turn right into wrong, or speak of the high as the low, or speak of the profound as the shallow; regardless, you should never deliberately refute what you know to be the truth. Everyone who believes there is a God should consider this problem from the correct standpoint, and should accept His new work and words as a creature of God—or else be eliminated by God.
After the work of Jehovah, Jesus became flesh to do His work amongst man. His work was not carried out in isolation, but built upon the work of Jehovah. It was work for a new age after God had concluded the Age of Law. Similarly, after the work of Jesus ended, God still continued His work for the next age, because the entire management of God is always progressing forward. When the old age passes, it will be replaced by a new age, and once the old work has been completed, a new work will continue the management of God. This incarnation is God’s second incarnation following the completion of Jesus’ work. Of course, this incarnation does not occur independently, but is the third stage of work after the Age of Law and the Age of Grace. Each new stage of God’s work always brings a new beginning and a new age. So too are there corresponding changes in the disposition of God, in His way of working, in the location of His work, and in His name. No wonder, then, that it is difficult for man to accept the work of God in the new age. But regardless of how He is opposed by man, God is always doing His work, and is always leading the whole of mankind forward. When Jesus came into the world of man, He brought the Age of Grace and ended the Age of Law. During the last days, God once more became flesh, and when He became flesh this time, He ended the Age of Grace and brought the Age of Kingdom. All those who accept the second incarnation of God will be led into the Age of Kingdom, and be able to personally accept the guidance of God. Though Jesus did much work among man, He only completed the redemption of all mankind and became man’s sin offering, and did not rid man of all his corrupt disposition. Fully saving man from the influence of Satan not only required Jesus to take on the sins of man as the sin offering, but also required God to do greater work to completely rid man of his disposition, which has been corrupted by Satan. And so, after man was forgiven his sins, God has returned to flesh to lead man into the new age, and begun the work of chastisement and judgment, and this work has brought man into a higher realm. All those who submit under His dominion shall enjoy higher truth and receive greater blessings. They shall truly live in the light, and shall gain the truth, the way, and the life.
If people remain in the Age of Grace, then they shall never be free of their corrupt disposition, let alone know the inherent disposition of God. If people always live among an abundance of grace but are without the way of life that allows them to know God and satisfy God, then they shall never truly gain Him though they believe in Him. What a pitiful form of belief that is. When you have finished reading this book, when you have experienced each step of the work of God incarnate in the Age of Kingdom, you will feel that the hopes of many years have finally been realized. You will feel that only now have you truly seen God face-to-face; only now have you gazed upon the face of God, heard the personal utterance of God, appreciated the wisdom of God’s work, and truly sensed how real and almighty God is. You will sense that you have gained many things that people of times past have never seen or possessed. At this time, you will clearly know what it is to believe in God, and what it is to be after God’s heart. Of course, if you cling to views of the past, and reject or deny the fact of the second incarnation of God, then you shall remain empty-handed and acquire nothing, and ultimately be guilty of opposing God. Those who obey the truth and submit to the work of God shall come under the name of the second incarnate God—the Almighty. They will be able to accept the personal guidance of God, and shall acquire more and higher truth and receive the real human life. They shall behold the vision that people of the past have never seen: “And I turned to see the voice that spoke with me. And being turned, I saw seven golden candlesticks; And in the middle of the seven candlesticks one like to the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the breasts with a golden girdle. His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; And His feet like to fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shines in its strength” (Revelation 1:12–16). This vision is the expression of God’s entire disposition, and such an expression of His entire disposition is also the expression of the work of God when He becomes flesh this time. In the torrents of chastisements and judgments, the Son of man expresses His inherent disposition through the speaking of words, allowing all those who accept His chastisement and judgment to see the true face of the Son of man, a face that is a faithful depiction of the face of the Son of man seen by John. (Of course, all this will be invisible to those who do not accept the work of God in the Age of Kingdom.) The true face of God cannot be fully articulated using the words of man, and so God uses the expression of His inherent disposition to show His true face to man. Which is to say that all those who have experienced the inherent disposition of the Son of man have seen the true face of the Son of man, for God is too great and cannot be fully articulated using the words of man. Once man has experienced each step of God’s work in the Age of Kingdom, then he shall know the true meaning of John’s words when he spoke of the Son of man among the lampstands: “His head and His hairs were white like wool, as white as snow; and His eyes were as a flame of fire; And His feet like to fine brass, as if they burned in a furnace; and His voice as the sound of many waters. And He had in His right hand seven stars: and out of His mouth went a sharp two edged sword: and His countenance was as the sun shines in its strength.” At that time, you shall know beyond all doubt that this ordinary flesh that has spoken so many words is really the second incarnate God. And you shall truly sense how blessed you are, and feel yourself the most fortunate. Would you be unwilling to accept this blessing?
from The Word Appears in the Flesh