6. Why Is It Said That the Two Incarnations Complete the Significance of the Incarnation?
Bible Verses for Reference:
So Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and to them that look for him shall he appear the second time without sin to salvation (Heb 9:28).
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God (Jhn 1:1).
Relevant Words of God:
The first incarnation was to redeem man from sin, to redeem him by means of the fleshly body of Jesus, that is, He saved man from the cross, but the corrupt satanic disposition still remained within man. The second incarnation is no longer to serve as a sin offering but rather to save fully those who were redeemed from sin. This is done so that those who have been forgiven may be delivered from their sins and made fully clean, and by attaining a changed disposition, break free of Satan’s influence of darkness and return before the throne of God. Only in this way can man be fully sanctified. After the Age of Law had come to an end, and beginning with the Age of Grace, God began the work of salvation, which continues until the last days when, in judging and chastising the human race for their rebelliousness, He will completely purify mankind. Only then will God conclude His work of salvation and enter into rest. Therefore, in the three stages of work, only twice did God become flesh to carry out His work among man Himself. That is because only one in the three stages of work is to guide men in leading their lives, while the other two consist of the work of salvation. Only by becoming flesh can God live alongside man, experience the suffering of the world, and live in an ordinary body of flesh. Only in this way can He supply men with the practical word that as created beings they need. It is through the incarnation of God that man receives full salvation from God, and not directly from heaven in answer to his prayers. For, man being of the flesh, he has no way of seeing the Spirit of God, much less of approaching His Spirit. All that man can come into contact with is God’s incarnate flesh, and only by means of this is man able to grasp all the words and all the truths and receive full salvation. The second incarnation will be sufficient to purge away the sins of man and to fully purify him. Hence, with the second incarnation, the entirety of God’s work in the flesh will be brought to a close and the significance of God’s incarnation be made complete.
from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
At the time that Jesus was doing His work, man’s knowledge of Him was still vague and unclear. Man always believed Him to be the son of David, and proclaimed Him to be a great prophet, the benevolent Lord who redeemed man’s sins. Some, on the strength of their faith, were healed just from touching the edge of His garment; the blind could see and even the dead could be restored to life. However, man was unable to discover the corrupt satanic disposition deeply rooted within himself, neither did he know how to cast it away. Man received much grace, such as the peace and happiness of the flesh, the faith of one member bringing blessing on an entire family, the healing of sickness, and so on. The rest were the good deeds of man and his godly appearance; if man could live on the basis of these, he was considered an acceptable believer. Only believers of this kind could enter heaven after death, which means that they were saved. But, in their lifetime, these people did not understand at all the way of life. All they did was to commit sins and then confess their sins in a constant cycle without making any path toward changing their disposition: Such was the condition of man in the Age of Grace. Has man received complete salvation? No! Therefore, after that stage of work was finished, there still remained the work of judgment and chastisement. This stage is to make man pure by means of the word and thereby give him a path to follow. This stage would not be fruitful or meaningful if it continued with the casting out of demons, for it would fail to extirpate man’s sinful nature, and man would come to a standstill at the forgiveness of his sins. Through the sin offering, man has been forgiven his sins, for the work of the crucifixion has already come to an end and God has prevailed over Satan. But the corrupt disposition of man still remaining within him, man can still sin and resist God, and God has not gained mankind. That is why in this stage of work God uses the word to expose the corrupt disposition of man, causing him to practice in accordance with the right path. This stage is more meaningful than the previous one, as well as more fruitful, for now it is the word that directly supplies man’s life and enables the disposition of man to be completely renewed; it is a much more thorough stage of work. Therefore, the incarnation in the last days has completed the significance of God’s incarnation and completely finished God’s plan of management for man’s salvation.
from “The Mystery of the Incarnation (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
The first incarnate God did not complete the work of incarnation; He only completed the first step of the work that it was necessary for God to do in the flesh. So, in order to finish the work of incarnation, God has returned into the flesh once again, living out all the normality and reality of the flesh, that is, making God’s Word manifest in an entirely normal and ordinary flesh, thereby concluding the work that He left undone in the flesh. The second incarnate flesh is in essence similar to the first, but is even more real, even more normal than the first. As a consequence, the suffering the second incarnate flesh endures is greater than that of the first, but this suffering is a result of His ministry in the flesh, which is different from the suffering of corrupted man. It also stems from the normality and reality of His flesh. Because He performs His ministry in utterly normal and real flesh, the flesh must endure a great deal of hardship. The more normal and real this flesh is, the more He will suffer in the performance of His ministry. God works in a very common flesh, one that is not supernatural at all. Because His flesh is normal and must also shoulder the work of saving man, He suffers in even greater measure than a supernatural flesh would—all this suffering stems from the reality and normality of His flesh. From the suffering that the two incarnate fleshes have undergone while performing Their ministries, one can see the essence of the incarnate flesh. The more normal the flesh, the greater hardship He must endure while undertaking the work; the more real the flesh is that undertakes the work, the harsher are the notions that people get, and the more dangers are likely to befall Him. And yet, the more real the flesh is, and the more the flesh possesses the needs and complete sense of a normal human being, the more capable He is of taking on God’s work in the flesh. It was Jesus’ flesh that was nailed to the cross, His flesh that He gave up as a sin offering; it was by means of a flesh with normal humanity that He defeated Satan and completely saved man from the cross. And it is as a complete flesh that the second incarnate God performs the conquering work and defeats Satan. Only a flesh that is completely normal and real can perform the conquering work in its entirety and make a forceful testimony. That is to say, the work of[a] conquering man is made effective through the reality and normality of God in the flesh, not through supernatural miracles and revelations. The ministry of this incarnate God is to speak, and thereby to conquer and perfect man; in other words, the work of the Spirit realized in the flesh, the flesh’s duty, is to speak and thereby conquer, reveal, perfect, and eliminate man completely. And so, it is in the conquering work that God’s work in the flesh will be accomplished in full. The initial redemptive work was only the beginning of the work of incarnation; the flesh who does the conquering work will complete the entire work of incarnation. … In this stage of the work God does not perform signs and wonders, so that the work will achieve its results by means of words. Moreover, this time the work of God incarnate is not to heal the sick and cast out demons, but to conquer man by speaking, which is to say that the native ability possessed by this incarnate flesh of God is to speak words and to conquer man, not to heal the sick and cast out demons. His work in normal humanity is not to perform miracles, not to heal the sick and cast out demons, but to speak, and so the second incarnate flesh seems to people much more normal than the first. People see that God’s incarnation is no lie; but this incarnate God is different from Jesus incarnate, and though They are both God incarnate, They are not completely the same. Jesus possessed normal humanity, ordinary humanity, but He was accompanied by many signs and wonders. In this incarnate God, human eyes will see no signs or wonders, neither healing the sick nor driving out demons, nor walking on the sea, nor fasting for forty days…. He does not do the same work that Jesus did, not because His flesh is in essence any different from Jesus’, but because it is not His ministry to heal the sick and cast out demons. He does not tear down His own work, does not disturb His own work. Since He conquers man through His real words, there is no need to subdue him with miracles, and so this stage is to complete the work of incarnation. The incarnate God you see today is completely a flesh, and there is nothing supernatural about Him. He gets sick as others do, needs food and clothing just as others do, being completely a flesh. If this time around, God incarnate performed supernatural signs and wonders, if He healed the sick, cast out demons, or could kill with one word, how could the conquering work be carried out? How could the work be spread among the Gentile nations? … In the last days, God realizes the conquering work in an ordinary, normal flesh; He does not heal the sick, will not be crucified for man, but simply speaks words in the flesh, conquers man in the flesh. Only such flesh is God’s incarnate flesh; only such flesh can complete God’s work in the flesh.
from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Why do I say that the meaning of incarnation was not completed in Jesus’ work? Because the Word did not entirely become flesh. What Jesus did was only one part of God’s work in the flesh; He only did the redemptive work and did not do the work of completely gaining man. For this reason God has become flesh once again in the last days. This stage of the work is also done in an ordinary flesh, done by an utterly normal human being, one whose humanity is not in the least bit transcendent. In other words, God has become a complete human being, and it is a person whose identity is that of God, a complete human being, a complete flesh, who is performing the work. To the human eye, He is just a flesh who is not transcendent at all, a very ordinary person who can speak the language of heaven, who shows no miraculous signs, works no miracles, much less exposes the inside truth about religion in great meeting halls. The work of the second incarnate flesh seems to people utterly unlike that of the first, so much so that the two seem to have nothing in common, and nothing of the first’s work can be seen this time. Though the work of the second incarnate flesh is different from that of the first, that does not prove that Their source is not one and the same. Whether Their source is the same depends on the nature of the work done by the fleshes and not on Their outer shells. During the three stages of His work, God has been incarnated twice, and both times the work of God incarnate inaugurates a new age, ushers in a new work; the incarnations complement each other. It is impossible for human eyes to tell that the two fleshes actually come from the same source. Needless to say, it is beyond the capacity of the human eye or of the human mind. But in Their essence They are the same, for Their work originates from the same Spirit. Whether the two incarnate fleshes arise from the same source cannot be judged by the era and the place in which They were born, or other such factors, but by the divine work expressed by Them. The second incarnate flesh does not perform any of the work that Jesus did, for God’s work does not adhere to convention, but each time it opens up a new path. The second incarnate flesh does not aim to deepen or solidify the impression of the first flesh in people’s minds, but to complement it and to perfect it, to deepen man’s knowledge of God, to break all the rules that exist in people’s hearts, and to wipe out the fallacious images of God in their hearts. It can be said that no individual stage of God’s own work can give man a complete knowledge of Him; each gives only a part, not the whole. Though God has expressed His disposition in full, because of man’s limited faculties of understanding, his knowledge of God still remains incomplete. It is impossible, using human language, to convey the entirety of God’s disposition; how much less can a single stage of His work fully express God? He works in the flesh under the cover of His normal humanity, and one can only know Him by the expressions of His divinity, not by His bodily shell. God comes into the flesh to allow man to know Him by means of His various work, and no two stages of His work are alike. Only in this way can man have a full knowledge of God’s work in the flesh, not confined to one single facet.
from “The Essence of the Flesh Inhabited by God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
Jesus did a stage of work which only fulfilled the substance of “the Word was with God”: The truth of God was with God, and the Spirit of God was with the flesh and was inseparable from Him, that is, the flesh of God incarnate was with the Spirit of God, which is greater proof that Jesus incarnate was the first incarnation of God. This stage of work fulfilled the inner meaning of “the Word becomes flesh,” lent deeper meaning to “the Word was with God, and the Word was God,” and allows you to firmly believe the words that “In the beginning was the Word.” Which is to say, at the time of creation God was possessed of words, His words were with Him and inseparable from Him, and the final age makes even clearer the power and authority of His words, and allows man to see all of His words—to hear all of His words. Such is the work of the final age. … Because this is the work of the second incarnation—and the last time that God becomes flesh—it fully completes the significance of the incarnation, thoroughly carries out and issues forth all of God’s work in the flesh, and brings to an end the era of God’s being in the flesh.
from “Practice (4)” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
In the Age of Grace, God did not do the work of the word, but simply described the crucifixion in order to redeem all mankind. The Bible only describes why Jesus was to be crucified, and the sufferings He was subjected to on the cross, and how man should be crucified for God. During that age, all the work done by God was centered around the crucifixion. During the Age of Kingdom, God incarnate speaks words to conquer all those who believe in Him. This is “the Word appearing in the flesh”; God has come during the last days to do this work, which is to say, He has come to accomplish the actual significance of the Word appearing in the flesh. He only speaks words, and rarely is there the advent of facts. This is the very substance of the Word appearing in the flesh, and when God incarnate speaks His words, this is the appearance of the Word in the flesh, and is the Word coming into the flesh. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God, and the Word became flesh.” This (the work of the appearance of the Word in the flesh) is the work that God will accomplish in the last days, and is the final chapter of His entire management plan, and so God has to come to earth and manifest His words in the flesh. That which is done today, that which will be done in the future, that which will be accomplished by God, man’s final destination, those who will be saved, those who will be destroyed, and so on—this work that should be achieved in the end has all been clearly stated, and is all in order to accomplish the actual significance of the Word appearing in the flesh. The administrative decrees and constitution that were previously issued forth, those who will be destroyed, those who will enter into rest—these words must all be fulfilled. This is the work principally accomplished by God incarnate during the last days. He makes people understand where those predestined by God belong and where those not predestined by God belong, how His people and sons will be classified, what will happen to Israel, what will happen to Egypt—in the future, every one of these words will be accomplished. The steps of God’s work are accelerating. God uses the word as the means to reveal to man what is to be done in every age, what is to be done by God incarnate of the last days, and His ministry that is to be performed, and these words are all in order to accomplish the actual significance of the Word appearing in the flesh.
from “All Is Achieved by the Word of God” in The Word Appears in the Flesh
a. The original text omits “the work of.”